Young Folks' History of England by Charlotte M. Yonge - HTML preview
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23. Edward V, A.D. 1483
Edward IV. left several daughters and two sons—Edward, Prince of Wales, who was fourteen years old, and Richard, Duke of York, who was eleven. Edward was at Ludlow Castle—where the princes of Wales were always brought up—with his mother's brother, Lord Rivers; his half-brother, Richard Grey; and other gentlemen.When the tidings came of his father's death, they set out to bring him to London to be crowned king.
But, in the meantime, the Duke of Gloucester and several of the noblemen, especially the Duke of Buckingham, agreed that it was unbearable that the queen and her brothers should go on having all the power, as they had done in Edward's time. Till the king was old enough to govern, his father's brother, the Duke of Gloucester, was the proper person to rule for him, and they would soon put an end to the Woodvilles. The long wars had made everybody cruel and regardless of the laws, so that no one made much objection when Gloucester and Buckingham met the king and took him from his uncle and half-brother, who were sent off to Pontefract Castle, and in a short time their heads were cut off there. Another of the late king's friends was Lord Hastings; and as he sat at the council table in the Tower of London, with the other lords, Richard came in, and showing his own lean, shrunken arm, declared that Lord Hastings had bewitched him, and made it so. The other lords began to say the _if_ he done so it was horrible. But Richard would listen to no _ifs_, and said he would not dine till Hasting's head was off. And his cruel word was done.
The queen saw that harm was intended, and went with all her other children to her former refuge in the sanctuary at Westminster; nor would she leave it when her son Edward rode in state into London and was taken to the Tower, which was then a palace as well as a prison.
The Duke of Gloucester and the Council said that this pretence at fear was very foolish, and that the little Duke of York ought to be with his brother; and they sent the Archbishop of Canterbury to desire her to give the boy up. He found the queen sitting desolate, with all her long light hair streaming about her, and her children round her; and he spoke kindly to her at first and tried to persuade her of what he really believed himself—that it was all her foolish fears and fancies that the Duke of Gloucester could mean any ill to his little nephew, and that the two brothers ought to be together in his keeping.
Elizabeth cried, and said that the boys were better apart, for they quarrelled when they were together, and that she could not give up little Richard. In truth, she guessed that their uncle wanted to get rid of them and to reign himself; and she knew that while she had Richard, Edward would be safe, since it would not make him king to destroy one without the other. Archbishop Morton, who believed Richard's smooth words, and was a very good, kind man, thought this all a woman's nonsense, and told her that if she would not give up the boy freely, he would be taken from her by force. If she had been really a wise, brave mother, she would have gone to the Tower with her boy, as queen and mother, and watched over her children herself. But she had always been a silly, selfish woman, and she was afraid for herself. So she let the archbishop lead her child away, and only sat crying in the sanctuary instead of keeping sight of him.
The next thing that happened was, that the Duke of Gloucester caused one Dr. Shaw to preach a sermon to the people of London in the open air, explaining that King Edward IV. had been a very bad man, and had never been properly married to Lady Grey, and so that she was no queen at all, and her children had no right to reign. The Londoners liked Gloucester and hated the Woodvilles, and all belonging to them, and after some sermons and speeches of this sort, there were so many people inclined to take as their king the man rather than the boy, that the Duke of Buckingham led a deputation to request Richard to accept the crown in his nephew's stead. He met it as if the whole notion was quite new to him, but, of course, accepted the crown, sent for his wife, Anne Nevil, and her son, and was soon crowned as King Richard III. of England.
As for the two boys, they were never seen out of the Tower again. They were sent into the prison part of it, and nobody exactly knows what became of them there; but there cannot be much doubt that they must have been murdered. Some years later, two men confessed that they had been employed to smother the two brothers with pillows, as they slept; and though they added some particulars to the story that can hardly be believed, it is most likely that this was true. Full two hundred years later, a chest was found under a staircase, in what is called the White Tower, containing bones that evidently had belonged to boys of about fourteen and eleven years old; and these were placed in a marble urn among the tombs of the kings in Westminster Abbey. But even to this day, there are some people who doubt whether Edward V. and Richard of York were really murdered, or if Richard were not a person who came back to England and tried to make himself king.
24. Richard III, A.D. 1483—1485
Richard III. seems to have wished to be a good and great king; but he had made his way to the throne in too evil a manner to be likely to prosper. How many people he had put to death we do not know, for when the English began to suspect the he had murdered his two nephews, they also accused him of the death of everyone who had been secretly slain ever since Edward IV. came to the throne, when he had been a mere boy. He found he must be always on the watch; and his home was unhappy, for his son, for whose sake he had striven so hard to be king, died while yet a boy, and Anne, his wife, not long after.
Then his former staunch friend, the Duke of Buckingham, began to feel that though he wanted the sons of Elizabeth Woodville to be set aside from reigning, it was quite another thing to murder them. He was a vain, proud man, who had a little royal blood—being descended from Thomas, the first Duke of Gloucester, son of Edward III.—and he bethought himself that, now all the House of Lancaster was gone, and so many of the House of York, he might possibly become king. But he had hardly begun to make a plot, before the keen-sighted, watchful Richard found it out, and had him seized and beheaded.
There was another plot, though, that Richard did not find out in time. The real House of Lancaster had ended when poor young Edward was killed at Tewkesbury; but the Beauforts—the children of that younger family of John of Gaunt, who had first begun the quarrel with the Duke of York—were not all dead. Lady Margaret Beaufort, the daughter of the eldest son, had married a Welsh gentleman named Edmund Tudor, and had a son called Henry Tudor, Earl of Richmond. Edward IV. had always feared that this youth might rise against him, and he had been obliged to wander about in France and Brittany since the death of his father; but nobody was afraid of Lady Margaret, and she had married a Yorkist nobleman, Lord Stanley.
Now, the eldest daughter of Edward IV.—Elizabeth, or Lady Bessee, as she was called—was older than her poor young brothers; and she heard, to her great horror, that her uncle wanted to commit the great wickedness of making her his wife, after poor Anne Nevil's death. There is a curious old set of verses, written by Lord Stanley's squire, which says that Lady Bessee called Lord Stanley to a secret room, and begged him to send to his stepson, Richmond, to invite him to come to England and set them all free.
Stanley said he could not write well enough, and that he could not trust a scribe; but Lady Bessee said she could write as well as any scribe in England. So she told him to come to her chamber at nine that evening, with his trusty squire; and there she wrote letters, kneeling by the table, to all the noblemen likely to be discontented with Richard, and appointing a place of meeting with Stanley; and she promised herself that, if Henry Tudor would come and overthrow the cruel tyrant Richard, she would marry him: and she sent him a ring in pledge of her promise.
Henry was in Brittany when he received the letter. He kissed the ring, but waited long before he made up his mind to try his fortune. At last he sailed in a French ship, and landed at Milford Haven—for he knew the Welsh would be delighted to see him; and, as he was really descended from the great British chiefs, they seemed to think that to make him king of England would be almost like having King Arthur back again.
They gathered round him, and so did a great many English nobles and gentlemen. But Richard, though very angry, was not much alarmed, for he knew Henry Tudor had never seen a battle. He marched out to meet him, and a terrible fight took place at Redmore Heath, near Market Bosworth, where, after long and desperate struggling, Richard was overwhelmed and slain, his banner taken, and his men either killed or driven from the field. His body was found gashed, bleeding, and stripped; and thus was thrown across a horse and carried into Leicester, where he had slept the night before.
The crown he had worn over his helmet was picked up from the branches of a hawthorn, and set on the head of Henry Tudor. Richard was the last king of the Plantagenet family, who had ruled over England for more than three hundred years. This battle of Bosworth likewise finished the whole bloody war of the Red and White Roses.
25. Henry VII, A.D. 1485—1509
Henry Tudor married the Lady Bessee as soon as he came to London, and by this marriage the causes of the Red and white Roses were united; so that he took for his badge a great rose—half red and half white. You may see it carved all over the beautiful chapel that he built on to Westminster Abbey to be buried in.
He was not a very pleasant person; he was stiff, and cold, and dry, and very mean and covetous in some ways—though he liked to make a grand show, and dress all his court in cloth of gold and silver, and the very horses in velvet housings, whenever there was any state occasion. Nobody greatly cared for him; but the whole country was so worn out with the troubles of the Wars of the Roses, that there was no desire to interfere with him; and people only grumbled, and said he did not treat his gentle, beautiful wife Elizabeth as he ought to do, but was jealous of her being a king's daughter. There was one person who did hate him most bitterly, and that was the Duchess of Burgundy, the sister of Edward IV. and Richard III.: the same who, as I told you, encouraged printing so much. She felt as if a mean upstart had got into the place of her brothers, and his having married her niece did not make it seem a bit the better to her. There was one nephew left—the poor young orphan son of George, Duke of Clarence—but he had always been quite silly, and Henry VII. had him watched carefully, for fear some one should set him up to claim the crown. He was called Earl of Warwick, as heir to his grandfather, the king-maker.
Suddenly, a young man came to Ireland and pretended to be this Earl of Warwick. He deceived a good many of the Irish, and the Mayor of Dublin actually took him to St. Patrick's Cathedral, where he was crowned as King Edward the Sixth: and then he was carried to the banquet upon an Irish chieftain's back. He came to England with some Irish followers, and some German soldiers hired by the duchess; and a few, but not many, English joined him. Henry met him at a village called Stoke, near Newark, and all his Germans and Irish were killed, and he himself made prisoner. Then he confessed that he was really a baker's son named Lambert Simnel; and, as he turned out to be a poor weak lad, whom designing people had made to do just what they pleased, the king took him into his kitchen as a scullion; and, as he behaved well there, afterwards set him to look after the falcons, that people used to keep to go out with to catch partridges and herons.
But after this, a young man appeared under the protection of the Duchess of Burgundy, who said he was no other than the poor little Duke of York, Richard, who had escaped from the Tower when his brother was murdered. Englishmen, who came from Flanders, said that he was a clever, cowardly lad of the name of Peter (or Perkin) Warbeck, the son of a townsman of Tournay; but the duchess persuaded King James IV. of Scotland to believe him a real royal Plantagenet. He went to Edinburgh, married a beautiful lady, cousin to the king, and James led him into England at the head of an army to put forward his claim. But nobody would join him, and the Scots did not care about him; so James sent him away to Ireland, whence he went to Cornwall. However, he soon found fighting was of no use, and fled away to the New Forest, where he was taken prisoner. He was set in the stocks, and there made to confess that he was really Perkin Warbeck and no duke, and then he was shut up in the Tower. But there he made friends with the real Earl of Warwick, and persuaded him into a plan for escape; but this was found out, and Henry, thinking that he should never have any peace or safety whilst either of them was alive, caused Perkin to be hanged, and poor innocent Edward of Warwick to be beheaded.
It was thought that this cruel deed was done because Henry found that foreign kings did not think him safe upon the throne while one Plantagenet was left alive, and would not give their children in marriage to his sons and daughters. He was very anxious to make grand marriages for his children, and make peace with Scotland by a wedding between King James and his eldest daughter, Margaret. For his eldest son, Arthur, Prince of Wales, he obtained Katharine, the daughter of the King of Aragon and Queen of Castille, and she was brought to England while both were mere children. Prince Arthur died when only eighteen years old; and King Henry then said that they had been both such children that they could not be considered really married, and so that Katharine had better marry his next son, Henry, although everyone knew that no marriage between a man and his brother's widow could be lawful. The truth was that he did not like to give up all the money and jewels she had brought; and the matter remained in dispute for some years—nor was it settled when King Henry himself died, after an illness that no one expected would cause his death. Nobody was very sorry for him, for he had been hard upon everyone, and had encouraged two wicked judges, named Dudley and Empson, who made people pay most unjust demands, and did everything to fill the king's treasury and make themselves rich at the same time.
It was a time when many changes were going on peacefully. The great nobles had grown much poorer and less powerful; and the country squires and chief people in the towns reckoned for much more in the State. Moreover, there was much learning and study going on everywhere. Greek began to be taught as well as Latin, and the New Testament was thus read in the language in which the apostles themselves wrote; and that led people to think over some of the evil ways that had grown up in their churches and abbeys, during those long, grievous years, when no one thought of much but fighting, or of getting out of the way of the enemy.
The king himself, and all his family, loved learning, and nobody more than his son Henry, who—if his elder brother had lived—was to have been archbishop of Canterbury.
It was in this reign, too, that America was discovered—though not by the English, but by Christopher Columbus, an Italian, who came out in ships that were lent to him by Isabel, the Queen of Spain, mother to Katharine, Princess of Wales. Henry had been very near sending Columbus, only he did not like spending so much money. How ever, he afterwards did send out some ships, which discovered Newfoundland. Henry died in the year 1509.
26. Henry VIII And Cardinal Wolsey, A.D. 1509—1529
The new king was very fond of the Princess Katharine, and he married her soon after his father's death, without asking any more questions about the right or wrong of it. He began with very gallant and prosperous times. He was very handsome, and skilled in all sports and games, and had such frank, free manners, that the people felt as if they had one of their best old Plantagenets back again. They were pleased, too, when he quarreled with the King of France, and like an old Plantagenet, led an army across the sea and besieged the town of Tournay. Again, it was like the time of Edward III., for James IV. of Scotland was a friend of the French king, and came across the Border with all the strength of Scotland, to ravage England while Henry was away. But there were plenty of stout Englishmen left, and under the Earl of Surrey, they beat the Scots entirely at the battle of Flodden field; and King James himself was not taken, but left dead upon the field, while his kingdom went to his poor little baby son. Though there had been a battle in France it was not another Crecy, for the French ran away so fast that it was called the battle of the Spurs. However, Henry's expedition did not come to much, for he did not get all the help he was promised; and he made peace with the French king, giving him in marriage his beautiful young sister Mary— though King Louis was an old, helpless, sickly man. Indeed, he only lived six weeks after the wedding, and before there was time to fetch Queen Mary home again, she had married a gentleman named Charles Brandon. She told he brother that she had married once to please him, and now she had married to please herself. But he forgave her, and made her husband Duke of Suffolk.
Henry's chief adviser, at this time, was Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York; a very able man, and of most splendid tastes and habits— outdoing even the Tudors in love of show. The pope had made him a cardinal—that is, one of the clergy, who are counted as parish priests in the diocese of Rome, and therefore have a right to choose the pope. They wear scarlet hats, capes, and shoes, and are the highest rank of all the clergy except the pope. Indeed, Cardinal Wolsey was in hopes of being chosen pope himself, and setting the whole Church to rights—for there had been several very wicked men reigning at Rome, one after the other, and they had brought things to such a pass that everyone felt there would be some great judgment from God if some improvement were not made. Most of Wolsey's arrangements with foreign princes had this end in view. The new king of France, Francis I., was young, brilliant and splendid, like Henry, and the two had a conference near Calais, when they brought their queens and their whole Court, and put up tents of velvet, silk, and gold—while everything was so extraordinarily magnificent, that the meeting has ever since been called the Field of the Cloth of Gold.
However, nothing came of it all. Cardinal Wolsey thought Francis's enemy— the Emperor Charles V.—more likely to help him to be pope, and make his master go over to that side; but after all an Italian was chosen in his stead. And there came a new trouble in his way. The king and queen had been married a good many years, and they had only one child alive, and that was a girl, the Lady Mary—all the others had died as soon as they were born—and statesmen began to think that if there never was a son at all, there might be fresh wars when Henry died; while others said that the loss of the children was to punish them for marrying unlawfully. Wolsey himself began to wish that the pope would say that it had never been a real marriage, and so to set the king free to put Katharine away and take another wife— some grand princess abroad. This was thinking more of what seemed prudent than of the right; and it turned out ill for Wolsey and all besides, for no sooner had the notion of setting aside poor Katharine come into his mind, than the king cast his eyes on Anne Boleyn, one of her maids of honor—a lively lady, who had been to France with his sister Mary. He was bent on marrying her, and insisted on the pope's giving sentence against Katharine. But the pope would not make any answer at all; first, because he was enquiring, and then because he could not well offend Katharine's nephew, the Emperor. Time went on, and the king grew more impatient, and at last a clergyman, named Thomas Cranmer, said that he might settle the matter by asking the learned men at the universities whether it was lawful for a man to marry his brother's widow. "He has got the right sow by the ear," cried Henry, who was not choice in his words, and he determined that the universities should decide it. But Wolsey would not help the king here. He knew that the pope had been the only person to decide such questions all over the Western Church for many centuries; and, besides, he had never intended to assist the king to lower himself by taking a wife like Anne Boleyn. But his secretary, Thomas Crumwell, told the king all of Wolsey's disapproval, and between them they found out something that the cardinal had done by the king's own wish, but which did not agree with the old disused laws. He was put down from all his offices of state, and accused of treason against the king; but while he was being brought to London to be tried, he became so ill at the abbey at Leicester that he was forced to remain there, and in a few days he died, saying, sadly—"If I had served God as I have served my king, He would not have forsaken me in my old age."With Cardinal Wolsey ended the first twenty years of Henry's reign, and all that had ever been good in it.
27. Henry VIII And His Wives, A.D. 1528—1547
When Henry VIII. had so ungratefully treated Cardinal Wolsey, there was no one to keep him in order. He would have no more to do with the pope, but said he was head of the Church of England himself, and could settle matters his own way. He really was a very learned man, and had written a book to uphold the doctrines of the Church, which had caused the people to call him the Defender of the Faith. After the king's or queen's name on an English coin you may see F. D.— Fidei Defensor.This stands for that name in Latin. But Henry used his learning now against the pope. He declared that his marriage with Katharine was good for nothing, and sent her away to a house in Huntingdonshire, where, in three years' time, she pined away and died. In the meantime, he had married Anne Boleyn, taken Crumwell for his chief adviser, and had made Thomas Cranmer archbishop of Canterbury. Then, calling himself the head of the Church, he insisted that all his people should own him as such; but the good ones knew that our Lord Jesus Christ is the only real Head of the Church, and they had learnt to believe that the pope is the father bishop of the west, though he had sometimes taken more power than he ought, and no king could ever be the same as a patriarch or father bishop. So they refused, and Henry cut off the heads of two of the best—Bishop Fisher and Sir Thomas More— though they had been his great friends. Sir Thomas More's good daughter Margaret, came and kissed him on his way to be executed; and afterwards, when his head was placed on a spike on London Bridge, she came by night in a boat and took it home in her arms.
There were many people, however, who were glad to break with the pope, because so much had gone amiss in the Church, and they wanted to set it to rights. There was so much more reading, now that printing had been invented, that many could read who had never learnt Latin, and so a translation of the Bible was to be made for them, and there was a great desire that the Church Services—many of which had also been in Latin— should likewise be put into English, and the litany was first translated, but no more at present. The king and Crumwell had taken it upon them to go on with what had been begun in Wolsey's time—the looking into the state of all the monasteries. Some were found going on badly, and the messengers took care to make the worst of everything. So all the worst houses were broken up, and the monks sent to their homes, with a small payment to maintain them for the rest of their lives.
