Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

the charge of guarding him month about. Whatever his treatment from lord Berkley might have been, the other two seemed resolved, that he should enjoy none of the comforts of life, while in their custody. They practised every kind of indignity upon him, as if their design had been to accelerate his death by the bitterness of his sufferings. Among other acts of brutal oppression, it is faid, that they shaved him for sport in the open fields, using water from a neighbouring ditch. The genius of the people must have been greatly debased, or they would never have permitted such indecencies to be practised on a monarch, whose greatest fault was the violence of his friendships. He is faid to have borne his former indignities with patience, but all fortitude forsook him upon this occalion; he looked upon his merciless infula ters witn an air of fallen majesty, and bursting in to tears, exclaimed, that the time might come, when he would be more decently attended. This, however, was but a vain expectation. As his perfecutors saw that his death might not arrive, even under every cruelty, till a revolution had been made in his favour, they resolved to rid themselves of their fears, by destroying him at once. Accordingly, his two keepers, Gournay and Montravers, canle to Berkeley castle, where Edward was then confined ; and having concerted a method of putting him to death without any external signs of violence, they threw him on a bed, holding him down by a table, which they placed over him. They hen ran an horn pipe up his body, through which they conveyed a red hot iron; and thus buint his bowels, without disfiguring his body. By this cruel artitice, they expected to ha eir crime concealed; but his horrid. thrieks, which were heard at a distance from

the

[ocr errors]

the castle, foon gave a suspicion of the murder ; and the whole was soon after divul ed, by th: confession of one of the accomplices. Misfortunes like his, must ever create pity; and a punishment fo disproportionate to the sufferer's guilt, muit wipe away even many of those faults, of which Edward was justly culpable. He left behind him four children; two fous, and two daughters : Edward was his eldest son and fucceflor; John, died young; Jane was afterwaras married to David Bruce, king of Scotland; and Eleanor was married to Regio nald, count of Gueldres.

CH A P.

CHA P. XIV.

E D W A R D III.

TH

on ;

THE parliament, by which young Edward was

raised to the throne, during the life of his father, appointed twelve persons as his privy-council, to direct the operations of government. Mortimer, the queen's paramour, who might naturally be set down as one of the members, artfully excluded himself, under a pretended shew of moderati

but at the fame time he fecretly influenced all the measures that came beneath their deliberation. He caused the greatest part of the royal revenues to be settled on the queen dowager, and he seldom cook the trouble to consult the ministers of government in any public undertaking. The king himself was so besieged by the favourite's creatures, that no access could be procured to him, and the whole sovereign authority was shared between Mortimer and the queen, who took no care to conceal her criminal attachment.

A government so constituted, could not be of } ng continuance; and the flightest shock was fufficient to overturn that power, which was founded neither in strength nor virtue. An irruption of the Scotch gave the first blow to Mortimer's credit; and young Edward's own abilities contributed to its ruin. The Scotch, who had no connexion with either party, were resolved to take advantage of the feeble state of the nation; and, without regarding the truce that subsisted between the two kingdoms, attempted to surprize the castle of Norham. This commencement of hoftilities, they foon after seconded by a formidable invasion on

the

the northern counties, with an army of twenty thousand men. Edward, even at this early age, discovered that martial difpofition, for which he was afterwards fo famous. He resolved to intercept them in their retreat ; and began his march in the middle of July, at the head of

A. D. an army of threescore thousand men ; but after undergoing incredible fatigues, 1327. in pursuing them through woods and morasses, he was unable to perceive any signs of an enemy, ex. cept from the ravages they had made, and the smoaking ruins of villages, which they had fet on fire. In this disappointment he had no other refource, but to offer a reward to any who should discover the place where the Scots were posted. This the enemy understanding, sent him word that they were ready to meet him, and give him battle. However, they had taken fo advantageous a situation, on the opposite banks of the river Ware, that the king found itimpracticableto attack them; and no threats could bring them to a battle upon equal terms.

It was in this fituation, that the first breach was discovered between the king and Mortimer, the queen's favourite. The young monarch, all ardour to engage, refolved that night, at all hazards, not to allow the ravagers to escape with impunity; but Mortimer opposed his influence to the valour of the king, and prevented an engagement, which might be attended with the most destructive confequences to his authority, whether he won, or lost the day. Shortly after, the Scotch, under the command of Douglas, made an irruption into the English camp by night, and arrived at the very tent in which the king was sleeping. But the young monarch happening to wake in the critical moment, made a valiant defence against the enemy; his chamberlain and chaplain died fighting

by

C 5

by his side ; and he thus had time given him to escape in the dark.

The Scotch being frustrated in their design upon the king, were contented to decamp for their own country, leaving their tents standing, without any person behind them, except fix English prisoners, whose legs they had broken, to prevent their carrying intelligence to their countrymen. The escape of the Scotch was as disagrecable a circumstance to the English army, as the vaJour of the young king was applauded and admired. The failure on one part was entirely ascribed to the queen’s favourite ; and success on the other, to the kin 's own intrepidity. The people began to wish for a removal of that authority, which food between them and the monarch ; and spared no pains to aggravate the faults of the governors, or to exo tol the rising merit of their young fovereign.

Mortiiner now saw himself exalted to a very precarious situation, and was resolved, on any terins, to procure a peace with Scotland, in order to fix his power more firmly at home. was accordingly concluded between the two nations, in which the Englith renounced all title to Povereignty over the lister kingdom ; and the Scotch, in return, agreed to pay thirty thousand marks as a compensation. The next step that Mortimer thought necessary for his security, was to seize the Earl of Kent, brother to the late king, an harmless and well meaning person, who, under a persuasion that his brother was still alive, and concealed in some secret prison, entered into a design of restoring him to liberty, and reinftatinz him in his foriner power. Him, therefore, Moriimer resolved to destroy ; and summoning hiin before parliament, had him accused, condeinned, and executed, even before the young

king

A treaty

« ZurückWeiter »