Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/40

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32
HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

parations, gave orders to his admirals to watch the seaports, and endeavour to hinder the enemy's landing: but the commanders of several ships, whether Robert had won them by his bribes, or his promises, instead of offering resistance, became his guides, and brought his fleet safe into Portsmouth, where he landed his men; and from thence marched to Winchester, his army hourly increasing by great numbers of people, who had either an affection for his person, an opinion of his title, or hatred to the king. In the mean time Henry advanced with his forces, to be near the duke, and observe his motions; but, like a wise general, forbore offering battle to an invader, until he might do it with manifest advantage. Besides, he knew very well that his brother was a person whose policy was much inferiour to his valour, and therefore to be sooner overcome in a treaty than a fight: to this end, the nobles on both sides began to have frequent interviews; to make overtures; and at last concert the terms of a peace; but wholly to the advantage of the king, Robert renouncing his pretensions in consideration of a small pension, and of succeeding to the crown on default of male issue in his brother.

The defection of nobles and other people to the duke was so great, that men generally thought if it had come to a battle, the king would have lost both the victory and his crown. But Robert, upon his return to Normandy after this dishonourable peace, grew out of all reputation with the world, as well as into perfect hatred and contempt among his own subjects, which in a short time was the cause of his ruin.

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