As to the lands that good men of old had given to keep up the convents, that God might be praised there, Henry made gifts of them to the lords about Court. Whoever chose to ask for an abbey could get it, from the king's good nature; and, as they wanted more and more, Henry went on breaking up the monasteries, till the whole of them were gone. A good deal of their riches he kept for himself, and two new bishoprics were endowed from their spoils, but most of them were bestowed on the courtiers. The king, however, did not at all intend to change the teaching of the Church, and whenever a person was detected in teaching any thing contrary to her doctrines, as they were at the time understood, he was tried by a court of clergymen and lawyers before the bishop, and, if convicted, was—according to the cruel custom of those times— burnt to death at a stake in the market place of the next town.
Meantime, the new queen, Anne Boleyn, whom the king had married privately in May, 1533, had not prospered. She had one little daughter, named Elizabeth, and a son, who died; and then the king began to admire one of her ladies, named Jane Seymour. Seeing this Anne's enemies either invented stories against her, or made the worst of some foolish, unlady-like, and unqueen-like things she had said and done, so that the king thought she wished for his death. She was accused of high treason, sentenced to death, and beheaded: thus paying a heavy price for the harm she had done good Queen Katharine.
The king, directly after, married Jane Seymour; but she lived only a very short time, dying immediately after the christening of her first son, who was named Edward.
Then the king was persuaded by Lord Crumwell to marry a foreign princess called Anne of Cleves. A great painter was sent to bring her picture, and made her very beautiful in it; but when she arrived, she proved to be not only plain-featured but large and clumsy, and the king could not bear the sight of her, and said they had sent him a great Flanders mare by way of queen. So he made Cranmer find some foolish excuse for breaking this marriage also, and was so angry with Thomas Crumwell for having led him into it, that this favorite was in turn thrown into prison and beheaded.
The king chose another English wife, named Katharine Howard; but, after he had married her, it was found out that she had been very ill brought up, and the bad people with whom she had been left came and accused her of the evil into which they had led her. So the king cut off her head, likewise, and then wanted to find another wife; but no foreign princess would take a husband who had put away two wives and beheaded two more, and one Italian lady actually answered that she was much obliged to him, but she could not venture to marry him, because she had only one neck.
At last he found an English widow, Lady Latimer, whose maiden name was Katharine Parr, and married her. He was diseased now, lame with gout, and very large and fat; and she nursed him kindly, and being a good-natured woman, persuaded him to be kinder to his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, than he had ever been since the disgrace of their mothers; and she did her best to keep him in good humor, but he went on doing cruel things, even to the end of his life; and, at the very last, had in prison the very same Duke of Norfolk who had won the battle of Flodden, and would have put him to death in a few days' time, only that his own death prevented it.
Yet, strange to say, Henry VIII. was not hated as might have been expected. His cruelties were chiefly to the nobles, not to the common people; and he would do good-natured things, and speak with a frank, open manner, that was much liked. England was prosperous, too, and shopkeepers, farmers, and all were well off; there was plenty of bread and meat for all, and the foreign nations were afraid to go to war with us. So the English people, on the whole, loved "Bluff King Hal," as they called him, and did not think much about his many wickednesses, or care how many heads he cut off. He died in the year 1547. The changes in his time are generally called the beginning of the Reformation.
28. Edward VI, A.D. 1547—1553
The little son of Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour of course reigned after him as Edward VI. He was a quiet, gentle boy exceedingly fond of learning and study, and there were great expectations of him; but, as he was only nine years old, the affairs of state were managed by his council.
The chief of the council were his two uncles—his mother's brothers, Edward and Thomas Seymour, the elder of whom had been made Duke of Somerset—together with Archbishop Cranmer; but it was not long before the duke quarreled with his brother Thomas, put him into the Tower, and cut off his head, so that it seemed as if the days of Henry VIII. were not yet over.
The Duke of Somerset and Archbishop Cranmer wanted to make many more changes in the Church of England than Henry VIII. had ever allowed. They had all the Prayer-book Services translated into English, leaving out such parts as they did not approve; The Lessons were read from the English Bible, and people were greatly delighted at being able to worship and to listen to God's Word in their own tongue. The first day on which the English Prayerbook was used was the Whitsunday of 1548. The Bibles were chained to the desks as being so precious and valuable; and crowds would stand, or sit, and listen for hours together to any one who would read to them, without caring if he were a clergyman or not; and men who tried to explain, without being properly taught, often made great mistakes.
Indeed, in Germany and France a great deal of the same kind had been going on for some time past, though not with any sort of leave from the kings or bishops, as there was in England, and thus the reformers there broke quite off from the Church, and fancied they could do without bishops. This great break was called the Reformation, because it professed to set matters of religion to rights; and in Germany the reformers called themselves Protestants, because they protested some of the teachings of the Church of Rome.
Cranmer had at one time been in Germany, and had made friends with some of these German and Swiss Protestants, and he invited them to England to consult and help him and his friends. Several of them came, and they found fault with our old English Prayer-book—though it had never been the same as the Roman one—and it was altered again to please them and their friends, and brought out as King Edward's second book. Indeed, they tried to persuade the English to be like themselves—with very few services, no ornaments in the churches, and no bishops; and things seemed to be tending more and more to what they desired, for the king was too young not to do what his tutors and governors wished, and his uncle and Cranmer were all on their side.
However, there was another great nobleman, the Duke of Northumberland, who wanted to be as powerful as the Duke of Somerset. He was the son of Dudley, the wicked judge under Henry VII., who had made himself so rich, and he managed to take advantage of the people being discontented with Somerset to get the king into his own hands, accuse Somerset of treason, send him to the Tower, and cut off his head.
The king at this time was sixteen. He had never been strong, and he had learnt and worked much more than was good for him. He wrote a journal, and though he never says he grieved for his uncles, most likely he did, for he had few near him who really loved or cared for him, and he was fast falling into decline, so that it became quite plain that he was not likely ever to be a grown-up king. There was a great difficulty as to who was to reign after him. The natural person would have been his eldest sister, Mary, but King Henry had forbidden her and Elizabeth to be spoken of as princesses or heiresses of the crown; and, besides, Mary held so firmly to the Church, as she had learnt to believe in it in her youth, that the reformers knew she would undo all their work.
There was a little Scottish girl, also named Mary—the grand-daughter of Margaret, eldest daughter of Henry VII. Poor child, she had been a queen from babyhood, for her father had died of grief when she was but a week old; and there had been some notion of marrying her to King Edward, and so ending the wars, but the Scots did not like this, and sent her away to be married to the Dauphin, Francois, eldest son of the king of France. If Edward's sisters were not to reign, she came next; but the English would not have borne to be joined on to the French; and there were the granddaughters of Mary, that other sister of Henry VIII., who were thorough Englishwomen. Lady Jane Grey, the eldest of them, was a good, sweet, pious, and diligent girl of fifteen, wonderfully learned. But it was not for that reason, only for the sake of the royal blood, that the Duke of Northumberland asked her in marriage for his son, Guildford Dudley. When they were married, the duke and Cranmer began to persuade the poor, sick, young king that it was his duty to leave his crown away from his sister Mary to Lady Jane, who would go on with the Reformation, while Mary would try to overthrow it. In truth, young Edward had not right to will away the crown; but he was only sixteen, and could only trust to what the archbishop and his council told him. So he signed the parchment they brought him, and after that he quickly grew worse.
The people grew afraid that Northumberland was shutting him up and misusing him, and once he came to the window of his palace and looked out at them, to show he was alive; but he died only a fortnight later, and we cannot guess what he would have been when he was grown up.
29. Mary I, A.D. 1553—1588
The Duke of Northumberland kept king Edward's death a secret till he had proclaimed Jane queen of England. The poor girl knew that a great wrong was being done in her name. She wept bitterly, and begged that she might not be forced to accept the crown; but she could do nothing to prevent it, when her father and husband, and his father, all were bent on making her obey them; and so she had to sit as a queen in the royal apartments in the Tower of London.
But as soon as the news reached Mary, she set off riding towards London; and, as everyone knew her to be the right queen, and no one would be tricked by Dudley, the whole of the people joined her, and even Northumberland was obliged to throw up his hat and cry "God save Queen Mary." Jane and her husband were safely kept, but Mary meant no harm by them if their friends would have been quiet. However, the people became discontented when Mary began to have the Latin service used again, and put Archbishop Cranmer in prison for having favored Jane. She showed in every way that she thought all her brother's advisers had done very wrong. She wanted to be under the Pope again, and she engaged herself to marry the King of Spain, her cousin, Philip II. This was very foolish of her, for she was a middle-aged woman, pale, and low-spirited; and he was much younger, and of a silent, gloomy temper, so that everyone was afraid of him. All her best friends advised her not, and the English hated the notion so much, that the little children played at the queen's wedding in their games, and always ended by pretending to hang the King of Spain. Northumberland thought this discontent gave another chance for his plan, and tried to raise the people in favor of Jane; but so few joined him that Mary very soon put them down, and beheaded Northumberland. She thought, too, that the quiet of the country would never be secure while Jane lived, and so she consented to her being put to death. Jane behaved with beautiful firmness and patience. Her husband was led out first and beheaded, and then she followed. She was most good and innocent in herself, and it was for the faults of others that she suffered. Mary's sister Elizabeth, was suspected, and sent to the Tower. She came in a boat on the Thames to the Traitor's Gate; but, when she found where she was, she sat down on the stone steps and said, "This is a place for traitors, and I am none." After a time she was allowed to live in the country, but closely watched.
Philip of Spain came and was married to Mary. She was very fond of him, but he was not very kind to her, and he had too much to do in his other kingdoms to spend much time with her, so that she was always pining after him. Her great wish in choosing him was to be helped in bringing the country back to the old obedience to the Pope; and she succeeded in having the English Church reconciled, and received again to communion with Rome. The new service she would under no consideration have established in her house. This displeased many of her subjects exceedingly. They thought they should be forbidden to read the Bible—they could not endure the Latin service—and those who had been taught by the foreigners fancied that all proper reverence and beauty in church was a sort of idolatry. Some fled away into Holland and Germany, and others, who staid, and taught loudly against the doctrines that were to be brought back again, were seized and thrown into prison.
Those bishops who had been foremost in the changes of course were the first to be tried for their teaching. The punishment was the dreadful one of being burnt alive, chained to a stake. Bishop Hooper died in this way at Gloucester, and Bishop Ridley and Bishop Latimer were both burnt at the same time at Oxford, encouraging one another to die bravely as martyrs for the truth, as they held it. Cranmer was in prison already for supporting Jane Grey, and he was condemned to death; but he was led to expect that he would be spared the fire if he would allow that the old faith, as Rome held it, was the right one. Paper after paper was brought, such as would please the queen and his judges, and he signed them all; but after all, it turned out that none would do, and that he was to be burnt in spite of them. The he felt what a base part he had acted, and was ashamed when he thought how bravely his brethren had died on the same spot: and when he was chained to the stake and the fire lighted, he held his right hand over the flame to be burnt first, because it had signed what he did not really believe, and he cried out, "This unworthy hand!"
Altogether, about three hundred people were burnt in Queen Mary's reign for denying one or other of the doctrines that the Pope thought the right ones. It was a terrible time; and the queen, who had only longed to do right and restore her country to the Church, found herself hated and disliked by everyone. Even the Pope, who had a quarrel with her husband, did not treat her warmly; and the nobles, who had taken possession of the abbey lands, were determined never to let her restore them. Her husband did not love her, or like England. However, he persuaded her to help him in a war with the French, with which England out to have had nothing to do, and the consequence was that a brave French duke took the city of Calais, the very last possession of the English in France. Mary was so exceedingly grieved, that she said that when she died the name of Calais would be found written on her heart.
She was already ill, and there was a bad fever at the time, of which many of those she most loved and trusted had fallen sick. She died, in 1558, a melancholy and sorrowful woman, after reigning only five years.
30. Elizabeth, A.D. 1558—1587
All through Queen Mary's time, her sister Elizabeth, Anne Boleyn's daughter, had been in trouble. Those who held by Queen Mary, and maintained Henry's first marriage, said that his wedding with Anne was no real one, and so that Elizabeth ought not to reign; but then there was no one else to take in her stead, except the young Queen Mary of Scotland, wife to the French dauphin. All who wished for the Reformation, and dreaded Mary's persecutions had hoped to see Elizabeth queen, and this had made Mary much afraid of her; and she was so closely watched and guarded that once she even said she wished she was a milkmaid, to be left in peace. While she had been in the Tower she had made friends with another prisoner, Robert Dudley, brother to the husband of Lady Jane Grey, and she continued to like him better than any other person as long as he lived.
When Mary died, Elizabeth was twenty-five, and the English were mostly willing to have her for their queen. She had read, thought, and learnt a great deal; and she took care to have the advice of wise men, especially of the great Thomas Cecil, whom she made Lord Burleigh, and kept as her adviser as long as he lived. She did not always follow even his advice, however; but, whenever she did, it was the better for her. She knew Robert Dudley was not wise, so, though she was so fond of him, she never let him manage her affairs for her. She would have wished to marry, but she knew her subjects would think this disgraceful, so she only made him Earl of Leicester: and her liking for him prevented her from ever bringing herself to accept any of the foreign princes who were always making proposals to her. Unfortunately he was not a good man, and did not make a good use of her favor, and he was much disliked by all the queen's best friends.
She was very fond of making stately journeys through the country. All the poor people ran to see her and admire her; but the noblemen who had to entertain her were almost ruined, she brought so many people who ate so much, and she expected such presents. These journeys were called Progresses. The most famous was to Lord Leicester's castle of Kenilworth, but he could quite afford it. He kept the clock's hands at twelve o'clock all the time, that it might always seem to be dinner time!
Elizabeth wanted to keep the English Church a pure and true branch of the Church, free of the mistakes that had crept in before her father's time. So she restored the English Prayer-book, and cancelled all that Mary had done; the people who had gone into exile returned, and all the Protestants abroad reckoned her as on their side. But, on the other hand, the Pope would not regard her as queen at all, and cut her and her country off from the Church, while Mary of Scotland and her husband called themselves the true queen and king of England; and such of the English as believed the Pope to have the first right over the Church, held with him and Mary of Scotland. They were called Roman Catholics, while Elizabeth and her friends were the real Catholics, for they held with the Church Universal of old: and it was the Pope who had broken off with them for not accepting his doctrines, not they with the Pope. The English who had lived abroad in Mary's time wanted to have much more altered, and to have churches and services much less beautiful and more plain than they were. But Elizabeth never would consent to this; and these people called themselves Puritans, and continued to object to the Episcopal form of worship.
Mary of Scotland was two years queen of France, and then her husband died, and she had to come back to Scotland. There most of the people had taken up the doctrines that made them hate the sight of the clergy and services she had brought home from France; they called her an idolater, and would hardly bear that she should hear the old service in her own chapel. She was one of the most beautiful and charming women who ever lived, and if she had been as true and good as she was lovely, nobody could have done more good; but the court of France at that time was a wicked place, and she had learnt much of the wickedness. She married a young nobleman named Henry Stuart, a cousin of her own, but he turned out foolish, selfish and head-strong, and made her miserable; indeed, he helped to kill her secretary in her own bedroom before her eyes. She hated him so much at last, that there is only too much reason to fear that she knew of the plot, laid by some of her lords, to blow the poor man's house up with gunpowder, while he lay is his bed ill of smallpox. At any rate, she very soon married one of the very worst of the nobles who had committed the murder. Her subjects could not bear this, and they rose against her and made her prisoner, while her husband fled the country. They shut her up in a castle in the middle of a lake, and obliged her to give up her crown to her little son, James VI.—a baby not a year old. However, her sweet words persuaded a boy who waited on her to steal the keys, and row her across the lake, and she was soon at the head of an army of her Roman Catholic subjects. They were defeated, however, and she found no place safe for her in Scotland, so she fled across the Border to England. Queen Elizabeth hardly knew what to do. She believed that Mary had really had to do with Henry Stuart's death, but she could not bear to make such a crime known in a cousin and queen; and what made it all more difficult to judge was, that the kings of France and Spain, and all the Roman Catholics at home, thought Mary ought to be queen instead of Elizabeth, and she might have been set up against England if she might had gone abroad, or been left at large, while in Scotland she would have been murdered. The end of it was that Elizabeth kept her shut up in different castles. There she managed to interest the English Roman Catholics in her, and get them to lay plots, which always were found out. Then nobles were put to death, and Mary was more closely watched. This went on for nineteen years, and at last a worse plot than all was found out—for actually killing Queen Elizabeth. Her servants did not act honorably, for when they found out what was going on they pretended not to know, so that Mary might go on writing worse and worse things, and then, at last, the whole was made known. Mary was tried and sentenced to death, but Elizabeth was a long time making up her mind to sign the order for her execution, and at last punished the clerks who sent it off, as if it had been their fault.
So Queen Mary of Scotland was beheaded at Fotheringay Castle, showing much bravery and piety. There are many people who still believe that she was really innocent of all that she was accused of, and that she only was ruined by the plots that were laid against her.
31. Elizabeth's Reign, A.D. 1587—1602
No reign ever was more glorious or better for the people than Queen Elizabeth's. It was a time when there were many very great men living — soldiers, sailors, writers, poets—and they all loved and look up to the queen as the mother of her country. There really was nothing she did love like the good of her people, and somehow they all felt and knew it, and "Good Queen Bess" had their hearts—though she was not always right, and had some serious faults.
The worst of her faults was not telling the truth. Somehow kings and rulers had, at that time, learnt to believe that when they were dealing with other countries anything was fair, and that it was not wrong to tell falsehoods to hide a secret, nor to make promises they never meant to keep. People used to do so who would never have told a lie on their own account to their neighbor, and Lord Burleigh and Queen Elizabeth did so very often, and often behaved meanly and shabbily to people who had trusted to their promises. Her other fault was vanity. She was a little woman, with bright eyes, and rather hooked nose, and sandy hair, but she managed to look every inch a queen, and her eye, when displeased, was like a lion's. She had really been in love with Lord Leicester, and every now and then he hoped she would marry him; indeed, there is reason to fear that he had his wife secretly killed, in order that he might be able to wed the queen; but she saw that the people would not allow her to do so, and gave it up. But she liked to be courted. She allowed foreign princes to send her their portraits, rings, and jewels, and sometimes to come and see her, but she never made up her mind to take them. And as to the gentlemen at her own court, she liked them to make the most absurd and ridiculous compliments to her, calling her their sun and goddess, and her hair golden beams of the morning, and the like; and the older she grew the more of these fine speeches she required of them. Her dress—a huge hoop, a tall ruff all over lace, and jewels in the utmost profusion— was as splendid as it could be made, and in wonderful variety. She is said to have had three hundred gowns and thirty wigs. Lord Burleigh said of her that she was sometimes more than a man, and sometimes less than a woman. And so she was, when she did not like her ladies to wear handsome dresses.
