Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/51

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43
HENRY THE FIRST.

well as piety. By such degrees the church arrived at length, by very justifiable steps, to have her share in the commonwealth, and became a third estate in most kingdoms of Europe; but these assemblies, as we have already observed, were seldom called in England before the reign of this prince, nor even then were always composed after the same manner: neither does it appear from the writers who lived nearest to that age, that the people had any representative at all, beside the barons and other nobles, who did not sit in those assemblies by virtue of their birth or creation, but of the lands or baronies they held. So that the present constitution of the English parliament has, by many degrees and alterations, been modelled to the frame it is now in; which alterations I shall observe in the succeeding reigns, as exactly as I can discover them by a diligent search into the histories of the several ages, without engaging in the controverted points of law about this matter, which would rather perplex the reader than inform him.

1116. But to return: Lewis the Gross king of France, a valiant and active prince, in the flower of his age, succeeding to that crown that Robert was deprived of, Normandy, grew jealous of the neighbourhood and power of king Henry; and began early to entertain designs either of subduing that duchy to himself, or at least of making a considerable party against the king, in favour of William son of Robert, whom for that end he had taken into his protection. Pursuant to these intentions, he soon found an occasion for a quarrel, expostulating with Henry, that he had broken his promise, by not doing homage for the duchy of Normandy, as

well