« ZurückWeiter »
THOMAS CHAMBERLAIN, a gentleman of some c H À P. note, had assembled several of his associates at XIII. Boston, in Lincolnshire, under pretence of holda ing à tournament, an exercise practised by the gentry only ; but in reality with a view of plundering the rich fair of Boston, and robbing the merchants. To facilitate his purpose, he privately set fire to the town; and while the inhabitants were employed in quenching the flames, the conspirators broke into the booths, and carried off the goods. Chamberlain himself was detected and hanged; but maintained so steadily the point of honor to his accomplices, that he could not be § 3 prevailed on, by offers or promises; to discover ? any of them. Many other instances of robbery! and violence broke out in all parts of England; though the singular circumstances attending this Conspiracy have made it alone be particularly re- . corded by historians ?
But the corruption of the judges, by whichi 1289. the fountains of justice were poisoned , seemed of still more dangerous consequence. Edward, in order to remedy this prevailing abuse, fummoned à parliament, and brought the judges to a trial; where all of them, except two, who were cler: gymen, were convicted of this flagrant iniquity; were fined, and deposed. The amount of the fines ; levied upon them, is alone a sufficient proof of their guilt; being above one hundred thousand marks, an immense sum in those days,
** Heming. vol. i. p. 16, 19.
CHA P, and sufficient to defray the charges of an expenXII. sive war between two great kingdoms. The king
afterwards made all the new judges swear, that they would take no bribes; but his expedient, of deposing and fining the old ones, was the more effectual remedy.
We now come to give an account of the state of affairs in Scotland, which gave rise to the most interesting transactions of this reign, and of some of the subsequent; though the intercourse of that kingdom with England, either in peace or war, had hitherto produced so few events of moment, that, to avoid tediousness, we have omitied inany of them, and have been very concise in relating the rest. If the Scots had , before this period, any real history, worthy of the name, except what they glean from scattered passages in the English historians, those events, however minute, yet, being the only foreign transactions
of the nation, might deserve a place in it. Affairs of Though the government of Scotland had
been continually exposed to those factions and convulsions, which are incident to all barbarous, and to many civilized nations ; and though the successions of their kings, the only part of their history which deserves any credit, had often been disordered by irregularities and usurpations ; the true heir of the royal family had still in the end prevailed , and Alexander III. who had espoused the sister of Edward, probably inherited, after a period of about eight hundred years, and through a succession of males, the sceptre of JI
the Scottish princes, who had governed the nation, C HA P. fince its first establishment in the island. This SI. prince died in 1286 by a fall from his horse at $289. Kinghorn”, without leaving any male issue, and without any descendant, except Margaret , born of Eric, king of Norway, and of Margaret, daughter of the Scottish monarch. This princess, commonly called the maid of Norway, though a female, and an infant, and a foreigner, yet being the lawful heir of the kingdom, had , through her grandfather's care, been recognized successor by the states of Scotland "; and on Alexander's death, the dispositions, which had been previously made against that event ; appeared so just and prudent, that no disorders, as might naturally be apprehended, ensued in the kingdom. Margaret was acknowledged queen of Scotland; five guardians, the bishops of St. Andrews and Glasgow, the earls of Fife and Buchan, and James, steward of Scotland, entered peaceably upon the administration, and the infant princess, under the protection of Edward, her great uncle, and Eric, her father, who ex. erted themselves on this occasion, seemed firmly seated on the throne of Scotland. The English monarch was naturally led to build mighty projects on this incident; and having lately, by force of arms, brought Wales under subjection , he ato tempted, by the marriage of Margaret with his
25 Heming. vol. i. p. 29. Trivet, p. 267. 36 Rymer, vol. ü. p. 266.
CI A P. eldest son Edward, to unite the whole island into XIII. one monarchy, and thereby to give it security
both against domestic convulsions and foreign in1290. vasions. The amity, which had of late prevailed
between the two nations, and which , even in former times, had never been interrupted by any violent wars or injuries, facilitated extremely the execution of this project, so favorable to the happiness and grandeur of both kingdoms; and the states of Scotland readily gave their assent to the English proposals, and even agreed, that their young fovereign should be educated in the court of Edward. Anxious, however, for the liberty and independence of their country, they took care to stipulate very equitable conditions, ere they intrusted themselves into the hands of so great and so ambitious a monarch. It was agreed, that they should enjoy all their ancient laws, liberties, and customs; that in case young Edward and Margaret should die without issue, the crown of Scotland should revert to the next heir, and should be inherited by him free and independent; that the military tenants of the crown should never be obliged to go out of Scotland, in order to do homage to the sovereign of the united kingdoms, nor the chapters of cathedral, collegiate, or conventual churches, in order to make elections; that the parliaments, summoned for Scottish affairs, should always be held within the bounds of that kingdom ; and that Edward should bind himself, under the penalty of 100,000 marks, payable to the pope for the
use of the holy wars, to observe all these articles“?. CHA P. It is not easy to conceive, that two nations could XIII. have treated more on a foot of equality than Scotland and England maintained during the whole course of this transaction: And though Edward gave his assent to the article, concerning the future independence of the Scottish crown, with a saving of his former. rights; this reserve gave no alarm to the nobility of Scotland, both because these rights, having hitherto been little heard of, had occasioned no disturbance, and because the Scots had so near a prospect of seeing them entirely absorbed in the rights of their sovereignty.
But this project, so happily formed and so amicably conducted, failed of success, by the sudden death of the Norvegian princess, who expired on her passage to Scotland , and left a very dismal prospect to the kingdom. Though Competitors disorders were for the present obviated by the for the
w crown of authority of the regency formerly established, the Scotland. succession itself of the crown was now become an object of dispute; and the regents could not expect, that a controversy, which is not usually decided by reason and argument alone, would be peaceably settled by them, or even by the states of the kingdom , amidst so many powerful pretenders. The posterity of William , king of Scotland, the prince taken prisoner by Henry II. being all extinct by the death of Margaret of
” Rymer, vol. ii. p. 482.