Rapin’s History of England Book 9 Edward I & II

Rapin’s History of England Book 9 Edward I & II


Chapter I
EDWARD I.[1] Sirnamed Long-Shanks
A. D. 1272

THE death of Henry III. happening during the absence of his son Edward, who was to succeed him, seemed to offer the malcontents a favourable op­portunity to raise new troubles. However, it was not attended with any ill consequence. Leicester’s party was so humbled, that they were no longer able to look up. And though some restless persons had made use of this juncture, to disturb the peace of the kingdom, the nation’s good opinion of Edward, would have ren­dered their projects impracticable.

This prince shined with great lustre, during the latter part of his father’s reign. The victory of Evesham, the reduction of the Ely rebels, and his clemency to them when reduced, were still fresh in the memory of the English, and filled them with esteem and admiration for his rare qualities. They did not doubt but he would employ all his talents, to restore peace and. tranquillity to the kingdom, which had received such violent shocks in the two foregoing reigns. So that, far from being inclined to favour the malcontents, they shewed an extreme impatience to see their new sovereign, building on him alone all the hopes of their future happiness.

Though Edward was absent, and not even heard of, all the barons with one accord swore fealty to him. At the same time they wrote him a very respectful letter, inviting him to come with all speed, and take possession of the throne of his ances­tors. Meanwhile, they assembled at London, to com­mit the regency of the kingdom to such as should be deemed the most capable. The choice falling upon the archbishop of York, and the earls of Cornwall and Chester, the Parliament, which met quickly after[2], confirm­ed all the measures taken for the preservation of the peace of the kingdom.

Edward pursuing his voyage without knowing what passed in England, safely arrived in Sicily; where he was received by Charles of Anjou with all the respect due to his rank and merit. At Messina it was that he heard of his father’s death, for whom he appeared more; concerned than for his eldest son John, the news of whose death was brought at the same time[3].

Rapin’s History of England Book 3 The Heptarchy

Rapin’s History of England Book 3 The Heptarchy


Introductory Remarks

THE revolution caused by the conquest of the Anglo-Saxons introduced a new face of things in Great Britain. The country formerly inhabited by the Britons was now possessed by strangers.
The very names of the towns and provinces were changed, and country divided in a very different manner from what it was by the Romans.

Great Britain, parcelled out into several kingdoms, was shared among four different nations, namely, the Britons or Welsh, the Scots, the Picts, and the Anglo-Saxons. Under the Britons were comprised all those foreigners, Romans or others, settled in the island ever since the reign of Claudius, who, being incorporated with the natives, became one people with them. The descendants of these foreigners were undoubtedly very numerous, it being the constant policy of the Romans to diminish, as far as lay in their power, the natives of a conquered country, and to send thither large colonies either of veterans, or of people taken from their other conquests.

The Britons, therefore, now retired beyond the Severn, are to be considered as a people composed of the ancient inhabitants of Great Britain and the Roman colonies. The Vandals, settled about Cambridge, were also reckoned as Britons, and involved in the same ruin with them. After the establishment of the seven kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxons, the Britons had nothing left but Cambria, and the western part of Danmonium. Cambria (the name formerly of all Britain) was changed by the Saxons into Wales.

As for Danmonium, it was, in all appearance, a Roman name. The Britons called that country Kennaw, from Kern, that is, in their language age, Horns, because of the many promontories that Shoot out into the sea like horns. Hence doubtless the Saxons gave it the name of Cornwall, that is to say, the country of Kernaw, inhabited by Gauls or Britons.

Rapin’s History Book 2 – Arrival of The Saxons

Rapin’s History Book 2 – Arrival of The Saxons


THE Saxons returned a favourable answer to the Britons, assuring them that they would stand by them in their pressing necessities. They also-agreed to grant them an aid of nine thousand men, on certain terms, the principal whereof was, that the Saxons should be put in possession of the Isle of Thanet, adjacent to Kent, where they were to land, and their troops be paid and maintained by the Britons.—Hengist and Horsa,[1] both sons of Witigisil, were appointed to command the troops designed for the aid of the Bri­tons.

Hengist was about thirty years old. He first bore arms under his father Witigisil; after which, for his improvement in the art of war, he served in the Roman armies, where the emperors generally kept some Saxon troops in their pay. This young warrior was endowed with all the necessary qualifications for accomplishing the undertaking committed to his management. His valour and experience, the solidity of his judgment, his address, his easy and engaging behaviour, warranted, in some measure, his success. All these excellent quali­ties determined the Saxon general to procure for his son so fair an occasion to display his talents. Of his bro­ther, Horsa, nothing particular is said.

