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the advancement of the favourite. A few dates will best show the violence of his infatuation. His first recorded act of government was to confer upon Gaveston, now recalled to England, the earldom of Cornwall, a dignity which had hitherto been held only by princes of the blood, and had a few years before reverted to the crown by the death, without issue, of Edmund Plantagenet, the late king's cousin: the grant, bestowing all the lands of the earldom as well as the dignity, is dated at Dumfries, the 6th of August, 1307. About the same time Walter de Langton, bishop of Lichfield, who was lord high treasurer, was imprisoned in Wallingford castle, as having been the principal promoter of Gaveston's banishment. In October the new earl of Cornwall married the king's niece, Margaret de Clare, the daughter of his sister, Joanna, countess of Gloucester. He was also made guardian during his minority to her brother, the young earl. The grant of several other lordships fol. lowed immediately, and it is even said that the reckless prodigality of the weak king went the length of making over all the treasure his father had collected for the Scot: tish war, amounting to nearly a hundred thousand pounds, to the object of his insane attachment. Finally, he left him guardian of the realm while he set out for Boulogne in January, 1308, to marry Isabella, the daughter of the French king, Philip V., to whom he had been affianced ever since the treaty concluded between Philip and his father in 1299. The marriage took place on the 25th of January, and on the 25th of February the king and queen were crowned at Westminster. The history of the kingdom for the next five years is merely that of a long struggle between the king and his disgusted nobility about this Gaveston. The banishment of the favourite being insisted upon by a formidable league of the barons, ...; was obliged to give in ; but instead of being ignominiously sent out of the country, Gaveston was merely appointed to the government of Ireland. In June his royal master accompanied him as far as Bristol on his way to that country. Even from this honourable exile, however, he returned in October following. The barons immediately again remonstrated, and in March, 1310, the king found himself compelled to sign a commission by which he resigned the government of the kingdom for the ensuing year into the hands of a committee appointed by the parliament. A sentence of banishment was soon after passed upon Gaveston, and he retired to France; but by the close of the year 1311 we find him again in England. The earl of Lancaster, the king's cousin, now placed himself at the head of the malecontents: finding petitions and remonstrances unattended to, he and his associates at length openly rose in arms: Gaveston was besieged in Scarborough castle, and having been forced to surrender, his career was ended by his summary execution at Warwick on the 19th of June, 1312. Having thus attained their main object, the insurgent barons made their submission to the king, and a peace was finally concluded between the parties in December. In the course of the last two or three years Robert Bruce, left unmolested in Scotland, had not only nearly recovered every place of strength in that country, but had been accustomed to make an annual plundering inroad across the borders. It was now determined to take advantage of the cessation of domestic dissensions to effect the re-conquest of the northern kingdom; and in June, 1314, Edward set out for that purpose at the head of the most numerous army that had ever been raised in England. The issue of
this expedition was the signal defeat sustained at the battle
of Bannockburn, fought the 24th of June, at which the magnificent host of the English king was completely oã he himself narrowly escaping captivity. After this the few remaining fortresses in Scotland that were still held by English garrisons speedily fell into the hands of Bruce ; the predatory and devastating incursions of the Scots into England were renewed with more audacity than ever; and Bruce and his brother Edward even made a descent upon Ireland, and for some time contested the dominion of that island with its English masters. At length, in September, 1319, a truce for two years with the Scots was arranged with difficulty. Nor was it long observed by the party most interested in breaking it. The Scots easily found pretences on which to renew their attacks, and Edward's efforts to check them proved as impotent as before. Meanwhile, a new favourite began to engross him, Hugh .e Despencer, the son of a nobleman of the same name. P. C., No. 567.
