« PreviousContinue »
Few in number, ignorant of the country, looking around in filent horror at the woods, feas, and a haven itself unknown to them, they are delivered by the gods, as it were imprisoned and bound, into our hands. Be not terrified with an idle shew, and the glitter of filver and gold, which can neither protect nor wound. In the very ranks of the enemy we shall find our own bands. The Bricons will acknowledge their own cause. The Gauls will recollect their former liberty. The Germans will desert them, as the Ulpii have lately done. Nor is there any thing formidable behind them: Ungarrisoned forts : colonies of invalids; municipal towns distempered and distracted between unjust masters and ill-obeying subjects. Here is your general; here your army. There, tributes, mines, and all the train of fervile punishments, which whether to bear eternally, or inftantly to revenge, this field mult determine. March then to battle, and think of your ancestors and your posterity.
THE EARL OF ARUNDEL's SPEECH, PROPOSING,
AN ACCOMMODATION BETWEEN HENRY II. AND
measures, the Earl of Arundel, having assembled the English nobi. lity, and principal officers, Spoke to ibis effect : It is no:v above fixteen years, that on a doubtful and dif. puted claim to the crown, the rage of civil war has almost continually infested this kingdom. During this melancholy period, how much blood has been thed! What devastations and misery have been brought on the people! The laws have lost their force, the crown its authority: licentiousness and impunity have shaken all the foundations of public fecurity. This great and noble nation has been delivered a prey to the baseft of foreigners, the abominable scum of Flanders, Brabant, and Bretagne, robbers rather than soldiers, re. ftrained by no laws, divine or human, tied to no countrys subject to no prince, infiruments of all tyranny, violence, and cppreffion. At the same time, our cruel neighbours, the Welch and the Scotch, calling themselves allies or auxiliarics to-the Empress, but in reality enemies and destroyers of England, have broken their bounds, ravaged our borders, and taken from us whole provinces, which we never can hope to recover; while, instead of employing our united force against them, we continue thus madly, without any care of our public safety or national honour, to turn our fiords against our own bosoms. What benefits have we gained, to compenfạte all these losses, or what do we expect? When Matilda was mistress of the kingdom, though her power was not yet confirmed, in what manner did she govern? Did she not make even those of her own faction and court regret the king? Was not her pride more intolerable still than his le. vity, her rapine than his profufeness? Were any years of his reign fo grievous to the people, so offenfive to the nobles, as the firft days of hers? When she was driven out, did Ste
phen correct his former bad conduct ? Did he dismiss his odious foreign favourite! Did he discharge bis lawless foreign hirelings, who had been so long the securge and the reproach of England ? Have they not lived ever since upon free quarter, by plundering our houses and burning our cities? And now, to complete our miseries, a new army of foreigners, Angevins, Gafcons, Poitevins, I know not who, are come over with Henry Plantagenet, the son of Matilda : and many more, no doubt, will be called to aflift him, as soon as ever his affairs abroad will permit; by whose help, if he be victorious, England must pay the price of their services : our lands, our honours must be the hire of these rapacious invaders. But suppose we should have the fortune to conquer for Stephen, what will be the confequence? Will victory teach him moderation ! Will he learn from fecurity that regard to our liberties, which he could not learn from danger! Alas! the only fruit of our good success will be this; the estates of the Earl of Leicefter and others of our countrymen, who have now quitted the party of the king, will be forfeited; and new confifcations will accrue to William of Ipres.
But let us not hope, that, be our victory ever so complete, it will give any lasting peace to this kingdom. Should Henry fall in this batèle, there are two other brothers to succeed to his claim, and fupport his faction, perhaps with | less merit, but certainly with as much ambition as he. What shall we do then to free ourselves from all these misfortunes ? Let us prefer the interest of our country to that of our party, and to all those passions, which are apt, in civil diffentions, to inflame zeal into madness, and render men the blind instruments of those very evils, which they fight to avoid. Let us prevent all the crimes and all the horrors
that attend a war of this kind, in which conquest itself is full of calamity, and our most happy victories deserve to be celebrated only by tears. Nacure herself is dismayed, and shrinks back from a combat, where every blow that we strike may murder a friend, a relation, a parent. Let us hearken to her voice, which commands us to refrain from that guilt. Is there one of us heré, who would not tnink it a happy and glorious act, to save the life of one of his countrymen? What a felicity then, and what a glory, muít it be to us all, if we fave the lives of thousands of Englishmen, that must otherwise fall in this battle, and in many other battles, which hereafter may be fought in this quarrel? It is in our power to do fo-- It is in our power to end the controversy, both fafely and honourably; by an amicable agreement; not by the sword. Stephen may enjoy the royal dignity for his life and the succession may be secured to the young Duke of Normandy, with such a present rank in the state, as befits the heir of the crown. Even the bitterest enemies of the king mult acknowledge, that he is valiant, generous, and good. natured; his warmest friends cannot deny, that he has a great deal of rashness and indiscretion. Both may therefore conclude, that he should not be deprived of the royal authority, but that he ought to be restrained from a further abuse of it;, which can be done by no means, fo certain and effec. tual, as what I propose : for thus his power will be tempered by the presence, the counsels, and influence of Prince Henry; who from his own interest in the weal of the kingdom which he is to inherit, will always have a right to interpose his advice, and even his authority, if it be necessary, against any future violation of our liberties ; and to procure an effectual redress of our grievances, which we have hitherto fought in vain. If all the English in both armies unite, as
I hope they may, in this plan of pacification, they will be able to give the law to the foreigners, and oblige both the king and the duke to consent to it. This will secure the public tranquillity, and leave no fecrct ftings of refentment to rankle in the hearts of a suffering party, and produce future disturbances. As there will be no triumph, no insolence, no exclusive right to favour, on either fide, there can be no fame, no anger, no uneasy desire of change. It will be the work of the whole nation; and all must with to support what all have established. The fons of Stephen indeed may endeavour to oppofe it; but their efforts will be fruitless, and must end very soon, either in their submission, or their ruin. Nor have they any reasonable cause to complain. Their father himself did not come to the crown by hereditary right. He was elected in preference to a woman and an infant, who were deemed not to be capable of ruling a kingdom. By that election our allegiance is bound to him during his life : but neither that bond, nor the reason for which we chose him, will hold, as to the choice of a succef. for. Henry Plantagenet is now grown up to an age of maturity, and every way qualified to succeed to the crown, He is the grandson of a king whose memory is dear to us, and the nearest heir-male to him in the course of defcent: he appears
to resemble him in all his good qualities, and to be worthy to reign over the Normans and English, whose noblest blood, united, enriches his veins. Normandy has al. ready submitted to him with pleasure. Why should we now divide that duchy from England, when it is so greatly the interest of our nobility to keep them always connected? If we had no other inducement to make us desire à reconcilia. tion between him and Stephen, this would be sufficient. Our eftates in both countries will by that means be secured, which