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further developed through the storm and labour of centuries in English history. The classes of the not-free among the AngloSaxons were either slaves, or persons under the protection of particular lords. Among the last some were wealthy, many were needy; and the public benevolence enjoined that a fourth of the revenue of the clergy, from all sources, should be assigned to the benefit of the poor. It was the work of the Saxon-with all his sins and shortcomings—to bring Roman Britain out of a state of anarchy into this state of high comparative order. In the revolution thus accomplished the principles of all the political revolutions in our history have their origin. The form in which the Anglo-Saxon gave protection to the person and property of the freeman embraced the germ of all the liberties which later generations have laboured to define and to secure. The study of our constitutional history under the Romans, and Tudors, and Stuarts, without the study of it under the Anglo-Saxons, must be the study of effects without causes. What the language of the Anglo-Saxons was to become to us, the great substance of their usages, institutions, and laws was to become. It is not, as an eminent historian has affirmed, to the thirteenth century that we must look for the origin of our freedom, our prosperity, and our glory,'* but to that earlier period which, by giving us both the subjects and the 'good laws' of Edward the Confessor, had made the second period possible; and we venture to think that some higher characteristic of that people might have been selected by the same historian, than their alleged fondness for 'huge piles of food, and hogsheads of strong drink.'
The first volume of Sir Francis Palgrave's History of Normandy consists of three parts—a glance at the general relations of Medieval Europe; a history of the empire founded by Charlemagne ; and an account of the invasions of France by the Northmen until the settlement of Rollo in Normandy. The second volume gives us the history of the first three Dukes of Normandy—viz., Rollo, Guillaume-longue-épée, and Richardsans-peur; with an account of the supplanting of the Carlovingian dynasty by the Capets. Even the second volume, accordingly, does not, as we have, before said, bring us to the lifetime of the Conqueror; and the intention of the author is to bring the history of the Normans, both in France and Eng. land, down to the time of our Henry the Second. The second volume in this important undertaking, now produced, does not carry us over a century; leaving the life of William in Normandy, and the lives of his descendants in England, for a Northmen Invasions of Normandy.
* Macaulay's England, i. 11-17.
century and a half, untouched. But the history of England down to the age of the second Henry is in great part embraced in our author's history of the English Commonwealth, published many years since; and as the object of the writer in traversing this ground anew is not so much to correct what he has written as to supplement it, we can form a pretty certain idea as to what this section of our history will be in his hands, should he be permitted to finish it-an event which, we regret to say, is not very probable.
It would not be making the best use of the brief space at our disposal were we to dwell with Sir Francis on the breaking up of the old Roman Empire, or on the manner in which its civilization survived, for the most part, in the empire of Charlemagne. Nor can we feel the interest which our author evidently does in the history of those old Carlovingian princes whose crimes were to bring the usual retribution in their train. But we do feel an interest in the history of the Northman inroads on France. The story is contemporary with that of the Danish invasions of Britain, and by issuing in the establishment of the Norman dukedom, was to prepare the way for our line of Norman kings. On the general subject of Northman adventure Sir Francis remarks:
However fierce the mutual or internal dissensions of the Northmen or Danes—the terms are used as synonymons—they acted steadily in concert abroad. Properly compiled, a history of Gesta Danorum extra Daniam would display a vast and apparently systematic scheme of spoliation and conquest: this is a task remaining to be satisfactorily performed. Could the expeditions, adventures, defeats, and victories of the various nations who are fairly comprehended in this same Danish category- Danes, Northmen, Frieslanders, Angles, Jutes, Saxons, all being shipmates-be poetized in an epic, the episodes would be as remarkable for their intricacy as the whole fable for its unity. The first action in the poem would be the maritime attacks made by the Saxon pirates during the reign (as it seems) of Honorius, upon the Roman Empire, and more especially that part of Armorica denominated Pagus Baiocassinus, which, obtaining the name of the Saxon Shore, afterwards merged in Normandy. The catastrophe is furnished by the battle of Largs, when the bleaching bones of Haco's army, defeated by Alexander of Scotland, were left as memorials of the last Norwegian invasion on British ground.'—Vol. I. p. 97.
Charlemagne foresaw the troubles to which the coast of Gaul would be exposed from the northern pirates. His counsel waslet a vigilant guard be placed at every vulnerable point along the rivers and coasts. If always promptly encountered, the enemy will learn to seek his booty elsewhere. Louis-le-debonaire, in
the early part of the ninth century, acted on this precaution. He repelled the attacks made in his time. He did more, he persuaded Harold, a Dane, then in possession of some Rhenish provinces, to profess himself a Christian. Harold, his wife, and their son Godfrey, were baptized in the cathedral of Mayence. But Eric of Northumbria—he of the bloody hand'-and Guthrum the Dane, subdued by Alfred, were pagan chiefs from this stock. It will be remembered that the attacks of the Northmen on Anglo-Saxon Britain date from the close of the eighth century. In 835, and some subsequent years, the descents of the northern pirates on the shores of Gaul and Belgium were more than ever disastrous. In one Belgic town fifty-four churches are said to have been destroyed. They settled themselves at Walcheren, a portion of the Delta of the Scheldt; and did their best to possess themselves of island fortresses at the mouth of the Seine. The next year pestilence added its horrors to the terror inspired by the Scandinavian plunderers, and the dismay of the people filled the heavens with portents. The year 841 brings us to the first great invasion of Neustria,t he future Normandy. The father of Alfred was then on the throne of Wessex. On this invasion Sir Francis thus writes :
"The unity which pervaded the achievements of the pirate-warriors sustained them in all their enterprises until their mission was fulfilled. Whatever may have been their internal dissensions and enmities, they conducted their enterprises as one people—one nation, actuated by one spirit, having one object, in which they all concurred; and encouraged by their success in Britain, they now pursued their enterprises more fiercely on the Gauls.
