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measures, the earl of Arundel, having affembled the English nobility, and principal officers, Spoke to this effect:
T is now above fixteen years, that on a doubtful and difputed claim to the crown, the rage of civil war has almoft continually infefted this kingdom. During this melancholy period how much blood has been fhed! What devaftations and mifery have been brought on the people! The laws have loft their force, the crown its authority: licentioufnefs and impunity have fhaken all the foundations of public fecurity. This great and noble nation has been delivered a prey to the bafeft of foreigners, the abominable fcum of Flanders, Brabant, and Bretagne, robbers rather than foldiers, reftrained by no laws, divine or human, tied to no country, fubject to no prince, inftruments of all tyranny, violence, and oppreffion. At the fame time, our cruel neighbours, the Welch and the Scotch, calling them felves allies or auxiliaries to the Emprefs, but in reality enemies and deftroyers 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 fafety or national honour, to turn our fwords against our own bofoms. What benefits have we gained, to compenfate all these loffes, or what do we expect? When Matilda was mistress of the kingdom, though her power was not yet confirmed, in what manner did fhe govern? Did the not make even thofe of her own faction and court regret the king? Was not her pride more intolerable ftill than his levity, her rapine than his profufenefs? Were any years of his reign fo grievous to the people, fo offenfive to the nobles, as the first days of her's? When she was driven out, did Stephen
phen correct his former bad conduct? Did he dismiss his odious foreign favourite? Did he difcharge his lawless foreign hirelings, who had been fo long the fcourge and the reproach of England? Haye they not lived ever fince upon free quarter, by plundering our houfes 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 affift him, as foon as ever his affairs abroad will permit; by whose help, if he be victorious, England must pay the price of their fervices our lands, our honours must be the hire of these rapacious invaders. But fuppose 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 fuccefs 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 confifcations will accrue to William of Ipres.
BUT let us not hope, that, be our victory ever so complete, it will give any lafting peace to this kingdom. Should Henry fall in this battle, there are two other brothers to fucceed to his claim, and fupport his faction, perhaps with lefs merit, but certainly with as much ambition as he. What fhall we then to free ourfelves from all thefe misfortunes? -Let us prefer the intereft of our country to that of our party, and to all thofe paffions, which are apt, in civil diffenfions, to inflame zeal into madness, and render men the blind inftruments of thofe 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 conqueft itself is full of calamity, and our moft happy victories deferve to be celebrated only by tears. Nature herself is dismayed, and fhrinks back from a combat, where every blow that we ftrike 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 fave the life of one of his countrymen ? What a felicity then, and what a glory, must it be to us all, if we fave the lives of thousands of Englishmen, that muft 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 fo—It is in our power to end the controverfy, both fafely and honourably; by an amicable agreement; not by the sword. Stephen may enjoy the royal dignity for his life, and the fucceffion may be fecured to the young duke of Normandy with such a prefent rank in the ftate, as befits the heir of the crown. Even the bitterest enemies of the king must acknowledge, that he is valiant, generous, and goodnatured; 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 reftrained from a further abufe of it; which can be done by no means, fo certain and effectual, as what I propofe: for thus his power will be tempered, by the presence, the counfels, and influence of Prince Henry; who from his own intereft in the weal of the kingdom, which he is to inherit, will always have a right to interpofe his advice, and even his authority, if it be neceffary, 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 confent to it. This will secure the public tranquillity, and leave no fecret ftings of refentment, to rankle in the hearts of a fuffering party, and produce future disturbances. As there will be no triumph, no infolence, no exclufive right to favour, on either fide, there can be no fhame, no anger, no uneafy defire of change. It will be the work of the whole nation; and all must wish to fupport what all have eftablished. The fons of Stephen indeed may endeavour to oppose it: but their efforts will be fruitlefs, and muft end very foon, either in their fubmiffion, 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 reafon for which we chose him, will hold, as to the choice of a fucceffor. Henry Plantagenet is now grown up to an age of maturity, and every way qualified to fucceed to the crown. He is the grandfon of a king whose memory is dear to us, and the nearest heir male to him in the course of descent: he appears to refemble him in all his good qualities, and to be worthy to reign over the Normans and English, whose nobleft blood, united, enriches his veins. Normandy has already fubmitted to him with pleasure. Why fhould we now divide that dutchy from England, when it is fo greatly the intereft of our nobility to keep them always connected? If we had no other inducement to make us defire a reconciliation between him and Stephen, this would be fufficient. Our eftates in both countries will by that means be fecured, which otherwife
otherwise we must forfeit, in the one, or the other, while Henry remains poffeffed of Normandy: and it will not be an easy matter to drive them from thence, even though we fhould compel him to retire from England. But, by amicably compounding his quarrel with Stephen, we fhall maintain all our interests, private and public. His greatness abroad will increase the power of this kingdom; it will make us refpectable and formidable to France: England will be the head of all thofe ample dominions, which extend from the British ocean to the Pyrenean mountains. By governing, in his youth, so many different ftates, 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 refigned to him her pretenfions, or rather she acknowledges that his are fuperior: we therefore can have nothing to apprehend on that fide. In every view, our peace, our fafety, the repofe of our confciences, the quiet and happiness of our posterity will be firmly established by the means I propofe. Let Stephen continue to wear the crown that we give him, as long as he lives; but after his death let it defcend to that prince, who alone can put an end to our unhappy divifions. If you approve my advice, and will empower me to treat in your names, I will immediately convey your defires to the king and the duke. LORD LYTTELTON