HISTORICAL OBSERVATIONS Upon the REIGNS OF EDWARD I. II. III. And RICHARD II. With REMARKS upon their Faithful Counsellors and False Favourites. Written by a Person of Honour.

Liscensed, Jan. 17th. 1688/9. Rob. Midgley.

LONDON, Printed for J. Partridge and M. Gillyflower, at the Post-Office at Charing-Cross, and at the Spread-Eagle in Westminster-Hall. MDCLXXXIX.

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[Page 1]HISTORICAL OBSERVATIONS Upon the REIGNS. Of EDWARD the First, Se­cond and Third, and RI­CHARD the Second.

Introduction.

SINCE Living in an Age in which the Minds of Men are so passionately divided, that they are apt, of all sides, not only to Condemn whate­ver [Page 2] is not suitable to the Noise they make, but wrest out forc'd Constructions far, perhaps, from the meaning of him that either writ or said the words, and where 'tis possible to turn Censure into Accusation. I thought it not improper therefore, at least, of State-Criticks, by giving a short Account, by way of Introducti­on, why I chose History as the most useful Study, and something of our own most proper for our selves, where the Prospect of things past under the same Laws and Government that we now enjoy, must also probably be the most useful part of History to us. For if the Revolution and Event of things are the best In­structions, the Impressions may probably be the most effectual, where our Actions are Precedents to our selves.

[Page 3] I have also often consider'd, since riper years have admitted a full consideration, what Hazard any man undergoes, that exposes publickly the Endeavours of an improved Knowledge, though with a design to present to others those advantages that he believes he has acquired to himself by the most industrious and impartial searches. And indeed 'tis not only the Intention of doing well, that will procure an Ex­cuse for Errors committed, but joyn'd to a fair performance, will hardly find a just acceptance; and every man by reason of Self-inclination, is as much unfit to be a Judge of his own Productions, as generally men, by the averse­ness to the Reputation of others, are improper to bring in their Ver­dicts.

The same Inclination and Rea­son, that guide what any man writes, will probably make him [Page 4] approve what he has written; so that indeed a man has past his Judgment at first, and can hardly have a separate Opinion left at last: For when he has endea­vour'd to apply his best Correcti­on, he must be disentangled from his own Nature, to have another Judgment. Fathers that beget Children, may fancy that to be Wit and Diversion in them, which perhaps disinterested per­sons would judge troublesome im­pertinencies.

On the other side, those that are not byass'd by any particular Con­cerns, and shou'd be most capa­ble to judge, are yet as much bent with the apprehension of the Reputation of others, as they are by the fondness of gaining it: as if any were robb'd of what was due to their own merits, by others receiving the reward of theirs. One Candle may il­luminate a Thousand, without [Page 5] the loss of Light; and in esteem no man loses by what another shares. But Jealousie that di­sturbs the Peace of Life, rai­ses the Disquiet in Mens Minds, and Disturbance is the Product of ill Nature; so that men are prepared rather to censure than judge. Besides, in giving Judg­ment for the Party, there seems a tacite submission to his; but Censure seems a preference to their own: So that by searching out faults in others, they give Evidence (as they think) of their own Correctness. Whereas, if those that endeavour to be Cen­sorious, were to attempt the same thing, they might perhaps shew as many failings; and the others that shou'd enter upon their en­vious Province, might perhaps successfully exceed them in search­ing for Defects.

[Page 6] This is the Cause why the best Performances have not that Kind­ness or Justice bestowed upon them while the Author lives, which after his Death they re­ceive. Many excellent Painters, who during Life, did not gain a­ny extraordinary Wealth or Fame, after Death their Works increas'd alike into an extream of Price and Reputation: for they cou'd then be no Rivals, and those that were jealous, they might darken their Reputations while living, now believ'd it might be a safe Testimony of their own Skill, to admire the Art of those that were dead.

'Twere too long and needless to name the Writings of many that were little regarded at the time they were written; nay, some censured, some absolutely condemned, which in future times grew into Credit, and by labo­rious Commentaries, great Excel­lencies, [Page 7] and heights of Imagi­nation, have been endeavoured to be discovered, which perhaps were never design'd or thought of by the Authors. But when they were not capable to receive any Benefit of a Reputation, 'twas then search'd out for them, to make their Writings useful to the Fame and Interest of others. For when by Distance of time there seems a Traditional Autho­rity descending with the Wri­tings, many have curiously la­bour'd how to bring this to the use of their Arguments and De­signs, and, to gain the more re­verence, fix'd the Name of Anti­quity to that which was perform'd rather in the Infancy os Learn­ing.

From this general, and no very pleasant Consideration, I enter'd into the particular Parts of Learn­ing; and in the first place seri­ously weigh'd those searches I had [Page 8] made in Divinity, and I perceiv'd nothing so easie, nor so useful, as the Gospel Part of it, which shou'd have been the whole: For I thought all things necessary were so fully and clearly laid down there, that it did not need Disputes, nor cou'd reasonably cause men to differ, but only requir'd a general Consent of per­swading for the other pretended part of it, which is drawn out in Disputes. I found little encou­ragement to hope any advantage or improvement by labouring in such an interessed Labyrinth. For when with as much power of Impartial Reason as I was fur­nished with, I had steddily weigh'd the particulars that were so warmly disputed among Chri­stians, I could not convince my self (though I had a charitable In­clination to the contrary) but that all the particulars from whence such passionate Differences had [Page 9] sprung, were caus'd more by the Zeal for this World than for the other.

For in the first place, there was never any Point, now in Controversie, that had a name pretended when Tradition be­gan: If they had a Birth it was unknown, they lay asleep in their Cradles, till the future noise of the Church rouz'd them, but had no growth at all; and after many years continuing Infants, giving a Testimony at least of an unlawful Birth, being then disown'd by ma­ny of the Fathers they were then laid to. So that the Disputes seem'd of what Men invented, not what they found; and in Civil Matters 'twould be thought a ridiculous Contention about a Title of an invented Thing, that never was heard of in Five or six hun­der'd years, and then not to be found.

[Page 10] Whoever will take Pains to sum up the Differences Disputed among Christians, may easily find the Dates and Commencements of every one, long after the time from whence they would derive the Causes of them. And since the particulars disputed are (for the most part) affirmed to be of such Consequence, it seems strange that none of them should have such a plain Name, as not capable to be called otherwise, and after a Deluge of so many hundred years, when admir'd Tradition, nor the least Ecclesiastical Gazett had given notice of any such thing, to see strange Births, and new Names contended for.

But that it may justly be thought too prolix and improper for my intended Subject, I could set down most of the Par­ticulars, their times of Birth, and the Confident Fathers that first own'd them, who, while they [Page 11] were thus Passionate for their own unquiet Off-springs, did for ought they knew endeavour to illegitimate the Truth. For large Disputes, and Divisions of Mens Minds, shew there is a Doubt, which is the right Determination; but one side finds a Protection for themselves against all Error, and Mistakes: For those who call themselves an Infallible Church, must consequently make their Determination so; and not only secure what is past, but what is to be, by Declaring from the same assumed Power, a right of making new Articles of Faith. So that none need Examine why they believe at present, nor be sollicitous for what they believe hereafter.

To add to this, I confess, I could not upon my best Exami­nation find that any of the Parti­culars controverted among Chri­stians, purely and abstractedly [Page 12] considered in themselves, and the Validity of their own Natures could have any effectual Vertue or use, by the Opinion of them, in Point of Salvation, no more than if they had never received their injurious Beings by the De­signs of Disputing Parties; for some of them are so unnecessary, that the most earnest Contenders for them want Modesty, so much as to desire; that since we must endeavour to Live as well as we ought, that the certain know­ledge of those things must needs be useless to that end; for no­thing that is not in it self materi­al, can be useful to the Means; and if Faith, Charity, and Justice must be the effectual means, I cannot see how it is necessary to consider of believing, or not be­lieving any Thing that is not in it self purely necessary to be belie­ved for its own intrinsick Ver­tue.

[Page 13] This being my Thoughts of the Polemic part of Divinity, I could not perceive any use for my self or others, to be extracted out of these interessed quarrels, and therefore resolved not to wan­der farther in a Wilderness, where all disputed the way, and most pretended to be unerring Guides. But were the Apostles now Living, they would see a greater improvement by these Disputes, than would have been purchas'd by their plainer Me­thods and Doctrines; of which they wou'd be sufficiently evinc'd by the (then unthought of) Titles and large Possessions of their Successors. But things of ex­traordinary Natures are most apt to get respect, visible impossibili­ties are made the most worthy Objects of Faith: And the Church the less visible, the more Veneration to be given it; and submitting imagination must [Page 14] make that greatest, that is not to be made less by being possible to be found out where it is.

The next thing I Consider'd was Philosophy, wherein I found also Disputes warmly maintain'd, Men being apt to engage for the pride of Victory, or lust of In­terest. And it appears plainly, that not the desire of Truth only has engaged many in the search of Philosophy, since the uncer­tain fate of it shews that the Opi­nions receiv'd Credit, as the Inte­rests of Men were guided by De­sign or Opposition. For in Things that admit no Demonstration, there is more room for Disputes than common Benefit.

The beginning of it is reckon'd from Thales and Pythagoras, who made first the publick profession of it. But the Account is given faintly by Laertius; and what we read of them and others down to the time of Socrates, are but dark Ac­counts [Page 15] either to raise, use, or dispute from. Under him Plato began his Studies, and Aristotle in his time appear'd in Athens. The Differences between the Sto­icks and Epicureans were famous, and by their Disputes made way for the Doctrine of Plato to flou­rish, which Cicero in his time fol­lowed close, finding it perhaps useful to Eloquence which he so much Laboured in.

The Doctrine of Aristotle lay silent, while Plato's spread in Italy and Greece, which were then the only Countries of Learning. 'Tis said that the Writings of Aristotle lay hid about One hunder'd and sixty years, and almost spoil'd by the moisture of the Cave where they were buried; after sold for a great price to a wealthy Citizen of Athens, who had a fancy for ma­king a great Collection of Books hard to be gotten. Afterwards when Sylla took the City, he took [Page 16] these Writings with a design to bring them to Rome: But he dy­ing they fell into the Hands of one Tyrannion. After him Andronicus got them into his Possession, who seem'd the first restorer of them, and made them known in Rome, about the time of Cicero's grow­ing Reputation.

But Plato was yet famous in all Places, and the Romans that found Advantage and Preferments depended more upon Eloquence than Natural Philosophy, applied themselves most to the Moral Part of it, and from thence form'd Re­ligion.

This Established the Reputati­on of Plato's Doctrine in Rome, till the same Cause gave Reputation to Aristotle's. In Domitians time, the Disputes of the Philosophers began to be so troublesome to the Government, that they were ba­nished Rome. Marcus Aurelius brought it again in high Reputa­tion, [Page 17] and in his time the Doctrine of Plato was in such Esteem, that it grew in Fashion among the La­dies, and so continued to the time of Severus.

In this first Age the Church seem'd to have a Birth; the begin­ning of the Christian Religion was thought to have the most ob­struction from Philosophers, whose Disputes among themselves, and the Division of their Sects, gave Lucian one of the best occasions to turn it into ridicule.

Some of the Sages among the Christians finding the Pagans so averse to any that disown'd Phi­losophy, they clos'd with them in becoming Platonists, whose Philo­sophy was then so highly prefer­red; and then this Philosophy was by them judged most agreeable to the Christian Religion; and con­tributed to turn Justin, who was afterwards Martyr'd; who a­vow'd, that the Philosophy of [Page 18] Plato dispos'd him to Christianity. Many Bishops were also admirers of that Philosophy; Origen and St. Austin were great Asserters of Plato's Doctrine, and the useful­ness of it for Christianity; and the two first Ages were absolute Opposers of that of Aristotle.

Tertullian was one of the first that appeared against the Doctrine of Plato; calling him the first Au­thor of all Heresies; and both he, and Arnobius follow'd by St. Chrysostom, who most sharply of any handled that Doctrine. And then the Stream quite turn'd; and as in the First and Second Age it was believed Christianity was as­serted by it; so now in the Third and Fourth Ages 'twas found out that Heresie sprung from it.

The Latin Fathers were not so clear sighted to find out that the Subtilties of Aristotle were not full of a Spirit of Contradiction against the Christian Religion; [Page 19] but the Greeks that flourish'd in the Eleventh Age, found it other­wise by studying it; and the Com­mentaries of Avicen and Averrhoes on the Philosophy of Aristotle, as­sisted his Reputation, and helped it to spread.

In the 13th. Age, as the French write, the Works of Aristotle were brought into France, and for some time taught in the Uni­versity; but after a little time his Writings were burnt, and Excom­munication threatned against any that taught out of them: His Me­taphysicks were Condemned by an Assembly of Bishops at Paris; and six years after the Cardinal of Estieune, sent by Pope Innocent, forbid the Professors of the Uni­versity of Paris to teach his Phy­sicks; which afterwards was also Condemned by a Bull of Gregory the Ninth, and one Simon a Pro­fessor, and Diuant a Master of Arts, were after accused of Heresie, [Page 20] for being Esteemers of Aristotle's Opinions and Writings. Mezeray says, that in the Year 1209. one Almeric a Priest, beginning to preach some Novelties, had been forc'd to recant; for which he died of Grief. Several after his Death follow'd his Opinion, and were Condemn'd to be burnt; and he being Excommunicated by the Council of Paris, his Body was taken up, and his Ashes thrown upon a Dunghil. And be­cause they believed the Books of Aristotle, lately brought from Constantinople, had fill'd their Heads with these Heretical Sub­tilties, the same Council forbids the reading or keeping them, un­der the pain of Excommunica­tion.

But during this Disgrace, there arose in his defence three famous Divines, to whom Damascen had open'd the way, having abridg'd many of his Works; which had [Page 21] assisted him to put in order his great work of Divinity: And af­terwards others improv'd this, and took as it were a Plan of Di­vinity from Aristotle's Philoso­phy.

In the year 1366. Two Cardi­nals, Commissioners from Vrban the Fifth, came to Establish the Doctrine of Aristotle in France; where it was order'd, that none shou'd proceed Master of Arts, that were not Examined upon his Logick, Physicks, Metaphysicks, and his Books of the Soul; and afterwards were enjoyned to study Aristotle carefully, to re­store the Reputation of the Uni­versity.

Pope Nicholas the Fifth, a great advancer of Learning, com­manded a new Translation of Aristotle into Latin, for the use of the Divines of the Romish Church.

[Page 22] Pope John, that Canoniz'd St. Thomas and his Doctrine, increas'd the Reputation of Aristotle, from whom that great Doctor had drawn his Principles; but now his Writings became the Funda­mental Laws of Philosophy.

In the Fourteenth Age grew the hot Contention between the Thomists and the Scotists: The Disciples of St. Thomas and Sco­tus, about Subtile things, or (as Mezeray calls them) brangling Cobweb-Controversies, which yet was pursued with Passion, according to Interest or Inclina­tion, or by engagement of Par­ties. And so multiply'd were Disputes, that a Venetian Writer pretended to reckon up Twelve thousand Volumes published in that Age about the Philosophy of Aristotle.

This pursuit of Differences, and Niceties, never to be made decidable, grew to raise a new [Page 23] Philosophy, that the other be­came scarcely intelligible: Inte­rest, and the Excessive love of Dispute, caused so many vain sub­tilties, that Philosophy began to lose its former Credit and Repu­tation. And if it were not from my purpose, the naming only of those useless and unintelligible Sub­tilties would easily convince any, that by the sharp Disputes it ap­pear'd, it was for Truth, or the hopes evidently to discover it, that engaged the quarrelling Parties.

Yet after this the Reputation of Aristotle so far increas'd, and was so established in the Univer­sity of Paris, that Ramus, who had found out some new Subtilties in Logick, and Published some Ob­servations upon Aristotle to dimi­nish his Credit, was by the other Professors in the University con­demn'd in the year 1543. for Rash, Ignorant, and Impudent, [Page 24] to dare write any thing against Aristotle; and an Order made, that none should teach any other Philosophy. Such a Religious Veneration they had for Aristotle, that dissenting from it grew a Heresie; and in the Massacre at Paris, Ramus was murther'd with as much fury, as the Calvinists themselves.

The Credit of Aristotle was also not a little encreas'd in the Church of Rome, from the Op­position of Bucer, Calvin, Me­lancthon, and others; and it was then more and more found out, that it was a support to the dark Opinions of that Church. This was the Cause that it was so sup­ported by the Doctors of Paris in the year 1611. by making a new Rule, that all Professors should teach the Philosophy of Aristotle. And in the year 1624. a Request was denied for some particular Theses to be propos'd [Page 25] against the Doctrine of Aristotle And the same Parliament in the Year 1629. made an Arrest against some Chymists, upon the Informa­tion of the Sorbonists, that the Principles of Aristotle cou'd not be written against, or lessen'd, without prejudicing the School-Divinity receiv'd. And this per­haps rais'd and confirm'd his Re­putation in all Universities, which were first encourag'd by the Popes, as proper Soils to sow the Seeds for Disputers to grow up, to defend and support all new and dark Opinions. Thus his Name grew almost Sacred in Universities; and Queens Colledge in Oxford yet shews a kind of Testimony of Veneration, by reading Aristotle upon their Knees; and those that take De­grees, sworn to defend his Philo­sophy.

