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

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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ.
Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 132



left no stone unturned to obtain the li-Ikilled under him, and as he valiantly beration of ber royal partner. By ber fought on foot, he demanded of his foes, earnest request, the Pope sent Cardinal " If they gave quarter ?" Guido to England with bulls in favour of PZenry; and although a fear of assassination if he crossed the sea detained Guido at Boulogne, he there served the Queen by solemnly excommunicating the King's opponents. Although Leicester was actuated solely by motives of selfish ambition in his unconstitutional doings, the nation gave him credit for high disinterested honour, and believed to the full in the truthfulness of his pretensions. After the nuncio had excommunicated him, preachers made his virtues the theme of their sermons, and loudly proclaimed him the unflinching friend of the poor, the reformer of abuses, and the avenger of the church. His fall, however, was most rapid and complete. After having surprised and routed the army commanded by his son, Simon de Montfort, Prince Edward, aided by Mortimer and the Earl of Gloucester, who had seceded from the alliance, marched against Leicester with such haste, that the barons mistook the royalists for Simon's defeated army. On discovering the mistake, Leicester exclaimed, "The Lord have mercy on our souls ! for our bodies are Prince Edward's." After, according to his custom, offering up prayers for victory, and receiving the Sacrament, Leicester commenced the engagement by endeavouring to force his way through a division of the royalists, occupying a hill commanding the road between Evesham andKenilworth. Foiled in this attempt, and surrounded and overborne by numbers, he drew up his men in a circle, so as to oppose the enemy on every side. Fearing to let the King out of his sight, he exposed him to tho murderous weapons of his own friends in the front of the battle. The terrified Henry was slightly wounded, and as he fell from his horse, would doubtless havo been killed, had he not cried out, " Slay me not ! I am Henry of Winchester, your King !" Prince Edward knew the voice of his father, flew to his rescue, and led him to a place of safety. Shortly afterwards, Leicester's horse was "Not to traitors," replied a voice. " Then your victory shall be dearly purchased," rejoined the haughty earl. Henry de Montfort, his eldest son, after fighting bravely by his side, at length fell dead at his feet, and the body of the son was soon covered by that of the father. This engagement, known as the Battle of Evesham, was fought on the fourth of August, 1265, scarcely fifteen months after the defeat and capture of Henry at Lewes. Whilst the work of carnage was raging, a singular darkness overshadowed the battle-field. " This," says Robert of Gloucester, " I saw, and I was sore afraid." The victory obtained by the royalists was complete, but sanguinary. Of Leicester's friends, nearly all the barons and knights were slain, The mangled remains of Leicester were found on the battle-field, and by the King's orders buried in the abbey of Evesham. By this victory the royal reins were replaced in the hands of Henry. The barons, relinquishing their cause as hopeless, spontaneously liberated their prisoners, and endeavoured, by every means in their power, to conciliate the King. Henry, however, with all his faults and weaknesses, was tender of human life. Remembering that mercy is the noblest prerogative of tbe crown, he satisfied his vengeance by fines and confiscations, the triumph being unmarked by the shedding of a single drop of human blood. Neither did Eleanora take a deadly vengeance against one of her foes. Henry, however, made the Londoners pay a good price for the pelting they had bestowed on her at London Bridge. Calling a parliament together of his own partizans, he, through this assembly, deprived London of its ancient charters, took away its posts and chains, and after compelling the mayor and the leading citizens to sign the instruments of their own degradation, subjected them to rigorous confinement till the enormous sum of twenty thousand marks was paid for their ransom, when he restored the citi


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