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of his age and the thirty-fifth of his reign. Ed- to France, obtained from her brother, Charles IV., ward I. has been called “the greatest of the Plan- an army to invade England, and dethrone her hustagenets."
band. Her enterprise was successful. Spencer and his father perished on the scaffold. Edward was
carried to Berkeley Castle, and Mortimer, the ENGLAND.
queen’s paramour, sent secret orders to despatch Edward II. of Caernarvon, 1307-1327, succeeded him. His jailers threw him on a bed and burnt his father at the age of twenty-three, and his reign out his intestines with a hot iron, while his screams was one of the saddest in English history. Piers of agony revealed the murder, of which they had Gaveston, a vicious and trifling minion, whom the sought to avoid all external marks by their horrid king appointed regent when on a journey to Paris means of perpetrating it. He perished on the 21st to marry Isabella, daughter of Philip the Fair, of September, 1327, in the forty-fourth year of his disgusted the barons to such a pitch, that they age, having reigned nineteen years and a half to the compelled the king to delegate all the authority time of his deposition. His unhappy reign and of government to certain commissioners, and to miserable death bear witness to the fact so often noabandon his favorite to their resentment. Gaveston ticed, that in this world the penalty of weakness is was doomed to perpetual imprisonment, and, on at- worse than that of wickedness. tempting to escape, was seized and beheaded. The Edward III. of Windsor, 1327–1377, where he same year (1312) witnessed a most remarkable event was born on November 13, 1312, was in his fifin the suppression of the military religious order of teenth year when he was placed on the throne by the Knights of the Holy Temple, or Templars, by his father's deposition, January 20, 1327. He the pope's bull. This powerful body, which orig- took the field in person against the Scots, and narinated in the zeal of the Crusaders, and had rowly escaped falling at the hands of the formidable rendered splendid services to the Christian cause in Douglas. This campaign was closed by an inglorithe East, had long incurred the suspicion of aiming ous treaty, by which the king resigned the claim to at supreme power in Europe. They were charged homage set up by Edward I., acknowledged the inmoreover with the practice of unlawful arts, as well dependence of Scotland, and restored the regalia, as with gross immorality, and their suppression was 1328. A marriage was agreed upon between Jane, carried out with great severity. Their estates in the sister of Edward III., and David, the heir of England were granted in 1324 to the rival order of Robert Bruce, who became king David II. of Scotthe Hospitallers, or Knights of St. John of Jeru- land by his father's death in the same year, June 7, salem.
1328. This eventful year
witnessed also the death The king now prepared for a final effort to con- of Charles IV. of France, with mighty consequences quer Scotland, where Robert Bruce, after years of to England, as will presently be seen. wandering, had recovered nearly all the country, The queen, with Mortimer, still claimed control. and was in the field with a formidable army. Ed- Edward took counsel with several of his nobles, ward marched against him with 100,000 men. and surprised the queen and Mortimer in the casKing Robert Bruce met this immense force with tle of Nottingham, to which his party gained en30,000 at Bannockburn, June 24, 1314, and inflicted trance by an old subterranean passage.
Mortimer on the English the most signal overthrow, de- was condemned, without trial, by the parliament, feating them with prodigious slaughter. This im- and hanged at Tyburn, November 29, 1330. The portant victory secured the independence of Scot- queen remained in captivity at Castle Rising, near land. The following year witnessed the close of Lynn, for the rest of her life. a long war with Scotland by a truce for thirteen The first few years of the reign which Edward years. A new favorite, Spencer, now supplied the now really commenced were occupied in the restoplace of Gaveston, his undeserved elevation and ration of internal order and in a war with Scotland. overbearing character completing the disaffection of Several of the English nobility, complaining that the nobles to their sovereign. The queen, a vicious they had not been restored to their estates in Scotadulteress, joined the malcontents, and, passing over land in accordance with the late treaty, set up Ed
ward Baliol, son of the late John Baliol, as a claimant of the crown, and Edward III. espoused his
David fled to France, and the regent Douglas was defeated and slain at Halidon Hill near Berwick, July 19, 1333. Baliol was acknowledged as king by a parliament at Perth; but on the discovery that he had ceded the south of Scotland to Edward, he was obliged to flee to Berwick, 1334. In the war which followed the Scots received large succors from the king of France, who thus furnished Edward with a provocation to urge the claim which he had already made to the crown of France.
Thus began those wars with France which exhausted both countries for a century, and bequeathed to after generations the foolish and fatal legacy of a supposed “natural enmity."
