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prince, as we have seen, he left the three provinces of Maine, Anjou, and Touraine to his eldest son : but, by an extraordinary disposition made by him on his death-bed, he forbade his own body to be buried, till Henry should take an oath positively to perform every part of the will, before he knew the contents thereof. The dying prince induced the nobles who were about him to swear that they would not permit the funeral to take place till such time as the oath had been duly administered to his son. Henry, however, very naturally objected to promise such blind obedience to injunctions of whose nature he was ignorant; but at length, after having held out for some time-sooner than see his father's body remain unburied-he consented, and took the oath. · As soon as the will was opened, he found that the Count of Anjou had only left him the important territories named, on condition that he should give them up to his brother Geoffrey, in case the hereditary dominions of his mother, Matilda, should ever be fully recovered by him.
This clause of the Count's will, and the oath Henry had taken, were well known at the time of his accession to the crown of England; but with the condition of the will—which he was now called upon to perform-he was not in any degree inclined to comply. In short, though fixed upon the English throne, and in full possession of Normandy, Henry resolved to defeat the will of his father, and to violate the vow which he had taken to maintain it. Whether or not, if he had refused to take the oath at the time, the feudal law,as affected by the customs of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine,-would have put him in possession of those provinces by right of primogeniture, can hardly be told; but, at all events, on the condition of that oath, he had received very great benefits. He had obtained investiture of the three provinces in a tranquil and easy manner, whereas, in other circumstances, he would have had to fight every foot of the ground, and, very likely, would have lost possession of the country altogether; and he also derived considerable advantages in point of reputation and character, by taking that oath, which he would have lost altogether, had his father's body been suffered to remain unburied in consequence of his refusing to bind himself to perform the will. Having gained all the superiority which was to be obtained by taking the oath, however, and benefited to the utmost by the favourable terms of the will, he now refused to perform the less agreeable clause, and applied to the Pope to be set free from the engagement into which he had entered.
The Pope thought it reasonable to grant the request of so powerful a prince. The King of France had received Henry's homage for the whole of the provinces now in question, and did not think fit to oppose him; and Geoffrey Plantagenet was left to break out into ill-considered revolt, which was
soon crushed by the superior skill and power of his brother. Henry contented himself with demolishing the fortresses possessed by Geoffrey, giving him an annual sum of money instead, and leaving him in possession of his other estates—an act of clemency the more extraordinary, as Geoffrey had committed the rarely pardoned offence of being in the right.
About the same period, some disturbances took place in the province of Aquitaine, which have very generally been connected by historians with the revolt of Geoffrey. I do not, however, find any proof that such was the case. Any symptoms of insurrection which Henry might perceive in the territories he had received, were soon put a stop to, and he remained in peaceable possession of all his continental dominions, notwithstanding the just claims of his brother, and the favourable opportunities which those claims afforded to the King of France to promote a division in the territories of a vassal far too powerful.
Henry, however, though now fixed firmly in possession of England-comprising the counties which Stephen had suffered to be dismembered by the King of Scotland, and though established peaceably in provinces embracing one-third of France, meditated new augmentation of territory, in the conquest of Ireland, and the subjection of Wales. Nor would he probably have bounded his ambitious efforts there, had not a weakness of his own character raised up that internal foe, who first sapped the foundation of his greatness, and gave opportunities for refractory subjects and foreign enemies to trouble his peace at home and to assail him from without.
It does not come within the scope of this introduction to notice more particularly the King's expedition against Wales, than merely to give an outline of the causes which produced it, and the general results. The hardy, resolute, and active character of the Welsh people found a fair field for action during the troubled reign of Stephen; and continual ravages on the English border marked how dangerous they were as neighbours. Henry had passed a considerable period of his early life within the districts subject to their incursions ; and his knowledge of their habits would have been sufficient cause for so vigilant and active a monarch as Henry to undertake the subjection of the turbulent people who had such good reason to be the persevering enemies of the Anglo-Norman race.
The Welsh, it would appear, did not fully comprehend the character of the monarch who now ruled the English nation, and thought they might pursue the same depredations as in former years, so that Henry was in some degree compelled to take measures for their repression. His first steps were such as might be expected from his prudence; and he employed means to strengthen a
colony of Flemings, which had been early planted in South Wales, and had proved, on many occasions, a strong bulwark to the English frontier. The importance of the occasion, however, rendered it necessary to use much more vigorous measures; and, as soon as possible after his accession, he undertook boldly the conquest of the whole country. That this attempt was dangerous and difficult Henry must have known, both from the opposition and reverses which attended the arms of his grandfather Henry I., and from the frequent defeats which some of the bravest and most skilful of the Norman nobles had undergone not long before his accession. Notwithstanding these defeats, the most signal of which was that of the Earl of Chester and Madoc, Prince of Powys land, by the famous Owen Gwyneth, much ground had been gained in South Wales by the English and Flemings. Henry, therefore, determined to turn his arms directly against Owen Gwyneth, prompted, it is supposed, by Cadwallader, one of the Welsh princes. The latter had been driven out of his territories by Owen, King of North Wales, who, there is every reason to believe, had never yet either done homage to the English crown, or owned any allegiance to the King of this country.
The army which Henry now assembled was large, well appointed, and brilliant ; but in the very outset he suffered himself rashly to be drawn into an ambuscade in the mountains, where he