history of england_david hume

Tosti in rage departed the kingdom and took shelter

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Unformatted text preview: than suffer a renewal of those indignities, to which they had so long been exposed; and they trusted, that Harold, on reflection, would not defend in another that violent conduct, from which he himself, in his own government, had always kept at so great a distance. This vigorous remonstrance was accompanied with such a detail of facts, so well supported, that Harold found it prudent to abandon his brother’s cause; and returning to Edward, he persuaded him to pardon the Northumbrians, and to confirm Morcar in the government. He even married the sister of that nobleman;x and by his interest procured Edwin, the younger brother, to be elected into the government of Mercia. Tosti in rage departed the kingdom, and took shelter in Flanders with earl Baldwin, his father-in-law. By this marriage, Harold broke all measures with the duke of Normandy; and William clearly perceived, that he could no longer rely on the oaths and promises, which he had extorted from him. But the English nobleman was now in such a situation, that he deemed it no longer necessary to dissemble. He had, in his conduct towards the Northumbrians, given such a specimen of his moderation as had gained him the affections of his countrymen. He saw, that almost all England was engaged in his interests; while he himself possessed the government of Wessex, Morcar that of Northumberland, and Edwin that of Mercia. He now openly aspired to the succession; and insisted, that, since it was necessary, by the confession of all, to set aside the royal family, on account of the imbecility of Edgar, the sole surviving heir, there was no one so capable of filling the throne, as a nobleman, of great power, of mature age, of long experience, of approved courage and abilities, who, being a native of the kingdom, would effectually secure it against the dominion and tyranny of foreigners. Edward, broken with age and infirmities, saw the difficulties too great for him to encounter; and though his inveterate prepossessions kept him from seconding the pretensions of Harold, he took but feeble and irresolute steps for securing the succession to the duke of Normandy. NOTE [F] While he continued in this uncertainty, he was surprised by sickness, which brought him to his grave, on the fifth of January 1066, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and twenty-fifth of his reign. This prince, to whom the monks give the title of saint and confessor, was the last of the Saxon line, that ruled in England. Though his reign was peaceable and fortunate, he owed his prosperity less to his own abilities than to the conjunctures of the times. The Danes, employed in other enterprizes, attempted not those incursions, which had been so troublesome to all his predecessors, and fatal to some of them. The facility of his disposition made him acquiesce under the government of Godwin, and his son Harold; and the abilities, as well as the power of these noblemen, enabled them while they were entrusted with authority, to preserve domestic peace and tranquillity. The most commendable circumstance of Edward’s government was his attention to...
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