The Saxons, notwithstanding their promise, did not think proper to send over at once so considerable a body of forces as nine thousand men, into a country but im­perfectly known to them. Wherefore, pretending that the rest were not ready, by reason of their great dis­tance from the place of embarkation, they caused only 1600 to be put on board three vessels. Historians have not expressly marked the place of this first embarkation; but it probably was Zealand, as that country was then in possession of the Saxons, and as it would have been difficult to chose a more convenient place, or one nearer the isle of Thanet, where they might land. Hengist and Horsa accordingly arrived at Ebbesfleet in the isle of Thanet, about the year 449, or 450; and, when they had refreshed themselves, Vortigern led them against the Picts and Scots that were advanced as far as Stamford in Lincolnshire. In the first battle the islanders, according to their custom, began with throw­ing their darts.

Rapin’s History of England Book 1

Rapin’s History of England Book 1

AT a period when the human intellect seems to have attained nearly the apex of its power, and the utmost extent of its expansion; when the stores of literature and science are no longer confined to the groves of the academy, to the cells of the cloyster, to the forums of justice, or to the walls of the senate, it would operate but feebly in favour of an historical work, were it to be introduced by an elaborate disquisition on the general utility, or particular advantages, to be derived from the perusal, or study of history.

It is a trite remark, at least as old as the time of Dionysius, that history may be regarded as that species of philosophy which teaches by example; and it is equally true, that, while it adds to our own stock of experience an immense accumulation of the experience of others, it furnishes innumerable tests, by which we may verify all the precepts of morality and prudence. History is, indeed, the proper repository of all those facts which best illustrate the general nature of man. With the hap­piest facility it opens to us the springs of human affairs; it marks the rise, progress, and decay, of empires; it develops the reciprocal influence of government and national manners; it explains the factitious passions, and artificial manners, of social life; and, in all the vivid colouring of nature, it pourtravs, with a firm and steady hand, the strong and distinguishing traits of individual character.

lf these remarks be just, with respect to history at large, philosophically considered—and their veracity is too obvious to be questioned—how much more forcibly must they apply to the immediate history of our own country? Descending lower upon the scale, history may there be said also to account for those things in common speech, and in the formalities of common life, which are not otherwise to be understood; yet, without a knowledge of which, we must remain infants in society, and strangers in whatsoever part of the world our lot may have cast us; for, in the interrogative language of the poet,

Book 18 Reign of James I

Book 18 Reign of James I

ELIZABETH HAD NO SOONER BREATHED HER LAST, but the Council met to consult about the measures that were to be taken in the present juncture. The Queen, who had delayed to name her successor till the end of her days, at last declared, the King of Scotland was to ascend the throne of England after her, and it was not doubted but her will agreed with this declaration.

So, the Council deemed it necessary, before all things, to be assured of it, by perusing the will, which was immediately opened, and found to confirm what the Queen had declared by word of mouth. The King of Scotland had therefore in his person a threefold right, which rendered his title indisputable.

The first was what is called in England, a Parliamentary right, which derived its validity from the act of Parliament, securing the Crown to Henry VII. and his heirs. The second was hereditary right, for this Prince was the nearest relation, and natural heir to Elizabeth. These two rights were
farther strengthened by the Queen’s will, which made the third.

Book 10 Reigns of Edward 3 and Richard 2

Book 10 Reigns of Edward 3 and Richard 2


Chapter I

A. D. 1327

THE deposing of Edward II. procured not the English all the happiness they were made to expect. The government of a weak and imprudent King was not more dangerous. than that of a minor Prince, under the direction of a passionate mother, and a young inexperienced minister, more presumptuous and less able than the Spencers.

Accordingly the people quickly found, that they had not gained much by the change. Happily for them, Edward’s minority was of no long continuance. As soon as the young Prince had taken the government upon himself, he converted the misfor­tunes of the late reign into blessings, and the injuries received from France and Scotland, into glory and triumphs.

