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48.-CHARACTER OF RUFUS.
SWIFT. He was in stature somewhat below the usual size and big-bellied ; but he was well and strongly knit. His hair was yellow or sandy, his face red, which got him the name of Rufus, his forehead flat; his eyes were spotted and appeared of different colours ; he was apt to stutter in speaking, especially when he was angry; he was vigorous and active and very hardy to endure fatigues, which he owed to a good constitution of health and the frequent exercise of hunting; in his dress he affected gaiety and expense, which having been first introduced by this prince into his court and kingdom, grew in succeeding reigns an intolerable grievance. He also first brought in among us the luxury and profusion of great tables. There was in him as in all other men a mixture of virtues and vices and that in a pretty equal degree ; only the misfortune was that the latter, although not more numerous, were yet much more prevalent than the former. For being entirely a man of pleasure, this made him sacrifice all his good qualities and gave him too many occasions of producing his ill ones. He had one very singular virtue for a prince, which was that of being true to his word and promise ; he was of undoubted personal valour, whereof the writers in those ages produce several instances, nor did he want skill and conduct in the process of war. But his peculiar excellency was that of great despatch, which, however usually decried and allowed to be only a happy temerity, does often answer all the ends of secrecy and counsel in a great commander by surprising and daunting an enemy when he least expects it, as may appear by the greatest actions and events upon the records of every nation.
He was a man of sound natural sense, as well as of wit and humour upon occasion. There were several tenets in the Romish church he could not digest, particularly that of the saints' intercession, and living in an age overrun with superstition, he went so far into the other extreme as to be censured for an atheist. The day before his death, a monk relating a terrible dream which seemed to forbode him some misfortune, the king being told the matter turned it into a jest; said the man was a monk, and dreamt like a monk for lucre sake ; and therefore commanded Fitzhamon to give him one hundred shillings, that he might not complain he had dreamt to no purpose.
His vices appear to have been rather derived from the temper of his body than from any original depravity of mind, for being of a sanguine complexion, wholly bent upon his pleasures and prodigal in his nature, he became engaged in great
To supply these the people were perpetually oppressed with illegal tases and exactions ; but that sort of avarice which arises from prodigality and rice, as it is always needy, so it is much more ravenous and violent than the other, which put the king and his evil instruments (among whom Ralph, bishop of Durham is of special infamy) upon those pernicious methods of gratifying his extravagancies by all manner of oppression, whereof some are already mentioned, and others are too foul to relate.
He is generally taxed by writers for discovering a contempt of religion in his common discourse and behaviour, which I take to have risen from the same fountain, being a point of art and a known expedient for men who cannot quit their immoralities, at least to banish all reflection that might disturb them in the enjoyment, which must be done either by not thinking of religion at all, or if it will intrude by putting it out of countenance.
Yet there is one instance that might show him to have spme sense of religion as well as justice. When two monks were outvying each other in canting the price of an abbey, he observed a third at some distance who said never a word; the king
demanded why he would not offer ? The monk said he was poor, and besides would give nothing if he were ever so rich; the king replied, then you are the fittest person to have it, and immediately gave it him. But this is perhaps with reason enough assigned more to caprice than conscience, for he was under the power of every humour and passion that possessed him for the present, which made him obstinate in his resolves and unsteady in the prosecution.
He had one vice or folly that seemed rooted in his mind and of all others most unbefitting a prince; this was a proud, disdainful manner, both in his words and gesture, and having already lost the love of his subjects by his avarice and oppression, this finished the work by bringing him into contempt and hatred among his servants, so that few among the worst of princes have had the luck to be so illbeloved or so little lamented.
HUME. After Mahomet had, by means of his pretended revelations, united the dispersed Arabians under one head, they issued forth from their deserts in great multitudes; and being animated with zeal for their new religion, and supported by the vigour of their new government, they made deep impression on the eastern empire, which was far in the decline, with regard both to military discipline, and to civil policy. Jerusalem by its situation, became one of their most early conquests ; and the Christians had the mortification to see the holy sepulchre, and the other places, consecrated by the presence of their religious founder, fallen into the possession of infidels. But the Arabians or Saracens were so employed in military enterprises, by which they spread their empire in a few years from the banks of the Ganges to the Straits of Gibraltar, that they had no leisure for theological controversy: And though the Alcoran, the original monument of their faith, seems to contain some violent precepts, they were much less infected with the spirit of bigotry, and
persecution than the indolent and speculative Greeks, who were continually refining on the several articles of their religious system. They gave little disturbance to those zealous pilgrims, who daily flocked to Jerusalem ; and they allowed every man, after paying a moderate tribute, to visit the holy sepulchre, to perform his religious duties, and to return in peace. But the Turcomans or Turks, a tribe of Tartars, who had embraced Mahometanism, having wrested Syria from the Saracens, and having in the year 1065, made themselves masters of Jerusalem, rendered the pilgrimage much more difficult and dangerous to the Christians. The barbarity of their manners, and the confusions attending their unsettled government, exposed the pilgrims to many insults, robberies, and extortions : and these zealots, returning from their meritorious fatigues and sufferings, filled all Christendom with indignation against the infidels, who profaned the holy city by their presence, and derided the sacred mysteries in the very place of their completion. Gregory VII. among the other vast ideas which he entertained, had formed the design of uniting all the Western Christians against the Mahometars ; but the egregious and violent invasions of that pontiff on the civil power of princes, had created him so many eneinies and had rendered his schemes so suspicious, that he was not able to make great progress in this undertaking. The work was reserved for a meaner instrument, whose low condition in life exposed him to no jealousy, and whose folly was well calculated to coincide with the prevailing principles of the times.
