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CHA P. had been attended with disorders; and the counXIII. cil, reflecting on the recent civil wars, and on
the animosities which naturally remain after these great convulsions, had reason to apprehend dangerous consequences from the absence of the son and successor of Henry. They therefore hastened to proclaim prince Edward, to swear allegiance to him, and to summon the states of the kingdom, in order to provide for the public peace in this important conjuncture '. Walter Giffard , archbishop of York, the earl of Cornwal, son of Richard, king of the Romans, and the earl of Glocester, were appointed guardians of the realm, and proceeded peaceably to the exercise of their authority, without either meeting with opposition from any of the people, or being disturbed with emulation and faction among themselves. The high character acquired by Edward during the late commotions, his military genius , his success in fubduing the rebels, his moderation in settling the kingdom, had procured him great esteem, mixed with affection, among all orders of men; and no one could reasonably entertain hopes of making any advantage of his absence, or of raising disturbance in the nation. The earl of Glocester himself, whose great power and turbulent fpirit had excited most jealousy, was forward to give proofs of his allegiance; and the other malecontents, being destitute of a leader, were obliged to remain in submission to the government.
Rymer , vol, ii. p. 1. Walfing. p. 43. Trivet , p. 239.
PRINCE Edward had reached Sicily in his re- CHA P. turn from the Holy Land, when he received in. XIII. telligence of the death of his father; and he difcovered a deep concern on the occasion. At the same time he learned the death of an infant son, John, whom his princess, Eleanor of Castile, had born him at Acre in Palestine, and as he appeared much less affected with that misfortune, the king of Sicily expressed a surprise at this difference of sentiment: But was told by Edward, that the death of a son was a loss which he might hope to repair; the death of a father was a loss irreparable .
EDWARD proceeded homeward ; but as he soon learned the quiet settlement of the kingdom, he was in no hurry to take possession of the throne, but spent near a year in France, before he made his appearance in England. In his passage by Chalons in Burgundy, he was challenged by the prince of the country to a tournament which he was preparing; and as Edward excelled in those martial and dangerous exercises, the true image of war, he declined not the opportunity of acquiring honor in that great assembly of the neighbouring nobles. But the image of war was here 1273. unfortunately turned into the thing itself. Edward and his retinue were so successful in the jousts, that the French knights, provoked at their supe. riority, made a serious attack upon them, which was repulsed, and much blood was idly shed in
Walling. Po 44. Trivet, p. 240.
CHA P. the quarrel'. This rencounter received the name
XIII. of the petty battle of Chalons. 1274.
EDWARD went from Chalons to Paris, and did homage to Philip for the dominions which he held in France. He thence returned to Guienne, and settled that province, which was in some confufion. He made his journey to London through France; in his passage he accommodated at Mon
treuil a difference with Margaret, countess of 19th Aug.
Flanders, heiress of that territory'; he was received with joyful acclamations by his people, and
was folemnly crowned at Westminster by Robert, Civil admi. archbishop of Canterbury.
of The king immediately applied himself to the the king.
re-establishment of his kingdom, and to the cor. recting of those disorders, which the civil commotions and the loose adıninistration of his father had introduced into every part of government. The plan of his policy was equally generous and prudent. He considered the great barons both as the immediate rivals of the crown, and oppreffors of the people ; and he purposed, by an exact distribution of justice, and a rigid execution of the laws, to give at once protection to the inferior orders of the state, and to diminish the arbitrary power of the great, on which their dangerous authority was chiefly founded. Making it a rule in his own conduct to observe, except' on extraordinary 'occasions, the privileges
* Walling. P. 44. Trivet , p. 12. 41. M. West, p. 402. * Walling. P. 45. Rymer , vol. ii. p. 32, 33,
secured to them by the Great Charter, he ac-C HA P. quired a right to insist upon their observance of XIII. the same charter towards their vassals and inferiors; and he made the crown be regarded by all the gentry and commonalty of the kingdom, as the fountain of justice, and the general asylum against oppression. Besides enacting several use. ful statutes, in a parliament which he summon. 1275. ed at Westminster, he took care to inspect the 16th conduct of all his magistrates and judges, to dis. place such as were either negligent or corrupt, to provide them with sufficient force for the execution of justice, to extirpate all bands and confederacies of robbers, and to repress those more silent robberies, which were committed either by the power of the nobles, or under the countenance of public authority. By this rigid administration, the face of the kingdom was soon changed; and order and justice took place of violence and oppression: But amidst the excellent institutions and public-spirited plans of Edward, there still appears somewhat both of the severity of his personal character and of the prejudices of the times.
As the various kinds of malefactors, the mur. derers, robbers, incendiaries, ravishers, and plunderers, had become so numerous and powerful, that the ordinary ministers of justice, espe. cially in the western counties, were afraid to execute the laws against them, the king found it necessary to provide an extraordinary remedy for the evil; and he erected a new tribunal,
O HA P. which, however useful, would have been deemed, XIII. in times of more regular liberty, a great stretch
of illegal and arbitrary power. It consisted of commillioners, who were empowered to enquire into disorders and crimes of all kinds, and to in. flict the proper punishments upon thein. The officers, charged with this unusual commission, made their circuits throughout the counties of England most infested with this evil, and carried terror into all those parts of the kingdom. In their zeal to punih crimes, they did not sufficiently distinguish between the innocent and guilty; the smallest fufpicion became a ground of accusation and trial; the slightest evidence was received against criminals; prisons were crowded with malefactors, real or pretended; severe fines were levied for small offences; and the king, though his exhausted exchequer was supplied by this expedient, found it necessary to stop the course of so great rigor, and after terrifying and dislipating by this tribunal the gangs of disorderly people in England, he prudently annulled the commission'; and never afterwards renewed it.
AMONG the various disorders, to which the kingdom was subject, no one was more univers. ally complained of than the adulteration of the coin; and as this crime required more art than
Spelman's Gloff. in verbo Trailbaston. But Spelman was either mistaken in placing this commission in the fifth year of the king, or it was renewed in 1305. See Rymer, yol, ii, p. 260. Trivet, p. 338. M. West. p: 450.