« ZurückWeiter »
gautines, even under a female leader, had force enough to burn the enemy's settlements, to storm their camps; and, if success had not introduced negligence and inactivity, would have been able entirely to throw off the yoke: And shall not we, untouched, unsubdued, and struggling not for the acquisition, but the continuance of liberty, declare at the very first onset what kind of men Caledonia has reserved for her defence?
Can you imagine, that the Romans are as brave in war as they are insolent in peace? Acquiring renown from our discords and dissensions, they convert the errours of their enemies to the glory of their own army; an army compounded of the most different nations, which, as success alone has kept together, misfortune will certainly dissipate.. Unless, indeed, you can suppose that Gauls, and Germans, and (I blush to say it) even Britons, lavishing their blood for a foreign state, to which they have been longer foes than subjects, will be retained by loyalty and affection! Terrour and dread alone, weak bonds of attachment, are the ties by which they are restrained; and when these are once broken, those who cease to fear will begin to hate. Every incitement to victory is on our side. The Romans have no wives to animate them no parents to upbraid their flight. Most of them have either no habitation, or a distant one. Few in number, ignorant of the country, looking around in silent horrour at the woods, seas, 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 show, and the glitter of silver and gold, which can neither protect nor wound. In the very ranks of the enemy we shall find our own bands. The Britons will acknowledge their own cause. The Gauls will recollect their former liberty. The Germans will desert them, as the Usipii have lately done. Nor is there any thing formidable behind them: Ungarrisoned forts; colonies of invalides; 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 servile punishments; which whether to bear eternally, or instantly to revenge, this field must 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
In the midst of a wide and open plain, Henry found Stephen encamped, and pitched his own tents within a quarter of a mile of him, preparing for oattle with all the eagerness, that the desire of empire and glory could excite in a brave and youthful heart, elate with success. Stephen also much wished to bring the contest between them to a speedy decision: but while he and Eustace werec onsulting with William of Ipres, in whose affection they most confided, and by whose private advice they took all their measures, the Earl of Arundel, having assembled the English nobility and principal officers, spoke to this effect:
It is now above sixteen years, that, on a doubtful and disputed claim to the crown, the rage of civil war has almost continually infested this kingdom. During this melancholy period how much blood has been shed! What devastations and misery have been brought on the people! The laws have lost their force, the crown it's authority: licentiousness and impunity have shaken all the foundations of public security. This great and noble nation has been delivered a prey to the basest of foreigners, the abominable scum of Flanders, Brabant, and Bretagne, robbers rather than soldiers, restrained by no laws, divine or human, tied to no country, subject to no prince, instruments of all tyranny, violence, and oppression. At the same time, our cruel neighbours, the Welsh and the Scotch, calling themselves allies or auxiliaries 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 can never 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 swords against our own bosoms. What benefits have we gained, to compensate 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 levity, her
rapine than his profuseness? Were any years of his reign so grievous to the people, so offensive to the nobles, as the first days of hers? When she was driven out, did Stephen correct his former bad conduct? Did he dismiss his odious foreign favourite? Did he discharge his lawless foreign hirelings, who had been so long the scourge 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, Gascons, Poictevins, I know not who, are come over with Henry Plantagenet, the son of Matilda; and many more, no doubt, will be called to assist 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 consequence? Will victory teach him moderation? Will he learn from security 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 Leicester, and others of our countrymen, who have now quitted the party of the king, will be forfeited; and new confiscations 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 battle, there are two other brothers to succeed to his claim, and support bis 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 dissensions, 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 horrours, 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. Nature 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 here, who would not think it a happy and
glorious act, to save the life of one of his countrymen? What a felicity then, and what a glory, must it be to us all, if we save the lives of thousands of Englishmen, that must otherwise fall in this battle, and in many other battles, which hereafter may be fought on this quarrel! It is in our power to do so-it is in our power to end the controversy, both safely 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 must 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 farther abuse of it; which can be done by no means so certain and effectual as what I propose for thus his power will be tempered by the presence, the counsels, and influence of prince Henry; who, for 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 sought 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 secret stings of resentment, 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 side, there can be no shame, no anger, no uneasy desire of change. It will be the work of the whole nation; and all must wish to support what all have established. The sons of Stephen indeed may endeavour to oppose 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 successor. 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 descent: 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 already 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 a reconciliation between him and Stephen, this would be sufficient. Our estates in both countries will by these means be secured, which otherwise we must forfeit, in the one or the other, while Henry remains possessed of Normandy and it will not be an easy matter, to drive him thence, even though we should compel him to retire from England. But, by amicably compounding his quarrel with Stephen, we shall maintain all our interests, private and public. His greatness abroad will increase the power of this kingdom; it will make us respectable and formidable to France; England will be the head of all those ample dominions, which extend from the British ocean to the Pyrenean mountains. By governing, in his youth, so many different states, he will learn to govern us; and come to the crown, after the decease of king Stephen, accomplished in all the arts of good policy. His mother has willingly resigned to him her pretensions, or rather she acknowledges, that his are superior: we therefore can have nothing to apprehend on that side. In every view, our peace, our safety, the repose of our consciences, the quiet and happiness of our posterity, will be firmly established by the means I propose. Let Stephen continue to wear the crown that we gave him, as long as he lives; but after his death let it descend to that prince, who alone can put an end to our unhappy divisions. If you approve my advice, and will empower me to treat in your names, I will immediately convey your desires to the king and the duke. LORD LYTTtelton.