Upon him Edward now bestowed another daughter of his sister, the countess of Gloucester, in marriage, and many large possessions. Another armed insurrection of the barons was the consequence; and in July, 1321, the Despencers, father and son, were both banished by act of parliament. Before the end of the same year, however, they were recalled by the king; and now for a short time the fortune of the contest changed. The earl of Lancaster was taken and beheaded at Pontefract, 23rd March, 1322; and the sentence against the Despencers was soon after formally revoked by parliament. About twenty of the leaders of the insurrection in all were put to death; but the estates of many more were forfeited; and most of the immense amount of plunder thus obtained by the crown was at once bestowed upon the younger Spencer. Edward imagining that he had now an opportunity of which he might take advantage, set out once more for the conquest of Scotland in August, 1322; but after advancing as far as Culross, in Fife, he returned without having accomplished anythin more than the destruction of a few religious houses; .# on the 30th of March, 1323, he concluded another truce with the Scots, to last for thirteen years. New storms, however, were already rising against the unhappy king. Charles IV., called the Fair, the youngest brother of Edward's queen, had recently succeeded to the French throne, and had begun his reign by quarrelling on some pretence with his brother-in-law, and seizing Guienne and Edward's other territories in France. After some other attempts at negotiation, it was resolved that queen Isabella should herself go over to France to endeavour to bring about an arrangement. The queen had been already excited against the Despencers; she had long probably despised a husband who was the object of such general contempt, and who besides openly preferred his male favourites to her society. At the French court she found collected many English nobles and other persons of distinction, whom their dissatisfaction with the state of affairs, or the enmity of the Despencers, had driven from their country. All these circumstances considered, it is easy to understand how she might naturally become the centre and head of a combination formed by the discontented exiles among whom she was thrown, and their connexions still in England, for the professed object of compelling her husband to change his system of government and of removing the pernicious power that stood between the nation and the throne. Among the foremost figures of the association
with which she thus became surrounded was the young
Roger de Mortimer, a powerful baron, who had made his escape from England after having been condemned, for taking part in the former confederacy against the Despencers, to imprisonment for life. There is no doubt that the connexion between Queen Isabella and Mortimer became eventually a criminal one. The plot against the king was begun by the conspirators contriving to get the heir-apparent, Prince Edward, into their power. It was arranged that King Charles should restore Guienne upon receiving from the prince the homage which his father had refused to render. On this Prince Edward, now in his thirteenth year, was sent over to France to his mother. The first use Isabella made of this important acquisition was to affiance the boy to Philippa, the daughter of the earl of Hainault, who in return agreed to assist her and the confederates with troops and money. Thus supported, she set sail from Dort with a force of 3000 men, under the command of the earl's brother, and landed at Orwell in Suffolk, the 22nd of September, 1326. She was immediately joined by all the most distinguished persons in the kingdom, including even the earl of Kent, the king's own brother. Edward, deserted. by all except the two Despencers and a few of their creatures, left London, and took refuge at first in Bristol; he then embarked for Ireland, or, as another account says, with the design of making for the small isle of Lundy, at the mouth of the Bristol Channel; but being driven back by contrary winds, he landed again in Wales, and shut himself up in Neath Abbey, in Glamorganshire. Meanwhile, the queen's forces attacked the castle of Bristol, where the elder Despencer, styled earl of Winchester, had been left governor by the king. When the siege had lasted only a few days, the garrison rose in mutiny and delivered up the old man. e was ninety years of age; but his grey hairs did not save him; he was immediately executed with every circumstance of barbarous insult the ingenuity of his captors could devise...The next day (26th w Vol. IX. —2 P
October) the prelates and barons in the queen's camp declared Prince Edward guardian of the kingdom. The king was discovered in his place of concealment about three weeks afer, and was conducted in custody first to the castle of Monmouth, and then to that of Kenilworth. The younger Despencer was also taken; he was hanged and guariered at Hereford on the 24th of November. The parliament assembled on the 1st of January, 1327; and after going through some forms of negotiation, with the imprisoned king, it was resolved, on the 25th of that month, that the crown should be taken from him and conferred upon his son Prince Edward. A deputation announced this resolution to the deposed monarch. He re mained for some months longer at Kenilworth; he was then transferred successively to Corfe, Bristol, and Berkeley Castles. At length, when it was found that mere insult would not kill him, he was, on the night of the 20th of September, murdered in the last-mentioned place by his keepers Sir Thomas Gournay and Sir John Maltravers, who with detestable brutality thrust a red-hot iron into his bowels through a pipe, thus contriving to destroy him without leaving any external marks of their atrocious operation. Edward II. left by his Queen, Isabella of France, two sons, Edward, who succeeded him, and John, born at Eltham 