Page:Historical Lectures and Addresses.djvu/266

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but at least he might do something to raise its Church to a higher conception of practical activity. It was a worthy thought, in itself just and true. We know how large a part was played in the remaking of England by the capacity, intellectual and practical alike, of Norman ecclesiastics at whose head stood Lanfranc. If Edward could have infused new vigour into the English Church by a wise choice of capable leaders, he might have rendered to the England of his day the best and truest service. But Edward, even in his highest practical aims, could not rise to wisdom. He was too indolent to inquire and select. His instruments for a great object were not chosen with a view to the work which they were to do. He merely took the men at hand, those who possessed his ear, who humoured him, and had their own interests to serve in doing so. They thirsted for power, not for ecclesiastical but for secular purposes. They did not strive to identify themselves with England, but to raise a foreign party in favour of Norman influence. The English opinion of one of Edward's bishops in the see of Durham was shortly recorded in the words that "he did nought bishop-like therein". Edward's chief favourite, Robert, Abbot of Jumièges, soon became his adviser, so that men said, "If he declared a black crow to be white, the King would sooner believe his words than his own eyes". Robert became Archbishop of Canterbury, and stirred the King to rebel against the power of Godwine. For a brief period he prevailed; and the old earl who had so long held the chief power in England made way for the scheming Norman prelate. But Godwine returned, and Arch-