When the commissioners sent to Kenelworth, had returned with Edward II’s. resignation, the Prince his son was again proclaimed, under the name of Ed­ward III and crowned a few days after.[1] The Queen and Mortimer, whose interest it was to make the whole nation accomplices of their violent proceedings, affected on that occasion, to cause a coronation medal to be struck, importing the universal consent of the people to the present revolution. On one side was, the. young King crowned, laying his sceptre on a heap of hearts, with this motto, POPULO DAT JURA VOLENTI. On the reverse, a hand held forth, as it were saving a crown falling from on high, with these words, NON RAPIT SED RECIPIT[2].

Though Edward was but in his fourteenth year, he had a mature judgment, and a penetration uncommon to that age. However, in compliance to the laws of the land, the King must have governors, and the state regents. The Parliament chose twelve from among the Bishops, Earls, and Barons, of whom Henry of Lan­caster was declared the chief. The Queen opposed not this nomination; but, as she had the power in her own hands, she seized the government, and shared it only with her creatures.

Book 11 Reigns of Henry VI and V

Book 11 Reigns of Henry VI and V


Chapter I

HENRY DUKE OF LANCASTER, SIRNAMED OF BOLINGBROKE, the place of his birth[1], having been proclaimed the 30th of September, took that very day the reins of the government. As the Parlia­ment then assembled was called in Richard’s name, and as their authority ceased upon his being deposed, Henry’s first care was to call another. He was con­tented, however, with impowering the same represen­tatives, to make, with the House of Lords, a new Parliament under his authority; and, after a few days interruption, the same Parliament met again on the 6th of October, as though it had been called by the new King.

Edmund Mortimer Earl of March, considering it would be no less dangerous than fruitless, at such a juncture, to assert his just right to the crown, retired to his Lordship of Wigmore[2], near the borders of Wales. The more incontestable his title was, the more reason he had to dread the new King’s jealousy. So, giving way to the torrent which he could not stem, he resolved to live in retirement, without showing the least ambition, or the least uneasiness, at the injustice that was done him.

The Parliament being assembled, Thomas Arundel Archbishop of Canterbury made a long speech, tending to inspire a high opinion of the advantages procured to the kingdom by the late revolution. He enlarged chiefly on the disorders of the late reign, and assured them, that the new Sovereign proposed to govern after a very different manner, and to preserve to all their rights and liberties. This prelate had been banished the realm in the late reign, and Roger Walden, who was appointed in his room, had hitherto performed the Archiepiscopal functions. But as Arundel was not canonically deposed, the Parliament in their first session, ordered that he should resume his dignity, and the rather as the other had not yet obtained the Pope’s con­firmation. The Archbishop’s speech, and some pre­liminary formalities, were the only things remarkable in the first session of the new Parliament, which was ad­journed to the 14th of October. This adjournment was necessary in order to prepare for the coronation, which was to be on the 13th.

Book 12 Appendix Joan of Arc

Book 12 Appendix Joan of Arc

Book XII

Joan of Arc

IN CONSIDERING THE HISTORY OF THIS EXTRAORDINARY YOUNG WOMAN, it particularly deserves to be remarked, that we have only one contemporary author (Monstrelet) who gives an account of her. All the after writers have added something to what he relates, in order to embellish their history. Monstrelet was one of the retinue of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and had himself seen this girl. But he is extremely reserved in what he says, he never gives his own opinion, and the reason is very evident. For Joan making her ap­pearance when the Duke of Burgundy was in alliance with England, Monstrelet, with all of that party, did not believe her inspired.

But as he wrote not his chronicle till after the Duke was reconciled to King Charles, he thought it not proper to combat in his writings the general opinion of the French, who were then his master’s friends. On the other hand, as probably, in changing his party, he had not changed his opinion of Joan, he took care to say nothing, to make it thought he was under the same prejudice with the rest of the French. It seems therefore that Monstrelet may be taken for a guide, who whatever his opinion was, has said nothing to render him suspected. He never says either that Joan was, or was not inspired.

The same author has inserted in his chronicle a letter written in the name of Henry VI to the Duke of Burgundy, to acquaint him with what passed at the trial and condemnation of the Maid of Or­leans. This letter might be justly suspected of partiality, if the facts it contains did not, for the most part, agree with the records of the trial mentioned hereafter.

We have a third means which is both the amplest and most consi­derable, namely, Joan’s examination and answers, of which the fa­mous Stephen Pasquier has given us the particulars. Pasquier says, he had Joan’s original trial four whole years in his hands, and what he has related was faithfully extracted. But we must carefully dis­tinguish what Pasquier says as of himself, from the records of the trial. He was so prejudiced in favour of Joan, that he could not help being angry with those of his countrymen who did not believe her inspired.

