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preserved their freedom and their country, uncontaminated by the admiffion of foreign conque
But as they were, from their number incapable of withstanding their more powerful neighbours on the plain, their chief defence lay in their inaccessible mountains, those natural bulwarks of the country. Whenever Eng.
1276. land was distressed by factions at home, or its forces called off to wars abroad, the Welsh made it a constant practice to pour in their irregular troops, and lay the open country waste wherever they came.
Nothing could be more pernicious to a country than several neighbouring independent principalities, under different commanders, and pursuing different interests ; the mutual jealousies of such were sure to harass. the people ; and wherever victory was purchased, it was always at the expence of the general welfare. Sensible of this, Edward had long wished to reduce that incursive people, and had ordered Lewellyn to do homage for his territories ; which fummons the Welsh prince refused to obey, unless the king's own son should be delivered as hostage for his safe return. The king was not di!pleased at his refusal, as it served to give him a pretext for his intended invasion. He therefore levied an arıny against Lewellyn, and marched into his country with certain assurance of success. Upon the approach of Edward, the Welsh prince took refuge among the inaccessible mountains of Snowdon, and thereresolved to main:ain hisground, without trusting to the chance of a battle. These were the steep retreats that had for many ages before defended his ancestors against all the attempts of the Norman and Saxon conquerors. But Edward, equally vigorous and cautious, having explored every part of his way, pierced into the very centre of Lewellyn's territories, and ap
proached the Welth army in its last retreats. Lewellyn at first little regarded the progress of an enemy, that he suppofed would make a transient invafion, and then depart; but his contempt was turned into consternation, when he saw Edward place bis forces at the foot of the mountains, and
army, in order to force it by famine. Destitute of magazines, and cooped up in a narrow corner of the country, without provisions for his truops, or pafturage for his cattle, nothing remained but death, or submission; so that the unfortunate Welsh prince, without being able to ftrike a blow, for his independence, was, at last, obliged to submit at discretion, and to receive such terms as the victor was pleased to impose. Lewellyn confented to pay fifty thousands pounds, as a satisfaction for damages; to do homage to the crown of England ; to permit all other barons except four near Snowdon, to swear fealty in the fame manner; to relinquish the country between Cheshire and the river Conway ; to do justice to his own family, and to deliver heltages for the security of his fubmiffion.
But this treaty was only of short duration : the A. D.
oppression of the conqueror, and the in
dignant pride of the conquered nation, 1277. could not long remain without producing new diffenfions. The lords of the Marches committed all kinds of injustice on their Welsh neighbours; and although Edward remitted the fiftythoufand pounds penalty, yet he laid other restrictions some time after upon Lewellyn, which that prince considered as more injurious. He particularly exacted a promise from him at Worceiter, that he would retain no person in his principality, that thould be disagreeable - to the English monarch. These were intuits too great to be endured, and once more the Wella few to arms. A body of
their forces took the field under the command of David, the brother of their prince, ravaged the plain country, took the castle of Hardwardin, made Sir Roger Clifford, justice of the Marches, who was very dangerously wounded, their prisoner, and soon after laid siege to the castle of Ruth land. When the account of these hoftilities was brought to Edward, he alfembled a numerous army, and set out with a fierce refolution to exterminate Lewellyn and his whole family, and to reduce that people to such an abject state, that they should never after be able to revolt or dirtress their more peaceable neighbours. At first, however the king's endeavours were not attended with their usual success; having caused a bridge of boats to be laid over the river Menay, a body of forces, commanded by lord Latimer, and de Thonis, passed over before it was completely finished, to signalize their courage against the enemy. The Welsh patiently remained in their fortreffes till they saw the tide flowing in beyond the end of the bridge, and thus cutting off the retreat of the assailants. It was then that they poured down from their mountains 'with hideous outcries; and, with the most ungovernable fury, put the whole body that had got over to the fword. This defeat revived the finking spirits of the Welíh ; and it was now universally believed by that poor fuperftitious people, that heaven had declared in their favour. A story ran that it was foretold, in the prophecies of Merlin, that Lewellyn was to be the restorer of Brutus's empire in Britain : a wizzard had prognosticated that he should ride through the streets of London with a crown upcu his head. These were inducements fufficiently Atrong to persuade this prince to hazard a decifive battle againft the English. With this view, he marched into Radnorihire; and palling the river
Wey, his troops were surprized and defeated by Edward Mortimer, while he himself was absent from his army, upon a conference with some of the barons of that country. Upon his return, feeing the dreadful situation of his affairs, he ran desperately into the midst of the enemy, and quickly found that death he so ardently fought for. One of the English captains recognizing his countenance, severed his head from his body, and it was sent to London, where it was received with extreme demonftrations of joy. The brutal spirit of the times will sufficiently appear from the barbarity of the citizens on this occasion: the head being encircled in a silver coronet, to fulfil the prediction of the wizzard, it was placed by them upon a pillory, that the populace might glut their eyes with such an agreeable spectacle. David, the brother of this unfortunate prince, foon after shared the same fate; while his followers, quite dispirited by the loss of their beloved leader, obeyed but slowly, and fought with reluctance. Thus being at last totally abandoned, he was obliged to hide himself. in one of the obfcure ca. verns of the country; but his retreat being soon after discovered, he was taken, tried, and con: demned, as a traitor. His sentence was executed with the most rigorous severity; he was hanged, drawn and quartered, only for having bravely defended the expiring liberties of his native country, and his own hereditary poffeffions. With him expired the government, and the distinction of his nation. It was soon after united to the kingdom of England, made a principality, and given to the eldest son of the crown. Foreign conquests might add to the glory, but this added to the felicity of the kingdom. The Welsh were now blended with the conquerors; and in the revolution of a few ages, all national animosity was entirely forgotten.
At the time of the conqueft, however, the Welsh submitted with extreme reluctance; and few nations ever bowed to a foreign yoke with greater indignation. The bards of the country, whose employment consisted in rehearsing the glorious deeds of their ancestors, were particularly obnoxious to the king, who, considering that wbile they continued to keep the ancient flame alive, he must expect no peace in his new acquisitions, ordered them to be massacred, from motives of barbarous policy, at that time not uncommon. This severity he is said to have softened by another measure, equally politic, and far less culpable. In order to Aatter their vanity, and amuse their fuperftition, he left his queen to be delivered in the castle of Caernarvon ; and afterwards presented the child, whose name was Edward, to the Welsh lords, as a native of their country, and as their appointed prince. The lords received him with acclamations of joy, considering him as a master, who would govern them as a distinct people from the English, there being at that time another heir apparent to the Englith crown. But the death of the eldest son, Alphonso, foon after made young Edward, who had been thus created prince of Wales, heir also to the English monarchy; and ever since the government of both nations has continued to flow in one undivided channel.
This great and important conquest being atchieved, paved the way for one of still-more importance, though not attended with such permanent consequences. Alexander III. king of Scotland, had been killed by a fall from his horse, leaving only Margaret, his grand-daughter, heir to the crown, who died some time after. The death of this princess produced a most ardent difpute about the succession to the Scottish throne, being claimed by no less than twelve competitors.