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hands of his enemies; his infamy was the greater, because he had been Wallace's familiar friend and companion. When Edward's passions were roused, he forgot all noble and generous feelings. He caused Wallace to be mocked and insulted as if he had been the vilest of mankind, and then put him to death in the same horrible manner as the Welsh prince, David. Wallace endured all with the same calm courage; and this cruel murder did Edward's cause no good.

The Scots rose in arms again, and, though often beaten, they never left off striving for their freedom. Their leader now was Robert Bruce, the grandson of one of the noblemen who had claimed the crown when the little Queen of Scotland died. Bruce was crowned king at Scone, in March, 1306, and when Edward heard of it, his rage knew no bounds. He assembled two great armies, and sent them forward, one after the other, while he followed by easier journeys himself, for he was growing an old man, and his great strength began to fail. But he was resolved never to turn back till the Scots were utterly crushed, and Bruce at his mercy. In vain, however, did the angry king strive to reach the Scottish border. The strong hand of death was upon him; and on the 7th of July, 1307, he breathed his last, at the little village of Burghon-the-Sands, near Carlisle. He was in the sixtyninth year of his age, and the thirty-fifth of his reign.

Edward the First did much for England, and has always been looked upon as one of our greatest kings. He might have been good as well as great, had not the love of power and conquest made him merciless and unjust. But his wars had one very good consequence for England: they were so expensive, that he


was obliged very frequently to summon parliaments, in order that they might grant him money. And he was the first king who commanded the counties and borough towns to elect members to Parliament. All the kings who had reigned since the Normans came into England had summoned only barons and men of rank; but from the time of Edward the First we have had Commons as well as Lords in our English Parliament; and it has not been lawful for the king to tax his subjects without their consent.



(From 1307 to 1346.)

EDWARD THE SECOND was twenty-three years of age when he succeeded his father. He was a very different man from Edward the First, but there is little to be said in his favour excepting this, that he was not cruel, and not wanting in courage. He was one of the most unwise kings that ever sat on the English throne, and came at last to the most miserable end; and all this evil and misery was chiefly owing to his bad choice of friends and advisers. Instead of taking counsel with the men who had served his father, the young king surrounded himself with idle companions, and wasted in feasts and diversions the money which his subjects gave him for the expenses of the govern


The barons were so displeased at the king's mis

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conduct, that they took up arms against him more than once; and all his favourites came, sooner or later, to a violent death. But the king's worst enemy was his wife, the Princess Isabella of France: she was a clever and beautiful woman, but very wicked; she was angry that Edward preferred to spend his time and money with his favourites rather than with herself, and, in order to be revenged, she stirred up the people to take away the crown from him, and give it to his son, a boy of fourteen. Some months afterwards, the unhappy king was cruelly murdered at Berkeley Castle, in Gloucestershire, September 21st, 1327.

Other miseries besides those of civil war marked the reign of Edward the Second. In 1314, he led an army of one hundred thousand men into Scotland, met Bruce at the head of a small force, at Bannockburn, near Stirling, and was utterly routed. Thirty thousand men, the pride and flower of the English army, were left dead on that fatal field, and Edward was forced to fly for his life. This terrible defeat was followed by a famine which lasted three years, and caused the death of a multitude of people.

For three years after his father's death, Edward the Third had no part in the government of the kingdom. His mother Isabella had taken for her chief friend and counsellor a wicked nobleman, named Mortimer, and with this man she ruled as she chose. But as the young king grew up, he learned by degrees how much evil his mother and Mortimer had committed, and how badly they were governing England. He became very impatient of their control, and when he was eighteen years old, he caused Mortimer to be put

to death for his crimes, and imprisoned Queen Isabella for the remainder of her life. From that time Edward the Third had the authority as well as the name of king.

He was as wise as his grandfather, the first Edward, and much more just and merciful. While yet a boy, he had made a campaign against the Scots, and had shewn himself a good soldier, and when he became a man, his reign was made famous by great victories. But it is famous for better things; England became wiser, freer, and happier. During forty years there was peace at home and honour abroad. There were excellent judges, and the laws were made more just for every man,

The wealth of the people grew with their industry, and one most useful thing which they learned at this time was the art of making woollen cloth. The king had married a young Flemish lady, Philippa of Hainault. Her countrymen were noted for the excellent cloth which they wove from English wool. Edward invited some of the best weavers to settle in England and teach his subjects, and the queen took pains to encourage them to learn, so that it was not very long before the cloth made in England became as famous as that of Flanders.

This good Queen Philippa was one of the greatest blessings of Edward's reign; and her eldest son, Edward, Prince of Wales, (generally called the Black Prince, because he wore black armour,) was good like her. He was wise also and brave like his father, and there is no name in English history more famous and more beloved than his.

The Black Prince was hardly sixteen when he won his first great victory, 26th August, 1346. King



Edward had invaded France, and was overtaken by the French king, Philip the Sixth, at Crecy, near Abbeville. Philip had a very large army, Edward had but a few thousand men; but there was a body of archers amongst them, and in those days there were no foot-soldiers in any army who could be compared to the English archers. The English boys, from the time they were six or seven years old, were taught to use the bow and arrow; in every village archery was the favourite exercise, and more than one famous battle was mainly gained by the skill of the bowmen. Men did not yet know the use of guns, and the first cannon that we read of were two used by Edward at Crecy; but they were clumsy things, and seem to have been of little service, as we hear of no more for a long time afterwards.

When the king had set his army in order, he retired and left the command to his son, saying that he should have all the honour of that day. The fight began by the archers letting fly their arrows, which fell as thick and fast as the flakes in a snowstorm, pierced through the armour of the Frenchmen, and threw them into great confusion. Then the young prince and his companions, making up in valour what they wanted in numbers, charged them so fiercely that their ranks were utterly broken, and they fled in all directions.

The French lost many thousand men; of the English very few were killed; and when it was told at home how thirty thousand men had beaten one hundred thousand, all the people exulted greatly, and thought that with such a prince to lead them, Englishmen need not fear the whole world.

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