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cution, it is supposed, was occafioned by secret orders from some persons of great consequence in England, to prevent a discovery of their share in the guilt. Mautravers concealed himself several years in Germany, but having rendered some service to Edward the Third, he ventured to approach him, threw himself on his knees, and, humbly submitting to his mercy, received a pardon from that too-generous Prince.
The character of Edward the Second appears to have been intirely free from any crime that could render him deserving of so tragical an end. Unqualified by nature to govern a fierce and turbulent people, he was obliged to devolve on others the weight of government. Indolence and the want of penetration led him to make choice of ministers and favourites who were not proof against the intoxication of delegated power. The seditious and ever-restless Barons, taking advantage of this imprudence, under pretence of attacking his minifters, insulted his
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person and invaded his authority ; whilst the impatient and ill-judging populace threw all the blame on their Prince, and increased the public disorders by their faction and violence. The unlimited confidence King Edward placed in his favourites, and the unbounded profusion with which he rewarded their attachment, to the disgust of the whole nation, warranted in some measure this opposition.
The partial smiles of a King, if bestowed on an unworthy person, generally carry with them a poison, which for a time apparently invigorates, but at last proves fatal. The English history affords more instances than this before us, of the danger that results from such an imprudent partiality. The Priyce, who deaf to the complaints of his People, listens only to the representations of his favourite, and those subservient adherents which during his temporary exaltation attach themselves to him, will find too late, that the opprobrium and punishment due to his oppressive acts are not confined to the abusers of his confidence alone; but that they will
reach even Majesty itself, and involve him in the certain and not unmerited ruin. Even the well-meaning Edward, in whose breast tyranny and oppression appear not to have found a kindly foil, by blindly pursuing the councils of his rapacious minions, found himself entangled in their guilt, and its consequenț destruction.
But though this unhappy Prince could not escape the fatal consequences of his infatuation, yet the Queen and Mortimer, by whose direction they were put in execution with such horrid aggravations, drew on themselves the displeasure of every rank. As they kept the young King surrounded by their creatures, and had by every disgraceful submisfion secured peace with the neighbouring kingdoms, they for a time enjoyed without interruption their unjustly acquired supremacy, The Princes of the Blood, and all those Noblemen who felt for the honour of the nation, and opposed the tyranny of Mortimer, were, through his contrivances, imprisoned or de.
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stroyed, and their estates appropriated to his own use. By this means his power grew formidable to every one; and he affected a state and dignity superior to his Royal Master, The whole nation now bowed before him; not one of the Barons daring to dispute his will, except the Earl of Kent, who on that account he resolved to remove out of the way. To effect this he spread a report throughout the kingdom by means of his emissaries, that king Edward the Second was still alive in Corfe castle, but visible only to a few particular persons. As he knew that the Earl of Kent had always entertained a most cordial affection for his unhappy brother, and sincerely lamented his death, he doubted not that he would exert himself in his favour, could he be persuaded that he was really alive. Mortimer was not disappointed in these expectations. The Earl of Kent no sooner heard the story, which was now become the general topic of conversa: tion, than he began to inquire into the foundation of the rumour. He examined
Sir John Deverel, the governor of the castle, who, having received private instructions from the minister, confirmed the truth of it, insinuating at the same time that he let him into the secret through friendship. Many other persons of distinction firmly believing the report, and expressing their desire of feeing the unfortunate Monarch, and replacing him on the throne, the Earl of Kent wrote him a letter; assuring him, that he would use his utmost endeavours to procure his liberty, and that the principal Noblemen were determined to exert their power in restoring him to that dignity of which he had been so unjustly deprived. Sir John Deverel promised to deliver this letter to King Edward, but put it into the hands of Mortimer, who resolved to employ it as the means of accomplishing the Earl's destruction. He açcordingly directed the young King to conyoke a Parliament at Winchester : when, as few attended besides his own creatures and dependents, the freedom of these assemblies þeing destroyed by his arbiratry proceedings,