Page:The Works of the Rev. Jonathan Swift, Volume 16.djvu/92

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84
HISTORY OF ENGLAND.

tracted. The conditions of a peace, by the intervention of some religious men, were soon agreed. The duke, after some time spent in settling his affairs, and preparing all things necessary for his intended expedition, set sail for England, where he landed the same year in the depth of winter, with a hundred and forty knights, and three thousand foot.

Some time before Henry landed, the king had conceived a project to disappoint his designs, by confirming the crown upon himself and his own posterity. He sent for the archbishop of Canterbury, with several other prelates, and proposed that his son Eustace should be crowned king with all the usual solemnity; but the bishops absolutely refused to perform the office, by express orders from the pope, who was the enemy to Stephen, partly upon account of his unjust or declining cause, but chiefly for his strict alliance with the king of France, who was then engaged in a quarrel against that see, upon a very tender point relating to the revenues of vacant churches. The king and his son were both enraged at the bishops' refusal, and kept them prisoners in the chamber where they assembled, with many threats to force them to a compliance, and some other circumstances of rigour; but all to no purpose, so that he was at length forced to desist. But the archbishop, to avoid farther vexation, fled the realm.

This contrivance of crowning the son during the life and reign of the father, which appears so absurd in speculation, was actually performed in the succeeding reign; and seems to have been taken up by those two princes of French birth and extraction, in imitation of the like practice in their native

country,