A History of England from the Landing of Julius Caesar to the Present Day

by H. O. Arnold-Forster

Part 1: Years 7 and 8

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By The Right Hon. H. O. Arnold-Forster, Author of "The Citizen Reader," "Things New and Old," etc.

Revised Edition by Mrs. Arnold-Forster

Cassell and Company, Limited.

A list of the various countries, islands,
territories, and possessions which make
up the "British Empire" and in which the
"Union Jack" flies (as of 1925):

     Great Britain
     Northern Ireland
     Irish Free State

     Straits Settlements
     North Borneo
     Hong Kong
     Andaman Islands
     Laccadive Islands

     Union of South Africa
     Rhodesia, North and South
     Bechuanaland Protectorate
     Swaziland Protectorate
     Nyasaland Protectorate
     Uganda Protectorate
     Zanzibar Protectorate
     Somaliland Protectorate

     Nigeria and Cameroon
     Sierra Leone
     Gold Coast and Togoland
     St. Helena
     Tristan da Cunha

     Dominion of Canada
     Leeward Islands
     Windward Islands
     Trinidad and Tobago
     British Honduras
     British Guiana
     Falkland Islands

     Commonwealth of Australia
     Dominion of New Zealand
     Pacific Islands

The "Union Jack"

The Union Jack is made up of the three Crosses of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and is thus truly the Flag of the Union. In the early history of England, the Red Cross of St. George by itself was the Flag of England. When the Crowns of England and Scotland were united at the accession of James the VI. of Scotland to the throne of England, under the title of James the 1st, King of Great Britain and Ireland, the White Cross (or Saltire) of St. Andrew was added to the Cross of St. George; but it was not until the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707 that the flag containing the Crosses of England and Scotland became by law the National Flag. In 1801, after the Union with Ireland, the Red Cross of St. Patrick was added, and thus the Union Jack was made up.

L-R: Cross of St. Andrew (Scotland), Cross of St. George (England), Cross of St. Patrick (Ireland)

The Union Jack

To William Edward Arnold-Forster, for whose benefit and instruction it was originally designed, and to whose friendly criticism of its proof-sheets the author has frequently been indebted, this book is dedicated by his affectionate father.


There is, and it may be hoped there will always be, a demand for a history of England. It would be idle to pretend that the supply is not large and in many respects adequate. At the same time there are undoubtedly many thousands of persons who have neither the means to purchase, nor the leisure to peruse, the great standard works with which the genius and industry of modern historians have happily endowed us, and who yet wish to know something of their country's past, and to understand how, from very small beginnings, our nation has achieved its present great position among the peoples of the earth.

Those who are acquainted with the teaching of history in many of our public and private schools must be aware that the subject often fails to interest, and that some of the historical summaries now in use, though accurate and admirable in many respects, are read as a task and not as a pleasure. In many homes also there is undoubtedly a demand for a History of England of manageable size at a reasonable cost, and written in such a manner as to attract and not to repel young readers. And while it is believed that the present volume may to some extent meet the requirements of schools and of young readers at their homes, it is believed that it may also be found useful to a still larger circle of readers.

A small book, written in simple language, sufficiently full to serve for reference, and at the same time sufficiently interesting to be read as well as to be consulted, a book within the reach of all in matter of price, and rendered attractive by good illustrations copied from first-rate originals, is what very many English men and women, both young and old, undoubtedly require. To supply such a book has been the sole aim of the author. How far success has attended his efforts, the fortunes of this volume, when launched on its career, will show.

A few words may be permitted with regard to the character of the book itself. In adding yet one more volume to the great library of English historical literature, some explanation, or perhaps indeed some apology, is due from the author. To apply the term "A History of England" to a single small volume may seen presumptuous. The record of our national life is so full, so long, so crowded with incident, so elaborate, that even great histories, written in many volumes by master hands, can only illustrate and cannot exhaust the theme to which they are devoted. The author of the present work is very conscious of the fact, and yet is reluctant to introduce his book by any such repellent title as "A Summary," or "An Outline of English History." Such titles seem on the face of them to imply that the element of interest and the romance inseparable from the life and doings of individuals are excluded, and that an amplified chronological table has been made to do duty for a history. But to read English history and fail to realise that it is replete with interest, sparkling with episode, and full of dramatic incident, is to miss all the pleasure and most of the instruction which its study, if properly pursued, can give.

An attempt has therefore been made in the present volume to clothe the skeleton of chronological fact with the flesh and blood which are essential parts of the animated and living figure. In so small a book such an object can only be achieved by sacrificing very much that might well be included in a larger work. It has been necessary to select certain episodes and certain periods for detailed description, while other episodes and other periods receive but scant mention or are relegated to the "Summaries" which will be found at the heads of chapters. But throughout, a consistent endeavour has been made to maintain the thread of interest in the story, and the episodes selected for detailed description are, in the opinion of the author, those which most fittingly express the cardinal fact or the dominating idea of the time in which they occur. If an apparently undue number of pages be devoted to the story of Henry II. and Becket, it is because the story itself is an illustration of the great struggle between the royal and the ecclesiastical power which marked the time. The story of Magna Charta occupies more space than the record of other periods crowded with incident; but the Charter, from the date of its signature down to the present day, is a dominating fact in the whole history of England. The Reformation and the great intellectual revival by which it was preceded and accompanied are treated at some length; and in this and in other instances pains have been taken to give life to the story and to make it interesting to the reader as well as serviceable to those whose studies are, unfortunately for himself, undertaken only with the view of qualifying for an examination.

Of the structure of the book and of its internal history, a word remains to be said. The present volume is based upon a series of books by the author, which have already appeared under the title of "Things New and Old." The earlier part of the series has been almost entirely rewritten. The latter part has been extended and modified in many important particulars, so as to adapt it to general readers, and to make it uniform in style and treatment with the remainder of the volume.

The series on which the present volume is based has undergone the ordeal of public criticism, and the sale of over 100,000 copies has borne testimony to the fact that the work in its earlier shape met the requirements of a considerable number of readers. The author hopes that the present volume will reach even a wider circle, and may be the means of inducing many English men and women to pursue the study of their national history a study which will amply repay them, and in which even the most diligent student will, never exhaust the available material.

H. O. A F.


Part One: From the Roman to the Norman. 55 B.C -- A.D. 1066

Chapter 1. The Romans in Britain. 55 B.C.-A.D. 436
          The Landing of the Romans
          Britain and the Britons
          "In the Year of Our Lord."
          Caraetacus and Boadicea
          Roman Camps and Roman Roads
          Roman Christianity -- Departure of the Romans

Chapter 2. The Coming of the Saxons. 436-449
          The Gathering of the Storm
          The Sea Rovers
          The Ford of the River Medway

Chapter 3. The Saxon Conquest. 449-597
          The Breaking of the Storm; or, Britons and Saxons
          Names New and Old

Chapter 4. How the Saxons became English and the English became Christians. 597-837
          Gregory and the Angels
          The Story of Augustine
          King Edwin, and the Conversion of Northumbria
          The Conversion of Mercia; or the Story of Aidan and Cuthbert
          Offa, King of Mercia, and the Rise of the West Saxons

Chapter 5. The Northmen. 837-871
          The Coming of the Danes
Chapter 6. The Reign of King Alfred. 871-901
          Alfred, the "Truth-Teller."
          Alfred's Defeats and Victories
          England's First Navy, and the Work and Wisdom of King Alfred

Chapter 7. The English Kings from Edward "the Elder" to Edward "the Martyr." 901-979
          Edward the Elder -- The Normans in France
          The Victories of Athelstan

Chapter 8. The Danish Conquest. 979-1016
          Aethelred, "The Un-redy."
          St. Alphege

Chapter 9. The Danish Kings and Edward the Confessor. 1016-1066
          Edmund Ironside and Canute. Harold and Harthacanute
          Edward the Confessor and the Great Earls

Chapter 10. The Norman Conquerors. 1066
          The Last of the English Kings
          The Battle of Hastings

Chapter 11. The Story of the English
          Our Forefathers in Germany
          Our Forefathers in England

Chapter 12. The Historians and Writers of England before the Norman Conquest
          The Historians and Writers of England Before The Norman Conquest

Part Two: From the Norman Conquest to the Accession of Edward 1066-1272.

Chapter 13. William I. The Norman Conquest. 1066-1087.
          The Norman Conquerors
          Norman and Saxon
          King, Barons, and People

Chapter 14. Feudalism
          What Feudalism Means
Chapter 15. William II. "The Red King." 1087-1100
          The Sons of the Conqueror
          Westminster Hall

Chapter 16. Henry I. 1100-1135
          Englishmen and Normans
Chapter 17. Stephen. 1135-1154
          A Miserable Reign
Chapter 18. Henry II. 1154-1189
          Canterbury Cathedral
          The King and the Archbishop
          The Quarrel
          The Murder
          The Pope's Gift

Chapter 19. Richard Coeur-de-Lion. 1189-1199
          The Crescent and the Cross
          The Crusade

Chapter 20. John The History of the Charters. 1199-1216
          John and Arthur
          What Charters were, and How They were Won
          The Sealing of the Great Charter

Chapter 21. What the Great Charter did for Englishmen
          An Englishman's Rights
          The Judges of Assize
          Personal Liberty and Trial by Jury
          How the Law Protects the Weak
          Magna Charta and the Seamstress
          "Things New and Old."
          The Famous "Fifteens."

Chapter 22. Henry III. The Parliament of England. 1216-1272
          Henry III. and his Foreign Friends
          Laws, and Law-makers
          The First Parliament
          The Fall of Montfort

Part Three: England Under English Kings. 1272-1485.

Chapter 23. Edward I. and "The Breaking of Wales." 1272-1307
          England at War
          "The Breaking of Wales."

Chapter 24. Scotland
          "Over the Border."
          The Fight for the Scottish Crown

Chapter 25. Edward II. "The Making of Scotland." 1307-1327
          Edward II.

Chapter 26. Edward III. "The Ruin of France." 1327-1377
          The Beginning of the Great War
          A Chapter of Victories

Chapter 27. Richard II. 1377-1399
          Wat Tyler
          The Banishment of Bolingbroke
          Geoffrey Chaucer
          The Black Death -- John Wycliffe

Chapter 28. Henry IV. 1399-1413
          A Troubled Reign
Chapter 29. Henry V. 1413-1422
Chapter 30. Henry VI. "The Freeing of France." 1422-1445
          The "Maid of Orleans."
          The Loss of France

Chapter 31. York and Lancaster. 1445-1455
          The Rival Houses
          White Rose and Red Rose

Chapter 32. Edward IV. 1455-1483
          The Chances of War -- Wakefield -- St. Albans -- Towton -- Barnet -- Tewkesbury
Chapter 33. The Invention of Printing
          William Caxton and the Compositor's Case
          The Fall of Constantinople

Chapter 34. Edward V. and Richard III. 1483-1485
          The Last of the Plantagenets
          The First of the Tudors
          The Union of the Roses

Part Four: The Tudors. 1485-1603.

Chapter 35. Henry VII. 1485-1509
          The Tudors
          The King's Title
          Lambert Simnel; or, Carpenter, King, and Kitchen Boy
          Perkin Warbeck
          How the King Got Rich
          What the Rich King did with His Money
          Some Royal Marriages
          Changes Abroad

Chapter 36. Henry VIII. and England at War. 1509-1547
          "Every inch a King."
          Foreign Friends and Foes -- The Battle of the "Spurs."
          Flodden Field

Chapter 37. The Great Cardinal and the King's Divorce
          Cardinal Wolsey
          The Fall of Wolsey
          "The Defender of the Faith."

Chapter 38. The Protestant Reformation
          Martin Luther
          The "New Learning" -- Erasmus, Colet, and More

Chapter 39. Henry as Head of the Church
          Henry's Quarrel with the Pope, and What It Led to
          The "Hammer of the Monks."
          Anne of Cleves -- The Fall of Thomas Cromwell
          Ireland, Scotland, and France
          About Ships, Flags, and Soldiers

Chapter 40. Edward VI. 1547-1553
          Lord Protector Somerset
          The Fall of Somerset and the Rise of Northumberland

Chapter 41. What the Reformation Meant
          The "Old Religion" and the "New."
          Freedom of Opinion and Liberty of Conscience

Chapter 42. Mary. 1553-1558
          Queen Jane
          The Death of Lady Jane Grey
          "In Time of Persecution."
          The Spanish Marriage
          The Oxford Martyrs
          The Death of Cranmer
          The Loss of Calais

Chapter 43. Elizabeth--The Protestant Queen. 1558-1603
          "Good Queen Bess."
          The Queen's Ministers -- The Claim of the Queen of Scots
          The Act of Uniformity, and the Court of High Commission -- The "Puritans."
          The Queen and Her Suitors

Chapter 44. The Sorrowful History of Mary, Queen of Scots
          Mary in Scotland
          The Flight of Mary, Queen of Scots
          The Queen of Scots in England

Chapter 45. Protestants and Roman Catholics Abroad and at Home
          The Huguenots
          England and Spain

Chapter 46. The Story of the Great Armada
          England in Peril
          How the "Armada" Came, and what they did in England
          "The Enemy in Sight."
          "How the Armada Failed."
          How the "Armada" went Home Again

Chapter 47. The Last Years of the Great Queen
          The Queen and Her Favourite
          The Death of the Great Queen

Chapter 48. A New World and a New Age
          Rolling Back the Clouds
          England's Part in Rolling Back the Clouds
          Things "New" or "Old"?

Chapter 49. Literature and Art in the Tudor Period
          The Open Bible
          Art in the Tudor Period

Chapter 50. Parliament--Dress--Dwellings--Schools--The Calendar
          Parliament in Tudor Times
          Dresses and Houses
          Colleges and Schools
          Old Style and New Style, or the Change in the Calendar

Part Five: The Stuarts 1603-1714.

Chapter 51. James Stuart, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. 1603-1625
          How a Stuart became King of England
          The New King and His Subjects
          The Doctrine of "Divine Right."
          The Beginning of Troubles
          The Pilgrim Fathers
          The Gunpowder Plot
          James Quarrels with the House of Commons
          The Ancestors of King Edward VII.
          The Translation of the Bible
          The Union with Scotland, and the Plantation of Ulster

Chapter 52. Charles I. How the King Angered the Parliament. 1625-1630
          Cavaliers and Roundheads
          The Quarrel Grows
          The King Sets Aside Magna Charta
          Charles as an Absolute King
          The Petition of Right: a Storm in the Commons

Chapter 53. The King defies Parliament. 1630-1642
          Two Evil Counsellors
          The Long Parliament
          The Arrest of the Five Members

Chapter 54. How Parliament punished the King. 1642-1649
          Cromwell and the "Ironsides."
          The Rise of the "Independents" and the "New Model."
          The King's Crown Goes Down
          The Death of the King

Chapter 55. The Commonwealth of England. 1649-1660
          The Commons Triumphant
          Cromwell in Ireland
          Dunbar and Worcester
          The Quarrel with the Dutch
          The Fight for the Carrying Trade
          The End of the Long Parliament
          His Highness the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth
          The End of the Commonwealth
          The Restoration

Chapter 56. Charles II. 1660-1685
          A Fair Beginning
          The Dutch in the Medway; or, England Disgraced
          Pestilence and Fire
          The "Cabal" -- The Test Act -- "Habeas Corpus."

