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XXVII.

CHAP are stated to have amounted, on the score

of his houshold establishment alone, to 1367.

£. 7957 : 13 : 4', making of our money £. 143,238; His wealth therefore must be supposed to have been at least equal to that of the late duke of Orleans, whose annual-income was computed at £. 300,000 sterling. The whole revenue of the kingdom however, estimated according to the same rule, scarcely exceeded the present value of one million sterling. From these premises we may form some judgment, how formidable opponents the great barons of the realm must have been found, when they set themselves in hostility to the sovereign.

Thomas earl of Lancaster, the occupier of this immense wealth, was dissatisfied with his lot, and became the head of the barons who took advantage of the imbecility of Ed

Stow, Survey of London : of orders and customs.

This was erroneously stated in a former chapter (Chapter VII, p. 166), upon the authority of Anderson's History of Commerce. A similar misstatement occurs, Chap. XVIII, P. 69.

1

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ward II. At length he was conveyed pri. CHAP, soner to his own castle of Pomfret; and,

1367. having been summarily adjudged to death, was placed upon a lean jade without a bridle, with a rusty and torn hat on his head, and thus conveyed, amidst the insults and peltings of a brutish multitude, to a hill without the town, where his head was struck off by the executionerk. Many miracles were afterward wrought at his tomb'; and he was pearly created a saint by the Roman pontiff,

It is sufficiently observable that this first Conclusion, court-favour of a pecuniary sort, which has come to our knowledge as having been conferred upon Chaucer, was granted during the absence of his patron, John of Gaunt, on the continent: he sailed from England in the beginning of January, and did not return till the decline of the year. Thus we have Edward III. himself, in the first page, as it were, of our official documents for the life

k

Pakington, apud Leland, Collectanea, Tom. I, p. 669.

670.

i Ditto, p.

XXVII.

CHAP of Chaucer, refuting the invidious insinuation

of certain modern critics, that not he, but 1367.

John of Gaunt, was the original patron and
encourager of the singular talents and ad-
mirable genius of the father of English
poetry.
The
year,

the events of which have formed the principal subject of this chapter, is rendered further remarkable by having given birth to two English sovereigns, Richard II. son of the Black Prince, and Henry IV. son and heir to John of Gaunt and the duchess Blanche,

CHAP. XXVIII.

WAR WITH FRANCE.-DUKE OF LANCASTER COM.
MANDS IN PICARDY.-DEATH OF THE DUCHESS
BLANCHE

It was the policy of Charles V. king of CHAP: France, surnamed by his countrymen the Wise, that in 1369 disturbed the peace between the two crowns, so happily established by the treaty of Bretigni in 1360. The pretence for his conduct we shall presently have occasion to assign ; the motive was the declining age of Edward III, and the infirm health of the Black Prince. It was natural that a king of France should seek the earliest opportunity to avenge the victories which those princes had gained in his dominions, and to recover the territories which the pressure of his affairs and the frowns of fortune

XXVIII.

Prince.

chap. had obliged his predecessor to yield in full

sovereignty to his adversaries. It was with that contempt of the solemnity of oaths, the clear construction of obligations, and the sacredness of public engagements, which characterises the proceedings of the directors of nations, that Charles V. endeavoured to varnish his conduct.

When the Black Prince returned to his 1367. Critical si- government of Aquitaine, he brought back the Black with him the army he had so successfully

commanded in Spain ; but, victorious as they had been, he brought them back abridged in their numbers, sickly, disheartened, impoverished, and destitute of almost all the necessaries of existence. Peter king of Castille, whom they had restored to his throne, had engaged amply to remunerate their services; but he had disdained even the appearance of making an exertion for that

Ed. ward, their commander, had made himself the security for Peter that they should be fully paid; and, the principal in the business hav. ing failed, the obligation seemed now to devolve upon the second. The attachment

purpose.

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