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ambitious of empire. Both of them made and deposed sovereigns. They both carried on their wars at a distance from home. They were both made prisoners by a friend and ally. They were both reduced by an adversary inferiour in war, but above them in the arts of rule. After spending their lives in remote adventures, each perished at last near home in enterprises not suited to the splendour of their former exploits. Both died childless and both, by the neglect of their affairs, and the severity of their government, gave their subjects provocation and encouragement to revive their freedom. In all these respects the two characters were alike; but Richard fell as much short of the Swedish hero in temperance, chastity, and equality of mind, as he exceeded him in wit and eloquence. Some of his sayings are the most spirited, that we find in that time; and some of his verses remain, which in a barbarous age might have passed for poetry.

VII.

A. D.. 1199.

WE

CHAP. VIII.

Reign of John.

E are now arrived at one of the most memo- CHAP. rable periods in the English story; whether vIII. we consider the astonishing revolutions, which were

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youngest son of Henry II.; the other was Arthur, CHAP. son of Constance of Bretagne by Geoffrey, the VIII. third son of that monarch. If the right of con- A. D. sanguinity were only considered, the title of John 1199. to the whole succession had been indubitable. If the right of representation had then prevailed, which now universally prevails, Arthur, as standing in the place of his father Geoffrey, had a solid claim. About Brittany there was no dispute. Anjou, Poitou, Touraine, and Guienne, declared in favour of Arthur, on the principle of representation. Normandy was entirely for John. In England the point of law had never been entirely settled, but it seemed rather inclined to the side of consanguinity. Therefore in England, where this point was dubious at best, the claim of Arthur, an infant and a stranger, had little force against the pretensions of John, declared heir by the will of the late king, supported by his armies, possessed of his treasures, and at the head of a powerful party. He secured in his interests Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Glanville, the chief Justiciary; and by them the body of the ecclesiasticks and the law. It is remarkable also, that he paid court to the cities and boroughs, which is the first instance of that policy; but several of these communities now happily began to emerge from their slavery, and, taking advantage of the necessities and confusion of the late reign, increased in wealth and consequence,

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CHAP.

sovereignty weakened in the very act, by which he acquired it; but he submitted to the times. He VIII. came to the throne at the age of thirty-two.

He A. D. had entered early into business; and had been 1199. often involved in difficult and arduous enterprises, in which he experienced a variety of men and for

tunes.

His father, whilst he was very young, had sent him into Ireland, which kingdom was destined for his portion, in order to habituate that people to their future sovereign, and to give the young prince an opportunity of conciliating the favour of his new subjects. But he gave on this occasion no good omens of capacity for government. Full of the insolent levity of a young man of high rank, without education, and surrounded with others equally unpractised, he insulted the Irish chiefs; and ridiculing their uncouth garb and manners, he raised such a disaffection to the English government, and so much opposition to it, as all the wisdom of his father's best officers and counsellors was hardly able to overcome. In the decline of his father's life he joined in the rebellion of his brothers, with so much more guilt, as with more ingratitude and hypocrisy. During the reign of Richard he was the perpetual author of seditions and tumults; and yet was pardoned, and even favoured by that prince to his death, when he very unaccountably appointed him heir to all his dominions.

It was of the utmost moment to John, who had

no

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