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Though the death of the king happened while the successor was so far from home, yet measures had been so well taken, that the crown was transferred with the greatest tranquillity. The high character acquired by the prince, during the late commotions, had procured him the esteem and affection of all ranks of men; and instead of attempting to oppose, their whole wish was to see him once more returning in triumph. But the prince, sensible of the quiet state of the kingdom did not seem in much haste to take possession of the throne; and he spent near a year in France before he made his appearance in England The honours he received from the great upon the continent; and the acclamations, with which he was every where attended by the people, were too alJuring to a young mind to be suddenly relinquished; he was even tempted to exhibit proofs of his bravery, in a tournament, to which he was invited by the count de Chalons, who defied him to a trial of his skill. Impressed with high ideas of the chivalry of the times, he accepted the challenge; and proposed, with his knights, to hold the field against all that would enter the lists. His usual good fortune attended him; and his success had like to have converted a trial of skill into a matter of bloody contention. The count de Chalons, being enraged at being foiled, made a serious attack upon the English, in which some blood was idly spilt; but Edward and his knights still maintained the superiority. From Chalons, Edward proceed to Paris, where he was magnificently entertained by Philip, king of France, to whom he did homage for the territories the kings of England had possessed in that kingdom. From Paris he set out for Gascony, to curb the insolence of Gaston, count Bearne, who had rebelled in his absence. From thence he passed through Mou
treuil, where he accommodated some differences between the English and Flemings. At length, after various battles, dangers, and fatigues, he arrived in his native dominions, amid the loud acclamations of his people, and was solemnly crowned at Westminster, by the archbishop of Canterbury: The joy of all ranks upon this occasion was inexpressible; the feasting continued a whole fortnignt, at the king's expence; five hundred horses were turned loose, as the property of those who could catch them. The king of Scotland, with several other princes, graced the solemnity; and did homage for those territories they held under the English crown. Nothing, therefore, remained to complete the felicity of the people but the continuance of such prosperity'; and this they had every reason to expect from the king's justice, his œconomy, and his prudence.
As Edward was now come to an undisputed throne, the opposite interests were proportionably feeble. The barons were exhausted by long mutual dissensions: the clergy were divided in their interests, and agreed only in one point to hate the pope, who had for some time drained them, with impunity: the people, by some insurrections against the convents, appear to have hated the clergy with equal animosity. These disagreeing orders only concurred in one point, that of esteeming and reverencing the king. In such a conjuncture,, therefore, few measures could be taken by the crown that would be deemed oppressive; and we accordingly find the present monarch often, from his own authority alone, raising those taxes that would have been peremptorily refused to his predecessor. However, Edward was naturally prudent; and, though capable of becoming absolute, he satisfied himself with moderate power, and laboured only to be terrible to his enemies.
His first care was to correct those disorders which hadcrept in, under the last part of. A. D. his father's feeble administration. He proposed, by an exact distribution of justice, to give equal protection and redress to all the orders of the state. He took every opportunity to inspect the conduct of all his magistrates and judges, and to displace such as were negligent, or corrupt. In short, a system of strict justice, mark. ed with an air of severity, was pursued throughout his reign; formidable to the people indeed, but yet adapted to the ungovernable licentiousness of the times. The Jews were the only part of his subjects who were refused that equal justice, which the king made boast of distributing. As Edward had been bred up in prejudices against them, and as these were still more confirmed by his expedi tion to the Holy Land, he seemed to have no compassion upon their sufferings. Many were the arbitrary taxes levied upon them; two hundred and eighty of them were hanged at once, upon a charge of adulterating the coin of the kingdom; the goods of the rest were confiscated, and all of that religion utterly banished the kingdom. This severity was very grateful the kingdom, who hated the Jews, not only for their tenets, but for their method of living, which was by usury and extor
But Edward had too noble a spirit to be content with the applause this petty oppression acquired; he resolved to march against Lewellyn, prince of North Wales, who had refused to do homage for his dominions, and seemed bent upon renouncing all dependance upon the crown of England. The Welsh had for many ages enjoyed their own laws, language, customs, and opinions. They were the remains of the ancient Britons, who had eseaped the Roman and Saxon invasions, and still
preserved their freedom and their country, uncontaminated by the admission of foreign conquerors. But as they were, from their number, incapable of withstanding their more powerful neighbours on the plains, their chief defence lay in their inaccessible mountains, those natural bulwarks of A. D. the country. Whenever England was distressed by factions at home, or its forces called off to wars abroad, the Welsh made it a con stant practice to pour in their irregular troops, and ly 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 summons the Welsh prince refused to obey, unless the king's own son should be delivered as an hostage for his safe return. king was not displeased at his refusal, as it served to give him a pretext for his intended invasion. He therefore levied an army 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 there resolved to maintain his ground, without trusting to the chance of a battle These were the steep retreats that had for many ages before defendedhis ancestors against all the attempts of the Norman and Saxon conquerors. But Edward, equally yigorous and cautious, having explored every part of his way, pierced into the very centre of Lewellyn's territo
ries, and approached the Welsh army in its last retreats. Lewellyn at first little regarded the progress of an enemy, that he supposed would make a transient invasion, and then depart; but his contempt was turned into consternation, when he saw Edward place his forces at the foot of the mountains, and hem up his army, in order to force it by famine. Destitute of magazines, and cooped up in a narrow corner of the country, without prosions for his troops, or pasturage for his cattle, nothing remained but death, or submission; so that the unfortunate Welsh prince, without being able to strike 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 consented to pay fifty thousand 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 same manner; to relinquish the country between Cheshire and the river Conway; to do justice to his own family, and to deliver hostages for the security of his submission.
But this treaty was only of short duration: the A. D. oppression of the conqueror, and the indignant pride of the conquered nation, 1277. could not long remain without producing new dissensions. The lords of the Marches committed all kinds of injustice on their Welsh neighbours; and although Edward remitted the fifty thousand pounds penalty, yet he laid other restrictions some time after upon Lewellyn, which that prince considered as more injurious. He particuJarly exacted a promise from him at Worcester, that he would retain no person in his principality, that should be disagreeable to the English monarch. These were insults too great to be endured, and Ace more the Welsh flew to arms. A body of