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


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 37

But the shrewd Henry suspected his motive, and stepping- forward, shouted, in tones of vehement anger, " My lord, you are silent ! Did you not hear my demand ? Quick, the keys !" Breteuil folded his arms, and with a scornful scowl, muttered, "Nothing short of force, prince, will obtain from me compliance with your damnable request." " By the crucifixion ! dare you defy my power, contemptible churl? On, friends, on ! spare him not !" roared the exasperated Henry, who, assisted by Bellomonte and others, instantly attacked Bretcuil, and forced the keys of the treasury from him. Immediately Henry had possessed himself of the royal treasure, a number of Robert's partisans arrived, upon which, as the dispute threatened to be a stormy one, they, by universal assent, retired to the council chamber. But scarcely had they commenced the important debate, when the populace of Winchester, whom Henry had completely gained by profuse gifts and extravagant promises, so clamorously shouted, "Long live Henry! long live the English-born king!" that the opposing peers, to secure their personal safety, decided for Henry, who was immediately proclaimed king, amidst the maddening huzzas of the excited multitude. Henry waited not to receive the adulations of the populace at Winchester: immediately after the hasty, unceremonious funeral of the ill-starred Rufus, he proceeded to London, where, on the fifth of August, 1100, only three days after the death of his brother, he was consecrated king, with but little pomp,in Westminster Abbey, by Maurice, Bishop of London. Title to the throne he evidently had none ; and it was only by promptitude, judicious bribery, and liberal promises, that he obtained its possession. In order, therefore, to more securely grasp the sceptre which he had so flagrantly usurped from his brother Robert, who had gone to chastise the infidels in the Holy Land, he at his coronation, besides taking the usual oath, swore to abrogate the tyrannical enactments of his Norman predecessors, and declared his intention to re-establish the laws and privileges instituted by the great Alfred, and confirmed by Edward the Confessor. Immediately after his coronation, Henry further strengthened his popularity with his Saxon subjects, by announcing his intention to wed the Princess Matilda Atheling. To this union Matilda's brother, Edgar, now King of Scotland, offered no objection ; but the royal maiden, much as she loved Henry, would only consent to become his eonsort on condition that he granted a charter annulling the Norman tyrannies, confirming the liberty of the subject, and confining the royal authority within due bounds. This important document was speedily prepared and signed; but Henry had yet another formidable obstacle to remove before the royal nuptials could be solemnized. The powerfully prejudiced Abbess Christina hated the Normans, and endeavoured to prevent the connexion of the royal Anglo-Saxon and Norman lines, by spreading a report that her royal niece had taken the veil, which, if well founded, would have proved an insurmountable obstacle to the alliance, as it was deemed in the highest degree sacrilegious to marry a consecrated nun. To remove this difficulty without outraging popular prejudice, Henry wrote to that idol of the clergy and the people, the learned Anselm, whom tho unyielding Red King had driven from the archbishopric of Canterbury to seek refuge at Lyons, pressing him to return without delay. Anselm obeyed the royal mandate, but found the case such an important and difficult one, that he convoked a solemn council of prelates and nobles to determine the mighty question, Before this council was the unwilling Matilda examined. She confessed that her aunt Christina had many times forced her to wear the veil; that during her residence in the nunneries of Rumsey and Wilton, she, in common with other English ladies, assumed it to preserve her honour from the ruthless attacks of the Normans, and that, under a pretence of having devoted herself to the church, she had excused herself from accepting more than one eligible offer of marriage. i " But," demanded the Archbishop

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