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in his way towards Scotland by Sir Andrew Harcla, who repulsed his forces in a skirmish in which the earl of Hereford was sain, and Lancaster himfelf taken prisoner. As he had formerly shewn little mercy to Gavęston, there was very little extended to him
this occafion. “He was con. demned by a court martial; and led, mounted on a lean horfe, to an eminence near Pomfret, in circumstances of the greatest indignity, where he was beheaded by a Londoner. The people, with whom he had once been a favourite, seened to have quite forsaken him in his disgrace; they reviled him, as he was led to execution, with every kind of reproach ; and even his own vassals seemed eager to remove suspicion by their being foremost to insult his distress. About eighteen more of the principal insurgents were afterwards condemned and executed in a more legal manner, while others found safety by escaping to the continent.
A rebellion, thus crushed, served only to encrease the pride and rapacity of young Spenfer; most of the forfeitures were seized for his use; and in his .promptitude to hurt the delinquents, he was found guilty of several acts of rapine and injustice. He himself laid the train for his own future misfortunes, and an occasion foon offered for putting it into effect against him. The A. D. king of France, taking the advantage of Edward's weakness, resolved to confir- 1324. Cate all his foreign dominions. After a fruitless embafly from Edward, to diffuade that monarch from his purpose, the queen of England herself defired permission to go over to the court of France, to endeavour to avert the storm.
The French king, though he gave her the kindest reception, was refolved to listen to no accommodaiion, unless Ed. ward in person thould appear, and do him hoVOL. II. с
mage for the dominions he held under him. This was reckoned a very dangerous step; and what the king of England could not think of complying with, nor what his favourite Spenser was willing to permit. In this exigence, the queen started a new expedient which seemed calculated to get rid of all difficulties. It was, that Edward should resign the dominion of Guienne to his son, now thirteen years of age, and that the young prince thould go to Paris, to pay that homage which had been required of the father. With this proposal all parties, agreed; young Edward was sent to Paris; and the queen, an haughty and ambitious woman, having thus got her son in her power, refolved to detain him till her own aims were complied with. Among the number of these was the expulsion of the Spensers, against whom the had conceived a violent hatred, from their great influence over the king..
In consequence of this resolution, the protracted the negotiation for some time, and being at last required by the king to return, the replied, that the would never again appear in England, till Spenser was removed from the royal presence and banished the kingdom. By this reply, the gained two very considerable advantages; the became popular in England, where Spencer was universally disliked; and she had the pleasure of enjoying the company of a young nobleman, whose name was Mortimer, upon · whom she had lately placed her affections. This youth had, in some former insurrection been condemned for high treafon, but had the sentence commuted into perpetual imprisonment in the Tower. From thence, however, he had the good fortune to escape into France, and soon became distinguished among his party for his violent animosity to Spenfer. The graces of his person and address, but particularly
his dislike to the favourite, rendered him very ac. ceptable to the queen; so that from being a partizan, be became a lover, and was indulged with all the familiarities that her criminal passion could confer. The queen's court now, therefore, became a fanctuary for all the malecontents who were banished their own country, or who chose to come over., A correspondence was secretly carried on with the discontented at home; and nothing now was aimed at, but to destroy the favourites, and dethrone the king.
To second the queen's efforts, many of the principal nobles prepared their vassals, and loudly declared against the favour. : ite. The kiny's brother, the earl of "325 Kent, was led in to engage among the rest ; the earl of Norfolk was prevailed upon, to enter secret." ly into the conspiracy. The brother and heir to the earl of Lancaster, was from principle attached to the cause ; the archbishop of Canterbury expressed his approbation of the queen's measures ; and the ininds of the people were enfamed by all those arts, which the designing practise upon the weak and ignorant. In this universal disposition to rebel, the queeu prepared for her expedition ; and, accompanied by three thousand men at arms, set out írom Dort harbour, and landed safely without oppofition, on the coast of Suffolk. She no fooner appeared, than there seemed a general revolt in her favour; three prelates, the bishops of Ely, wincoln, and Hereford, brought her all their vassals ; aind* Robert de Watteville, who had been sent to oppose her progress, deserted to her with all his forces.
In this exigence the unfortunate Edward vainly attempted to collect his friends, and bring the malecontents to their duty; he was obliged to leave the capital to the resentment of the prevail.
ing party; and the populace, immediately upon his defertion, flew out into those excesses which are the consequence of brutality unrestrained by fear, They seized the bishop of Exeter, as he was paffing through the city, beheaded him without any form of trial, and threw his body into the Thames, They also seized upon the Tower, and agreed to shew no mercy to any who should oppose their attempts. In the mean time the king found the spirit of disloyalty was not confined to the capital alone, but diffused over the whole kingdom. He had placed some dependence upon the garrison which was stationed in the castle of Bristol, under the command of the elder Spenser ; but they mutinied againft their governor, and that unfortunate fa. vourite was delivered up, and condemned by the tumultuous barons to the most ignominious death. He was hanged on a gibbet in his armour, his body was cut in pieces, and thrown to the dogs, and his head was sent to Winchester, where it was set on a pole, and exposed to the insults of the populace. Thus died the elder Spenser, in his ninetieth year, whose character even the malevolence of party could not tarnish. He had passed a youth of tranquil lity and reputation ; but his fond compliance with his son's ambition, at length involved his age in suin, though not disgrace.
Young Spenser, the unhappy son, did not long survive the father ; he was taken with some others. who had followed the fortunes of the wretched king, in an obscure convent in Wales, and the merciless victors resolved to glut their revenge, in adding insult to cruelty. The queen had not patience to wait the formality of a trial; but or. dered him immediately to be led forth before the insulting populace, and seemed to take a savage
pleafure in feafting her eyes with his distresses. The gibbet erected for his execution was fifty feet high; his head was sent to London, where the citizens received it in brutal triumph, and fixed it on the bridge. Several other lords also thåred his fate; all deserving pity indeed, had they not themselves formerly justified the present inhumanity, by setting a cruel example.
In the mean time, the king, who hoped to find refuge in Wales, was quickly discovered, and closely pursued by his triumphant enemies. Find. ing no hopes of succour in that part of the country he took shipping for Ireland ; but even there his wretched fortune feeñed willing to perfecute him ; he was driven back by contrary winds, and delive: ed up to his adversaries, who expreffed their satisfaction in the grofsness of their treatment. He was conducted to the capital, amidst the insults and reproaches of the people, and confined in the Tower. A charge was foon after exhibited against him ; in which no other crimes but his incapacity to govern, his indolence, his love of pleasure and his being swayed by evil counsellors, were objected against him. His deposition was quickly voted by parliament; he was assigned a pension for his support, his son Edward a youth of fourteen, was fixed upon to fucceed him, and the queen was appointed regent during the minority.
The deposed monarch but a short time survived his misfortunes; he was sent from prison, to prison, a wretched outcast, and the sport of his inhuman keepers. He had 1327 been at first confined to the custody of the earl of Lancaster, buľ this nobleman, 'fhewing some márks of respect and pity, he was taken out of his hands, and delivered over to lord Berkeley, Montravers, and Gournay, who were entrusted with