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Unformatted text preview: ich he, as well as the rest of the kingdom, had sworn to her, he should in return be entire master of the administration and in particular should, at his pleasure, dispose of all vacant bishoprics and abbies. Earl Robert, her brother, Brian Fitz-Count, Milo of Glocester, and other great men, became guarantees for her observing these engagements;k and the prelate was at last induced to promise her allegiance, but that still burdened with the express condition, that she should on her part fulfil her promises. He then conducted her to Winchester, led her in procession to the cathedral, and with great solemnity, in the presence of many bishops and abbots, denounced curses against all those who cursed her, poured out blessings on those who blessed her, granted absolution to such as were obedient to her, and excommunicated such as were rebellious.l Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury, soon after came also to court, and swore allegiance to the empress.m Matilda, that she might farther ensure the attachment of the Matilda crowned. clergy, was willing to receive the crown from their hands; and instead of assembling the states of the kingdom, the measure which the constitution, had it been either fixed or regarded, seemed necessarily to require, she was content, that the legate should summon an ecclesiastical synod, and that her title to the throne should there be acknowledged. The legate, addressing himself to the assembly, told them, that, in the absence of the empress, Stephen, his brother, had been permitted to reign, and, previously to his ascending the throne, had seduced them by many fair promises, of honouring and exalting the church, of maintaining the laws, and of reforming all abuses: That it grieved him to observe how much that prince had in every particular been wanting to his engagements; public peace was interrupted, PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 202 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 crimes were daily committed with impunity, bishops were thrown into prison and forced to surrender their possessions, abbies were put to sale, churches were pillaged, and the most enormous disorders prevailed in the administration: That he himself, in order to procure a redress of these grievances, had formerly summoned the king before a council of bishops; but instead of inducing him to amend his conduct, had rather offended him by that expedient: That, how much soever misguided, that prince was still his brother, and the object of his affections; but his interests, however, must be regarded as subordinate to those of their heavenly father, who had now rejected him, and thrown him into the hands of his enemies: That it principally belonged to the clergy to elect and ordain kings; he had summoned them together for that purpose; and having invoked the divine assistance, he now pronounced Matilda, the only descendant of Henry, their late sovereign, queen of England. The whole assembly, by their acclamations or silence, gave, or seemed to give, their assent to this declaration. n The only laymen summ...
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- Spring '08