history of england_david hume

Though hardicanute before his accession had been

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Unformatted text preview: els. But prince Edward, being invited over by the king, immediately on his appearance, preferred an accusation against Godwin for the murder of Alfred, and demanded justice for that crime. Godwin, in order to appease the king, made him a magnificent present of a galley with a gilt stern, rowed by fourscore men, who wore each of them a gold bracelet on his arm, weighing sixteen ounces, and were armed and cloathed in the most sumptuous manner. Hardicanute, pleased with the splendor of this spectacle, quickly forgot his brother’s murder; and on Godwin’s swearing that he was innocent of the crime, he allowed him to be acquitted. Though Hardicanute, before his accession, had been called over by the vows of the English, he soon lost the affections of the nation by his misconduct; but nothing appeared more grievous to them, than his renewing the imposition of Danegelt, and obliging the nation to pay a great sum of money to the fleet, which brought him from Denmark. The discontents ran high in many places: In Worcester the populace rose, and put to death two of the collectors. The king, enraged at this opposition, swore vengeance against the city, and ordered three noblemen, Godwin, duke of Wessex, Siward, duke of Northumberland, and Leofric, duke of Mercia, to execute his menaces with the utmost rigour. They were obliged to set fire to the city, and deliver it up to be plundered by their soldiers; but they saved the lives of the inhabitants; whom they confined in a small island of the Severn, called Beverey, till, by their intercession, they were able to appease the king, and obtain the pardon of the supplicants. This violent government was of short duration. Hardicanute died in two years after his accession, at the nuptials of a Danish lord, which he had honoured with his presence. His usual habits of intemperance were so well known, that, notwithstanding his robust constitution, his sudden death gave as little surprize, as it did sorrow, to his subjects. EDWARD THE CONFESSOR The English, on the death of Hardicanute, saw a favourable 1041. opportunity for recovering their liberty, and for shaking off the Danish yoke, under which they had so long laboured. Sweyn, king of Norway, the eldest son of Canute, was absent; and as the two last kings had died without issue, none of that race presented himself, nor any whom the Danes could support as successor to the throne. Prince Edward was fortunately at court on his brother’s demise; and though the descendants of Edmond Ironside were the true heirs of the Saxon family, yet their absence in so remote a country as Hungary, appeared a PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 101 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 sufficient reason for their exclusion, to a people like the English, so little accustomed to observe a regular order in the succession of their monarchs. All delays might be dangerous; and the present occasion must hastily be embraced; while the Danes...
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