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The Captivity and Death of Edward of Carnarvon, Vol. 6 (Classic Reprint)

The Captivity and Death of Edward of Carnarvon, Vol. 6 (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from The Captivity and Death of Edward of Carnarvon, Vol. 6

Had the barons worked together as a single party, they could easily have reduced the weak king to helplessness. But the magnates were so distracted by local and family feuds that it required some great crisis to make them take up a common line of policy. Their co-operation was the more difficult since their natural leader, Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, was a man whose character was not at all unlike that of his cousin the king. More brutal, vicious, and capricious than Edward, Thomas resembled his kinsman in his laziness, his neglect of business, his wish to shuffle out of responsibility and in his habit of leaving all his affairs to be executed by the officers of his household. The consequence was that there was not only a king, who would not govern, but 'an opposition leader who could only oppose. In l3l2, ?again more completely after Bannockburn, the opposition became the government. Earl Thomas now showed himself even more in competent than his cousin. He refused to govern; he continued as victor to hold aloof from affairs, abiding in the same sulky isolation in which he had lived when he was in opposition. Consequently the failure of Thomas was even more complete than the failure of Edward. Hence the extraordinarily purposelessness of much of the politics of the reign, hence the Iong-drawn-out intrigues, negotiations, and threaten ings of war that take up so much of the story of the chroniclers.

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