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It offered Llewelyn, on condition of his entire submission, a county in England, a pension of a thousand a year, and a suitable provision for his only daughter, and promises of mercy and liberality to his Welsh adherents.
The third proposal, also a secret one, offered Prince David, Llewelyn's brother, a similar provision for his child, on condition that he consented to take the cross and go into the Holy Land, never returning thence unless recalled.
To these propositions the Welsh princes replied in spirited language, by a decisive refusal to such terms; and their chieftains added, in answer to that. part of Edward's message relating to them, that to no other prince but Llewelyn would they ever do homage, even were he to renounce Snowdon, a territory that had belonged to his race from the earliest annals of their history.
Prince David's answer was no less spirited than Llewelyn's. He replied to the extraordinary proposal that he should go out to Palestine, by a simple dignified rebuke to those who had made it.
'Can devotion,' he declared, 'be forced? And shall I go out to the Holy Land to benefit my
posterity by my piety, yet at the same time robbing them of their inheritance? When I feel disposed to visit the East, my motives shall be pure and voluntary.
'Very many do marvel,' he says, 'that you urge us to leave our own land, and to go to other men's lands among our enemies to live; for as we have no peace in our own, how can we hope to have it in that of our enemies? Though it be hard to live in war and danger, it were harder to be utterly destroyed.'
With these heroic replies, the little band made their last struggle for freedom; and seeing no hopes of a peaceable conclusion, the Archbishop of Canterbury formally excommunicated Llewelyn and David for resisting the mandates of the Church.
Edward then marched his forces to Conway, and conquered the island of Anglesea; and the English troops contemptuously concluded that the Welsh must now succumb to their superior numbers and
They crossed over the Menai at low water by means of a broad bridge of boats, and hoped to gain an easy entrance into the mountain's passes. The Welsh, familiar with the ebb and flow of the
tide, under the command of one Richard ap Walwyn, waited till it had risen to its full height, thus cutting off all means of retreat to the island for the English, and rushing down upon them from the mountains, drove them back into the sea; and the greater part of the army, with the exception of Lord Latimer, who escaped on horseback over the bridge, perished by drowning.
This check to Edward's invasion revived the fallen hopes of the Welsh, whose spirits rose, and whose long-cherished veneration for the prophecies of Merlin, led them to hope that Llewelyn might yet fulfil one that had promised to his sceptre dominion over the whole empire of Britain, once wielded, as they believed, by its founder, Brutus.
The Welsh were also encouraged in the hopes of success by the wild prophecy of a soothsayer, who predicted that Llewelyn would ride crowned through Cheapside.
This repulse forced Edward to retire to Rhuddlan, where he made the most extensive preparations for fresh encroachments into Wales. The Welsh, fired with enthusiasm, urged Llewelyn to prosecute the war with intrepidity; and Llewelyn, leaving David
in possession to guard Snowdonia, descended into Cardigan, where he and his brave followers harassed the English lords by a series of successful ravages.
The career of this brave prince was now approaching its close, and his end was destined to be brought about by an act of the greatest possible treachery.
One day, leaving the greater part of his army on the top of a high mountain overlooking the waters of the Wye, he descended into the valley, only accompanied by one squire.
He had appointed a place that he considered quite secure as doubtless it might have been, but that it had been betrayed to the English-to confer with some lords of the district. These very lords had betrayed him.
Llewelyn had posted a body of Welsh on a bridge over the river Wye, called Pont Oreadyn, and thinking no sudden attack could be made, had gone unarmed into the valley. While he had set forth in security, a party of English attacked the Welsh on this bridge, who fought valiantly until the English, hearing that there was a ford over
the river, crossed the Wye, and by attacking the mountaineers on the other side, their weaker point, forced them to abandon the bridge.
In the meantime, when informed by his squire that the enemy had attacked his troops, Llewelyn was still undaunted, and trusted that their superior courage would soon repulse the enemy. Finding, however, that the English were streaming over the river into the valley, he endeavoured to regain his ⚫ little force on the mountain, who, drawn up in battle array, awaited his return.
The English army were ascending the mountain side to attack this band, when a straggler, named Adam de Francton, seeing that the prince was Welsh, attacked and severely wounded him, yet was ignorant of his rank. This Englishman then joined his own people. The valiant Welsh, gazing from the mountain top, saw with horror that their beloved chief was lying wounded on the ground; but they fought with energy and zeal, till at length, overcome by superior numbers, they gave way, leaving a third of their number dead on the field of battle. This was on the 10th December 1281. In the meantime, tended only by a white friar,