[Page 26] Whosoever will impartially consider the dark Subtilties con­tain'd in Aristotle's Philosophy, will find reason enough for the use of it in as dark, but more dull Writings of School-Divini­ty, whose end seems only to con­found all things with obscure and dark distinctions. For when an impartial Obedience is to be perswaded, the most sublime and unintelligible means are most pro­per to be used.

And 'tis no wonder if the Fa­thers, and Sages of the Three first Ages, were not quick enough to understand a sort of Dullness, of which then they had no use, the thing not being then found out that they were to be applied to. But when the occasion was ready for it, the puzling parts of Aristo­tle's Philosophy were found use­ful; and among all his dark Sub­tilties, none more convenient than that of separated Essences [Page 27] which were Beings where no Be­ing was, and the only proper No­tion to find out a place for Pur­gatory; and seem'd also very use­ful to support the hard Point of Transubstantiation; where there appears a Substance, that must not be believ'd to be there, and an­other to be believ'd there that is not at all to be perceiv'd. Yet though the Church engag'd in the Quarrel, the Credit of the New Philosophy has increas'd chiefly by the Writings of Mirandula, Lod. Vives, Galilaeus, Gassendus, and Des Carles, and by many excel­lent Philosophers of our own Na­tion.

I have not given this Account with the least Design or Endea­vour to lessen the Esteem of Knowledge in this particular of Philosophy. For certainly the Na­tural Reason of things is worthy of such a search as may inform. But to labour in the endless and [Page 28] useless searches of Subtilties and nice Distinctions, can be for no other use but Disputes, caus'd by the Vanity of suppos'd Victory, or the Application to Interest. At least, I could not find a clear ad­vantage to my self, or cou'd have hoped to have offer'd any others, by endeavouring to obtain the Perfections of an imperfect Study, wherein nothing appear'd to me promising any thing of publick use or private demonstration.

For the Mathematicks, setting aside that vain part of it, Astro­logy, I only know enough of it to deplore I had not made my in­tire Study there, where a Demon­stration made it more proper for the true use of men, than for their Designs. For in things that admit the least Dispute, men must be least divided; and yet Evident Truth begets the least Interest, and the fewest Admirers. But where things not only above Reason, [Page 29] but contrary to Sense, are impos'd upon mens Belief, that implicite Faith, and consequently Obedi­ence, must be the sure Foundation of Interest; and those who have parted with their Wits, may pro­bably part with their Fortunes. For certainly had not such extra­ordinary Designs prosper'd on ea­sie men, the Ecclesiasticks had not crept into such great Titles and large Possessions, that the Apostles cou'd hardly find any Image of themselves in their Successors, and as little in some of their Opi­nions, who never were taught, or did teach, to deny Sense, and to make visible Truth, or sensible De­monstration, a Sin.

The Mathematicks have there­fore caus'd less Disputes, and en­gaged fewer in the Study of it, where Truth can only be the Search and the Reward, and Dis­putes must be confounded by De­monstration. But the other Stu­dies [Page 30] are most suitable to the bent Nature of Mankind, where things not to be clearly decided, nourish Contention and Design: For ea­sie People being ready for extra­ordinary Notions, excuse the fol­ly of not examining, by the pru­dence of believing it safer to sub­mit implicitly to others, than to use their own Sense. And at last, by such intire submissions, Impos­sibilities become as easie to them as Truths, and Falseness as Demon­stration; like those that use them­selves perpetually to hot Waters, Spirit of Wine it self at last is swallow'd up, without being perceiv'd to have any violent strength.

Observations on HISTORY.

THE next Study to this, that seem'd near­est Truth, and of most use, was History, in which the best mea­sures of men are to be found; and the Comparisons of Calms and Storms in Empires, the Quiet and Revolutions under several Princes and Governours, will best teach by what Methods Kingdoms have been preserv'd and shaken; which is not only useful for those that go­vern, but those that obey, teach­ing the first how to preserve, and the last how to afford the Means.

Nor did any thing appear more agreeable to me, than the use that Machiavel makes of History in his Decads on Livy, where his Di­scourses, [Page 32] grounded upon Reason, have yet matter of Fact to support them, and brings it the nearest to a Demonstration. For Notions in Politicks, unsupported with Fact, seem only bare Opinions; but from those Accidents and Events that we have seen follow closely the Wisdom and Vertue of Prin­ces, or the Folly and Vices of them and their Favourites and Ministers, (sharing so much their Power) may be reasonably de­duc'd that Judgment of things which must be useful to practice, or avoid, by the ruling and obeying part.

There are no Prescriptions (in my Opinion at least) so useful a­gainst this Sickness, as the Prece­dents in History; to see what Glory and Safety wise and vertu­ous Princes have obtain'd, and what Ruine the Cruelty and Fol­ly of others have brought upon themselves and Subjects. In eve­ry [Page 33] Country their own Precedents are most proper for themselves, since living under the same Con­stitutions, they may justly expect the same Effects from those happy or unfortunate Causes.

In all our Stories, I look'd up­on none so instructing as this part I have chosen, where the power of firm Vertue and unsteady Er­rors so evidently appear'd in their close Operations.

I do not look upon a calm and quiet Reign so much the Proof of steady Vertue, where Peace has descended with the Empire, nor the Troubles of an unquiet time so clear an Evidence of unsteady Errors, where the Storms and Troubles descended with the Crown. But when in an imme­diate and repeated Succession, the Extreams alternately have pre­serv'd and destroy'd. I look up­on these as the clear Testimonies of the different Powers of Vice [Page 34] and Vertue, Steddiness and In­directness, Justice, and Tyran­ny.

The Examples are no where to be found more close than in the Reigns of Edward the Second and Richard the Second. The first succeeded his Father Edward, who came to the Crown after ma­ny Troubles that his Father Henry the Third had long labour'd un­der; but his steddy Vertue over­came all Troubles at home, and conquer'd his Enemies abroad; and was the first that made Eng­land look like a Powerful and E­stablish'd Monarchy. His unfor­tunate Son Edward unravell'd what he had wound up, and by unsteddy Errors shook that Pow­er that descended so unshaken to him from his mighty Father. His Son Edward the Third, by Ver­tues and Methods of his Grandfa­ther, restor'd what his Father had lost. Richard the Second, the [Page 35] Son of the Black Prince, succeed­ed his Grandfather in his Throne; but his Great Grandfather, Ed­ward the Second, in the same fatal and unsteddy measures, lost more than the other had gained. For though he lost his Life, like Ed­ward the Second, yet he lost more than he; for with him the Suc­cession ended, and fell into ano­ther Line.

No Subject appear'd to me so worthy of Remarks as this; which evidently shews, that there is a general Temper in Mankind, fa­tal to their own Peace, which e­ven and firm Minds wou'd per­ceive. Fortune and occasion add to, or diminish the Temper of most, who sink either too low, or swell too high: Success makes them salse to themselves and o­thers. All modest and profess'd Principles are lost in such a Tem­ptation, and both Kings and Sub­jects have harass'd one another by [Page 36] such alterations, and shook the Government they both seem'd ten­der of.

Sometimes when Kings have been in such a Condition that is capable to ground sufficient Flat­tery upon, there never want those either indigent in Fortune or Ver­tue, to perswade Kings, That Li­mited Power (for so they call Laws observ'd) is but the Fetters of a Prince, and they need be worn no longer than he submits to publick Notions, which are nothing but unsolid Fancies: For if a King does not assume all Power, the Subjects will grow into the greatest share, and will necessitate him to try for all, or have as good as none.

On the other side, a Prince at­tempting this, and failing, he sinks perhaps to grant as much as he de­sign'd to get, and believes to find a stop in their Desires, who knew none in his own. Subjects are [Page 37] at first modest, and their Desires are grounded upon Common Inte­rest; but usually when they be­lieve their Credit and Condition large enough for a Foundation, they increase as fast in Desires as Fortune gives them occasion; and when they gain more than they expected, they will ask more to secure what they had obtain'd, and at last make themselves inca­pable to trust or be trusted. It is the Nature of Extremities to al­low no retreat; and the mischiefs of either side are equal to the Common Peace; and wherever a ra­vish'd Power rests, the Tyranny is alike.

Nothing more illustrates this than the unfortunate Reigns of those Two unhappy Princes Ed­ward the Second, and Richard the Second, both Princes of resem­bling Tempers, not affected with extraordinary Cruelty in their own Natures, of competent Sense and [Page 38] Courage, but ill Users of both: In Prosperity they seem'd to shew more Courage than they had, and in Adversity less; by which it na­turally appear'd they were more influenced by others than them­selves, who flatter'd them in a good Condition, and forsook them in a bad. They were both apt to be fond of Favourites, and the Nobility as apt to hate them: Yet some of those that condemn'd those Kings for fixing too much their Favours upon particular per­sons, wou'd perhaps have been as pleas'd to enjoy the same good Fortune. But the publick was made complain for their private Displeasures, and the usual im­moderate use of Power in those Favourites, caus'd such a Distance in the Hearts of King and Peo­ple, that the attempting the Cure of the Diseases that sprung from the infection of ambitious Mini­sters, procur'd Calamities in their [Page 39] Redress; as Physicians, sometimes one Disease as a Remedy for ano­ther, and to cure a Lethargy, the Patient must be driven to a Fe­ver.

King Edward gave this Offence by his unlimited Favours to Gave­ston, and after him to the Spen­cers: King Richard to the Duke of Ireland, and Earl of Suffolk. Gaveston's Person was very charm­ing, and his Mind and Frame e­qually fitted for Luxuries, which was discern'd by that great Prince Edward the First, who banish'd him, and on his Death-bed en­joyned his Son never to bring him back. He was a man of Courage, but when rais'd to Power, he grew from all Evenness of Tem­per, and was as insolent as his For­tune was great.

The Spencers succeeded him in Favour, in whom no particular marks of good Qualities cou'd be trac'd; never satisfied with wealth, [Page 40] nor ever satisfied with revenge. The Riches of the Nation seem'd but enough to satisfie their Am­bitions, and the Destruction of it to secure their Safeties. They first justly made many their Ene­mies, and then destroy'd them for being so. By this it may seem strange, that Princes shou'd have that Excess of Value for such worthless Objects, which more ordinary persons wou'd hardly be­stow upon them. But those of the loosest and most debauched Principles are aptest to feed the Humour of men, who love to be nourish'd by soft Flatteries; and Common People are not Objects for such Endeavours. Princes tempt the Tempters, who creep into their Power by perpetual whispers, how to enlarge theirs, and twisting themselves into their Princes Favour and Opinion, in­volve his Interest with theirs, and render any Displeasure against [Page 41] them, the want of Duty to him.

Richard the Second was as un­happy as his Choice of Favourites. The first was the Duke of Ireland, better than the rest, but hardly better than any others. He was not a great studier of mischief, but a ready Adviser to pursue any ad­vantage to enlarge Power. He seem'd to want Courage to at­tempt; and few want Courage to embrace. So that it was possible he might have rested in a limited share of Fortune, and been con­tented with a moderate quietness, had he not been joyned with the turbulent Earl of Suffolk, who, in all Conditions, merited the worst Character; in War, fearful; in Peace, insupportable; all Vertue unthought of by him, and Mis­chief his study, and his Diseas'd Mind the common place of Corru­ption.

[Page 42] Tresilian, the Chief Justice, was an useful Minister to assist such a Favourite, who was ready to sub­ject Law to Occasion, and make the Occasion suitable to Law; and 'tis probable he got his Place by such measures; for his Reason was Violence, and his Justice Cru­elty.

There was nothing right or wrong, but what he was directed to determine so, and gave a full Testimony of himself in the de­ciding the Ten Queries propos'd by the Earl of Suffolk, all which were resolved into Treason, or to merit Death. By which Resolves the Nation was made the Traitor, and the Treason fitted certainly to find out Traitors.

Thus commonly Men attain to Princes Favours, by being more Councellors to their Humors than their Interest, and with unconfin'd Flattery betray them to the Temptation of unlimited Power. [Page 43] And this violent driving all things into Extreams, was the fall of those too unhappy Princes, who, when they had Power shew'd no Moderation, and when they wanted it, betray'd as much Dejection.

This shook that Trust, which is the Foundation of peace, and that once shaken, either side (as occasion offer'd) acted the same immoderation, which they before Condemn'd. Both these Princes in the change of Fortune, denied and granted too much, and most commonly denied what they had granted, and granted what they had denied before, by which they disoblig'd in denying, and their Fa­vours seem'd no Obligation when bestow'd. The first was look'd upon, as design'd to injure their Subjects, and the last as a fear of them.

These things will be best illu­strated by giving an impartial Ac­count [Page 44] of some resembling Parti­culars in the Actions of these un­fortunate Princes.

Edward the Second began first with his receiving the banished Gaveston into Favour before his Fathers Funerals were performed, makes him Earl of Cornwal, and gives him the Lordship of Man; and in his first Actions, seems to forget his Fathers Commands, and neglect the Advice of any Coun­cel.

This so enrag'd the Nobility, that they press for Gaveston's Ba­nishment; or threaten'd (if de­ny'd) to hinder his Coronation. The King (pursued always with a Fatal unsteadiness) yields to their Demands, and Promises in the next Parliament all they had de­sired: Yet after he had promis'd the Banishment of Gaveston, per­mits him, notwithstanding, to carry St. Edward's Crown. This aggravates so much, that the next [Page 45] Parliament proceeded much high­er. Thus the Ballances began to be tost up and down, as any weight on either side, helpt to hoist up the other.

In the Parliament they pur­sued their advantage; and the King not only grants them power to draw Articles, but takes his Oath to confirm whatever they concluded; and he that before seem'd jealous of trusting his Sub­jects, now gave them an oppor­tunity of revenging that Mi­strust.

The want of Confidence before seem'd to betray an ill Intention, and this unlimited Confidence con­firm'd the Opinion of it; both be­tray'd what he design'd both shou'd conceal; and by the Ex­treams, taught the fatal Lesson of Jealousie; and those perhaps that advis'd the ill Designs, wanting power to bring them forth from their own Fears, gave Councils [Page 46] contrary to their former Advices in a better Condition: For men with­out Principles are guided by those Opinions that unequal Fears, or unsteddy Ambition gives them, and receive no Council from e­ven Principles, or unshaken Ver­tue.

These Mistakes provok'd the Banishment of Gaveston, and the King became liable to Perjury whenever they pleased. But af­ter he had committed this Error, he pursues it with a greater; and though he banish'd Gaveston to keep his Oath, he violates again by re-calling him, and gives him his Neece in Marriage, and so much Rules, that it justly merited the Censure of wasting the pub­lic [...] Treasure.

The Barrons enrag'd at this Breach of Faith in the King, and to see the Fortune of the Nation thrown into a Stranger's Hands, threaten Force against their Per­jur'd [Page 47] Prince, and by this means obtain again the Banishment of Gaveston, with a Clause of Death, if ever he returned.

Gaveston having not been long in Banishment, and finding, or at least believing he was not safe a­broad, thought it less hazardous to trust to the former extravagant Affection of the King, than Ene­mies and Strangers in another Countrey; and upon this conside­ration comes back into England, and immediately repairs to him. The King (according to his expe­ctation) receiv'd him with such an Excess of inconsiderate Joy and Kindness, that it seem'd as if Ga­veston brought always Charms more powerful than any Divine or Ha­mane Obligation.

Upon this the Lords again took Arms, and petition in the Name of the whole Commonalty, That Gaveston may be banish'd. The King more fond of Gaveston, [Page 48] than sensible of what he had done, or of their Force or Petition, takes, as it were, a Flight with him, and puts him with Forces into Scarbo­rough-Castle; and as Gaveston seem'd to aim at security, by weaving the King's Fortunes with his, so the King seem'd to make his Fortunes as desperate as Gaveston's, by sha­ring his Condition.

The Lords eagerly pursu'd him to Scarborough, which they be­sieg'd and took, together with Gaveston, whom they immediate­ly beheaded. Thus this unhappy Prince neglecting his own Faith, gave others the Opinion, that theirs was discharg'd; and the fond­ness of a Favourite above the Peo­ple, lessen'd their Duty, as he les­sen'd his Consideration of them: and 'tis too visible a truth, that a Prince who so much resigns himself to Fa­vourites, must also resign his For­tune to theirs.

