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FRANCIS LANCELOTT, ESQ. Queens of England. Vol.1.


Sir John Froissart's Chronicles of England, France, Spain and the Ajoining Countries from the latter part of the reign of Edward II to the coronation of Henry IV in 12 volumes 

Chronicles of Enguerrand De Monstrelet (Sir John Froissart's Chronicles continuation) in 13 volumes 

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Queens of England. Vol.1.
page 129

charters, and therefore, in duty to himself and his people, he should henceforth use his royal authority without diminution or participation by any one. In accordance with this proclamation, the King changed all the chief offices of state, and of his own household, as also many of the castellans and sheriffs of counties. About this period, the barons of the Cinque Ports, to whom the chief guard of the kingdom by sea was invested, turned their warrior fleets against the King, declaring that as Henry had separated his interests from those of the nation at large, they could no longer serve him as their King, for the King and the state could only be viewed as an indivisible body, whilst the royal prerogatives belonged rather to the office than the person of the sovereign. In 1261, Henry's cause became so strengthened, that Leicester deemed it prudent to retire to the continent, and Prince Edward returned to England with foreign troops, pretending that it was necessary to chastise the turbulent Welch, although his real motive was to keep the rebellious barons in subjection during the absence of his royal father, whose presence was needed in Gascony, and where, being attacked with a quartan ague, he was detained during the autumn. In the absence of the King, the barons became united, andthe formidable Leicester, perceiving this, returned from France in 1262, and appearing at a great council, held by Philip Baset, the justiciary, produced a brief from the time-serving Pope, confirming tho Oxford statutes, recalling the King's absolution, and declaring his Holiness was deceived when granting it. This brief was publicly read in the council, contrary to the will of the justiciary. A civil war appeared inevitable ; Henry hastened to England, but his presence did not check the growing strength of the baronial party, who now required him to confirm the Oxford statutes, a measure alike repugnant to himself and Eleanora. Prince Edward, perceiving the barons were buckling on their armour in earnest, became anxiously desirous to strengthen his father's" causo by retaining the troops he had, for want of funds, been employing with such little success against the turbulent Welsh. Lacking the means to pay this warrior band, the heir-apparent resorted to an expedient which strikingly exhibits how all Law and justice were trampled under foot by the high and mighty at that period. Quitting Wales suddenly, he hastened to London, and at once proceeded with an armed force to the New Temple, where he plundered the treasury of the Knights Templars of the valuable jewels which bis mother, Queen Eleanora, had a short time previously pledged with that fraternity for a large sum, besides ten thousand pounds sterling, belonging to the city of London and other opulent merchants, who had placed their money for security with those military monks, they, in that age, being the wealthiest bankers and money brokers in Europe. This treasure he safely lodged in Windsor Castle, and a few months afterwards the Queen pawned these same jewels to her sister's husband, the King of France ; a transaction neither creditable to herself nor her sainted brother-in-law. This year, Henry, notwithstanding Eleanora's opposition, confirmed the Oxford statutes, and peace would probably have ensued, had not the ultra-reformers of that period been more eager for bloodshed and plunder, than order and justice. The rabble of the great towns, urged on by deluding demagogues, sided with Leicester, whose cause and liberty to plunder they coupled. In London especially, the very dregs of the population rose in insurrection, and after mercilessly attacking the Jews, the Lombards, and other wealthy bankers and money-brokers, plundered and murdered every person of wealth that came in their way. The rapacious mob was headed by John Fitz-John, a powerful baron, and Stephen Buckwell, the Marshal of London ; and they committed such serious outrage, that the Queen be came alarmed, and endeavoured to escape from the Tower—where she was residing at the time of the outbreak — by water. But just as she was shooting the bridge, the maddened mob, by whom

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