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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 223



"Ah, my country, it is now that I tremble for you ! Edward only wins our cities, but Philippa conquers our hearts !" Immediately the castle was prepared for their reception, the King and Queen entered the tower in grand procession, and took up their abode there, where they stayed till all the natives who refused to swear fealty to the King of England were expelled, and the town repeopled with a colony of Englishmen. Of the Calaisans who transferred their allegiance to Edward, one of the first was the generous burgher Eustace de St. Pierre. The King gave him most of his former property and additional lands ; and he, on his part, undertook to maintain, by his influence, peace amongst the native inhabitants—a trust which he well and faithfullyperformed. Being fully aware of the importance of Calais as a mart for English merchandize, Edward made it a staple town, and from time to time appointed one of the leading merchants of England to be mayor of the staple there. It rapidly rose to a place of considerable opulence, and so continued during the two hundred and ten years that it was held by England. Having signed a truce with France, which, at the pressing instance of the Pope, was afterwards prolonged for six years, Edward, accompanied by Queen Philippa, the Black Prince, and a host of nobles and their ladies, embarked for England. Whilst at sea a terrible tempest burst forth, and wrecked several of the ships. However, after encountering much danger, the fleet entered port on the fourteenth of October, 1347, and the sovereigns and their attendants landed in safety, and proceeded to London. Shortly afterwards—the precise date is not known—Edward established the renowned Order of the Garter. The origin of this order is veiled in obscurity; doubtless it was established partly to commemorate the victories in France, and partly to spur the nobles and knights to acts of personal courage and chivalry. But, although the reasons assigned for its motto, Hoxi SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE, Evil to him who evil thinks, are all vague and unsatisfactory, the order, limited as it is to twenty-five persons besides the sovereign of England, has to the present time outvied all other similar institutions in the world, it being deemed one of the proudest and most envied rewards of eminent birth and merit. The first chapter of the Garter was held at Windsor; Queen Philippa, attended by many noble ladies, was present. And at the tournament, Edward appeared with a white swan emblazoned on his surcoat and shield, together with the motto :— "Ha! lia Γ the white swan, By God's soul I am the mani" It being the first motto in Englishborne by a Plantagenet. When Philippa returned after the surrender of Calais, England was in the enjoyment of plenty and prosperity. The lustre of British arms was brightened by the valour, wisdom, and good fortune of the King, and the prowess, the high endowments and accomplishments of the Black Prince—heir-apparent to the Crown—afforded prospects of a brilliant future. But this happy state of things was of short continuance. That horrible pestilence, known by the significant name of the Black Death, or the Plague, after ravaging Asia to the banks of the Kile, swept the coasts of the Mediterranean, depopulated the continent of Europe, and in August, 1348, made its first appearance in Dorsetshire, reached London in November, and thence spread itself over the whole island, inducing a mortality so great, that the living could scarcely suffice to bury the dead. In a short time its effects were such, that business was suspended, husbandry neglected, tbe courts of justice closed, the parliament again and again prorogued, and the healthful, thinking only of their own safety, slighted every call of humanity, honour, and duty; and, abandoning the infected, endeavoured to escape death by flight, or by a round of dissipation and riotous carousal. Fow of the victims of this appalling malady lived more than two or three days. According to some writers, two-thirds of the population perished, and although this is probably an exaggeration, the mortality must have been alarmingly great. In London the cemeteries were soon filled.


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