One of the people who had wanted to marry her was her brother-in-law, Philip of Spain, but she was far too wise, and he and she were bitter enemies all the rest of their lives. His subjects in Holland had become Protestants, and he persecuted them so harshly that they broke away from him. They wanted Elizabeth to be their queen, but she would not, though she sent Lord Leicester to help them with an army. With him went his nephew, Sir Philip Sydney, the most good, and learned, and graceful gentleman at court. There was great grief when Sir Philip was struck by a cannon ball in the thigh, and died after nine days pain. It was as he was being carried from the field, faint and thirsty, that some one had just brought him a cup of water, when he saw a poor soldier, worse hurt than himself, looking at it with longing eyes. He put it from him untasted, and said, "Take it, thy necessity is greater than mine."
After the execution of Mary of Scotland, Philip of Spain resolved to punish Elizabeth and the English, and force them back to obedience to the pope. He fitted out an immense fleet, and filled it with fighting men. So strong was it that, as armada is the Spanish for a fleet, it was called the Invincible Armada. It sailed for England, the men expecting to burn and ruin all before them. But the English ships were ready. Little as they were, they hunted and tormented the big Spaniards all the way up the English Channel; and, just as the Armada had passed the Straits of Dover, there came on such dreadful storms that the ships were driven and broken before it, and wrecked all round the coasts— even in Scotland and Ireland—and very few ever reached home again. The English felt that God had protected them with His wind and storm, and had fought for them.
Lord Leicester died not long after, and the queen became almost equally fond of his stepson, the Earl of Essex, who was a brave, high-spirited young man, only too proud.
The sailors of Queen Elizabeth's time were some of the bravest and most skilful that ever lived. Sir Francis Drake sailed round the world in the good ship Pelican, and when he brought her into the Thames the queen went to look at her. Sir Walter Raleigh was another great sailor, and a most courtly gentleman besides. He took out the first English settlers to North America, and named their new home Virginia—after the virgin queen—and he brought home from South America our good friend the potato root; and, also he learnt their to smoke tobacco. The first time his servant saw this done in England, he thought his master must be on fire, and threw a bucket of water over him to put it out.
The queen valued these brave men much, but she liked none so well as Lord Essex, till at last he displeased her, and she sent him to govern Ireland. There he fell into difficulties, and she wrote angry letters, which made him think his enemies were setting her against him. So he came back without leave; and one morning came straight into her dressing chamber, where she was sitting, with her thin grey hair being combed, before she put on one of her thirty wigs, or painted her face. She was very angry, and would not forgive him, and he got into a rage, too; and she heard he had said she was an old woman, crooked in temper as in person. What was far worse, he raised the Londoners to break out in a tumult to uphold him. He was taken and sent to the Tower, tried for treason, and found guilty of death. But the queen still loved him, and waited and waited for some message or token to ask her pardon. None came, and she thought he was too proud to beg for mercy. She signed the death warrant, and Essex died on the block. But soon she found that he had really sent a ring she once had given him, to a lady who was to show it to her, in token that he craved her pardon. The ring had been taken by mistake to a cruel lady who hated him, and kept it back. But by-and-by this lady was sick to death. Then she repented, and sent for the queen and gave her the ring, and confessed her wickedness. Poor Queen Elizabeth—her very heart was broken. She said to the dying woman, "God may forgive you, but I cannot." She said little more after that. She was old, and her strength failed her. Day after day she sat on a pile of cushions, with her finger on her lips, still growing weaker, and begging for the prayers the archbishop read her. And thus, she who had once been so great and spirited, sank into death, when seventy years old, in the year 1602.
32. James I, A.D. 1602—1625
After Queen Elizabeth's death, the next heir was James, the son of Mary of Scotland, and had reigned there ever since his mother had been driven away. He had been brought up very strictly by the Scottish Reformers, who had made him very learned, and kept him under great restraint; and all that he had undergone had tended to make him awkward and strange in his manners. He was timid, and could not bear to see a drawn sword; and he was so much afraid of being murdered, that he used to wear a dress padded and stuffed out all over with wool, which made him look even more clumsy than he was by nature.
The English did not much admire their new king, though it really was a great blessing that England and Scotland should be under the same king at last, so as to end all the long and bloody wars that had gone on for so many years. Still, the Puritans thought that, as James had been brought up in their way of thinking, they would be allowed to make all the changes that Queen Elizabeth had stopped; and the Roman Catholics recollected that he was Queen Mary's son, and that his Reformed tutors had not made his life very pleasant to him as a boy, so they had hopes from him.
But they both were wrong. James had really read and thought much, and was a much wiser man at the bottom than anyone would have thought who had seen his disagreeable ways, and heard his silly way of talking. He thought the English Church was much more in the right than either of them, and he only wished that things should go on the same in England, and that the Scots should be brought to have bishops, and to use the prayers that Christians had used from the very old times, instead of each minister praying out of his own head, as had become the custom. But though he could not change the ways of the Scots at once, he caused all the best scholars and clergymen in his kingdom to go to work to make the translation of the Bible as right and good as it could be.
Long before this was finished, however, some of the Roman Catholics had formed a conspiracy for getting rid of all the chief people in the kingdom; and so, as they hoped, bringing the rest back to the pope. There were good men among the Roman Catholics who knew such an act would be horrible; but there were some among them who had learnt to hate everyone that they did not reckon as of the right religion, and to believe that everything was right that was done for the cause of their Church. So these men agreed that on the day of the meeting of Parliament, when the king, with the queen and Prince of Wales, would all be meeting the lords and commons, they would blow the whole of them up with gunpowder; and, while the country was all in confusion, the king dead, and almost all his lords and the chief country squires, they would take the king's younger children—Elizabeth or Charles, who were both quite little—and bring one up as a Roman Catholic to govern England.
They hired some cellars under the Houses of Parliament, and stored them with barrels of gunpowder, hidden by faggots; and the time was nearly come, when one of the lords called Monteagle, received a letter that puzzled him very much, advising him not to attend the meeting of Parliament, since a sudden destruction, would come upon all who would there be present, and yet so that they would not know the doer of it. No one knows who wrote the letter, but most likely it was one of the gentlemen who had been asked to join in the plot, and, though he would not betray his friends, could not bear that Lord Monteagle should perish. Lord Monteagle took the letter to the council, and there, after puzzling over it and wondering if it were a joke, the king said gunpowder was a means of sudden destruction; and it was agreed that, at any rate, it would be safer to look into the vaults. A party was sent to search, and there they found all the powder ready prepared, and, moreover, a man with a lantern, one Guy Fawkes, who had undertaken to be the one to set fire to the train of gunpowder, hoping to escape before the explosion. However he was seized in time, and was forced to make confession. Most of the gentlemen concerned fled into the country, and shut themselves up in a fortified house; but there, strange to say, a barrel of gunpowder chanced to get lighted, and thus many were much hurt in the very way that meant to hurt others.
There was a great thanksgiving all over the country, and it became the custom that, on the 5th of November—the day when the gunpowder plot was to have taken effect—there should be bonfires and fireworks, and Guy Fawkes' figure burnt, but people are getting wiser now, and think it better not to keep up the memory old crimes and hatreds.
Henry, Prince of Wales, was a fine lad, fond of all that was good, but a little too apt to talk of wars, and of being like Henry V. He was very fond of ships and sailors, and delighted in watching the building of a grand vessel that was to take his sister Elizabeth across the sea, when she was to marry the Count Palatine of the Rhine. Before the wedding, however, Prince Henry fell suddenly ill and died.
King James was a fond of favorites as ever Elizabeth had been, though not of the same persons. One of the worst things he ever did was the keeping Sir Walter Raleigh in the Tower for many years, and a last cutting off his head. It was asserted that Sir Walter had tried, when first James came, to set up a lady named Arabella Stuart to be queen; but if he was to be punished for that, it ought to have been directly, instead of keeping the sentence hanging over his head for years. The truth was that Sir Walter had been a great enemy to the Spaniards, and James wanted to please them, for he wished his son Charles to marry the daughter of the King of Spain. Charles wanted to see her first, and set off for Spain, in disguise, with the Duke of Buckingham, who was his friend, and his father's greatest favorite. But when reached he Madrid, he found that the princesses were not allowed to speak to any gentleman, nor to show their faces; and though he climbed over a wall to speak to her when she was walking in the garden, an attendant begged him to go away, or all her train would be punished. Charles went back disappointed, and, on his way through Paris, saw Henrietta Maria, the brighteyed sister of the King of France, and set his heart on marrying her.
Before this was settled, however, King James was seized with an ague and died, in the year 1625. He was the first king of the family of Stuart, and a very strange person he was—wonderfully learned and exceedingly conceited; indeed, he like nothing better than to be called the English Solomon. The worst of him was that, like Elizabeth, he thought kings and rulers might tell falsehoods and deceive. He called this kingcraft, and took this very bad sort of cunning for wisdom.
33. Charles I, A.D. 1625—1649
So many of the great nobles had been killed in the Wars of the Roses, that the barons had lost all that great strength and power they had gained when they made King John sign Magna Carta. The kings got the power instead; and all through the reigns of the five Tudors, the sovereign had very little to hinder him from doing exactly as he pleased. But, in the meantime, the country squires and the great merchants who sat in the House of Commons had been getting richer and stronger, and read and thought more. As long as Queen Elizabeth lived they were contented, for they loved her and were proud of her, and she knew how to manage them. She scolded them sometimes, but when she saw that she was really vexing them she always changed, and she had smiles and good words for them, so that she could really do what she pleased with them.
But James I. was a disagreeable man to have to do with; and, instead of trying to please them, he talked a great deal about his own power as king, and how they ought to obey him; so that they were angered, and began to read the laws, and wonder how much power properly belonged to him. Now, when he died, his son Charles was a much pleasanter person; he was a gentleman in all his looks and ways, and had none of his father's awkward, ungainly tricks and habits. He was good and earnest, too, and there was nothing to take offence at in himself; so for some years all went on quietly, and there seemed to be a great improvement. But several things were against him. His friend, the Duke of Buckingham, was a proud, selfish man, who affronted almost everyone, and made a bad use of the king's favor; and the people were also vexed that the king should marry a Roman Catholic princess, Henrietta Maria, who would not go to church with him, nor even let herself be crowned by an English archbishop.
You heard that, in Queen Elizabeth's time, there were Puritans who would have liked to have the Prayer-book much more altered, and who fancied that every pious rule of old times must be wrong. They did not like the cross in baptism, nor the ring in marriage; and they could not bear to see a clergyman in a surplice. In many churches they took their own way, and did just as they pleased. But under James and Charles matters changed. Dr. Laud, whom Charles had made archbishop of Canterbury, had all the churches visited, and insisted on the parishioners setting them in order; and if a clergyman would not wear a surplice, not make a cross on the baptized child's forehead, nor obey the other laws of the Prayer-book, he was punished.
The Puritans were greatly displeased. They fancied the king and Dr. Laud wanted to make them all Roman Catholics again; and a great many so hated these Church rules, that they took ship and went off to North America to found a colony, where they might set up their own religion as they liked it. Those who staid continued to murmur and struggle against Laud. There was another great matter of displeasure, and that was the way in which the king raised money. The right way is that he should call his Parliament together, and the House of Commons should grant him what he wanted. But there were other means. One was that every place in England should be called on to pay so much for ship money. This had begun when King Alfred raised his fleet to keep off the Danes; but it had come not to be spent on ships at all, but only be money for the king to use. Another way that the kings had of getting money was from fines. People who committed some small offence, that did not come under the regular laws, were brought before the Council in a room at Westminster, that had a ceiling painted with stars— and so was called the Star Chamber—and there were sentenced, sometimes to pay heavy sums of money, sometimes to have their ears cut off. This Court of the Star Chamber had been begun in the days of Henry VII., and it is only a wonder that the English had borne it so long.
One thing Charles I. did that pleased his people, and that was sending help to the French Protestants, who were having their town of Rochelle besieged. But the English were not pleased that the command of the army was given to the duke of Buckingham, his proud, insolent favorite. but Buckingham never went. As he was going to embark at Portsmouth, he was stabbed to the heart by a man named Felton; nobody clearly knows why.
Charles did not get on much better even when Buckingham was dead. Whenever he called a Parliament, fault was always found with him and with the laws. Then he tried to do without a Parliament; and, as he, of course, needed money, the calls for ship money came oftener, and the fines in the Star Chamber became heavier, and more cases for them were hunted out. Then murmurs arose. Just then, too, he and Archbishop Laud were trying to make the Scots return to the Church, by giving them bishops and a Prayerbook. But the first time the Service was read in a church at Edinburgh, a fishwoman, named Jenny Geddes, jumped up in a rage and threw a threelegged stool at the clergyman's head. Some Scots fancied they were being brought back to Rome; others hated whatever was commanded in England. All these leagued together, and raised an army to resist the king; and he was obliged to call a Parliament once more, to get money enough to resist them.
34. The Long Parliament, A.D. 1641—1649
When Charles I. was obliged to call his Parliament, the House of Commons met, angered at the length of time that had passed since they had been called, and determined to use their opportunity. They speedily put an end both to the payment of ship money and to the Court of the Star Chamber; and they threw into prison the two among the king's friends whom they most disliked, namely, Archbishop Laud and the Earl of Strafford. The earl had been governor of Ireland, and had kept great order there, but severely; and he thought that the king was the only person who ought to have any power, and was always advising the king to put down all resistance by the strong hand. He was thought a hard man, and very much hated; and when he was tried the Houses of Parliament gave sentence against him that he should be beheaded. Still, this could not be done without the king's warrant; and Charles at first stood out against giving up his faithful friend. But there was a great tumult, and the queen and her mother grew frightened, and entreated the king to save himself by giving up Lord Strafford, until at last he consented, and signed the paper ordering the execution. It was a sad act of weakness and cowardice, and he mourned over it all the days of his life.
The Parliament only asked more and more, and at last the king thought he must put a check on them. So he resolved to go down to the House and cause the five members who spoke against his power to be taken prisoners in his own presence. But he told his wife what he intended, and Henrietta Maria was so foolish as to tell Lady Carlisle, one of her ladies, and she sent warning to the five gentlemen, so that they were not in the House when Charles arrived; and the Londoners rose up in a great mob, and showed themselves so angry with him, that he took the queen and his children away into the country. The queen took her daughter Mary to Holland to marry the Prince of Orange; and there she bought muskets and gunpowder for her husband's army—for things had come to pass now that a civil war began. A civil war is the worst of all wars, for it is one between the people of the same country. England had had two civil wars before. There were the Barons' wars, between Henry III. and Simon de Montfort, about the keeping of Magna Carta; and there were the wars of the Roses, to settle whether York or Lancaster should reign. This war between Charles I. and the Parliament was to decide whether the king or the House of Commons should be most powerful. Those who held with the king called themselves Cavaliers, but the friends of the Parliament called them Malignants; and they in turn nicknamed the Parliamentary party Roundheads, because they often chose not to wear their hair in the prevailing fashion, long and flowing on their shoulders, but cut short round their heads. Most of the Roundheads were Puritans, and hated the Prayer-book, and all the strict rules for religious worship that Archbishop Laud had brought in; and the Cavaliers, on the other hand, held by the bishops and the Prayer-book. Some of the Cavaliers were very good men indeed, and led holy and Christian lives, like their master the king, but there were others who were only bold, dashing men, careless and full of mirth and mischief; and the Puritans were apt to think all amusements and pleasures wrong, so that they made out the Cavaliers worse than they really were.
I do not think you would understand about all the battles, so I shall only tell you now that the king's army was chiefly led by his nephew, Prince Rupert, the son of his sister Elizabeth. Rupert was a fiery, brave young man, who was apt to think a battle was won before it really was, and would ride after the people he had beaten himself without waiting to see whether his help was wanted by the other captains; and so he did his uncle's cause as much harm as good.
The king's party had been the most used to war, and they prospered the most at first; but as the soldiers of the Parliament became more trained, they gained the advantage. One of the members of Parliament, a gentleman named Oliver Cromwell, soon showed himself to be a much better captain than any one else in England, and from the time he came to the chief command the Parliament always had the victory. The places of the three chief battles were Edgehill, Marston Moor, and Naseby. The first was doubtful, but the other two were great victories of the Roundheads. Just after Marston Moor, the Parliament put to death Archbishop Laud; and, at the same time, they forbade the use of the Prayer-book, and turned out all the parish priests from the churches, putting in their stead men chosen after their own fashion, and not ordained by bishops. They likewise destroyed all they disliked in the churches—the painted glass, the organs, and the carvings; and when the Puritan soldiers took possession of a town or village, they would stable their horses in the churches, use the font for a trough, and shoot at the windows as marks.
After the battle of Naseby, King Charles was in such distress that he thought he would go to the Scots, remembering that, though he had offended them by trying to make them use the Prayer-book, he had been born among them, and he thought they would prefer him to the English. But when he came, the Scottish army treated him like a prisoner, and showed him very few honors; and at last they gave him up to the English Parliament for a great sum of money.
So Charles was a prisoner to his own subjects. This Parliament is called the Long Parliament, because it sat longer than any other Parliament ever did: indeed it had passed a resolution that it could not be dissolved.
35. Death Of Charles I, A.D. 1649—1651
The Long Parliament did not wish to have no king, only to make him do what they pleased; and then went on trying whether he would come back to reign according to their notions. He would have given up a great deal, but when they wanted him to declare that there should be no bishops in England he would never consent, for he thought there could be no real Church without bishops, as our Lord himself had appointed.
At last, after there had been much debating, and it was plain that it would never come to an end, Oliver Cromwell sent some of his officers to take King Charles into their hands, instead of the persons appointed by Parliament. So the king was prisoner to the army instead of to the parliament.
Cromwell was a very able man, and he saw that nobody could settle the difficulties about the law and the rights of the people but himself. He saw that things never would be settled while the king lived, nor by the Parliament, so he sent one of his officers, named Pryde, to turnout all the members of Parliament who would not do his will, and then the fifty who were left appointed a court of officers and lawyers to try the king. Charles was brought before them; but, as they had no right to try him, he would not say a word in answer to them. Nevertheless, they sentenced him to have his head cut off. He had borne all his troubles in the most meek and patient way, forgiving all his enemies and praying for them: and he was ready to die in the same temper. His queen was in France, and all his children were safe out of England, except his daughter Elizabeth, who was twelve years old, and little Henry, who was five. They were brought to Whitehall Palace for him to see the night before he was to die. He took the little boy on his knee, and talked a long time to Elizabeth, telling her what books to read and giving her his message to her mother and brothers; and then he told little Henry to mark what he said, and to mind that he must never be set up as a king while his elder brothers, Charles and James were alive. The little boy said through his tears, "I will be torn to pieces first." His father kissed and blessed the two children, and left them.
