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Goverriment during the minority~Insurrection of the

common people Discontents of the barons-Civil commotións-Expulsion or execution of the king's ministers-Cabals of the duke of Glocester-Murder of the duke of Glocester--Banishment of Henry Duke of Hereford--Return of Henry-General Insurrection-Deposition of the king-His murder : -His character---Miscellaneous transactions dur. ing this reign. THE parliament which was summoned soon CHAP. I after the king's accession, was both elected and assembled in tranquillity; and the great change, 1377. from a sovereign of consummate wisdom and expe- ment der rience to a boy of eleven years of age, was not im- ing the mie mediately felt by the people. The habits of order bority. and obedience which the barons had been taught : · VOL. II.


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CH A P. during the long reign of Edward, still influenced XVII.

them; and the authority of the king's three. uncles, the dukes of Lancaster, York, and Glocester, sufficed to repress, for a time, the turbulent spirit to which that order, in a weak reign, was so often subject. The dangerous ambition too of these princes themselves was checked by the plain and undeniable title of Richard, by the declaration of it made in parliament, and by the affectionate regard which the people bore to the memory of his father, and which was naturally transferred to the young sovereign upon the throne. The different characters also of these three princes rendered them a counterpoise to each other; and it was natural to expect, that any dangerous designs which might be formed by one brother, would meet with opposition from the others. Lancaster, whose age and experience, and authority under the late king, gave him the ascendant among them, though hïs integrity seemed not proof against great temptations, was neither of an enterprising spirit, nor of a popular and engaging temper. York was indolent, inactive, and of slender capacity. Głocester was turbulent, bold, and popular; but being the youngest of the family, was restrained by the power and authority of his elder brothers. There appeared, therefore, no circumstance in the domestic situation of England which might endanger the public peace, or give any immediate apprehensions to the lovers of their country.

BUT'as Edward, though he had fixed the succession to the crown, had taken no care to establish a plan of government during the minority of his

grandson, it behoved the parliament to supply this · defect: And the house of commons distinguished * themselves by taking the lead on the occasion.

This house, which had been rising to consideration.

during the whole course of the late reign, naturally ... received an accession of power during the minority;. ; and as it was now becoming a scene of business, the



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