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Unformatted text preview: d to the highest pitch of indignation; but that he might give the better colour to his pretensions, he sent an embassy to England, upbraiding that prince with his breach of faith, and summoning him to resign immediately possession of the kingdom. Harold replied to the Norman ambassadors, that the oath, with which he was reproached, had been extorted by the well-grounded fear of violence, and could never, for that reason, be regarded as obligatory: That he had had no commission, either from the late king or the states of England, who alone could dispose of the crown, to make any tender of the succession to the duke of Normandy; PLL v5 (generated January 22, 2010) 112 http://oll.libertyfund.org/title/695 Online Library of Liberty: The History of England, vol. 1 and if he, a private person, had assumed so much authority, and had even voluntarily sworn to support the duke’s pretensions, the oath was unlawful, and it was his duty to seize the first opportunity of breaking it: That he had obtained the crown by the unanimous suffrages of the people; and should prove himself totally unworthy of their favour, did he not strenuously maintain those national liberties, with whose protection they had entrusted him: And that the duke, if he made any attempt by force of arms, should experience the power of an united nation, conducted by a prince, who, sensible of the obligations imposed on him by his royal dignity, was determined, that the same moment should put a period to his life and to his government.b This answer was no other than William expected; and he had previously fixed his resolution of making an attempt upon England. Consulting only his courage, his resentment, and his ambition, he overlooked all the difficulties, inseparable from an attack on a great kingdom by such inferior force, and he saw only the circumstances, which would facilitate his enterprize. He considered, that England, ever since the accession of Canute, had enjoyed profound tranquillity, during a period of near fifty years; and it would require time for its soldiers, enervated by long peace, to learn discipline, and its generals experience. He knew, that it was entirely unprovided with fortified towns, by which it could prolong the war; but must venture its whole fortune in one decisive action against a veteran enemy, who, being once master of the field, would be in a condition to over-run the kingdom. He saw that Harold, though he had given proofs of vigour and bravery, had newly mounted a throne, which he had acquired by faction, from which he had excluded a very ancient royal family, and which was likely to totter under him by its own instability, much more if shaken by any violent external impulse. And he hoped, that the very circumstance of his crossing the sea, quitting his own country, and leaving himself no hopes of retreat; as it would astonish the enemy by the boldness of the enterprize, would inspirit his soldiers by despair, and rouze them to sustain the reputation of the Norman arms. The Normans, as they had long been distinguished by valour among all the European nations, had at this time attained to the highest pitch...
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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