The next day was the 30th of January, 1649. The king was allowed to have Bishop Juxon to read and pray with him, and to give him the holy communion. After that, forgiving his enemies and praying for them, he was led to the Banqueting House at Whitehall, and out through a window, on to the scaffold hung with black cloth. He said his last prayers, and the executioner cut off his head with one blow, and held it up to the people. He was buried at night,—a light snow falling at the time,—in St. George's Chapel at Windsor, by four faithful noblemen, but they were not allowed to use any service over his grave.
The Scots were so much shocked to find what their selling of their king had come to, that they invited his eldest son, Charles, a young man of nineteen, to come and reign over them, and offered to set him on the English throne again. Young Charles came; but they were so strict that they made his life very dull and weary, since they saw sin in every amusement. However, they kept their promise of marching into England, and some of the English cavaliers joined them; but Oliver Cromwell and his army met them at Worcester, and they were entirely beaten. Young King Charles had to go away with a few gentlemen, and he was so closely followed that they had to put him in charge of some woodmen named Penderel, who lived in Boscobel Forest. They dressed him in a rough leather suit like their own, and when the Roundhead soldiers came to search, he was hidden among the branches of an oak tree above their heads. Afterwards, a lady named Jane Lane helped him over another part of his journey, by letting him ride on horseback before her as her servant; but, when she stopped at an inn, he was very near being found out, because he did not know how to turn the spit in the kitchen when the cook asked him. However, he got safely to Brighton, which was only a little village then, and a boat took him to France, where his mother was living.
In the meantime, his young sister and brother, Elizabeth and Henry, had been sent to the Isle of Wight, to Carisbrook Castle. Elizabeth was pining away with sorrow, and before long she was found dead, with her cheek resting on her open Bible. After this, little Henry was sent to be with his mother in France.
The eldest daughter, Mary, had been married just as the war began to the Prince of Orange, who lived in Holland, and was left a widow with one little son. James, Duke of York, the second brother, had at first been in the keeping of a Parliamentary nobleman, with his brother and sister, in London; but, during a game of hide-and-seek, he crept out of the gardens and met some friends, who dressed him in girls' clothes and took him to a ship in the Thames, which carried him to Holland. Little Henrietta, the youngest, had been left, when only six weeks old, to the care of one of her mother's ladies. When she was nearly three, the lady did not think it safe to keep her any longer in England. So she stained her face and hands brown with walnut juice, to look like a gipsy, took the child upon her back, and trudged to the coast.
Little Henrietta could not speak plain, but she always called herself by a name she meant to be princess, and the lady was obliged to call her Piers, and pretend that she was a little boy, when the poor child grew angry at being treated so differently from usual, and did all she possibly could to make the strangers understand that she was no beggar boy. However, at last she was safe across the sea, and was with her mother at Paris, where the king of France, Queen Henrietta's nephew, was very kind to the poor exiles. The misfortune was, that the queen brought up little Henrietta as a Roman Catholic, and tried to make Henry one also; but he was old enough to be firm to his father's Church, and he went away to his sister in Holland. James, however did somewhat late become a Roman Catholic; and Charles would have been one, if he had cared enough about religion to do what would have lessened his chance of getting back to England as king. But these two brothers were learning no good at Paris, and were growing careless of the right and fond of pleasure. James and Henry, after a time, joined the French army, that they might learn the art of war. They were both very brave, but it was sad that when France and England went to war, they should be in the army of the enemies of their country.
36. Oliver Cromwell, A.D. 1649—1660
Oliver Cromwell felt, as has been said, that there was no one who could set matters to rights as he could in England. He had shewn that the country could not do without him, if it was to go on without the old government. Not only had he conquered and slain Charles I., and beaten that king's friends and those of his son in Scotland, but he had put down a terrible rising of the Irish, and suppressed them with much more cruelty than he generally showed.
He found that the old Long Parliament did nothing but blunder and talk, so he marched into the House one day with a company of soldiers, and sternly ordered the members all off, calling out, as he pointed to the mace that lay before the Speaker's chair, "Take away that bauble." After that he called together a fresh Parliament; but there were very few members, and those only men who would do as he bade them. The Speaker was a leather-seller named Barebones, so that this is generally known as Barebones' Parliament. By these people he was named Lord Protector of England; and as his soldiers would still do anything for him, he reigned for five years, just as a king might have done, and a good king too.
He was by no means a cruel or unmerciful man, and he did not persecute the Cavaliers more than he could help, if he was to keep up his power; though, of course, they suffered a great deal, since they had fines laid upon them, and some forfeited their estates for having resisted the Parliament. Many had to live in Holland or France, because there was no safety for them in England, and their wives went backwards and forwards to their homes to collect their rents, and obtain something to live upon. The bishops and clergy had all been driven out, and in no church was it allowable to use the Prayer-book; so there used to be secret meetings in rooms, or vaults, or in woods, where the prayers could be used as of old, and the holy sacrament administered.
For five years Cromwell was Lord Protector, but in the year 1658 he died, advising that his son Richard should be chosen Protector in his stead. Richard Cromwell was a kind, amiable gentleman, but not clever or strong like his father, and he very soon found that to govern England was quite beyond his power; so he gave up, and went to live at his own home again, while the English people gave him the nick-name Tumble-down-Dick.
No one seemed well to know what was to be done next; but General Monk, who was now at the head of the army, thought the best thing possible would be to bring back the king. A new Parliament was elected, and sent an invitation to Charles II. to come back again and reign like his forefathers. He accepted it; the fleet was sent to fetch him, and on the 29th of May, 1660, he rode into London between his brothers, James and Henry. The streets were dressed with green boughs, the windows hung with tapestry, and everyone shewed such intense joy and delight, the king said he could not think why he should have stayed away so long, since everyone was so glad to see him back again.
But the joy of his return was clouded by the deaths of his sister Mary, the Princess of Orange, and of his brother Henry, who was only just twenty. Mary left a son, William, Prince of Orange, of whom you will hear more.
The bishops were restored, and, as there had been no archbishop since Laud had been beheaded, good Juxon, who had attended King Charles at his death, was made archbishop in his room. The persons who had been put into the parishes to act as clergymen, were obliged to give place to the real original parish priest; but if he were dead, as was often the case, they were told that they might stay, if they would be ordained by the bishops and obey the Prayer-book. Some did so, some made an arrangement for keeping the parsonages, and paying a curate to take the service in church; but those who were the most really in earnest gave up everything, and were turned out—but only as they had turned out the former clergymen ten or twelve years before.
All Oliver Cromwell's army was broken up, and the men sent to their homes, except one regiment which came from Coldstream in Scotland. These would not disband, and when Charles II. heard it he said he would take them as his guards. This was the beginning of there being always a regular army of men, whose whole business it is to be soldiers, instead of any man being called from his work when he is wanted.Charles II. promised pardon to all the rebels, but he did try and execute all who had been actually concerned in condemning his father to death.
37. Charles II, A.D. 1660-1685
It is sad to have to say that, after all his troubles, Charles II. disappointed everybody. Some of these disappointments could not be helped, but others were his own fault. The Puritan party thought, after they had brought him home again he should have been more favorable to them, and grumbled at the restoration of the clergymen and of the Prayer-book. The Cavaliers thought that, after all they had gone through for him and his father, he ought to have rewarded them more; but he said truly enough, that if he had made a nobleman of everyone who had deserved well of him, no place but Salisbury Plain would have been big enough for the House of Lords to meet upon. Then those gentlemen who had got into debt to raise soldiers for the king's service, and had paid fines, or had to sell their estates, felt it hard not to have them again; but when a Roundhead gentleman had honestly bought the property, it would have been still more unjust to turn them out. These two old names of Cavaliers and Roundheads began to turn into two others even more absurd. The Cavalier set came to be called Tories, an Irish name for a robber, and the Puritans got the Scotch name of Whigs, which means buttermilk.
It would have taken a very strong, wise, and good man to deal rightly with two such different sets of people; but though Charles II. was a very clever man, he was neither wise nor good. He could not bear to vex himself, nor anybody else; and, rather than be teased, would grant almost anything that was asked of him. He was so bright and lively, and made such droll, goodnatured answers, that everyone liked him who came near him; but he had no steady principle, only to stand easy with everybody, and keep as much power for himself as he could without giving offence. He loved pleasure much better than duty, and kept about him a set of people who amused him, but were a disgrace to his court. They even took money from the French king to persuade Charles against helping the Dutch in their war against the French. The Dutch went to war with the English upon this, and there were many terrible sea-fights, in which James, Duke of York, the king's brother, shewed himself a good and brave sailor.
The year 1665 is remembered as that in which there was a dreadful sickness in London, called the plague. People died of it often after a very short illness, and it was so infectious that it was difficult to escape it. When a person in a house was found to have it, the door was fastened up and marked with a red cross in chalk, and no one was allowed to go out or in; food was set down outside to be fetched in, and carts came round to take away the dead, who were all buried together in long ditches. The plague was worst in the summer and autumn; as winter came on more recovered and fewer sickened, and at last this frightful sickness was ended; and by God's good mercy, it has never since that year come to London.
The next year 1666, there was a fire in London, which burnt down whole streets, with their churches, and even destroyed St. Paul's Cathedral. Perhaps it did good by burning down the dirty old houses and narrow streets where the plague might have lingered, but it was a fearsome misfortune. It was only stopped at last by blowing up a space with gunpowder all round it, so that the flames might have no way to pass on. The king and his brother came and were very helpful in giving orders about this, and in finding shelter for many poor, homeless people.
There was a good deal of disturbance in Scotland when the king wanted to bring back the bishops and the Prayer-book. Many of the Scots would not go to church, and met on hills and moors to have their prayers in their own way. Soldiers were sent to disperse them, and there was much fierce, bitter feeling. Archbishop Sharpe was dragged out of his carriage and killed, and then there was a civil war, in which the king's men prevailed; but the Whigs were harshly treated, and there was great discontent.
The country was much troubled because the king and queen had no children: and the Duke of York was a Roman Catholic. A strange story was got up that there was what was called a popish plot for killing the king, and putting James on the throne. Charles himself laughed at it, for he knew everyone liked him and disliked his brother: "No one would kill me to make you king, James," he said; but in his easy, selfish way, when he found that all the country believed in it, and wanted to have the men they fancied guilty put to death, he did not try to save their lives.
Soon after this false plot, there was a real one called the Rye-house Plot. Long ago, the king had pretended to marry a girl named Lucy Waters and they had a son whom he had made Duke of Monmouth, but who could not reign because there had been no right marriage. However, Lord Russell and some other gentlemen, who ought to have know better, so hated the idea of the Duke of York being king, that they joined in the Ryehouse Plot for killing the duke, and forcing the king to make Monmouth his heir. Some of the more unprincipled sort, who had joined them, even meant to shoot Charles and James together on the way to the Newmarket races. However, the plot was found out, and the leaders were put to death. Lord Russell's wife, Lady Rachel, sat by him all the time of his trial, and was his great comfort to the last. Monmouth was pardoned, but fled away into Holland.
The best thing to be said of Charles II. was that he made good men bishops, and he never was angry when they spoke out boldly about his wicked ways; but then, he never tried to leave them off, and he spent the very last Sunday of his life among his bad companions, playing at cards and listening to idle songs. Just after this came a stroke of apoplexy, and, while he lay dying on his bed, he sent for a Roman Catholic priest, and was received into the Church of Rome, in which he had really believed most of his life—though he had never dared to own it, for fear of losing his crown. So, as he was living a lie, of course the fruits showed themselves in his selfish, wasted life. It was in this reign that two grand books were written. John Milton, a blind scholar and poet, who, before he lost his sight, had been Oliver Cromwell's secretary, wrote his Paradise Lost, or rather dictated it to his daughters; and John Bunyan, a tinker, who had been a Puritan preacher, wrote the Pilgrim's Progress.
38. James II, A.D. 1685—1688
James II. had, at least, been honest in openly joining the Church in which he believed; but the people disliked and distrusted him, and he had not the graces of his brother to gain their hearts with, but was grave, sad, and stern.
The Duke of Monmouth came across from Holland, and was proclaimed king in his uncle's stead at Exeter. Many people in the West of England joined him, and at Taunton, in Somersetshire, he was received by rows of little girls standing by the gate in white frocks, strewing flowers before him. But at Sedgemoor he was met by the army, and his friends were routed; he himself fled away, and at last was caught hiding in a ditch, dressed in a laborer's smock frock, and with his pockets full of peas from the fields. He was taken to London, tried, and executed. He did not deserve much pity, but James ought not to have let the people who favored him be cruelly treated. Sir George Jeffreys, the chief justice, was sent to try all who had been concerned, from Winchester to Exeter; and he hung so many, and treated all so savagely, that his progress was called the Bloody Assize. Even the poor little maids at Taunton were thrown into a horrible, dirty jail, and only released on their parents paying a heavy sum of money for them.
This was a bad beginning for James's reign; and the English grew more angry and suspicious when they saw that he favored Roman Catholics more than anyone else, and even put them into places that only clergymen of the Church of England could fill. Then he put forth a decree, declaring that a person might be chosen to any office in the State, whether he were a member of the English Church or no; and he commanded that every clergyman should read it from his pulpit on Sunday mornings. Archbishop Sancroft did not think it a right thing for clergymen to read, and he and six more bishops presented a petition to the king against being obliged to read it. One of these was Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, who wrote the morning hymn, "Awake, my soul, and with the sun," and the evening hymn, "All praise to Thee, my God, this night." Instead of listening to their petition, the king had all the seven bishops sent to the Tower, and tried for libel—that is, for malicious writing. All England was full of anxiety, and when at last the jury gave the verdict of "not guilty," the whole of London rang with shouts of joy, and the soldiers in their camp shouted still louder.
This might have been a warning to the king; for he thought that, as he paid the army, they were all on his side, and would make the people bear whatever he pleased. The chief comfort people had was in thinking their troubles would only last during his reign: for his first wife, an Englishwoman, had only left him two daughters, Mary and Anne, and Mary was married to her cousin William, Prince of Orange, who was a great enemy of the King of France and of the pope; and Anne's husband, Prince George, brother to the King of Denmark, was a Protestant. He was a dull man, and people laughed at him—because, whenever he heard any news, he never said anything but " Est il possible?" is it possible? But he had a little son, of whom there was much hope.
But James had married again, Mary Beatrice d'Este, an Italian princess; and, though none of her babies had lived before, at last she had a little son who was healthy and likely to live, and who was christened James. Poor little boy! Everyone was so angry and disappointed that he should have come into the world at all, that a story was put about that he was not the son of the king and queen, but a strange baby who had been carried into the queen's room in a warming-pan, because James was resolved to prevent Mary and William from reigning.
Only silly people could believe such a story as this; but all the Whigs, and most of the Tories, thought in earnest that it was a sad thing for the country to have an heir to the throne brought up by a Roman Catholic, and to think it right to treat his subjects as James was treating them. Some would have been patient, and have believed that God would bring it right, but others were resolved to put a stop to the evils they expected; and, knowing what was the state of people's minds, William of Orange set forth from Holland, and landed at Torbay. Crowds of people came to meet him, and to call on him. It was only three years since the Bloody Assize, and they had not forgotten it in those parts. King James heard that one person after another had gone to the Prince of Orange, and he thought it not safe for his wife and child to be any longer in England. So, quietly, one night he put them in charge of a French nobleman who had been visiting him, and who took them to the Thames, where, after waiting in the dark under a church wall, he brought them a boat, and they reached a ship which took them safely to France.
King James staid a little longer. He did not mind when he heard that Prince George of Denmark had gone to the Prince of Orange, but only laughed, and said " Est ilpossible?" but when he heard his daughter Anne, to whom he had always been kind, was gone too, the tears came into his eyes, and he said, "God help me, my own children are deserting me." He would have put himself at the head of the army, but he found that if he did so he was likely to be made prisoner and carried to William. So he disguised himself and set off for France; but at Faversham, some people who took him for a Roman Catholic priest seized him, and he was sent back to London. However, as there was nothing the Prince of Orange wished so little as to keep him in captivity, he was allowed to escape again, and this time he safely reached France, where he was very kindly welcomed, and had the palace of St. Germain given him for a dwelling-place.
It was on the 4th of November, 1688, that William landed, and the change that now took place is commonly called the English Revolution. We must think of the gentlemen, during these reigns, as going about in very fine laced and ruffled coats, and the most enormous wigs. You know the Roundheads had short hair and the Cavaliers long: so people were ashamed to have short hair, and wore wigs to hide it if it would not grow, till everybody came to have shaven heads, and monstrous wigs in great curls on their shoulders: and even little boys' hair was made to look as like a wig as possible. The barber had the wig every morning to fresh curl, and make it white with hair powder, so that everyone might look like an old man, with a huge quantity of white hair.
39. William III. And Mary II, 1689—1702
When James II. proved to be entirely gone, the Parliament agreed to offer the crown to William of Orange—the next heir after James's children—and Mary, his wife, James's eldest daughter; but not until there had been new conditions made, which would prevent the kings from ever being so powerful again as they had been since the time of Henry VII. Remember, Magna Carta, under King John, gave the power to the nobles. They lost it by the wars of the Roses, and the Tudor kings gained it; but the Stuart kings could not keep it, and the House of Commons became the strongest power in the kingdom, by the Revolution of 1688.
The House of Commons is made up of persons chosen—whenever there is a general election—by the men who have a certain amount of property in each county and large town. There must be a fresh election, or choosing again every seven years; also, whenever the sovereign dies; and the sovereign can dissolve the Parliament—that is, break it up— and have a fresh election whenever it is thought right. But above the House of Commons stands the House of Lords, or Peers. These are not chosen, but the eldest son, or next heir of each lord, succeeds to his seat upon his death; and fresh peerages are given as rewards to great generals, great lawyers, or people who have deserved well of their country. When a law has to be made, it has first to be agreed to by a majority—that is, the larger number—of the Commons, then by a majority of the Lords, and lastly, by the king or queen. The sovereign's council are called the ministers, and if the Houses of Parliament do not approve of their way of carrying on the government they vote against their proposals, and this generally makes them resign, that others may be chosen in their place who may please the country better.