15th August, 1316, created earl of Cornwall, in 1327, who died at Perth in October, 1336; and two daughters, Joanna, married 12th July, 1328, to Prince David, eldest son of Robert Bruce, afterwards King David II. of Scotland, and Eleadir, who became the wife of Reginald Count of Guelders. Some attempts have been made in modern times to dispute the justice of the character which has been generally given of this king, and to throw the blame of the civil distractions which rendered his reign so unhappy and so ignominious a one, rather upon his turbulent nobility than himself. Hume, whose good nature and indolent generosity of feeling inclined him in this as well as in other cases to side with the unsuccessful party, while his quiet temper made him also constitutionally averse to that revolt against established authority and those other irregular proceedings with which the barons are chargeable in their contest with Edward II., has written the history of the reign with a studied endeavour to put the former in the wrong throughout, and to represent Edward as the victim, not of his own weaknesses and vices, but rather of the barbarism of the age. The facts, however, on which the common verdict rests cannot be thus explained away. It may be admitted that among the motives which excited and sustained the several confederacies against the king, and in the conduct of some of those who took the lead in them, there was violence and want of principle enough ; it is of the nature of things that the baser passions should mix themselves up and even act an important part in all such conflicts, however righteous in their origin and general object; but nothing that can be alleged on this head can affect the question of Edward's unfitness to wear the crown. That question must be considered as settled, if not by the course of outrage against all decency manifested by his conduct in the matter of Gaveston, certainly by his relapse into the same fatal fatuity a few years after, when he fell into the hands of his second favourite Despencer. Hume has spoken of the acts of maladministration objected to the king and his minions as ‘of a nature more proper to excite heart-burnings in a ball or assembly than commotions in a great kingdom.' . The admitted fact of the universal indignation which the acts in question did excite is a sufficient answer to this statement of the case. To the reign of Edward II. belongs the memorable event of the suppression in England, as in the other countries of Europe, of the great order of the Knights-Templars. Their property was seized all over England in 1308; but the supo of the order in this country was not accompanied y any of that cruel treatment of the persons of the members which they experienced in France. In 1324 the lands which had belonged to the Templars were bestowed upon the order of St. John of Jerusalem. The most important legal innovation of this reign was that made by the statute of sheriffs (9 Edward II., st. 2), by which the right of appointing those officers was taken from the people and committed to the chancellor, the treasurer, and the judges. Several of the royal prerogatives, relating principally to tenures, were also defined by the
statute entitled ‘Prerogativa Regis’ (17 Edward II., st. 1).
The statutes down to the end of the reign of Edward II. are commonly distinguished as the “Vetera Statuta.” Pleading now began to assume a scientific form. The series of year-books, or reports by authority of adjudged cases, is nearly perfect from the commencement of this reign. The only law treatise belonging, or supposed to belong, to the reign of Edward II. is Horne's Miroir des Justices. The circumstances of the reign were as little favourable to literature as to commerce and the arts. Warton observes that though much poetry now began to be written, he has found only one English poet of the period whose name has descended to posterity; Adam Davy or Davie, the author of various poems of a religious cast, which have never been printed. mong these, however, is not to be reckoned the long work entitled “The Life of Alexander,’ which is erroneously attributed to him by Warton, but which has since been conclusively shown not to be his. It is printed for the first time in Weber's Metrical Romances. There is still extant a curious Latin poem on the battle of Bannockburn, written in rhyming hexameters by Robert Baston, a Carmelite friar, whom Edward carried along with him to celebrate his anticipated victory, but who, being taken prisoner, was compelled by the Scotch to sing the defeat of his countrymen in this jingling effusion. Bale speaks of this Baston as a writer of tragedies and comedies, some of which appear to have been English; but none of them are now known to exist. EDWARD III., king of England, the eldest son of Edward II. and Isabella of France, was born at Windsor (whence he took his surname), 13th November, 1312. In the first negotiations with the court of France after the breaking out of the quarrel about Guienne in 1324, a proposal seems to have been made by the French king, Charles IV., for a unarriage between a daughter of his uncle, the count de Valois, and the young prince of Wales, as Edward was styled; but it was coolly received by the king of England, and ended in nothing. In September of the year following Prince Edward proceeded to Paris, where his mother now was, and did homage to his uncle, king Charles, for the duchy of Guienne and the earldom of Ponthieu, which his father had previously resigned to him. He was induced by his mother to remain with her at the French court, notwithstanding the most pressing letters from his father (Rymer, iv.), begging and commanding him to return. Meanwhile Isabella, having previously solicited from the pope a dispensation (which however she did not obtain) to |...". her to marry her son without his father's knowledge, had arranged a compact with William earl of Hainault, by which the prince was affianced