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the English of that age, wbo chiefly employed C I A P. force and violence in their iniquities, were pos. XIII. sessed of, the imputation fell upon the Jews?. 1275. Edward also seems to have indulged a strong preposseflion against that nation; and this ill-judged zeal for Christianity being naturally augmented by an expedition to the Holy Land, he let loose the whole rigor of his justice against that unhappy people. Two hundred and eighty of them were hanged at once for this crime in London alone, besides those who fuffered in other parts of the kingdom'. The houses and lands, (for 'the Jews had of late ventured to make purchases of that kind) as well as the goods of great multitudes, were fold and confiscated: And the king, left it should be suspected that the riches of the sufferers were the chief part of their guilt, ordered a moiety of the money, raised by these con. fiscations, to be set apart, and bestowed upon fuch as were willing to be converted to Christianity. But resentment was more prevalent with them, than any temptation from their poverty ; and very few of them could be induced by interest to embrace the religion of their perfecutors. The miferies of this people did not here terminate. Though the arbitrary talliages and exactions, levied upon them, had yielded a constant and a considerable revenue to the crown; Edward, prompted by his zeal and his rapacity, resolved
? Walling. p. 48. Heming, vol. i. p. 6. * T. Wykes, p. 107.
CHA P. some time after' to purge the kingdom entirely XIII. of that hated race, and to seize to himself at once
their whole property as the reward of his labor ". He left them only money sufficient to bear their charges into foreign countries, where new persecutions and extortions awaited them: But the inhabitants of the cinque-ports, imicating the bigotry and avidity of their sovereign, despoiled most of them of this small pittance, and even threw many of thein into the sea: A crime, for which the king, who was determined to be the sole plunderer in his dominions, inflicted a capita al punishment upon them. No less than fifteen thousand Jews were at this time robbed of their effects and banished the kingdom: Very few of that nation have since lived in England: And as it is impossible for a nation to sublist without lenders of money, and none will lend without a compensation, the practice of usury, as it was then called, was thenceforth exercised by the English themselves upon their fellow-citizens, or by Lombards and other foreigners. It is very much to be questioned, whether the dealings of these new usurers were equally open and unex. ceptionable with those of the old. By a law of Richard, it was enacted, that three copies should be made of every bond given to a Jew; one to be put into the hands of a public magistrate, another into those of a man of credit, and a third
In the year 1290. " Walling. p. 54. Hening ; vol. i. p. 20. Trivet, p. 266.
to remain with the Jew himself". But as the CH A P. ,
The great poverty of the crown, though no
6 H A P. vice in the late reign, being required to show his XIII. titles, drew his sword; and subjoined, that Wil
liam , the Bastard, had not conquered the kingdom for himself alone: His ancestor was a joint adventurer in the enterprise ; and he himself was determined to maintain what had from that period remained unquestioned in his family. The king, sensible of the danger, desisted from making farther enquiries of this nature.
But the active spirit of Edward could not Conquest of
long remain without employment. He soon after undertook an enterprise more prudent for himself, and more advantageous to his people. Lewellyn, prince of Wales, had been deeply engaged with the Mountfort faction; had entered into all their conspiracies against the crown; had frequently fought on their side; and till the battle of Ever. ham , so fatal to that party, had employed every expedient to depress the royal cause, and to promote the success of the barons. In the general accommodation, made with the vanquished, Lewellyn had also obtained his pardon; but as he was the most powerful, and therefore the most obnoxious vassal of the crown, he had reason to entertain anxiety about his situation, and to dread the future effects of resentment and jealousy in the English monarch. For this reason, he determined to provide for his security by maintaining a secret correspondence with his former associates; and he even made his addresses to a daughter of the earl of Leicester, who was sent to him from beyond sea, but being intercepted in her passage
near the isles of Scilly, was detained in the court CH A P. of England ". This incident increasing the mu. XIII. tual jealousy between Edward and Lewellyn, the latter, when required to come to England, and do homage to the new king, scrupled to put himself in the hands of an enemy, desired a fafe-conduct from Edward, insisted upon having the king's son and other noblemen delivered to him as hostages, and demanded, that his consort should previously be set at liberty". The king, having now brought the state to a full settlement, was not displeased with this occasion of exerci. fing his authority, and subduing entirely the principality of Wales. He refused all Lewellyn's demands, except that of a safe-conduct; fent him repeated summons to perform the duty of a vafsal; levied an army to reduce bim to obedience; obtained a new aid of a fifteenth from parliament; and marched out with certain assurance of success against the enemy. Besides the great dispropor. fion of force between the kingdom and the principality, the circumstances of the two states were entirely reversed; and the same intestine dillensions, which had formerly weakened England, now' prevailed in Wales, and had even taken place in the reigning family. David and Roderic , brothers to Lewellyn, dispossessed of their inheritance by that prince, had been obliged to
" Walsing. p.. 46, 47. Heming, vol. i. p. 5. Trivet, p. 248. " Rymer , vol. ii. p. 68. Walsing. p. 46.