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The earls of Lancaster, Hereford, and Arundel, were soon apprized of Warwick's success, and informed that their common enemy was now in custody at Warwick castle. Thither, therefore, they hafted with the utmost expedition, to hold a consultation upon the fate of their prisoner. This was of no long continuance; they unanimously resolved to put him to death, as an enemy to the kingdom, and gave bim no time to prepare for his execution. They had him instantly conveyed to a place called Blacklowhill, where a Welsh executioner, provided for that purpose, severed the head from the body. There appeared a deeper spirit of cruelty now entering into the nation, than had been known in times of barbarity and ignorance. It is probable, that the natural Naughters committed by the Christians and Saracens upon each other, in the Crusades, made the people familiar with blood; and taught Chriftians to butcher each other with the same alacrity with which they were seen to destroy infidels, to whom they feldom gave any quarters.
The king, at first, seemed to feel all the red sentment which fo fensible an injury could produce ; but equally weak in his attachment and his revenge, he was soon appeased, and granted the perpetrators a free pardon, upon their mak. ing a shew of submission and repentance.
An apparent tranquillity was once more established among the contending parties; and that resentment which they had exercised upon each other was now converted against the Scotch, who were considered as the common enemy. A. war had been declared some time before with this nation, in order to recover that authority over them, which had been established in the former reign, and a truce was soon after concluded; but the terms of it being ill observed
on both sides, the animofities were kindled afresh, and the whole military force of England was called out by the king; together with very large reinforcements, as well from the continent, as other parts of the English dominions. Edward's army amounted to an hundred thousand men ; while Bruce, king of Scotland, could bring but a body of thirty thousand to oppose him. Both armies met at a place called Banockburn, in the kingdom of Scotland, within two miles of Stirling; the one confident in numbers, the other relying wholly on their advantageous pofition. Bruce had a hill on his right flank, and a bog on his left; with a rivulet in front, on the banks of which he had caused several deep pits to be dug, with sharp ftakes driven into them, and the whole carefully concealed from the view of the enemy. The onfet was made by the English ; and a very furious engagement ensued between the cavalry on both fides. The fortune and intrepidity of Bruce gave the first turn to the day. He engaged in fingle combat with Henry de Bohun, a gentleman of the family of Hereford; and at one stroke clove his full with his battle-ax to the chine. So favourable a beginning was only interrupted by the night; but the battle renewing at the dawn of the ensuing day, the English cavalry once more attempted to attack the Scotch arıy; but unexpect, edly found themselves entangled among those pits which Bruce had previously made to receive them. The earl of Gloucester, the king's nephew, was overthrown and Nain: this served to intimidate the whole English army ; and they were soon ftill more alarmed by the appearance of a fresh
army, as they fuppofid it to be, that was preparing, from a neighbouring height, to fall upon them in the rear. This was only composed of waggoners and attendants upon the Scottith cainp;
who had been
supplied by the king, with standards, and ordered to make as formidable an appearance as they could. The fratagem took effect ; the English, intimidated by their losses, and distracted by their fears, began to fly on all sides; and throwing away their arms, were pursued with great flaugh ter as far as Berwick,
Edward himself narrowly escaped by Alight to Dunbar, where he was received by the earl of Marche, and thence conveyed in safety by sea to Berwick. This battle was decisive in favour of the Scotch. It fecured the independence of the crown of that kingdom ; and fuch was the influence of so great a defeat upon the minds of the English, that for some years after no superiority of numbers could induce them to keep the field againft their formidable adversaries, Want of success is ever attended with want of
authority. The king having fuffered A.D.
not only a defeat from the Scotch, but 1314. also having been weakened by several insurrections among the Welth and Trilh, found his greatest afflictions still remaining in the turbulence and infolence of his subjects at home. The nobility, ever factious, now took the advantage of his feeble situation to depress his power, and re-establish their own. The earl of Lancaster, and those of his party, no sooner saw the unfortunate monarch return with disgrace, than they renewed their demands, and were reinstated in their former power of governing the kingdom. It was declared, that all offices should be filled from time to time by the votes of parliament, which as they were influenced by the great barons, thefe effecually took all government into their own hands. Thus, from every new calamity, the ftate fuffered; the barons acquired new power ; and their aims were not so much to repress the
cnemies of their country, as to foment new animofities, and strengthen every foreign confederacy.
A confirmed opposition generally produces an opposite combination. The king finding himself thus steadily counteracted in all his aims, had no other resource but in another favourite, on whom he reposed all confidence, and from whose connexions he hoped for affiftance. The name of this new favourite was Hugh Despenser, a young man of a noble English family, of some merit, and very engaging accomplishments. His father was a person of a much more eftimable character than the fon; he was venerable from his years, and respected through life for his wisdom, his valour, and his integrity. But these excellent qualities were all diminished and vilified from the moment he and his son began to share the king's favour. The turbulent barons, and Lancaster at their head, regarded him as a rival, and taught the people to despife those accomplishments that only served to eclipfe their own. The king, equally weak and unjust in bis attachments, inttead of profiting by the wifdom of his favourites, endeavoured to strengthen himself by their power. For this purpole he married the younger Spenser to his niece ; he settled upon him fome very large poffeffions in the Marches of Wales ; and even difpoffeffed some lords unjustly of their eftates, in order to accumulate them upon his favourite. This was a pretext the king's enemies had been long feeking for ; the earls of Lancaster and Hereford few to arms; and the lords A udley and Ammori, who had been dispoflefled, joined them with all their forces. Their first measure was to require the king to dismiss or confine his favourite, the young Spenser, menacing him in case of a refusal, with a determination to obtain by force, what fhould be denied to their importunities. This requeft was
scarce made, when they began to thew their relolution to have redress, by pillaging and destroying the lands of young Spenser, and burning his houses. The estates of the father foon after leared the same fate ; and the insurgents having thus satiated themselves with the plunder of this most opulent family, marched up to London, to inflict with their own hands, that punishment which bad been denied to their remonstrances. Finding a free entrance into the city, they so intimidated the parliament that was then sitting, that a sentence was procured of perpetual exile against the two Spensers, and a forfeiture of their fortune and estates. But an act of this kind, extorted by violence, was not likely to bind the king any longer than necessity compelled him. Some time after, having assembled a small army to punish one of the barons, who had offered an indignity to the queen, he thought it a convenient opportunity to take revenge on all his enemies at once, and to recall the two Spensers, whose company he fo ardently desired. In this manner the civil war was kindled afresh, and the country once more involved in all the horrors of flaughter and devastation.
1 he king had now got the start of his adversaries, and hastened by forced marches towards the borders of Wales, where the enemy's chief power lay. Lancaster, however, was not show in making head against him ; having summoned together all his vassals and retainers, and being joined by the earl of Hereford. Still farther to strengthen his party, he formed an alliance with the king of Scotland, with whom he had long been privately connected. But his diligence on this occalion proved ineffectual ; the king at the head of thirty thousand men pressed him so closely, that he had not time to collect his force together; and, Aying from one place to another, he was at last stopt