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into Smithfield, where he was met by the king, who invited him to a conference under a pretence of hearing and redressing his grievances. Tyler ordering his companions to retire, till he should give them a fignal, boldly ventured to meet the king in the midst of his retinue; and accordingly began the conference. The demands of this de magogue are censured by all the historians of the time, as infolent and extravagant; and yet nothing can be more just than those they have delivered for him. He required that all saves should be set free; that all commonages should be open to the poor as well as the rich, and that a general pardon should be passed for the late outrages. Whilft he made these demands, he now and then lifted up his sword in a menacing manner; which infolence so raised the indignation of William Walworth, then mayor of London, attending on the king, that without considering the danger to which he exposed his majesty, he stunned Tyler with a blow of his mace ; while one of the king's knights riding up, dispatched him with his sword, The mutineers, feeing heir leader fall, prepared themselves to take revenge ; and their bows were now bent for execution, when Richard, though not quite fifteen years of age, rode up to the rebels, and with adinirable presence of mind, cried out,“ What, my people, will you then " kill your king? be not concerned for the loss of “ your leader; I myself will now be your gene“ 'ral; follow me into the field, and you shall “ have whatever you desire.” The awed multitude immediately defifted: they followed the king as if mechanically into the fields, and there be granted them the same charter that he had before given to their companions.

These grants for a short time gained the king great popularity, and it is probable it was his own


desire to have them continued ; but the nobles had long tafted the sweets of power, and were unwilling to admit any other to a participation. The par. liament soon revoked these charters of enfranchisement and pardon; "the low people were reduced to the same slavish condition as before, and several of the ringleaders were punished with capital severity: The infurre&ions of the barons against their kings, are branded in our history with no great air of invective; but the tumults of the people against the barons, are marked with all the virulence of reproach.

The cruelty which was exercised against the popular leaders upon this occasion, created no small, enmity against the king. He had first granted them a charter, which implied the justice of their demands; and he was seen, roon after, weak enough to revoke what he had before allowed the justice of. It is probable also, that his uncles were not backward in encreaking this general dibike against him ; as by that means they were more like to continue in their present authority. His own capricious conduct, indeed, might very well countenance them in the restrictions they placed upon him ; as he very soon. teftified an eager defire to govern, without any of the requisites to fit him for such a difficult undertaking : he foon difcovered an attachment to favourites, without any merit on thei: side to entitle them to fuch flattering diftinctions. Robert Vere, earl of Oxford, a young man, whose person was faultless, but whose morals were debauched, had acquired an entire ascendant over him. This nobleman was firft created marquis of Dublin, and shen duke of Ireland, with the entire sovereignty, during life, of that island. He gave bim his own coufin in mara riage ; and soon afier permitted him to repudiate her for another lady, of whom he was enamoured.

le He soon became the channel through which all royal favour passed to the people ;, and he possessed all the power, while the king had only the shadow of royalty.

A partiality in princes ever produces animosity among their subjects. :: Those noblemen, who were either treated with disrefpe&t by the favourite, or who thought that they had themselves better pretensions to favour, instantly took the alarm, and combined against him. . At the head of this association were Moubray earl of Nottingham, Fitz Alan earl of Arundel, Percy earl of Northumberland, Montácute earl of Salitbury, and Beauchamp earl of Warwick. These uniting, refolved on the destruction of the favourite ; and they began by marking out Michael de la Pole; who was then chancellor, and Oxford's chief friend and supporter, as the first object of their venge. ance. He was accordingly impeached in parliament ; and although nothing material was alleged against him, such was the interest of the conspi. ring barons that he was condemned and deprived of his office.

From punishing his ministers they foon after ventured to attack the king in person. Under a pretence that he was as yet unable to govern, al.

though he was at that time twenty-one, 'they'appointed a commission of fourteen

de persons, upon whom the sovereign power was, to be transfer ed for a year. This was, in fact, totally depriving the king of all power, and oppressing the kingdom with a confirmed ariitocracy This measure was driven forward by the duke of Gloucester ; and none but those of his own faction were admitted as members of the committee. It was not without a struggle that the king saw himself thus totally divested of authority;


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he endeavoured first to gain over the parliament to his interests, by influencing the sheriffs of each county, who were then the only returning officers. -This measure failing, he applied to the judges ; and they, either from motives of intereft, or from conviction, declared that the commission which had deprived him of his authority, was unlawful; and that those who procured or advised it, were punishable with death. This sentence was quickly opposed by declarations from the lords; the duke of Gloucester saw his danger if the king should prevail; and secretly assembling his party, he appeared in arms at Haringay Park, near Highgate, at the head of a body of men, more than sufficient to intimidate the king, and all his adherents. These insurgents, senfible of their own power, were now resolved to make use of the occasion; and began by demanding of the king the names of those who had advised him to his late rash measures. A few days after, they appeared armed in his presence, and accused, by name, the archbishop of York, the duke of Ireland, the earl of Suffolk, and Sir Robert Tresilian, one of the judges who had declared in his favour, together with Sir Nicholas Bember, as public and dangerous enemies to the state. It was now too late for the opposite party to attempt any other vindication of their conduct than by arms. The duke of Ireland fled into Cheshire, where he attempted to raise a body of forces; but was quickly obliged to Ay into Flanders, on the arrival of the duke of Gloucester with a superior army. Soon after the king was obliged to summon a parliament; an accusation was drawn up against five of his coun. sellors; of these only Sir Nicholas Bember was present; and he was quickly found guilty, condemned, and executed, together with Sir Robert Vol. II.


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Tresilian, who had been discovered and taken dur. ing the interval. But the blood of one or two wa's not sufficient to satiate the resentment of the duke of Gloucester; lord Beauchamp of Holt was shortly after condemned and executed; "and Sir Simon Burley, who had been appointed the king's governor, shared the same fate, although the queen continued for three hours on her knees before the duke, imploring his pardon. - :

It might be supposed, that after such a total subversion of the royal power, there would be no more struggles, during this reign, between the prince and his nominal subjects; but whether from the fluctuation of opinions among the people, or from the influence of a military force, which had been lately levied against France, we find Richard once more resolving to shake off that power, which had long controuled him, and actually bringing the parliament to second his resolutions. In an extraordinary council of the nobility, afD sembled after Easter, 'he,' to the afto

• nishment of all present, desired to know 5309. bis age : and being told that he was 'turned of two and twenty, he alledged, that it was time then for him to govern without help; and that there was no reason that he should be deprived of those rights, which the meanest of his subjects enjoyed. The lords answering, in some confusion, that he had certainly an indifputable sight to take upon himself 'the governinent of the kingdom : « Yes, replied he, I have long been

66 under the government of tutors; and I will now '60' first shew my right to power by their removal.” · He then ordered Thomas Arundel, whom the commissioners had lately appointed chancellor, to give up the seal, which he next day delivered to. William of' Wickham, bishop of Winchester. He next removed the duke of Gloucester, the earl


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