He says, they were worse than the English, and ex­tremely injurious to the honour of France. So, considering only his private opinion, he may be said to have justly rendered himself suspected to one of the parties. But the trial itself is an original piece beyond all suspicion, since we find there word for word, Joan’s own answers to the articles she was examined upon.

Book 12 Reign of Henry VI

Book 12 Reign of Henry VI

Book XII

HENRY V when within view of his end, seemed to have been taken out of the world, by a par­ticular direction of Divine Providence, which is sometimes pleased to stop the best concerted undertakings, when just on the point of accomplishment. The peace of Troye not being yet firmly settled, and the Prince who was to mount the throne, but an infant of nine months, every thing seemed to occur to take from the English the hopes, of seeing the two kingdoms of France and England united under a King of their na­tion.

On the other hand, the noble qualities of the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester, brothers of the deceased King, encouraged the most timid. How great soever the loss might be, it was not thought irre­parable, since the valour, experience, and wisdom of these two Princes, enabled them to support the new King’s minority. Instead therefore of being disheartened at so terrible a blow, they showed, by proclaiming young Henry King of England, and heir of France, that they were determined to maintain what the King his father had so gloriously established.

The Duke of Gloucester had governed the kingdom by the title of guardian, ever since the Duke of Bed­ford his eldest brother attended the Queen into France. But this dignity being inconsistent with a King actually present in his kingdom, ceased the moment young Henry was proclaimed. It is true, the late King had ordered upon his death-bed, that during his son’s mino­rity, the Duke of Gloucester should be Regent, or protector in England. But this was not a sufficient war­rant to exercise that important office. The Parliament’s confirmation was also requisite. For that, and some no less urgent reasons, the council speedily summoned a Parliament for the 9th of November. Till the two Houses should settle the form of government, during the King’s minority, the council, whereof the Duke of Gloucester was president, issued all necessary orders for whatever would not admit of delay.

Previously to the meeting of the Parliament, died King Charles VI. at Paris, the 21st of October, having survived Henry V his son-in-law, but fifty-five days. His death entirely changed the face of affairs. It was not doubted that the Dauphin would take the title of King of France, and exert his utmost to procure the possession of a crown, which he deemed fallen to him by the death of the King his father. Whilst Charles VI was alive, many of his subjects thought it their duty to obey him, without enquiring, whether what he did was conformable to the laws, and beneficial to the state, because, their oath to him was not conditional.

Book 13 Reigns of Edward IV & V and Richard III

Book 13 Reigns of Edward IV & V and Richard III



Chapter I
AD 1461

EDWARD WAS PROCLAIMED THE 5TH OF MARCH, AND ON THE 12TH OR 13TH OF THE SAME MONTH, he was obliged to put himself at the head of his army. Before his departure from London, a tradesman was executed, for saying, he would make his son heir of the crown[1]. Probably, he added some contemptuous words against the new King, and expressed too much zeal for the House of Lancaster.

Queen Margaret had acted with prudence, in not hazarding a battle at the gates of London, and in re­tiring among the northern people, who had hitherto appeared firmly attached to the House of Lancaster. They even gave her, upon this occasion, a sensible mark of their affection, by strengthening her army with whole bodies of fresh troops. This was done with such expedition, that in a few days the Queen saw herself at the head of sixty thousand men, in con­dition to await her enemy, or even to march against him.
Though Edward had been proclaimed at London, he was very sensible, that that ceremony made no great addition to his right, considering how irregularly it was performed.

The nobles of his party, and the people of London, were not invested with power to give the kingdom a sovereign; therefore, he could not depend upon that extraordinary election, unless it was supported with force. Henry VI had reigned thirty-eight years, acknowledged for lawful King by all the English; and yet this right, which seemed so well es­tablished, had not been able to maintain itself against a superior strength.

It was, therefore, easy to see, that Edward’s right, which had not great advantages, would subsist no longer than crowned with success. Matters standing thus, the two patties were once more to try the way of arms. Edward being young and lively, trusted to his courage and fortune. He was likewise excited to venture all, by the great men of his party, who having shewn so little regard for Henry, saw no safety but in victory. He departed there­fore from London a few days after being proclaimed[2], and heading his army, marched towards the north, with a resolution to go in quest of Queen Margaret.