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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 Ruthland. When the account of these hostilities were brought to Edward, he assembled a numerous army, and set out with a fierce resolution to exterminate Lewellyn and his whole family; and to reduce that people to such an abject state, that they soould never after be able to revolt or distress their more peaceable neighbours. At first, however, the king's endeavours were not crowned 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 fortresses 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 sword. This defeat revived the sinking spirits of the Welsh; and it was now universally believed by that poor superstitious 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 wizard had prognosticated that he should ride through the streets of London with a crown upon his head. These were inducements sufficiently strong to persuade this prince to hazard a decisive battle against the English. With this view, he marched into Radnorshire; and passing
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, seeing the dreadful situation of his affairs, he ran desperately into the midst of the enemy, and quickly found that death he so ardently songht for. One of the English captains recognizing his countenance, severed his head rom his body, and it was sent to London, where it was received with extreme demonstrations of joy. The brutal spirit of the times will sufficiently appear from the barbarity of the citizens upon this occasion: the head being encircled in a silver coronet, to fulfil the prediction of the wizard, 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, soon after shared the same fate; while his followers, quite dispirited with 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 obscure caverns of the country; but his retreat being soon after discovered, he was taken, tried, and condemned, 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 possessions. 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 conquest, however, the Welsh submitted with extreme reluctance e; and few nations ever bowed to a foreign yoke with greater indignation. The bards of the country, whose emyloyment consisted in rehearsing the glorious deeds of their ancestors, were particularly obnoxious to the king, who, considering that while 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 flatter their vanity, and amuse their superstition, 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, 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 English crown. But the death of the eldest son, Alphonso, soon 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 dispute about the succession to the Scottish throne, being claimed by no less than twelve.competitors.
That nation being thus divided into as many factions as there were pretenders, the guardians of the realm would not undertake to decide a dispute of so much consequence. The nobility of the country were no less divided in their opinions; and after long debates, they at last unanimously agreed to refer the contest to the determination of the king of England. The claims of all the other candidates were reduced to three: who were the descendants of the earl of Huntington by three daughters; John Hastings, who claimed in right of his mother, as one of the co-heiresses of the crown; John Baliol, who alleged his right, as being descended from the eldest daughter, who was his grandmother; and Robert Bruce, who was the actual son of the second daughter. In this contest, which was referred to Edward, he pretended the utmost degree of deliberation; and although he had long formed his resolution, yet he ordered all enquiries to be made on the subject, that he might be master of the arguments that could be advanced on any side of the question. In this research, he soon discovered that some passages in old chronicles might be produced to favour his own secret inclinations; and without further delay, instead of admitting the claims of the competitors, he boldly urged his own; and, to second his pretensions, advanced with a formidable army to the frontiers of the kingdom.
The Scottish barons were thunderstruck at these unexpected pretensions; and though they felt the most extreme indignation at his procedure, yet they resolved to obey his summons to meet at the castle of Norham; a place situated on the southern banks of the Tweed, where he convened the parliament of that country. He there produced the proofs of his superiority, which he alleged were unquestionable, and desired their
concurrence with his claims; at the same time advising them to use deliberation, and to examineall his allegations with impartial justice. To a proposal that appeared in itself so unreasonable, no immediate answer could be given; for where all is defective, it is not easy to submit to the combating a part; the barons, therefore, continued silent; and Edward interpreting this for a consent, addressed himself to the several competitors to the crown, and previous to his appointing one of them as his vassal, he required their acknowledgment of his superiority. He naturally concluded that none of them would venture to disoblige the man who was unanimously appointed to be the arbitrator of his pretensions. Nor was he deceived; he found them all equally obsequious on this occasion. Robert Bruce was the first who made the acknowledgment, and the rest quickly followed his example. Edward being thus become the superior of the kingdom, undertook next to consider which of the candidates was the fittest to be appointed under him; or it may, as they appeared all indifferent to him, which had the justest claim. In order to give this deliberation the appearance of impartiality, an hundred commissioners were appointed, forty of the.n being chosen by the candidates who were in the interests of John. Baliol; forty of those in the interests of Robert Bruce; and twenty, who were chosen by Edward himself. Having thus fitted matters to his satisfaction, he left the commissioners to sit at Berwick; and went southward, to free their deliberations from all shadow of restraint. The subject of the dispute ultimately rested in this question, whether Baliol, who was descended from the elder sister, but farther removed by one degree, was to be preferred before Bruce, who was actually the younger sister's son? The