This arrangement has gone on ever since William and Mary came in. However, James II. still had many friends, only they had been out of reach at the first alarm. The Latin word for James is Jacobus, and, therefore, they were called Jacobites. All Roman Catholics were, of course, Jacobites; and there were other persons who, though grieved at the king's conduct, did not think it right to rise against him and drive him away; and, having taken an oath to obey him, held that it would be wrong to swear obedience to anyone else while he was alive. Archbishop Sancroft was one of these. He thought it wrong in the new queen, Mary, to consent to take her father's place; and when she sent to ask his blessing, he told her to ask her father's first, as, without that, his own would do her little good. Neither he nor Bishop Ken, nor some other bishops, nor a good many more of the clergy, would take the oaths to William, or put his name instead of that of James in the prayers at church. They rather chose to be turned out of their bishoprics and parishes, and to live in poverty. They were called the non-jurors, or not-swearers. Louis, King of France, tried to send James back, and gave him the service of his fleet; but it was beaten by Admiral Russell, off Cape La Hogue. Poor James could not help crying out, "See my brave English sailors!" One of Charles's old officers, Lord Dundee, raised an army of Scots in James's favor, but he was killed just as he had won the battle of Killicrankie; and there was no one to take up the cause just then, and the Scotch Whigs were glad of the change.
Most of James's friends, the Roman Catholics, were in Ireland, and Louis lent him an army with which to go thither and try to win his crown back. He got on pretty well in the South, but in the North— where Oliver Cromwell had given lands to many of his old soldiers— he met with much more resistance. At Londonderry, the apprentice boys shut the gates of the town and barred them against him. A clergyman named George Walker took the command of the city, and held it out for a hundred and five days against him, till everyone was nearly starved to death—and at last help came from England. William himself came to Ireland, and the father and son-in-law met in battle on the banks of the Boyne, on the 1st of July, 1690. James was routed; and large numbers of the Irish Protestants have ever since kept the 1st of July as a great holiday—commemorating the victory by wearing orange lilies and orange-colored scarfs.
James was soon obliged to leave Ireland, and his friends there were severely punished. In the meantime, William was fighting the French in Holland—as he had done nearly all his life—while Mary governed the kingdom at home. She was a handsome, stately lady, and was much respected; and there was great grief when she died of the small-pox, never having had any children. It was settled upon this that William should go on reigning as long as he lived, and then that Princess Anne should be queen; and if she left no children, that the next after her should be the youngest daughter of Elizabeth, daughter of James I. Her name was Sophia, and she was married to Ernest of Brunswick, Elector of Hanover. It was also settled that no Roman Catholic, nor even anyone who married a Roman Catholic, could ever be on the English throne.
Most of the Tories disliked this Act of Settlement; and nobody had much love for King William, who was a thin, spare man, with a large, hooked nose, and very rough, sharp manners—perhaps the more sharp because he was never in good health, and suffered terribly from the asthma. However, he managed to keep all the countries under him in good order, and he was very active, and always at war with the French. Towards the end of his reign a fresh quarrel began, in which all Europe took part. The King of Spain died without children, and the question was who should reign after him. The King of France had married one sister of this king, and the Emperor of Germany was the son of her aunt. One wanted to make his grandson king of Spain, the other his son, and so there was a great war. William III. took part against the French—as he had always been their enemy; but just as the war was going to begin, as he was riding near his palace of Hampton Court, his horse trod into a mole-hill, and he fell, breaking his collar bone; and this hurt his weak chest so much that he died in a few days, in the year 1702. The Jacobites were very glad to be rid of him, and used to drink the health of the "little gentleman in a black velvet coat," meaning the mole which had caused his death.
40. Anne, A.D. 1702—1714
Queen Anne, the second daughter of James II., began to reign on the death of William III. She was a well-meaning woman, but very weak and silly; and any person who knew how to manage her could make her have no will of her own. The person who had always had such power over her has Sarah Jennings, a lady in her train, who had married an officer named John Churchill. As this gentleman had risen in the army, he proved to be one of the most able generals who ever lived. He was made a peer, and, step by step, came to be Duke of Marlborough. It was he and his wife who, being Whigs, had persuaded Anne to desert her father; and, now she was queen, she did just as they pleased. The duchess was mistress of the robes, and more queen at home than Anne was; and the duke commanded the army which was sent to fight against the French, to decide who should be king of Spain. An expedition was sent to Spain, which gained the rock of Gibraltar, and this has been kept by the English ever since.
Never were there greater victories than were gained by the English and German forces together, under the Duke of Marlborough and Prince Eugene of Savoy, who commanded the Emperor's armies. The first and greatest battle of them all was fought at Blenheim, in Bavaria, when the French were totally defeated, with great loss. Marlborough was rewarded by the queen and nation buying an estate for him, which was called Blenheim, where woods were planted so as to imitate the position of his army before the battle, and a grand house built and filled with pictures recording his adventures. The other battles were all in the Low Countries—at Ramillies, Oudenard, and Malplaquet. The city of Lisle was taken after a long siege, and not a summer went by without tidings coming of some great victory, and the queen going in a state coach to St. Paul's Cathedral to return thanks for it.
But all this glory of her husband made the Duchess of Marlborough more proud and overbearing. She thought the queen could not do without her, and so she left off taking any trouble to please her; nay, she would sometimes scold her more rudely than any real lady would do to any woman, however much below her in rank. Sometimes she brought the poor queen to tears; and on the day on which Anne went in state to St. Paul's, to return thanks for the victory of Oudenarde, she was seen to be crying all the way from St. James's Palace in her coach, with the six cream-colored horses, because the duchess had been scolding her for putting on her jewels in the way she liked best, instead of in the duchess's way.
Now, Duchess Sarah had brought to the palace, to help to wait on the queen, a poor cousin of her own, named Abigail Masham, a much more smooth and gentle person, but rather deceitful. When the mistress of the robes was unkind and insolent, the queen used to complain to Mrs. Masham; and byand-by Abigail told her how to get free. There was a gentleman, well known to Mrs. Masham—Mr. Harley, a member of Parliament and a Tory, and she brought him in by the back stairs to see the queen, without the duchess knowing it. He undertook, if the queen would stand by him, to be her minister, and to turn out the Churchills and their Whig friends, send away the tyrant duchess, and make peace, so that the duke might not be wanted any more. In fact, the war had gone on quite long enough; the power of the King of France was broken, and he was an old man, whom it was cruel to press further; but this was not what Anne cared about so much as getting free of the duchess. There was great anger and indignation among all the Whigs at the breaking off the war in the midst of so much glory; and, besides, the nation did not keep its engagements to the others with whom it had allied itself. Marlborough himself was not treated as a man deserved who had won so much honor for his country, and he did not keep his health many years after his fall. Once, when he felt his mind getting weak, he looked up at his own picture at Blenheim, taken when he was one of the handsomest, most able, and active men in Europe, and said sadly, "Ah! that wasa man."
Mr. Harley was made Earl of Oxford, and managed the queen's affairs for her. He and the Tories did not at all like the notion of the German family of Brunswick—Sophia and her son George—who were to reign next, and they allowed the queen to look towards her own family a little more. Her father had died in exile, but there remained the young brother whom she had disowned, and whom the French and the Jacobites called King James III. If he would have joined the English Church Anne would have gladly invited him, and many of the English would have owned him as the right king; but he was too honest to give up his faith, and the queen could do nothing for him.
Till her time the Scots—though since James I. they had been under the same king as England—had had a separate Parliament, Lords and Commons, who sat at Edinburgh; but in the reign of Queen Anne the Scottish Parliament was united to the English one, and the members of it had to come to Westminster. This made many Scotsmen so angry that they became Jacobites; but as every body knew that the queen was a gentle, well-meaning old lady, nobody wished to disturb her, and all was quiet as long as she lived, so that her reign was an unusually tranquil one at home, though there were such splendid victories abroad. It was a time, too, when there were almost as many able writers as in Queen Elizabeth's time. The two books written at that day, which you are most likely to have heard of, are Robinson Crusoe, written by Daniel Defoe, and Alexander Pope's translation of Homer's Iliad.
Anne's Tory friends did not make her happy; they used to quarrel among themselves and frightened her; and after one of their disputes she had an attack of apoplexy, and soon died of it, in the year 1714.
It was during Anne's reign that it became the fashion to drink tea and coffee. One was brought from China, and the other from Arabia, not very long before, and they were very dear indeed. The ladies used to drink tea out of little cups of egg-shell china, and the clever gentlemen, who were called the wits, used to meet and talk at coffeehouses, and read newspapers, and discuss plays and poems; also, the first magazine was then begun. It was called "The Spectator," and was managed by Mr. Addison. It came out once a week, and laughed at or blamed many of the foolish and mischievous habits of the time. Indeed it did much to draw people out of the bad ways that had come in with Charles II.
41. George I, A.D. 1714—1725
The Electress Sophia, who had always desired to be queen of England, had died a few months before Queen Anne; and her son George, who liked his own German home much better than the trouble of reigning in a strange country, was in no hurry to come, and waited to see whether the English would not prefer the young James Stuart. But as no James arrived George set off, rather unwillingly, and was received in London in a dull kind of way. He hardly knew any English, and was obliged sometimes to talk bad Latin and sometimes French, when he consulted with his ministers. He did not bring a queen with him, for he had quarreled with his wife, and shut her up in a castle in Germany; but he had a son, also named George, who had a very clever, handsome wife —Caroline of Anspach, a German princess; but the king was jealous of them, and generally made them live abroad.
Just when it was too late, and George I. had thoroughly settled into his kingdom, the Jacobites in the North of England and in Scotland began to make a stir, and invited James Stuart over to try to gain the kingdom. The Jacobites used to call him James III., but the Whigs called him the Pretender; and the Tories used, by way of a middle course, to call him the Chevalier—the French word for a knight, as that he certainly was, whether he were king or pretender. A white rose was the Jacobite mark, and the Whigs still held to the orange lily and orange ribbon, for the sake of William of Orange.
The Jacobite rising did not come to any good. Two battles were fought between the king's troops and the Jacobites—one in England and the other in Scotland—on the very same day. The Scottish one was at Sheriff-muir, and was so doubtful, that the old Scottish song about it ran thus—
Some say that we won, And some say the they won, Some say that none won At a', man;
But of one thing I'm sure, That at Sheriff-muir A battle there was, Which I saw, man.
And we ran, and they ran, And they ran, and we ran, And we ran, and they ran— Awa, man.
The English one was at Preston, and in it the Jacobites were all defeated and made prisoners; so that when their friend the Chevalier landed in Scotland, he found that nothing could be done, and had to go back again to Italy, where he generally lived, under the Pope's protection; and where he married a Polish princess and had two sons, whom he named Charles Edward and Henry.
This rising of the Jacobites took place in the year 1715, and is, therefore, generally called the Rebellion of the Fifteen. The chief noblemen who were engaged in it were taken to London to be tried. Three were beheaded; one was saved upon his wife's petition; and one, the Earl of Nithsdale, by the cleverness of his wife. She was allowed to go and see him in the Tower, and she took a tall lady in with her, who contrived to wear a double set of outer garments. The friend went away, after a time; and then, after waiting till the guard was changed, Lady Nithsdale dressed her husband in the clothes that had been brought in: and he, too, went away, with the hood over his face and a handkerchief up to his eyes, so that the guard might take him for the other lady, crying bitterly at parting with the earl. The wife, meantime, remained for some time, talking and walking up and down as heavily as she could, till the time came when she would naturally be obliged to leave him— when, as she passed by his servant, she said to him that "My lord will not be ready for the candles just yet,"—and then left the Tower, and went to a little lodging in a back street, where she found her husband, and where they both lay hid while the search for Lord Nithsdale was going on, and where they heard the knell tolling when his friends, the other lords, were being led out to have their heads cut off. Afterwards, they made their escape to France, where most of the Jacobites who had been concerned in the rising were living, as best they could, on small means—and some of them by becoming soldiers of the King of France.
England was prosperous in the time of George I., and the possessions of the country in India were growing, from a merchant's factory here and there, to large lands and towns. But the English never liked King George, nor did he like them; and he generally spent his time in his own native country of Hanover. He was taking a drive there in his coach, when a letter was thrown in at the window. As he was reading it, a sudden stroke of apoplexy came on, and he died in a few hours' time. No one ever knew what was in the letter, but some thought it was a letter reproaching him with his cruelty to his poor wife, who had died in her prison about eight months before. He died in the year 1725.
Gentlemen were leaving off full-bottomed wigs now, and wearing smaller ones; and younger men had their own hair powdered, and tied up with ribbon in a long tail behind, called a queue. Ladies powdered their hair, and raised it to an immense height, and also wore monstrous hoops, long ruffles, and high-heeled shoes. Another odd fashion was that ladies put black patches on their faces, thinking they made them handsomer. Both ladies and gentlemen took snuff, and carried beautiful snuff-boxes.
42. George II, A.D. 1725—1760
The reign of George II. was a very warlike one. Indeed he was the last king of England who ever was personally in a battle; and, curiously enough, this battle—that of Fontenoy—was the last that a king of France also was present in. It was, however, not a very interesting battle; and it was not clear who really won it, nor are wars of this time very easy to understand.
The battle of Fontenoy was fought in the course of a great war to decide who would be emperor of Germany, in which France and England took different sides; and this made Charles Edward Stuart, the eldest son of James, think it was a good moment for trying once again to get back the crown of his forefathers. He was a fine-looking young man, with winning manners, and a great deal more spirit than his father: and when he landed in Scotland with a very few followers, one Highland gentleman after another was so delighted with him that they all brought their clans to join him, and he was at the head of quite a large force, with which he took possession of the town of Edinburgh; but he never could take the castle. The English army was most of it away fighting in Germany, and the soldiers who met him at Prestonpans, close to Edinburgh, were not well managed, and were easily beaten by the Highlanders. Then he marched straight on into England: and there was great terror, for the Highlanders—with their plaids, long swords, and strange language—were thought to be all savage robbers, and the Londoners expected to have every house and shop ruined and themselves murdered: though on the whole the Highlanders behaved very well. They would probably have really entered London if they had gone on, and reached it before the army could come home, but they grew discontented and frightened at being so far away from their own hills; and at Derby. Charles Edward was obliged to let them turn back to Scotland.
The English army had come back by this time, and the Scots were followed closely, getting more sad and forlorn, and losing men in every day's march, till at last, after they had reached Scotland again, they made a stand against the English under the king's second son, William, Duke of Cumberland, at the heath of Culloden. There they were entirely routed, and the prince had to fly, and hide himself in strange places and disguises, much as his great uncle, Charles II., had done before him. A young lady named Flora Macdonald took him from one of the Western Isles to another in a boat as her Irish maid, Betty Bourke; and, at another time, he was his in a sort of bower, called the cage, woven of branches of trees on a hill side, where he lived with three Highlanders, who used to go out by turns to get food. One of them once brought him a piece of ginger-bread as a treat—for they loved him heartily for being patient, cheerful, and thankful for all they did for him; and when at last he found a way of reaching France, and shook hands with them on bidding the farewell, one of them tied up his right hand, and vowed that no meaner person should ever touch it.
The Empress Maria Theresa, of Germany, had a long war with Frederick, King of Prussia, who was nephew to George II., and a very clever and brave man, who made his little kingdom of Prussia very warlike and brave. But he was not a very good man, and these were sad times among the great people, for few of them thought much about being good: and there were clever Frenchmen who laughed at all religion. You know one of the Psalms, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God." There were a great many such fools at that time, and their ways, together with the selfishness of the nobles, soon brought terrible times to France, and all the countries round.
The wars under George II. were by sea as well as by land: and, likewise, in the distant countries where Englishmen, on the one hand, and Frenchmen, on the other, had made those new homes that we call colonies. In North America, both English and French had large settlements; and when the kings at home were at war, there were likewise battles in these distant parts, and the Indians were stirred up to take part with the one side or the other. They used to attack the homes of the settlers, burn them, kill and torment the men, and keep the children to bring up among their own. The English had, in general, the advantage, especially in Canada, where the brave young General Wolfe led an attack, on the very early morning, to the Heights of Abraham, close to the town of Quebec. He was struck down by a shot early in the fight, and lay on the ground with a few officers round him. "They run, they run!" he heard them cry. "Who run?" he asked. "The French run." "Then I die happy," he said; and it was by this battle that England won Lower Canada, with many French inhabitants, whose descendants still speak their old language.
In the East Indies, too, there was much fighting. The English and French both had merchants there; and these had native soldiers to guard them, and made friends with the native princes. When these princes quarreled they helped them, and so obtained a larger footing. But in this reign the English power was nearly ended in a very sad way. An Indian army came suddenly down on Calcutta. Many English got on board the ships, but those who could not—146 in number—were shut up all night in a small room, in the hottest time of the year, and they were so crushed together and suffocated by the heat that, when the morning came, there were only twenty-three of them alive. This dreadful place was known as the Black Hole of Calcutta. The next year Calcutta was won back again; and the English, under Colonel Clive, gained so much ground that the French had no power left in India, and the English could go on obtaining more and more land, riches and power.
George II. had lost his eldest son, Frederick, Prince of Wales, and his lively and clever wife, Queen Caroline, many years before his death. His chief ministers were, first, Sir Robert Walpole, and afterwards the Earl of Chatham—able men, who knew how to manage the country through all these wars. The king died at last, quite suddenly when sixty-eight years old, in the year 1760.
After George II. reigned his grandson, George III., the son of Frederick, Prince of Wales, who had died before his father. The Princess of Wales was a good woman, who tried to bring up her children well; and George III. was a dutiful son to her, and a good, faithful man—always caring more to do right than for anything else. He had been born in England, and did not feel as if Hanover were his home, as his father and grandfather had done, but loved England, and English people, and ways. When he was at Windsor, he used to ride or walk about like a country squire, and he had a ruddy, hearty face and manner, that made him sometimes be called Farmer George; and he had an odd way of saying "What? what?" when he was spoken to, which made him be laughed at; but he was as good and true as any man who ever lived: and when he thought a thing was right, he was as firm as a rock in holding to it. He married a German princess named Charlotte, and they did their utmost to make all those about them good. They had a very large family—no less than fourteen children—and some old people still remember what a beautiful sight it was when, after church on Sunday, the king and queen and their children used to walk up and down the stately terrace at Windsor Castle, with a band playing, and everyone who was respectably dressed allowed to come in and look at them.
