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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 26



his injustice and scorn had driven from court, to immediately listen to the voice nf the penitent victor. He replied only with an oath of derision, and galloped off in a fever of passion, Although victorious, Robert was so shocked at having but narrowly escaped the crime of parricide, that, instead of pursuing the advantage he had gained, he thought only of imploring forgiveness from his offended parent. Rut his entreaties were vain, until hacked by the supplicating tears of his fond mother. The inroads grief was making on the health of the queen, moved the stubborn heart of the Conqueror. He relented, invited the victorious penitent to Rouen, received him with kindness, forgave him his crimes and follies, and promised to grant him all that was consistent with his own honour as a king. Matilda enjoyed the society of her favourite son for only a brief period. Shortly after the reconciliation, the Conqueror returned to England, and took Robert with him, under the pretest thai he required him to fight against the King of Scotland, but with the real motive of separating him from his Norman partisans and hia over-fond mother. During his stay in England, Robert achieved nothing of importance, except the founding of the city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where Monknhcster formerly stood. After chastising the Scotch, and reducing his English malcontents to submission, the Conqueror caused to he compiled a great survey of all the lands and properties of his British subjects, the particulars thereof being entered in two books, called the great and little Doomsday Books, which are still preserved in the Exchequer. According to Brady, this survey was begun in 1080, and finished in 10S6. It was made by verdict or presentment of juries. They noted how much arable land, pasture, meadow, and wood, every man had, from the King himself down to the poorest proprietor, and what was thg extent and value of the lands at the time of Edward the Confessor, and at the time of making the survey. The survey was made by counties, hundreds, and towns, in manors, hides, half-hides, and acres of land, meadow, pasture, and wood. The surveyors also specified the value of every person's estate ; the names of the monasteries and religious houses ; the number of mills and fisheries ; the amount of live stock, and how many freemen, villains, and servants there were in every town and manor, This general register, sometimes cubed the "Great Terrar, or Land Book of England," was made by the Conqueror with a view to increase his income. He had reduced the Anglo-Saxons to poverty, and now that their estates were possessed by the Normans and others, he resolved to fill his royal coffers by the imposition of heavy taxes and fines on the wealthy foreigners. The schemcsucceeded to perfection ; theroyal revenue was raised to tha sum of four hundred thousand pounds—equal to five millions at the present day—and, in addition to this fixed income, he obtained many thousands annually in the form of fines, mulcts, licenses, forfeitures, and parliamentary grants. In 1079, the Conqueror established the Court of Exchequer ; he also appointed justices to itinerate through the realm, and determino certain pleas and causes ; and by encouraging his officers of state, both civil and criminal, to above everything respect the law, and do equal justice to all men, ho furthered the establishing of order and good-will amongst all his English subjects. Indeed, his measures generally, although apparently severe, were productive of lasting benefits to England ; and, but for the rigour of the game laws that he introduced, and his reckless spoliation of village, hamlet, and monastery, to form his great hunting park in Hampshire, the latter years of his reign would have added to the splendour of his memory.


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