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CHAP XV.

EDWARD III.

War with Scotland - Execution of the Earl of Kent --

Execution of Mortiner, tari of líarch - State of Scotland - War with that kingdom - King's claim to the crown of France - Preparations for mar with France War Naval victory - Domestic disturbances Affairs of Britanny - Renewal of the war with France - Invasion of France - Battle of Crecy - War with Scotland Captivity of the king of Scots - Calais taken.

both Jan.

CHAP. HE violent party, which had taken arms

xv. against Edward II. and finally deposed that unfor1327. • tunate monarch , deemed it requisite for their fu

ture security to pay so far an exterior obeisance to the law, as to desire a parliamentary indemnity for all their illegal proceedings; on account of the necessity, which, it was pretended, they lay under, of employing force against the Spensers and other evil counsellors, enemies of the kingdom. All the attainders also, which had passed against the earl of Lancaster and his adherents, when the chance of war turned against them, were easily reversed during the triumph of their party '; and

Rymer , vol. iv. p. 245, 257, 258, &c.

the Spensers, whose former attainder had been c H A I. reversed by parliament, were now again, in this XV. change of fortune, condemned by the votes of 1327. their enemies. A council of regency was likewise appointed by parliament, consisting of twelve perfons; five prelates, the archbishops of Canterbury and York, the bishops of Winchester, Worcester, and Hereford; and seven lay peers , the earls of Norfolk, Kent, and Surrey, and the lords Wake, Ingham, Piercy, and Ross. The earl of Lancaster was appointed guardian and pro. tector of the king's person. But though it was reasonable to expect, that, as the weakness of the former king had given reins to the licentiousness of the barons, great domestic tranquillity would not prevail during the present minority ; the first disturbance arose from an invasion by foreign enemies.

Thę king of Scots, declining in years and war with health, but retaining still that martial spirit, which had raised his nation from the lowest ebb of fortune, deemed the present opportunity favorable for infesting England. He first made an attempt on the castle of Norham, in which he was dif. appointed; he then collected an army of 25,000 men on the frontiers, and having given the command to the earl of Murray and lord Douglas, threatened an incursion into the northern counties. The English regency, after trying in vain every cxpedient to restore peace with Scotland, made vigorous preparations for war; and besides assembling an English army of near fixty thousand

Scotland.

1327,

CHA P. men, they invited back John Hainault, and some XV foreign cavalry, whom they had dismissed, and

whose discipline and arms had appeared superior to those of their own country. Young Edward himself, burning with a passion for military fame, appeared at the head of these numerous forces; and marched from Durham, the appointed place of rendezvous, in quest of the enemy, who had already broken into the frontiers, and were laying every thing waste around them.

MURRAY and Douglas were the two most cele, brated warriors, bred in the long hostilities between the Scots and English ; and their forces, trained in the same school, and inured to hardships, fa. tigues, and dangers , were perfectly qualified, by their habits and manner of life, for that defultory and destructive war, which they carried into England. Except a body of about 4000 cavalry, well armed, and fit to make a steady impression in battle, the rest of the army were light-armed troops, mounted on small horses, which found sub stence every where, and carried them with rapid and unexpected marches, whether they meant to commit depredations on the peaceable inhabitants, or to attack an armed enemy, or to retreat into their own country. Their whole equipage consisted of a bag of oat-meal, which, as a supply in case of necellity, each soldier carried behind him ; together with a light plate of iron, on which he instantly baked the meal into a cake, in the open fields But his chief subsistence was the cattle which he seized; and his cookery was as expedi. tious as all his other operations. After fleaing c H A P. the animal, he placed the skin, loose and hanging xv. in the form of a bag, upon some stakes; he 13 poured water into it, kindled a fire below, and thus made it serve as a caldron for the boiling of his victuals . . The chief difficulty which Edward met with, after composing some dangerous frays, which broke out between his foreign forces and the Englilh', was to come up with an army so rapid in its marches, and so little incumbered in its motions. Though the flame and smoke of burning villages directed him sufficiently to the place of their encampment, he found, upon hurrying thither, that they had already dislodged ; and he foon discovered , by new marks of devastation, that they had removed to fome distant quarter. After harassing his army during some time in this fruitless chase, he advanced northwards, and crossed the Tyne, with a resolution of awaiting them on their return homewards, and taking vengeance for all their depredations. But that whole country was already so much wasted by their frequent incursions, that it could not afford subsistence to his army; and he was obliged again to return southwards, and change his plan of operations. He had now lost all track of the enemy; and though he promised the reward of a hundred pounds a year to any one who should bring him

chap. 17.

* Ibid.' liv. iv. chap. 19.

lbid.' liv. IV. chap. I

CI A P. an account of their motions, he remained unać. xv.

tive some days, before he received any intelli1327. gence of them'. He found at last, that they had

fixed their camp on the southern banks of the
Were, as if they intended to await a battle; but
their prudent leaders had chosen the ground with
such judgment, that the English, on their ap-
proach , saw it impracticable, without temerity,
to cross the river in their front, and attack them
in their present situation. Edward, impatient for
revenge and glory, here sent them a defiance, and
challenged them, if they dared, to meet him in
an equal field, and try the fortune of arms. The
bold spirit of Douglas could ill brook this bra-
vado, and he advised the acceptance of the
challenge ; but he was over-ruled by Murray,
who replied to Edward, that he never took the
counsel of an enemy in any of his operations,
The king, therefore, kept ftill bis position oppe-
site to the Scots; and daily expected, that neces.
sity would oblige them to change their quarters,
and give him an opportunity of overwhelming
them with superior forces. After a few days,
they suddenly decamped, and marched farther up
the river ; but still posted themselves in such a
manner, as to preserve the advantage of the
ground, if the enemy should venture to attack
them '. Edward insisted, that all hazards should
be run, rather than allow these rayagers to escape

*Rymer , vol. iv. p. 312. Froissard. liv, iv. chap. 19. • Ibid.

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