The claim of Edward to the French crown was utterly untenable. It was founded on his descent from Philip III., from whom also the right of the reigning king, Philip VI., was derived. The relation of both to their common ancestor is seen in the following table:
himself a host, though then only sixteen years of age, Edward, Prince of Wales, called, from the favorite color of his armor, the Black Prince. The English ravaged the country on the left bank of the Seine almost up to the gates of Paris, and then retreated towards Flanders, pursued by the French king with an immense army. The delay caused in crossing the Somme enabled the French to come up with Edward, who turned to meet them at the village of Crecy, about fifteen miles to the east of Abbeville. His position was a gentle slope, on which he formed his army in three lines, with trenches to protect their flanks, and the baggage in the rear. He gave the post of honor at the head of the first line to his son, who had been knighted only a month before, and himself took the command of the re
In his front he placed some cannons, the first that had been used in any great battle; but so little value was yet attached to the invention that the French king had not waited to bring up his artillery. The host of France reached the field after a long day's march from Abbeville, already fatigued, and with their ranks disordered. They, also, were disposed in three lines. The first consisted of Genoese crossbowmen, under Doria and Grimaldi; the second was intrusted to the king's brother, the Count of Alençon; and Philip himself was with the third. Around him were all his nobility and great vassals, with the king of Bohemia and his son, the king of the Romans. The total force of his army was 120,000 men, while that of Edward was only 30,000; but the French were over-confident and undisciplined, under leaders jealous of each other and blindly contemptuous of the little English army which discipline and a wise general made irresistible.
It was about four o'clock in the afternoon, on Saturday the 26th of August, 1346, when the Genoese advanced to attack the English army, who remained firm in their ranks. A thunder-shower had relaxed their bowstrings, and their arrows fell short of the mark, while the English archers, taking their bows out of their cases, poured in their cloth-yard shafts with unerring aim, and put the Genoese to flight. They were cut down by the men-at-arms of their own side; but these also were thrown into confusion by the steady fire of the English archers. D'Alençon, leading a body of knights past the flank of the archers, closed with the main
Louis X. Philip V. Charles IV. Isabella. Philip VI.
On the death of Charles IV. without male issue, the crown of France was claimed by Edward III. of England, in right of his mother, the sister of Charles. In the meantime the throne was occupied by Philip of Valois, a distant relation of the previous king, whose daughters Philip superseded on the ground that the succession to the crown was regulated by the Salic law, which excluded females. This rule of succession would have equally excluded Edward, who claimed through a female title as the representative of his mother; but he had those material means of urging his claims in which the young princesses were deficient.
At length, in 1346, Edward prepared for a campaign in Guienne, but he was compelled by adverse winds to land at Cape la Hogue in Normandy. His army consisted only of 4,000 men-at-arms, 10,000 archers, 10,000 Welsh infantry, and 6,000 Irish; but, besides the king, it had a chief who proved in
body of the English. The Prince of Wales was did, and hence from a slight incident the Order of hard beset; and a knight rode out of the battle to the Garter was instituted, and became a great digEdward, who watched the battle from a windmill- nity. hill, and asked for help. "Is my son dead, or This year was also marked by the first great visihurt, or felled to the ground?” said the king; and tation of that horrible disease known as the Plague, when the knight answered "No," he bade him re- which is said to have originated in the north of turn and tell those who sent him to let the prince Asia. Its victims in London alone were more than win his spurs that day, and to send for no help 50,000. while he was alive. The like chivalrous devotion The truce with France expired in 1355, and John was shown by the aged king of Bohemia, who, be- had succeeded his father, Philip VI., in 1350. Eding almost blind, caused his knights to tie their ward invaded France via Calais, while his son the bridles together, placing him in the midst, and they Black Prince invaded France from the south, where all fell slain together. Their fate was shared by he was met near Poitiers by King John with 60,000 Alençon and the flower of the French nobility. In
The Black Prince gained a splendid victory, vain did Philip try to bring up the reserve, he was and John yielded himself prisoner. The citizens got forced back by the tide of battle, and his routed up a banquet for him, and he himself waited upon army was pursued and slaughtered-for on that day the king at table, Sept. 19, 1356. Having signed a no quarter was given-till the night fell. Then the truce for two years with France, he conducted his field of victory was lighted up by torches, and Ed- royal prisoner to London, a fellow prisoner with ward came down from the little hill to reward the King David of Scotland, which he entered in proprince, who knelt before him, with such words of cession, riding on a little palfrey by the side of the praise as these: “Fair son, God give you good per- king, who was mounted on a splendid white steed, severance. You are my good son, that have ac- and attired in royal apparel. quitted yourself so nobly. You are worthy to keep The French continued the war with great vigor a realm." This great battle, in which the French during the captivity of their sovereign, who died in left between 30,000 and 40,000 dead upon the field, London, 1364; and they obtained a peace by the cost the English only three knights, one esquire, cession to the English of Poitou, St. Onge, Periand a very few of inferior rank. In those days of gord, etc.; while Edward consented to renounce his complete armor the loss of life was not so much in claim to the crown of France. The death of the the battle as in the pursuit.
