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proved by the churches which he erected or repaired. Neither ought his charities to be left unnoticed. He annually redeemed, at his private expense, a certain number of convicts, who had forfeited their liberty by their crimes; and his bailiffs were ordered, under severe penalties, to support a pauper of English extraction on every two of their farms. As a legislator he was anxious to suppress offences, to secure an impartial administration of justice, and to preserve the standard coin of the realm in a state of purity. With this view he held assemblies of the witan at Greatly, Faversham, Exeter, and Huddersfield: associations were formed under his auspices for the protection of property; and regulations were enacted respecting the apprehension, the trial, and the punishment of malefactors. Negligence in the execution of the laws was severely chastised. A thane paid to the crown a fine of sixty shillings; a superior magistrate was amerced in double that sum, with the forfeiture of his office. In his will he had chosen the abbey of Malmesbury for the place of his sepulture. There he had deposited the remains of his cousins iElfwin and Ethelwin, who fell at Brunanburgh; and to the same place his own body was conveyed in solemn pomp, followed by a long train of prelates and nobles, and surrounded by the presents which he had bequeathed to the monastery. Lingard.
EDWARD THE CONFESSOR.
If we estimate the character of a sovereign by the test of popular affection, we must rank Edward among the best princes of his time. The goodness of his heart was adored by his subjects, who lamented his death with tears of undissembled grief, and bequeathed his memory as an object of veneration to their posterity. The blessings of his reign are the constant theme of our ancient writers: not, indeed, that he displayed any of those brilliant qualities, which attract admiration, while they inflict misery. He could not boast of the victories which he had won, or of the conquests which he had achieved: but he exhibited the interesting spectacle of a king negligent of his private interests, and totally devoted to the welfare of his people; and by his labours to restore the dominion of the laws; his vigilance to ward off foreign aggression; his constant, and ultimately successful, solicitude to appease the feuds of his nobles; if he did not prevent the interruption, he secured at least a longer duration of public tranquillity than had been enjoyed in England for half a century. He was pious, kind, and compassionate: the father of the poor, and the protector of the weak: more willing to give than to receive; and better pleased to pardon than to punish. Under the preceding kings, force generally supplied the place of justice, and the people were impoverished by the rapacity of the sovereign. But Edward enforced the laws of his Saxon predecessors, and disdained the riches which were wrung from the labours of his subjects. Temperate in his diet, unostentatious in his person, pursuing no pleasures but those which his hawks and hounds afforded, he was content with the patrimonial desmesnes of the crown; and was able to assert, even after the abolition of that fruitful source of revenue, the danegeld, that he possessed a greater portion of wealth than any of his predecessors had enjoyed. To him the principle that the king can do no wrong was literally applied by the gratitude of the people, who, if they occasionally complained of the measures of the government, attributed the blame not to the monarch himself, of whose benevolence they entertained no doubt, but to the ministers, who had abused his confidence, or deceived his credulity.
It was, however, a fortunate circumstance for the memory of Edward, that he occupied the interval between the Danish and Norman conquests. Writers were induced to view his character with more partiality from the hatred with which they looked on his successors and predecessors. They were foreigners, he was a native: they held the crown by right of conquest, he by descent: they ground to the dust the slaves whom they had made, he became known to his countrymen only by his benefits. Hence he appeared to shine with a purer light amid the gloom with which he was surrounded; and whenever the people under the despotism of the Norman kings had an opportunity of expressing their real wishes, they constantly called for the " laws and customs of the good king Edward." Lingard.
WILLIAM THE CONQUEROR.
There is nothing more memorable in history than the actions, fortunes, and character of this great man; whether we consider the grandeur of the plans he formed, the courage and wisdom with which they were executed, or the splendour of that success which, adorning his youth, continued without the smallest reverse to support his age, even to the last moments of his life. He lived above seventy years, and reigned within ten years as long as he lived; sixty over his dukedom, above twenty over England; both of which he acquired or kept by his own magnanimity, with hardly any other title than he derived from his arms; so that he might be reputed, in all respects, as happy as the highest ambition, the most fully gratified, can make a man. The silent inward satisfactions of domestic happiness, he neither had, nor sought. He had a body suited to the character of his mind—erect, firm, large, and active; whilst to be active was a praise; a countenance stern, and which became command. Magnificent in his living, reserved in his conversation, grave in his common deportment, but relaxing with a wise facetiousness, he knew how to relieve his mind and preserve his dignity; for he never forfeited by a personal acquaintance that esteem he had acquired by his great actions. Unlearned in books, he formed his understanding by the rigid discipline of a large and complicated experience. He knew men much, and therefore generally trusted them but little: but when he knew any man to be good, he reposed in him an
entire confidence, which prevented his prudence from degenerating into a vice. He had vices in his composition, and great ones; but they were the vices of a great mind: ambition, the malady of every extensive genius; and avarice, the madness of the wise: one chiefly actuated his youth, the other governed his age. The vices of young and light minds, the joys of wine, and the pleasures of love, never reached his aspiring nature. The general run of men he looked on with contempt, and treated with cruelty when they opposed him. Nor was the rigour of his mind to be softened but with the appearance of extraordinary fortitude in his enemies, which, by a sympathy congenial to his own virtues, always excited his admiration, and ensured his mercy. So that there were often seen in this one man, at the same time, the extremes of a savage cruelty, and a generosity that does honour to human nature. Religion too seemed to have a great influence on his mind, from policy, or from better motives; but his religion was displayed in the regularity with which he performed its duties, not in the submission he showed to its ministers, which was never more than what good government required. Yet his choice of a counsellor was, not according to the mode of that time, out of that order, and a choice that does honour to his memory. This was Lanfranc, a man of great learning for the times, and extraordinary piety. He owed his elevation to William; but, though always inviolably faithful, he never was the tool or flatterer of the power which raised him; and the greater freedom he showed, the higher he rose in the confidence of his master. By mixing with the