Chapter 57. James II. and the End of Absolute Monarchy in England. 1685-1688
          A Bad Beginning
          From Bad to Worse
          The Throne becomes Vacant

Chapter 58. William III. and Mary The Revolution and Limited Monarchy. 1689-1702
          Whigs and Tories
          The War in Ireland: Enniskillen and Derry
          England in Peril
          Fighting It Out
          The Last Years of King William

     The following chapters are not scheduled for AO. In fact, the links won't work. If you'd like to view those chapters, they are here.
Chapter 59. Anne The Last of the Stuarts. 1702-1714
Chapter 60. Constitutional History of the Stuart Period
Chapter 61. Literature in the Stuart Period
Chapter 62. Writers of the Later Stuart Period
Chapter 63. Science, Art, and Daily Life Under the Stuarts

Part Six: From the Accession of the House of Hanover to the Present Time. 1714-1901.

Chapter 64. George I. 1714-1727
Chapter 65. George II. 1727-1760
Chapter 66. Clive, Wolfe, and Washington
Chapter 67. George III. 1760-1820
Chapter 68. The Act of Union with Ireland
Chapter 69. The French Revolution
Chapter 70. The Great War with France. Part 1
Chapter 71. The Great War with France. Part II
Chapter 72. George IV. and William IV. The Great Peace. 1820-1837
Chapter 73. The Days of Queen Victoria. 1837-1852
Chapter 74. The End of the Great Peace and the Story of our own Times 1852-1901
Chapter 75. The Conquests of Peace
Chapter 76. Steps on the Path of Freedom
Chapter 77. Literature and Art since 1714

Part 2 (chapters 59-77) is here.



The first part of this book contains a short account of the early history of our country. As will be seen from the dates given above, it covers a great period of time more than eleven centuries. It is very important to bear this fact in mind. In this book, and indeed in every History of England great or small, the space which is given up to describing the events which took place between the landing of the Normans in 1066 and our own time is much larger than that which is given up to a description of the eleven centuries which went before. It is natural that this should be so, because the later we come down in history the more numerous are the records from which we learn what took place. We have much greater knowledge of what occurred in the reign of Queen Elizabeth than we have of what took place in the time of Egbert or Alfred. But it must not be supposed that because we have comparatively little knowledge of what took place in England a thousand or fifteen hundred years ago, the events of those days are without importance, or fail to have their effect in forming the character of the English people as they now are. If we look at the chart which appears at page 104 we shall see at a glance what is the true proportion in the two periods of English history of which we have been speaking, and we shall learn to remember that eleven centuries passed between the day when Julius Caesar landed at Deal, and that on which William the Conqueror landed at Hastings; while, from the time of the Norman landing to the days of King Edward VII. is less than nine centuries.

The great points on which we should fix our attention in reading the history of this period may be shortly put thus:

THE ROMAN CONQUEST, which throws the first light upon our island, and which gives us some knowledge of the Britons who then inhabited it.

THE GREAT ANGLO-SAXON, OR ENGLISH INVASION, which laid the foundation of our people and of our language.


THE STRUGGLE WITH THE DANES, which helped to unite the English people under one head.

THE NORMAN CONQUEST, which gave the nation discipline y strength, and law.


Chapter 1. The Romans in Briton. 55 B.C. to A.D. 436.

Famous persons who lived during the time of the Roman occupation of Britain:
     Julius Caesar, b. 100 B.C., assassinated 44 B.C.
     Pompey the Great, b. 106 B.C., d. 48 B.C.
     Mark Antony, b. 83 B.C., d. 30 B.C.
     Augustus Caesar, first Roman Emperor, b. 63 B.C., d. A.D. 14.
     Tiberius Caesar, Emperor, b. 42 B.C., d. A.D. 37.
     Titus Emperor, b. A.D. 40, d. 81.
     Hadrian, Emperor, b. A.D. 76, d. 138.
     Severus, Emperor, b. 146, d. 211.
     Constantine the Great, b. 274, d. 337.
     Cassivelaunus. Caractacus taken prisoner, 51.
     Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, d. 62.
     Suetonius, a Roman general.
     Virgil, the great Roman poet, b. 70 B.C., d. 19 B.C.
     Caius Cornelius Tacitus, the Roman writer, b. 55, d. about 130.
     St. Alban, Martyr, d. 304.
     Alaric, King of the Goths.

Principal events during the time of the Roman occupation of Britain:
     55 B.C. Invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar.
     54 B.C. Second Invasion of Britain by Caesar.
     ANNUS DOMINI. The Birth of CHRIST.
     A.D. 43 Claudius sends an army to Britain.
     47 Vespasian conquers Britain.
     51 Caractacus taken prisoner.
     62 Death of Boadicea.
     70 Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus.
     121 Hadrian's wall built.
     211 Wall of Severus built.
     304 Death of St. Alban.
     316 Constantine, first Christian Emperor.
     402 to 436 Withdrawal of the Romans from Britain.
     410 Alaric besieges and takes the City of Rome.


Britannia (Ch 1)

"Britain, the best of islands, is situated in the Western Ocean, between France and Ireland . . . it produces everything that is useful to man. with a plenty that never fails." -- Geoffrey of Monmouth's Chronicle (1140).

Fifty-five years before the birth of Christ, Julius Caesar, at the head of a Roman army, landed on the shores of England. It is on that day that the history of England begins.

Long before the coming of Caesar, men and women had lived and died, and worked and fought, in the land which we now call England. But of their sayings and doings we have no record; no historian has told us of their fortunes, and for all that we know of them, they might never have existed.

Suddenly a great ray of light was thrown upon what before was darkness. Not only did Julius Caesar land upon the shores of our country, but he wrote down in words which may be read at this day the story of the strange new people he had found, and a description of the far-off country in which they lived. And thus it is true to say that the History of England begins with the landing of Julius Caesar, fifty-five years before the birth of Christ.

It is now nearly two thousand years since the landing took place. At that time there was but one great Empire in the world, and one great people who ruled half Europe and vast possessions in Africa. This was the great Roman people, whose chief city was Rome, in Italy, and whose language was the Latin tongue in which Julius Caesar wrote.

News had already come to the Romans that there existed, far away in the Northern seas, an island, or a number of islands, which had never been conquered by the Roman arms. Traders from the Mediterranean sailing up the coast of Spain, and of that country which we now know as France, but which was then called Gallia, or Gaul, had found land far out in the Atlantic, and landing, had discovered rich deposits of tin which they had worked and brought back to Italy. But the stories of adventurous sailors and merchants were soon to be replaced by a much closer acquaintance. Towards the middle of the last century before Christ, a great man, the greatest of all the Romans, had been appointed to the command of the armies in the Roman province of Gaul. [Gallia, or Gaul, was divided into two parts: Gallia Cis-Alpina, or "Gaul this side of the Alps," and which included that part of North Italy which is now known as Piedmont; and Gallia Trans-Alpina, or "Gaul beyond the Alps," which is now the French district of Provence.]

This great man was Julius Caesar. Not content with defending the Roman provinces, he carried war into the whole country of the Gauls. Step by step he came nearer to the northern coast, until at length the Roman camps looked down upon the narrow waters which divide France from England. It is only twenty-two miles from Calais to Dover, and from the coast the Roman soldiers must have seen as clearly as we can at the present day the great white cliffs of an "unvisited land," standing high out of the water to the north.

Already they had given a name to this country, and they knew it to be an island. A great Roman writer who lived in Caesar's day, speaks of Britain separated by almost the entire world. ["Penitus toto divisos orbe Britannos" -- "The Britains almost all the world away". -- Virgil.] And the name which the Romans gave to our land we know and are proud to own at the present day. "Britannia rules the waves.'" Our King is King of Great Britain and Ireland, and the coins with which we do the business of our daily lives still bear upon them the Latin inscription and the name by which Caesar called our country. [The words "Britt: Rex" on the five-shilling piece (see p. 7) are short for "Britanniarum Rex" or, King of Britain. The words written round the penny in the picture stand for "Georgius V. Dei gratia Britanniarum Omnium Rex Fidei Defensor Indiarum Imperator." The meaning of which is "George V, by the grace of God, King of all the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India."]

The Landing of the Romans. (Ch 1)

"But Rome! 'Tis thine alone with awful sway
To rule mankind, and make the world obey,
Disposing peace and war thy own majestic way;
To tame the proud, the fettered slave to free:
These are imperial arts, and worthy thee."
-- From Virgil's Aeneid, Book VI., translated by Dryden.

Caesar was not the man to leave this new country unexplored and unconquered. In the year 55 B.C. he collected eighty ships and 12,000 men upon the other side of the Channel, close to the place where the town of Calais now stands.

A few hours' sailing and rowing brought the fleet to the foot of the "White Cliffs," but on the shore were to be seen a large number of the Britons who had come down to oppose the landing. The Romans were disappointed, for they hoped they would have taken the Britons by surprise. They feared to land, and they took their ships farther along the coast, until they came to the place where the town of Deal now stands.

There they made up their minds that they would land; but they found that the water was not deep enough to allow their ships to get to the shore. Here, too, were large numbers of Britons, who were ready to fight them as soon as they got to land. At first it seemed as if they would have to sail away once more, but at this moment a brave Roman soldier came forward. This soldier was the standard-bearer of the Romans. Each regiment in our own army has a flag, which is carried with the regiment, and of which all the soldiers are proud. The Roman regiments were called legions, and each legion, instead of a flag, had a standard, on the top of which was the figure of an eagle, made in gold or brass. The standard-bearer, when he saw that the soldiers who were with him in the ship were afraid to land, seized the "eagle" of the legion in his hand, and jumped into the water. "Follow me, my comrades,'" cried he, "if you would not see your eagle taken by the enemy. If I die, I shall have done my duty to Rome and to my General." When the Roman soldiers saw this brave act, they, too, threw themselves into the water, and though it was deep, they waded to the land. The Britons fought courageously against the newcomers, but the discipline and military training of the Roman soldiers prevailed, and the Roman troops disembarked with safety.

In less than three weeks, however, they were compelled to return to Gaul, and it was not till the summer of the next year (54 B.C.) that Caesar returned with a large army to complete his conquest. This time the resistance he met with was serious. The Britons had had time to collect a large army, and under a chief of the name of Cassivelaunus were able for some time to hold the Romans at bay. The Britons fought in a way to which the Romans were not accustomed. They went into battle driving at full speed in chariots. To the wooden wheels of the chariots, scythes or sharp blades were fastened; and as long as the chariot was moving fast the sharp blades on the wheels cut down those who came near it.

But though the Britons had their chariots, the Roman soldiers proved too strong for them, and at length Caesar forced his way as far north as the river Thames, near Wallingford, and the Britons, defeated for a time, consented to make peace, to give hostages, and to promise, if not to pay, a yearly tribute. Having thus added another victory to his long list of triumphs, Caesar returned to Gaul, and thence to Rome, where ten years later (44 B.C.) he met with his death, stabbed by the traitor Brutus and other political enemies in the midst of the Roman senate.

Britain and the Britons. (Ch 1)

"Who can see the green earth any more
As she was by the sources of Time?
Who imagines her fields as they lay
In the sunshine, unworn by the plough?
Who thinks as they thought,
The tribes who once roam'd on her breast,
Her rigorous, primitive sons?"
-- Matthew Arnold: "The Future."

So far we have looked at Britain from a Roman point of view; it is time to inquire what sort of people lived in our island when the Roman invasion first threw the light of history upon it.

Of the early Britons, their life and their habits, we know little but what has been told us by the Roman writers. It is fortunate for us that the age of Julius Caesar was one in which some of the great Roman authors lived, and two of these authors have left us interesting accounts of the Britons. The first account is that given by Caesar himself, who not only was a great general and a great statesman, but one of the clearest and best writers of any age.

A second account we get from the pen of one who, as a writer, was even more famous than Caesar. In a book called the "Agricola," Cornelius Tacitus has written an account of the Britons as they were a hundred years after the date of Caesar's landing.

Agricola, the father-in-law of Tacitus, was at that time governor of Britain, and it is the account which he gave to his son-in-law which is contained in the "Agricola."


From what Caesar and Tacitus tell us we can form some idea of what the Britons were like. By the Romans they were regarded as savages, but it is easy to see, by what the Romans themselves tell us about them, that the Britons were not really savages at all. English people in our own time sometimes make the same mistake which the Romans made, and treat the people of other countries as savages and far below them, just because their habits are strange and their ways of thought are not like our own.

We do not know a very great deal about what the Britons were really like, but we do know some things about them. The men were tall and handsome, and fought bravely in battle; but it seems as if they were rather too fond of fighting, for not only did they fight against the Romans and other enemies who came from abroad, but they often quarrelled and fought amongst themselves. They lived in villages made up of a number of small houses or huts surrounded by a high wall. They lived chiefly by hunting and fishing, and there were always plenty of wild animals to kill and fish to catch, for we must not forget that at the time we are speaking of, England was very different from what it is now; the country was covered with thick forests, and the rivers, instead of being shut in between close banks, often spread over the land and made great swamps and marshes. In the forests there were wolves, wild boars, and many other animals which are quite unknown in England in our own day. It was of the skins of these animals that the Britons made their clothes.

The Britons did not drink wine, but they made a strong drink of honey. This drink is sometimes made now; it is called mead. The Britons were heathens and believed that there were many gods. Their priests were called Druids. These Druids were very strange people; they used to pretend that they had great and terrible secrets which were known to them and to nobody else. They said that their gods lived in the very thickest and darkest parts of the woods, and they used to go to pray to their gods under the great oaks in the forests; they wore long white robes, and the people held them in great awe.

The Druids have been dead hundreds of years, and their religion has long been forgotten; but there are still some things in England in our own time to remind us of the white-robed Druids and their strange religion.

If we take the train to Salisbury, and then take a carriage and drive rather more than ten miles over Salisbury Plain, we shall suddenly come to a very strange sight. In the middle of the plain we shall see a number of great stones -- some of them lying on their sides on the grass, others standing straight up, and some of them resting upon other great stones in the way shown in the picture. The stones are of enormous size and very heavy -- many of them are from twenty-three to twenty-eight feet high.

It seems a wonder how such heavy stones ever got to be set up in this way; but we shall find a still more wonderful thing about some of the stones when we come to look more closely at them. We shall find that they are not of the same kind as the stones which are found upon Salisbury Plain, but that they are of a kind which must have come from a long way off.

The place in which these strange stones have been set up is Stonehenge, in the middle of Salisbury Plain, and the stones were set up there before the time of Julius Caesar by the Druids whom we have been reading about. Stonehenge was one of the places where the Druids used to worship their gods; and though no one quite knows why they set up the stones, it is certain that they were looked upon by the Britons as being very sacred.

Once there were a great many more stones standing up than can be seen now. If the stones which have fallen down were still in their places, we should see that the Druids had made two great circles, one inside the other; the outside one of big stones, and the inside one of smaller ones. On page 11 there is a picture of what Stonehenge must have looked like before any of the stones fell down. There are other rings of stones in England, but the one at Stonehenge is the largest and most interesting. All these stones were put up by the Druids; and they can be seen to this day by Englishmen, and will help to remind them of the Britons who lived in our land two thousand years ago.


There is another thing besides the great stone circle which ought to remind us of the Druids. Most of us, whether we live in town or country, have seen the sprigs of green leaves with white berries which are put up among the holly and the laurel leaves at Christmas. They are the Mistletoe leaves and berries which are gathered from plants which grow on the stems of the trees in Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, and in many other parts of England.

It is not easy at first to guess why it is that Mistletoe is hung up in so many houses at Christmas time. To find out the answer to the question we must go back a very long way in history, until we come to the time of the Druids. It was the Druids who first used the mistletoe. They thought that its berries were sacred or holy, and they often put them up in the places where they prayed to their gods.

