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WILLIAM I.

! After that great Revolution called The Conquest, it is to be supposed that a competent part, and that no inconsiderable one, was allotted for the support of the Dignity of the King's House. How large the establishment of the Household was, it would be very difficult to ascertain at this distance of time; but we know that the Conqueror's Revenues were very great, and that, besides the public branch of it for the defence of the Kingdom against invasions from abroad, there must have been an ample residue to maintain the Court in dignity and magnificence at home. William, as soon as he was seated on his new Throne, was careful to make a general and accurate Survey of the whole kingdom, notwithstanding there had been a Survey taken within less than 200 years by King Alfred, then remaining at Winchester. * But William's jealous caution did not permit him to trust to this. He saw the necessity there was to make the most of things; and, looking on money as a necessary means of maintaining and increasing power, he accumulated as much as he could, though rather, perhaps, from an ambitious than a covetous motive; at least his avarice was subservient to his ambition; and he laid up wealth in his coffers, as he did arms in his magazines, to be drawn out on proper occasions, for the defence and enlargement of his dominions *.

* Called Codex Wintoniensis. See Sir John Spelman's Life of Alfred.

In William's Survey, which we call Domesday Book, particular attention was first paid to the King's right; and the Terra Regis (as it was called), which consisted of such lands as either had belonged to the Crown, or to the King individually, was placed first; and, upon the whole, 1422 f manors, or lordships, were appropriated to the Crown; besides lands and farms, and besides quitrents paid out of other subordinate manors. Whether William assumed to himself and the Crown more than he ought, is hard to say; but it is to be supposed he was not very sparing or delicate. The Terra Regis is said to have consisted of such lands as Edward the Confessor was found to have been possessed of, the alienation of which was held impious; to which some think William added the forfeited estates of those who opposed him at the decisive battle of Hastings *; and likewise the lands of such Barons, and others, who afterwards forsook him. These advantages he might, perhaps, be glad to take, as they enabled him better to reward his Norman friends and followers, who were numerous; and furnished him likewise with a plea to enrich himself, by annexing part of such lands to the Crown, and distributing the rest, with a reservation of quit-rents and services. We may add to these, many apparently unjustifiable means which the Conqueror used to enrich himself, though by the greatness of the antient Crown-estate, and the feudal profits to which he was legally entitled, he was already one of the richest Monarchs in Europe. The Saxon Chronicle says, he omitted no opportunity of extorting money from his subjects upon the slightest pretext, and speaks of it as a thing of course*. It must be owned, however, (says Lord Lyttelton) that, if his avarice was insatiably and unjustly rapacious, it was not meanly parsimonious, nor of that sordid kind which brings on a Prince dishonour and contempt. He supported the dignity of the Crown with a decent magnificence; and, though he never was lavish, he was sometimes liberal f.

* Lord Lytteltou's Life of Henry II. vol. i. p. 74; edit. 8vo. t Domesday Book.

'; * Rapin.

Thus did the Conqueror leave an ample and splendid revenue to his Successor, sufficient to maintain his Court in dignity and magnificence, and adequate to every expence both foreign and domestic. It is, at this

day, almost impossible to discover the nature i

* "Pro more suo, extorsit multum pecuniae suis subditis ubicunque haberet aliquem pretextum, sive jure sive aliter." Chron. Sax. p. 187. In another place the writer says, he extorted money, " partim juste, maxima verd ex parte injuste, rebus parum urgentibus." p. 191.

f Lord Lyttelton's Henry II. vol. i. p. 74.

and magnitude of William's Household; but most probably, as it was numerous, it was likewise magnificent; though, perhaps, composed of Officers and Offices very different from what have been adopted in succeeding Reigns.

We read of Treasurers, for such a King must have: and in the next Reign mention is made of Robert Fitz-Hamon, Gentleman of the Bed-chamber*, who conquered Wales, while William Rufus was engaged in a war with Scotland, anno 1091; and we afterwards read of other Officers similar to what we have at present, though the

* Gentleman of the Bed-chamber means what we now call a Lord of the Bed-chamber; which last is a title of a late introduction. When the Gentleman was the superior, the next subordinate Officer was the Groom; which last title continues to this day. Had the first been originally called Lords, the latter would probably have been styled the Gentleman. William of Malmsbury speaks of the Cubicularius in that ridiculous instance of William Rufus's absurd profusion with respect to the price of a pair of hose; by whom, I should suppose, he means an inferior Officer of the Bed-chamber, by the rough language he uses to him; no less than calling him a son of a whore.Fill, ait, meretricis.

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