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pair the injuries occasioned by the ravages of war, the edifices, whether public or private, which remained, probably served them as patterns for the erection of new ones. The dominion of the Saxons being firmly established, and that people having embraced the Christian faith, we may safely conclude that London recovered from the consequences of the preceding contest, and re-assumed the same general features it had previously exhibited. That the city rose to distinguished commercial eminence during the latter part of the seventh century, we learn from Bede, who characterizes it as the "emporium of many nations."
The rising prosperity of London appears to have suffered some checks from repeated visitations of the plague, and from the destructive effects of fire. In 793, a dreadful conflagration happened, when the city was nearly consumed, and a vast multitude of the inhabitants lost their lives. But these temporary calamities were of less importance than the injuries which it suffered, in common with many other parts of England, from the invasions of the Danes. In the reign of Egbert, king of Wessex, whose power extended over Essex, and some other kingdoms of the Heptarchy, the Danish pirates first made themselves formidable to the Anglo-Saxon inhabitants of this country. Egbert opposed their incursions with success, and, after several severe struggles, restored peace to his dominions. In 855, he summoned a national assembly or wittenage mote to meet at London, to consult on the adoption of measures to preserve the safety of the country. During the reigns of the immediate successors of this prince, the Danes renewed their attacks, and devastated several parts of South Britain. In 839, they assaulted London, but were repulsed. In 851, they took the city, and long retained possession of it; and the Saxon Chronicle states, that a Danish army was quartered in it during the winter of 872. It required the genius of Alfred to expel these invaders from his own dominions, and confine them to the eastern and northern parts of England, where they were permitted to settle, on entering into engagements to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Saxon kings. The maritime superiority of the Danes had contributed greatly to their success; and among the principal measures adopted
by Alfred, for the recovery and defence of his territories, was the formation of a naval establishment, by means of which he dislodged the Danish intruders, and recovered possession of London, in 883. Having made himself master of this important city, he repaired and strengthened its fortifications, and consigned the government of it to his son-in-law, Ethelred, whom he made Earl of Mercia, To Alfred is attributed the original plan of the municipal constitution of London, and especially the institution of the office of Sheriff. In the subsequent war, carried on against the Danish leader, Hastings, the Londoners repeatedly distinguished themselves, especially in 896, in the capture of a castle which had been erected by the Danes at Bemfleet in Essex. In the succeeding reign of Edward the Elder, on the death of the Earl of Mercia, in 912, the king himself assumed the government of London, considering it as a post of too much importance to be united with the command of an extensive province.
The city, though at this period advancing in eminence, had not yet risen to the rank of an Anglo-Saxon metropolis, for Winchester continued to be the principal resi. dence of several of the successors of Alfred. Yet his grandson, Athelstan, had a palace in London; and its comparative consequence, in the reign of that prince, may be inferred from a law then made relative to coinage, or daining that eight minters should be allotted to London, seven to Canterbury, six to Winchester, and not more than two or three to the other cities and towns of the kingdom. In 945, during the reign of the next king, Edmund the Elder, a meeting of the Wittenagemote took place at London, for the settlement of the affairs of the church. In 961, a pestilential fever occasioned the destruction of a great many of the inhabitants; and in 982, the city suffered from a dreadful conflagration.
Towards the close of the tenth century, England was again exposed to the invasions of the Danes. In 994, London was assaulted by a Danish fleet, commanded by Olaf and Sweyn. On this occasion, a bridge over the Thames is first mentioned in the Saxon Chronicle, though it does not appear over what part of the river it was placed. The citizens succeeded in repulsing their assail
ants, as they did likewise when again besieged in 1009. About three years after, a meeting of the Wittenagemote was held in London, to consult on the measures proper to be adopted for resisting the Danes. The result of their deliberations, was the payment of a large sum of money, which only warded off the attacks of the invaders for a short time. In 1013, King Ethelred II., alarmed for his personal safety, abandoned the kingdom and fled to Normandy, and the city of London opened its gates to Sweyn, who was chosen king of England. He died soon after, and Ethelred was restored; but that imbecile monarch found a new and powerful adversary in Canute, the son of Sweyn. In the subsequent contests which took place, the Londoners displayed great bravery, on several occasions, in support of their Saxon princes. After the death of Ethelred, his son, Edmund Ironside, defended his crown, with the spirit of an Alfred, against his Danish adversary. The citizens of London seconded the efforts of their sovereign; and in the course of the year 1016, the place was thrice assaulted by Canute, who was each time obliged to retreat. The war between these princes was terminated by a treaty of partition, which left Edmund in possession of London and all the country south of the Thames. On the murder of the Saxon king, which immediately followed, Canute obtained the dominion of the whole kingdom. In the levy of a sum of money which he inade soon after for the payment of his troops, it appears, that towards the whole amount, which was 83,000l. London contributed 11,000l.
