history of england_david hume

The king accepted of the condition and alfred was

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Unformatted text preview: s, which the reader, according to the degree of credit he is disposed to give them, may impute either to the invention of monks, who forged them, or to their artifice, who found means of making them real. Alfred, it is said, being seized upon strong suspicions, but without any certain proof, firmly denied the conspiracy imputed to him; and in order to justify himself, he offered to swear to his innocence before the pope, whose person, it was supposed, contained such superior sanctity, that no one could presume to give a false oath in his presence, and yet hope to escape the immediate vengeance of heaven. The king accepted of the condition, and Alfred was conducted to Rome; where, either conscious of his innocence, or neglecting the superstition, to which he appealed, he ventured to make the oath required of him, before John, who then filled the papal chair. But no sooner had he pronounced the fatal words, than he fell into convulsions, of which, three days after, he expired. The king, as if the guilt of the conspirator were now fully ascertained, confiscated his estate, and made a present of it to the monastery of Malmesbury;r secure that no doubts would ever thenceforth be entertained concerning the justice of his proceedings. The dominion of Athelstan was no sooner established over his English subjects, than he endeavoured to give security to the government, by providing against the insurrections of the Danes, which had created so much disturbance to his predecessors. He marched into Northumberland; and finding, that the inhabitants bore with impatience the English yoke, he thought it prudent to confer on Sithric, a Danish nobleman, the title of King, and to attach him to his interest, by giving him his sister, Editha, in marriage. But this policy proved by accident the source of dangerous consequences. Sithric died in a twelvemonth after; and his two sons by a former marriage, Anlaf and Godfrid, founding pretensions on their father’s elevation, assumed the sovereignty, without waiting for Athelstan’s consent. They were soon expelled by the power of that monarch; and the former took shelter in Ireland, as the latter did in Scotland, where he received, during some time, protection from Constantine, who then enjoyed the crown of that kingdom. The Scottish prince, however, continually solicited, and even menaced, by Athelstan, at last promised to deliver up his guest; but secretly detesting this treachery, he gave Godfrid warning to make his escape;s and that fugitive, after subsisting by pyracy for some years, freed the king, by his death, from any farther anxiety. Athelstan, resenting Constantine’s PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 73 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 behaviour, entered Scotland with an army; and ravaging the country with impunity,t he reduced the Scots to such distress, that their king was content to preserve his crown, by making submissions to the enemy. The English historians assert,u that Constantine did homage to Athelstan for his kingdom; and they add, that the latter prince, being urged by his courtiers to push the present favourable opportunity, and entirely subdue Scotland, replied, that it was more glorious to confer than conquer kingdoms.w But those annals, so uncertain and imperfect in themselves, lose al...
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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 .

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