We have long forgotten all about the gods to whom the Druids prayed, but we have not forgotten about the mistletoe they were so fond of. The Romans came over and conquered the Britons, the great stones at Stonehenge tumbled down, and many changes, good and bad, took place in England, but the use of the mistletoe bough was never quite forgotten; and when the people of England learned to pray to another God, and found that the gods of the Druids were false gods, they still went on using the sacred mistletoe. And thus it happens that when, in our own time, we come to Christmas Day, the day on which we commemorate the birth of Christ, we still put up in our houses the mistletoe berries, which the old Druids first prized in the time of the Britons.

"In the Year of Our Lord." (Ch 1)

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke ii. 11.

It was not till nearly a hundred years after Julius Caesar had gone away that the Romans came a second time into Britain. Julius Caesar was dead, and the Roman Emperor was Claudius. Claudius determined that he would follow the example of Julius Caesar, but that this time the Britons should be really beaten, and that their country should belong to Rome.

But, before we follow the fortunes of the army which Claudius sent to Britain, there is one thing which we must notice. If we wish to write down the year in which Julius Caesar came to Britain, we write it in this way "55 B.C."; but if we want to write the year in which Claudius sent an army, we put "A.D. 43."

What do "B.C." and "A.D." mean? The letters "B.C." mean "before Christ," and, therefore, "55 B.C." means fifty-five years before Christ was born. The letters "A.D." stand for two Latin words Anno Domini which mean "in the year of our Lord." "A.D. 43" means forty-three years after the year in which Christ was born.

People now sometimes write the year in which we live in this way they say "A.D. 1900," or "A.D. 1910," meaning that the year in which we live is the one thousand nine hundredth, or the one thousand nine hundred and tenth year after the year in which Christ was born. Now, we can easily understand that, between the year 55 B.C. and the year A.D. 43, a great thing must have happened.

It was in the years between the coming of Julius Caesar and the coming of the Romans in the time of Claudius that the great event which divides the history of the old world from that of the new had taken place, and that Christ was born in Bethlehem. While the memory of the Roman general who had defeated their armies was still fresh in the minds of the people of Britain, and while they were anxiously looking out for the return of the Roman galleys, a Roman Emperor had issued a Decree "that all the world should be taxed," and a Roman officer commanding in the Province of Judaea had carried out the Imperial order. A Roman magistrate, sitting in the Judgment Hall at Jerusalem, had allowed sentence of death to be passed upon the Prisoner whom the Jews had brought before him. Jesus had been crucified, and His death had been the birth of a new hope, of a new life, and of a new faith which was to spread throughout the world. The birthday of England as we know it is almost the same as the birthday of Christianity, and the twentieth century of the Christian Era is the twentieth century in the history of our country.

And thus we see that if we want to know when the history of our country, so far as we know anything about it, begins, we have only to remember that it began just before the birth of Christ, and that, if we know the year in which we live, we shall know the number of years which have passed since the Romans first came to Britain.

Caraetacus and Boadicea. (Ch 1)

"When the British warrior Queen,
Bleeding from the Roman rods,
Sought, with an indignant mien,
Counsels of her country's gods." -- Cowper.

When the Romans came with Julius Caesar, they only stopped in Britain for two years, but when they came a second time under Claudius they, and their descendants after them, remained for over three hundred and sixty years. At first they brought nothing but war and misery with them. The Britons fought fiercely. This time they were led by a chief called Caractacus, who for a long time was able to keep up a successful resistance to the Roman armies. But at last he was beaten in a great battle, and was taken prisoner. He was sent to Rome, and there brought before the Emperor Claudius (A.D. 51).

When Caractacus was brought before Claudius, he spoke to him boldly and told him that he was not ashamed of what he had done, but proud of it -- that he had only fought for his country. "I am in your power," said he to the Emperor, "and you can do what you please with me; but I am only here because I was true to my country, and because I would not promise to obey your laws and to be your servant. You can put me to death, but you will gain more honour if you spare my life." When Claudius and the Roman officers who stood with him heard these brave words, they could not help admiring the proud Briton. Claudius commanded that the prisoner's life should be spared and that he should be well treated.

But the war between the Romans and the Britons did not end when Caractacus was taken prisoner. There arose among the Britons a fresh leader, whose name has become famous in our history. This leader was Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni, the widow of one of the British Chiefs.

Boadicea hated the Romans, and she had good reason to do so; for not only had they been very unjust to her husband when he was alive, but when she went to complain to the Roman Governor, instead of doing justice, he ordered her to be seized and to be beaten with rods. Boadicea therefore hated the Romans, both because they were enemies of her country and because they had been cruel to her. She called upon her countrymen to join her in resisting the enemy, and many of them gathered round her, prepared to follow wherever she led them.

It is said that Boadicea was tall and beautiful, with long flowing hair, and that she appeared before her people clad in a long robe and with a gold chain about her waist. Her beauty and her courage made her loved by the Britons, and the Romans soon learnt to fear her. In more than one battle the Britons, under Boadicea, defeated the Roman soldiers, and for a time it seemed as if the brave queen would succeed in driving her hated enemies out of the land.

The Romans had built a town upon the banks of a river which we now call the Thames. The name of the town was Londinium, a name which we now know much better as London. Already Londinium had become a large place, and besides the Romans who lived there, there were many Britons who had taken the side of the Romans. It was to Londinium that Boadicea now led her army. As she came near the town, the Roman soldiers saw that there were not enough of them to resist the great army of the Britons, and they marched away, leaving behind them all their friends who had trusted them. Soon Boadicea came to the gates, and, once inside the town, the fierce Britons showed no mercy. Thousands of the people of Londinium were killed, and the town was all but destroyed.

But the British Queen had won her last victory. The Roman general, whose name was Suetonius, collected his scattered troops, and marched against the Queen. Boadicea, on her side, was ready for the battle. She called upon the Britons to fight like men, to rid their country of its enemies, and to avenge the cruelty which had been done to herself. She stood in the midst of the army, and declared that she would rather kill herself than allow herself to be taken prisoner by the Romans. The battle began. The army of the Britons was far larger than that of the Romans, but the Roman soldiers had long been taught how to fight together, and to obey the orders that were given them. It was not long before the battle was over. The Britons were quite unable to resist the Romans. No less than eighty thousand of them were killed. Boadicea herself was true to her promise. Rather than be taken prisoner by the Romans, she took poison, and thus ended her own life (A.D. 62). With her death ended the hopes of the Britons, and from that time the Romans were masters of the whole country.

Roman Camps and Roman Roads. (Ch 1)

"Thine, Roman, is the pilum:
Roman, the sword is thine,
The even trench, the bristling mound,
The legion's ordered line."
-- Macaulay: "Prophecy of Capys."

[pilum is a short, broad-headed heavy spear borne by the Roman soldiers.]

After the death of Bcadicea, the Romans soon became masters of nearly all that part of Britain which we now call England. At first they had to fight many battles, but after a time the Britons submitted to the Romans and agreed to obey their laws. For nearly four hundred years the Romans stopped in this country, and in our own day we can still find many marks of the things they did while they were here.

It would indeed be strange if, after they had been so long in Britain, the Romans had not left something by which we might remember them. They were a very wonderful people, and have set an example in many things to all the nations who have come after them. The Roman soldiers were the wonder of the world. During time of peace they were always practising what they would have to do in time of war. They could fight well, and they could march well. Nor was this all; they knew how to protect themselves against an enemy as well as they knew how to attack an enemy when they wished.


Whenever the Roman soldiers came to the end of a day's march, in whatever part of the world they were, they did the same thing. They built a wall of earth, and made a ditch round their camp, and, as all the soldiers knew how to work, and all worked together, the ditch was dug, and the wall was built, before the soldiers lay down to sleep. Sometimes they built much larger camps than those which were wanted for one night only. These camps had deep ditches and high walls, and they were usually placed on the top of a hill. In many parts of England these Roman camps may still be seen; and not only are the camps themselves still to be found in England, but the very names by which the Romans called them are used by Englishmen every day. The Latin word for camp is "castra"; and though we have not got exactly the word "castra" in English, we have something like it. We have all heard of Chester, the capital of Cheshire, which stands on the river Dee. The word "Chester" is really the same as "castra" and Chester got its name because in the time of the Romans there was a camp or strong place full of soldiers there.

But Chester is not the only place where we find a Roman name. We have Chi-chesber, Ro-Chester, Man-Chester, and many others; and we have also the word castra written caster, in such places as Lancaster, Doncaster, Tad-caster. The names of all these places tell us quite plainly that the Roman soldiers once upon a time built their wall and dug their ditch there in the days that came after the landing of Julius Caesar.

The Romans, too, were great builders; they knew how to erect large buildings of stone and specially of brick. Most of the buildings which they built in Britain have fallen into ruin, but parts of them have been found in many places; and enough is left to show how beautiful the buildings must have been when they were new. The floors of the houses were paved with tiles in artistic patterns; there were carved pillars inside and outside the houses. There were baths supplied with hot water, and there were many comforts which we sometimes think were not known before our own time. In some places beautiful statues have been dug up, and many thousands of gold and silver and copper coins have been found which have stamped on them the heads of the Roman Emperors, and Latin words which tell us something about the coins. But though the Romans were famous as builders of houses, they were still more famous as makers of roads. The Romans were the first people to make great roads fiom one end of England to the other. The roads were paved with stone, and they ran in a straight line up hill and down dale from one town to another. Nowadays it would not be considered wise to take the roads straight up the hills; it is more usual to go round a hill rather than to go up it. But the Romans were quite right to do as they did in their time. If we want to go from one place to another, the shortest distance between the two places is always a straight line. In the picture on this page are two points, A and B, and there is a straight line joining them. We may try as long as we like, but we cannot find a shorter way from A to B than the straight line.

The reason why we do not make our roads go in a straight line now is that we use a great many carriages and carts, and it is very hard for a horse to pull a carriage or a cart up-hill. But when the Romans were in Britain, carriages and carts were scarcely used at all, and those who went on long journeys travelled either on foot or on horseback; their luggage was taken from place to place on the backs of horses or mules. The hills, therefore, did not matter very much, and a straight road enabled the Roman soldiers to get from place to place very quickly. There are many places in England where the roads still follow exactly the same line as the old Roman roads.

Sometimes we come to a stretch of road which goes on quite straight for several miles; we may generally be sure that we are on the line of a road which has never changed for eighteen hundred years, and which was first planned by one of the Roman officers under the command of Vespasian or Severus, or Titus, or some other Roman general. The best known Roman roads in England are called "The Watling Street," which goes from London to Chester; "The Fosse Way," which goes from Bath to Lincoln; "The Ermine Street," which goes from London to Lincoln and on to York; and "The Seaside Road," [Via Maritima] which runs all along the sea-coast of Wales down into Pembrokeshire.

Besides their buildings and their roads, the Romans have also left us a very wonderful mark of their work on the border between England and Scotland. After the Romans had made peace in that part of Britain which is now called England, and had begun to rule quietly there, they found that they were often troubled by enemies who came down from the country which we now call Scotland; these enemies were known as the "Picts."

The Romans fought and beat the Picts many times, but they found them so troublesome that at last they built a great wall right across the country to keep them out. The Roman Emperor Hadrian ordered the wall to be built (A.D. 121), and after Hadrian's death another Roman Emperor, named Severus, built a second wall. This wall is called "The Wall of Severus," and many parts of both are still to be seen in our own day. So that there are many things still left in our country to remind us that the Romans once ruled over it.

Roman Christianity -- Departure of the Romans. (Ch 1)

"And departing leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time."
Longfellow: "Psalm of Life."

There is one other thing which the Romans gave to this country, and which would have been the most important of all their gifts had it lasted. This great gift was Christianity, which was first introduced into England during the time of the Roman occupation. After many struggles and much suffering the Christians had obtained permission to carry on their worship at Rome. Gradually their teaching spread until, in the year 312, Constantine the Great, the first Christian Emperor, ascended the throne.

In the year 306 Christianity had been already introduced into England under the rule of Constantine, whose British mother, Helena of York, became known in after years by the name of St. Helena. But though Constantine was a Christian, he was unable to protect those of his own religion from the fierce persecution of the Emperor Diocletian. Many of the British Christians, it is said, were put to death for refusing to give up their religion, and the name of Alban has been handed down to us as that of the first martyr in the British Church. His name is still preserved by the famous Cathedral of St. Albans, in Hertfordshire. The persecution, however, did not prevent the spread of Christianity. Bishops were created, and churches were built. Of these churches traces have been found in our own day, but for the most part they were destroyed in the terrible years that followed the departure of the Romans from Britain. Roman Christianity was indeed swept away, and Britain once more became a pagan land.

The Romans stopped in Britain for nearly four hundred years, and during the greater part of that time there was peace and quiet in the country. So long as the Roman soldiers were here, there was little fear of any fresh enemy coming and taking the country. But at length there came news from Rome that a formidable enemy was marching against Italy, and that the Emperor was afraid that Rome itself would be taken. At such a time every Roman soldier was needed to defend Italy and Rome; and orders were therefore sent that the armies which were in Britain should return to Italy.

This was sad news for the Britons, for by this time they had come to look upon the Romans more as friends than as foes, and they feared to lose the Roman soldiers who had so long protected them from every enemy. Besides, the Romans had built towns in Britain; many of them were married to British wives, and they had begun to teach the Britons the arts which they had brought with them from Italy.

For all these reasons, the Britons were naturally grieved when the order came for the Roman legions to sail across the Straits of Dover and to leave the white cliffs of Britain behind them. But a soldier must do what he is ordered, and the Romans were too good soldiers to disobey the orders which they received from Rome. The legions marched down to the sea-coast, got into their ships, and sailed away across the sea on their road home to Italy.

What happened to the legions when they got to Rome, and how the great city of Rome, which had conquered so many countries, was at last itself conquered, can be read in the history of Rome. But we are reading the history of England, and we must now bid farewell to the Roman soldiers as we lose sight of the sails of their ships crossing the Channel between England and France.

Chapter 2. The Coming of the Saxons. 436-449.

Famous persons who lived during the period described in this chapter:
     Attila, King of the Huns, b. 406, d. 453.
     Hengist, Chief of the Saxons, d. 488.

Principal event during the period described in this chapter:
     449. Invasion of Britain by Hengist and Horsa.

The Gathering of the Storm (Ch 2)

"Dark and many-folded clouds foretell
The coming on of storm."
-- Longfellow.

Now that we have seen the last of the Roman soldiers sailing back to their own country, we must return once more to the story of Britain and of the Britons now left behind without the protection of the Roman sword. For nearly four hundred years the Britons had been ruled over by a people stronger than themselves, and, though they had doubtless gained much from their masters, the very fact that they had not had to depend upon their own valour for their own safety had made them less fit to resist an enemy than on the day when they stood on the shore at Deal, ready to face the legions of Julius Caesar.

A people which has ceased to rely upon itself for its own defence must always be in danger. The Britons had learnt to rely upon the Romans to fight their battles for them, but now they would have to fight their own battles themselves. It was not long before their strength was put to the test by an enemy more terrible than any they had yet had to encounter.

It sometimes happens that before the beginning of a great storm, when the sky has already become overclouded and the air has become still and hushed, a few big drops of rain come splashing down by themselves, and seem to tell us of the downpour which will so soon drench the earth. Something like this happened in Britain in the years which passed just before the Romans sailed away.

