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Alas! these delusions must weaken the mind; and when misfortune comes, the weight is ten-fold more insupportable! Such was the case with unhappy Richard; who, bloated with prosperity, beheld not the approaching storm, until crushed by its overpowering influence. The path of life is not alike to all: some trample on the laws of heaven and man, yet tread secure; complaint still follows, but vengeance does not overtake them; while others triumph for a time, then sink the victims of their own intemperate rashness. This truth is manifest in the similar conduct yet opposite fate of John and Richard! John held the reigns of power, with an unskilful hand; his life was a tissue of tyranny, injustice, cruelty, and oppression; his subjects bent beneath a galling yoke, yet they endured, and he was permitted to run his vile career for seventeen years— and his life was prolonged half a century :—while Richard, poor unhappy Richard, suffered for crimes of far less magnitude, with infinitely more excuse for weakness. Yet such are the decrees of Providence; and who shall dare to dispute the mandates of Omnipotence, or impiously inquire, "why is it thus or thus ?"-fruitless investigation, never to be answered on this side the gates of eternal life.
Richard the Second, son of the valiant and virtuous Edward the Black Prince, succeeded to the English throne in right of his Grandfather, Edward the Third. He was crowned at seven years of age, and thus invested with power at a period of infancy. His mind, naturally weak yet headstrong, disdained control: he only loved those who indulged his wayward fancies; and spurned the voice of instruction as beneath the attention of a king. This weakness of character was fatal in its consequences, fatal to himself and to his favourites. The love which the people cherished for the memory of his father and grandfather, induced them to bear much from
Richard, but as none of their shining qualities appeared in his character, save in that one instance when at sixteen years of age he boldly rode into the very midst of the infuriated followers of the rebel Tyler, he by degrees forfeited all claims to the love or esteem of his people !-His profusion, his ostentation, his confidence in corrupt ministers, his light and trifling manners, and the total want of dignity in his deportment, rendered him an object of dislike and even of contempt; yet it is probable he might have continued his wanton career of folly and extravagance, had not his impetuosity in banishing his cousin Henry Bolinbroke, Duke of Hereford, of whose influence he was jealous, and afterwards confiscating his legal possessions, opened the path which was to lead to his own destruction !
Henry Bolinbroke, son of Richard's uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, had accused Thomas Mowbray, duke of Norfolk, of treason, and also of being accessary to the murder of his uncle the duke of Golster, who had on some specious pretext been taken to Calais; where his death had been sudden, and the busy tongue of rumour whispered that he had not been fairly dealt with. Some inadvertent expressions of Mowbray had excited the suspicions of Bolinbroke: and with this and other accusations he arraigned him before his sovereign.
Richard, pretending to be the friend of each, exerted his influence to put a stop to the quarrel; but his endeavours proving ineffectual, a day was appointed when the hostile parties should meet, and settle their difference by the sword; Gosford Green, near Coventry, was to be the scene of action. Clad in armour, the combatants appeared in presence of the king, and all his court. The trumpets had sounded, and the herald had demanded the cause of their meeting; he had been answered-the combatants had taken leave of their friends, and were
preparing to encounter in deadly fight, when Rich ard forbad the conflict; and pronounced the sentence of banishment on each ;—on Norfolk for life, and on Bolinbroke for ten years! Norfolk, astonished at so sudden and unexpected a termination to his quarrel with the Earl of Hereford, broke out into most pathetic complaints, and revolted against this mandate of the king. He was prepared to encounter death from the sword of his adversary:but the sentence of perpetual banishment, was as dreadful as unexpected !
A heavy sentence, my most sovereign liege,
That knows no touch to tune the harmony.
Richard was little disposed to mitigate the sentence he had passed;-he was well pleased at any circumstance which would remove from his presence two persons equally obnoxious to himself and to his favourites; neither was the question in debate, one he wished should be too far dwelt upon. Bolinbroke's ostensible complaint, against Mowbray, was treason; but his deepest aim was evidently to draw to light the suspicions respecting the Duke of Gloucester's death, an event in which Richard was too deeply concerned to consent that much inquiry should take place! To Norfolk's remonstrances
therefore he coolly replied, that after sentence was
passed, complaining was useless. With a heavy heart Mowbray quitted his native land, and retired to Venice, where he soon afterwards died of a broken heart!!
Bolinbroke, who probably meant even at that time to derive advantage from his unjust banishment, bore his sentence with the most perfect conposure; but his father, John of Gaunt, was overwhelmed with grief at this sad separation, and
Richard, affected by his sorrow, and by Bolinbroke's uncomplaining submission to his will, rescinded four years of his banishment, assuring him-when that period should be expired, that his return should be welcomed most cordially!
A very short time elapsed from the departure of Bolinbroke, ere John of Gaunt was taken ill, and his life despaired of. He seut to request an interview with his royal cousin, hoping that the admonitions of a dying man might have some effect in awakening the young king to a sense of his various follies, and the danger which would ere long surround him, unless by a change of conduct he averted the threatening storm: but Richard regarded him with very little attention; treated his advice with much con
tempt, and heard of his death with pleasure. It was indeed an event in Richard's mind, which was a cause of joy. He was now making preparations for the Irish wars: money was requisite, and how to obtain that money was a matter of great difficulty.
is expenses had been immense, even while the land, was desolated with plague and famine; insenible to the sufferings of his people, he had never wetrenched any of his inordinate expenses ;-his various pageantries, and divertisements had been still continued with all their pomp and splendour; his pride was to surpass in magnificence every soversign in Europe; he daily entertained six thousand
rsons in his kitchen; he employed three hundred domestics; and three hundred attendants were about the person of the queen!-titles, wealth, and họneurs were bestowed upon his favourites with the Eost unlimited profusion: but his wealth was now declining, and he had not any present means of ob taining supplies! The nation had been already taxed beyond the endurance of the people; and to
rrow any from the citizens was a fruitless attempt. Gaunt's death, at this critical period, was therefore most opportune, and Richard seized upon the lands and property of his uncle, to defray the expenses of the Irish war, jocosely telling his ministers that
The lining of his coffers should make coats
The Duke of York, though a mild and peaceable man, could not suppress his resentment at this injustice to his banished nephew. Inspired with that loyalty of sentiment, which he magined he ought to feel towards his anointed king, he had patiently endured the various excesses, and violations of justice practised by Richard; but an act so illegal,-so unjust as to appropriate to his own use the possessions of the banished Bolinbroke, was a trial beyond