to Philippa, the second of the earl's four daughters. Edward was soon after carried by his mother to Valenciennes, the residence of the earl of Hainault, where he met Philippa, and, it is said, fell ardently in love with her. He landed with his mother in England in September, 1326; was declared guardian or regent of the kingdom about a month after; and was proclaimed king on the deposition of his father, 25th January, 1327. [Edward II.] He was crowned at Westminster the following day. The government of the kingdom during the king's minority was placed by the parliament in the hands of a regency, consisting of twelve noblemen and bishops, with Henry earl of Lancaster (the brother of Thomas, executed in the preceding reign) at their head. The queen however and Mortimer (now created earl of March) from the first assumed the chief management of affairs, and soon monopolized all power. They must be considered as having been the real authors of the murder of the deposed king. Their authority seemed for the moment to be rather strengthened than otherwise by the failure of a confederacy formed among the nobility to effect their overthrow in the winter of 1328-9. In March, 1329, signal proof was given of their determination and daring in the maintenance of their position, by the fate of the king's uncle, the earl of Kent, who having become involved in what was construed to be a plot against the government, was put to death on that charge. Meanwhile the king, young as he was, and although thus excluded from the government, had not passed his time in inactivity. He was married to Philippa of Hainault, 24th January, 1328. A few months after his accession he had marched at the head of a numerous army against the Scotch, who had again invaded and ravaged the northern counties; but they eluded all his attempts to come up with them, and after a campaign of three weeks this expedition ended in nothing. Soon after this a treaty of peace was concluded between the two kingdoms, on the basis of the recognition of the complete independence of Scotland. This important treaty was signed at Edinburgh, the 17th of March, 1328, and confirmed in a parliament held at Northampton on the 4th of May following. One of the articles was, that a marriage should take place between prince David, the only son of the king of Scotland, and the sister of the king of England, the princess Joanna; and, although the bride was only in her seventh, and the bridegroom in his fifth year, the marriage was celebrated accordingly at Berwick on the 12th of July. The illustrious Bruce just lived to see this truly epic consummation of his heroic labours. He was able to receive the youthful pair on their arrival at Edinburgh after the id: but he was now worn out by a disease which had for some time preyed upon him, and he returned immediately to his country-seat at Cardross, where he expired on the 7th of June, 1329. The settlement of the dispute between the two countries, which thus seemed to be effected, proved of very short duration. In a few months a concurrence of important events altogether changed both the domestic condition and the external relations of England. In the close of the year 1330, Edward at length determined to make a bold effort to throw off the government of Mortimer. The necessary arrangements having been made, the earl and the queen-mother were seized in the castle of Nottingham on the 19th of October; the execution of Mortimer followed at London on the 29th of November; many of his adherents were also put to death; Isabella was placed in confinement in her house at Risings (where she was detained for the remaining twentyseven years of her life); and the king took the government into his own hands. In the course of the following year Edward seems to have formed the design of resuming the grand project of his father and his grandfather—the conquest of Scotland. For this design he found an instrument in Edward Balliol, the son of the late king John, who, in April, 1332, landed with a small force at Kinghorn, in Fife, and succeeded so far, in the disorganized state of the Scottish kingdom under the incompetent regency of the earl of Mar, and by the suddenness and unexpectedness of his attack, as to get himself crowned at Scone on the 24th of September. Edward, on this, immediately came to York; and on the 23rd of November Balliol met him at Roxburgh, and there made a solemn surrender to him of the liberties of Scotland, and acknowledged him as his liege lord. The violation of his late solemn engagements committed by Edward in this affair was rendered still more dishonourable by the caution and elaborate duplicity with which he had masked his design. Only a few weeks after doing his homage, Balliol found himself, obliged to fly from his kingdom; he took refuge in England; various military operations followed; but at last Edward advanced into Scotland at the head of a numerous army: on the 19th of July, 1333, a great defeat was sustained by the Scotch at the battle of Halidon Hill, near Berwick; the regent Douglas himself was mortally wounded and taken prisoner; and every thing was once more subjected to Edward Balliol. King David and his ueen were conveyed in safety to France. On the 12th of une, 1334, at Newcastle, Balliol, by a solemn instrument, made an absolute surrender to Edward of the greater part of Scotland to the south of the Forth. But within three or four months the puppet king was again compelled to take flight to England. }. invasions of Scotland by Edward followed ; the first in November of this year; the second in July, 1335 ; in the course of which he wasted the country with fire and sword almost to its extreme northern confines, but did not succeed in bringing about an engagement with the native forces, which, notwithstanding, still kept the field. In the summer of 1336 he took his devastating course for the third time through the northern counties, with as little permanent effect. On now retiring to England he left the command to his brother John, styled earl of Cornwall, who soon after died at Perth. From this time, however, the efforts of the English king were, in great part, drawn off from Scotland by a new object. This was the claim which he had first advanced some years before to the crown of France, but which he only now proceeded seriously to prosecute, determined probably by the more open manner in which the French king had lately begun to exert himself in favour of the Scots, whom, after repeated endeavours to serve them by mediation