From time to time there reached the shores of Britain ships filled with fierce soldiers from a land across the seas; these men were tall, strong, fair-haired, armed with swords and axes, and talking a language quite different from that of either the Britons or the Romans. Wherever they landed they brought fear and alarm with them. They robbed the people and killed those who resisted them; and, after they had taken what plunder they could get, they launched their ships and sailed away again to the land from which they came.

But so long as the well-drilled Roman soldiers remained, these warlike strangers did not do more than visit the coasts of Britain and sail away again. The Roman armies were always ready to meet them and to protect the Britons. But these short visits were like the raindrops; they foretold the terrible storm which was soon to break over Britain.

The Sea Rovers (Ch 2)

"Thirty men they each commanded,
Iron-sinewed, horny-handed,
Shoulders broad, and chest expanded;
     Tugging at the oar.
These, and many more like these,
With King Olaf sailed the seas,
     Till the waters vast
Filled them with a vague devotion,
With the freedom and the motion,
With the roll and roar of ocean,
     And the sounding blast."
-- Longfellow: "The Saga of King Olaf."

And now it is time to ask who these new-comers were, and from what land they had sailed in their ships.

The country from which these people came is now a portion of what we call Germany. It touches the shores of the Baltic Sea, and of the German Ocean, and it comes down close to that part which we now call Holland. The people who came from these countries belonged to three tribes or nations. These tribes or nations were called the Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes.

We cannot tell exactly what it was that made the Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes leave their own country and sail across the sea to Britain. Perhaps it was that they thought their own country was a poor one, and they wished to find some more fertile land in which to live. It is very likely that they had such a thought, for even now the north of Germany and the south of Denmark, which are the countries in which the Jutes and the Angles lived, are barren and sandy, covered in many places with forests of fir-trees, and unfit to grow wheat upon.

There were other reasons, too, which made the Jutes, the Angles, and the Saxons wish to cross the sea. There were other nations behind them who kept attacking them and driving them forward down to the sea; and when they got there, they were glad to seek for a new country in which no one would disturb them.

And, last of all, there was, no doubt, another reason which made the Jutes, the Angles, and the Saxons leave their homes. They had just the same love of adventure which many English people have nowadays. They loved to travel, and to find new lands; and if, when they came to a new land, they had to fight for it, they did not object. Indeed, they liked fighting quite as well as being at peace -- perhaps better; and in this matter, too, they were not unlike some Englishmen in our own day, who like adventures all the better if there be danger in them.

No sooner had the last of the Roman soldiers left the shores of Britain, and the strong power of the Romans been taken away, than the storm which had been so long hanging over England began to break. The Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes came over the sea in their ships, not as before, a few at a time, but in great numbers. They did not, as before, land to plunder and sail away again, but they landed upon our shores and stopped there, with no thought of going back to their own country. All along the south coast of England their ships were to be seen. Everywhere the Britons resisted, but everywhere, in the long run, the result was the same. The new-comers were victorious, and step by step they pushed the Britons further back from the coast.

The Ford of the River Medway (Ch 2)

"History repeats itself."

Among the earliest of the invaders were two great Saxon chiefs named Hengist and Horsa, who are said to have landed at Ebbsfleet, in Kent, in the year 449. For a time they settled in the Isle of Thanet, but picking a quarrel with the Britons, they marched with their armies upon London. The story runs that a great battle took place upon the River Medway, in the year 455, at a place called Aylesford, and that in this battle Horsa was killed. It is not certain whether the story of the death of Horsa be more than a legend, but it seems clear that at or about the time named a great battle did take place between the Saxons and the Britons, in which the Britons tried to prevent the Saxons crossing the Medway and getting to London, and that in this battle the Britons were defeated.

It is interesting to remember that, over and over again, battles have been fought upon the River Medway for just the same reason as this battle between the Saxons and the Britons. If we look at the map, we shall see that the part of England which is closest to the continent of Europe is the county of Kent, and that anyone who lands in the county of Kent, and wants to get to London, will have to cross the River Medway. He will not try to cross where it is very broad, but he will be forced to go up as far as Chatham, where the stream is narrow, and where there is now a bridge over it. The easiest and the shortest way from the coast of Kent to London, is across the Medway at Chatham; and it is for this reason that, all through English history, those who wanted to defend London against an enemy, have made a great fortress at Chatham.

If we go to Chatham now, we can still see what is left of the fortresses which our forefathers built at different times. The Romans, who were very great soldiers, always knew which was the best place for a fortress, and they were the first to make a great "camp" close to Chatham. The towns of Rochester and Chatham touch each other. Now "Chester," as we have already learnt, is really the Latin word for a "camp," and we know, therefore, from the name that there was a Roman camp at Rochester.

After the Romans had gone, the Britons in their turn made a strong fortress at Chatham, and when the Saxons came, this fortress prevented them crossing the river at this place. They were forced to come up the bank of the river till they reached Aylesford. Then the Saxons built a strong fortress at Chatham, and after them the Normans, of whom we shall read later on, built a great stone castle, of which there is a picture on the next page, and which, though it is in ruins, can be seen at the present day. After gunpowder was invented, the Norman castle was not strong enough to defend the crossing of the Medway, and another fortress, built of earth and brick, was made in its place. The greater part of these earth and brick walls still remain, and we can see them any day if we go to Chatham. And now, quite lately, a new fortress has been built all round Chatham, to prevent an enemy crossing the Medway, and to protect the ships of war which lie at Chatham.

And so we see that though times have changed, and though many years have gone by, the reason which made the Britons defend the Medway in the time of Hengist and Horsa, more than fourteen hundred years ago, is the reason which makes us defend it with a great fortress in the days in which we live.

Chapter 3. The Saxon Conquest 449-597 (Ch 3)

Famous persons who lived during the period described in this chapter:
     Attila, King of the Huns, d. 453.
     Clovis, King of the Franks, b. 465, d. 511.
     Hengist, Chief of the Saxons, d. 488.
     Horsa, the companion of Hengist, killed at Aylesford, 449.
     Justinian, the great Roman law-maker, b. 483, d. 565.
     Aethelbert, King of Kent, b. 552.
     Bertha, daughter of Charibert, King of Paris, wife of Aethelbert.
     Ida, King of Bernicia, 547.
     St. Patrick, d, 491.
     Columba, the great Irish preacher, b. 521, d. 597
     Columban, the great Irish Missionary, b. about 543.
     Gregory I., called "The Great," Pope.
     The following are sufifcsed to have lived in the sixth century:
     King Arthur.
     Gildas, the historian of King Arthur.

Principal events during the during the period described in this chapter:
     449. Hengist and Horsa land in Kent.
     452. Attila invades Italy.
     457. The Kingdom of Kent founded.
     477. Landing of the South Saxons.
     486. Clovis, King of the Franks, defeats the Romans at the battle of Soissons.
     495. Landing of the West Saxons.
     520. Victory of the Britons at Badon Hill.
     547. Ida founds the Kingdom of Bernicia.
     561. Aethelbert becomes King of Kent.
     565. St. Columba commences his mission in Scotland.
     595. St. Columban starts upon a mission to France.

The Breaking of the Storm; or, Britons and Saxons (Ch 3)

"Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy main:
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topt head."
-- Gray: "The Bard."

From the time of the landing of Hengist and Horsa, the history of England ceases to be an account of either the Britons or the Romans, and is occupied with the spread and final settlement of the great flood of German invaders which now began to pour into the country. For two hundred years the invasion continued, one wave following another. At the end of that time we find the various tribes of invaders firmly established in England; we find them divided into many separate kingdoms under various leaders. The Britons have been driven out and are no longer to be feared, and the new-comers have begun to quarrel fiercely among themselves.

Nearly four centuries pass, during which first one Saxon kingdom, and then another, becomes the most powerful, and defeats its rivals. At last, in the year 827, Egbert, King of the West Saxons, becomes the first king of all England. The chief work of the king of the united country is to defend it against the attack of fresh invaders, the fierce Danes, who for a time seem likely to treat the Saxons as the Saxons treated the Britons. And lastly, Saxons and Danes together are forced to give battle to yet another invader, and are defeated by the Normans at the Battle of Hastings in the year 1066.

The story of the events which have just been referred to must be told at greater length; but it is well to look forward a little at this point in our history, in order that we may understand how great a period of time elapsed before the first landing of the Jutes in 449, and the conquest of England by the Normans in 1066.

In this book, as in every other history of England, great or small, far more space is given up to the events which took place after the year 1066, than to those which took place before that date; and yet, if we look at the scroll which is unfolded at page 104, we shall see that the portion of our history which is so fully described occupied far less time than that of which so scanty an account is given. From the landing of Julius Caesar to the time of the Norman Conquest is little more than eleven hundred years; while the period which elapsed between the landing of Hengist and Horsa and the coming of the Normans in 1066, which is described in a few short chapters in this book, was no less than six centuries.

It is easy to understand why our history should contain much shorter descriptions of early times than of late times. The historian can only write of things which he has learnt through books and records. In our own day everything which takes place, is written down, and the great difficulty of the historian is to know what things are important enough to be told by him; but in the early Saxon days there was little writing, and in those times of fierce wars even the few written documents which did exist had little chance of escaping destruction.

It is important to remember these things, because we are sometimes liable to forget that the life of a people goes on just the same in days of which history gives us little or no account, as in days when every event is written down and recorded. Although we know less about the six hundred years which passed between the landing of Hengist and Horsa and the landing of the Normans, than we do of the eight hundred years which followed the last-named event, we must not suppose that they were, on that account, less important, or had less effect in making our country and our people what they are, than the last eight centuries of which history tells us so much.

The two hundred years of our history which follow the landing of Hengist are occupied with the invasion of our islands by the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes. Not in one year, nor, indeed, in many years, was the invasion accomplished. Fierce battles were fought, in some of which, if the old British legends sung by the Bards can be believed, the Britons won the victory. Of one great battle, of which the name has come down to us, the battle of Badon Hill, the legend seems undoubtedly true. [Fought probably in the neighbourhood of Bath, or some think at Badbury, in Dorsetshire.]

But though victory sometimes cheered the Britons, the end was always the same. Checked for a moment, the new-comers waited until fresh ships could come over the sea bringing more of their friends to help them.

The fight between the Saxons and the Britons was very different from that which had taken place five hundred years before between the Briton and the Romans. The Roman armies had beaten the people of Britain and made them obey the laws of Rome. But the Britons, who remained in their land, had learnt to live peaceably and quietly under the Romans. Many of the Romans married British wives, and the Romans taught the Britons many arts and accomplishments which the Britons were quite ready to learn. But it was quite different when the Saxons came. They did not spare their enemies; they drove all before them, and those who did not fly they put to death. They took the lands of the Britons for themselves, and drove from them all those who had formerly lived on them. And so it happened that, at the end of the long fight between the Saxons and the Britons, nearly the whole of England was inhabited only by the Angles, the Jutes, and the Saxons; and the Britons who had been left alive were shut up in a small part of this island.

If we look at the map on the opposite page, we shall see a broad line which runs down one side. This line runs from Carlisle to Chester, from Chester to Cardiff, and from Cardiff to Plymouth. On the left hand that is to say, on the West side of this line we shall see marked Cornwall, Wales, and Strathclyde. We know Cornwall and Wales nowadays, but we no longer know anything about Strathclyde. Strathclyde is really that part of England and Scotland in which the counties of Cumberland, Westmorland, Renfrew, Lanark, Ayr, Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, and Wigtown now are. It was into these three parts of our island that the unfortunate Britons were pushed by the Saxons, and it is easy to see how this came about.

The Saxons, the Jutes, and the Angles came over from the North of Europe, and landed on the East side of England. As they pushed the Britons before them, it was only natural that they should at last push them up against the farthest edge of the island; and thus it was that the Britons came to be found in Wales, Cornwall, and Strathclyde only. Many of those who live now in these parts of the kingdom are descended from the ancient Britons; and the beautiful and interesting language of Wales is really that of our British forefathers. In Cornwall this language is no longer spoken; but if we go across the Channel to France, we shall find that in the province of Brittany, the province whose very name reminds us of Britain, a language is still spoken which is almost the same as that which is spoken by many Welshmen today in the counties of Merioneth and Carnarvon. Although the greater part of England is now inhabited by men and women of Saxon race, and who naturally speak English, it must not be forgotten that the ancient British race still is to be found in Wales. To those who only know English, many of the Welsh names appear strange, difficult to pronounce, and impossible to understand; but that is only because Englishmen do not, as a rule, know the meaning of the Welsh names. When we find such names as Wells, Bath, Red-ditch, Cold-stream, and so on, we think them natural enough, because they are made up of simple words with which we are familiar. But when we see such names as Llwmpia, Llwyn Helig, and Pontrhydvendigred, we think them strange, forgetting that to those who know the language to which they belong they are just as simple, and have as much meaning, as our own English names, and that "Magpies' Grove," "Willow Grove," and the "Bridge of the Blessed Ford" tell their own stories quite plainly to those who still speak the language of the Britons.

The defeat and expulsion of the Britons meant also the defeat and expulsion of Christianity from all that part of England which the heathen invaders made their own. The churches which had been built in Roman times were destroyed; the priests were put to death, or barely escaped with their lives to the mountains of Wales. Once more the land was inhabited by a heathen people worshipping idols.

But though the worship of Christ was for the time almost entirely banished from England, there still remained in the western part of our island a small remnant of the British population, who did, undoubtedly, preserve their faith and maintain their churches through all the dark years of the early Saxon invasions. In Wales Christianity never altogether died out; and though it does not appear that the Welsh Christians ever attempted to teach their religion to the Saxons, they rendered a great service to England in another way. From the Welsh coasts Christian teachers found their way over to Ireland, and there preached and taught with great success. We shall see how, in later days, Irish teachers came back to England, and how they helped to convert the Saxons, whose ancestors had destroyed the Church of the Britons and had driven the British Christians across the Irish Channel.


Names New and Old (Ch 3)

The waters murmur of their name;
The woods are peopled with their fame;
The silent pillar, lone and gray.

Their memory sparkles o'er the fountain;
The meanest rill, the mightiest river,
Rolls mingling with their fame for ever."
-- Byron.

And now we must return to the history of the invaders who had succeeded in winning for themselves the possession of our country. We know that, for the most part, they were made up of three great tribes or nations -- the Jutes, the Saxons, and the Angles. Let us see whether we know anything about them nowadays. We certainly do not know the name Jutes in England; but we have only to cross the North Sea to Denmark, the land from which the Jutes came, and we shall find there the province of Jutland, or the land of the Jutes; so the name of the Jutes is not yet forgotten. Do we know the name of the Saxons in England? We do not, but of the Saxons who live in the kingdom of Saxony, in the German Empire, we all know something; yet the name of Saxon is not altogether unfamiliar to us in England itself. The Highland Scots still call the English-speaking Lowlanders "Sassenach," or Saxon, and there are few who have not heard the English people themselves called "Anglo-Saxons." The term describes the people descended from the Angles and the Saxons together; and thus, though we have no Saxons, so called, in England, we have millions of people who are often described as Anglo-Saxons.

And now we come to the last of the great invading peoples, the Angles. Do we know anything of the Angles in England at the present day? We have seen that there is Jutland, the land of the Jutes; that there is Saxony, the land of the Saxons -- is there also an Angleland, the land of the Angles? Undoubtedly there is. It is true that we do not call that land "Angleland," but we call it by a name so similar that there is no difficulty in guessing in a moment what that country is. If, instead of Angleland, we say England, we shall see that the Angleland to which the Angles came is our own England in which we live and whose name is so famous throughout the world. It is to the Angles that we owe the name of our country and the great English language which we speak.