[Page 49] The Lords, swell'd with this Success (the usual Effects of Ra­vish't Power), march with an Ar­my towards London, where the King then was, where Necessity, and not Choice, seem'd to be the means that a Parliament was call'd, where the King complain'd of the Barons, who justified their unlaw­ful Actions, by the Errors of their Prince, and plead Merit for ha­ving purchas'd the Banishment of Strangers to quiet the People. Thus unsteddy Actions beget wild Arguments, and false Pretensions are too much supported by Power.

However, a Composure for the present was made by the Queen, the Bishops, and the Earl of Glo­cester, who calm'd the Barons in­to a Temper of asking the King's Pardon; and several Articles were agreed on for present satisfaction, which seem'd as if the Lords had more Inclinations to Obedience [Page 50] than Rebellion, and wanted but the prudent Justice of a Prince to be applied, to cure these Wounds that Jealous Discontents had made.

But the Mischief of former ill Humours and Councils remain'd, and began to shew themselves by the dealy of performing what was agreed on, which was the Cause that the Earls of Arundel, War­wick▪ and Warren, refus'd to go with the King against the Scots.

It seems strange, that Vnsted­diness and Injustice, Two of the weakest Errors of Mankind, shou'd become Rules for Princes to act by, which could hardly be possi­ble, were they not resign'd to the Councils of others, and conse­quently to their Interests, such who cannot by National Methods pursue their Ambitious Designs, and protect what they obtain; the pursuit of Honour and Riches [Page 51] are seldom limited, and putting a Distance between King and People is the only means to keep them remote from Examination and Justice, and at least involve their Interest so with his, that to question them is to attack his Dig­nity.

To foment Differences between the King and others, was now a­cted by little Artifices; one In­stance of which was the taking away the Earl of Lancaster's Wife by one Richard St. Martin, claim­ing her as his, and that he had for­merly lain with her; and claim'd by her the Two Earldoms of Lin­coln and Salisbury. This was an Action that seem'd to shew the Encouragement and Assistance of great Power; nor did they that contriv'd it, omit their chief aim of having the King thought a Party, at once to engage him in their Designs and Animosities, and to revenge himself and them by [Page 52] particular Injuries: For 'tis not to be presum'd, that such a man as the Duke of Lancaster could have such a violence committed in his House by an inconsiderable Fellow, without great assistance of Force and Power: and the Two Earldoms (that seems rested in her) were Arguments that the Design was to affront the Duke of Lancaster in the Diminution of his Honour, and to make an irreconcilable Difference between the King and him, who being re­lated to the King, and a man of great Quality and Interest; might perhaps be an Obstacle to those Designs which were contriving by the new Favourites; and it was an improper consideration for such to consider whether the King's In­terest and Honour were best ser­ved by this, but only whether their own Designs were not best pursu'd.

[Page 53] And now the same Fatal Hu­mour began to shew it self; and Hugh Spencer the Younger (who Mezeray says had been bred up with him in an unbecoming Fami­liarity, and had absolute Empire over him), succeeded Caveston in an almost unlimited Favour and Power. The first Difference that this caused appeared at the Siege of Berwick, which being near ta­ken by the Scots, the King de­clared to make his Design to make the Younger Spencer Governour of it; upon which the Earl of Lancaster withdrew his Forces, with whom the Lords presently took Arms, and declared the Cause to be for the removing the Spencers; the Father being now got into joynt Commission of Favour with his Son, who go­vern'd with as much Insolence and Absoluteness as ever Gaveston had done.

[Page 54] With these Forces they ad­vance towards the King, and boldly demand the Banishment of the Spencers: The King not being strong enough at present to oppose them, gives a Temperate Answer, only seeming averse to punish any but by Form of Law; and therefore wou'd not banish them unheard, but promises them they shou'd answer to any Charge, and swore he wou'd never par­don Offences prov'd. This An­swer did not yet satisfie the Lords, who continued their March to London, where the King grants all things denied before.

The King, that had yeild­ed to what was demanded by Force, out of the apprehen­sion of that Power, retain'd yet his former Inclinations, and was so used to act by indirectness, that he rather proceeded by a familiar Method, than any new Necessity, and praetis'd [Page 55] as much from Nature as Occa­sion.

The Spencers, by an Edict pub­lished in Westminster-Hall, by the Earl of Hereford, were banished the Realm; but in a very little time, when the Lords were re­turned home, the Edict was re­voked in a Council held in Lon­don, where the Archbishop of Canterbury declared the Banishment of the Spencers to have been Erro­neous.

As soon as the Lords were reti­red to their promised Quiet, ha­ving obtained what they desi­red, the King began to design to revenge on them the Displeasure for what he himself had granted, as if all his Favours were his Er­rours, and his Severity his prudent Justice. Thus while they thought themselves restored to Peace, the King prepares for War, and sud­denly raising Forces, pursues the Barons, many of whom revolt to [Page 56] him; the rest make such prepara­tions as was possible in so short a time, and stayed with their For­ces at Burton upon Tnent: When the King's Army advanc'd to them, they perceiv'd they were much exceeded in Numbers; so that the Earl of Lancaster thought it wiser to retreat, especially con­sidering, that he had sent Sir Ro­bert Holland to raise more Forces among his Tenants, which Sup­plies he thought it prudent to wait for: But the Endeavour to retreat, gave the King's Forces an Addition of Courage from that Testimony of their Fear, which was made use of by Valence Earl of Pembrook, who then Com­manded the King's Army, who, after some resistance, put them to flight; after which the Earl of Lancaster, and many Noblemen and Gentlemen, were taken Pri­soners. The News of this Defeat, or his own Falseness, brought Sir [Page 57] Robert Holland, with his new rai­sed Forces, to joyn with the King.

As soon as these mighty Ene­mies were in the King's Power, the Spencers (full of Revenge) urged on for the Execution of all. 'Tis said, That Valence the Earl of Pembrook, who obtained the Victory, interceded for Mer­cy; but this rather hastens their Fate; for Spencer was so appre­hensive, that the King's Mercy to any wou'd be a Cruelty to him, that he successfully urg'd a quick Execution: The King, with o­ther Lords, among whom was Hugh Spencer, now Earl of Win­chester, sat and gave Judgment upon the Earl of Lancaster, who was presently beheaded, and ma­ny other Lords in their several Countries, to disperse Terror in every place. Above Twenty Men of Quality were put to death at this time; the first Blood of this [Page 58] nature that was ever shed since the Conquest.

Besides, the Earl of Lancaster, there died Fourteen Lords and Barons, their Estates and Inheri­tances were likewise seiz'd, and were us'd to advance a new sort of men, who must needs applaud and flatter such Councils and Suc­cesses that had been so favourable to them; and questionless the Streams of Flatteries flow'd to the King, for his Choice of such a Fa­vourite as Spencer, who had now enthron'd him once again, and by so much Blood procured him the surest Coronation: Nor was Spencer less blind in the Judgment of his own Condition, who was now Master of his King, and of all those Spoils that this bloody Success had thrown into his ambi­tious Arms: But his Condition was too prosperous temperately to consider the Vncertainty of a Violent Prosperity, watched by the [Page 59] unwearied searches of Envy and Revenge.

Councils and Actions now ap­peared, as commonly after such Success; Law lay contemn'd un­der Power, and the Interest of the Nation under Conquest; all Tem­perate and Composing Actions formerly used, were now reflect­ed on as a Prince's Shame, and a­ny thing less than Arbitrary Power, his Dishonour; an ill chosen Ground of Safety in its own Na­ture, but most improper to en­gage a Prince in, who by the weakness of unsteddy Judgment, and the ill use of Power, had suf­ficiently, by mistrust, prepar'd mens minds not to be couzen'd in­to Flattery.

It must be the Concurrence of many strange Accidents, and the close Reserve of a Prince's Na­ture, that must steal him into Ab­solute Power; otherwise we had heard of many more success­ful [Page 60] Tyrants in the World: For I doubt not but generally the Na­tures of Men have been more rea­dy to embrace more Power than their Abilities or Accidents have complied to assist them in: And we seldom read of such as become Slaves, but of such as have been well couzen'd Subjects.

The King's Power now seem­ingly grown to a great height, by the Numbers that his Success encreas'd, flatter'd him as well as their Tongues, that nothing was able to resist him, and perhaps to find uses for those Forces, that now must be kept together, re­solves to march from York into Scotland, rather with a mighty Number than a powerful Army, never considering, that such Num­bers, without suitable Discipline and Provisions, were a weakness to themselves: The Scots, it seem'd, consider'd this, and kept close, and hindred them of all [Page 61] Provisions, leaving them to over­come themselves; for Want in­creasing, they were beaten with­out Blows, and return'd pursued by Want and Dishonour, as well as by the Scots, who enter'd far into England, and return'd with great Spoils into Scotland.

This unhappy King, not made for Councils, was as well not born for Triumph, and was now per­haps at a calmer leisure to con­sider what he had done. It seem'd something like regretting Thoughts, when being earnestly sollicited to pardon one of the Duke of Lancaster's Followers, a Man of a mean Condition, he ex­claim'd with Passion against such Councellors that prest him to spare the Life of such a Fellow, and spoke not one word to spare the Life of the Duke, though his near Kinsman, whose Blood had so near Relation to his own, ma­king this true Reflection, that his [Page 62] Life might have been useful to him, the other's could not.

Misfortune seem'd at this In­stant to give the King a more temperate Consideration, which in the streams of Success he would hardly have leisure to entertain, but this was rather an unsteddy than a firm return to better and more prudent Thoughts and Councils, his Nature was still the same, which made his Fa­vours or Displeasure equally dan­gerous.

Sir Andrew Hackley, who took the Earl of Lancaster, shew'd the Truth of this; for growing e­nough to give apprehension to the Spencers, he lost his new en­joy'd Honours, together with his Life, being first degraded of them, and then executed: So that the King seem'd at one time ready to destroy, and to revenge Destruction, just as the Displeasure and Spleen of his [Page 63] Ambitious Favourites guided him.

It was no wonder if so easie a Conquest over a King shou'd swell the Conquerour enough to burst him; nor that so much Wealth and Glory shou'd so much dazzle the Eyes of Spen­cer, as to make him loose his way; but all seem'd calm, nor any little speck so like a Cloud that seem'd to threaten any storm; and the instability of this World in general is seldom the Contemplation of the Fortunate and Ambitious.

This made him attempt that which was the highest Testimony of his believ'd Security, in les­sening the Queens Attandance and Maintenance: The Spencers were not satiated with all the late Spoils of the King's Enemies, nor with the Sale of his Favours to his Friends; Places and Ho­nours were purchas'd as in a [Page 64] common Market, and every thing enclos'd or expos'd as they plea­sed: Yet it seem'd all this was not enough, or certainly they wou'd not have endeavoured to supply the want by the Queens Prejudice, and raise the most pro­bable storm to disturb their pro­sperous Course: For the Queen had been always the great support of the King, and the Composer of his difficult Affairs: She repair'd those Breaches the Errors of o­thers had made; one that still la­bour'd for Peace, and was success­ful in it.

It might seem strange, that Fa­vourites could find ways to waste as much as would support and supply the Publick, and then seek ways as extravagant to get it: and yet more strange, that a King shou'd be a Party in the dangerous ways that led to his own Ruine, and careful to preserve them by the Hazard of himself. When [Page 65] Gaveston and the Spencers seem'd forsaken by God and Man, they were never by their unfortunate Prince, but by him the whole was judged more guilty, and less wise than his Favourites.

In the fatal stream of Fortune, the Prosperous and Ambitious think of nothing but Enjoyments, detest a sober, much more a me­lancholy Consideration of those strange and sudden Alterations and Changes that this World is subject to; but think their Great­ness and Prosperity has chain'd up Accidents; and that Fortune, who had flatter'd them as much as they had done their Prince, wou'd al­ways be as obedient as she had been seemingly fond of them: Affliction gives Thoughts admit­tance, but the swell'd Minds of the successfully Ambitious seldom en­dure to think.

[Page 66] The First Accident that shew'd this Truth, was the Troubles that rose in France, which grew so high that all the Kings Terri­tories were adjudged forfeited, and many places of importance seized: The storm was so violent that there was no hopes of becalm­ing this Roughness, but by the King's going in Person to pay his Homage, or at least the Queen to mediate with her Brother. But the Spencers thought it unsafe to be separated from the King, who yet was the only Fence against that Sea of Discontent, whose Tide every day appear'd to swell; and they that had destroyed all Trust, had reason enough to be jea­lous.

Such men so constantly guided by pleasing Weaknesses, might not perhaps descern the Queen might be a dangerous Instrument to employ, that had been so disobliged; but commonly those that do injuries, [Page 67] are the least apprehensive that they will be remembred, or commonly having no fear of those they op­press, they never consider the fu­ture possibility of Revenge. But if they had apprehended danger to themselves in the Queens going, yet they chose the less Evil, no­thing appearing so terrible as part­ing with the King.

Thus the Queen was sent away with an indifferent Train, and act­ed seemingly so well, that she brought things to a fair accommo­dation, but upon such Terms as did necessitate the Prince her Son to be sent over to her. With him she had what she desired, a Foun­dation to build her Revenge up­on, which had been long rak'd up in warm Embers, which now she began to discover. And the beginning of this Fire breaking out, was made known to the King by the Bishop of Exeter, who se­cretly withdrew into England; [Page 68] but she was stayed by the most powerful Causes, Love and Re­venge. For she that now seem'd free from all Ties to her King and Husband, placed her loose Affecti­ons upon Roger Mortimer, who had lately escaped out of the Tow­er, and from the Oppression of the Spencers: She knew England con'd neither be safe to her, nor Mortimer, whom she valued as her self; and therefore resolved to trust any thing rather than her Hus­band or the Spencers.

The Queen thus delaying her Obedience to the King, in re­turning to England, She and the Prince were declared Enemies to the Kingdom, and they and their Adherents banished; and at the same time the Queen received In­telligence, that there were great Sums offered to have the Prince murthered; upon which she with­drew to the Earl of Haynault, [Page 69] where she contracted her Son to Philippa, Daughter to the Earl, and there procures some Forces and Moneys: Though her For­ces were inconsiderable, yet she reasonably depended upon what she shou'd find in England, not what she brought; For she knew that any thing would be welcome that brought a shew of redeeming them from the Oppressions they suffer'd under. With these there­fore she ventur'd to Sea, and after some Variety of Accidents, she landed with her Forces near Har­wich, where immediately she found all her Conjectures true: For ma­ny Lords and Bishops repaired to her; among them, the Two Bi­shops of Hereford and Lincoln; the first not forgetting the parti­cular Wrong, and both zealously remembring the Injury the Clergy had received.

[Page 70] The Queen wanted not a just Complaint to support her unjust Cause; and so great were the Dis­contents, that they hurried on almost the whole Nation to sup­port a Double Rebellion in a Wo­man against her King and Hus­band; and the Pulpit was ready to speak as execrably as others to act. The Bishop of Hereford taking for his Text, My head aketh, raising his revengeful and impious Do­ctrine upon it; That a sick Head was to be taken off; and in the Revolutions that attended this unhappy King, and Richard the Second, the Clergy were always ready to Sanctifie, and the Law­yers to make Rebellion Legal.

The King had now the Clamo­rous effects of ill Councels calling too loud upon him, yet saw no way left to recover or repair the Misfortune those Errors had brought him into. Wherever he went he found no Subjects, those [Page 71] with their Hearts were lost before, but led by as uncertain Councels as his Life was Govern'd. He knew not whether to fly, but only fled: He saw London was unsafe, who were all turn'd from Duty to him, in Affection to the Queen: Nor cou'd he propose any place to him­self, where he had not reason to expect certain Enemies, or worse, uncertain Friends. After many Motions, as various as his former Humors, he design'd for the Isle of Lundy, and takes with him the Earl of Glocester, the Spencers and Robert Baldock, that was Chancellor, and with some few others takes shipping; shewing how Man's Na­ture waits upon Fortune, and changes with it. They that before cou'd not be content with so much Plenty and Dominion, shew'd now no more Ambition, than what a small naked Island cou'd satisfie, where Safety was their only Hope, and a chosen Prison their Liberty.

[Page 72] The King had left the Govern­ment of the City of London to Walter Stapleton Bishop of Exeter, and Lord Treasurer; but the City to shew their good will to the Queen, among the many Testi­monies she received, gave a bloody one of their Devotion to her in­creasing Success, and struck off the Bishop's Head, and seiz'd the Tower of London, killing many in their Fury, and acting those Lawless Cruelties that they before Condem'd.

