Page images
PDF
EPUB

tions, was so early given to us, and how anxious we ought to be to shew ourselves worthy of so great a gift, by the effect that it produces on our lives and practices ! How thankful ought we to be that we have Churches to go to, and how regu• lar ought we to be in our attendance there, and how desirous of becoming better by the opportunities of good thus put in our power! How steadfast ought we to be in the faith which is publicly and regularly preached to us! And how diligent ought we to be in seeking to bring others to the knowledge and the love of the same faith, whether they be the ignorant and the profane, in our own land, or the unconverted and unenlightened among the heathen, who have never yet heard those “glad tidings of great joy," which were intended to be made known to “ all people !"

I am your affectionate Father.

P.S. Pray don't read over this little history in a hurried manner, but consider it well as you go along. And that you may remember it the better, I shall generally put a few questions at the end of my letters; and you must get somebody to ask you these questions, to see whether you can give

the proper answers to them. In looking at a map remember that the top is the north, the bottom south, the right hand east, and the left hand west.

LETTER II.

MY DEAR BOY,

I TOLD you, in my last Letter, that the Romans and the Saxons, and the Danes, at different times, had possession of England. I told you, likewise, that, in the year 1066, William the Conqueror came over from Normandy in France, and that he conquered king Harold at the battle of Hastings. I shall now go on to tell you a little of what happened after this conquest, and you must now give great attention to remember these things, and you must be very particular about the dates: and that you may not be puzzled, I shall tell you but a little at a time : and, I think, you will then recollect what I tell you, and so get a little knowledge of the History of England ;-as much, perhaps, as you will want just at present.

[ocr errors]

Remember, then, that William the Conqueror landed near Hastings, in the year 1066. After conquering Harold, he marched immediately to London, and was crowned king at Westminster, by the Archbishop of York, and took the usual oaths to defend the Church, and observe the laws, and govern the people with impartiality. William was glad to find that the people received him willingly, and he chose to make them think that they had given him his power. The truth was, however, that he had taken it by force,-and he soon made them to feel this. He plundered many of the English of their property for the sake of giving it to his Norman officers and sol-, diers, and he thus reduced the old inhabitants to the greatest distress, and gave all his benefits to the new comers! This is generally the case with invaders, and therefore every man who knows what he is about, will do all he can to defend his country from their attacks.

William, with all his power and greatness, had a very troublesome life. The people were continually rebelling against him, and the English and Normans were perpetually quarrelling. William took part with his Normans; and, however

ill the English were used by them, there was no remedy to be had by law, and the English were, therefore, constantly seeking some method of private revenge; and this miserable state of things made many

of the Normans wish themselves well back again. Then William, to tempt them to stay, increased their possessions; and for this purpose he again plundered the English, and still added to their burden. Miserable times these must have been! How thankful we ought to be that we live under a mild king, and are governed by just and equal laws! William was a cruel king. He was so angry because the people did not submit quietly to him, that he at one time ordered the county of Northumberland to be laid waste, and all the inhabitants to be turned out of doors, and all their furniture and tools to be burned ; it is said that above a hundred thousand persons were thus destroyed, either by sword or famine. So much for what many people call " good old times!”

But, besides these public troubles, William was very unhappy in his own family. He had three sons living, Robert, William, and Henry. Robert was a bold daring youth, but of a very bad and angry temper. One day, when the brothers were playing together, the two younger ones, threw a can of water upon Robert, and thus put him into a violent passion ; and such was his violence, that he took a sword and rushed upon his brothers to take revenge. See the dreadful effects of anger ! This youth might, in his passion, have shed the blood of his brothers, and have thus made himself miserable for ever. How careful then ought we to be, to govern our tempers, and to seek to bring them to that gentleness which we read of in the Scriptures, as one of the "fruits of the Spirit.” Robert was, however, prevented from killing his brothers by the old king, who heard the disturbance. He next turned his anger against his father, and he rebelled against him and fought against him: and, on one occasion, he was very near killing his father, without knowing him. In those days, it was the custom to have the body almost wholly covered with plates of steel armour; and their helmets covered their heads and faces, so that they could not know one person from another. The King and his son met in battle. They fought for a long time: at length Robert beat down the old King, and was just going to kill him, when the King's helmet fell off, and Robert

« PreviousContinue »