The Saxons who drove out and defeated the Britons were heathens and worshipped idols. Their gods were called Thor and Woden, Freia, and Tu, or Tuesco; these were their chief gods, and there were others besides. It is many hundred years ago since anybody living in England worshipped Thor, Woden, Freia, or Tuesco. We shall read further on how the Saxons became Christians, and how they gave up their belief in their old gods. But though we who live in England no longer worship the gods of the Saxons, it would not be true to say that we have forgotten all about them; on the contrary, not a day passes on which we do not mention the name of one or other of them. This seems strange at first, but it is quite true. When we say that we will do a thing on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, we are really giving the names of four of the old gods of the Saxons. This is clear when we come to think over the names of the days of the week.

What does Tuesday mean? It means Tuesco's Day, which we have cut short and made into Tuesday. It is not hard to guess that Wednesday is the same thing as Woden's Day; Thor's Day only needs to be altered by one letter to become Thursday; while Friday, as we can guess in a moment, is the day of the goddess Freia. [Sunday is, of course, the day of the Sun; Monday, the day of the moon; while Saturday, or "Saeterday," means Saturn's day.]

And so we see that, when we speak of the days of the week, we are really going back into the history of England, and are using words and names which were first brought into England by the Saxons who landed on our shores with Hengist and Horsa. History becomes more real when we find out things like this. They show us that we have really and truly come down from the Saxons who landed in England fourteen hundred years ago; and the words which Hengist and Horsa and their followers used then, we use in our daily speech.

For a long time the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes kept separate from one another. There was not one great Saxon people in England, but a number of small tribes, each tribe under its own king or chief. If we want to know the names of some of these nations, or tribes, we have only got to look at the map. But, it will be said, how can we find these names on the map? There were no atlases in the time of the Saxons; and all these nations and tribes have come to an end long ago, and their names will not be marked in any map of England which we have now.

Let us see. If we go back to the old Saxon histories, we shall find that some of the Angles landed on our shores near where the town of Yarmouth now stands. They divided into two tribes; some of them went north, and some of them stayed where they were, or went south. Those who went north were called the "North Folk"; those who stayed in the south were called the "South Folk."


Then we find that the Saxons, like the Angles, divided themselves up into several tribes; some went south, some west, some east, and a fourth tribe was to be found in the middle of the other three; and soon people began to talk of the country of the South Saxons, the West Saxons, the East Saxons, and the Middle Saxons. Then, too, we read of a tribe which was called the "Dorsaetas," and of another which was known as the "Wiltsaetas," and there were many other tribes whose names might be given.

Now it will be said that, however long we look upon the map of England, we shall never find marked upon it the country of the "North Folk" and the "South Folk," of the "West Saxons" or the "East Saxons," the "Wiltsaetas," or the "Dorsaetas." It is quite true that we shall not find these very names, but we shall find names so very like them that it does not require to be very clever to guess that they are really the same. We have not the country of the "North Folk" or the "South Folk," but we shall find the counties of "Norfolk" and "Suffolk" on the map in a moment. We do not talk of the "Middle Saxons," the "East Saxons," or the "South Saxons," but we do talk of "Middlesex," "Essex," and "Sussex." And, in the same way, though we have not got the "Wiltsaetas" nor the "Dorsaetas," we all know something about the counties of "Wilts" and "Dorset." We see that, though more than a thousand years have passed since the Saxons first came to live in England, and first gave Saxon names to the places in which they lived, we have never forgotten those names, but still use them every day just as the Saxons did who first gave them to us.

If we look at the map on the previous page, we shall see that it is divided into no less than twelve different districts, of which the greater number are in that part of the British Islands which is now known as England. It will be well to study the map closely, and to learn the names of the different divisions. Our special attention should be given to the divisions which are marked Kent, Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex; for each of these became in turn the most important of the Saxon kingdoms.

On the west side of the island are three districts, Strathclyde, North Wales, which is the whole of Wales as we now know it, and West Wales, which now bears the name of Cornwall. These are the districts which, for a long time after the first coming of the Saxons, remained British. Strathclyde has long ago become Saxon; West Wales has lost its British language, and though it is still distinguished in many ways from the other Saxon and English-speaking counties, it is really as much a part of Saxon England as the neighbouring county of Devon. In North Wales and parts of South Wales alone the British tongue and the British race still hold their own, and the Welsh language of to-day is really the same as that which was spoken by the Britons of the fifth and sixth centuries.

Chapter 4. How the Saxons Became English, and the English Became Christians 597-837

Famous persons who lived during the period described in this chapter:
     Aethelbert, King of Kent, b. about 552, d. 616.
     Bertha, daughter of Charibert, King of Paris, wife of Ethelhert.
     Aethelfrith, King of Northumbria, d. 617.
     Edwin, King of Northumbria, b. 586, d. 633.
     Aethelburga, daughter of Aethelbert, King of Kent, wife of Edwin.
     Oswald, King of Northumbria, b. about 605, d. 642.
     Oswy, King of Northumbria, d. 670.
     Penda, King of Mercia, d. 655.
     Wulfhere, King of Mercia, d. 675.
     Aethelbald, King of Mercia, b. 716, d. 757.
     Offa, King of Mercia, d. 795.
     Ine, King of the West Saxons, d. 728.
     Egbert, King of the West Saxons, afterwards "Overlord" of England, b. about 775, d. 838.
     Charles Martel, King of the Franks, b. about 689, d. 741.
     Pepin, King of the Franks, father of Charlemagne, b. 714, d. 768.
     Charlemagne, King of the Franks, b. 742, d. 814.
     Haroun Al Rashid, Khalif of Bagdad, b. 763, d. 809.
     Gregory I., called "The Great," Pope, d. 605.
     St. Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, d. 605.
     Paulinus, first Archbishop of York, d. 644.
     St. Aidan, d. 651.
     St. Cuthbert, d. 687.
     Bede, called "The Venerable Bede," b. 672, d. 735.
     Caedmon, the Saxon poet, died about 680.
     Mahomet, the Arabian. Prophet, b. 570, d. 632.

Principal events during the during the period described in this chapter:
     597. St. Augustine lands in Kent.
     626. Conversion of Northumbria.
     632. Death of Mahomet.
     636. Aidan settles in Holy Island.
     655. Battle of Windwid Field. Death of Penda.
     670. Oswy, King of Northumbria, dies.
     681. Wilfrid of York converts the South Saxons.
     685. Defeat and death of Egfrith of Northumbria at Nectansmere.
     687. Death of Cuthbert.
     732. Defeat of Saracens by Charles Martel at the battle of Tours.
     735. Death of the Venerable Bede.
     752. Battle of Burford, between Mercia and Wessex.
     787. First landing of the Danes in England.
     800. Egbert becomes King of Wessex. Charlemagne, King of the Franks, crowned Emperor of the West.
     823. Battle of Ellandune, between the Mercians and the West Saxons.
     827. Mercia and Northumbria subdued by Egbert. Egbert becomes "Overlord" of England.
     832. Danes land in Isle of Sheppey.
     835. Egbert defeats Danes at Hengestdown.

Gregory and the Angels. (Ch 4)

"Non Angli sed Angeli."

It is no longer to the British parts of the island that we must now turn our attention, but to the new Saxon kingdoms which were growing up in the south and west, and which were to become the foundation of modern England as we know it. The first to be noticed in point of time, though not in point of importance, is the little kingdom of Kent, in the south-eastern corner of the island.

The history of the kingdom of Kent, as we know it, is a very short one; but, though short, it has the greatest possible importance for our country. In a previous chapter we read that the Saxons, when they first became masters of England, were heathens, and that they worshipped gods named Woden, Thor, Freia; but the name of these gods is but a memory among us, and for centuries England has been a Christian land. We have now to read how it was that the pagan Saxons learnt the story of Jesus Christ, cast aside their old heathen religions, and became Christians. It is a very beautiful and interesting story, and it is well to tell it as nearly as possible in the very words of those who were living at the time when the change took place, and who wrote down what they saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears.

The Romans, as we know, had introduced Christianity into England, but with the departure of the Romans and the arrival of the Saxons and the other heathen tribes, the Roman churches were destroyed, and the Britons who had become Christians were put to death, or driven to take refuge in Wales or Ireland. England under its new masters once more became a heathen land. We shall learn how Christian teachers from Rome landed a second time in England, and a second time set to work to convert the heathen whom they found there.

In the city of Rome, about the year 580, there lived a great and good man named Gregory, a monk. One day Gregory was walking in the streets of Rome, and, as he walked, he came to the market-place where slaves were sold; for at that time, and for many hundreds of years afterwards, men, women, and children were often sold as slaves both in Rome and other places. Among the many slaves were some little children from that part of England which was then called "Deira," but which we now call "Yorkshire." They were fair-haired children, their faces were beautiful, and their skins were whiter than those of the little Roman children who had become browned with the heat of the warm sun of Italy.

When Gregory saw the little English children, he went up and asked from what country they came. He was told that they came from the island of Britain. Then he asked whether the people of Britain were heathens, or had become Christians. He was told that they were still heathens. When Gregory heard this, he gave a deep sigh. "Alas," said he, "what a pity that such beautiful children as these should come from a land where men have not yet learnt about Christ." Then he asked what was the name of the nation to which the children belonged. He was told that it was the nation of the Angles. "Rightly are they so called," said Gregory, "for they have the faces of angels."

Then Gregory made up his mind that the Angles should be taught the story of Christ, and after he became Pope (590), he looked about him to find the best man whom he could send over as a teacher or missionary. The person whom he chose was named Augustine, who now is often spoken of as Saint Augustine. Augustine lived in Rome, and had never been in England; but when he received the order from Gregory to go, he went at once.

The Story of Augustine. (Ch 4)

"My heart is inditing of a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made unto the King." Psalm xlv. i.

The story of Augustine, and how he came to England, is contained in a book written by an Englishman. The name of this Englishman is Bede, a truly good and pious man. He was not alive at the time when Augustine came over to England; he was not born until nearly a hundred years after Gregory had seen the little English children in the market-place in Rome. But Bede may easily have heard the story which he tells from those persons who really saw the things happen about which he wrote. This is the story as it is written by Bede, the Englishman.

At the time when Gregory sent Augustine to England, there was a king in that part of our country which we now call Kent. The name of this king was Aethelbert (560), and he had a wife named Bertha. Now Bertha came from the land of the Franks or, as we say now, from France, the land of the French. Aethelbert himself was a heathen, but Bertha was a Christian, and the king, her husband, allowed her to go to church and to keep her own religion.

If we look at the map of Kent, we shall see that in one corner of it there is a part which is called "The Isle of Thanet." It is in the Isle of Thanet that the towns of Margate, Ramsgate, and Broadstairs now are. In our own day the Isle of Thanet is a part of the county of Kent, but in the time of King Aethelbert it was really an isle, or an island, for there was a stream of water all round it, which separated it from the west of Kent. This stream, which was called the Wantsum, began near where the town of Sandwich now is, and ended near the place which is marked on the map as The Reculvers. It was possible in the time of Aethelbert to sail all the way from Sandwich to The Reculvers. Now there is no longer any stream there, but there is dry land instead.

It was in the island of Thanet that Augustine landed when he first came to England, more than thirteen hundred years ago. Before he landed, he sent a messenger to King Aethelbert to ask leave to come into his country. Perhaps the king would not have given him leave if it had not been that his wife Bertha was already a Christian. But Bertha, when she heard that Augustine was coming, was very pleased, and she persuaded the king to receive him kindly.

There is a place in the county of Kent called Ebbsfleet. It was here that Augustine, with forty companions, landed from the ship that brought him to England (597). He did not at once go to King Aethelbert, but he sent one of his friends to tell the king that he had brought him a most joyful message, and that he had come to tell him about the true and living God.

When the king got the message, he made up his mind that he would go and hear what Augustine had to tell him. He went to the Isle of Thanet, and sent for Augustine. He sat on a chair in the open air when Augustine came. He would not go inside a house, for he did not understand what this new teacher had come to tell him, and he feared that there might be some plan to do him harm or to kill him; he would, therefore, only let Augustine speak to him out of doors. Then Augustine, and those who were with him, came before the king. As they came they sang and prayed, and then Augustine told the king about the new religion and about the story of Christ.

The king heard him in silence, and when Augustine had finished Aethelbert said, "Your words and your promises are very fair; but as they are new to us, and as we are not certain what they mean, I cannot agree with them now, nor can I give up the religion of my people . . . but because you have come to my kingdom from so far off, and because I believe that you really mean to say what is right and to do what is good, I will be kind to you, and will take care of you, and will let no one do you harm. If you can make people believe you, I will not prevent you."

Then the king told Augustine that he might stay in the city of Canterbury, which is in the county of Kent, and not very far off from where Augustine had landed. So Augustine and his followers went to the town of Canterbury, and there they built a church and lived for some time, teaching and preaching to the people.

Soon the people began to find out that the strangers were good men, and that they not only taught what was good, but that they lived good and honest lives. Then many of the people began to believe the words of Augustine, and to become Christians; and before very long Aethelbert himself became a Christian, like his wife Bertha; and in a few years all the English people in the kingdom of Aethelbert became Christians.

This is the story of the coming of Augustine to England, and of his teaching the religion of Christ to the English people. Canterbury was the first place in which a church was set up, and to this day a great cathedral stands in the city of Canterbury upon the place on which Augustine and his companions from Rome first taught the story of Christ thirteen hundred years ago.

King Edwin, and the Conversion of Northumbria. (Ch 4)

"It is reported that there was then such perfect peace in Britain, wheresoever the dominion of King Edwin extended, that a woman with her newborn babe might walk throughout the island, from sea to sea, without receiving any harm." -- Chronicle of the Venerable Bede.

We now pass from the history of the little kingdom of Kent to that of a larger and much more important division, namely, the kingdom of Northumbria, which stretched from the Humber to the Firth of Forth, and which has left its name in our own northern county of Northumberland. In the year 547 a Saxon chief of the name of Ida landed on the east coast and established the kingdom of Bernicia, which stretched from the Tees to the Firth of Forth. Forty-six years later (593), in the reign of Athelfrith, the kingdom of Bernicia was united with the Saxon kingdom of Deira the modern Yorkshire under the name of the Kingdom of Northumbria. Aethelfrith, King of Northumbria, was a heathen, and he was a great warrior. He led his armies against the Britons, who still maintained themselves in the north of Britain; he destroyed their churches and killed their priests.

A story still remains of how he besieged the last army of the Britons in the fortress of Chester (607), and how, in the massacre that followed his victory, two thousand monks, fighting to the last on behalf of their religion, were cut down without mercy. For the first time the Saxons had established their dominion from sea to sea. It seemed as if the cause of Thor and Woden were about to triumph finally over the cause of Christianity.

But only ten years before the capture of Chester, Aethelbert, King of Kent, had accepted the teaching of St. Augustine, and ere another twenty years had gone by the teaching of St. Augustine was acknowledged by the successor of Aethelfrith -- Edwin, the great King of Northumbria.