Just after George III. came to the crown, a great war broke out in the English colonies in America. A new tax had been made. A tax means the money that has to be given to the Government of a country to pay the judges and their officers, the soldiers and sailors, to keep up ships and buy weapons, and do all that is wanted to protect us and keep us in order. Taxes are sometimes made by calling on everybody to pay money in proportion to what they have—say threepence for every hundred pounds; sometimes they are made by putting what is called a duty on something that is bought and sold— making it sell for more than its natural price—so that the Government gets the money above the right cost. This is generally done with things that people could live without, and had better not buy too much of—such as spirits, tobacco, and hair powder. And as tea was still a new thing in England, which only fine ladies drank, it was thought useless, and there was a heavy duty laid upon it when the king wanted money. Now, the Americans got their tea straight from China, and thought it was unfair that they should pay tax on it. So, though they used it much more than the English then did, they gave it up, threw whole ship-loads of it into the harbor at Boston, and resisted the soldiers. A gentleman named George Washington took the command, and they declared they would fight for freedom from the mother country. The French were beginning to think freedom was a fine thing, and at first a few French gentlemen came over to fight among the Americans, and then the king Louis XVI., quarreled with George III., and helped them openly. There was a very clever man among the Americans named Benjamin Franklin, a printer by trade, but who made very curious discoveries. One of them was that lightning comes from the strange power men call electricity, and that there are some substances which it will run along, so that it came be brought down to the ground without doing any mischief—especially metallic wires. He made sure of it by flying a kite, with such an iron wire up to the clouds when there was a thunder-storm. The lightning was attracted by the wire, ran down the wet string of the kite, and only glanced off when it came to a silk ribbon —because electricity will not go along silk. After this, such wires were fastened to buildings, and carried down into the ground, to convey away the force of the lightning. Perhaps you have seen them on the tops of churches or tall buildings; they are called conductors. Franklin was a plain-spoken, homely dressing man; and when he was sent to Paris on the affairs of the Americans, all the great ladies and gentlemen went into raptures about his beautiful simplicity, and began to imitate him, in a very affected, ridiculous way.
In the meantime, the war went on between America and England, year after year; and the Americans became trained soldiers and got the better, so that George III. was advised to give up his rights over them. Old Lord Chatham, his grandfather's minister, who had long been too sick and feeble to undertake any public business, thought it so bad for the country to give anything up, that he came down to the House of Lords to make a speech against doing so; but he was not strong enough for the exertion, and had only just done speaking when he fainted away, and his son, William Pitt, was called out of the House of Commons to help carry him away to his coach. He was taken home, and died in a few day's time.
The war went on, but when it had lasted seven years, the English felt that peace must be made; and so George III. gave up his rights to all that country that is called the United States of America. The United States set up a Government of their own, which has gone on ever since, without a king, but with a President who is freshly chosen every four years, and for whom every citizen has a vote.
As if to make up for what was lost in the West, the English were winning a great deal in the East Indies, chiefly from a great prince called Tipoo Sahib, who was very powerful, and at one time took a number of English officers prisoners and drove them to his city of Seringapatam, chained together in pairs, and kept them half starved in a prison, where several died; but he was defeated and killed. They were set free by their countrymen, after nearly two years of grievous hardship.
The chief sorrow of George III. was that his eldest sons were wild, disobedient young men. George, Prince of Wales, especially, was very handsome, and extremely proud of his own beauty. He was called the First Gentleman in Europe, and set the fashion in every matter of taste; but he spent and wasted money to a shameful amount, and was full of bad habits; besides which, he used to set himself in every way in his power to vex and contradict his father and mother, whom he despised for their plain simple ways and their love of duty. The next two brothers—Frederick, Duke of York, and William, Duke of Clarence—had also very bad habits; but they went astray from carelessness, and did not wilfully oppose their father, like their eldest brother.
William Pitt, son of Lord Chatham, was Prime Minister. He thought that the Roman Catholics in England ought to have the same rights as the king's other subjects, and not be hindered from being members of Parliament, judges, or, indeed, from holding any office, and he wanted to bring a bill into Parliament for this purpose. But the king thought that for him to consent would be contrary to the oath he had sworn when he was crowned, and which had been drawn up when William of Orange came over. Nothing would make George III. break his word, and he remained firm, though he was so harassed and distressed that he fell ill, and lost the use of his reason for a time. There were questions whether the regency—that is, the right to act as king— should be given to the son, who, though his heir, was so unlike him, when he recovered; and there was a great day of joy throughout the nation, when he went in state to St. Paul's Cathedral to return thanks.
In the meantime, terrible troubles were going on in France. Neither the kings nor nobles had, for ages past, any notion of their proper duties to people under them, but had ground them down so hard that at last they could bear it no longer; and there was a great rising up throughout the country, which is known as the French Revolution. The king who was then reigning was a good and kind man, Louis XVI., who would gladly have put things in better order; but he was not as wise or firm as he was good, and the people hated him for the evil doings of his forefathers. So, while he was trying to make up his mind what to do, the power was taken out of his hands, and he, with his wife, sister, and two children, were shut up in prison. An evil spirit came into the people, and made them believe that the only way to keep themselves free would be to get rid of all who had been great people in the former days. So they set up a machine for cutting off heads, called the guillotine, and there, day after day, nobles and priests, gentlemen and ladies—even the king, queen, and princess, were brought and slain. The two children were not guillotined, but the poor little boy, only nine years old, was worse off than if he had been, for the cruel wretches who kept him called him the wolf-cub, and said he was to be got rid of, and they kept him alone in a dark, dirty room, and used him so ill that he pined to death. Many French gentry and clergymen fled to England, and there were kindly treated and helped to live; and the king's brother, now the rightful king himself, found a home there too.
At last the French grew weary of this horrible bloodshed; but, as they could not manage themselves, a soldier named Napoleon Bonaparte, by his great cleverness and the victories he gained over other nations, succeeded in getting all the power. His victories were wonderful. He beat the Germans, the Italians, the Russians, and conquered wherever he went. There was only one nation he never could beat, and that was the English; though he very much wanted to have come over here with a great fleet and army, and have conquered our island. All over England people got ready. All the men learnt something of how to be soldiers, and made themselves into regiments of volunteers; and careful watch was kept against the quantities of flatbottomed boats that Bonaparte had made ready to bring his troops across the English Channel. But no one had ships and sailors like the English; and, besides, they had the greatest sea-captain who ever lived, whose name was Horatio Nelson. When the French went under Napoleon to try to conquer Egypt and all the East, Nelson went after them with his ships, and beat the whole French fleet, though it was a great deal larger than his own, at the mouth of the Nile, blowing up the Admiral's ship, and taking or burning many more. Afterward, when the King of Denmark was being made to take part against England, Nelson's fleet sailed to Copenhagen, fought a sharp battle, and took all the Danish ships. And lastly, when Spain had made friends with France, and both their fleets had joined together against England, Lord Nelson fought them both off Cape Trafalgar, and gained the greatest of all his victories; but it was his last, for a Frenchman on the mast-head shot him through the backbone, and he died the same night. No one should ever forget the order he gave to all his sailors in all the ships before the battle— "England expects every man to do his duty."
After the battle of Trafalgar the sea was cleared of the enemy's ships, and there was no more talk of invading England. Indeed, though Bonaparte overran nearly all the Continent of Europe, the smallest strip of sea was enough to stop him, for his ships could not stand before the English ones.
All this time English affairs were managed by Mr. Pitt, Lord Chatham's son; but he died the very same year as Lord Nelson was killed, 1805, and then his great rival, Mr. Fox, was minister in his stead: but he, too, died very soon, and affairs were managed by less clever men, but who were able to go on in the line that Pitt had marked out for them: and that was, of standing up with all their might against Bonaparte— though he now called himself the Emperor, Napoleon I., and was treading down every country in Europe.
The war time was a hard one at home in England, for everything was very dear and the taxes were high; but everyone felt that the only way to keep the French away was to go on fighting with them, and trying to help the people in the countries they seized upon. So the whole country stood up bravely against them.
Sad trouble came on the good old king in his later years. He lost his sight, and, about the same time, died his youngest child, the Princess Amelia, of whom he was very fond. His grief clouded his mind again, and there was no recovery this time. He was shut up in some rooms at Windsor Castle, where he had music to amuse him, and his good wife, Queen Charlotte, watched over him carefully as long as she lived.
45. George III.—The Regency, A.D. 1810—1820
When George III. lost his senses, the government was given to his son, the Prince of Wales—the Prince Regent as he was called. Regent means a person ruling instead of the king. Everyone expected that, as he had always quarreled with his father, he would change everything and have different ministers; but instead of that, he went on just as had been done before, fighting with the French, and helping every country that tried to lift up its head against Bonaparte.
Spain was one of these countries. Napoleon had managed to get the king, and queen, and eldest son, all into his hands together, shut them up as prisoners in France, and made his own brother king. But the Spaniards were too brave to bear this, and they rose up against him, calling the English to help them. Sir John Moore was sent first, and he marched an army into Spain; but, though the Spaniards were brave, they were not steady, and when Napoleon sent more troops he was obliged to march back over the steep hills, covered with snow, to Corunna, where he had left the ships. The French followed him, and he had to fight a battle to drive them back, that his soldiers might embark in quiet. It was a great victory; but in the midst of it Sir John Moore was wounded by a cannon shot, and only live long enough to hear that the battle was won. He was buried at the dead of night on the ramparts of Corunna, wrapped in his cloak.
However, before the year was over, Sir Arthur Wellesley was sent out to Portugal and Spain. He never once was beaten, and though twice he had had to retreat into Portugal, he soon won back the ground he had lost; and in three years' time he had driven the French quite out of Spain, and even crossed the Pyrenean mountains after them, forcing them back into their own country, and winning the battle of Toulouse on their own ground. This grand war had more victories in it than you will easily remember. The chief of them were at Salamanca, Vittoria, Orthes, and Toulouse; and the whole war was called the Peninsular War, because it was fought in the Peninsular of France and Spain. Sir Arthur Wellesley had been made duke of Wellington, to reward him, and he set off across France to meet the armies of the other European countries. For, while the English were fighting in Spain, the other states of Europe had all joined together against Napoleon, and driven him away from robbing them, and hunted him at last to Paris, where they made him give up all his unlawful power. The right king of France, Louis XVIII., was brought home, and Napoleon was sent to a little island named Elba, in the Mediterranean Sea, where it was thought he could do no harm.
But only the next year he managed to escape, and came back to France, where all his old soldiers were delighted to see him again. The king was obliged to fly, and Napoleon was soon at the head of as large and fierce an army as ever. The first countries that were ready to fight with him were England and Prussia. The Duke of Wellington with the English, and Marshal Blucher with the Prussian army, met him on the field of Waterloo, in Belgium; and there he was so entirely defeated that he had to flee away from the field. But he found no rest or shelter anywhere, and at last was obliged to give himself up to the captain of an English ship named the Bellerophon. He was taken to Plymouth harbor, and kept in the ship while it was being determined what should be done with him: and at length it was decided to send him to St. Helena, a very lonely island far away in the Atlantic Ocean, whence he would have no chance of escaping. There he was kept for five years, at the end of which time he died.
The whole of Europe was at peace again; but the poor old blind King George did not know it, nor how much times had changed in his long reign. The war had waked people up from the dull state they had been in so long, and much was going on that began greater changes than anyone thought of. Sixty years before, when he began to reign, the roads were so bad that it took three days to go by coach to London from Bath; now they were smooth and good, and fine swift horses were kept at short stages, which made the coaches take only a few hours on the journey. Letters came much quicker and more safely; there were a great many newspapers, and everybody was more alive. Some great writers there were, too: the Scottish poet Walter Scott, who wrote some of the most delightful tales there are in the world; and three who lived at the lakes—Wordsworth, Southey, and Coleridge. It was only in this reign that people cared to write books for children. Mrs. Trimmer, and another good lady called Hannah More, were trying to get the poor in the villages better taught; and there was a very good Yorkshire gentleman—William Wilberforce—who was striving to make people better.
As to people's looks in those days, they had left off wigs—except bishops, judges, and lawyers, in their robes. Men had their hair short and curly, and wore coats shaped like evening ones—generally blue, with brass buttons— buff waistcoats, and tight trousers tucked into their boots, tight stocks round their necks, and monstrous shirt-frills. Ladies had their gowns and pelisses made very short-waisted, and as tight and narrow as they could be, though with enormous sleeves in them, and their hair in little curls on their foreheads. Old ladies wore turbans in evening dress; and both they and their daughters had immense bonnets and hats, with a high crown and very large front.In the 1820, the good old king passed away.
46. George IV, A.D. 1820—1830
George IV. was not much under sixty years old when he came to the throne, and had really been king in all but the name for eight years past. He had been married to the Princess Caroline of Brunswick, much against his will, for she was, though a princess, far from being a lady in any of her ways, and he disliked her from the first moment he saw her; and though he could not quite treat her as Henry VIII. had treated Anne of Cleves, the two were so unhappy together that, after the first year, they never lived in the same house. They had had one child, a daughter, named Charlotte—a good, bright, sensible high-spirited girl—on whom all the hopes of the country were fixed; but as she grew up, there were many troubles between her love and her duty towards her father and mother. As soon as the peace was made, the Princess of Wales went to Italy and lived there, with a great many people of bad characters about her. Princess Charlotte was married to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, and was very happy with him; but, to the great grief of all England, she died in the bloom of her youth, the year before her grandfather.
George IV., though he was much alone in the world, prepared to have a most splendid coronation; but as soon as his wife heard that he was king, she set off to come to England and be crowned with him. He was exceedingly angry, forbade her name to be put into the Prayer-book as queen, and called on the House of Lords to break his marriage with one who had proved herself not worthy to be a wife. There was a great uproar about it, for though the king's friends wanted him to be rid of her, all the country knew that he had been no better to her than she had been to him, and felt it unfair that the weaker one should have all the shame and disgrace, and the stronger one none. One of Caroline's defenders said that if her name were left out of the Litany, yet still she was prayed for there as one who was desolate and oppressed. People took up her cause much more hotly than deserved, and the king was obliged to give up the enquiry into her behavior, but still he would not let her be crowned. In the midst of all the splendor and solemnity in Westminster Abbey, a carriage was driven to the door and entrance was demanded for the queen; but she was kept back, and the people did not seem disposed to interrupt the show by doing anything in her favor, as she and her friends had expected. She went back to her rooms, and, after being more foolish than ever in her ways, died of fretting and pining. It is a sad history, where both were much to blame; and it shows how hateful to the king she must have been, that, when Napoleon died he was told his greatest enemy was dead, and he answered, "When did shedie?" But if he had been a good man himself, and not selfish, he would have borne with the poor, ill brought up, giddy girl, when first she came, and that would have prevented her going so far astray.
George IV. made two journeys—one to Scotland, and the other to Ireland. He was the first of the House of Brunswick who ever visited these other two kingdoms, and he was received in both with great splendor and rejoicing; but after this his health began to fail, and he disliked showing himself. He spent most of his time at a house he had built for himself at Brighton, called the Pavilion, and at Windsor, where he used to drive about in the park. He was kind and gracious to those with whom he associated, but they were as few as possible.
He was vexed and angry at having to consent to the Bill for letting Roman Catholics sit in Parliament, and hold other office—the same that his father had stood out against. It was not that he cared for one religion more than another, for he had never been a religious man, but he saw that it would be the beginning of a great many changes that would alter the whole state of things. His next brother, Frederick, Duke of York, died before him; and the third, William, Duke of Clarence, who had been brought up as an officer in the navy, was a friend of the Whigs, and of those who were ready to make alterations.
Changes were coming of themselves, though—for inventions were making progress in this time of peace. People had begun to find out the great power of steam, and had made it move the ships, which had hitherto depended upon the winds, and thus it became much easier to travel from one country to another and to send goods. Steam was also being used to work engines for spinning and weaving cotton, linen, and wool, and for working metals; so that what had hitherto been done by hand, by small numbers of skilful people, was now brought about by large machines, where the labor was done by steam; but quantities of people were needed to assist the engine. And as steam cannot be had without fire, and most of the coal is in the Northern parts of England, almost all of these works were set up in them, and people flocked to get work there, so that the towns began to grow very large. Manchester was one, with Liverpool as the sea-port from which to send its calico and get its cotton. Sheffield and Birmingham grew famous for works in iron and steel, and so on; and all this tended to make the manufacturers as rich and great as the old lords and squires, who had held most of the power in England ever since, at the Revolution, they had got it away from the king. Everyone saw that some great change would soon come; but before it came to the point George IV. fell ill, and died after a reign of twenty years in reality, but of only ten in name, the first five of which were spent in war, and the last fifteen in peace. The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel were his chief ministers—for the duke was as clear-headed in peace as he was in war.
47. William IV, A.D. 1830—1837
George IV. had, as you know, no child living at the time of his death. His next brother, Frederick Duke of York, died before him, likewise without children, so the crown went to William, Duke of Clarence, third son of George III. He had been a sailor in his younger days, but was an elderly man when he came to the throne. He was a dull and not a very wise man, but good-natured and kind, and had an open, friendly, sailor manner; and his wife, Queen Adelaide, of Saxe-Meiningen, was an excellent woman, whom everyone respected. They never had any children but two daughters who died in infancy: and everyone knew that the next heir must be the Princess Victoria, daughter to the next brother, Edward, Duke of Kent, who had died the year after she was born.
King William IV. had always been friendly with the Whigs, who wanted power for the people. Those who went furthest among them were called Radicals, because they wanted a radical reform—that is, going to the root. In fact, it was time to alter the way of sending members to the House of Commons, for some of the towns that had once been big enough to choose one were now deserted and grown very small, while on the other hand, others which used to be little villages, like Birmingham and Brighton, had now become very large, and full of people.
The Duke of Wellington and his friends wanted to consider the best way of setting these things to rights, but the Radicals wanted to do much more and much faster than he was willing to grant. The poor fancied that the new rights proposed would make them better off all at once, and that every man would get a fat pig in his sty and as much bread as he wanted; and they were so angry at any delay, that they went about in bands burning the hay-ricks and stacks of corn, to frighten their landlords. And the Duke of Wellington's great deeds were forgotten in the anger of the mob, who gathered round him, ready to abuse and pelt him as he rode along; and yet, as they saw his quiet, calm way of going on, taking no heed to them, and quite fearless, no one raised a hand. They broke the windows of his house in London, though, and he had iron blinds put up to protect them. He went out of office, and the Whigs came in, and then the Act of Parliament was passed which was called the Reform bill—because it set to rights what had gone wrong as to which towns should have members of their own, and, besides, allowed everyone in a borough town, who rented a house at ten pounds a year, to vote for the member of Parliament. A borough is a town that has a member of Parliament, and a city is one that is large enough to have a mayor and an alderman to manage its affairs at home.
Several more changes were made under King William. Most of the great union workhouses were built then, and it was made less easy to get help from the parish without going to live in one. This was meant to cure people of being idle and liking to live on other folk's money—and it has done good in that way; but workhouses are sad places for the poor aged people who cannot work, and it is a great kindness to help them to keep out of them.