and intercession, he had at length ventured to assist by supplies of money and warlike stores. Charles IV. of France had died in February, 1328, leaving a daughter who was acknowledged on all hands to have no claim to the crown, which it was agreed did not descend to females. In these circumstances Philip of Valois mounted the throne, taking the title of Philip VI. He was without dispute the next in the line of the succession if both females and the descendants of females were to be excluded. Edward's claim rested on the position that although his mother, Isabella, as a female, was herself excluded, he, as her son, was not. If this position had been assented to he would undoubtedly have had a better claim than Philip, who was only descended from the younger brother of Isabella's father. But the principle assumed was, we believe, altogether new and unheard of and would besides, if it had been admitted, have excluded both Philip and Edward, seeing that the true heir in that case would have been the son of Joanna Countess d’Evreux, who was the daughter of Louis X., Isabella's brother. It would also have followed that the two last kings, Philip V. and Charles IV., must have been usurpers as well as Philip VI, ; , the son of Joanna, the daughter of their predecessor and elder brother, would, upon the scheme of succession alleged by the king of England, have come in before both. Undeterred by these considerations, however, or even by the circumstance that he had himself in the first instance acknowledged Philip's title, and even done homage to him for the Duchy of Guienne, Edward, having first entered into an alliance with the earl of Brabant, and taken other measures with the view of supporting his pretensions, made an open declaration of them, and prepared to vindicate them by the sword. The earliest formal announcement of his determination to enforce his claim appears to have been made in a commission which he gave to the earl of Brabant and others to demand the crown of France and to take possession of it in his name, dated 7th October, 1337. We cannot here pursue in detail the progress of the long war that followed. Edward embarked for the continent on the 16th July, 1338, and arrived at Antwerp on the 22nd. Of his allies the chief were the emperor and the free towns of Flanders, under nominal subjection to their earl, but at this time actually governed by the celebrated James Van Arteveldt. The emperor made him his vicar, and at Arteveldt's suggestion he assumed the title of king of France. The first important action that took place was the sea-fight off Sluys, on the 22nd June, 1340, in which the English were completely victorious. It was followed by long truces, which protracted the contest without any decisive events. Meanwhile, in Scotland, the war proceeded, also with occasional intermissions, but on the whole to the advantage of the national cause. Balliol left the country about the close of 1338; and in May, 1341, King David and his consort Joanna returned from France. In 1342 the Scots ever. made several inroads into the northern counties of England. A suspension of hostilities however took place soon after this, which lasted till the close of 1344. In 1345 Edward lost the services of his efficient ally Van Arteveldt, who was murdered in an insurrection of the populace of Ghent, excited by an attempt, which he appears to have made somewhat too precipitately, to induce the free towns to cast off their sovereign, the earl of Flanders, and to place themselves under the dominion of the son of the king of England, Edward, prince of Wales. Edward, afterwards so distinguished under the name of the Black Prince (given to him from the colour of his armour), was born at Woodstock, 15th June, 1330, and was consequently only yet in his sixteenth year. II is father nevertheless took him along with him to win his spurs, when in July, 1346, he set out on another expedition to France with the greatest army he had yet raised. After reducing Caen and Lower Normandy, he proceeded along the left bank of the Seine till he reached the suburbs of the capital, and burnt the villages of St. Germains and St. Cloud. The memorable battle of Crecy followed on the 26th of August, in which the main division of the English army was commanded by the prince. Between thirty and forty thousand of the French are said to have been slain in this terrible defeat. Among those who fell was John of Luxemburg, king of Bohemia: he fell by the hand of Prince Edward, who thence assumed his armorial en-ign of three ostrich feathers and the motto Ich Diem (I serve), and transmitted the badge to all succeeding princes of Wales. The defeat of the Frcnch at Crecy was followed on the 17th October, in the same year, by the equally signal defeat of the Scots at the battle of Nevil's Cross, near Durham, in which the greater part of the nobility of Scotland were either taken prisoners or slain, and the king himself, after being wounded, fell into the hands of the enemy. Froissart says that Queen Philippa, led the English army into the field on this occasion; but no native contemporary or very antient writer mentions this remarkable circumstance. hree days after the battle of Crecy, Edward sat down before the town of Calais. It did not however open its gates to him till after a glorious defence of nearly eleven months. On its surrender the English king was prevented, by the