These strange Revolutions evi­dently shew'd the various Powers of Adversity and Prosperity, how it depresses some below them­selves, and lifts up others beyond their Reason and Consciences: The Queen, that had been before the repairer of her Husband's Er­rors, now makes use of them to her Husband's ruin: She that us'd to bring Peace to heal those Wounds Ill Councels had made, [Page 73] brought War now to make them wider; and whilst she Con­demn'd those Diseases that made the Nation sick, she made Rebelli­on the Cure. But success (as it was us'd to do) made her not on­ly act worse than her self, but worse than those she had so Con­demn'd. At first she only decla­red against the Favourites, and perhaps then only design'd their ruins: but she ought not with the loss of her own Vertue, to try to Cure what the want of it in others had caused. But had not the rapidness of her Good Fortune hurried her so fast from her self, she might have discern'd she was expos'd upon so violent a Stream, as wou'd carry her by its own Force, and not by her Direction; and others at last wou'd use that Power, which, in such Cases as these are, is seldom retain'd long by the Raisers of it. Mighty Causes, that bring Disorders, like Tem­ples, [Page 74] raise up things first, and toss up unthought of Ruines upon them; and a Succession of mis­chief lasts till the Storm ceases. No Age but this afforded these Examples, and yet we see it not powerful enough to teach those, who would be safe in Vertue, not to hazard being Corrupted by Power violently obtain'd.

The Queen now, with still encreasing Forces, pursues her fly­ing King and Husband, and from Oxford marches to Glocester, and from thence to Bristol, where the King had put the Earl of Arundel, and Spencer the Father to defend the Place, which was fortified as well as the time wou'd give them leave: But this Place quickly yielded to that success, which seem'd to deny all hopes to the King's declining Condition. Spencer, was there taken, and executed with all the Rigour that Revenge and Conquest cou'd in­vent, [Page 75] and with as much Contempt of Law, as he and his Son had formerly shewed. They Con­demn'd him without any Tryal, and prevented his natural Deter­mination, which cou'd not have been long, being then Fourscore years old.

Proclamation was about this time made, That if the King wou'd come in, and conform himself to the Laws and Govern­ment, he should be restor'd by the General Consent of the People. But the King either durst not, or his Favourite Spencer durst not let him trust this Declaration. Such Ministers made desperate, hold their King the safer, the more sinking their Condition is; and rather chose that the Hazard of their Prince may save them, than their Ruin save their Prince: Though perhaps in his Prosperous Condition they flatter'd him, that their Lives and Fortunes shou'd [Page 76] be always Sacrifices for him. But 'tis equally strange, that Princes in great Power and Prosperity, shou'd with pleasure believe Flat­terers, and that those Interested Flatterers should hope to be belie­ved; it shews a fatal Weakness in the one, and loose Designs in the other.

Those also that put forth this Proclamation to call the King to his own Government, did per­haps as little desire he shou'd em­brace it. For this was but once done, and seem'd a thing rather us'd to cov [...] what was intended, than a clear intention in it self. For the eager pursuit of the King was still continued, who (as some say) seeking to Land in Lundy, was driven by Tempest into Wales, and in the Abby of Nethe in Gla­morganshire lay some time con­ceal'd. From Hereford the Queen divided part of her Army, un­der the Command of Henry Earl [Page 77] of Lancaster, into Wales, in pur­suit of the King, who by the means of one Ryce ap Powel (who was well acquainted in the Coun­try) took the King in a Mona­stery: This Earl of Lancaster was Brother to him that was behead­ed at Pomfret, and seem'd to shew a Powerful pursuit of Blood, to bring the King into the Mercy of a Family where he had shew'd so little.

Others say, that the King and and the younger Spencer were in the Castle of Bristol when it was besieged, from whence (fearing the Event) he with the younger Spencer stole away by night, and endeavouring to escape by Sea, his Boat was beaten back; and trying to put out again, it was discover'd by the Lord Beaumont, who chas'd them with a small Vessel, and took the King and Spencer in it. However they all agree, that Spencer was taken with him, [Page 78] as if the King must always appear inseparably from the Cause of his Misfortunes.

The Earl of Arundel that was taken at Bristol with others were beheaded, at the Instance of Mor­timer, who now Govern'd the Queen's Affections and Affairs. This Earl of Arundell was gene­rally allowed a brave Character, and seem'd to be Guilty of no Fault but Loyalty to an unfortu­nate King, unless his Relation to the younger Spencer, who mar­ryed his Daughter. The same thing that creates a prosperous In­terest in one Condition, brings Ruine in another; or else it seem'd improbable, that so brave a Gentleman shou'd dye like a Traytor only for being Loyal.

The younger Spencer was car­ryed along only to Grace the Queen's marching Triumph: and as the chief Cause of her taking Arms, he was render'd as Con­temptible [Page 79] a Spectacle as was pos­sible, and expos'd in a fitting Po­sture to increase the Storms and Reproaches, that use to attend such miserable Objects: And per­haps some were mingled in the Crowd, that had formerly in his prosperous Greatness saluted him with fawning Acclamations. At last he was eased of all his Suffe­rings, though by a Death as full of Torments, as cou'd be ima­gin'd, which yet he endur'd with much seeming calmness; perhaps wearied with so much shame and misery, he might be willing any way to find an undisturbed Quiet­ness.

A Parliament was presently cal­led, where it was agreed the King shou'd be Depos'd, and his Son placed in his Throne; who hearing of it, refus'd such an un­timely Succession, without the Consent and Resignation of his Father. Commissioners were im­mediately [Page 80] Deputed, consisting of Lords and Bishops, to go to the King: But before they came, the ready Bishops of Hereford and Lincoln had pressed the King to yield to the powerful Decrees of the Nation; and added, [...]no question, specious Petences how well he shou'd be provided for, and live more happily, than the various Cares of a Crown wou'd ever permit him: Yet mingled Threatnings, That if he refus'd quietly to resign to his Son, the Fury of the Incens'd Nation wou'd not only Destroy Him, but per­haps his Posterity.

The King seem'd quietly to submit, and a little after the Com­mons come to receive his Resig­nation, and were seated in a Form ready for the Ceremony. The King came out in Mourning, and at the sight of a form'd Power ready to take away His, sunk down; but being recover'd to a [Page 81] miserable Life, the Bishop of He­reford deliver'd the Cause of their coming. After which Trussell a Lawyer, and Speaker of the House of Commons, pronounces a Form of renouncing all Allegiance to Edward of Caernarvon; to which (as most Writers say) the King made not the least Answer, but turn'd about, and went out. There were Articles also exhibited against him; and his Son with much Ceremony chosen King in Westminster-Hall with the full con­sent of the People; which gave the occasion to the Archbishop of Canterbury to choose for the Sub­ject of his Sermon, Vox populi, Vox Dei; exhorting the People to pray for the King they had cho­sen: Thus the Lawyer found out a Legal Method for the People to deprive their King of Sovereign­ty; and the Divines Consecrated their mighty Power, in calling their Voice, a Divine Election.

[Page 82] Philip de Comines in his Third Book takes notice, That the Great Earl of Warwick subdu'd England in Eleven days; and King Edward the Fourth reco­ver'd it in One and twenty. Though these were sudden Re­volutions, yet the Fortune of them was dispos'd by many Bat­tels: but this was as sudden, yet without a Blow, which shews no Force to be greater than the Power of Injuries and Oppressions. For though in Prosperity and the full gust of Power, this mighty Force lying (as it were) in an Ambush in the Vexed Minds of injur'd Subjects, is undiscern'd and slighted: And the fatal Pre­cedents made by the Errours of others, are seldom made use of to our selves; yet when it begins to shew it self, it seems no wonder, that the united Minds of all con­clude for themselves. But Men are so much their own Flatterers, [Page 83] that they believe every thing Per­manent they wish to be so; and Favourites that cannot sub­mit to share a Common Benefit, venture at uncertain Advantages, and make it a Principle to depend more upon Men's Fears than Love. By the Mighty and Ambi­tious Mischiefs and Disturbances are wrought, but the Weak and Moderate desire Peace and Quiet­ness.

The unhappy King was now kept in Confinement with a small allowance, that he might be de­prived of all things, that resemb­led a Princes Condition; and suf­fer'd now for his unsteady Errors, as much perhaps by the wounding reflection of their Memory, as by what he endured for them. But too late he was taught Truth by Misery; and saw the Difference to lose those Friends that cou'd preserve him, and keep none but only such as could help to destroy [Page 84] him. Princes sometimes believe that the right of Power should pre­serve them, notwithstanding the want of Conscience in the using of it. But when their Errors have contracted Enemies, and the same Errors raised Accidents e­nough to give power and oppor­tunity to those Enemies, misguid­ed Princes (like this unhappy King) will find that such with as much want of Conscience will revenge their Wrongs, as they shew'd by the Oppression.

It now appear'd that the Graves of Princes are ever near their Prisons. This unhappy one above all things deplored, That his Wife, whom he had ever loved, wou'd not be got to see him. But she was now possessed by her pas­sion for Mortimer, that all her Duty and Vertue was Sacrific'd, and her Husband was now as much her apprehension as aversion. Mortimer was as jealous as he [Page 85] could be, and never thought himself safe in his Enjoyments, while the King liv'd. They cou'd be inform'd of the murmuring whispers of their Course of Life, and that hard usage of the King proceeded from thence, and therefore looked upon the King's Death as their only security. His Keepers were therefore changed by the advice of that ready Coun­sellor of mischief, the Bishop of Hereford; for Sir Maurice Berkley, in whose Custody he was, had been tamper'd with, and not found ready for the intended Vil­lany, he was therefore taken from Henchworth Castle, and committed to Sir Thomas Gourney and Sir John Matravers, who carry'd him to Corf-Castle, a place (some write) that he always declared an appre­hensive aversion to; from thence to Bristol, from whence upon some suspicion of a Plot for his escape, he was convey'd to Berkley [Page 86] Castle; where by those barbarous Villains he was wretchedly mur­thered with a hot Iron, thrust through a Pipe up behind into his Bowels; which way they thought wou'd perhaps make the least discovery by what Death he died; though his Groans and Cryes suf­ficiently proclaim'd the Violence of it.

Some write, That the Bishop of Hereford by a dark Sentence in­stigated the Murtherers to hasten the Execution by this Line; Ed­wardum occidere nolite Timere bo­num est: At once giving them en­couragement, and concealing an excuse for himself: But Ecclesiasti­cal Riddles are dangerous, and sometimes their Expositions of Texts have been no other.

After this horrid Execution, the Murderers Gourney and Ma­travers expected Rewards; but found the Queen and Bishop rea­dier rather to threaten and accuse [Page 87] them, than to own the Service; and were forc'd to fly beyond Sea to seek safety for their loath'd Lives. But Gourney after three years was taken, and sent to Eng­land, and by the way had his Head struck off. Matravers fled into Germany, where in Repen­tance he had time to wast a mise­rable Life.

This King Reigned something above Eighteen years, and was murther'd in the 43d. year of his Life: His Body was carryed to Glocester, and there buryed with­out any Ceremony. His Character I will reserve till I join it with Richard the Second; since the same Methods and Errors in Go­vernment workt the same Effects, and both Princes equally unfor­tunate.

The Reigns of Edward the Se­cond, and Richard the Second (to which I am now proceeding) may be justly said to be as Meze­ray [Page 88] calls the Reign of Henry the Third of France [The Reign of Favourites] who did enervate all his Vertues, and dispos'd him to looseness and carelesness; dea­fen'd and confounded him with Flatteries, prompting to observe no Law but his Will, while they were the Disposers of all things. At which many great Men and o­thers retired discontented, and left the Favourite-Ministers at large to pursue their Ambition, and with new Inventions to waste, and pillage the King's Reve­nue.

This Description suits with the beginning of this unfortunate King Richard the Second, who af­ter the death of his Grandfather, that great Prince Edward the Third, succeeded him in the Throne: His Father the Famous Black Prince, dying in his Fa­ther's time; who by contrary Me­thods to what they us'd, met as [Page 89] contrary Fortunes. The Comeli­ness and Beauty of his Person (exceeding all his Predecessors) only seem'd to Entitle him to a Generous Father, and as beauti­ful a Mother. But that promi­sing Person, which might have become great Actions, was turned to Looseness and Pleasures; and Flatterers broke in to encourage that dissolute Carelesness, which they found wou'd be suitable to his Nature, and their Ambitious Designs.

The three chief Favourites and Ministers were Robert Vere Earl of Oxford, afterwards Marquiss of Dublin, and Duke of Ireland: Michael Delapool Earl of Suffolk; and Robert Tresilian Lord Chief Justice. The Duke of Ireland seem'd the best, as hardly he cou'd do otherwise, being set with two such Foils; but he wanted Ver­tue and Courage, without the ex­cess of Vices of the other two. [Page 90] Michael Delapoole was a model of complicated Vices; in Peace the most odiously Insolent, in War the most dejectedly Contempti­ble; He despised all methods of Quietness, and yet was frighted with the least Disturbance. Tresi­lian the Chief Justice was one that never shew'd his Place or Title by any practice, but ready to pro­strate all Law to Occasion, and Justice to Designs: His Knowledg was Lewdness, and his Vertue Vio­lence; what others design'd he was ready to execute, and being kept up in this Darkness, he grew fierce on all things that were cast to him.

This King was called Richard of Burdeaux, because born there, the only Son of the Black Prince. By his Grandfather Edward the Third he was in his Life time de­clared his Successor: And after his Death was Crowned at West­minster (in the year 1377) by Si­mon [Page 91] Sudbury Archbishop of Can­terbury, with great Solemnity. The King being then eleven years old. The Duke of Lancaster, and Edmund Earl of Cambridge, the King's Uncles, with other Lords and Bishops, were joyned in Commission to manage the State.

The Minority of the King gave foreign Princes an Opinion, that it was a proper time to attempt upon England; the French first laid hold on the Occasion, and landed Forces, and did some mis­chief, and burnt some places near the Sea: As about Rye, Ports­mouth, Dartmouth, and Plimouth; as also, Hastings and Winchelsea: The Scots also assaulted the Castle of Berwick, and won it, but it was taken again by the Earls of Northumberland and Nottingham, and all put to the Sword, but Ram­sey, who took it by a bold and de­sperate attempt with a few Men.

[Page 92] These troubles occasion'd a Parliament to be called at West­minster, where Alice Pearce the Concubine to the late King Ed­ward the Third was banish'd, and all her Goods confiscated: A Tax was then given of two Tenths of the Clergy, and two Fifteenths of the Temporalty: Others write the Tax was a Poll of four Pence upon every Head; but which way soever it was, ei­ther the Levying it, or the Tax it self, caused a sudden and strange Insurrection, begun by the infusi­on of one Wiat, a Factious Priest, using these Common Notions a­gainst great Men, who had power to oppress others, and ruine the meaner sort to support their Greatness and Luxuries. This spread to the City, who gave in­telligence, that they were ready to join with the Rabble, that ap­peared gather'd from many adja­cent Countries. This confused [Page 93] Body chose one Wat Tyler for their Captain, whose Assistants, or Privy-Councellers, were John Ball, Jack Straw, and Jack Shep­herd.

Blackheath (as they marched to London) was their Rendezvous, where they appeared to be above Threescore Thousand; From thence they marched to London, declaring themselves for the King and People.

When they came to London, they were received either for Fear or Love, with all freedom, and treated as if they strove who shou'd express themselves best to the flatter'd Rebels, who (like such a Mass of Giddiness got toge­ther) committed nothing but Murther and Violence; They burnt the Savoy, the Duke of Lancaster's House; they rifled the Temple, and destroyed the Law-Books, expressing a Spleen against any thing of that Nature; Nor [Page 94] were Churches or Religious Hou­ses spared; the good they pu­nished, the ill they cherished, set­ting all Prisoners at Liberty; their Chief Leader, Tyler, remembring some Punishment that his old Ma­ster, Richard Lyon, had inflicted on him, for some Crime he had committed, without any more Tryal or Judgment than what his Revenge allowed, caused his Head to be stricken off, and carried be­fore him on a Spear. Their Num­bers were now so great, that the King durst not resist their Entrance into the Tower, where they abu­sed his Mother, and took the Arch­bishop of Canterbury, the Chancel­lor, and Lord Treasurer, and drag­ging them to Tower-Hill, there be­headed them.

In the midst of all these Out­rages, the King proclaim'd a Par­don to all that wou [...]d go quietly home; which the Essex men, and some others accepted; but the [Page 95] Kentish and others stayed with their Captain Tyler: So that it seem'd as if part of this Rabble were not in the secret intention to subvert the Government, and throw down all above themselves from Oppression: About 20000. continued with their Captain: The King looking upon this as a good beginning, presented him­self in Person before the Rebels, and spoke to them with all sweet­ness, promising them Pardon and Favour; but had so rude a re­turn from Tyler, that instead of Submission, he demanded the King's Sword; at which the May­or of London drew his, and struck him to the ground, where he was presently killed. The Rabble seem'd to threaten Revenge; But the City hearing this, and thinking it high time to free their King and themselves from Ruine and Destruction, came to his Re­lief with a body of men; at [Page 96] which sight the affrighted Rebels yielded, and some fled, and de­liver'd up their Ringleader; a Sa­crifice that seldom fails to be made by such Tumults. Jack Straw, at his Execution, confessed their De­sign of destroying all that were above them in Name or For­tune.