'Henceforward, and until their conflagrations were extinguished, the Gauls and the British islands, the North Sea, the Channel, and the Atlantic coasts—nay, even the Mediterranean, may be considered as included in one vast scheme of predatory, yet consistent invasion ; and their systematic assaults, descents, and expeditions, whether consecutive or simultaneous, accelerated or delayed, almost indicate a grand design of rendering Latin Europe their empire.
* The Northern fleets and vessels, however dispersed in action, were always in communication with each other, so that the several hosts and bands might assist each other in their mutual exigencies, or best profit by their mutual good fortunes. In the British Islands, as well as on the Continent, their operations were uniform ; fleet after fleet, squadron after squadron, vessel after vessel, they sought to crush the country between river and river, or between river and sea- a battue encircling the prey.
Hitherto, however much the Northmen had troubled the Frankish empire, their depredations were confined to the coasts. The precauNorthmen Invasions of Normandy.
tions adopted by Louis-le-debonaire, ill-served and neglected as he had been by the Franks, were not fully adequate to repel the pirates; but he had sufficiently protected the inland territory. Never yet had the pirate vessels floated on the fresh waters; never had their crews seen the land on either side.
'But immediately after Charles had withdrawn the Frankish squadron from Rouen, the acute and active Northmen, who had been watching their opportunity, oceupied the estuary of the Seine.
"Osker, hitherto undistinguishable amongst the Danish captains of the Channel fleet, conducted the expedition-an unusually high tide facilitated the invasion. The Seine flood-tides were then accompanied by a sudden head or rise of waters, the sea conflicting with the river, similar to the Eager, or eau-guerre, at the mouth of the Severn: the roar could be heard five leagues off. As their vessels rowed upwards, and their crews contemplated the unfolding of the winding shores, how the prospect must have delighted the Northmen during this their first navigation of the Seine : the fruitful fields, thick orchards, the bright, cheerful, and healthy cliffs, and the succession of burghs and monasteries, basking securely in undisturbed opulence. Generations had elapsed since the country had been visited with any calamity, the Northmen had been kept off, and commerce and agriculture equally contributed to the people's prosperity. But the Danish fleet never slackened oar or sail, the crews never touched the land; they had a great object in view, they would not halt to plunder now-lose the tide not they !
The city and the country round fell into the hands of the invaders. After the capture of the city, their vessels, loaded with spoil and captives, gentle and simple, clerks, merchants,
citizens, soldiers, peasants, nuns, dames, damsels, the Danes 'dropped down the Seine, to complete their devastations on the
shores. Normandy dates from Osker's three days' occupation of ‘Rouen. Four years later, the famous Regnar Lodbrok, whose name is so disastrously associated with our own history, recaptured Rouen, and besieged and took the city of Paris. Lodbrok’s track was marked by the usual devastations. He returned to Denmark laden with spoils, On this occasion the Crown of France paid its first Danegelt. The enemy was thus bought off for a time—but for a short time only. Osker was still roving from coast to coast, at the head of a powerful fleet. Eric the Red, a chief of higher authority than Lodbrok in his own country, came abroad with a great armament. The shores of the Elbe, the Seine, and the Loire, were all ravaged, now by one band, and now by another. Rivalries, like those which had divided the states of our own Heptarchy, divided the continental princes, precluding combined and vigorous resistance, and thus way was left open to the common enemy. In 857, Paris was again attacked ; in 861, it was again taken. By this time many of the Northmen had settled on the lands which they had conquered. Large provinces were ceded to them by treaty. They married wives from the new country. Ground was thus laid for a gradual change of habits and of religion. But wide was the sweep of disturbance which preceded this comparative rest.
Take a map,' says Sir Francis, and colour with vermilion the
provinces, districts, and shores which the Northmen visited, as the record of each invasion. The colouring will have to be repeated more than ninety times successively before you arrive at the conclusion of the Carlovingian dynasty. Furthermore, mark by the usual symbol of war, two crossed swords, the localities where battles were fought by or against the pirates; where they were defeated or triumphant; or where they pillaged, burned, or destroyed; and the valleys and banks of Elbe, Rhine, and Moselle, Scheld, Meuse, Somme, and Seine, Loire, Garonne, and Adour, the inland Allier, and all the coasts and coastlands between estuary and estuary, and the countries between the river-streams, will appear bristling as with chevaux-de-frise.'
Such was the force of the stream of migration which had set in when Rollo and his Northmen first entered the Seine, and took possession of Rouen. Sir Francis attaches little or no value to the Northern sagas concerning the early history of Rollo. Three generations, it seems, had elapsed from his decease before anything relating to him was committed to writing. We know, however, that he lived through the reigns of three French kings, and that he extorted concessions from all of them. His first occupation of Rouen was in 876. But it is not until 911 that he becomes the settled and recognised lord of Normandy. At that time a century and a half intervened before his descendant, the great William, was to stand at the head of his 50,000 warriors on the field of Hastings. How it fared with Normandy during this interval is set forth in great part in the second of the volumes before us. The facts here especially deserving notice by us are, that these Normans of France were from the same stock with the Saxons and Danes of England, in no respect either worse or better ; but it is at the same time to be observed, that in little more than a century the Normans are found to cast off all trace of their Scandinavian origin, and to become as truly French in language, taste, and general culture as were the people who had been much longer native to the soil. The relations between the natives in Normandy and their new masters were too much like those between Saxon and Norman at a later time in England, and the lessons to be practised in the latter country had been only too well learnt in the former. Much inquietude