Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/221

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BATTLE OF HASTINGS. 215


as a Becket is made Archbishop of Canterbury: the first instance of any man of the Saxon race being raised to high office in Church or State since the Conquest.

1170. Strongbow, earl of Pembroke, lands with an English army in Ireland.

1189. Richard Coeur de Lion becomes King of England. He and King Philip Augustus of France join in the third Crusade.

1199-1204. On the death of King Richard, his brother John claims and makes himself master of England and Normandy, and the other large continental possessions of the early Plantagenet princes. Philip Augustus asserts the cause of Prince Arthur, John's nephew, against him. Arthur is murdered, but the French king continues the war against John, and conquers from him Normandy, Brittany, Anjou, Maine, Touraine, and Poictiers.

1215. The barons, the freeholders, the citizens, and the yeomen of England rise against the tyranny of John and his foreign favorites. They compel him to sign Magna Charta. This is the commencement of our nationality: for our history from this time forth is the history of a national life, then complete and still in being. All English history before this period is a mere history of elements, of their collisions, and of the processes of their fusion. For upward of a century after the Conquest, Anglo-Norman and Anglo-Saxon had kept aloof from each other: the one in haughty scorn, the other in sullen abhorrence. They were two peoples, though living in the same land. It is not until the thirteenth century, the period of the reigns of John and his son and grandson, that we can perceive the existence of any feeling of common nationality among them. But in studying the history of these reigns, we read of the old dissensions no longer. The Saxon no more appears in civil war against the Norman, the Norman no longer scorns the language of the Saxon, or refuses to bear together with him the name of Englishman. No part of the community think themselves foreigners to another part. They feel that they are all one people, and they have learned to unite their efforts for the common purpose of protecting the rights and promoting the welfare of all. The fortunate loss of the Duchy of Normandy in John's reign greatly promoted these new feelings. Thenceforth our barons' only homes were in England. One language had, in the reign of Henry III., become the language of the land, and that, also, had then assumed the form in which we