After the death of the last Danish king, Hardicanute, in 1041, a general council of the clergy and nobility was held in London, when, through the influence of Earl Godwin, Edward, surnamed the Confessor, was chosen king. During the peaceful reign of this prince, who made London the chief place of his residence, the city recovered from the injuries it had suffered in the preceding commotions, and increased in wealth and population. One of the last and greatest undertakings in which King Edward engaged, was the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey, which he intended as the place for his own interment. He died a short time after it was completed, and was suc
ceeded by Harold, the son of Earl Godwin, whose defeat and death, at the battle of Hastings, in 1066, paved the way for the accession of William, Duke of Normandy, to the English crown.
On Christmas-day, 1066, William, the first of that name who held the title, was crowned King of England, at Westminster, at which solemnity, the civic magistrates of London assisted. One of the first public acts of the new sovereign, was the grant of a charter to the metropolis, which is still extant in the Saxon language, among the archives of the city. The following is a literal translation of this curious document:-"William the King greeteth in friendship, William the Bishop, Godfrey the Portreve*, and all the Burgesses in London, French and English. And I acquaint you, that I will that ye all there be law-worthy as ye were in King Edward's days. And I will that every child be his father's heir after his father's days. And I will not that any man do you any wrong. God preserve you."
In 1077 a dreadful fire happened, which destroyed the greater part of the city. In the year following, that part of the Tower of London, now called the White Tower, appears to have been founded† for the purpose of overawing the citizens, who were dissatisfied with the new government. Another fire took place in 1086, when the cathedral church of St. Paul was burnt down. "Maurice, then Byshoppe of London," says Stowe, " afterward began the foundation of the newe Church of St. Paul, a worke that men of that time judged would never have been finished, it was then so wonderfull."
It is somewhat remarkable, that the survey of the kingdom, made in this king's reign, and preserved in the Domesday Book, does not include London. As the original manuscript of that record, which is still remaining, does not appear to have been mutilated, it must be con
* This Saxon appellation for the chief magistrate, signifies the governor of a port or harbour.
+ The architect of this structure was Gundulph, Bishop of Rochester, who also built Rochester Castle. See Bayley's History of the Tower." 4to.
cluded, that the property of the citizens in London was registered in a separate volume, now lost; or that it was not divided into knight's fees, and consequently not surveyed with the rest of the kingdom. In the year 1090, much damage was done to the buildings of the city by a terrible hurricane, which also injured the Tower. Two years after, a destructive fire occurred. The Tower was subsequently repaired and strengthened by King William II. who, in the year 1097, also built Westminster Hall. In the reign of his successor, Henry I., the Londoners obtained a new and extended charter of privileges, including the perpetual sheriffdom of the county of Middlesex, and the right to elect a sheriff from among the citizens; exemption from scot and lot, dane-gelt, trial by battle, impleading without the walls, payment of tolls, &c.; and the extraordinary power of seizing for debt the goods, (if found within the city,) of the borough, town, or county," wherein he remains who shall owe the debt,” provided “he has not cleared himself in London." This charter also confirmed the ancient right of the citizens to hunt in the chaces of Middlesex, Surrey, and the Chiltern district. On the death of Henry I., the Londoners supported the claims of his nephew Stephen to the crown, in opposition to those of the Empress Maud; and in the contests which afterwards took place between the partizans of each, the citizens adhered to the king, and suffered in his cause. Henry II., son of the empress, seems to have remembered the hostility of the inhabitants of the metropolis to his mother, for he extorted from them several forced loans, and though there is a charter extant, ascribed to this prince, confirming that of Henry I., it clearly appears not to be authentic.
At the coronation of Richard I., the riotous populace of London massacred a great number of the Jewish residents, who had assembled to view the spectacle. The citizens or burgesses of the metropolis officiated at the coronation feast as royal butlers, the chief magistrate, then called the bailiff, acting as grand butler. In the early part of his reign, King Richard granted to the city a new charter, and at this period, the title of Mayor is said to have originated, Henry Fitz-Alwyn having been the