intercession of Queen Philippa, from making his name infamous for ever by taking the lives of the six burgesses whom he commanded to be given up to his mercy as the price for which he consented to spare their fellowcitizens. The reduction of Calais was followed by a truce with France, which lasted till 1355. When the war was renewed, Philip VI, had been dead for five years, and the throne was occupied by his son John. On the 19th of September, 1356, the Black Prince gained the battle of Poictiers, at which the French king was taken prisoner. The kings both of France and Scotland were now in Edward's hands; but neither country was yet subjugated. At last, after many negotiations, David II. was released, in November, 1357, for a ransom of 100,000l., to be discharged in ten yearly payments. King John was released on his parole in 1360, when a treaty of peace was concluded between the two countries at Bretigny, confirming to the English the possession of all their recent conquests. But after remaining in France for about four years, John returned to captivity on finding that he could not comply with the conditions on which he had received his liberty, and died in London, 8th April, 1364. He was succeeded by his son, Charles V., who had acted as lieutenant of the kingdom during his absence. It would appear that during the Scottish king's long detention in England he had been prevailed upon to come into the views of Edward, at least to the extent of consenting to sacrifice the independence of his country after his own death; and it is probable that it was only upon a secret compact to this effect that he obtained his liberty. Joanna, the consort of David, died childless in 1362; and in a parliament held at Scone the following year the king astounded the estates by proposing that they should choose Lionel, duke of Cambridge, the third son of the king of England, to fill the throne in the event of his death without issue. At this time the next heir to the throne in the regular line of the succession was the Stewart of Scotland, the son of David's elder sister Marjory; and a wish to exclude his nephew, against whom he entertained strong feelings of dislike, is supposed to have had a considerable share in influencing the conduct of the king. The proposal was rejected by the parliament unanimously and with indignation. A few months after this the death of Edward Balliol without issue removed all chance of any competitor arising to contest David's own rights; and he became of course a personage of more importance than ever to the purposes of the ambitious and wily king of England. David now repaired to London; and here it was agreed in a secret conference held between the two kings on the 23rd of November, that in default of the king of Scots and his issue male, the king of England for the time being should succeed to the crown of Scotland. In the mean time, the king of Scots was to sound the inclinations of his people and to inform the English king and his council of the result. (See the articles of the agreement, twenty-eight in number, in the sixth volume of i. “Foedera.”) From this time David acted with little disguise in the interests of the English king, and even spent as much of his time as he could in England. One effect of this policy was, that actual hostilities between the two countries ceased; but no public misery could exceed that of Scotland, distracted as it was by internal convulsions, exhausted by the sufferings and exertions of many preceding years, and vexed by the exactions necessary to defray the ransom of the king, his claim to which Edward artfully took advantage of as a pretext for many insults and injuries, and a cover for all sorts of intrigues. In 1365, however, it was agreed that the truce (for the cessation from hostilities was as yet nothing more) should be prolonged till 1371. In 1361 the prince of Wales had married Joanna, styled the Fair, the daughter of his great-uncle the earl of Kent, who had been put to death in the beginning of the present
reign. This lady had been first married to William de Montacute, earl of Salisbury, from whom she had been divorced; and she had now been about three months the widow of Sir Thomas Holland, who assumed in her right the title of earl of Kent, and was summoned to parliament as such. Soon after his marriage the prince of Wales was raised by his father to the new dignity of prince of Aquitaine and Gascony (the two provinces or districts of Guienne); and in 1363 he took up his residence, and established a splendid court in that quality, at Bordeaux. Edward's administration of his continental principality was very able and successful, till he unfortunately became involved in the contest carried on by Pedro surnamed the Cruel with his illegitimate brother Henry of Trastamare for the crown of Castile. Pedro having been driven from his throne by Henry, applied to the Black Prince for aid to expel the usurper. At this call Edward, forgetting everything except the martial feelings of the age and what he conceived to be the rights of legitimacy, marched into Spain, and defeated Henry at the battle of Najera, fought on the 3rd of April, 1367. He did not, however, attain even his immediate object by this success. Pedro had reigned little more than a year when he was again driven from his throne by Henry, by whom he was soon after murdered. Henry kept possession of the throne which he had thus obtained till his death, ten years after. Prince Edward, meanwhile, owing to Pedro's misfortunes, having been disappointed of the money which that king had engaged to supply, found himself obliged to lay additional taxes upon his subjects of Guienne, to obtain the means of paying his troops. These imposts several of the Gascon lords refused to submit to, and appealed to the king of France as the lord paramount. Charles on this summoned Edward to appear before the parliament of Paris as his vassal; and on the refusal of the prince, immediately