The King's chief Favourites now appeared to be Michael Dela­poole, made Chancellor of England, and after Earl and Duke of Suf­folk; Robert de Vere, Marquess of Dublin, and after Earl of Ire­land; Alexander Archbishop of York, and Tresilian the Chief Ju­stice. The first Testimony that these shewed of their Animosities against the Methods of a just Mi­nister, was the displacing Sir Ri­chard Scroope, Lord Chancellor, who in all things used an impar­tial uprightness, which was an Offence to their loose and partial Designs.

[Page 97] But they did not only sharpen the King's Nature against men in point of Offices and Employments, but against their Lives. The first appearance of this was by the Duke of Lancaster, whose Offen­ces were likewise from his Vertues, and his Ruine therefore contrived by them, and resolv'd by Tresili­an to be done by Form of Law; the worst sort of destroying when violated; but when truly ob­serv'd, the best defence against de­struction.

There are seldom any extream Proceedings in a Government, but there are depraved persons enough in all Conditions ready to swim with the stream, and take the be­nefit of any Tide of Fortune: For when Mischief is to be practised, Corruption is the Consequence; and there are always those ready, whom no Consideration ballances in their Natures with Honour and Benefit. Tresilian was one of those [Page 98] thus prepared, and cou'd hardly want as well-condition'd Informers and Juries: Occasions preserved from men is the surest Cause of their Vertue; but offered from those that should depress it, is the Cause and Temptation of Villa­ny. Crimes were prepared for the Duke, he never committed; a Jury of Lords were fix'd, and it was not only design'd he shou'd be arrested, but his Condemnation was as confidently resolved and concluded.

These things were not so secret­ly contriv'd, but the Duke of Lancaster had notice of them, and privately retir'd, or rather fled to Pomfret-Castle, where he prepar'd to defend himself; and already Discontents grew so high, that he wanted not assistance for it, and grew so considerable, that the Queen-Mother thought it worthy her pains in all respects to endea­vour a Composure, which she effe­cted, [Page 99] assisted by the apprehensi­on of her Son, and the Duty which the Duke of Lancaster seem'd yet to retain; so that for this time e­very thing was compos'd, unless their Minds, which once shaken by indirectness and mistrust, are seldom so purely clear'd, but that some Seeds of Jealousie lie ready to spring upon the heat of any Difference. Without Trust, the Traffick amongst Dealers in petty things can never be carried on, and much less the Commerce be­tween Prince and Subjects, without Credit.

The King now enter'd upon the assuming the Government into his own Hands, and from this time grew liable to his own Errors, appearing wholly regardless of all his great Relations and Nobility, and only seem'd kind to a fondness of his Chancellor, the Duke of Suffolk, and the Duke of Ire­land, and their two subservient [Page 100] Friends, the Archbishop of York and Tresilian the Chief Justice, they that had now gain'd the pos­session of the King's Power and Inclination, shew'd a great Testi­mony of their ill use of it, by disposing the King against his brave Vncle the Duke of Glouce­ster, and the Earls of Warwick and Arundel.

The King was now wholly pos­sest by these Favourites, and in a particular manner by the Chancel­lor Delapoole, whose mean Birth was suitable to his Qualities: His Vices so many, that he was him­self a Grievance; and it seem'd a fatal unhappiness, that the King's Conscience should be intrusted unto so bad a Keeper; but the King was as violent in his Affections as others could be in their Displeasures; He seldom regarded what others thought, till necessity forced the Consideration.

[Page 101] These men that both fear'd and hated any men of Honour and Quality, that might have Interest to cross their Designs, laid hold of an Occassion to be rid of one of the greatest, the Duke of Lan­caster, by assisting him with For­ces to conquer Spain, which he claim'd in right of his Wife Con­stance, Daughter and Co-heir of Peter (who was surnamed the Cruel), King of Castile and Leon: With very considerable Forces he sail'd for Spain; He landed at the Troyne, and at Compostella met with the King of Portugal, where a Marriage was concluded with his Daughter; and after some Incur­sions made into the Countrey of Castile, a Peace and Marriage was also effected between the King of Spain's Eldest Son, and Katharine of Lancaster; and so resign'd the Title to Spain for a Composition, by a sum of Money and a Pension.

[Page 102] This look't like the feeble Poli­cy of violent and self-interested Counsellors, which was applied to Men and not to Things, as if the removal of Two or Three that oppos'd their Designs, took all the Danger away that attended them: As long as there were in­jured men, they must have Ene­mies; and their safety was no way probable but by better Prin­ciples and Practices: Besides, there were other Lords left behind, made Popular by the same Errors: But they design'd to ruine, if they cou'd, all that were in their way; and after grew very busie in de­signing to murder the Duke of Glocester, every day contriving some ill, and by their heavy wick­edness loading their King.

A little after the Rebellion, the King married with Anne, the Daughter of the Emperour Charles the Fourth, whom he loved passi­onately; for whose sake he refus'd [Page 103] the Daughter of the Duke of Milan, who was offer'd him, and with her a Dowry much more con­siderable: She liv'd with him Twelve Years, but without Issue, and died at Sheen by Richmond; which great loss made the place e­ver hated after by the King, who in all things shew'd he was a Man of great Affections; which are un­fortunate Vertues when wrong placed.

About this time the King de­clared Roger Mortimer his Heir and Successor, who was the Son of Lionel Duke of Clarence, Third Son of King Edward the Third, who was afterwards killed in Ire­land: He also created his Uncles, Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, and Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Glocester, and his Cousin Henry of Bullingbrooke (Son and Heir to his Fourth Uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster), Earl of Derby: His Cousin Edward [Page 104] Plantagenet (Son and Heir to his Uncle Edmund of Langley), he created Earl of Rutland; Sir John Holland Earl of Huntington, and Thomas Mowbray Earl of Notting­ham.

In the Parliament, in which these Creations were made, was exhibited a Charge of many Par­ticulars, and of very great Na­tures, against Chancellor Dela­poole; in which one particular was the abusing and cozening the King. But this had only an Audience, and no Examination, which gave so much offence, that an Aid de­manded was denied; and Rea­sons given, that it was to no pur­pose to give money, when the ill use of it was countenanced. This seem'd a wrong Method to ask and be denied, and at the same time neither to have Power enough to enforce, nor Obligati­ons to obtain; but 'twas not pro­per for his Favourites to tell him [Page 105] they doubted success with his Par­liament, since that were to own such apprehensions sprung from their ambitious Errors. But Princes are rightly said to be us'd like fro­ward Children, flatter'd, and condemn'd never to hear the Truth.

But the Parliament still pressed the Examination of the Charge; and the Necessity of the King's Affairs, concurring with their im­portunity, procured what they so warmly desired: The Cause was put to selected Noblemen to exa­mine; and a Subsidy seem'd the purchase of it, which was after­wards granted.

The Cause then being heard by his Peers, the Duke of Glocester, and Earl of Arundel being Two of the Judges, he was convict­ed, deprived of his Office and Chattels, and condemn'd to be executed: But all this seem'd ra­ther Arguments of Merit, than [Page 106] Causes of Punishment; For the King presently after restored him into the former Favour, as if he had suffer'd for his sake. Thus as Edward the Second received Ga­veston from Banishment, and his Subjects hate, to his Arms and Love; so this unfortunate and re­sembling King received this Earl of Suffolk from Execution, and the Prosecution of his Parliament, to increas'd Affection and Trust; as if Crimes found out, and pro­secuted by a Parliament, had been the Testimonies of Merit, and Ar­guments for a Prince's Fnvour: These unsteddy Councils increas'd mistrust in the Subjects, who now began to see they were too light to make a Poisure with his Favou­rites: And to confirm their worst apprehensions, the Duke of Ire­land, who had been driven away by the Displeasure that was con­tracted against him, now return'd with equal Credit and Principles [Page 107] with the Earl of Suffolk; to whom also joined the Archbishop of York, to strengthen their Power, and weaken their King's; for they who had influence enough to make a Prince believe their Cause to be his, might easily carry him on to revenge these Affronts, he now assumed to be his own: To this belongs the same Fate that at­tends indirect unsteddy Counsels; they must be maintained by the Ruine or Oppression of those that suffer'd by them, and no method taken for the Preservation of any, but they that merited the Punish­ment.

The Argument that was, and must be used to deceive Princes, was then enforced by these Favou­rite-Ministers, That the Arrows shot at them, were intended a­gainst the Prince; and 'twas but a method of Rebellion to confine a King, on whom to confer his Favour; and therefore to avoid [Page 108] the Dishonour of a Limited Monar­chy, he must now use Power, and declare his Trust in that only. With this flattery, they raise their King to a fatal Confidence in that, which must in time deceive mis­guided Princes: For perhaps, for some time, Apprehension and Con­science may preserve a shew of Peace, yet at last Errour and Op­pression will disturb such a weak-setled Calm.

The King thus rais'd by Flattery above his Power, and sharpned by false Arguments beyond his Na­ture, they proceed seemingly to act his Cause, but really to re­venge themselves; and (like the other Favourites in King Edward's Time) wrap their Prince's Fall and Hazard, and their own to­gether, while they are only the King's Loyal Subjects, and the Kingdom his and their own guil­ty Enemies.

[Page 109] The Memory of Suffolk's Tryal and Condemnation, was the first Cause that incited them against those that were his Judges, the Duke of Glocester and others, on whose Destruction they first re­solved, as being the most consi­derable; nor feared his near Re­lation to the King, for they knew their Power was gotten above his Nature or Consideration. The first Design was to invite Glocester and others to a Supper in London, and there murther them; which (some write) was discover'd by the Duke to Exton, the then Mayor of London; and so the Mischief was prevented for that time.

About this time the Earls of Arundel and Nottingham (who were engaged with the Duke of Glocester, in the Tryal and Cen­sure of the Chancellour Suffolk) Commanded the Navy; and did so many brave Actions, that all mouths were fill'd with just Prai­ses; [Page 110] the King's only excepted, to whom Satisfaction did most be­long: For at their Return, they found such a cold Reception from the King, that it seem'd they were rather forgiven for Misdemea­nours, than receiv'd for Merits: The strangeness of his Words told too plainly, That publick Merit lost its Nature, when the Desert was in the Enemies of his Favourites.

How much more limited is a King, by such as inflame him a­gainst the Dishonour of it? He must neither reward Vertue, nor punish Vice; his best and bravest Subjects must not be esteem'd, nor his worst question'd nor punish'd.

The Duke of Ireland, with as much Arbitrary Power as he per­swaded the King to assume, put a­way his Wife, the Duke of Gloce­ster's Daughter; and marryed a Vintners, some say a Joyners Daugh­ter: The injur'd Lady often pe­tition'd the King, but without [Page 111] success, her Injury was done by a Favourite, where his Nature was more tyed than to his own Blood: Upon no less nourish­ment can growing Favourites pro­sper, than by their Princes loss of Interest and Honour.

The Duke of Glocester, bore it not so calmy; but told the Duke of Ireland plainly, he wou'd revenge it, who from that time grew more assiduous to contrive the Destruction of the Duke of Glcester, but at the present his pretended Jour­ney to Ireland kept all silent, which after many delays he seem­ingly began; and was accompa­nied in great State by the King himself, the Earl of Suffolk, and the ready Chief Justice Tresilian.

But this proved only a Journey through Wales, and so about to Nottingham, where they enter'd in private and black Consultations. The first was to destroy the Lords; [Page 112] and for that end summon'd the Sheriffs of every County; and plainly asked them what they cou'd promise against the Lords, if the King should require it: Their Answers were for the most part, That the People were very much satisfied in their Opinions, That the Lords were lovers of their King and Country, and there­fore durst promise nothing in that matter.

The Tryal was then made to pack a Parliament, by contriving Elections as the King should ap­point: But this received as cold a return.

To what a lose Hazard they had now reduced their King, to attempt unsuccessfully to break by force, or in a Legal way to make the Nation destroy it self: The last was without question, the most dangerous design, force may enslave for little time, but slavery by Law is like to endure longer, [Page 113] but the People were not then couzen'd enough; and indeed it must be the Concurrence of strange Accidents, the fairness of an undiscover'd Dissimulation, and the Opportunity embra­ced in the same Moment, that must so infatuate the People, as to make their Ruin their Choice.

The last attempt was design'd by surer means, the Judges, who kept and seem'd to deserve their Places for the Compliance; of these were summoned the two Chief Justices Tresilian and Bel­knap with others, and to them were put Queries, which might com­prehend the safety of the Mini­sters, and the danger of all they pleased beside.

The Questions were to compre­hend so large a Treason, that it could not miss to find Traitors; for, by them resolved, the very Con­stitution of the Nation was Treason.

[Page 114] The first four Queries concern'd the Duke of Suffolk most particu­larly, and with him all Favourites: For the Case was put, Whether the Law it self, and the Commission for his Tryal, did not derogate from the Kings Authority? and then how they were to be proceeded with, that procured such a Law? and how they were to be dealt with, that provoked the King to assent to it?

The Fifth Question: What they merited that oppos'd the Kings re­mitting or releasing Penalties, or Debts due to him?

The sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth, consisted of Questions, Whether Parliaments could pro­ceed upon any business, but such as the King should propose and limit by Articles? And whether the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament might accuse any of the King's Officers without his Leave?

[Page 115] The Tenth was singly for the Duke of Suffolk, Whether the Judgment given in the last Parlia­ment against him, were Erroneous and Revocable.

'Tis improbable, that such que­stions as these shou'd be propos'd to any Persons, that had the Names of Justices, unless there had been before a received assu­rance of the Answers they wou'd give. Accordingly it appear'd, for they returned not any answer doubtingly or modestly, but de­termined all to be Treason, and the Offenders worthy the death of Traytors.

The last Article they resolved with as much clearness (viz.) That the Proceedings and Judgment a­gainst the Duke of Suffolk were Erroneous and Revocable; and ac­cordingly deliver'd these bald O­pinions under their Hands and Seals.

[Page 116] It seem'd as if they durst judge no Crime less than Treason, that offended the Ministers; though by their bold Opinions, the Par­liament it self became the Tray­tors, and a Statute Law the Trea­son.

This I suppose was highly ap­plauded by the Ministers, and the King flatter'd to believe what ex­cellent Servants he had of such Judges, by whose briskness not only the Law, but the trouble­some Constitution it self of the Na­tion might be rendred as useless as Arbitrary Power cou'd desire: For if such Laws that seem'd to limit a King, shou'd in them­selves become void for that very Cause, there could no Law be va­lid, but such as pleas'd the Sove­raign, who was the Judge of his own Infringment; and then all past Laws, and Laws to be made, would become but prostituted Writings to the Will of Princes.

[Page 117] Perhaps at that time these Jud­ges had the Character of being the most Loyal, for appearing most desperate, giving that great Testi­mony of their Devotion, that their Zeal for the Favourites was far warmer than for their Coun­trey, and involved themselves in their Fortunes by Principles as leud as their Designs.

The King looked upon the O­pinion of these Judges as Authen­tick, and of validity enough to throw legally into his power the Estates and Fortunes of those Lords that appeared most Eminent against his Ministers; and accord­ingly he began to dispose of their Estates among those that he fa­voured, presuming them (with­out farther Tryal) Convicted Persons; and to maintain this ab­surdity by a worse, rais'd Soldiers privately, and sent to surprize the Earl of Arundel.

[Page 118] The Duke of Glocester having In­telligence of all these proceedings, got the Bishop of London to per­swade the King from such Violen­ces; and to assure him that he had never had an undutiful thought against him; and intimated how much more safe and Honou­rable it wou'd be for the King not to be led by false suggestions to such a fatal difference and se­verity with his best and greatest Subjects.

The Bishop performed this, with his best Skill and Zeal; and wrought so upon the King, that he seem'd inclin'd to a more happy Temper; but the Duke of Suffolk, that had all Peace and Justice (by which he knew he was to have little Benfit, nor cou'd be probably safe longer than while he kept his King in danger) quickly nipt the King's budding Gentleness, and, like an untimely Frost, blasted the springing Hopes [Page 119] of Peace, falling upon the Bishop with harsh and insolent Reproofs: But the Bishop not daunted with his Power and Greatness, boldly told him, That it was not the Ser­vice of his Prince that guided him, but his own violent Ambition; and that rather than the Lords shou'd not be destroy'd, he would in­volve the Nations in Ruine: Ad­ding, That it was easie for such abject Spirits as his, to raise Tu­mults, which must be ended by the Ruine of the Bravest; nor was he fit to give Advice, that was the chief Incendiary, and made a Party by his Condemnation. The King was so angry to see his Fa­vourite so roughly and boldly at­tacked, that he commanded the Bishop out of his sight.

In this particular, as in most of the King's unhappy Actions, he ap­peared against Himself and his own Reason, being guided by the Duke of Suffolk, who was of a contrary [Page 120] Interest, turn'd from his own Na­ture and Reason, by one that wan­ted Sense and Bowels; and by this Unsteddiness, kindled new Mi­strusts, the fruitful Nourishers of Civil Mischiefs.