Black Prince, 1376, a most heroic and virtuous In the following week Edward invested Calais, character, plunged the nation in grief, and broke the siege of which lasted just a year.
the spirits of his father, who did not long survive The king of France made a vain attempt to re- him. Charles V. of France availed himself of this lieve Calais at the Whitsuntide of 1347. This town untimely loss, and Edward's advanced age, to rehad been taken by the English, and remained in cover almost all that the father and son had wrested their possession two hundred and ten years. The fro er. His policy, though far from being pure, beautiful story of the self-devotion of the six bur- obtained for this monarch the surname of Wise. gesses of Calais, who presented themselves before The English constitution may be said to have Edward with halters round their necks, as victims been considerably advanced during the reign of Edin place of their fellow-citizens, and of their pardon ward III., particularly in regard to the three followon the intercession of Queen Philippa, can hardly ing grand securities. First, the more complete be surrendered to romance without regret. In this
establishment of the illegality of raising money same year, 1349, Edward founded the chief of the without the consent of the people; secondly, the English orders of knighthood, that of the Garter. necessity of the concurrence of the two houses of
The king is said to have picked up a lady's gar- parliament in any alteration of the law; and thirdly, ter at a ball (the Countess of Salisbury's), and to have the right of the commons to inquire into public said, Honi soit qui mal y pense,-in English, “Evil abuses, and to impeach the king's counsellors. be to him who evil thinks of it." The courtiers “At the latter part of this king's reign,” says Sir were usually glad to imitate what the king said or Matthew Hale, “the law seemed to be near its me
ridian." A new era was opened for commerce by disorders required a stronger hand to compose them statutes allowing foreign traders within the realm, than that of the weak and facile Richard. Taking and by the king's encouragement of Flemish weav- advantage of the king's absence, then engaged in ers who wished to settle in the kingdom.
quelling an insurrection in Ireland, Henry of LanRichard II., of Bordeaux, 1377-1399, was the caster, who had succeeded to the title on the death grandson of Edward III., and son of Edward the of the king's uncle, being at the time in a state of Black Prince. He ascended the throne at eleven exile, rose in open rebellion, and compelled Richyears of age.
ard, at his return, to resign the crown. The parliaThe wars with France and Scotland were carried ment confirmed his deposition, and he was soon after on without any events of importance, but the taxes privately assassinated. Thus began the contentions required to support them led to the celebrated in- between the houses of York and Lancaster. surrection of the common people under Wat Tyler. With Richard's death closed the fourteenth cenIn 1380 a poll-tax of three groats (twelve pence) im- tury, a period during which England made a progposed on every person above fifteen led to an almost ress in civilization as great as her advance in miliuniversal discontent among the lower orders, on tary fame, and far more lasting in results. whom it of course pressed most severely. The We have seen the growth of constitutional liberty flame was kindled by an outrage committed at Dart- and of freedom in the administration of justice, unford by one of the collectors upon a peasant girl, der the Edwards. In ecclesiastical matters, the under the pretence of assuring himself of her age. ground surrendered by preceding kings to the see Her father, one Walter, a tiler, struck him dead of Rome was in a great measure recovered. The upon the spot with a blow of his hammer. The parliament, in the twentieth year of Edward III., men of Kent flew to arms, and the insurrection declared the homage to the pope, which had been spread to all the eastern and south-eastern counties. imposed on John, to be null and void, 1367; and Besides Wat Tyler, the insurgents had leaders, in the sixteenth of Richard II. was passed the celewhose names, partly real and partly affected, pro- brated statute of Præmunire, outlawing all persons claimed their mean origin, as Hob Carter, Tom who should introduce into the realm any papal bull Miller, and Jack Straw, whose name survives on or other instrument affecting the king, 1393. Hampstead Heath. They assembled, to the num- But, more than this, the new doctrine of liberty of ber of 100,000, on Blackheath, June 12, 1381, conscience had been openly proclaimed, and that where an itinerant preacher, named John Ball, even more clearly than it was asserted by the readdressed them on the natural equality of all men, formers in the next century. Jobn de Wickliffe, a asking
clergyman of Oxford, announced, in the latter part " When Adam delved, and Eve span,
of Edward III.'s reign, the great principle of the Where was then the gentleman ? '
reformation that the doctrines and practices of reTheir demands were in accordance with this text: ligion should be conformed to the Holy Scriptures, the abolition of villenage, fixed rents in lieu of com- which he himself translated for the first time into pulsory service, and freedom in exercising their English. Protected by John of Gaunt, he survived trades. The king, meeting them in person, prom- the attempts of the church to crush him, and ised compliance; but, at another meeting in Smith- closed his life peacefully at his rectory of Lutterfield, Walworth, the mayor of London, stabbed worth, in Leicestershire, in 1385.