In the year 617 Aethelfrith died, and was succeeded by his brother-in-law, Edwin. A tie of marriage now united the kingdoms of Kent and Northumbria. King Edwin married Aethelburga, the daughter of Aethelbert, King of Kent. It was Bertha, the wife of King Aethelbert, who persuaded her husband to send for Augustine. In like manner, Aethelburga, who, like Bertha, was a Christian, now persuaded King Edwin to send for a teacher who could tell him about the new religion. The teacher whom Edwin sent for was called Paulinus, a friend and follower of Augustine. Paulinus came and preached to the king and his counsellors. Bede, who has given us the account of the coming of Augustine, has also told us the story of how Paulinus came to the court of King Edwin, and how the heathen King of Northumbria accepted the new religion.

At the court of King Edwin there was a certain man called Coifi, who was high in favour with the king, and was the high priest of the country. When the high priest had heard what Paulinus had to tell, he learnt that the gods in whom he had believed were false gods. He went to King Edwin, and said to him, "O King, I advise you at once to give up your false gods; and I advise you, in order to show that you do not believe in them any longer, to break the idols which stand in the temples, and to burn the temples."

Then Edwin said that he would do as he was asked. "But who," said King Edwin, "is the right person to break the idols and burn the temples?" Then the high priest said to the king, "There can be no person more fit to do this thing than I myself."

Then Coifi mounted on a horse and fastened on a sword, and took a spear and threw it against one of the temples. This was to show that he no longer believed in the idol; for, up to that time, no one had been allowed to wear a sword or carry a spear when they went near a temple. Then he set fire to the temples and threw down the idols and broke them. And thus it was that Paulinus led Edwin to give up idols and to believe in Christ (626).

For a time the people of Northumbria became Christians; but the greater part of England still remained heathen.

The Conversion of Mercia; or the Story of Aidan and Cuthbert. (Ch 4)

"The same year that King Egfrid departed this life (685) he promoted to the bishopric of the Church of Lindisfarne, the holy and venerable Cuthbert, who had for many years led a solitary life in great continence of body and mind, in a very small island called Farne, distant about nine miles from that same Church, in the Ocean." -- Chronicle of the Venerable Bede.

Among the parts which had not yet been reached by Christianity was the great central kingdom of Mercia, of which it is now time to speak. Mercia, the kingdom of the March, or Border, had been founded by the Anglian tribes in the sixth century, about the time when Aethelbert was reigning in Kent. The name tells us that when the Mercian kingdoms were first set up, the Britons were still in full possession of the centre of England; for the men of the March were those who lived on the borders of a hostile country. At the date we have now reached, however (626), the Mercians were spreading over the whole of the Midlands, and occupied the country which now comprises the counties of Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Warwickshire, Herefordshire, and some other counties. Under a king named Penda, the Mercians had now become very powerful, and, free from all alarm on the side of the Britons, they turned upon their kindred in the North, and invaded Northumbria. Edwin of Northumbria, of whose conversion by Paulinus we have just read, was killed in battle (633), and his people, deprived of his example and encouragement, went back again for a time to their old heathen beliefs, which, indeed, many of them had given up only in name, and in obedience to the orders of the king.

Fortunately, Christian teachers of even greater power and influence than Paulinus came to the rescue of Northumbria in these dark times. The names of Aidan and Cuthbert will always be memorable in the history of Christianity in the North of England. Both of them have received the title of Saint, and many churches to this day preserve the names of St. Aidan and of St. Cuthbert.

The life of St. Aidan has been written, and it is certain that few people did more than he to convert the people of our country to Christianity -- as much, perhaps, as St. Augustine. Earnest and sincere, he moved those with whom he had to do as much by the beauty and goodness of his life as by his preaching. We can judge what sort of man he was from the pupils whom he taught.

Among these pupils was Oswald, King of Northumbria, who had succeeded Edwin in 635. In his youth, Oswald had been driven out of his country by King Edwin and had sought refuge in Scotland. There he had found his way to the lonely cell of Columba, an Irish Christian, who, having escaped from persecution in his own country, had found refuge in the little rocky island of lona, off the coast of Argyllshire. Columba had gathered round him other missionaries like himself, and it is clear that Oswald never forgot what he saw and learnt during his visit to lona.

After he became king, he sent to Columba and begged him to choose one of his monks to come and teach the people of Northumbria and to bring them back, if possible, to the Christian religion which they had forsaken. Aidan was chosen for the task. He came southward, and following the example of his master Columba, settled on the little island of Lindisfarne, or Holy Isle, just off the Northumberland coast. Thence he passed through Northumbria teaching and preaching, and under his influence both Northumbria and its king learnt to understand and believe in his message.

Oswald himself became a pupil of Aidan, and an active helper in his work. Coming from a far-off country, the preacher could only speak the language of the Scots, among whom he had lived. But Oswald, too, had been among the Scots and knew their language. He offered his services to Aidan as interpreter, and as Aidan preached, the King translated into a language which the people could understand. "It was delightful," says Bede, who wrote the life of Aidan, "to see the King helping the preacher."

Under the wise guidance of the new teachers Oswald's reign prospered, and Northumbria recovered from the defeat and death of Edwin. But as long as Penda, the fierce heathen King of Mercia, lived, there was no real safety for Northumbria, nor, indeed, for any Christian kingdom in England.

East Anglia (now the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk) had become Christian. Penda marched into the land of the East Angles and slew their king. Oswald hastened to the rescue, but in his turn was defeated and killed in the battle which took place between the Northumbrians and the Mercians (642). Once more Northumbria was overrun by the Mercians, but once again under its new king, Oswy, it regained strength, till at last fortune turned in favour of the Christian army, and the Mercians were defeated, with terrible loss, in the battle of Winwid Field, near Leeds (655). Penda himself fell in the battle. Enough is known about him to show that he was really a great man, and his name still lives in more than one English place name.

The work of Aidan was continued by Cuthbert, who also lived at Lindisfarne, or Holy Isle. As a teacher and preacher, his fame was even greater than that of Aidan, and the stories of his goodness and of the wonderful things which he did have come down to us from the time in which he lived. He died in the year 687, and was buried at Dunelm (now called Durham), where the stately cathedral church of St. Cuthbert still commemorates the life and work of the great Northumbrian teacher.


Offa, King of Mercia, and the Rise of the West Saxons (Ch 4)

"I, Offa, King of the Mercians, have sealed with the seal of the Cross, this my aforesaid gift." -- From a Charter of grant of land, by King Offa to the Church of St. Andrew, Rochester.

We must now leave Northumbria, and return for a while to the Midland kingdom. Northumbria never recovered its full power after the death of King Oswy (670), and as its influence declined, that of Mercia grew. Wulfhere, a Christian, a son of Penda, became king. Under his leadership the Northumbrians were defeated, and Mercia was freed from the authority of the Northumbrian king who had claimed the right to interfere with its government ever since the death of Penda. Wulfhere extended his kingdom to the south and west, and Mercia took without dispute the first place among the English kingdoms. While the fortunes of Mercia grew brighter, those of Northumbria faded. In the year 685, Egfrith, King of Northumbria, marched against his Northern enemies, the Picts in Scotland, but in a terrible battle at Nectansmere, in what is now the county of Fife, he was slain, and his army destroyed. Thus ended the once powerful Northumbrian kingdom.

For a hundred and sixty years Mercia remained the first among the English kingdoms under its kings, of whom the greatest were Aethelbald and Offa. Offa, King of the Mercians, has been dead and buried for hundreds of years: but though he has been dead so long, his name is not yet forgotten in England, and this is how it came to be remembered.

When Offa was King of Mercia, he fought a great many battles with the Welsh. Sometimes he marched with his army into Wales, and sometimes the Welsh, in their turn, marched into his country. At last Offa made up his mind that the Welsh should come into his country no longer, and, in order to keep them out, he set his people to work to dig a long ditch and to build a wall of earth between his own kingdom of Mercia and Wales.

This long ditch stretched all the way from the River Dee, which is in the county of Cheshire, to the River Wye, which runs into the mouth of the Severn, in the county of Monmouth.

The great ditch was called "Offa's Dyke" or "Offa's Ditch." Years went by. Offa himself died and his kingdom disappeared; but to this day part of the work which he did still remains. There are places where the ditch and the wall of earth can still be seen, and English people living in Shropshire or in Herefordshire at this very day can walk along the bank which Offa, King of the Mercians, built, and which bears his name.

The fame of King Offa was known not only in his own country but on the continent of Europe, and he appears to have been treated as an equal in rank by Charles, King of the Franks, who is generally known in history as Charlemagne, and who was at that time at the height of his power in his great kingdom, which extended over half of France and half of Germany. But on Offa's death the power of Mercia soon came to an end, for in 823, Beornwulf was defeated in battle by a new enemy, Egbert, King of the West Saxons, who only two or three years later won another victory over the Mercians under Wiglaf.

We must look once more upon the map to see where the kingdom of the West Saxons lay. It is the fourth of the Saxon kingdoms whose fortunes we have had to follow, and its history is of special importance because it is from Wessex that there came at last a king who was to unite all the English kingdoms under his rule.

It must not be supposed that the kingdom of Wessex suddenly sprang into existence at the time of King Wiglaf of Mercia. Wessex, or the kingdom of the West Saxons, had, indeed, been founded three hundred and six years before in the year 519 by a king of the name of Cerdic, and several kings had succeeded Cerdic during the two hundred and sixty-six years between his death (534) and the days of Egbert. Of these West Saxon kings some record still remains to us. The most famous of them was Ine, who reigned from 688 to 726, and who drew up a code of laws for the West Saxons of which a copy still exists. He died 728.


It was in the year 800 that Egbert became King of Wessex. His life before he became king had been one of misfortune, for he had been exiled from his country, and compelled to take refuge at the court of Offa, King of Mercia. Thence he had been compelled to fly a second time to the Continent, where he put himself under the protection of Charles the Great, King of the Franks. At that time Charles was engaged in conquering the Frankish and German kingdoms, which he at length formed into one great kingdom or empire. Perhaps Egbert was moved by the example of Charlemagne, for no sooner had he come to the throne of Wessex than he set to work to win over or subdue the other kings of England, and to make himself master of the whole country.

He first fought against the kings of Kent, Essex, and Sussex, and joined their kingdoms to his own. He then turned his arms against Mercia, which he compelled to submit to him after the Mercians had been defeated at the great battle of Ellandune, in Wiltshire (823). In the west he conquered the district now known as the county of Devon, and added it to Wessex. The Britons, or Welsh, as the Saxons called them, were driven into Cornwall and the river Tamar was fixed as their boundary.

There now only remained the kingdom of Northumbria outside the dominion of Egbert; but Northumbria was no longer strong enough to fight against so powerful an enemy as the King of Wessex, and the Northumbrians, of their own accord, submitted to Egbert, who thus became the first king or "Overlord" of all England (827).

Chapter 5. The Northmen 837-871.

Famous persons who lived during the period described in this chapter:
     Aethelwulf, King of Wessex, son of Egbert, d. 858.
     Aethelbald, King of Wessex, son of Aethulwulf, d. 860.
     Aethelbert, King of Wessex, son of Aethelwulf, d. 866.
     Alfred, son of Aethelwulf, b. 849, afterwards, King of Wessex
     Swithin (St. Swithin), Bishop of Winchester, d. 861
     Hasting, a Danish chief.
     Ruric, a Danish chief, d. 879.

[The name Welsh means "foreigner."]

Principal events during the during the period described in this chapter:
     841. The Danes under Hasting, land in Normandy.
     849. King Alfred born.
     851. The Danes capture and pillage Canterbury and London. Battle at Ockley, Surrey.
     855. Alfred visits Rome.
     858. Death of Aethelwulf.
     860. Death of Aethelbald. The Danes attack Winchester.
     861. Death of Swithin, Bishop of Winchester.
     861. Ruric, the Dane, lands in Russia, and founds the ancient Royal family of Russia.
     866. Death of Aethelbert.
     867. The Danes take York, and conquer Northumbria.
     868. Aethelred and Alfred make peace with the Danes at Nottingham.
     870. The Danes kill Edmund (St. Edmund), King of East Anglia.
     871. The Danes defeated at Ashdown. Death of Aethelred.

The Coming of the Danes. (Ch 5)

"When Denmark's raven soar'd on high
Triumphant through Northumbria's sky

And the broad shadow of her wing
Blacken'd each cataract and spring."
-- Scott: "Rokeby," canto iv.

We have just read above how Egbert, King of Wessex, became master of the other English kingdoms; but the rule of Wessex was not long to remain undisputed, and the Saxons who had so long fought among themselves, were now to be brought face to face with a common enemy, who threatened to treat them as their ancestors three hundred and seventy years before had treated the Britons.

These new enemies were the Danes, a people whose name from this time forward becomes very closely connected with the history of England. The peninsula of Denmark stands out from the northern coast of Europe; its most northern point is on a level with the city of Aberdeen, and its western shore can be reached in thirty-six hours' steaming from the mouth of the Tyne.

The Danes of our day are a sturdy and industrious people, not unlike Englishmen in appearance, and speaking a Scandinavian language which is not altogether unlike the language of the Eastern Lowlands of Scotland.

It was this land of Denmark that gave its name to the new invaders who appeared in England in the time of King Egbert. But it was not from Denmark only nor, indeed, principally that the Danes came. Many of them came from further north from the Fjords of the wild Norwegian coast and hence, in the histories of the time, we constantly find them spoken of as the Northmen. The Northmen, or Danes, were great sailors. The country in which they lived was wild and bare, and it is not wonderful that they longed to sail over the sea to some richer land than their own. They were a cruel but brave people, fierce in war and eager for plunder.

Each year parties of them sailed further and further from home, and it was not long before some of their ships reached the coast of England (787). They first appeared in Northumbria, in the reign of Aethelred (794), and from that time forward their visits continued during many years.


They soon found that England was a richer and pleasanter country than their own, and their first thought when they landed was to kill the English, to take from them all they possessed, and to sail back again with the plunder they had taken. Ship after ship sailed across the sea, and soon the English began to know too well the vessels of their terrible enemies. When they saw the Danish ships coming they fled from their homes into the woods, or took refuge in some strong town.

Soon the Danes began to act on a new plan. They no longer came only to plunder and to sail away again, but they stopped in England and made their homes there. Their Long-ships sailed into all the rivers on the east side of England; and when the Northmen had landed, they built forts to protect themselves, and marched against the English, destroying their towns, killing all who could not escape, and taking cattle and everything of value they could find.

It must have been a terrible sight for the English to see the Danish "Long-ships," or "Keels" as they came up into the river-mouth. At the front of each great ship was a tall prow, which was often made into the figure of a dragon or of some other fierce animal. On the mast was spread a broad painted sail, which swelled with the east wind as the ship swept through the water. If the wind blew off the land, the ship was driven forward by the long rows of oars on either side, worked by the strong arms of fifty rowers. On the outside hung the bright shields of the Danes, and in the ship itself could be seen the fierce Northmen armed with their heavy axes and spears, and with their standards in their midst. The standards themselves seemed to tell of the fierce, cruel men who bore them. Sometimes they were in the form of a raven or an eagle, sometimes of a serpent or dragon, sometimes of a bear or wolf. No wonder that the fear of the Danes was great, and that the news of their coming spread terror through the land.

Nor was it only to England that the Danes came. Some of them sailed to the north, round the coasts of Scotland, till they came to Ireland. Others sailed away to the south until they came to France. There they landed and set up a kingdom of their own.

We must not forget about these Northmen who sailed to the south and landed in France, because we shall read about them again further on. When we come to them, we shall find they are called, not Northmen, but Normans; and when we read the story of the Normans, we must remember who they were and where they came from.