At this, the Duke of Glocester, the Earls of Arundel, Warwick, and Derby, take Arms; the Arch-bishop of Canterbury, and Bishop of Ely (then Lord Chancellour) were sent to the Lords; who compo­sed Matters so well, that the Lords agreed to appear before the King at Westminster, under the Promise of Protection: But retaining their usual Jealousies, they receiv'd the Bishop of Ely's Assurance, That if there were any Danger design'd them, he would give them notice. Accordingly he kept his Word; and a little before the Lords were to come, he gave them Intelligence of an Ambush laid for them at the Mews, to seize them as they came in: Upon this, the Lords fail'd of [Page 121] their coming; which the King wondring at, ask'd the Bishop of Ely, What might be the Reason? who boldly told him, That the Lords durst not trust him, and had discover'd the Trap laid for them: Of which the King seem'd to be wholly ignorant, and commanded the Sheriffs to search the Mews, and to kill and carry to Prison all they found conceal'd: But the Thing was true, though the Place mi­staken; for the armed Men were secretly assembled at Westminster by Sir Richard Bramber, and Sir Thomas Trivett; who perceiving or being inform'd of the Discove­ry, secretly convey'd away their Men.

It seem'd as if the King were really ignorant of this that was acted by the desperate Ministers, who shew'd a full Confidence in the Power they had with the King: And tho' perhaps they ap­prehended the Action too vile to [Page 122] trust the King with it, yet they did not doubt to bring him to ap­prove it, tho' never so base, if successful enough: Nor hath this been an unusual Method of Pow­erful Ministers and Favourites, to contrive Mischiefs for their Prince to approve; knowing that it is ea­sier from the necessity of a Thing done, to gain an Approbation, than a Consent to the Attempt of it: For a Prince that is wholly led by them, and wrapt up in their de­sperate Counsels and Interests, may scruple at a thing to be done, that he cannot when 'tis effected: One is but a difference in Opinion, the other is a deser [...]ion of his Par­ty; he may be free in the first, but too much involved to be at liberty in the latter.

A Prince in this Condition, has not only his own Errours, but the weight of theirs to struggle under; and 'tis impossible he shou'd make any Calculation of his own For­tune, [Page 123] unless he were free to exa­mine the mischievous Effects of those ill Planets, that he Himself had rais'd to such powerful In­fluences.

At last, upon new Faith and Se­curity, the Lords came to the King at Westminster; but so strong­ly guarded, that they did not ap­pear like Men that came to Sub­mit or Petition: Accordingly they challenged for Traytors the Duke of Ireland, the Duke of Suffolk, the Archbishop of York, the Chief Justice Tresilian, and o­thers. The King at that time, when Favourites could not speak, spoke like himself (a King) and with equal Temper and Reason, shew'd the Lords, That if all were true they alledged, they had not taken the proper way too seek for Justice, by a shew of Rebellion; and give that opportunity to the licentious Multitude, which per­haps might be difficult to take a­gain [Page 124] from them: And, after ha­ving gently laid before them the more proper way for what they desired, he raised them from their knees, and retired with them.

All this while, the adverse Par­ty kept out of the way, apprehen­ding, as justly they might, the danger of such powerful and en­raged Enemies.

This Action of the King is que­stion'd by some Historians, whe­ther done out of Apprehension, or a better Temper: But yet all this while that things bore this calm face, the Duke of Ireland gathe­red Forces, and was met and over­thrown by the Earl of Derby near Burford: But he that was so bold in Counsel, shew'd little of Cou­rage (when 'twas needful) in Acti­on, and fled himself before the Fight scarce began.

Among many things that were taken of the Duke's, in one of his Trunks were found Letters from [Page 125] the King to hasten his coming to London, with what Power he could make, where the King wou'd be ready to share Fortunes with him.

Upon the news of the Duke of Ireland's Defeat, the Duke of Suf­folk fled in a Disguise to Calice, and never more returned.

It is a wonder that ever such a Man shou'd get the ascendant over a Prince; a Man that was pro­fuse of what he cou'd get; and got it as willingly by the Spoils of o­thers, as by justifiable Ways. He was unfit for Peace, by his turbu­lent Nature, and wanted Courage to be troublesome in War. In Peace, he was furious; in War, calm; never quiet, but when afraid; at all other times intemperate: When he was not designing Mischief, his Courage or Occasion fail'd him. He never seem'd good, but when necessity hindred him from appea­ring bad: He had no Fits of a [Page 126] Disease, but liv'd in a continual Leprosie.

But we have read of other Pre­sidents, how worthless Men have fcru'd themselves into Princes Fa­vours by such Flatteries, that ge­nerous Tempers cou'd not creep to: For ill Men study the Nature of Princes, good Men their Inte­rest; and that which is most plea­sant, sooner prevails than that which is most useful.

The Chief Justice Tresilian, with others of that Faction, fled from this Storm, and the King retir'd to the Tower, while the Lords with a great Army march'd towards London, and shew'd themselves in a form of Battel to the King, who lay with his Forces in the Suburbs. The King at first seem'd to slight them, but at last yielded a Treaty. The Tower was the place appoin­ted; but the Lords first made what search they pleas'd, and came with such Guards as they thought [Page 127] fit; at once shewing the severe effects of Mistrust and Power; the first seldom to be cured; the last, as seldom us'd with Modesty: For when they came to the King, they plainly charg'd him by way of Ac­cusation of the Contrivances at Not­tingham against them; his Letters to the Duke of Ireland (contrary to his Word) to raise Forces; the Agreement with the French to de­liver up Calice; and other Grie­vances which the ill Conduct of the King's Ministers had plentiful­ly furnish'd them with.

At these Truths, told by those that had Power enough to Re­venge, the King instead of a De­fence, sunk into a Confession of his Errours; which seem'd at that time to make a great Impression on the Lords, and produced the Agree­ment of a meeting at Westminster the next day.

But they were no sooner gone, but the King's Mind was turn'd [Page 128] by Arguments of the common frame, That by the Meeting, he wou'd expose his Person to danger, and his Authority to diminution. Which presently chang'd the King, and shew'd as if a fatal Mutability was to pursue him to his end. To such dangerous Methods he must probably be led by the Counsels of those, whose desperate Ambiti­ons cou'd permit no directness to be us'd towards their Enemies the Publick. Such Ministers are the Consulters of Moments, shifting only for a present Preservation, and dare not look towards the fu­ture; but refer Things to come, to the same Chance that rais'd them: They live to no Rules, but with an unlimited readiness wait upon Oc­casion.

This Alteration in the King, rais'd the Lords to such a rage, that they sent him word, That if he us'd such Indirectness, they wou'd choose a New King. At this being again [Page 129] shaken, he not only went, but submitted to those he had so enrag'd before; and delivers up that Power, which he was be­fore counsell'd not to diminish: So that his ill-tim'd Counsels made that Misfortune sure, which they seem'd careful to pre­vent.

A Parliament was presently called, where Tresilian the fa­mous Chief Justice was con­demn'd, and presently execu­ted; as also the other Chief Justice, Belknap, and other Jud­ges, and some banish'd. The Lords grew now so high by their Success, that they exacted an Oath from their King, to become a Subject to them, and submit to their Government. Thus when Errours provoke Force, 'tis hard for those Jealousies that urg'd the Attempt of Pow­er, [Page 130] to suffer it to be us'd mo­destly, much less to be laid down when obtain'd: And when once a State begins to be tost by such Commotions, Parties in that Tempest, like Waves in Storms, pursue and dash out one another.

Within little more than a Year after this, the King grew to be One and Twenty; and upon that took an Occasion, when all things seem'd a little compos'd, to assume full Pow­er. I cannot but here remem­ber the Character the Impartial and Judicious Mezeray gives Lewis the Eleventh upon his En­trance upon the Throne, That he was the greatest Enemy to his own and his Kingdoms Qui­et; one that lov'd his own Ir­regular Fancies more than the wise Laws, and thought the [Page 131] greatest Grandeur consisted in the greatest Oppression, pulling down great ones to raise up the mean­est from nothing. This, he says, another calls putting their Kings Hors de Paye; that is, out of their Minority; he should have said, putting them out of their Sense and Reason.

No question the Ministers were ready to welcome him to that which they call'd the Exercise of his Power, when it was rather to the Execution of theirs.

The first practice of it was ta­king the Great Seal from the Bi­shop of Ely (as if remembring his former Carriages), and gave it to Wickham, Bishop of Winchester; and displac'd many others; as if by that he seem'd to take Seizin of his new Power; suspending al­so Glocester and Warwick from the Privy-Council.

[Page 132] The Tide now turn'd to the King, who began to return to follow those Advices that had brought him to so much hazard before; And that Interest and O­pinion which the French had work'd themselves into, appear'd in all things to increase. The Duke of Glocester, and the Arch-Bishop of Canterbury had formerly temper'd the King with their calm and sure Reasons; when be­ing enrag'd against the Lords, he swore he wou'd more willingly submit and rely on the Protection of France, than thus to be made servile to those he ought to com­mand.

'Tis not unworthy of an Ob­servation, how frequently the French have been prevalent in England; and always in such Prin­ces Times as have given so much [Page 133] Power to Ministers and Favourites, as made them considerable enough to be corrupted.

Philip de Comines says, That in his Time all the Kings of Eng­land's Ministers, and great Per­sons, had Pensions from France, and gave their Acquittances up­on every Receipt, which were to be seen in the Chamber of Paris.

Hastings, the Lord great Cham­berlain, was the only great Per­son that was hardly perswaded to become a Pensioner of France, and that refus'd to give any Ac­quittance for what he receiv'd. The same Historian says, That he was the only man that perswaded him to it, and had first perswa­ded him to be so to Charles Duke of Burgundy; and when Cleret was sent by King Lewis, with a [Page 134] Present of 2000 Crowns, and desired his Acquittance for his Discharge, as he had receiv'd it from the Chancellor and the Ad­miral: He answer'd, the Gift pro­ceeded from his Master's Liberali­ty, not his Request: If he desi­red he shou'd receive it, he might put it in his Sleeve; other Te­stimonial he shou'd get none of him; for he wou'd not that any shou'd say, That the Lord Cham­berlain was Pensioner to the French King, nor that his Acquittance shou'd be found in the Chamber of Accounts. The King of France was angry with Cleret for bring­ing no Acquittance; but ever after preferr'd the Lord Cham­berlain in his Esteem before all the King of England's other Ser­vants.

I cannot discern much Reason for it; There seems little Diffe­rence [Page 135] to me between one that is carelesly, and another that is cau­tiously dishonest: And those Mi­nisters equally forgot the Interest of England for their own, to let them share in our Affairs and Councils. The People judg [...] right in this, and Parliaments (as Cemines observes) were never corrupted in themselves and Judg­ments, and alway [...] perceiv'd the Dissimulation of the French; and in another place says, they were always willing to grant Aids a­gainst France; for they cou'd not be deceiv'd by Demonstration: which shew'd the Difference in our Methods and Constitution from theirs: Our Laws are suita­ble to our Interest, and our Inte­rest secur'd by our Laws: Our Fa­shions and manner of Expences, shou'd be applicable to the Con­sumption of our own Producti­ons. The French differ from the [Page 136] first; and their Fancies are the only Measures of the last: They are not capable to live after the Methods of our Interest, but we may quit ours to assist theirs: France can be but of little use to us, but we may be of too much to them: They may receive, but can bring no advantage. They have reason then to be always active, to keep an Interest here by private means, since 'twere vain to hope it by publick ones; and Gardinal Richelieu well understood these Truths, when he call'd England their Indies.

About this time Guido Earl of St. Paul was sent by Charles the French King, to visit and com­plement King Richard and his Queen. The Earl, according to the ready Confidence of the French, became Counsellor: For one day the King discoursing with [Page 137] him, he complain'd of the Duke of Glocester, and in particular, that he did passionately endea­vour to disturb the Peace be­tween England and France. The Earl presently gave Seutence a­gainst the Duke, and told the King plainly, he was not fit to live: For when a Subject was grown so great, a Prince was no longer safe; and if he meant to secure himself against Danger, the surest way was to destroy those from whence it might so easily come.

This Advice blew the King's Anger into a Flame; and he began to express to some of his great men, his Displeasure a­gainst the Duke of Glocester; but he found in them all an high Opinion of the Duke's Ho­nour and Vertue: So that the King began to calm again, and [Page 138] shew'd as if Cruelty had not its full spring from his own Na­ture, but swell'd as it was nou­rish'd by the Streams of other Councils.

For after this he was again rais'd by the Advices of the Earls of Holland and Notting­ham, to contrive the Destructi­on of the Duke of Glocester: And commonly as the Advice of ill men tends to the worst things, so generally they sug­gest the worst way of doing them.

The Duke of Glocester was then at his House in Plashy in Essex, whither the King was invited, or rather invited him­self, and with all Testimonies of Respect and Kindness most splendidly feasted. This was judg'd a proper time for the [Page 139] Design; and as the Duke wait­ed upon the King, to bring him going, he was seiz'd by a Com­pany of arm'd men laid secretly for him, and so hurried blind­fold to the Thames, and in a Vessel ready prepar'd, carried to Calice, and there shortly after strangled: Either thought too Guilty and Popular, or not Guilty enough to be brought to a publick Tryal. And as the wicked Advisers perswaded his taking by the breach of Hospitality (the basest way of Treachery), so they continued in the peculiar Methods of Mischief, to contrive his Death by the most hated way of private Murther.

Within a Day or two after, the King invited the Earl of Warwick to Dinner, and in the midst of all shews of Kindness, sent him to Prison, and also the [Page 140] Earl of Arundel and his Son. The Dukes of Lancaster and York being thus alarm'd, gather'd Forces together; but upon the Promise of a Parliament, and Legal Proceedings, with many Excuses for what had been done, they dismiss'd their Forces, and came up to attend at Parliament; where Sir John Bushy, Sir Willi­am Bagott, and Sir Henry Green, appear'd busie Ministers for the King: Sir—Bushy was made Speaker, and by his and their as­siduous Endeavours, corrupting some by Fears, and others by Benefits, the Charters of Pardon, formerly granted by the King, were annull'd and made void. The Prelates perceiving what way was made for taking away of Lives, constituted Sir Henry Percy their Procurator, and ab­sented themselves, that they might not be present at any [Page 141] Sentence of Blood; a President ever to be remembred for the Honour of their Calling.

Then follow'd, as was expe­cted, the Death of the Earl of Arundel, the perpetual Imprison­ment of the Earl of Warwick in the Isle of Man, the Death of the Duke of Glocester (above­mention'd), the Archbishop of Canterbury arraign'd for Execu­ting the Commission against Mi­chael Delapoole, the Lord Cob­ham banished into the Isle of Wight, Sir Reginald Cobham con­demn'd to Death for being for­merly appointed by the Lords in the King's Minority, to be one of his Governours.

These Cruel Successes fur­nished Arguments to those new Upstart Ministers, Bushy, Bagott, and Green, to infuse into the [Page 142] King how much more safe he was by Cruelty than gentle means, and how much more secure by Fear than Love. Nor are other Counsels to be expe­cted from such Men, equally low and mean in their Minds, as in their Extractions, made greedy from their Poverty, and ambitious from their Meanness; neither endued with their Minds and Fortunes to think of Prin­ciples: Power was their Justice, Violence their Prudence, and Op­portunity the Providence.

The King was now possess'd with the Opinion, That he was in a Condition to dispose, as he pleas'd, of those that durst dislike his Actions, and that his Will might now be­come the Law. But the present Prospect of Things commonly deceives those that are willing [Page 143] onely to believe the Whisper­ers of their own Inclinations; and because they see nothing at the present spring up, they forget that the Roots grow un­discern'd. And no Questio [...], the King in that Conjuncture of Time, thought every Cloud dispers'd, and pursued all those fatal ways that mistaken Flattery cou'd guide him in.

But a particular Accident made way for a general and fatal Re­volution. The Duke of Here­ford one day discoursing with the Duke of Norfolk, complain'd how much the King was misguided by mean and base Counsellors, such as fought their own private Inte­rest, and not the publick Good; and fear'd that the King, follow­ing such Councels, would so lose the Hearts of his People, that it might prove dangerous to him: [Page 144] Assuring him, that no private dis­pleasure urg'd him to say this, but meerly his love to his King and Country; and therefore de­sir'd the Duke, being one of the King's Cabinet-Council, to lay these things before him, which might prove of ill Consequence if continued. The Duke of Nor­folk seemed not to dislike what had been said, but so represented it to the King, that he turn'd it rather to an Accusation, than a Counsel: The King, that could not endure to hear unpleasant Truths, and at that Instant look­ing upon himself as above the mean Consideration of publick Notions, so resented the boldness of the Duke of Hereford, that he summon'd him to answer this (that now became his Charge) before the Council, where the Duke confirmed his Information, which was deny'd by the Duke of He­reford, [Page 145] owning all that he had said; but the Duke of Norfolk maintaining the Accusation, the Combat was demanded, and assen­ted to, and the day appointed by the King: At which time both the Dukes appear'd arm'd, and being just ready to be engag'd, they were stopt by the King, and Banishment pronounced against both the Dukes: The Duke of Norfolk dyed sud­denly after at Venice, having en­joy'd no great Benefit by those Violences he so precipitately en­gaged in.

