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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 145



rally hot irascibility was greatly softened by his gentle consort. And singular as it may seem, although too frequently inexorably ruthless to his foes, he was the best of husbands and kindest of fathers. Wherever he journeyed, bo it to the battle-field or the festive board, his greatest delight was to he accompanied by his beloved Queen and their family. Jiy some writers his conjugal fidelity has been questioned ; and before his campaign in the Holy Land, his conduct, if not criminal, was, to say the least of it, greatly to be condemned; for, according to Stowc, in 1269, " A great discord was raised between Edward, the King's son, and Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Gloucester, because of the overmuch familiarity which Edward was said to have with the wife of the said Earl. And shortly afterwards the Earl of Gloucester took a man at Cardiff who went about to poison him." But it must be remembered that censurable as this intrigue, if such indeed it was, might be, it commenced in 1254, before Edward shared bed and board with his beloved spouse, from which period he became the truest and fondest of husbands. On his accession to the throne, Edward resolved to increase the dower of his affectionate consort. With this view, he shortly after his coronation enjoined that the " Queen's gold" should be collected from every fine for which it was due, and gave lands for her use to the value of four thousand five hundred pounds. In the tenth year of his reign, he further testified his affection for his " dearest wife Eleanora," by assigning her Rugby Chase, Longwood Chase, and Chute Forest, with the right of selling the oaks that grew there. In the year following, he granted her all the forfeited property of the Jews ; and seven years afterwards, he gave her the manors of Cookham, Havering, and Kingston, with the income from the fairs held thrice in the year at Sandwich. Edward passed the early years of his reign in subjugating the Welch, and annexing Wales to England. Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, had refused to attend his coronation to do him homage ; and after the coronation the Welch Prince, under various pretences, had eluded three successive summonses to do fealty to hi« liege lord; in fact, he believed in the possibility of asserting the independence of his country, and being brave and powerful, and withal having lately reconquered from the English all the territory which they had taken from the Welch since the commencement of the eleventh century, he resolved not to acknowledge a superior unless forced so to do. As Llewellyn had powerfully aided the Earls of Leicester and Gloucester in their opposition to the crown in the preceding reign, Edward the Eirst resolved to crush him on the first fitting opportunity. This opportunity had now arrived. Having first called a parliament at Westminster, after Easter, who granted him a fifteenth upon the clergy and laity, issued orders for the strict observance of the Charter of Liberties and theCharter of Forests, and pronounced a judgment of felony against Llewellyn, he declared war against Wales. Whilst Edward was preparing for the first campaign, Llewellyn's betrothed was captured by some Bristol seamen, who, having seized the vessel in which she was passing from France to Wales, carried her prisoner to the King. But although she was the daughter of the late Earl of Leicester, Edward's deadly foe, she was also the child of his aunt Eleanora, sister of King Henry the Third, he therefore received her courteously, treated her kindly, and permitted her to reside on terms of amity with his consort at Windsor. In 1277 , Edward, by cutting a road through a dense forest, opened a passage into the very heart of Wales. lie then took and strongly fortified the castles of Flint and Rhuddlan, made himself master of Anglesea, forced the Welch to seek refuge amongst the mountains of Snowdon. and with a considerable fleet stopped all communication between that district and the sea. Being thus hemmed in by sea and land, Llewellyn, after suffering the privations of famine, threw himself at the mercy of the victorious Edward. The conditions granted him were severe, and certainly justify a be


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