Peter, commonly called the Hermit, a native of Amiens in Picardy, had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Being deeply affected with the dangers to which that act of piety now exposed the pilgrims, as well as with the instances of oppression under which the eastern Christians laboured, he entertained the bold, and in all
appearance impracticable project of leading into Asia, from the farthest extremities of the West, armies sufficient to subdue those potent and warlike nations which now held the holy city in subjection. He proposed his views to Martin II. who filled the Papal chair, and who, though sensible of the advantages which the head of the Christian ' religion must reap from a religious war, and though he esteemed the blind zeal of Peter a proper means for effecting the purpose, resolved not to interpose his authority, till he saw a greater probability of success. He summoned a council at Plauntia, which consisted of four thousand ecclesiastics, and thirty thousand seculars; and which was so numerous that no hall could contain the multitude, and it was necessary to hold the assembly in a plain. The harangues of
and of Peter himself, representing the dismal situation of their brethren in the east, and the indignity suffered by the Christian name, in allowing the holy city to remain in the hands of infidels, here found the minds of men so well prepared, that the whole multitude suddenly and violently declared for the war, and solemnly devoted themselves to perform this service, so meritorious, as they believed it, to God and religion.
But though Italy seemed thus to have zealously embraced this enterprise, Martin knew, that, in order to ensure success, it was necessary to enlist the greater and more warlike nations in the same engagement; and having previously exhorted Peter to visit the chief cities and sovereigns of Christendom, he summoned another council at Clermont in Auvergne. The fame of this great and pious design being now universally diffused, procured the attendance of the greatest prelates, nobles, and princes; and when the pope and the hermit renewed their pathetic exhortations, the whole assembly as if impelled by an immediate inspiration, not moved by their preceding impressions, exclaimed with one voice, It is the will of God, It is the will of God! Words deemed so memorable, and so much the result of a divine influence, that they were employed as the signal of rendezvous and battle in all the future exploits of those adventurers. Men of all ranks flew to arms with the utmost ardour ; and an exterior symbol too, a circumstance of chief moment, was here chosen by the devoted combatants. The sign of the cross, which had been hitherto so much revered among Christians, and which, the more it was an object of reproach among the Pagan world, was the more passionately cherished by them, became the badge of union, and was affixed to their right shoulder, by all who enlisted themselves in this sacred warfare.
Europe was at this time sunk into profound ignorance and superstition. The ecclesiastics had acquired the greatest ascendant over the human mind: thu people, who, being little restrained by honour, and less by law, abandoned themselves to the worst crimes and disorders, knew of no other expiation than the observances imposed on them by their spiritual pastors : and it was easy to represent the holy war as an equivalent for all penances, and an atonement for every violation of justice and humanity. But amidst the abject superstition which now prevailed, the military spirit also had universally diffused itself: and though not supported by art or discipline, was become the general passion of the nations governed by the feudal law. All the great lords possessed the right of peace and war : They were engaged in perpetual hostilities with each other : The open country was become a scene of outrage and disorder : The cities, still mean and poor, were neither guarded by walls nor protected by privileges, and were exposed to every insult: Individuals were obliged to depend for safety on their own force, or their private alliances : And valour was the only excellence which was held in esteem, or gave one man the pre-eminence above another. When all the particular superstitions, therefore were here united in one great object, the ardour for military enterprises took the same direction ; and Europe, impelled by its two ruling passions, was loosened, as it were, from its foundations, and seemed to precipitate itself in one united body upon the east.
Robert Duke of Normandy, impelled by the bravery and mistaken generosity of his spirit, had early enlisted himself in the Crusade ; but being always unprovided with money, he found that it would be impracticable for him to appear in a manner suitable to his rank and station at the head of his numerous vassals and subjects, kho, transported with the general rage, were determined to follow him into Asia. He resolved, therefore, to mortgage, or rather to sell his dominions, which he nad not talents to govern ; and he offered them to his brother William, for the very unequal sum of ten thousand marks. The bargain was soon concluded : The king raised the money by violent extortions on his subjects of all ranks, even on the convents, who were obliged to melt their plate in order to furnish the quota demanded of them ; He was put in possession of Normandy and Maine, and Robert providing himself with a magnificent train, set out for the Holy Land.