But the Northmen of whom we are now to read are those who came to England, not those who went to France. It was in the time of King Egbert that the Danes or Northmen began to come to the south of England; but it was not till the time of Egbert's son, Aethelwulf (837), that they came in great numbers. It was in his day that the Danes sailed up the River Thames and plundered London (851). This was a great blow to the English, and they determined to try and get rid of their terrible enemies once for all. King Aethelwulf marched against them with a large army, and a fierce battle was fought at a place called Ockley, in Surrey. The Danes were beaten, and for a time it seemed as if England would be freed from them.

But, alas! this was not to be. More ships came across the sea; and this time the Danes found friends among the Welsh, who were only too glad to find some one to help them against their old enemies the English.

From this time, for more than a hundred years, the history of England is full of stories of battles with the Danes and of accounts of the misery and suffering of the people of England. It seems strange that Danes and English should have been such bitter enemies, for really they belonged almost to the same people. They both came from the northern part of Europe, and the Danes spoke a language not very unlike that which was spoken by the English.

But, by the time of King Aethelwulf, the English were very different from what they had been when their forefathers first landed in England. They were Christians, and, moreover, had ceased to be wandering tribes. They had become rich and settled, and had already learnt to make good laws and to live at peace among each other.

But the Northmen who now came over the sea were still heathen. They cared for no laws, they wandered from place to place in search of plunder, and they knew neither pity nor justice. So great was the terror of the Danes among the English, that it became the custom to put into the prayers which were offered up in the churches this prayer: "From the fury of the Northmen, good Lord deliver us."

Chapter 6. The Reign of King Alfred 871-901.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of King Alfred:
     Alfred, son of Aethelwulf, b. 849, became king 871, d. 901.
     Alcswith, wife of Alfred, m. 868.
     Guthrum, a Danish chief, d. 890.
     Hasting, a Danish chief.
     Aethelred, alderman of Mercia.
     Aethelfieda ("The Lady of the Mercians"), daughter of Alfred, wife of Aethelred.
     Charles III., "The Fat," King of France, d. 888.
     Charles IV., "The Simple," King of France.
     Asser, the historian of King Alfred.
     Rollo, a Danish leader, afterwards Duke of Normandy.

Principal events during the during the period described in this chapter:
     871. Alfred becomes king of Wessex.
     876. Rollo captures Rouen.
     879. Peace of Wedmore.
     897. Alfred builds a navy.
     901. Death of Alfred.

Alfred, the "Truth-Teller." (Ch 6)

"In the whole of the kingdom the poor, beside him, had few or no protectors."
"So long as I have lived I have striven to live worthily. I desire to leave the men who come after me a remembrance of me in good works."
-- Asser: "Life of Alfred."

Now that we know something of this terrible people, we must go back to the story of the English, and learn how a great Englishman arose who saved his country in a time of trouble, and who prevented the Danes from becoming masters of the whole of England.

The name of this great Englishman is Alfred.

King Alfred (871) was the youngest son of Aethelwulf, King of Wessex. He was born in the year 849, which is over a thousand years ago. When he was young, no one ever thought that he would become king, for his three brothers all had a right to come to the throne before him. But it so happened that though each of his three brothers became king in turn, each of them died a very short time after he had come to the throne. And so, after all, Alfred became King of the West Saxons.

We must remember that Egbert, King of the West Saxons, who was Alfred's grandfather, had made himself king over very nearly the whole of England; but between the time when Egbert was king, and the time when Alfred came to the throne, there had been a great change; for it was during this time that the Danes had begun to come in large numbers into England. They had become so powerful and so numerous, that Alfred, when he came to the throne, instead of being a powerful king like his grandfather Egbert, had for many years to fight hard for his own life, and to protect his own kingdom of Wessex. We shall see how bravely he fought, and how in the end he gained a great victory.

But before we come to the story of Alfred's success, we must learn something about his early days, and how it was that he overcame the difficulties and dangers by which he and his country were surrounded, and became at last victorious. It is truly said that "the boy is father to the man"; and in order to understand the character of any man or woman, it is necessary to know something of how their character was formed in youth.

Fortunately we know far more about the early years of King Alfred than we do about those of any of the Saxon kings before his time. Although he lived more than a thousand years ago, books were written in his time which tell us truly what he did, what he said, and what he learnt. Some of these books were written by the hand of Alfred himself, for he was a great scholar in times when scholarship was rare. It seems strange nowadays to think that any grown-up person, especially such a person as a king, should not be able to read and write easily, but in the days of King Alfred very few could read or write; and there have even been kings of England at a much later time who, though they were great soldiers and men of much ability, could not write their own names. But Alfred learnt to read and write when he was quite young, and was always a great lover of books.

Alfred also learnt as he grew up many other useful things. He had a tutor who taught him to read books. This tutor's name was Swithin, the Bishop of Winchester. The name of Swithin, or St. Swithin, still sounds very familiar in our ears. The 15th day of July is called "St. Swithin's Day" and there is a saying that if it rains on St. Swithin's Day, there will be forty wet days to follow. There are probably few people who talk of St. Swithin nowadays who know that he was a real person, and was the tutor who taught King Alfred when he was a young man.

But Swithin taught his pupil other things which were more useful to him than book-learning. He taught him to be true and just in all his dealings, to love what was right, and to speak the truth. There is one name by which Alfred was called both by his friends and his enemies. It is a name which should not be forgotten, for it was one of the greatest and most honourable names that could be given to a king or to any other man. He was called "Alfred the Truth-Teller."

In many other ways besides those which have been mentioned, Alfred fitted himself for the battle of life while he was young. There is a proverb which tells us that "home-keeping youths have ever homely wits," and undoubtedly those who stay at home and never travel will learn little of what is going on in the world, and are sometimes very ignorant. Travel is always good for those who know how to travel wisely, and a knowledge of how other people live, and of what is going on in foreign countries, is useful to anyone, especially to one who has to be a king.

When he was quite young, Alfred travelled on the Continent. He visited France, where he met many learned and wise men, and where he learnt much which was afterwards of value to him. He was skilled in various accomplishments. We have already seen that he loved to read and write, and knew Latin well. He was fond of music, and learnt to play upon the harp. Nor did he forget to learn those things which strengthened his body as well as those which improved, strengthened, and instructed his mind. He practised shooting with the bow, he learnt how to use the sword, how to ride, and how to hunt. In such stormy times of war and danger as those in which Alfred lived, it was, above all, necessary that the king should be brave and active, a warrior able to lead his people in battle. A master of all these accomplishments, Alfred grew up strong, brave, and wise, and in every way fitted to be a king.

Alfred's Defeats and Victories. (Ch 6)

"The darkest hour comes before the dawn."

It was fortunate that Alfred had learnt the work of a soldier while he was still young, for it was not long before he had plenty of fighting to do. Before he reached the age of twenty-two his three elder brothers, Aethelbald, Aethelbert and Aethelred, had died, and Alfred was called to the throne of Wessex. It seemed, indeed, a misfortune for the West Saxons that at the time when a great and growing danger threatened them, their king should be little more than a boy. For indeed the time was one of great peril.

The Danes, who for a while had been beaten back, began to come over in larger numbers than ever. Their Long-ships sailed into every river along the east coast of England, and into many harbours on the south coast. They made themselves masters of Northumbria and Mercia, and Alfred had not been king more than a month when they marched against his own kingdom of Wessex. It seemed as if all England would fall into the power of the Danes. Alfred, alone with the people of Wessex, was left to fight against them.

Many battles were fought. Sometimes Alfred was victorious, sometimes the Danes were victorious. But at last the Danes became so numerous that Alfred's soldiers no longer dared to face them, and they either fled or made submission to the Danish chiefs. Alfred, deserted by his army, was forced to take refuge in flight from his fierce enemies.

For a long time he lived with a few of his most faithful followers in the marshes near Athelney, in Somerset. At last, in order to escape being taken and killed by the Danes, he was obliged to dress himself up as a peasant, and to serve a shepherd who lived in a little hut among the marshes of Athelney.

It is at this period of Alfred's life that the famous story is told of King Alfred and the cakes. The shepherd's wife little suspected who the forsaken stranger that did the humble work of the homestead really was. One day she bade the king watch a batch of cakes that were being cooked before the fire. He was to be sure not to forget to turn them from time to time, so that they might not become burnt. But Alfred's thoughts were far away. He was shaping a bow, and thinking of the day when he might once more lead his West Saxons into battle. The shepherd's wife returned, and finding her precious cakes burned and spoiled, gave her unhappy servant a sound rating and a beating for his negligence. To such a strait had the king been brought.

It seemed as if all hope of Alfred ever regaining his throne were gone, but better days were in store. While the king was hiding in the shepherd's hut, the Danes advanced into Devonshire, the next county to Somerset. The Devonshire men met them and beat them. When Alfred heard that the Devonshire men had been victorious, he came out of his hiding-place, and calling together his friends, he once more put himself at the head of the people of Wessex,

Many fierce battles were again fought between the English and the Danes, and with varying fortune. One great battle was fought near Uffington, in Berkshire. The English won the day, and when the fight was over, Alfred's soldiers thought they would make some mark which for ever afterwards would remind people of the battle.

The hills near Uffington are made of white chalk, and on top of the chalk there is fine, short green grass. The soldiers drew out upon the grass the figure of a great horse. Then they cut away all the turf up to the edge of the figure of the horse, so that the white chalk underneath showed through. In this way they made a big white picture of a horse, which could be seen upon the hillside from a long way off. It is now a thousand years since Alfred's soldiers first cut the white horse in the turf after their battle with the Danes. But ever since that time the white horse has been taken care of, and the grass has been kept from growing over it, so that it is still white and clear. And now in our own day, as we travel by train from London to Exeter, if we look out of the window between Didcot and Swindon,we can still see the "white horse" high up on the hillside. The valley below is called the "Vale of White Horse" up to this very day.

At length, both sides, weary of the strife, agreed to make peace. The Danes on their part promised to leave Alfred in undisturbed possession of his kingdom of Wessex, while the king on his side gave up the greater portion of England north of the Ouse to the new-comers. Guthrum, the principal Danish chieftain, was baptised and became a Christian. A Saxon chief or Alderman, [or Elderman] named Aethelred, who had married Alfred's daughter, whose name was Aethelfleda, was made governor of the southern part of Mercia. [This arrangement was called the "Peace of Wedmore."]

England's First Navy, and the Work and Wisdom of King Alfred. (Ch 6)

"This year died Alfred, the son of Aethelwulf, six days before the Mass of All Saints. He was King over the whole English nations, except that part which was under the dominion of the Danes; and he held the kingdom one year and a half less than thirty years." --"Anglo-Saxon Chronicle."

But it was a bad plan to trust the Danes; their promises were only made to be broken. Moreover, the fresh invaders who kept coming over the sea cared nothing for the promise which had been made by those of their countrymen who were already in England, and they altogether refused to be bound by them. It was not long, therefore, before war broke out again. The Danish fleet sailed down the Channel and came up the river Exe as far as Exeter. They were there defeated; but the victorious Saxons could profit little by their victory, for the enemy, retiring to his ships, sailed away and was safe.

Alfred was not slow to learn the lesson which was thus taught him. He perceived that as long as the Danes were masters of the sea, there was no hope of ending the war, for the long-ships of the enemy could always move from point to point by sea more rapidly than his own armies could move by land. Moreover, if the Saxon troops arrived in time to prevent a landing, or to defeat an invading force as they had done at Exeter, they were quite powerless to prevent their enemies from taking to sea again and landing at some other point of the coast to burn and pillage. It was plain to Alfred that, in order to succeed, he must fight the Danes with their own weapons.

Eleven centuries before, in the long wars between the Romans and the Carthaginians, the Romans, whose armies were invincible on land, found themselves at the mercy of an enemy whom they despised, but whose fleets, nevertheless, commanded the sea. The Romans were no sailors, but they determined that they would have a fleet. Hundreds of galleys were commenced, and while the ships were being built, the crews, seated on benches, practised on land the art of rowing, and the methods of fighting which they were to put into force as soon as they went to sea. Their efforts were rewarded. The Carthaginian fleets were driven from the Roman coasts, the Romans pursued the Carthaginians to their own city, defeated them by sea and by land, and destroyed the city of Carthage itself.

It may be that King Alfred remembered the history of the Roman fleet, for we have seen that he was a Latin scholar; but, be that as it may, he followed the Roman example. Ships were built, sailors were trained, and the Danes for the first time were beaten on the water. They could no longer disappear without fear of being followed, or move with greater rapidity than the Saxons. For the first time in our history an English fleet was master of the English Channel, and as long as it remained master of the Channel, England was safe from an attack. What was true a thousand years ago has been true at all times in our history, and is true at this day. It may be indeed said that Alfred was the first ruler of England who learnt and put into practice the truth that the safety of England depends upon her fleet, and that the real protectors of our country are our sailors.

Hitherto we have spoken of Alfred's reign as one of war and fighting only. But it would be a great mistake to suppose that Alfred was nothing more than a great soldier. While it was his first duty to protect his people, he never forgot the duties of peace-time. He drew up a code of laws, and, what was even more important, he caused the laws to be plainly written down, so that those who had to obey them might know what they were. He invited to his Court wise and learned men from other countries, from Paris and from Rome, and he used their knowledge for the benefit of his people. To him we owe the beginning of what may be called the first history of England, the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a work which was commenced at this time, and which, happily, still exists, and is the source from which we learn most of what is known of the events which took place in the later Anglo-Saxon times.

Alfred himself was active in good works. He was the author of various books, he wrote poetry, he translated famous Latin books into English, he began a translation of the Bible, which, however, was never finished. Diligent in his work, he was unwilling to waste the time he found too short for what he had to do. To measure the hours appointed for each task he set himself, he caused a candle to be made to tell him the time in a day when watches and clocks were unknown. The candle, we are told, was made in different colours or bands, dividing it into equal parts, and in every hour, one such part was burnt away, and thus the king noted the passing of the hours. Such are some of the stories which have come down to us of this great king. We know enough of him and his life to be sure that the honour in which he was held by those of his own day was not misplaced, and that the title which was given to him in later days was one which truly described him, and that men had reason to speak of him as "Alfred the Great." Other titles he also bore which, perhaps, tell us even more of his greatness, and of the reasons why he was beloved. We still speak of him as "Alfred the Great," but his people also spoke of him as "Alfred England's Comfort," and "Alfred the Truth-teller."

He died at Winchester, the capital city of his kingdom of Wessex, in the year 901, at the age of 52.

Chapter 7. The English Kings from Edward "The Elder" to Edward "The Martyr" 901-979.

Famous persons who lived during the period described in this chapter:
     Edward the Elder, son of Alfred, became King of the English 901, d. 925.
     Athelstan, son of Edward the Elder, became King of the English 925, d. 940.
     Edmund I., brother of Athelstan, son of Edward the Elder, became King of the English 940, d. 946.
     Edred, brother of Edmund, son of Edward the Elder, became King of the English 946, d. 955.
     Edwy, son of Edmund, became King of the English 955, d. 959.
     Elgiva, wife of Edwy.
     Edgar, brother of Edwy, son of Edmund, became King of England 959, d. 975
     Aelfleda, first wife of Edgar, mother of Edward
     Aelfrida, second wife of Edgar, mother of Aethelred.
     Edward ("The Martyr") son of Edgar, became King 975, murdered, 979.
     Aethelfleda ("Lady of the Mercians"), daughter of Alfred, wife of Aethelred, of Mercia, 919.
     Charles IV. ("The Simple"), King of France.
     Rollo, Duke of Normandy (under the title of Robert).
     Henry I. ("Henry the Fowler"), Emperor of Germany, b 876, d. 936
     Dunstan, Archbishop of Canterbury, b. 925.