The best thing that was done was the setting the slaves free. Look at the map of America, and you will see a number of islands—beautiful places, where sugar-canes, and coffee, and spices grow. Many of these belong to the English, but it is too hot for Englishmen to work there. So, for more than a hundred years, there had been a wicked custom that ships should go to Africa, and there the crews would steal negro men, women and children, or buy them of tribes of fierce negroes who had made them captive, and carry them off to the West Indies Islands, where they were sold to work for their masters, just as cattle are bought and sold. An English gentleman—William Wilberforce—worked half his life to get this horrible slave trade forbidden; and at last he succeeded, in the year 1807, whilst George III. was still reigning. But though no more blacks were brought from Africa, still the people in the West Indies were allowed to keep, and buy and sell the slaves they already had. So Wilberforce and his friends still worked on until the time of William IV., when, in 1834, all the slaves in the British dominions were set free.
This reign only lasted seven years, and there were no wars in it; so the only other thing that I have to tell you about it is, that people had gone on from finding that steam could be made to work their ships to making it draw carriages. Railways were being made for trains of carriages and vans to be drawn by one steam engine. The oldest of all was opened in 1830, the very year that William IV. began to reign, and that answered so well that more and more began to be made, and the whole country to be covered with a network of railways, so the people and goods could be carried about much quicker than ever was dreamt of in old times; while steam-ships were made larger and larger, and to go greater distances.
Besides this, many people in England found there was not work or food enough for them at home, and went to settle in Canada, and Australia, and Van Dieman's Land, and New Zealand, making, in all these distant places, the new English homes called colonies; and thus there have come to be English people wherever the sun shines.
William IV. died in the year 1837. He was the last English king who had the German State of Hanover. It cannot belong to a woman, so it went to his brother Ernest, instead of his niece Victoria.
The Princess Victoria, daughter of the Duke of Kent, was but eighteen years old when she was Queen of England.
She went with her mother, the Duchess of Kent, to live, sometimes at Buckingham Palace and sometimes at Windsor Castle, and the next year she was crowned in state at Westminster Abbey. Everyone saw then how kind she was, for when one of the lords, who was very old, stumbled on the steps as he came to pay her homage, she sprang up from her throne to help him.
Three years later she was married to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, a most excellent men, who made it his whole business to help her in all her duties as sovereign of the great country, without putting himself forward. Nothing ever has been more beautiful than the way those two behaved to one another; she never forgetting that he was her husband and she only his wife, and he always remembering that she was really the queen, and that he had no power at all. He had a clear head and good judgment that everyone trusted to, and yet he always kept himself in the background, that the queen might have all the credit of whatever was done.
He took much pains to get all that was good and beautiful encouraged, and to turn people's minds to doing things not only in the quickest and cheapest, but in the best and most beautiful way possible. One of these plans that he carried out was to set up what he called an International Exhibition, namely— a great building, to which every country was invited to send specimens of all its arts and manufactures. It was called the World's Fair. The house was of glass, and was a beautiful thing in itself. It was opened on the 1st of May, 1851; and, though there have been many great International Exhibitions since, not one has come up to the first.
People talked as if the World's Fair was to make all nations friends; but it is not showing off their laces and their silks, their ironwork and brass, their pictures and statues, that can keep them at peace; and, only two years after the Great Exhibition, a great war broke out in Europe—only a year after the great Duke of Wellington had died, full of years and honors.
The only country in Europe that is not Christian is Turkey; and the Russians have always greatly wished to conquer Turkey, and join it on to their great empire. The Turks have been getting less powerful for a long time past, and finding it harder to govern the country; and one day the Emperor of Russia asked the English ambassador, Sir Hamilton Seymour, if he did not think the Turkish power a very sick man who would soon be dead. Sir Hamilton Seymour knew what this meant; and he knew the English did not think it right that the Russians should drive out the Sultan of Turkey—even though he is not a Christian; so he made the emperor understand that if the sick man did die, it would not be for want of doctors.
Neither the English nor the French could bear that the Russians should get so much power as they would have, if they gained all the countries down to the Mediterranean Sea; so, as soon as ever the Russians began to attack the Turks, the English and French armies were sent to defend them; and they found the best way of doing this was to go and fight the Russians in their own country, namely—the Crimea, the peninsula which hangs as it were, down into the Black Sea. So, in the autumn of the year 1854, the English and French armies, under Lord Raglan and Marshal St. Arnaud, were landed in the Crimea, where they gained a great victory on their first landing, called the battle of the Alma, and then besieged the city of Sebastopol. It was a very long siege, and in the course of it the two armies suffered sadly from the cold and damp, and there was much illness; but a brave English Lady, named Florence Nightingale, went out with a number of nurses to take care of the sick and wounded, and thus she saved a great many lives. There were two more famous battles. One was when six hundred English horsemen were sent by mistake against a whole battery of Russian cannon, and rode on as bravely as if they were not seeing their comrades shot down, till scarcely half were left. This was called the Charge of Balaklava. The other battle was when the Russians crept out, late in the evening of November 5, to attack the English camp: and there was a dreadful fight by night and in the early morning on the heights of Inkerman; but at last the English won the battle, and gave the day a better honor that it had had before. Then came a terrible winter of watching the city and firing at the walls; and when at last, on the 18th of June, 1855, it was assaulted, the defenders beat the attack off; and Lord Raglan, worn out with care and vexation, died a few days after. However, soon another attack was made, and in September half the city was won. The Emperor of Russia had died during the war, and his son made peace, on condition that Sebastopol should not be fortified again, and that the Russians should let the Turks alone, and keep no fleet in the Black Sea.
In this war news flew faster than ever it had done before. You heard how Benjamin Franklin found that electricity—that strange power of which lightning is the visible sign—could be carried along upon metal wire. It has since been made out how to make the touch of a magnet at one end of these wires make the other end move so that letters can be pointed to, words spelt out and messages sent to any distance with really the speed of lightning. This is the wonderful electric telegraph, of which you see the wires upon the railway.
Peace had been made after the Crimean war, and everybody hoped it was going to last, when very sad news came from India. You know I told you the English people had gone to live in India, and had gradually gained more and more lands there, so that they were making themselves rulers and governors over all that great country. They had some of the regiments of the English army to help them to keep up their power, and a great many soldiers besides—Hindoos, or natives of India, who had English officers, and were taught to fight in the English manner. These Hindoo soldiers were called Sepoys. They were not Christians, but were some of them Mahommedans, and some believed in the strange religion of India, which teached people to believe in a great many gods—some of them very savage and cruel ones, according to their stories, and which forbids them many very simple things. One of the things it forbids is the killing a cow, or touching beef, or any part of it.
Now, it seems the Sepoys had grown discontented with the English; and, besides that, there came out a new sort of cartridge—that is, little parcels of powder and shot with which to load fire-arms. The Sepoys took it into their heads that these cartridges had grease in them taken from cows, and that it was a trick on the part of the English to make them break the rules of their religion, and force them to become Christians. In their anger they made a conspiracy together; and, in many of the places in India, they then suddenly turned upon their English officers, and shot them down on their parade ground, and then they went to the houses and killed every white woman and child they could meet with. Some few had very wonderful escapes, and were treated kindly by native friends; and many showed great bravery and piety in their troubles. After that the Sepoys marched away to the city of Delhi, where an old man lived who had once been king, and they set him up to be king, while every English person left in the city was murdered.
The English regiments in India made haste to come into Bengal, to try to save their country-folk who had shut themselves up in the towns or strong places, and were being besieged there by the Sepoys. A great many were in barracks in Cawnpore. It was not a strong place, and only had a mud wall round; but there was a native prince called the Nana Sahib, who had always seemed a friend to the officers—had gone out hunting with them, and invited them to his house. They thought themselves safe near him; but, to their horror, he forgot all this, and joined the Sepoys. The cannon were turned against them, and the Sepoys watched all day the barrack yard where they were shut in, and shot everyone who went for water. At last, after more pain and misery than we can bear to think of, they gave themselves up to the Nana, and horrible to tell, he killed them all. The men were shot the first day, and the women and little children were then shut up in a house, where they were kept for a night. Then the Nana heard that the English army was coming, and in his fright and rage he sent in his men, who killed everyone of them, and threw their bodies into a deep well. The English came up the next day, and were nearly mad with grief and anger. They could not lay hands on the Nana, but they punished all the people he employed; and they were so furious that they hardly showed any mercy to another Sepoy after that dreadful sight.
There were some more English holding out in the city of Lucknow, and they longed to go to their relief; but first Delhi, where the old king was, had to be taken; and, as it was a very strong place, it was a long time before it was conquered; but at last the gates of the city were blown up by three brave men, and the whole army made their way in. More troops had been sent out from England to help their comrades, and they were able at last to march to Lucknow. There, week after week, the English soldiers, men of business, ladies, soldier's wives, and little children, had bravely waited, with the enemy round, and shot so often coming through the buildings that they had chiefly to live in the cellars; and the food was so scanty and bad, that the sickly people and the little babies mostly died; and no one seemed able to get well if once he was wounded. Help came at last. The brave Sir Colin Campbell, who had been sent out from home, brought the army to their rescue, and they were saved. The Sepoys were beaten in every fight; and at last the terrible time of the mutiny was over, and India quiet again.
In 1860, the queen and all the nation had a grievous loss in the death of the good Prince Consort, Albert, who died of a fever at Windsor Castle, and was mourned for by everyone, as if he had been a relation or friend. He left nine children, of whom the eldest, Victoria, the Princess Royal, was married to the Prince of Prussia. He had done everything to help forward improvements; and the country only found out how wise and good he was after he was taken away.
Pains began to be taken to make the great towns healthier. It is true that the plague has never come to England since the reign of Charles II., but those sad diseases, cholera and typhus fever, come where people will not attend to cleanliness. The first time the cholera came was in the year 1833, under William IV.; and that was the last time of all, because it was a new disease, and the doctors did not know what to do to cure it. But now they understand it much better—both how to treat, and, what is better, how to keep it away; and that is by keeping everything sweet and clean.
One more chapter, which, however, does not finish the history of good Queen Victoria, and these Stories of the History of England will be over.
All the nation rejoiced very much when the queen's eldest son, Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, married Alexandra, daughter to the king of Denmark. Her father and mother brought her to England, and the prince met her on board ship in the mouth of the Thames; and there was a most beautiful and joyous procession through London. When they were married the next day, in St. George's Chapel at Windsor, the whole of England made merry, and there were bonfires on every hill, and illuminations in every town, so that the whole island was glowing with brightness all that Spring evening.
There is a country in Abyssinia, south of Egypt. The people there are Christians, but they have had very little to do with other nations, and have grown very dull and half savage; indeed they have many horrid and disgusting customs, and have forgotten all the teaching that would have made them better. Of late years there had been some attempt to wake them up and teach them; and they had a clever king named Theodore, who seemed pleased and willing to improve himself and his nation. He allowed missionaries to come and try to teach his people what Christianity means a little better than they knew before, and invited skilled workmen to come and teach his people. They came; but not long after Theodore was affronted by the English Government, and shut them all up in prison. Messages were sent to insist upon his releasing them, but he did not attend or understand; and at last an army was sent to land on the coast from the east, under General Napier, and march to his capital, which was called Magdala, and stood on a hill.
General Napier managed so well that there was no fighting on the road. He came to the gates of Magdala, and threatened to fire upon it if the prisoners were not given up to him. He waited till the time was up, and then caused his troops to begin the attack. The Abyssinians fled away, and close by one of the gates Theodore was found lying dead, shot through. No one is quite sure whether one of his servants killed him treacherously, or whether he killed himself in his rage and despair. England did not try to keep Abyssinia though it was conquered; but it was left to the royal family whom Theodore had turned out, and Theodore's little son, about five years old, was brought to England; but, as he could not bear the cold winter, he was sent to a school in India.
This, which was in the year 1868, was the last war the English have had. There has been fighting all round and about in Europe, especially a great war between France and Prussia in 1870; but the only thing the English had to do with that, was the sending out of doctors and nurses, with all the good things for sick people that could be thought of, to take care of all the poor wounded on both sides, and lessen their suffering as much as possible. They all wore red crosses on their sleeves, and put up a red-cross flag over the houses where they were taking care of the sick and wounded, and then no one on either side fired upon them.
An Act of Parliament has given the right to vote, at the election of the House of Commons, to much poorer men than used to have it. It is to be hoped that they will learn to use wisely this power of helping to choose those who make the laws and govern the country. To give them a better chance of doing so, a law has been made that no child shall be allowed to grow up without any teaching at all, but that those who are too poor to pay for their own schooling shall be paid for by the State, and that their parents shall be obliged to send them. The great thing is to learn to know and do one's duty. If one only learns to be clever with one's head, without trying to be good at the same time, it is of very little use. But I hope you will try to mind your duty—first to God and then to man; and if you do that, God will prosper you and bless you.
