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were undertaken in any reign either of his ancestors or successors. He restored authority to the government, disordered by the weakness of his father; he maintained the laws against all the efforts of his turbulent barons; he fully annexed to the crown the principality of Wales; he took the wisest and most effectual measures for reducing Scotland to a like condition; and though the equity of this latter enterprise may reasonably be questioned, the circumstances of the two kingdoms promised such success, and the advantage was so visible, of uniting the whole island under one head, that those who give great indulgence to reasons of state in the measures of princes, will not be apt to regard this part of his conduct with much severity.
But Edward, however exceptionable his character may appear on the head of justice, is the model of a politic and warlike king. He possessed industry, penetration, courage, vigour, and enterprize. He was frugal in all expenses that were not necessary; he knew how to open the public treasures on proper occasions; he pupished criminals with severity; he was gracious and affable to his servants and courtiers; and being of a majestic figure,expert at ali bodily exercise, and in the main well-proportioned in his limbs, notwithstanding the great length of his legs, he was as well qualified to captivate the populace by his exterior appearance, as to gain the approbation of men of sense by his more solid virtue.
CHARACTER OF EDWARD II.
It is not easy to imagine a man more innocent or inoffensive than this unhappy king; nor a prince less fitted for governing that fierce and turbnlent people subjected to his authority. He was obliged to devolve on others the weight of government, which he bad neither ability nor inclination to bear; the same indolence and want of penetration led him to make choice of ministers and favourites, which were not always best qualified for the trust committed to them. The seditious grandees, pleased with his weakness, and complaining of it, under pretence of attacking his ministers, insulted his person, and invaded his authority; and the impatient populace, ignorant of the source of their grievances, threw all the blame upon the king, and increased the public disorders by their faction and insolence. It was in vain to look for protection from the laws, whose voice, always feeble in those times, was not heard in the din of arms; what could not defend the king, was less able to give shelter to any one of his people; the whole machine of government was torn in pieces, with fury and violence; and men, instead of complaining against the manners of the age, and the form of their constitution, which required the most steady and the most skilful hand to conduct them, imputed all errours to the person who had the misfortune to be intrusted with the reins of empire.
CHARACTER OF EDWARD IIS. The English are apt to consider with peculiar fondness the history of Edward the Third, and to esteem his reign, as it was one of the longest, the most glorious also, which occurs in the annals of the nation. The ascendant which they began to have over France, their rival and national enemy, makes them cast their eyes on this period with great complacency, and sanctifies every measure which Edward embraced for that end. But the domestic government is really more admirable than his foreign victories; and England enjoyed, by his prudence and vigour of administration, a longer interval of domestic peace and tranquillity, than she had been blest with in any former period, or than she experienced for many years after. He gained the affections of the great, and curbed their licentiousness: he made them feel his power without their daring, or even being inclined to murmur at it; his affable and obliging behaviour, his munificence and generosity, made them submit with pleasure to his dominion; his valour and conduct made them successful in most of their enterprises; and their unquiet spirits, directed against a public enemy, had no leisure to breed disturbances, to which they were naturally so much inclined, and which the form of the government seemed so much to authorize. This was the chief benefit which resulted from Edward's victories and conquests. His foreign wars were, in other respects, neither founded in justice, nor directed to any very salatary purpose. His attempt against the king of Scotland, a minor, and a brother-in-law, and the revival of his grandfather's claim of superiority over that kingdom, were both unreasonable and ungenerous : and he allowed himself to be too soon seduced by the glaring prospects of French conquest, from the acquisition of a poiut which was practicable, and which might really, if attained, have been of lasting utility to his country, and to his successors. But the glory of a conqueror is so dazzling to the vulgar, and the animosity of nations so extreme, that the fruitless desolation of so fine a part of Europe as France is totally disregarded by us, and never considered as a blemish in the character or conduct of this prince: and indeed, from the unfortunate state of human nature, it will commonly happen that a sovereign of great genius, such as Edward, who' usually finds every thing easy in the domestic government, will turn himself towards military enterprises, where alone he meets opposition, and where he has full exercise or his industry and capacity.
ANOTHER CHARACTER OF EDWARD III.
EDWARD's constitution had been impaired by the fatigues of his youth; so that he began to feel the infirmities of old age, before they approach the common course of nature: and now he was seized with a malignant fever, attended with eruptions, that soon put a period to his life. When his distemper became so violent, that no hope of his recovery remained, all his attendants forsook him, as a bankrupt no longer able to requite their services. The ungrateful ALICE, waiting until she perceived him in the agonies of death, was so inhuman as to strip him of his rings and jewels, and leave him without one domestic to close his eyes, and do the last offices to his breathless corse. In this deplorable condition, bereft of comfort and assistance, the mighty Edward lay expiring; when a priest, not quite so savage as the rest of his domestics, approached his bed ; and, finding him still breathing, began to administer some comfort to his soul. Edward had not yet lost all perception, when he found himself thus abandoned and forlorn, in the last moments of his life. He was just able to express a deep sense of sorrow and contrition for the errors of his conduct, and died pronouncing the name of Jesus.
Such was the piteous and obscure end of Edward the Third, undoubtedly one of the greatest princes that ever-swayed the sceptre of England; whether we respect bim as a warrior, a lawgiver, a monarch, or a man. He possessed all the romantic spirit of Alexander; the penetration, the fortitude, the polished manners of Julius; the liberality, the munificence, the wisdom of Augustus Cæsar. He was tall, majestic, finely shaped, with a piercing eye, and aquiline visage. He excelled all his contemporaries in feats of arms and personal address. He was courteous, affable, and eloquent; of a free deportment, and agreeable conversation; and bad the art of commanding the affection of his subjects, without seeming to solicit popnlarity. The love of glory was certainly the predominant passion of Edward, to the gratification of which