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Unformatted text preview: oned to this council, which decided the fate of the crown, were the Londoners; and even these were required, not to give their opinion, but to submit to the decrees of the synod. The deputies of London, however, were not so passive: They insisted, that their king should be delivered from prison; but were told by the legate, that it became not the Londoners, who were regarded as noblemen in England, to take part with those barons, who had basely forsaken their lord in battle, and who had treated holy church with contumely.o It is with reason that the citizens of London assumed so much authority, if it be true, what is related by Fitz-Stephen, a contemporary author, that that city could at this time bring into the field no less than 80,000 combatants.p London, notwithstanding its great power, and its attachment to Stephen, was at length obliged to submit to Matilda; and her authority, by the prudent conduct of earl Robert, seemed to be established over the whole kingdom: But affairs remained not long in this situation. That princess, besides the disadvantages of her sex, which weakened her influence over a turbulent and martial people, was of a passionate, imperious spirit, and knew not how to temper with affability the harshness of a refusal. Stephen’s queen, seconded by many of the nobility, petitioned for the liberty of her husband; and offered, that, on this condition, he should renounce the crown, and retire into a convent. The legate desired, that prince Eustace, his nephew, might inherit Boulogne and the other patrimonial estates of his father:q The Londoners applied for the establishment of king Edward’s laws, instead of those of king Henry, which, they said, were grievous and oppressive.r All these petitions were rejected in the most haughty and peremptory manner. The legate, who had probably never been sincere in his compliance with Matilda’s government, availed himself of the ill-humour excited by this imperious conduct, and secretly instigated the Londoners to a revolt. A conspiracy was entered into to seize the person of the empress; and she saved herself from the danger by a precipitate retreat. She fled to Oxford: Soon after she went to Winchester; whither the legate, desirous to save appearances, and watching the opportunity to ruin her cause, had retired. But having assembled all his retainers, he openly joined his force to that of the Londoners, and to Stephen’s mercenary troops, who had not yet evacuated the kingdom; and he besieged Matilda in Winchester. The princess, being hard pressed by PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 203 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 famine, made her escape; but in the flight, earl Robert, her brother, fell into the hands of the enemy. This nobleman, though a subject, was as much the life and soul of his own party, as Stephen was of the other; and the empress, sensible of his merit and importance, consented Stephen released. to exchange the prisoners on equal terms. The civil war was again kindled with greater fury than ever. Earl Robert, finding the successes on both sides nearly balanced, 1142. went over to Normandy, which, during Stephen’s captivity, had submitted to the earl of Anjou; and he persuaded Geoffrey to allow his eldest son, Henry, a young prince o...
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This note was uploaded on 02/12/2011 for the course CHIN 101 taught by Professor Dr.yu during the Spring '08 term at University Of Southern Mississippi .
- Spring '08