After the adventurers in the holy war were assembled on the banks of the Bosphorus, opposite to Constantinople, they proceeded on their enterprise ; but immediately experienced those difficulties which their zeal had hitherto concealed from them, and for which, even if they had foreseen them, it would have been almost impossible to provide a remedy. The Greek emperor, Alexis Comnenus, who had applied to the western Christians for succour against the Turks, entertained hopes, and those but feeble ones, of obtaining such a moderate supply, as, acting under his command, might enable him to repulse the enemy : But he was extremely astonished to see his dominions overwhelmed, on a sudden, by such an inundation of licentious barbarians, who, though they pretended friendship, despised his subjects as unwarlike, and detested them as heretical. By all the arts of policy, in which he excelled, he endeavoured to divert the torrent; but hile he employed professions, caresses, civilities, and seeming services towards the leaders of the Crusade, he secretly regarded those imperious allies as more dangerous than the open enemies by whom his empire had been formerly invaded. Having effected that difficult point of disembarking them safely in Asia, he entered into a private correspondence with Soliman, emperor of the Turks; and practised every insidious art, which his genius, his power, or his situation, enabled him to employ, for disappointing the enterprise, and discouraging the Latins from making thenceforward any such prodigious migrations. Ilis dangerous policy was seconded by the disorders inseparable from so vast a multitude, who were not united under one head, and were conducted by leaders of the most independent intractable spirit, unacquainted with military discipline, and determined enemies to civil authority and submission. The scarcity of provisions, the excesses of fatigue, the influence of unknown climates, joined to the want of concert in their operations, and to the sword of a warlike enemy, destroyed the adventurers by thousands, and would have abated the ardour of men impelled to war by less powerful motives. Their zeal, however, their bravery, and their irresistible force, still carried them forward, and continually advanced them to the great end of their enterprise. After an obstinate seige they took Nice, the seat of the Turkish empire ; they defeated Soliman in two great battles ; they made themselves masters of Antioch ; and entirely broke the force of the Turks, who had so long retained those countries in subjection. The soldan of Egypt, whose alliance they had hitherto courted, recovered, on the fall of the Turkish power, his former authority in Jerusalem ; and he informed them by his ambassadors, that if they came disarmed to that city, they might now perform their religious vows, and that all Christian pilgrims, who should thenceforth visit the holy sepulchre might expect the some good treatment which they had ever received from his predecessors. The offer was rejected ; the soldan was required to yield up the city to the Christians; and on his refusal, the champions of the cross advanced to the siege of Jerusalem, which they regarded as the consummation of their labours. By the detachments which they had made, and the disasters which they had undergone, they were diminished to the number of twenty thousand foot, and fifteen hundred horse ; but these were still formidable, from their valour, their experience, and the obedience which from past calamities, they had learned to pay to their leaders. After a siege of five weeks, they took Jerusalem by assault; and, impelled by a mixture of military and religious rage, they put the numerous garrison and inhabitants to the sword without distinction.
This great event happened on the fifth of July in the last year of the eleventh century. The Christian princes and nobles, after choosing Godfrey of Bouillon king of Jerusalem, began to settle themselves in their new conquests ; while some of them returned to Europe, in order to enjoy at home that glory, which their valour had acquired them in this popular and meritorious enterprise. Among these was Robert Duke of Normandy, who, as he had relinquished the greatest dominions of any prince that attended the Crusadle, had all along distinguished himself by the most intrepid courage, as well as by that affable disposition and unbounded generosity which gain the hearts of soldiers, and qualify a prince to shine in a military life. In passing through Italy, he became acquainted with Sibylla, daughter of the Count of Conversana, a young lady of great beauty and merit, whom he espoused : Indulging himself in this new passion, as well as fond of enjoying ease and pleasure
, after the fatigues of so many rough campaigns, he lingered a twelvemonth in that delicious climate ; and though his friends in the north looked every moment for his arrival, none of them knew when they could with certainty expect it. By this delay he lost the kingdom of England, which the great fame he had acquired during the Crusades, as well as his undoubted title, both by birth and by the preceding agreement with his deceased brother, would, had he been present, have infallibly secured to him.
50.-HENRY AND MAUD.
ANONYMOUS. It was upon the accession of Henry I., surnamed the Beau Clerc, or fine scholar, that most deference was paid to the Saxon or conquered part of the nation, and that a fresh and great start was given to the system of intermarriage. Duke Robert, the eldest of the three brothers, but the weakest and most imprudent, opposed the claim of Henry, as he had previously done that of Rufus. The claim of Duke Robert could not be altogether overlooked ; but a popular and weighty recommendation for his brother was, that Henry Beauclerc was an Englishman, born in the country, and after the Conquest; and some of his party, as well Normans as English, set up this circumstance as being in itself decisive of his better right to the crown. In a charter of liberties, which he issued the day after his coronation in Westminster Abbey, Henry merely represented that he owed the crown “ to the mercy of God, and the common consent of the barons of the kingdom ;" but nevertheless his English birth had carried great weight with it, and the frequent reference made to the circumstance flattered the Saxon part of the nation, and may have aided in giving the new king English feelings and partialities.
In his charter of liberties, Henry Beauclerc, among other things, promised to restore the old Saxon laws as they stood at the time of King Edward the Confessor subject only to the amendments made in them by his father; and, in fact, the laws and institutions of the country remained in all essential respects nearly the samno as before the Conquest. No new form or element of slavery was introducerl.