Questions For ExaminationCHAPTER 1
1. What were the people called who used to live here?
2. Who were the fiercer natives who came and made war on them?
3. What was the General of the Romans called?
4. Where did Julius Caesar land?
5. In what year?
6. How often did Julius Caesar land in Britain?
7. What did he make the Britons give him?
8. How did the old Britons dress?
9. What did they eat?
10. What sort of houses had they?
11. How did they fight?
1. When did any more Romans come to Britain?
2. Who was the Emperor under whom it was conquered?
3. What brave British chief resisted Claudius?
4. How far north did the Romans gain Britain?
5. What did they do to keep back the north-people?
6. How may you know what towns were built by Romans?
7. How long did the Romans keep Britain?
8. What did they teach the Britons?
9. What enemies had the Britons beyond sea?
10. What were their two names?
11. What became of the Romans?
12. Who was King Arthur?
13. Who gained possession of the country?
14. What did they call it?
15. What became of the Britons?
16. What do we call their descendants?
1. Can you tell me any of the old English idols?
2. What days of the week are called after them?
3. How many kings were there at once in England?
4. What cruel things did they do?
5. Who saw some little English slave children?
6. What did Gregory say about the little Angles?
7. Whom did he send to England?
8. Who received Augustine?
9. Where was the first English Church?
10. What is the chief English Bishop called?
11. What were the men called who lived apart from the world?
12. What were the women called?
13. What were their houses called?
1. Who were the enemies of the old English?
2. Where did the Northmen and Danes come from?
3. What mischief did they do?
4. Who was the first king of all England?
5. Who was the greatest and best king?
6. With whom did Alfred fight?
7. What good did he do his people?
8. How did he teach them?
9. When did he die?
10. What was the Council of the old English called?
1. What was the name of the king who reigned peaceably?
2. What honor was done to Edgar the Peaceable?
3. What were the Northmen and Danes about?
4. What were their leaders called?
5. What sea-king settled in France?
6. What was the part of France called where Rollo settled?
7. What was the name of Edgar's son?
8. How did Ethelred the Unready try to make the Danes go away?
9. How did he treat those that stayed in England?
10. How was he punished?
11. What sort of King was Cnut?
12. What parts of England were settled by the Danes?
1. What great nobleman managed English affairs?
2. Whom did he make king?
3. Why was Edward called Confessor?
4. Of whom was the Confessor most fond?
5. Who were the Normans?
6. To whom did Edward want to leave England?
7. Whom did the English wish to have made king?
8. What did Harold promise?
9. Did he keep his promise?
10. Who fought with him?
11. Where did William land?
12. Where was the battle fought between William and Harold?
13. What came of the battle of Hastings?
14. In what year was it fought?
15. Tell me the four conquests of England.
1. When did William I. begin to reign?
2. Who rose up against him?
3. What did he do to Northumberland?
4. What did he do in Hampshire?
5. What is his hunting-ground called?
6. What is the curfew?
7. What is the Doomsday-book?
8. What were knights?
9. How were men dressed when they went to battle?
10. How many sons had William?
11. What were their names?
12. What was the quarrel with Robert?
13. What was the cause of William's death?
14. Where did he die?
15. In what year did he die?
16. What possessions had he besides England?
1. When did William II. begin to reign?
2. What was his nickname, and what did it mean?
3. Was he the eldest son?
4. So how came he to reign?
5. What did Robert have?
6. What enterprise did Robert undertake?
7. What were the Crusades?
8. What city did the Crusaders want to win back
9. Why were they called Crusaders?
10. Who preached the first Crusade?
11. What sort of king was William Rufus.
12. Who was the Archbishop in his time?
13. Where was William Rufus killed?
14. How had the New Forest been made?
15. Who was thought to have shot the arrow?
16. In what year did WIlliam II. die?
1. In what year did Henry I. begin to reign?
2. What was his nickname, and what did it mean?
3. Whose son was he?
4. How did he make himself king?
5. Whom did he marry?
6. Whom did he take prisoner?
7. Where was Robert imprisoned?
8. How long was Robert in captivity?
9. Who were Henry's two children?
10. What became of William?
11. What was the name of the ship in which he was drowned?
12. Whom did Henry wish to make queen?
13. Whom did Maude marry?
14. What sort of king was Henry?
15. What caused his death?
16. In what year did Henry I. die?
1. When did Stephen's reign begin?
2. Who was Stephen?
3. What relation was he to William the Conqueror?
4. Ought Stephen to have been king?
5. Who ought to have reigned?
6. What harm came of Stephen's reign?
7. What happened when he tried to keep order?
8. Who fought for Maude?
9. Where were the Scots beaten?
10. Where was Stephen made prisoner?
11. How did Maude behave?
12. How did she escape from Oxford?
13. What agreement was made between Stephen and Maude's son?
14. What name was given to Maude's husband?
15. Who was Maude's son?
16. When did Stephen die?
17. What became of Maude?
1. When did Henry II. begin to reign?
2. What family began with him?
3. Why were they called Plantagenet?
4. What sort of man was Henry II.?
5. Who was his wife?
6. What were Henry's possessions in France?
7. Who was Archbishop?
8. What law did the King and Archbishop dispute about?
9. Where was the Archbishop obliged to go?
10. How long did Becket stay away?
11. What was done as soon as he came home?
12. How did the King show his sorrow?
13. What island was gained in Henry's time?
14. Who gained part of Ireland?
15. What were Henry's troubles?
16. What were the names of his sons?
17. Which of his sons died before him?
18. But what was his greatest grief?
19. When did he die?
1. When did Richard I. come to the throne?
2. What was he called?
3. On what expedition did he go?
4. Who went with him?
5. What Island did he conquer on his way?
6. Who was the great Prince of the Saracens?
7. What city was taken by the Crusaders?
8. With whom did Richard quarrel?
9. Why did Philip return?
10. What great battle did Richard fight?
11. What fresh quarrel had he with Leopold?
12. Why was he obliged to come home?
13. What happened to him as he came home?
14. How was he set free?
15. Who had tried to rebel in his absence?
16. What caused his death?
17. In what year did he die?
1. When did John come to the throne?
2. What was his nickname?
3. Whose son was he?
4. Who was his nephew?
5. What possessions were Arthur's proper inheritance?
6. Who took his part?
7. What became of Arthur?
8. What did John lose?
9. What is left to England of Normandy?
10. What do you mean by the Pope?
11. What quarrel had John with the Pope?
12. What is an interdict?
13. How did John make peace?
14. How did the legate treat him?
15. How did John use the kingdom?
16. What was he made to sign?
17. Where was Magna Charta signed?
18. Who was invited from France?
19. What caused John's death?
20. In what year?
1. When did Henry III. begin to reign?
2. In what state was the kingdom?
3. Who saved it?
4. What was Henry's great fault?
5. What beautiful church was built in his time?
6. Why were his people discontented with him?
7. What is the great council of the nation called?
8. Who led the opposition against Henry?
9. In what battle was Montfort victorious?
10. In what battle was he defeated?
11. What custom was established in Henry's time?
12. What are the tree estates of the realm?
13. How long did Henry III. reign?
14. When did he die?
1. When did Edward I. begin to reign?
2. What was his nickname?
3. How did he rule England?
4. What country did he conquer?
5. Who were the Welsh?
6. Whom did he make Prince of Wales?
7. Who is always called Prince of Wales?
8. What country did Edward try to gain?
9. What warrior defended Scotland?
10. Where was Wallace defeated?
11. Who made himself King of Scotland?
12. Where did Edward I. die?
13. In what year?
1. When did Edward II. come to the throne?
2. Who was his first favorite?
3. Who was his wife?
4. How did Gaveston affront the nobles?
5. What became of him?
6. What battle did Edward fight with the Scots?
7. Who was Edward's second favorite?
8. Who rose against the King?
9. Who was made king in his stead?
10. What became of Hugh le Despenser?
11. What became of Edward II.?
12. Where was he murdered?
13. In what year?
1. When did Edward III. begin to reign?
2. Who was his Queen?
3. What was the great war in Edward's time?
4. What was the cause of it?
5. Why did Edward think he had a right to be King of France?
6. What were the four great battles of the reign of Edward III.?
7. Which of these was by sea?
8. Which was with the Scots?
9. Which was fought by the Black Prince?
10. Who was the Black Prince?
11. What town was taken after the battle of Crecy?
12. What kings were prisoners to Edward III.?
13. What expedition did the Black Prince make?
14. Who were the sons of Edward III.?
15. Which of them died before him?
16. In what year did Edward III. die?
1. When did Richard II. come to the throne?
2. How old was he?
3. Who governed for him?
4. Who rose up against their lords?
5. What became of Wat Tyler?
6. Which uncle was Richard's enemy?
7. How was the Duke of Gloucester removed?
8. What great quarrel broke out?
9. What was the King's sentence?
10. Who returned?
11. What befel Richard II.?
12. To whom did he give up his crown?
13. Where was he sent?
14. In what year was he deposed?
1. When did Henry IV. come to the crown?
2. Whose son was he?
3. What relation was he to Edward III?
4. Who was Edward III.'s second son?
5. Who, then, was his nearest heir?
6. Who rose against Henry IV.?
7. Where was Hotspur killed?
8. Where did the war go on?
9. Who were Henry's four sons?
10. Who were the prisoners at Windsor?
11. What did Henry IV. tell his son on his deathbed?
12. In what year did Henry IV. die?
13. What is his family called?
1. When did Henry V. come to the throne?
2. What war did he undertake?
3. Who had begun the war with France?
4. Why did the Kings of England think they ought to be Kings of France?
5. What was the state of the kingdom of France?
6. What town did Henry take?
7. What battle did he fight?
8. What is the eldest son of the King of France called?
9. What made the French more easily beaten?
10. Whom did Henry marry?
11. What agreement was made?
12. Where did Henry die?
13. In what year?
1. When did Henry VI. come to the throne?
2. How old was he?
3. Of what kingdom was he called king?
4. Who governed his part of France?
5. Who rose up to help the French?
6. Why was she called the Maid of Orleans?
7. What became of her?
8. Who were quarreling at home?
9. Who were the Beauforts?
10. Who was John of Gaunt?
11. Whom did Henry VI. marry?
12. What became of Duke Humfrey?
13. What city was left to England in France?
14. What terrible war broke out in England?
15. Why was it called the War of the Roses?
16. Why did the Duke of York think he ought to be king?
17. From which son of Edward III. did his right come?
18. From which son did Henry's?
19. In what battle was the Duke of York killed?
20. Who took the command of the Yorkists?
21. What battles were fought in the north?
22. What became of the King?
23. When did Henry VI. cease to reign?
1. When did Edward IV. become king?
2. What was the War of the Roses?
3. What was Earl Warwick called?
4. How did Edward affront Warwick?
5. Whom did Warwick bring back?
6. What became of Edward?
7. What battles did he win?
8. What cruel murders were done on the House of Lancaster?
9. Who were Edward's brothers?
10. What happened to George?
11. What invention was brought into England?
12. How were people beginning to fight?
13. When did Edward IV. die?
1. What was the year of Edward V.'s reign?
2. Who was his brother?
3. Who were his uncles on his mother's side?
4. Who was his uncle on his father's side?
5. What great quarrel was there?
6. Which got the keeping of the king?
7. How did the Duke of Gloucester get rid of the king's friends?
8. Where did the Queen go?
9. How was she made to give up the Duke of York?
10. Who made himself king?
11. Where were Edward and Richard shut up?
12. What is thought to have become of them?
1. When did Richard III. begin to reign?
2. Why could he not be a great king?
3. Who turned against him?
4. What was done to Buckingham?
5. Who also plotted against him?
6. Who was the mother of Henry Tudor?
7. Who was the father of Margaret Beaufort?
8. Who was the father of the Beauforts?
9. Who was the father of John of Gaunt?
10. Who wrote letters to Henry Tudor?
11. Where did Henry Tudor land?
12. Where was the battle fought?
13. Who was killed there?
14. In what year?
15. How long had the Plantagenets reigned?
16. Who was the first Plantagenet King?
1. When did Henry VII. begin to reign?
2. Whom did he marry?
3. What were thus ended?
4. What family began to reign?
5. Who were the two pretenders who rose up?
6. Who did Lambert Simnel pretend to be?
7. What became of him?
8. Who did Perkin Warbeck pretend to be?
9. What became of him?
10. Who was put to death at the same time?
11. Whose son was the Earl of Warwick?
12. What were the names of Henry's sons?
13. Who was to be Arthur's wife?
14. Which son died young?
15. Who were Henry VII.'s wicked judges?
16. What learning was coming in?
17. When did Henry VII. die?
1. When did Henry VIII. begin to reign?
2. What battle did he fight in France?
3. What battle was fought with the Scots?
4. Who was his Prime Minister?
5. What grand meeting had Henry with the King of France?
6. Who was Henry's wife?
7. What objection had there been to his marrying her?
8. Who was their only child?
9. What did Wolsey want to have done?
10. Whom did the king want to marry?
11. Who was asked to decide?
12. Why did not the Pope make an answer?
13. What proposal did Cranmer make?
14. What became of Wolsey?
15. What sad words did he say?
1. Why did Henry VIII. quarrel with the Pope?
2. What did he call himself?
3. Whom did he put to death for denying it?
4. What changes did he make in the Church?
5. What was done with the monks and nuns?
6. But what was done with those who wanted to make changes?
7. How many wives had Henry?
8. Who was the king's first wife?
9. What became of Katherine of Aragon?
10. Who was her child?
11. Who was Henry's second wife?
12. Who was Anne Boleyn's child?
13. What became of Anne Boleyn?
14. Who was Henry's third wife?
15. Who was Jane Seymour's child?
16. What became of Jane Seymour?
17. Who was Henry's fourth wife?
18. What became of Anne of Cleves?
19. Who was Henry's fifth wife?
20. What became of Katharine Howard?
21. Who was his sixth wife?
22. Now tell me the names of the six wives?
23. In what year did Henry VIII. die?
1. When did Edward VI. come to the crown?
2. How old was he?
3. Who ruled for him?
4. What was done to the Prayer-Book?
5. What was the Reformation?
6. What name was given to the reformers?
7. What further change was made?
8. Who was Archbishop of Canterbury?
9. Who overthrew the Duke of Somerset?
10. To whom did the Duke of Northumberland want Edward to leave his throne?
11. Whose grand-daughter was Jane Grey?
12. Who was his right heiress?
13. Why did Northumberland wish to hinder Mary from reigning?
14. How old was Edward when he died?
15. In what year did Edward VI. die?
1. When did Mary I. come to the crown?
2. Who was at first proclaimed Queen?
3. Why was Mary's a better right than Jane's?
4. What became of Jane?
5. Whom did Merry Mary marry?
6. What did they try to restore?
7. What was done to those who would not return
to the Roman Catholic Church?
8. What four bishops were burnt?
9. Where did Bishop Hooper die?
10. Where did Bishops Ridley and Latimer and Archbishop Cranmer die?
11. How many were burnt altogether?
12. Into what war was Mary drawn?
13. What city was lost?
14. When did Mary die?
1. When did Elizabeth come to the crown?
2. What did she do for the Church?
3. Who was the first favorite?
4. Who was her wise minister?
5. Who was the heiress to the crown?
6. What was Mary of Scotland's right to England?
7. Of what was Mary of Scotland accused?
8. Whither was she forced to flee?
9. What was done with her?
10. How long was she kept in prison?
11. What was her end?
12. Why was she put to death?
13. Where was she put to death.
1. Who was Queen Elizabeth's chief foreign enemy?
2. What subjects of his did he persecute?
3. Whom did Elizabeth send to help them?
4. What was Sir Philip Sidney's generosity?.
5. What great fleet was sent from Spain against Elizabeth?
6. What became of the Armada?
7. Who were Elizabeth's great sailors?
8. What settlement was made in her time?
9. Who was Elizabeth's second favorite?
10. What was the end of Lord Essex?
11. What was the Queen's great grief?
12. When did Elizabeth die?
13. What family ended with her?
1. When did James I. come to the crown?
2. Who was his mother?
3. From which English king was he descended?
4. What kingdom had he already?
5. So what kingdoms were joined together?
6. What good work was done in his time?
7. What conspiracy was made against him?
8. Where was the gunpowder hidden?
9. How was the plot found out?
10. Who was going to fire the powder?
11. Who was James's great favorite?
12. What became of Sir Walter Raleigh?
13. When did James I. die?
14. What family had begun with him?
1. When did Charles I. come to the crown?
2. Who had been made powerful by Magna Carta?
3. How did the barons grow weak?
4. Who had the power then?
5. But who had grown strong?
6. How ought money for government to be raised?
7. Who was the king's friend?
8. Who was Archbishop of Canterbury?
9. What rules did he enforce?
10. Who were the Puritans?
11. Where did some of them go?
12. How did the king try to raise money?
13. What was ship money?
14. What was the Star Chamber?
15. What became of Buckingham?
16. How had Charles offended the Scots?
17. Why was he obliged to call a parliament?
1. Why was the parliament angry with Charles I.?
2. What friends of his did they imprison?
3. What noble did the behead?
4. How did Charles try to check the Parliament?
5. What prevented his arresting the five members?
6. What war broke out?
7. What is a civil war?
8. What were the king's friends called?
9. What were the friends of the parliament called?
10. Who was the king's general?
11. What general rose to power among the Roundheads?
12. What were the three great battles?
13. Who was put to death by the parliament?
14. What did the Puritans do?
15. Whose protection did they seek?
16. But what did the Scots do with him?
17. What is this parliament called?
1. Who was the prisoner of the Long Parliament?
2. How came Charles I. to be a prisoner?
3. What did the parliament ask of him?
4. Who took him out of the hands of the parliament?
5. What had become the chief power?
6. How did Cromwell treat the Long Parliament?
7. What did he then do to the king?
8. When was the king beheaded?
9. Where was he buried?
10. Whom did the Scots invite to reign?
11. Where were they beaten?
12. Where was Charles hidden?
13. Where did he go and live?
14. What harm came of their living there?
1. Who ruled in England?
2. How did he put an end to the Long Parliament?
3. What was Oliver Cromwell's parliament called?
4. What was Oliver Cromwell called?
5. How long was he Protector?
6. Who was Protector after him?
7. What did Richard Cromwell do?
8. Who was at the head of the army?
9. What did General Monk decide on doing?
10. On what day did Charles II. return?
11. What is the return of Charles II. called?
12. Whom did he bring back?
13. What regiment did he retain?
14. What was thus begun?
1. When did the reign of Charles II. begin?
2. Why were the Puritans displeased?
3. Why were the Cavaliers displeased?
4. What name came to be given to the Puritans?
5. What name was given to the Cavaliers?
6. What war took place in Charles II.'s time?
7. What great disasters befel London?
8. What disturbances were there in Scotland?
9. Who was the next heir to the throne?
10. What was the false plot?
11. What was the true plot?
12. Who was to be made king by the Rye House plot?
13. Who were concerned in it?
14. What was the sentence on Lord Russell?
15. When did Charles II. die?
1. When did James II. come to the crown?
2. To what church did he belong?
3. Who tried to become king in his stead?
4. Where was Monmouth defeated?
5. What was his punishment?
Ans: 40 lashes with a wet noodle.
6. How was the revolt punished?
7. Why did the people dislike James?
8. What command did he give the clergy?
9. How many bishops refused?
10. What was done to them?
11. Why were the people vexed when the king's son was born?
12. What story did they tell?
13. Who came over to England?
14. Where did William of Orange land?
15. What did King James do?
16. Where did he live?
17. In what year did he flee away?
18. What is this called.
19. Tell me the difference between the Reformation, the Rebellion, the Restoration, and the Revolution?
1. When was William III. made king?
2. Who was his wife?
3. Who was his mother?
4. So who were king and queen together?
5. Who were now the strongest power?
6. Who are the Commons?
7. How often must they be chosen?
8. Who are the House of Lords?
9. Who begin considering of a law?
10. Who pass the law afterwards?
11. Who consents to it afterwards?
12. What is the Council called?
13. Who were the Jacobites?
14. Who were the Non-Jurors?
15. Who fought for James in Scotland?
16. Where was there a sea-fight in his cause?
17. To what place did he come himself?
18. Where were the gates shut against him?
19. In what battle was he defeated?
20. What was the Act of Settlement?
21. What great war began at the end of his reign?
22. What caused his death?
23. In what year?
1. When did Queen Anne begin to reign?
2. Whose daughter was she?
3. Who were her favorites?
4. What battles did the Duke of Marlborough gain?
5. What was the cause of the war?
6. What place in Spain was gained by England?
7. Who overthrew Marlborough?
8. What ministry came in?
9. What union took place in Anne's time?
10. In what year did Anne die?
1. In what year did George I. begin to reign?
2. Whose son was he?
3. Whose daughter was the Electress Sophia?
4. Whose daughter was Elizabeth Stuart?
5. How came George I. to be made King of England?
6. Who did the Jacobites think ought to reign?
7. Why was not James Stuart allowed to reign?
8. What did the Whigs call him?
9. What did the Tories call him?
10. Where was there a rising for him?
11. In what year?
12. What two battles were fought for him?
13. What noblemen were beheaded?
14. Where did George I. generally live?
15. In what year did he die?
1. When did George II. come to the throne?
2. What great war was going on?
3. What was the last battle where the kings of England and France were present?
4. Who came to try to regain the crown of England?
5. What is the war with Charles Edward called?
6. Who joined him?
7. What battle did he gain?
8. How far south did he march?
9. Where was he beaten?
10. What strange adventures had they?
11. What are colonies?
12. Where had the English colonies?
13. What was the great battle in Canada?
14. Who was killed there?
15. What was the Black Hole of Calcutta?
16. Who were George II.'s ministers?
17. When did George II. die?
1. When did George III. begin to reign?
2. What relative was he to George II.?
3. Who was his father?
4. What colony revolted from him?
5. What made the American colonies revolt?
6. What were Franklin's inventions?
7. What are they now called?
8. Who was the great American leader?
9. Who died when opposing their independence?
10. Who allied himself with the Americans?
11. How many children had George III.?
1. Who were the three eldest sons of George III.?
2. Which of them was a grief and sorrow to him?
3. Who was his great minister?
4. What Bill did Mr. Pitt want to bring in?
5. Why did George III. object?
6. What was the effect on him?
7. What horrible things happened in France?
8. Who came to be the great French leader?
9. Whom did he defeat?
10. What did he threaten to do in England?
11. Who was a great commander by sea?
12. What were Nelson's three great victories?
13. Where was he killed?
14. What had Bonaparte risen to be?
15. How did the English go on resisting him?
16. What was the sadness of the king's old age?
1. What was the matter with George III.?
2. Who governed the kingdom?
3. What great war was going on?
4. Where did the English fight?
5. Who was sent first to Spain?
6. Where was Sir John Moore killed?
7. Who commanded afterward?
8. Where did he drive the French?
9. What was the war called?
10. What were his great victories?
11. What was done with Napoleon?
12. How soon did he escape?
13. Where was he defeated?
14. To whom did he give himself up?
15. Where was he kept?
16. In what year did George III. begin to reign?
17. In what year did he die?
1. When did George IV. come to the crown?
2. Whom had he married?
3. How had she behaved?
4. Who was their daughter?
5. What did George IV. try to do?
6. What parts of his dominions did he visit?
7. What Bill was passed in his time?
8. What discoveries were made?
9. What towns grew large and rich?
10. Who were George IV.'s ministers?
11. When did George IV. die?
1. When did William IV. come to the throne?
2. Whose son was he?
3. Which party were his friends?
4. What Bill was passed in his time?
5. What riots took place?
6. What change did the Reform Bill make?
7. What cruel thing used to be done in the West India Islands?
8. Who tried to put an end to slavery?
9. When was the slave trade forbidden?
10. When were the slaves set free?
11. When did William IV. die?
1. When did Queen Victoria begin to reign?
2. Whose daughter was she?
3. Whose grand-daughter?
4. Who was her husband?
5. What was the first great war in her time?
6. Where was it fought out?
7. Who commanded the English?
8. What town was besieged?
9. What were the three great battles of the Crimean war?
1. What terrible disaster happened in India?
2. Who were the Sepoys?
3. What made the Sepoys angry?
Ans: Drivers who didn't use their turn signals.
4. What was their mutiny?
5. Where did they make the most horrible murders?
6. What city held out against the Sepoys?
7. What city was besieged by the English?
8. Who put down the mutiny?
9. In what year did the Prince Consort die?
1. Who is the Princess of Wales?
2. In what African country was there a war?
3. What was the name of the king?
4. What was the name of his capital?
5. Who was the English general?
6. What became of Theodore?
7. What great war was there in 1870?
8. What had the English to do with that?