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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 127

dangerous one, it cannot be denied that measures beyond the ordinary course of the constitution, were necessary to control so prodigal and injudicious a sove reign. No sooner had Henry sworn to resign all the real power of the crown into the hands of deputies, than he wished, as on former occasions, to break his oath. This, however, is not surprizing, considering what a little value the monarch attached to vows, and how, at this crisis, the barons showed themselves equally capable with their sovereign of playing the tyrant. On Henry, son of Earl Richard, titular King of the Romans, declaring the Oxford statutes could not be in force till his father, then in Germany, had consented to them, the Earl of Leicester haughtily replied, " If your father refuses to join with the barons, he shall not enjoy one foot of land in England." Shortly afterwards, when William de Yalence, the King's halfbrother, refused to deliver up the castles of which he held possession, the haughty Earl sent him the laconic message, " We will have the castles or your head." This threat being supported by the rest of the barons, the King's half-brothersfled to Winchester in alarm, where being surrounded and threatened by some of the more violent of the barons, King Henrv, to save them from destruction, agreed to banish thcra. Having thus driven the foreign favourites from the kingdom, the barons swore to defend the Oxford statutes with their lives ; and after dismissing the justiciary, treasurer, and other chief ministers, and filling the important posts with their own partizans, enlisted London on their side, and administered an oath to all the lieges to obey and execute the mandate of the baronial council, under pain of being declared public enemies ; and such was the power of this council, that the powerful Earl Warenne, and Prince Edward, the heir to the throne, were not exempt from the obligations to take this oath. However unwillingly the mortified monarch was compelled to bow to the will of the obnoxious barons, to their astute loader, his energetic brother-inlaw, Earl Leicester, he entertained the greatest animosity. " One day, " Bays Matthew Paris, " as he was going to the Tower by water, there suddenly burst forth a violent thunder-storm, which so terrified him, that he ordered the oarsmen to push for the nearest stairs, forgetting, iu his fright, that they led to Durham House, where Leicester then resided. On landing, the Earl received him with extreme courtesy, and told him to suppress his fear, as the storm was spent. " ' I am beyond measure afraid of thunder and lightning,' replied the angry King, with a look of defiance ; *but by the head of God ! I fear thee more than all the thunder in the world.' Relieve me, my lord,' answered Leicester, in tones of gentleness, ' you wrong your sincerest of friends, when you thus speak. Earl Simon has ever been your faithful liege, and even now is staking his wealth, his life, his all, to save your realm from ruin, and yourself from the downfall which the doings of your deceitful courtiers are urging on.' " Leicester being the head of the baronial and church party, Henry placed no reliance in his soft words, but taking the earliest opportunity retired to the continent, to seek aid from Eleanora's foreign relations. Accompanied by hia consort, and their daughter, Beatrice, Henry embarked at Dover, and landing at Witsand, proceeded to Paris, where they were joyously received by the good St. Louis, and where, according to previous arrangements, the Princess Beatrice was married to John de Dreux, Duke of Brittany. The return of the royal party was greatly delayed by a report that Prince Edward, taking advantage of the disaffection of the nation, was in league with Leicester, and plotting to supplant his father on the throne. This report so alarmed Henry and Eleanora, that their suspicions were only appeased by the receipt of a letter, signed by Earl Richard and numerous other nobles, declaring the rumour to be without foundation. Being fully satisfied of the

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