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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 237



ders, Germany, and France, The most imposing feature of this tournay was a procession of sixty richly attired ladies, mounted on docile palfreys, each leading a completely armed knight by a silver chain along West Cheap to Smithfield,. attended by heralds sounding their trumpets, and the cheering chorus of numerous minstrels. The Queen, all the ladies of the Court, and the many highborn foreign dames and damoisellcs who had come over sea to witness the gorgeous spectacle, took up their places in the tilting grounds in the richly decorated open stands, whence they witnessed the pageants with delight, and before whom the gallant knights "tilted courteously, and with blunted lances." The prizes were bestowed by the Queen, who presided as umpire in chief; and after continuing three days, the festival was concluded by a grand supper given by the King. On the Saturday following, the Queen and her husband, accompanied by the Court and the foreign nobles, proceeded to Windsor, where they devoted the whole of the succeeding week to one continuous round of pleasure and festivity. From this period nothing remarkable occurred in the Court of Queen Anne till 1392, when the violent contest between the King and the Londoners was healed by the kindly mediation of the good Queen. The rapacity and poverty of Richard the Second led to this quarrel. In one of the many pecuniary difficulties in which this Prince was involved by his prodigal habits, he made a demand on the city for the loan of a thousand pounds. The city not only refused to pay the money, but when a wealthy Italian merchant, of more exuberant loyalty, offered to make the advance out of his own purse, they, actuated less by a regard for the money itself than to check the profusion in which Richard indulged, raised a tumult and murdered him. The moral censorship which they chose to exercise cost them, however, dear. Richard called his nobles together, to whom he represented in indignant terms the presumption and maliciousness of these London ers, and with their concurrence suspended the mayor, aldermen, and sheriffs, from their offices ; revoked and annulled the whole of the rights and privileges of the city, removed the courts of law to York and Nottingham, ordered the magistrates to pay into the royal treasury the sum of three thousand marks, and the commonalty the more enormous sum of one hundred thousand pounds ; and, in the meantime, committed the mayor and other principal citizens to different and distant prisons, there to remain till these fines were paid. Nor were they even then to expect restoration to favour, for it was decreed that in future the citizens should have no government of their own, but that the king should appoint one of his knights to be ruler of the city. Happily, it was not long before the King shewed a disposition to commute these severe penalties, which seemed, indeed, to have been made thus severe for the very purpose of enabling his majesty the more readily to turn the remission of them to profitable account. The citizens appreciated the character of Richard's proceedings quite correctly, when, as Stow informs us, they concluded that "the end of these things was a money matter." They first tried the cupidity of the king with an offer of ten thousand pounds for a restoration of their privileges, but this proposal was not thought worthy of an answer. In this dilemma they applied to Queen Anne, and she being a gentle, gracious lady, exerted her influence over her royal lord with such success, that soon afterwards they were informed that the King had taken compassion on them, and meant, with his Queen, to pay the city a visit, when they would have an opportunity of shewing, by the reception they gave their majesties, how far they were deserving of the royal favour. Richard and his consort having set out on this visit of conciliation from the palace at Sheen, were met at Wandsworth by four hundred of the principal inhabitants of the city, mounted on horseback, who tendered the humble submission of the city, and besought the King's pardon for all its offences. As


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