Not he who takes up arms for coat and conduct, and his four nobles of Danegelt. Although I dispraise not the defence of just immunities, yet love my peace better, if that were all. Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
He resolved, since he could not gain the affections of his subjects, to find such matter for their hatred as might weaken them, and fortify his own authority against the enterprises which that hatred might occasion. He revived the tribute of Danegelt, so odious from its original cause and that of its revival, which he caused to be strictly levied throughout the kingdom.
Their zeal for the holy wars made them submit to this innovation; and a precedent being once obtained, this taxation became, in following reigns, the usual method of supplying the necessities of the crown. The tax of Danegelt, so generally odious to the nation, was remitted in this reign.
During the reign of Ethelred, a tax of a shilling a hide had been imposed on all the lands of England. It was commonly called DANEGELT; because the revenue had been employed either in buying peace with the Danes, or in making preparations against the inroads of that hostile nation.
He remitted the heavy imposition called Danegelt, amounting to 40,000l. a year, which had been constantly collected after the occasion had ceased; he even repaid to his subjects what he found in the treasury at his accession. In short, there is little in his life that can call his title to sanctity in question, though he can never be reckoned among the great kings.
There were no barons with territories comparable to those of the great French feudataries. That the government was extremely tyrannical is certain. The Crown derived its revenues from feudal dues, customs duties, tallages that is, special charges on particular towns, and the war tax called the Danegelt; all except the first being arbitrary taxes.
Vast sums of Danegelt were yearly sent out of the country to buy off the fresh invasions which were perpetually threatened. Then Ethelred the Unready, Ethelred Evil-counsel, advised himself to fulfil his name, and the curse which Dunstan had pronounced against him at the baptismal font. By his counsel the men of Wessex rose against the unsuspecting Danes, and on St.
This revenue, which was the chief support of the dignity of our Saxon kings, was considerably increased by the revival of Danegelt, of the imposition of which we have already spoken, and which is supposed to have produced an annual income of 40,000l. of money, as then valued.
The English were now, for the first time, taxed to supply this payment. The imposition was called Danegelt, not more burdensome in the thing than scandalous in the name.
The great fountain which fed his treasury must have been Danegelt, which, upon any reasonable calculation, could not possibly exceed 120,000l. of our money, if it ever reached that sum.