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Accession of Henry I page 3

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The English troops of Henry had long sought for an opportunity of vengeance upon the oppressors of their country, and they might not unreasonably feel elated at the victories they had obtained over the Norman insurgents. It does not appear, however, that the nation at large derived any benefit from the suppression of the rebellion. Although Henry was of English birth, and had married a Saxon wife, his sympathies were not with the people whom he governed. The old historians tell us that the good Queen Matilda used all the influence she possessed to advance the happiness and secure the liberties of her countrymen; but it does not appear that her counsel and entreaties produced any effect upon the conduct of the king. The condition of the people soon after the marriage of Henry with Matilda is thus described in the Saxon chronicle: - "It is no easy matter to relate all the miseries with which the land was at this time afflicted, by unjust and continual exactions. Wherever the king went, those in his train oppressed the people, and were guilty of murder and incendiary fires in many places."

Amidst the vices of Robert of Normandy, he possessed a nice sense of honour which we rarely find recorded of the men of that age, and which was still more rare in the family of the Conqueror. No sooner did he hear of the rebellion of Be Belesme in England, than he took possession of the earl's Norman estates., and gave them up to pillage. To this line of conduct Robert considered himself pledged, I by the terms of the treaty he had signed with Henry. When, however, the king extended his persecutions to other Norman barons, Robert perceived that they were punished! for their adherence to himself; and the duke, without hesitation, came over to England, accompanied only by a small escort, and placed himself unreservedly in his brother's power, for the purpose of pleading the cause of the proscribed nobles.

At this time Robert resigned his pension of two thousand pounds. According to some historians, he was detained by Henry as a prisoner, and the pension was the price paid by the duke for his liberty; while another account states that the sum was given as a present to the Queen Matilda, It is, however, certain that Robert soon returned to Normandy without having succeeded in the object of his. visit.

There was no sentiment of fraternal affection in the breast of Henry Beauclerk. Regardless of the acts of forbearance-and generosity which he had experienced at different times from his brother, the king sought every opportunity of injuring him, and of accomplishing his ruin. The Duke-of Normandy was of an easy, trustful, and merciful temper,, and was ill fitted to restrain the excesses of his turbulent barons, or to hold with a firm hand the reins of government. Many disorders and abuses sprang up in his duchy,, and were left unnoticed or unpunished by the sovereign. The fair Sibylla died a.d. 1102, and since that time the duke had resumed his irregular way of life, and had shown more completely than before his utter incapacity for the management of public affairs.

King Henry took advantage of this state of things to interfere in the disputes of the Norman barons; and, after appearing for a time in the character of a mediator, he at length threw off the mask, and declared himself the protector of the duchy against the maladministration of his brother. He summoned Robert to give up possession of the duchy in return for an annual payment of money. The duke indignantly refused to comply with the demand, and Henry prepared to dispossess his brother by force.

In the year 1105 the king entered Normandy with an army, and obtained possession of several castles arid fortified places. Robert, however, was not without means of defence; some few chiefs of power and influence still remained attached to his cause, and Henry returned to England without having obtained a decisive victory.

A second campaign was opened in the following year,? and Henry crossed the Channel with a more formidable armament than before. He appeared before Tenchebray, an important stronghold situated at a few leagues' distance from Mortain. Having in vain attempted to corrupt the garrison with gold, the king laid siege to the castle with his whole army. Messengers came to Robert with the news that his faithful troops were hard pressed by the enemy, and the duke promised that, in defiance of every obstacle, he would come on a certain day to their assistance.

The promise was redeemed; and, at the time appointed, the duke, with a small but gallant band of troops, attacked the army of his brother. Placing himself at the head oil his knights, he dashed in upon the English infantry, which gave way before him in disorder. So impetuous was the charge, that the fortune of the day seemed likely to be in favour of Robert, when the cowardice or treachery of the Earl of Shrewsbury turned the tide of affairs. De Belesme, whose troops formed an important division of the army of the duke, suddenly fled from the field. A panic ensued among the Normans, and the brilliant deeds of valour performed by their leader failed to restore their courage or to secure the victory. After a desperate resistance, Robert was taken prisoner, with many of the chief nobles who had fought under his banner.

Edgar Atheling also fell into the hands of Henry. At the instance of the queen, his niece, a pension was granted to him, and he is related to have passed the rest of his days on a small farm in England, where he lived in obscurity, and no historian has noted the time of his death or the place of his burial.

In a.d. 1106, a harder fate was reserved for the Duke of Normandy. He was confined in Cardiff Castle, which stood near to that of Gloucester, and had recently been conquered from the Welsh. At first some degree of liberty was permitted to him, and he was allowed to take exercise among the fields and woods of the neighbourhood. On one occasion, however, he made an attempt to escape on horseback, but he Normandy. He was confined in Cardiff Castle, which stood near to that of Gloucester, and had recently been conquered from the Welsh. At first some degree of liberty was permitted to him, and he was allowed to take exercise among the fields and woods of the neighbourhood. On one occasion, however, he made an attempt to escape on horseback, but he fell into the hands of Henry. Rouen, the capital, submitted without resistance to the conqueror, and the town of Falaise capitulated after a siege of short duration. Among the prisoners taken at Falaise was William, the only son of Robert and Sibylla. Some feeling of pity seems to have entered the breast of the king when his nephew, then a child of five years old, was brought before him. He committed the prince to the care of Helie de St. Saen, a Norman nobleman of high character, who had married a natural daughter of Robert. Soon afterwards, however, Henry attempted to secure the person of his nephew, and sent a body of troops to the castle of St. Saen for that purpose. Helie, who feared some evil intention on the part of the king, effected his escape, and carried his young charge to the court of Louis VI., King; of France. On the way, Helie passed some time at t-he courts of the most powerful Norman barons, and at that of Fulk, Earl of Anjou, by whom, as well as by Louis, the prince was received with kindness and protection. He was brought up in the palace of the French king, who, as he grew up, presented him with horses and the harness of a knight, while Fulk promised to give him his daughter Sibylla in marriage.

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