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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.

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MATTHEW OF WESTMINSTER
The flowers of history, especially such as relate to the affairs of Britain. Vol. I. B.C. 4004 to A.D. 1066.
page 566



ι A.D. 1066. WILLIAM SENDS AMBASSADOBS TO HABOLD. 557 many of their comrades, and the king of England seized all the booty, and all the spoils for his own use, and did not give the slightest share of them to any one. At which, his comrades were exceedingly indignant, and detesting the covetousness of the prince, with one accord abjured all dependence on him. Therefore, Harold, king of England, becoming elated and arrogant at such a triumphant termination of the war, behaved like a tyrant instead of a king, and thought not at all of the covenant between him and duke William, which had formerly been confirmed by oaths. Moreover, his feeling of indifference was increased by the death of the daughter of duke William, whom he had espoused before she was of a marriageable age ; and also by the circumstance that duke William was at this time engaged in wars with all his neighbours, owing to which, he hoped that his threats would never break out into actions. And as for the oath which he had made under compulsion, th t he asserted was not obligatory, inasmuch as while king Edward was still alive, it was not in his power to give away the kingdom, nor, indeed, had he any right to yield it up to any one without consulting the king. But the sentiments of Harold and of William on this point were different ; for the very moment that William heard that Harold was invested with the crown, he sent messengers to reprove him gently for his violation of the treaty between them, assuring him, with a threat, that he would exact his due from him before the end of the year. Harold, on the other hand, sent the messengers back to duke William with the excuses that I have already recited ; and so the ambassadors returned without any success to their own country, and reported the result of their embassy to duke William in these words. " Harold, king of England, desires you to know that he was really under the compulsion of necessity when he espoused your daughter in Normandy, and when he swore to assist you in obtaining the kingdom of England ; but, on the other hand, he asserts thai an oath extorted by force need not be observed. For if a vow or oath which a maiden knowingly makes respecting her own person in the house of her father, but without consulting her parents is recalled and annulled, much more, as he affirms, ought the oath which he, when placed under the king's rod, swore to under compulsion, and without


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