A little after dyed John of of Gaunt, Father to the Duke of Hereford, and fourth Son of Ed­ward the Third; after whose death the Dutchy of Lancaster fell to this Dukes being his eldest Son. But the King in his deceiv'd opi­nion of Power and Security, acted [Page 148] the most probale means to shake both; seizing all the Duke's New-descended Estate into his own hands, and endeavour'd to make his Banishment perpetual: Revoking all his Letters Pa­tents, to prevent the suing out the Livery for those Lands du­ring his Banishment.

If this be well consider'd, 'tis impossible a King should do it purely from his own advice: First, he enrag'd a Person that could only be a considerable Enemy; his Popularity gave him an Interest in Power, and his Descent from a King, the Pre­tence to use it. This could be no Motive from right Reason to urge the King to do such an imprudent Injustice; he was above the Tem­ptation of a private Estate, but his Ministers were tempted by it, following the usual Methods of [Page 149] their Counsels, by no Conside­rations but Revenge and Inte­rest; as if their Safeties were grounded upon nothing so much as their Princes Hazard, and their Advantages upon his Pre­judice.

As the Testimony of the pre­valency of these Counsellors, the King left all the Business to them, and gave himself up wholly to Sloth and Pleasure; The imitation spread into Luxu­ry and Effeminacy, and the King thought it was the Testimony of Arbitrary Power to live uncontrol­led to such a loose Condition; all Power, but this shadow of it, was exercis'd by his Ministers, who now depress'd all Persons of either Courage or Honour. A Va­liant Man was counted dangerous, and a Wise Man Mutinous; and every one was made perceive, that [Page 148] 'twas easier to prosper by follow­ing their Princes Humour, than to pursue his Interest and Ho­nour.

The Ministers being grown in­to Absolute power, thought of no­thing but how to satisfie their greedy Ambitions: They pre­tended to get all for the King, the sure way to convey it to themselves. And indeed his Gifts were so large to them, that they brought him into more wants, than ever the Wars of his brave Ancestors could reduce them to; and us'd more unjust Inventions to supply his private use, than they needed publick Assistances to support the Interest and Honour of it. But Edward the First and Edward the Third had a less Burthen, and Charge to support: They had a King­dom and no Favourites; the first [Page 149] was not capable to satisfie the latter. For at this time, without any publick occasion, strange ways were us'd to levy Money; sometimes Pole-money was exact­ed of every Religious Person, and Secular Priest: sometimes sums were drawn from the People under the name of Benevolence; sometimes Money borrow'd by Privy Seals. Then Commissioners sent to all Sheriffs and Corporati­ons, declaring the King's High Displeasure for the kindness they testified to the Duke of Glocester, the Earls of Arundel and War­wick; and for this affection shew'd to the King's Enemies, his Pardon was to be obtain'd by heavy Fines, or rather Taxes laid upon them. The Commons were bound by new-invented Oaths, to perform what they en­gag'd to, and black Charters [Page 152] Sealed and Deliver'd to the King's use, whereby their Li­berty might be as well taken a­way, as their Properties had been.

By such Counsels as these the Subjects were turn'd to Slaves, and made waiters upon any Op­portunities to shake off their Fetters: The King made be­lieve he govern'd most, when he had none to Govern: For Slaves are not in the Business of Mankind; their Thoughts are fix'd upon Revenge and Freedom, and like distemper'd Men, sel­dom return to their former Com­posures.

The first occasion that prov'd this true, was a Rebellion that broke out in Ireland; the op­portunity of which Diversion [Page 153] favour'd the Earl of Northum­berland to gather Forces in the North. And others of the Nobi­lity and People, weary of their Op­pressions, resolv'd in the King's absence to attempt some relief; and fixt upon the Duke of He­reford, as the proper Instrument to act by: His Banishment, that the King design'd to make per­petual, was the Cause of that mischief, which he believ'd he should prevent by it. He now became the Center, to which all other Discontents tended; to whom now resorted many of his former Friends, and o­thers whom Oppression now made so.

Among these the Archbishop of Canterbury was the Chief; who in Speech to the Duke of Hereford laid open their Grie­vances, [Page 152] and Desires, summing up all the Mischiefs and Mis­fortunes of an unsteady Govern­ment, the Contempt it spread a­broad, and Oppression at home; not Slaves to their Prince, but to his Favourites; and that Peace under their Extortions was more chargeable than War: The Expence of their Riots and Ambitions needed more Projects and Taxes to maintain them, than the Defence and Support of the Government it self requir'd: By their Cruelties most of the Nobility were destroyed, and the Commonalty wasted; concluding with imploring the Duke to pity the Oppression of his Countrey, and to animate those that were ready to redeem themselves from Slavery, by his Va­lour and Conduct.

[Page 153] The Duke of Lancaster need­ed not the force of Eloquence to perswade him; the loss of his Uncles, his Banishment, the Imprisonment of his Children, and the loss of his Estate, were powerful Exciters enough to lay hold on any Opportunity to re­venge all his Wrongs: To all which was added the perswa­sive Temptation of a Crown; and sure there could be no more powerful Motives, than by one way at once to satis­fie both his Ambition and Re­venge.

These Considerations, and the depending on the Peoples Af­fections to a Change (being wea­ried with Oppression) made him venture to land with a very small Force in Yorkshire. At first he gave out, That he came only [Page 156] to recover his Inheritance, and quickly found his utmost Expe­ctation answer'd; for his small Troop presently encreas'd to an Army. Many of the Nobility that came in to him, took an Oath of him, That no bodily harm should be done to King Richard; as if a Conquest and a Crown wou'd preserve that Sincerity that was inconsistent with it; or that the Modesty profess'd, when something was to be obtain'd, should continue after the Acqui­sition.

The Duke finding every thing more successful than almost he could hope, pursued that Fortune which so prosperously invited him, and hasted with his still-encreasing Forces to London, where he found a Reception suitable to usual Joy, that discontented Peo­ple [Page 157] shew in Alterations. He was receiv'd in Triumph without Vi­ctory, and with all the Testimo­nies of Zeal and Duty which flattering Crowds cou'd pay their lawful Prince and Soveraign; Pa­geants and rich Presents enter­tain'd him; and all the fulsome Praises that could be invented, and as many contumelious Re­proaches on their King: All Te­stimonies of Allegiance seem'd lost; the modest Mask was now taken off, and War proclaim'd against King Richard and his Adhe­rents.

The Duke of York in the mean time tried to raise Forces; but found a general Resolution in all People, not to be Enemies to the Duke of Lancaster. The Favourites, that were active and bold in Prosperity, shew'd that [Page 156] neither their Skill nor their Du­ty, was to struggle with Diffi­culties; nor had they either In­terest or Reputation, if they had attempted it: They were always dead Weights upon their Prince, and, like the nature of it, hung heaviest upon weak Conditions. Bushy and Greene were pursued to Bristol, and there taken; fatal place to hasty Favourites They were eagerly pursu'd by the flattering Fury of the Peo­ple; and perhaps there were some among them, that before, in the Prosperity of these Favou­rites, made as passionate Profes­sions of a contrary Devotion. Bagott escap'd into Ireland, and sav'd himself from the present Execution. The Lord Scroop, Lord Treasurer, with Bushy and Greene that were taken, lost their Heads.

[Page 157] These sudden Executions were but the usual Consequences of violent Changes: All new-got­ten Power is commonly endea­vour'd to be preserv'd by De­struction; and the Execution of the Unfortunate, is call'd a Ju­stice.

King Richard was at this time in Ireland, where the news came to him of the Duke's landing in England, and his successful Pro­ceedings. The news increas'd by coming, and every Circum­stance grew enlarg'd; so that it appear'd the blackest and most portentous Storm that ever ga­ther'd in the full Sun-shine of a Prince, which his Favourites as­sur'd him cou'd be subject to no Eclipse.

[Page 160] The contrary appear'd to this unfortunate King, who was then engag'd in Troubles in Ireland: After some time, he prepar'd for England, having first imprison'd the Sons of the Dukes of Lan­caster and Glocester, in Trim-Ca­stle, and took with him the Dukes of Surrey, Aumarl, and Exeter, and the Bishops of Lon­don, Lincoln, and Carlisle.

The Earl of Salisbury was sent before to raise an Army, which he did in Cornwal; but the King failing to come within the time he promis'd, they all dis­courag'd, went home. This de­lay was attributed to the Counsel of the Duke of Aumarl, who per­haps had more mind to see things determin'd by the Fortune of [Page 161] others, than by hazarding his own.

After this, the King Lands in Wales, where he found the stream turning from him, and every Place of strength submit­ting to the Duke of Lancaster. He knew not what Course to steer, but wandred to Conway-Castle, where the Earl of Wor­cester, Steward to the King's Houshold, (as if finding a fitting time to remember the proclai­ming his Brother, the Duke of Northumberland, Traytor) broke his Staff of Office openly in the Hall, before the King's Servants; and with Advice to them to be as base as himself, went avowedly to the Duke: The rest followed his Example and those that seem'd the most eagerly Loyal, became now the [Page 160] most violently Rebellious. And 'tis improbable that those, who with unlimited Flattery for their Interest and Ambition, had per­swaded their Prince into the dangerous Attempt of Abso­lute Power, should in any turn of Fortune, or shock of Dan­ger, retain any limited Princi­ples. The true Interest of a Prince, retains the Interest of others; but the Interest of private Men, excludes the Prince's. We have heard, 'tis true, of some that have been successful in such unjust and dangerous Attempts; but the Ex­amples have been very few, that have not been fatal at last; and there are so many of the contra­ry, that the Comparison would convince any, That the just Li­mits within a Nation's Constituti­on, are much more safe, as well as glorious.

[Page 161] King Richard had now cause to make such sad Reflections, and by the want of Power instructed to la­ment the attempting of too much: He saw himself forsaken by those whom he should have forsook be­fore; He now felt severely the want of that Trust and Confidence that he had destroy'd; and seem'd not forsaken of his People, but to have forsook them before; He had forc'd them all to be in the nature of Traytors, and compell'd them to purchase, as it were, the name of Subjects, while there were none that seem'd so to him, but those that needed Pardon the most, such as had counsell'd him to the Ruin that now fell upon him.

He had been so long accustomed to follow the Counsel of others, that he knew not now the way to use his own: He had too long fol­lowed the mean and easie ways of Indirectness. Virtuous and steddy Actions in the undisturbed part of [Page 162] Life, give power in Extremity; and the memory of what was Great and Good, gives boldness to such a Mind to claim Success in the worst condition: But the memory of In­juries and Injustice done to others, shakes Hopes and Expectations in a dangerous Estate. This he shewed, by discharging his Army, rather than bravely using them; as if he believ'd it impossible to re­cover Power now, since he had used it so ill before.

The next thing that seem'd best, was to have retired till a better oc­casion was offered; for nothing is more various or violent, than the stream of Mens minds, with gree­diness affecting Change, and hurri­ed by Expectations (that are seldom answered) to be eas'd from all for­mer Grievances and Oppressions; and every one that assisted in the Alte­ration, looks upon himself as a par­ticular Object of Reward; never con­sidering, that new-gotten Power [Page 163] needs more to secure it, than the Ease of People will allow; and when deceiv'd in that, they begin to stag­ger, and at last grow to repent the Blood and Money the expenceful Change had cost, and ready upon any occasion to revenge their mi­staken Errours. And perhaps King Richard might have hop'd as much in some time, as the Duke of Lan­caster then found.

But there were some who pro­bably had before appear'd most vi­olently Loyal, who now advis'd their still-abused King to the last and worst way, and sacrific'd Him for their own Peace; telling, per­haps, That unfortunate Princes sel­dom found Protection abroad, but were kept only as a Composition with their successful Enemies. And tho he had so near Relation to the King of France, yet Ties by Marriage were no Obstacle to their Vse of Interest, but rather a Shelter for the more unsuspected Designs. And [Page 164] he would accordingly find, that he would be the Sacrifice of new Alliances, and then 'twould be too late to expect such Conditions from the Duke of Lancaster, which probably he might not hope for.

These false Reasons were perhaps used to him by such as could not at a less rate reconcile themselves to the Duke of Lancaster, than by betraying their Master into his hands; for nothing could be more improbable, than that he who had the Power, should by Conditions preserve him who had a Right to it, while nei­ther was capable to trust the others Mercy: Yet this vain Counsel was followed; and, as if to improve it by Intelligence with the Duke of Lancaster, the Duke of Northum­berland was sent to the King, to as­sure him, that the Duke would pay him all humble Obedience, and only desir'd a Parliament should be cal­led at Westminster, to settle the sha­ken Affairs of the Nation.

[Page 165] The King must then perceive how he was forsaken by those who before had so much flatter'd him with their excessive Love and Loy­alty: and it seem'd a just instructi­on to suspect the violent Professions of any that have no restraint by Principles in a fortunate Condition: They that want Virtue, and pro­fess Love, should rather cause suspi­cion than belief; especially when 'tis addressed where Power and In­terest may invite it: But the Love of absolute Greatness in Opinion, more than real and true Greatness in it self, has hindred Princes from see­ing the Defects and Designs of mean and interrupted Flatterers; such as believe their Prince has never Pow­er enough, unless it appears by the Oppression of others, and (like these in this unhappy King's time) fall from their Professions, as he decli­ned in Power: But I have read of some (tho but a few) who govern­ed themselves by Principles in [Page 166] their Prince's Prosperity, and guided by the same Virtue, have not forsa­ken him in Adversity.

The King in some measure yet made a right Reflection on his Con­dition; for he thought 'twas in vain to hope that the Conqueror would restore him the Power he had gotten, and therefore only to the Duke of Northumberland proposed for himself a retir'd and quiet Condi­tion: But he was as much mistaken to hope that, as he guessed right to expect the other. But when the Duke met the King at Flint-Castle, he seem'd to pay him all Reverence due to a King; and told him, He only acted what he had done for the recovery of his Estate and Possessions. But this was only that false Forma­lity, that ill men use in obtaining, and seldom perform when they have obtained; for such Modesty is laid aside by Success, and Justice grown useless, when Power is fully possessed; for presently after the [Page 167] King was secured, and in the con­dition of a Prisoner carried to Lon­don; yet in His Name a Parliament was presently called.

The King now found the unhap­py Truth, That usually mens Pro­fessions are but the product of their present Conditions, not of their In­tentions; and perhaps in a low estate they may wish and desire within mo­dest limits: but the violence of over­whelming Power breaking over the former bounds, overthrow all mean and level thoughts. Perhaps the King might now make such severe Re­flections on his past Actions, seldom regarding his Professions when he had Power or Opportunity to violate them; he could not but be prest with the memory of his unhospita­ble Treachery to the Duke of Glo­cester, and the Earl of Warwick; and must with detestation remem­ber those Counsellors of Falseness and Indirectness, which once de­stroy'd his Happiness, and now ag­gravated [Page 168] his Misery. He now saw their violent and loyal flatteries were meant for their own Interest, not for His; and that such mean things, like other Insects, live with a little Warmth, but shrink at any Change of Weather.

The Duke of York, that was en­trusted with the Government, during King Richard's absence in Ireland, was become the Duke of Lancaster's chief Adviser of the Methods he was now to take, which was as vio­lent as his fogotten Duty requir'd to make his new Loyalty acceptable. In the first place, he advis'd, That King Richard should be pressed to a voluntary Resignation, and also to be solemnly Depos'd. This Ad­vice was pursued, and the King seem'd as ready to yield to it, as the Duke ambitiously desired it: The form of the Resignation was then contriv'd to be performed the day before the Parliament was to meet, and yet that Parliament was to sit, [Page 169] tho the King was to be no longer a King, in whose name it was called; and certainly, if there could be no Virtue in the Resignation, the Dissolution of the Parliament must have been the Consequence; for that which was call'd by a Power, could not continue when there was a Demise of that Power; but no Plot was to be seen or hit. The hasty and flattering Zeal, that was to be shown to the Duke of Lancaster, pursued it's violent Course through all the Obstacles of Law and Justice.

Among those that were Com­mission'd to receive his Resignation, there were Lords, Clergy-men, and Lawyers; the two Chief Justices, Thormins and Markham, were in the number: And in the Reigns of these two unfortunate Princes, there wanted not Temporal and Spiritual Gown-men, that contri­buted to all their Errors in their unfortunate Conditions; and on their Adversities, transplanted their Zeals into Sunshine.

