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HOW KING RICHARD II. LOST HIS THRONE
 RICHARD was only a boy of fifteen when he faced the rioters
at Smithfield so bravely, and afterward broke his promises
so basely. It would have been better for England if he had
always been brave as he was the day he faced the rioters,
and never base as he was afterward.
It was not until Richard was twenty-one that he really
ruled. Until then his uncles ruled for him.
"How old do you think I am, uncle?" he said suddenly to one
of them at a feast.
"Your highness is in his twenty-second year," replied he.
"Then I am surely old enough to rule. I thank you for your
past help, uncle. I require it no longer." And before his
uncle could recover from his surprise, Richard had asked for
the great seal and keys of office, and had proclaimed to the
people that in the future he himself should rule. And for a
time Richard ruled well. He made peace with France, and the
taxes on the poor were made lighter. But this was not for
long. It was soon seen that he intended to do exactly as he
liked, and would take advice from no one. He banished and
outlawed those who tried to keep him in check. As he was
always in need of money, he seized the lands and money of
these banished people, and did many other wicked and
dishonest things. At last
 the King, who had been placed upon
the throne amid so much rejoicing, came to be hated and
One of the people whom Richard had banished was his cousin,
Henry of Bolingbroke, the son of his uncle, John of Gaunt.
Soon after Henry had been banished John of Gaunt died, and
Richard, in spite of having promised not to do so, seized
his land and money.
When Henry heard of this he came back to England to take
possession of his own inheritance, he said, but really to
try to win the crown of England. The people had always loved
Henry, and had been very sorry when he was banished, and now
they welcomed him back with joy, hoping that he would free
them from their hated King. Henry came with only fifteen
knights, but as soon as he landed, many people flocked to
Richard, at this time, was in Ireland, trying to put down a
rebellion there. As soon as he heard that Henry was in
England he hurried home. But he was too late. Henry was
already master of the country.
Richard brought a large army with him from Ireland, but many
of the soldiers deserted almost as soon as they landed and
joined the standard of Henry.
At last, forsaken by all, in utter despair, without food or
clothes, or even a bed upon which to sleep, Richard was
forced to submit to his cousin.
They met at the castle of Flint in Wales. Henry knelt to
Richard as to his king and kissed his hand.
"Fair cousin of Lancaster," said Richard, looking down upon
him, "you are right welcome."
"My lord," replied Henry, "I am come somewhat before my
time." By which he meant that he had a right to the throne
after the death of Richard, but that he had not waited until
then. "But," he went on, "I will tell you the reason. Your
people complain that you have
 ruled them badly these twenty
years. Please God, I will now help you to rule them
better." And the poor, broken, spiritless king
replied, "Fair cousin,
if it pleaseth you, it pleaseth me right well."
But when Richard was left alone he burst out in furious
rage, "Would to Heaven that I had killed when I might this
false cousin, this Henry of Bolingbroke."
Amid the curses of his people, forsaken even by his
favourite dog which left him for Henry, Richard II. was led
a prisoner to the Tower of London. There he solemnly gave up
his right to the crown, and Henry of Bolingbroke was made
king. This was in 1399 A.D.
Richard was afterwards sent to Pontefract Castle in
Yorkshire, where, it is believed, he was cruelly murdered.