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was established with its two branches of Lords and Commons. The term Lords you must remember included the higher clergy.

The ambition of Edward I. was to bring all the island of Britain under his single rule. To the north, Scotland was virtually independent, while Wales on the west was in continual ferment. At the beginning of his work, the King set out to annex Wales. He led a strong force thither, and, after a number of successes, seemed to have gained his end. To hold his possessions, he built several splendid castles, and garrisoned each with troops, ready to act on the first necessity. Llewellyn, Prince of Wales, after a sturdy resistance was subdued, and peace reigned for several years, though the prince and his people were restless and eager for a chance to free themselves from their yoke. The first one to rise in revolt was David, the brother of the Prince. He had fought against Llewellyn, and was under many obligations to Edward. The insurrection became formidable in 1282, but Llewellyn having been slain in an encounter with an English knight, the Welsh chieftains yielded, and delivered up David, who was executed in September, 1284. Then Wales was united to England, and Edward did all he could to win the good-will of his new but turbulent subjects.

It is said that the sovereign promised to give the Welsh a ruler who could not speak a word of English, but who understood their own language as well. as any of his age. The King's son Edward was born in the castle of Caernarvon, in April, 1284. Of course he could not utter a syllable of English, and understood the Welsh tongue as well as any other infant of his age, besides which he was unquestionably a native of the country. When, therefore, the King presented the young prince to the Welsh as their future ruler, what could they say? Seventeen years late, the infant was created Prince of Wales, and ever since that time the title has been conferred upon the eldest son of the ruling sovereign of England.

While the King was making ready to conquer Scotland, a curious opportu nity offered for asserting his authority. Two claimants for the Scottish throne presented themselves in the persons of John Baliol and Robert Bruce, the latter a forebear of the famous king and general of the same name. Both were of Norman descent, and agreed to leave the settlement of their dispute to Edward, who accepted the office of umpire on condition that whoever he selected should first acknowledge the overlordship of England. named Baliol; but hardly had the latter been allegiance and allied himself to France. flexibly against the Scots that they were compelled to yield. Baliol surrendered the crown in 1296, and Edward seized Scotland as a forfeit fief. He received the homage of the Scottish parliament and placed Englishmen in all

This was agreed to, and Edward crowned, when he renounced his Edward pushed his campaign so in

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England Conquest of Scotland


the leading offices. At the Abbey of Scone, near Perth, the English seized the piece of rock on which the Scotch kings were always placed at their coronation. According to legend, this stone had been the pillow of Jacob at Bethel, and wherever the talisman was, there the Scots should reign. Edward placed the stone, inclosed in a throne, in Westminster Abbey, where both remain. Every sovereign since then-including Edward VII. in 1902-has been crowned upon them.


Scotland would not stay subdued, and William Wallace was the leader of his countrymen in their revolt against the English. He made a determined fight, but was unsuccessful, and, after eight years of incessant war, was captured and executed on Tower Hill, in 1305.

Still the struggle continued. Robert Bruce, grandson of the previous claimant to the throne, proposed to Comyn, a powerful Scottish lord, that whichever of the two established his claim to the crown, should bequeath the kingdom by way of indemnity to the other. Comyn, who was known as the Red, made the agreement, but he intended treachery from the first, and took the earliest occasion to send warning of the conspiracy to Edward. Bruce was in England at the time and would have been arrested, but for a warning which was sent in a curious way to him. One day, a messenger called and handed Bruce a pair of spurs. Now, since spurs are used to hasten the speed of a horse, Bruce could not mistake the meaning of the present. He immediately mounted his horse and made off, with no suspicion of the person who had betrayed him. While fleeing, he met a servant of Comyn who was bearing papers to the King. Bruce took the paper from him and thus discovered who the traitor was. Hardly a week later he and Comyn met at Dumfries. The former called his false friend into a neighboring chapel, and told him what he had learned. The proof was too clear for Comyn to deny the charge, and he blustered. A fierce quarrel followed, and Bruce drove his dagger into the other, who fell on the steps of the altar. Horrified at what he had done, Bruce hurried out and met one of his friends, who, observing his agitated manner, asked what had taken place.

"I think I have killed Comyn," replied Bruce.

"You think so," said his friend, "then I will make sure of it."

Hurrying into the chapel he slew Comyn, as well as the uncle who tried to defend him, and then returning to Bruce, their little band fled away.

Feeling that he was now an outlaw, Bruce raised the standard of independence, and, surrounded by a number of priests and lords, was crowned at Scone. Thus on the Day of Annunciation (1306) Scotland had again a king.

The great blot upon the reign of Edward was his expulsion of the Jews. In answer to the demands of the people, who accused them of extortion, he

stripped the unfortunates of their possessions, and drove them, to the number of 16,000, from the country. The woful procession tramped off into exile, many perishing on the road, and so completely did they vanish from English history that not until the time of Cromwell, more than four centuries later, were they heard of again.

It is a striking proof of the frightful condition of England at the time that, in order to clear the highways of tobbers, the King ordered all roads between market towns to be kept free of underbrush for a distance of two hundred feet on each side, so as to prevent the outlaws from killing the travellers from ambush. The Statute of Winchester was another effective measure, for it made the inhabitants of each district responsible for the crimes committed within its confines. Each walled town closed its gates at dusk, and no one was admitted unless he was known, or some person became surety for him. All citizens were compelled to keep their armor and weapons in order, and to aid in the pursuit and capture of criminals.

In addition to these reforms and the conquest of Wales and Scotland, the landed proprietors of the country were made more directly answerable to the crown; the inordinate growth of church property was checked; Parliament was permanently organized, and the Great Charter, with new articles for the protection of the people, was confirmed by the King, and the power of taxation was immovably fixed in Parliament only.

It was while marching against Robert Bruce in Scotland, that King Edward I. died, in the year 1307, at one of the little border villages. He was succeeded by his son Edward II., who, as you remember, was born in the castle of Caernarvon in Wales. Edward II. was a weak, contemptible scamp, without the first virtue or quality that should mark the ruler of a great people. Bruce said he feared the new King less than he had feared the mere bones of Edward I., and it did not take young Edward long to draw upon himself the abhorrence and scorn of all his subjects.


When a boy, the new King had a playfellow by the name of Piers Gaveston, who was a Frenchman. Gaveston was so evil and his influence so bad upon the prince, that Parliament, with the consent of Edward I., banished him; but Edward II. was no sooner crowned than he brought him back, heaped lavish honors upon him, and made him governor of the realm, while the King went away to be married to Isabelle of France. When Edward returned he found the barons so indignant that he was compelled, sorely against his will, to permit the banishment of his favorite. It was not long, however, before Gaveston turned up again, and matters became more scandalous than before. Utterly disgusted, the nobles, in a council held at Westminster, took the control of affairs out of the King's hands and vested it for a year in a body of barons and

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