[Page 170] These Commissioners being for­merly Assembled in the Tower; King Richard was brought out in all the Kingly Ornaments, that he might have some Ensigns of Glory to resign formally; in this Condition he was placed in a Chair of State, and in this moment of his Royalty appear'd a King; all that was now done, was certainly from himself, and shew'd in this Extremity, virtue enough to make it evident, He might have been an excellent Prince, had his Ministers not Reign­ed more than he; for he shew'd no Disorder to this great and un­presidented Action of his Life; he neither seem'd to force a Reso­lution to endure, nor affect a Tem­per to submit. But as both had naturally sprung from the choice of a retired Condition, with this Calmness in all this Storm of For­tune, he spoke to the Commissioners, beginning with their acknowledg­ing those Errors, that his Youth [Page 171] made ill Councellors capable to im­print in him; and seem'd only troubled, that he had not time allowed to repair those Injuries he had done the Nation; knowing now from a clear sight, that he was both willing and capable to have performed so happyan Action. He now perceiv'd his own Vir­tues, when the Vices of others could no longer hide them. And he that could have once been so easily perswaded, that he was shot at through his wounded Ministers; now saw that 'twas from them he receiv'd his Wounds; he neither accused any, nor complained of any, nor valuing a Narrative and Empty Satisfaction; but concluded with the choice of losing a King­dom, rather than engage it in Blood and Confusion for his Sake; desiring only to enjoy that Peace which he merited for Reserving it for others; and was as willing to resign his Title to the Duke of [Page 172] Lancaster, as he perceiv'd they were willing to receive it from him.

After this, he read the Instru­ment that was prepar'd; and made two Bishops his Attorneys, to de­clare that his Resignation in Par­liament, which was done the Mon­day after, and accepted of by the Lords and Commons, was Legal▪ but yet this was not thought enough, but a heavy Charge in many Articles was exhibited against him.

The Articles were too far from my purpose, and too long to set down; but whoever reads them in the Rolls, will find them of much weight, and as shrewdly compos'd, as the Nature of the thing could either bear or require; there was not an Injustice or Error omitted; the chiefest things contained were those Actions by which his Fa­vourites thought to secure them­selves, by subjecting all Judges and [Page 173] Sheriffs to his Will, thereby to bring within his Power, Parliaments and Law, and make way to Levy Taxes as he pleased; and it was a particular Article, That he should say and declare, That all Law lay in his Head and Breast.

These are the Extremities that proceed from the Counsels of such Men, who have made themselves in­capable to Share or Trust in the Com­mon Good; who knowing how lit­tle they could expect from the un­interrupted Methods of Law and Justice, seek to preserve themselves by the Destruction of that which threatned them. And 'twere impossible that Princes should in­volve their own in the desperate Interest of others, were they not first blinded from discerning the Ambition of those that hide it un­der the fierce Zeal for their Abso­lute Power.

The Articles (which were 29.) were owned by the Lords and [Page 174] Commons to be so notorious, that they needed no further Examina­tion or Proof. And joined with the Consent of the King, on whom they were charged; It was judged sufficient for Deposing King Richard, and Establishing the Duke of Lan­caster, by the Name of Henry the fourth; adding also a far-fetch'd Title from Henry III. to patch up the seeming Justice of such an Action.

This Title was drawn from Ed­mund, sirnamed Crookback, eldest Son of Henry III. and that for his Deformity he was put by the Suc­cession, and given to Ed­ward I. and the Duke of Lancaster was next of Blood by the Mothers side to this Edmund. But this Ed­mund was third Son of Henry, and not deformed at all, but a brave Man in Person and Mind; but the next Heir then to the Crown was Edmund Earl of March, Son to Ro­ger, who was a little before slain in Ireland; who seeing the Stream so [Page 175] violent against King Richard, wise­ly retir'd, and liv'd with all ima­ginable Care and Pruduce.

Thus was a Title invented, to support that Power, which the Sword had obtain'd: And the King, who by the Law is said to do no wrong, is charg'd with Articles for doing all. Thus when Ballances are once hoisted, like Childrens play at Weighing, the same Weight tos­ses one another, that would of themselves hang equally; nor is there any Judicature to compose such violent Disorders in a State; for Success will be the Judg, and always gives worst Judgment. And the Professors of the divine and hu­man Laws, have been commonly zealously ready to find wrested Law, and Divine Necessity to ratify the Success of the Ambitious. On the other side, when Princes by false Professions, abuse the Good, and increase in Power enough to encou­rage the Bad, the eager Hounds [Page 174] [...] [Page 175] [...] [Page 176] they press to run at Head, and lead the Cry that's made by slower paced, and more temperate Hun­ters, till at last, Fear and Necessity brings most to make up the Noise; or by Silence, not to interrupt it; so that a general Consent seems to contribute to the designed Oppres­sion: And the naming a Right to Liberty and Property, becomes an Intention of Rebellion. The Prince's Will must then be the Law, and his Religion the Devotion of all Loyal Subjects; then those that have least Principles, declare for the greatest Loyalty; and by their Zeal and Duty pursue their Interest and Ambition. And the search for Absolute Power, is made by secret Reserves, publick and false Professions, Corrupting some, and Terrifying others, De­ceiving many; and upon specious Pretences displacing such as appear either suspecting the Designs, or not as passionate as the rest in promo­ting them. Yet, when the Power [Page 177] is promoted and secur'd, as the King was told his was, when all Subjects lost their Names, and like guilty Slaves, signed Blanks, as the Testi­mony of it. Then appears what Ma­chiavel describes in those times a­mong the Romans; When absolute Power was exercised; Riches and Ho­nour, especially, Virtue, grew to be Capital Offences; Informers and Ca­lumniators rewarded, Servants insti­gated against their Masters, Children against their Parents, guilty Men the Accusers; and those few that were so unhappy to have no Enemies, de­stroyed by their Friends. And all dissembled Cruelties and Oppressions, break forth into publick and bare-faced Practice. That which before was declared to be the Government, must then be call'd the support of it. Ill Designs grow by Degrees, but when their cherish'd Roots have took a deep and firm hold, they are then declared by the mischievous Fruit they put forth.

[Page 178] Modesty seldom stays with full grown Power; and the former Reputation of Men, is useless to them. In such a Change they must purchase new Characters, from new Violences, to merit Trust or Safety.

King Richard having now (as far as he could) resign'd his Sovereign Power, began to find how much he was mistaken with the hopes of enjoying that retir'd Peace, which he seem'd willing to change his Crown for; Fortune commonly makes haste in the Prosperity or Ad­versity of Princes; and there is a reasonable Cause why neither should be slow; for the base Minds of Men hurry them to assist the Successful, and help to destroy the Vnfortu­nate; led always more by Fear and Interest, than Resolution and Virtue.

This Truth appear'd in the Con­dition of this unhappy King; whose Title that was left him, was first [Page 179] shar'd by his Enemies, and he then convey'd from the Tower of London, to Leeds Castle in Kent, and from thence to Pomfret Castle in York­shire; for some little time there seem'd to be paid him some small Respects in the manner of his At­tendance, but that was but the Coun­terfeit Treatinf of the Shadow of a King, which yet probably made him uneasy who enjoyed the Substantial Power: For it is reported by some, That King Henry should one day with a deep Sigh Deplore and Lament, That neither he nor the Nation, had a Friend that would pull up that Root from which Disquiets and Rebellion could only Spring.

'Tis probable that the Bishop of Carlisle's Oration, arguing at that time against the Right of King Rich­ard's being depos'd, and the Right of Henry to succeed to the Crown, and some Plots and Risings that after­wards happen'd, might perhaps [Page 180] hasten the taking away the unfor­tunate Prince from all his Miseries; but whether the King gave particu­lar Orders or Encouragement by such words, is uncertain; but there never wanted Men barbarous enough to offer cruel Sacrifices to bloody Power; and for the hopes of Favour and Reward, rather guess what Mischief would be acceptable, than stay to be instructed, that their Merits might seem to be enlarged by their readiness in Villany.

Some of these Causes made Sir Peirce Exton, with eight other Vil­lains hasten to Pomfret, as if he feared he should be depriv'd of the Honour of the Action; when he ar­riv'd, the Preface to the intended Cruelty, was the forbearance of that Ceremony of Tasting, that was usu­ally paid King Richard, as he sat at Dinner; who demanded the Rea­son of it. He that used to perform it, answer'd, That Sir Peirce Exton had brought such Orders from [Page 181] King Henry; at which the King seem'd so much transported, that he Struck at him, and call'd him Huzzy of Lancaster; at which time Sir Peirce Exton with his bloody Followers entred, and shut the Door after him, which being perceiv'd by the King, he verily guessed their fatal Intentions; and seeming less surprized in this great and threat­ning Danger, than in all the for­mer, tho lesser Hazards; he readi­ly and boldly snatched a Halbert, and with a Resolution differing from his former Actions, Slew four of the Assassinates, and with continued Bravery fought with the rest, till the chief Villain Exton got upon a Chair behind him, and with a Pole-Ax struck him down, where the unfortunate King ended all his Calamities, and left the Murderer to endure future Tor­ments. For when he returned a­gain, expecting great Preferments and Rewards, he found himself de­ceiv'd, [Page 182] not only in the hopes of an Addition of Favour, but in the Loss of what he had; not consi­dering that, tho a Man might be Ill enough to wish a Mischief, he hardly could be so confidently Bad, as publickly to Reward the Doer of it; that counterfeit Piece of Justice was probably shewed by the King, to seem (at least) to hate what he wish't, by Discoun­tenancing the Actor of the Ill, who now began by Discontent to make way for a punishing Conscience, which continued him in Torments during his short and miserable Life, and left an Infamy to outlive him.

It is observable, that in the two greatest Exigencies of this Prince's Life, he appear'd differ­ing from himself; one in Resigna­tion of his Crown; the other in the Loss of his Life; the first he did with a steady Calmness, almost a­bove the Temper of a Man; the [Page 183] last with a Courage equal to the Bravest; in smaller Concerns he seem'd unsteady and amaz'd; in these great ones firm and unconcern'd; but in these Extremities he was not cloy'd with those Favourites and Ministers that influenc'd him with their Weakness, and shook his Mind with their Indirectness, making not only their Cause to be his, but his Nature theirs.

This seem'd justified by his Be­haviour in these last and greatest Extremities; when acting wholly from himself, he intitled himself at last to his Father's and Grandfather's (the Black Prince's) Courage and Virtue; and shew'd himself Dying, what they never gave him leave to appear Living.

THE COMPARISON.

HAving now finished, with some Reflections on the chief Acci­dents in the Reigns of Edward and Richard II. and believing it to be too tedious to take the same Me­thods with Edward I. and Edward III. I thought it was not improper to Extract their Characters; that by the Comparison of them all, the reasonable Causes may further ap­pear of the unhappy Condition of the two first, and the prosperous For­tunes of the two others, which will shew the fatal and mighty Diffe­rence in a Prince's using himself, and being used by others; between the steddiness of a strong Mind, and the indirectness of a weak one▪ Edward I. and Edward III. resembled one another. Edward and [Page 185] Richard II. were also alike: So that their Comparisons may be made as if between Two Persons, which will shew the Causes of the mighty Diffe­rences that succeeded with them.

Edward I. and Edward III. came both to the Crown after it had been shaken by the Errors of both their Fathers, Henry III. and Henry II.

Edward and Richard II. came both to the Crown after it had been set­led by the Virtues and Valour of the Father and Grandfather, Ed­ward I. and Edward III.

Edward I. and Edward III. were both Men Earlier than others, and Victorious before others used to at­tempt Victory: So that before they were Kings, they shew'd how fit they were to be so.

Edward and Richard II. never ap­pear'd Men, till they were to be so no more; They never attempted true Glory; and before they were Kings, gave little Testimony of their fitness to be so.

[Page 186] Edward I. and Edward III. were able to Judge, yet never unwilling to hear the Judgment of others: They were deliberate in resolving, but firm in their Resolutions; unsha­ken in Dangers, steddy and equal in Safety; Their Promises were Mankind's Security, and Truth their Wisdom; Their great Virtues and Courage made the Nation expect Success from all their Actions.

Edward and Richard II. never appear'd able to Judge, but wholly submitted to the interested Opinion of others; They were inconstant in all Conditions; in Prosperity bold and violent, in Danger fearful and temperate; Their Promises were no Security, and Dissimulation was their Policy: So that from such Methods of Government the Nation could ex­pect no Success or Happiness.

Edward I. and Edward III. grew fierce by Opposition, and gentle by Submission; They seldom denied Pardon to those that implor'd it, [Page 187] nor suffer'd any abused Mercy unre­venged; They were Mighty enough to conquer Enemies, and Powerful enough to forgive those they con­quer'd; They were equally Victori­ous both to Themselves and Others; and those that submitted proved al­ways more fortunate than those that resisted

Edward and Richard II. were sub­missive when oppos'd, and fierce when submitted to; They always abus'd the Tenderness of others, and seldom shew'd any of their own; never forgiving, where they had opportunity to punish; They nei­ther had Power nor Design to con­quer Enemies, but used both to overcome their Friends; Others were Masters of Them, not They of Themselves, and they that resisted were always more fortunate than they that submitted.

Edward I. and Edward III. in their greatest Hazards required none to attempt more than they [Page 188] did in their own Persons; and in the greatest Prosperity and Safety they prescrib'd no more Virtue and Temperance than they gave Exam­ples for.

Edward and Richard II. in Dan­ger depended on others to attempt for them, and in Prosperity they gave no Rules of Virtue, but suffer'd the Vices of others to be their Ex­amples

Edward I. and Edward III. knew how to gain Power, and how to use it; They made the best Laws, that might have attempted the easiest to break them.

Edward and Richard II. knew lit­tle how to get Power, and less how to use it. Chance sometimes brought it, and their giddy Favourites lost it. They never seem'd inclin'd to make good Laws, and were always contriving to violate those that were made.

Edw I. and Edw. III. knew how to gain, and how to preserve, by the [Page 189] Love and Confidence they rais'd in their Subjects hearts; the first they requited, and never abused the last.

Edward and Richard II. shew'd little skill how to gain, and as little how to preserve; They were ad­vised to the mistaken Policy of neg­lecting Love, and to the Folly of abusing Trust.

Edward I. and Edward III. had great Taxes and Supplies, which in themselves might appear very large, but would not seem so vast, when compar'd with their Victories. The Conquest of Wales, Scotland, and France, will not seem such light Victories to be obtain'd with small Assistance; but what the Nation gave was justly bestowed for what it was given, and faithfully laid out for their Honour and Interest.

Edward and Richard II. had great Supplies, but made no Purchase with them of Honour or Interest: What others bestowed for the pub­lick Glory, they gave away to their [Page 190] private Favourites, and wanted more to supply their Avarice and Ambitions, than the others did to enlarge the Nations Glory: The pri­vate Conquests the Favourites made over these Princes, were more chargeable than the Victories the others obtain'd over Nations.

Edward I. and Edward III. not only returned Security and Benefit for their Subjects Gifts, by Con­quests Abroad, but by excellent Laws at Home: What Edward I. began well, Edward III. gave per­fection to; nor were these brave Princes more just in making good Laws, than severe in the due execution of them; and never shewed so much severity, as against those that abu­sed the Trust of Justice; as if they were more offended at the Enemies of Mankind, than at their own.

Edward and Richard II. returned nothing to their Subjects for what they gave, neither by the Brave­ry of Arms to crush the Greatness [Page 191] of their Enemies, nor by the Vir­tue of good Laws, to increase the Prosperity of the People; They seem'd not fitted in Themselves to attempt the first, and too much in­fluenc'd by Favourites to incline to the last; They feared the Great­ness of their Subjects, more than their Enemies; and shewed they would rather have Conquer'd at Home than Abroad; as if they would choose to make their own People Slaves, rather than Others. They apprehended the Effect of good Laws, and were most pleased with those that debauch'd the Trust of Justice; and the Judges esteemed most Loyal, that were readily wicked; those were the greatest Fa­vourites, that the People most hated, & the greatest Enemies to Men were reputed the best Friends to them.

Edward I. and Edward III. ming­led their Interests with their Sub­jects, and never refused to hear the Wrongs of those that assisted them [Page 192] to revenge their Injuries on others. They were equally Valiant, and equally Successful, and both died uncheck'd by Fortune; on­ly Edward I. dy'd himself and Edward III. outliv'd himself: But the Death of his glorious Son the Black Prince, join'd with the weight of Old Age, might justly make that Sun set clouded.

Edward and Richard II. divided their Interests from their Subjects; and their complaint of Grievances rather procur'd Punishment than Redress. They thought their Peoples Good was inconsistent with their Power; and to be sensible of Oppression, was Rebellious. They were alike in their Tem­pers, and equally Successful; and in the midst of the greatest smiles of Fortune, both alike forsaken by Her But Richard II. in the last wretched Scene of his Life had the opportunity of shewing some Testimo­nies that he sprung from the Black Prince, and had not liv'd more unhappily than he dy'd bravely: The First he ow'd to his Fa­vourites, the Last to Himself.

FINIS.

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