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THE

HISTORY

OF

ENGLAND,

FROM THE

EARLIEST TIMES

TO THE

DEATH OF GEORGE II.

BY DR. GOLDSMITH.

IN FOUR VOLUMES.

VOL. II.

THE SEVENTH EDITION,

DUBLIN:

Printed by William Porter,
FOR P. WOGAN, GILBERT AND HOPGES

AND WILLIAM PORTER.

CER.

1

THE

HISTORY

OF

ENGLAND.

CHAP. XII.

EDWARD I.

WH

HILE the unfortunate Henry was thus vainly struggling against the ungovernable spirit of his subjects, his son and successor, Edward, was employed in the Holy wars, where he revived the glory of the English name, and made the enemies of Christianity tremble. He had arrived at the city of Acon in Palestine, just as the Saracens were sitting down to besiege it. He soon relieved the place, followed the enemy, and obtained many victories, which, though splendid, were not decisive. Such, however, were the enemies terrors at the progress of his arms, that they resolved to destroy by treachery that gallant commander, whom they could not oppose in the field. A tribe of Mahometan enthusiasts had long taken possession of an inaccessible mountain in Syria, under the command of a petty prince, who went to the Christian armies, under the name of Old man of the Mountain, and whose subjects were called. Assassins; from whence we have since borrowed

the name to signify a private stabber. These men, wholly devoted to their commander, and enflamed with a detestable superstition, undertook to destroy any Christian prince, or leader, who became obnoxious to their party. It was in vain to threaten them with punishment; they knew the dangers that awaited them, but, resolute to destroy, they -rushed upon certain death. Some time before, the capital of this tribe had been taken by the Tartars, and the inhabitants put to the sword; yet there still remained numbers of them, that were educated in the gloomy school of superstition; and one of those undertook to murder the prince of England. In order to gain admittance to Edward's presence, he pretended to have letters to deliver from the governor of Joppa, proposing a negociation; and thus he was permitted to see the prince, who conversed with him freely in the French lan-guage, which the assassin understood. In this manner he continued to amuse him for some time, being permitted to have free egress and regress from the royal apartments. It was on the Friday in Whitsun week, that he found Edward sitting in his apartment alone, in a loose garment, the weather being extremely hot. This was the opportunity the infidel had so long earnestly desired; and looking round to see if there were any present to prevent him, and finding him alone, he drew a dagger from his breast, and atempted to plunge it into the prince's bosom. Edward had just time to perceive the murderer's intention, and, with great presence of mind, received the blow upon his arm. Perceiving the assassin about to repeat his blow, he struck him at once to the ground with his foot; and wresting the weapon from his hand, buried it instantly in his bosom. The domesticks hearing a noise, quickly came into the room, and soon wreaked their resentment on the

perfidious wretch's body, who had thus abused the laws of hospitality. The wound the prince had received was the more dangerous, as having been inflicted with a poisoned dagger; and it soon began to exhibit some symptoms that appeared fatal. He therefore expected his fate with great intrepidity, and made his will, contented to die in a cause which he was assured would procure him endless felicity. But his usual good fortune prevailed; anEnglish surgeon of extraordinary skill, by making deep incisions, and cutting away the mortified parts, completed the cure and restored him to health in little more than a fortnight. A recovery, so unexpected, was considered by the superstitious army as miraculous ; nor were there wanting some, who alledged that he owed his safety to the piety of Eleonora his wife, who sucked the poison from the wound.to save his life, at the hazard of her own. However this be, it is probable that the personal danger he incurred by continuing the war in Palestine, might induce him more readily to listen to terms of accommodation, which were proposed soon after by the soldan of Babylon. He received that monarch's ambassadors in a very honourable manner, and concluded a truce with him for ten years, ten weeks, and ten days. Having thus settled the affairs of Palestine, in the best manner they would admit of, he set sail for Sicily, where he arrived in safety, and there first heard the news of the king his father's death, as well as that of his own son John, a boy of six years of age. He bore the last with resignation, but appeared extremely afflicted at the death of his father; at which, when the king of Sicily expressed his surprize, he observed that the death of a son was a loss which he might hope to repair, but that of a father was a loss irreparable.

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