The royal Wat Tyler, who was despatched by the king's descendants of his patron cruelly persecuted his attendants.
followers, who were known by the nickname of The war with Scotland gave occasion to one of Lollards. the finest ballads in the English language, 1388, The latter part of this century was a bright epoch "Chevy Chase," the fight between the Percy and in English literature. Geoffrey Chaucer, the friend the Douglas. In England the contests for power of Wickliffe, uniting to a poetic genius, which only between the king's uncles, “Old John of Gaunt, a very few of his successors have surpassed, a cultime-honored Lancaster," York, and Gloucester, ture derived from the Italian models, and especially embroiled all public measures; and the consequent i from Dante, produced, in his “Canterbury Tales,"
a work immeasurably superior to all efforts of England's earlier writers. In this work, and Wickliffe's translation of the Bible, the English Language is at length seen perfected in all essential points; and in the reign of Edward III. the English tongue took the place of French in public documents. Latin was, however, still much used, and the earliest state paper that exists in English belongs to the year 1386. Natural science began to shake off the trammels of superstition, and Roger Bacon announced, from his retreat at Oxford, some great discoveries in mechanics and chemistry, including a hint of the discovery of gunpowder.
The glorious art of English architecture advanced to perfection; many cathedrals and churches were built or enlarged; and Edward III. erected the truly regal monument of Windsor Castle; and Westminster Hall, the grandest single chamber in the Pointed style of architecture, was built by Richard II. The splendid works of William of Wykeham at Winchester and Oxford exhibit the noblest use of art in the service of learning and religion. In one word, England had achieved that greatness in arms and law, in arts and letters, which has never since been forfeited.
set out for Constance, but was immediately thrown into prison, and accused of propagation of heretical doctrines. When Huss refused to abjure his opinions, he was burnt as a heretic, 1415, and later Hieronymus of Prague also underwent the same fearful penalty. The intelligence of these executions excited the Hussites, who were burning with hatred and fanaticism, to a religious war. A sacramental cup was their symbol, which they declared should be given to the laity; hence, they were called Calixtines and Ultraquists. In vain did the pope hurl anathemas; the maddened people scorned all menaces; and when Wenceslaus died, in a fit of apoplexy, brought on by rage at the storming of the council-house at Prague, and the murder of the councillors, and the execrated Sigismund became king of Bohemia, the whole people took up arms to prevent the emperor, who had undertaken the extermination of heresy, from gaining possession of the country.
In vain did Sigismund now lead his powerful armies against the undisciplined troops; his bands of mercenaries recoiled before the angry populace, led by the bold, warlike general, Johann Ziska, who called himself “John Ziska of the Cup, Captain of the Taborites in the hope of God.” In accordance with their reading of Old Testament history, the Hussites called the mountains on which they met together by biblical names, such as Horeb, Tabor, Mount of Olives, etc. The monks and old Catholics they called Philistines, Heathens, and Mahometans, and considered all measures against them as warranted. After Ziska's death, the Moderates, or Calixtines, separated from the Radicals, or Taborites; but not until the latter had experienced a severe defeat at Prague, and their leaders, the elder and younger Procopius, had fallen, did the emperor succeed, through the wisdom of his judicious chancellor, Count Caspar Schlick, in compelling them to accept conditions of peace, the privilege of the cup being conceded to them; whereupon Sigismund was recognized as king, 1436. But the prosperity of Bohemia had been for a long time destroyed.
Wickliffe's principal follower was John Huss, a professor at Prague, a man remarkable both for his learning and his blameless life, and also for his Christian gentleness. The writings and preaching of Huss were condemned, and the propagation of many of his teachings forbidden, under pain of death. Numbers of the German students thereupon left Prague, and other German universities were founded, especially that of Leipsic, 1409. The burning of Wickliffe's writings by the archbishop of Prague, and the papal excommunication of Huss, had produced great excitement in Bohemia; and hosts of people followed the reformer and listened to his preachings.
Provided with an imperial passport, which assured him of a safe return, Huss