confiscated all the lands held by him and his father in France. A new war forthwith broke out between the two countries. For a time the wonted valour of Prince Edward again shone forth; but among the other fruits of his Spanish expedition was an illness caught by his exposure in that climate, which gradually undermined his constitution, and at length como him, in January, 1371, to return to England. He adjust before this lost his eldest son, Edward, a child of six years old. King Edward's consort, Queen Philippa, had died on the 15th of August, 1369. On his departure from Guienne, Prince Edward left the government of the principality in the hands of his brother John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster. The duke shortly after married a daughter of Pedro the Cruel, in whose right he assumed the title of king of Castile, and before the end of the year followed his brother to England. Affairs on the continent now went rapidly from bad to worse. The great French General Duguesclin drove the English everywhere before him. In the summer of 1372 two expeditions were fitted out from England, the first commanded by the earl of Pembroke, the second by King Edward in person, accompanied by the Black Prince ; but both completely failed. The forces of the earl of Pembroke were defeated while attempting to land at Rochelle by the fleet of Henry King of Castile ; and those conducted by the king and his son, which were embarked in 400 ships, after being at sea for six weeks, were prevented from landing by contrary winds, and obliged to put back to England. At last, in 1374, when he had lost everything that had been secured to him by the treaty of Bretigny, Edward was glad to conclude a truce for three years. Thus ended the French wars of this king, which had cost England so much blood and treasure. Those which he waged against Scotland equally failed of their object. David II. had died in February, 1371, and the Stewart of Scotland immediately ascended the throne without opposition under the title of Robert II. No serious attempt was ever made by Edward to disturb this settlement, though he at one time seemed inclined to threaten another Scottish war, and he never would give Robert the title of king: he contented himself with styling him “the most noble and potent prince, our dear cousin of Scotland.’ The latter years of Edward's long reign presented in all respects a melancholy contrast to its brilliant commencement. The harmony which had hitherto prevailed between the king and his parliament gave way under the public misfortunes, and the opposition to the king's government was headed by his eldest son. The Black Prince, however, died in his 46th year, on the 8th of June 1376. He was in the popular estimation the first hero of the age, and to this reputation his military skill, his valour, and other brilliant and noble qualities, may be admitted to have entitled him; but, with all his merits, he was not superior to his age, nor without his share of some of the worst of its faults. He left by his wife Joanna one son, Richard, a child in his tenth year; and he appears also to have had a daughter, who became the wife of Waleran de Luxemburg, count de Ligny; his illegitimate sons were Sir John Sounder and Sir Roger de Clarendon. King Edward, in the weakness of old age, had now for some time given up the entire management of affairs to his second son, the unopular Duke of Lancaster, and fears were entertained that i. intended the duke to inherit the crown ; but these apprehensions were removed by his creating Richard of Bordeaux prince of Wales, duke of Cornwall, and earl of Chester, and declaring him in parliament his heir and successor. Since the death of his queen also he had attached himself with doting fondness to Alice Perers, one of the Ladies of her Bedchamber, and had excited great public disgust by the excesses to which this folly carried him. The last fortnight of his life he spent at his manor of Shene, now Richmond, attended only by this lady. But even she deserted him on the morning of his death; and no one save a single priest was by his bed-side, or even in the house, when he breathed his last. This event happened on the 21st of June, 1377, in the 65th year of his age and the 51st of his reign. Edward III. had by his queen, Philippa of Hainault, seven sons: 1. Edward prince of Wales; 2. William of Hatfield, born 1336, who died young; 3. Lionel, duke of Clarence, born at Antwerp 29th November, 1338; 4. John, duke of Lancaster, called of Gaunt, or Ghent, where he was born in 1340; 5. Edmund, duke of York, born at Langley, near St. Alban's, in 1341; 6. William, born at Windsor, who died young; 7. Thomas, duke of Gloucester, born at Woodstock, 7th January, 1355; and five daughters: 1. Isabella, married to Ingelram de Courcy, earl of Soissons and Bedford; 2. Joanna, born in August, 1334, who was contracted, in 1345, to Pedro the Cruel, afterwards king of Castile, but died of the plague at Bordeaux, in 1349, before being married; 3. Blanche, called De la Tour, from having been born in the Tower of London, who died in infancy; 4. Mary, married to John de Montford, duke of Bretagne; and 5. Margaret, married to John de Hastings, earl of Pembroke. It has been observed, in regard to Edward III., by Sir James Mackintosh, that ‘ though his victories left few lasting acquisitions, yet they surrounded the name of his country with a lustre which produced strength and safety : which perhaps also gave a loftier tone to the feelings of England, and a more vigorous activity, to her faculties.’ “During a reign of fifty years,' it is added, “Edward III. issued writs of summons, which are extant to this day, to assemble seventy parliaments or great councils: he thus engaged the pride and passions of the parliament and the people so deeply in support of his projects of aggrandisement, that they became his zealous and enthusiastic followers. His ambition was caught by the nation, and men of the humblest station became proud of his brilliant victories. To form and keep up this state of public temper was the mainspring of his domestic administration, and satisfactorily explains the internal tranquillity of England during the forty years of his effective reign. It was the natural consequence of so long and watchful a pursuit of popularity that most grievances were redressed as soon as felt, that parliamentary authority was yearly strengthened by exercise, and that the minds of the turbulent barons were exclusively turned towards a share in their sovereign's glory. Quiet at home was partly the fruit of fame abroad.” The two great charters were repeatedly confirmed in this reign, and a greater number of important new laws were passed than in all the preceding reigns since the Conquest. Among them may be particularly noticed the celebrated statute (25. Ed. III., st. 5, c. 2) defining and limiting the offence of high treason; the numerous provisions made to regulate the royal prerogative of purveyance, and diminish the grievances occasioned by it; the law (1 Ed. III, c. 12) permitting tenants in chief to alienate their lands on payment of a reasonable fine; the several prohibitions against the payment of Peter's Pence; and the first statute (the 27th Ed. III., st. 1, c. 1) giving a writ of praemunire against such as should presume to cite any of the king's subjects to
the court of Rome. In this reign also began the legislation respecting the poor, by the enactment of the statute of Labourers (23 Ed. III., c. 1), which was followed by several other acts of the same kind, setting a price upon labour as well as upon provisions. , Trial by Jury also now began to ..". a decided ascendancy over the old modes of trial, and various regulations were made for improving the procedure of the courts and the administration of justice. Justices (at first called keepers) of the peace were established by the statute 34 Ed. III., c. 1. In 1362 was passed the important act (36 Ed. III., st. 5, c. 15) declaring that henceforth ‘all pleas should be pleaded, showed, de. fended, amended, debated, and judged in the English tongue,' and no longer in the French, which is described as much unknown in the realm.' They were ordered still however to be entered and enrolled in Latin. The acts of parliament continued to be written sometimes in Latin, but most generally in French, long after this time. The science of legal pleading is considered by Coke to have been brought to perfection in this reign. The only law treatises which belong to this reign are those entitled the Old Tenures, the Old Natura Brevium, the Novae Narrationes, and the book on the Diversity of Courts. They are all in Norman French. The commerce and manufactures of the country made some advances with the general progress of the age in the course of this reign; but they certainly were not considerable for so long a space of time. The woollen manufacture was introduced from the Netherlands, and firmly rooted in England before the close of the reign. Some augmentation also seems to have taken place in the shipping and exports of the country. On the other hand, the king's incessant wars operated in various ways to the discouragement of commerce. Sometimes foreign merchants were afraid to send their vessels to sea lest they should be captured by some of the belligerents. On one occasion at least (in 1338), Edward made a general seizure of the property belonging to foreign merchants within his dominions, to supply his necessities. At other times he resorted to the ruinous expedient of debasing the coin. Many acts were passed by the parliament on the subject of trade, but they involved for the most part the falsest principles; some prohibiting the exportation of money, of wool, and of other articles; others imposing penalties for forestalling; others attempting to regulate wages, prices, and expenditure. Of course such laws could not be executed; they only tormented the people, and aggravated the mischiefs they were intended to cure; but in consequence of being thus inefficient, they were constantly renewed. The most memorable invention of this age is that of gunpowder, or rather its application in war. It appears to be certain that cannons were used at the battle of Crecy in 1346; but there is reason to believe that they were in use about twenty years earlier. They were certainly familiarly known before the close of the reign. Among the more elegant arts, architecture was that which was carried to the greatest height. Edward III. nearly rebuilt the Castle of Windsor, which however has undergone great improvements and alterations since his time: the beautiful chapel of St. George, at Windsor, was also built, or at least finished, by this king. But splendour and luxury generally made undoubtedly great advances among the wealthier classes, although it may be questioned if wealth was more generally diffused throughout the community, or if the poverty and wretchedness of the great body of the people were not rather increased than diminished. The increase of licentiousness of manners among the higher ranks appears to have kept pace with that of magnificence in their mode of living. This was the age of tournaments, and of the most complete ascendancy of the system of chi! alry; but all this, at least in its direct and immediate effects, was more favourable to the improvement of the outside polish and formal courtesies of life within a narrow circle, than to the diffusion of any humanizing influences throughout the mass of society. The Order of the Garter was instituted by Edward III., it is generally supposed in the year 1349. In literature, this was the age of Chaucer, the Morning Star of our poetry, and of his friend Gower, and also of Wicliffe, who first translated the Scriptures into English, and who has been called the Morning Star of the Reformation. The principal chroniclers of the time of Edward III. are Thomas Stubbs, William Thorn, Ralph