« السابقةمتابعة »
fain to use one month in the quarter, it was necessary for the common-wealth that he should remit them the other two months unto their own occasions. Neither used he this course with some of his Officers only (as there are those who understand it to have been a course taken only with those of his Guard), but with all his whole attendance; neither used he it for a time only, but for his whole life; and I little doubt but that the use at Court, at this day, of Officers, Quarter waiters, had the first beginning even from this invention of the King *."
The Translator of this Life of Alfred into Latin, Dr. Obadiah Walker, has taken a little latitude in the last sentence of this passage, and has wandered totally from the mark. His words are, "Neque multum dubito quin Dapiferi hodierni (quos Quarterwaiters appellamus) qui per singulos anni quadrantes, Regi ad mensam ministrant, ab hoc Regis instituto, manarint." Now it is pretty certain that the Quarter-waiters are
* Spelman's Life of Alfred, edit. Hearne, p. 198.
not Officers at all connected, by their post, with the King's table, they being a secondary degree of Gentlemen Ushers, called in a grant of Fees temp. Car. I. (in Rymer's Fcedera) Ante-Amhulones. The Doctor seems, by the word Dapiferi, to have confounded them with the Sewers; which is strengthened by the following words, " qui ad mensam ministrant."
It is allowed that King Alfred enlarged his Household very much; but, what was the nature and office of the individuals of it, we shall probably never be able to gather. We may, however, fairly suppose his Retinue in number, and his Court in splendour, was far superior to those of any of his Predecessors.
Of the Conqueror's Court we know still less, neither do I learn that King Alfred's establishment was followed by his immediate successors; but it is reasonable to suppose that the Court, as well as the Kingdom, would be new-modelled, and assume a different face, upon so great a revolution as that of the Conquest.
Notwithstanding the fair inheritance left by the Conqueror, equal to the Regal Dignity, and the exigences of the State, William Rufus, the successor, not only dissipated the great treasure of which he was possessed at the demise of his Father, but ran into so extravagant a profusion of expence, that he was at last obliged to apply to resources, unwarrantable in themselves, and derogatory to hi& Crown and Dignity. The late King's treasures were said to amount to 60,000/.; but,according toHenry of Huntingdon *, who lived very near the time, to 60,000 pound weight of silver, exclusive of gold, jewels, plate, and robes; and "the silver money alone (says Lord Lyttelton f), according to the best computation I am able to make, was equivalent at least to nine hundred thousand pounds of our money at present:" but this would not suffice; for the Crown-lands, which were held so sacred by his ancestors, were alienated; and he was at last compelled, as a dernier resort, to resume his own grants, a practice now used for the first (but not the last) time, and a measure equally scandalous and iniquitous. Rufus's ordinary revenues did not probably exceed those of his Father; but, as he ran into more needless and wanton expences, he was necessitated to make frequent demands upon his people. Considering the influence of artful Churchmen, in those times of Papal tyranny, over weak Princes, it is not to be wondered that Rufus should be easily prevailed upon by Ranulphus, Bishop of Durham *, who was Master both of his Councils and his Conscience, to resume his own grants, though
* Erantautem in Thesauro 60 Mille Librae Argenti. Lib. vi.
t Introduction to the Life of Henry II. The Reader may see his Lordship's grounds of computation in a long note on this passage. The Saxon Chronicle saysx the King's Treasures were difficiles nurneratu, p. 192.
* Lord Lyttelton calling him Ralph Flambard, a Norman. Life of Henry II. vol. i. p. 87, where his character may be seen at large.
made for valuable considerations; or to take any measure, however unwarrantable and unprecedented—:
"Tantum Religio potuit suadere malorum." Amongst other acts of rapacity, made in a manner necessary by his former profusion, he kept the See of Canterbury vacant four years (upon the death of Lanfranc), that he might take the profits to his own use; nay, he did the same by the Bishoprick of Lincoln, and all others that became void in his Reign; and at the time of his death he had in his hands the Sees of Canterbury, Winchester, Salisbury, twelve * rich Abbeys, besides many other Benefices of less consideration -f"; so little regard has ever been paid to things sacred by Arbitrary Princes (as our Kings were at that time) to gratify either their necessities or their passions. But this was not the worst part of the story; for, not satisfied with the First-fruits, to which he was entitled,—after he had seized the vacant Benefices, and pillaged them of every thing
* The Saxon Chronicle says but Eleven. t Matthew Paris.