Principal events during the during the period described in this chapter:
     911. Edward defeats the Danes.
     Rollo becomes Duke of Normandy, and is baptised at Rouen.
     917. Aethelfleda takes Derby from the Danes.
     925. Death of Edward the Elder. Landing of the Danes in Ireland.
     926. The Margravate of Brandenburg, afterwards the kingdom of Prussia, founded by "Heny the Fowler."
     937. Battle of Brunanburgh.
     940. Death of Athelstan.
     943. Dunstan made Abbot of Glastonbury.
     946. Murder of Edmund.
     955. Death of Edred.
     956. Banishment ot Dunstan.
     959. Death of Edwy.
     961. Dunstan made Archbishop of Canterbury.
     963. Edgar invades Wales.
     979. Death of Edward "the Martyr."

Edward the Elder -- The Normans in France (Ch 7)

". . . the same forces which merged the Dane in the Englishman told even more powerfully on the Dane in France. No race has ever shewn a greater power of absorbing all the nobler characteristics of the people with whom they came in contact, or of infusing their own energy into them." -- Green: "History of the English People."

On Alfred's death, his son Edward (901) came to the throne. Edward is known to us as Edward the Elder, and is so called to distinguish him from another King Edward, who lived a hundred and fifty years later, and whose history we shall read. Edward the Elder proved a worthy successor to his father. He continued the war against the Danes, and was frequently victorious. He received valuable aid from his sister, Aethelfleda, whose husband, Aethelred, the Alderman of the Mercians, was now dead, Aethelfleda soon became a well-known figure in the National War. Clad in armour, with a sword in her hand, and mounted on a white horse, she herself led the Mercian troops into battle. She was known to her people as "The Lady of the Mercians," and she bore herself as a worthy daughter of her father, King Alfred.

Not content with defeating the Danes in battle, Aethelfleda had the wisdom to guard against their return when lapse of time and help from across the sea should have made them strong enough to renew the attack. She built a line of castles and fortresses along the northern frontier of her Mercian kingdom, and provided regular garrisons, ready to take the field in case of war.

So successful were Edward and his sister in breaking the power of the Danes, that the latter, for the first time, began to settle down in the country which they had conquered, and to give up the thought of further invasion. The border of the country occupied by the Danes, which was known as the "Danelagh," was marked by the five principal towns or boroughs, as they were called, and which are now known as Lincoln, Derby, Leicester, Stamford, and Nottingham.

Freed for a time from the fear of Danish invasion, Edward the Elder turned his arms against the Welsh, the Scots, and against those parts of Strathclyde, and what had been formerly the kingdom of Northumbria, which still refused to admit his authority. On the death of Aethelfleda he added Mercia to his kingdom, and took the title of King, or Over-lord of England. In 925 Edward died, and was succeeded by his son Athelstan.

And here we must leave the history of England for a space, in order to follow the fortunes of those Danes whom Edward's victories and the terror of his arms had driven from our shores. It must not be supposed that because for a time the field of plunder was closed to them in England, the Northmen were content to stay in their own country. When they found that they could no longer land in England, and plunder and burn as they had been accustomed to do, they turned their boats to sea again, and sailed away to lands where conquest was easier and spoil more plentiful. Some, passing round the north coast of Scotland, reached the east coast of Ireland; others, sailing southward, landed on the north coast of France. We shall hear something more at a later stage of those who sailed to the north. Of those who sailed to the south, something must be said here.

At the head of these rovers was a chief named Rolf, known to his followers and in history as "Rolf the Ganger." The name of Rolf is still known in our day; in its commoner forms of Ralph or Rollo it is familiar to us. The story runs that Rolf the Ganger was so-called on account of his great stature; so tall was he, that when he rode on a horse his feet touched the ground on either side, and he was forced to gang, or "go on foot." From which story we may learn two things: in the first place, that the horses on which Rolf the Ganger and his comrades rode were very small ones more like ponies than horses. No doubt they were like the little Shetland ponies which children ride. These small horses are still commonly used in Norway, and we can well imagine Rolf's long legs touching the ground as he bestrode one of these tiny animals.

In the second place, we may learn that the language which these Northmen talked was not unlike the language which is still talked in some parts of England and Scotland.

A Yorkshire man or a Southern Scot still talks of "gang" and "ganging" instead of "go" and "going" and to them the name of Rolf the Ganger tells its own tale; and if we write it "Ralph the Goer" it seems very familiar to our English ears, even though it be the name of a fierce Danish chief who lived a thousand years ago.

But the reason why the course of the story of our English history has been interrupted to give an account of Rolf and his followers, is not that we may learn lessons from the name of "The Ganger," but in order that we may read in its proper place the story of an event which was, in years to come, to have a very great effect upon our history and upon the fortunes of England.

The Northmen who sailed with Rolf landed on the French shore of the English Channel, and there set to work to rob and plunder, as their comrades had so often done in England. Charles the Simple, the French king, did his best to drive them out, but was unsuccessful, and was at length compelled to follow the example of King Alfred, and to hand over to them a certain portion of his kingdom, as the price of peace, in order to save the remainder (911). The portion of France which was handed over to Rolf and his followers became known at a later day as "Normandy,"' or the country of the Normans or Northmen. Rolf received the title of Duke of Normandy, and fixed his capital in the town of Rouen. As Duke of Normandy, Rolf was supposed to rule only by leave of the King of France, but it soon became clear that the claim of authority made by Charles had little value.

The leader of the Northmen was summoned to Paris, and was bidden to kneel and kiss the foot of the French king, in token that he was ready to be true to him and to obey him as his chief. To have done so would only have been to follow the common example, for to kiss the foot of an Over-lord was an ordinary sign of obedience and submission. But the proud Norman already looked upon himself as the equal of the King of France. When he approached the throne, instead of stooping down to kiss the royal foot, he caught hold of the King's toes, and throwing him backwards, chair and all, exposed him to the ridicule of his own subjects, and to the scorn of the Normans.

But though the Normans first came into France as pirates, and conducted themselves as savage conquerors, supported by no power except the sword, they soon became a great deal more than either pirates or mere conquerors. Like the Danes in England, they settled down in the rich land they had made their new home. They learnt much from the French who surrounded them, and with their strong character and their bright wits they made the best use of what they learnt. They adopted the religion, and in a great part the speech of those whom they had conquered. They became a Christian people, and it is to them that France owes many of the splendid churches which are to be seen in Normandy to this day. They learnt to read and write, and some of them became famous as authors. They learnt to be expert workers in metal. The armour that they wore and the weapons with which they fought remain to this day as proofs of their skill. As architects and builders, their name became famous throughout the world; and to this day we speak of "Norman Architecture" to describe the style of building which they chose for their churches and for their fortresses.

Above all, they became a disciplined people, governed by strict laws, both in peace and in war. Accustomed to practise all military exercises, they learnt that victory was to be obtained as much by obedience and order as by valour and strength. When we meet with these Normans again in our history, we shall then find them no longer the fierce, uncivilised warriors who landed with Rolf in 876, but disciplined, well-trained soldiers, men skilled in all the learning of their day, law-makers, and statesmen, as fit to conquer as the followers of Rolf, and far more fit to rule.

The Victories of Athelstan (Ch 7)

"Here Athelstan, King,
Of Earls the Lord,
Of heroes the bracelet-giver
And his brother eke,
Edmund Etheling,
Livelong glory
In battle won
With edges of swords
Near Brumby." -- "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle," 937.

And now we must return to the course of events in England.

When we remember how completely the Danes seemed to have been defeated and subdued by Alfred and Edward the Elder, it seems strange to find that the greater part of Athelstan's reign was occupied in defending his kingdom from Danish invasion. But such was the fact. Many of the Danes had settled down among the English, had married English wives, and learnt the English tongue, but the emigration from Norway and Denmark was by no means yet over. We have already seen how some of the Northmen had found their way southwards, and had founded the Norman State in France. Others, afraid to land in England, had sailed round to Ireland, in the reign of King Edward, and had planted a colony at Dublin. And now, both from Norway itself and from Ireland, there came a fresh invasion, and England once more had to defend itself. The Welsh, suffering from their defeat in fighting Edward, joined the Danes; and among their countrymen already settled in England, the Danish invaders found allies.

Athelstan advanced against them, and at a great battle at Brunanburgh (937), of which the exact locality is unknown, gained a complete victory. Five of the Danish kings and seven of the great Danish chiefs, or Earls, [Our title of "Earl" is the same as the Danish "Jarl."] were killed in the battle.

The story of the fight may still be read in a long poem which was written at the time. The poem is not in English such as we speak now, but it is written in the Anglo-Saxon language, which was the language which the people of England talked in the time of King Athelstan.

The poem is made up of a number of very short lines, or verses, and no doubt it was sung by the harpers, who pleased the king and his soldiers by singing to them of their brave deeds, and of their great victory over the Danes. It tells us how fierce the fight was, how bravely the English fought, and how at last the Danes were beaten, and fled. The poem has been translated into English, and here is an extract from it:

There lay many a warrior
Slain by the spear;
There lay the Northmen
Shot over the tops of their shields.
And there were the Scots
Weary and sad;
The bands of West Saxons
All day long pursued
The hated strangers.
* * * *
The Northmen departed
In their nailed ships. *
* * * *
On the roaring ocean
O'er the deep water,
Dublin to seek;
And to Ireland again,
With minds full of shame.
* * *
Greater bloodshed
In this island
Has never been seen
Before this day
As the books tell us,
As the old writers say,
Since the time when there came here
The Angles and the Saxons
From the East,
Over the broad seas
To England.

* This means that the planks of which their ships were made were fastened together with nails.

Dunstan. (Ch 7)

"For Church and State."

Three years after the battle of Brunanburgh, Athelstan died, and was succeeded by his brother Edmund (940). Edmund was only eighteen years of age when he became king, and, encouraged by his youth, the Danes again renewed their attacks. But the new king showed himself not less courageous and successful than his brother, and defeated his enemies in several battles. Unfortunately, his reign was cut short in a tragic manner. A certain Liofa, well-known as an outlaw and a robber, was captured by order of the King, who spared his life and exiled him from the country.

After a few years had passed, Liofa returned, and finding his way to the English court, entered the great banqueting hall where Edmund was feasting. He had the boldness to walk up the hall and seat himself at the table. Indignant at the insult, Edmund ordered his servants to expel the intruder, and make him a prisoner. Liofa drew a dagger, and sought to defend himself, and the King, in a passion, caught the robber by the hair and threw him to the ground. But the outlaw, suddenly leaping to his feet, plunged his dagger into the King's heart. He was cut down and killed, but Edmund's wound was mortal. He died at the age of twenty-four, after a short and brilliant reign of six years. His brother Edred was chosen king in his place.

Edred (946) reigned a very short time; but his reign is memorable because during it we find the first mention of a very famous name -- that of Dunstan, who, without doubt, was for many years the greatest man in England. Dunstan was born near Glastonbury in the year 925; he became a priest at a very early age, and when only eighteen was made Abbot of Glastonbury. In our own day we are familiar with many of the great abbeys of England. Some of them, such as Fountains, Tintern, and Glastonbury itself, are in ruins; others, such as Westminster and Romsey, are still used as churches. At the time when Dunstan was appointed Abbot of Glastonbury, he was at the head of a body of monks who lived in the Monastery surrounding the Abbey. The monks were men who had agreed to live together and to obey certain rules; they promised never to marry, and they undertook to give up their lives to religion and good works. The Nunneries resembled the Monasteries, but were occupied by women who bore the name of nuns, and who were usually under the rule of an abbess. The name of Hilda, the Abbess of Whitby (657), is still remembered, both on account of the pious life and good works of its bearer, and on account of the great Abbey Church of St. Hilda, of which the ruins are to be seen on the cliff at Whitby to this day.

At the time when Dunstan lived, the monasteries were the centre of almost all the learning and education of the country, and the arts of reading and writing were chiefly known and practised by the monks and nuns. Many of the monks devoted themselves to good works, but many among them undoubtedly took a bad advantage of the safety which their religious position gave them and lived bad lives, doing harm rather than doing good.

King Edred, hearing of Dunstan and of the knowledge and ability which he showed, sent for him and made him his most trusted counsellor. The reign of Edred lasted for nine years, and that of his nephew Edwy, who succeeded him, lasted only three years. It was not till Edgar (959), Edwy's brother, came to the throne, that Dunstan became really powerful. Edwy had sent Dunstan away from the Court, but Edgar recalled him, and made him his chief adviser in all that he did.

We know enough of the life of Dunstan to be able to form some idea of what kind of a man he was. Like all other men, he was a mixture of good and evil, and certainly had many faults; but he was beyond doubt a wise and honest adviser to those who asked for his advice and followed it. He had two great ambitions -- the one to make England great and powerful; the other to make the Church, and all those who belonged to the Church, powerful and rich. He was a stern, harsh man, and always anxious to have his own way; to those who disagreed with him, he was rough and cruel. Such a man was sure to make enemies, and Dunstan made many; but he did much that was good, and his name has always been justly remembered as that of a great Englishman. He was made Archbishop of Canterbury by King Edgar, and he used his power in that high position to do all the good he could to the Church of which he was the head. As Abbot of Glastonbury, he had learnt that many of the monasteries were in very bad order, and that priests and monks were leading lives that brought shame upon the Church. He caused inquiry to be made, drove out the evil-doers, and put better men in their places. After his death men called him a saint, and many strange stories were told of the wonderful things he was said to have done while he was alive. The name of Dunstan is still to be found in many places in England, and there are no less than nineteen churches which are called "St. Dunstan's" after the great man of whom we have been reading.

In the middle of the busy streets of the city of London, in Fleet Street, there stands a church with a tall tower, which recalls the name of King Edgar's great Archbishop, for it is called the "Church of St. Dunstan"

Edgar. (Ch 7)

"Was no fleet so insolent,
No host so strong,
That in the English race
Took from him aught
The while the noble King
Reigned on his throne!"
-- Description of Edgar in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle."

With Dunstan's help, Edgar became a great king, and in his time there was peace in England. All the "Under-Kings" or chiefs, obeyed him, and were willing to serve him. There is a story told of the king which shows how powerful he was. It is said that Edgar was rowed in a boat on the River Dee, near Chester, and that every one of the eight rowers was himself an English, Scottish, or a Welsh king who had submitted to the great King of England.

There is another story told of King Edgar and his times which helps us to understand what a change has taken place in our country since his day. In his reign there were thousands of wolves in Wales, and they were so fierce, that at last Edgar determined to get rid of them. At that time the Welsh paid to the king a sum of money in the form of a tribute. Edgar sent to the Welsh and told them that for the future they need not pay any tribute in money, but that, instead, they must send him each year the heads of three hundred wolves. The Welsh obeyed, and many hundreds of wolves' heads were brought to the King. But though so many were killed, it is certain that very many must have been left alive; for there were plenty of wolves in Wales, and in England too, long after the days of King Edgar.

It seems strange to think of these savage animals running wild in our country. Now, the largest wild animal that eats other creatures which is left in England is the badger; and as there are very few badgers, and as the very few that are left generally take their walks between one and three o'clock in the morning, when most of us are in bed and asleep, not many people ever see a badger at all. It is true that there are other wild animals of the same kind still left, but they are even smaller than the badgers. There are the foxes; but if it were not that foxes were kept for hunting in some parts of the country, there would soon be no foxes left alive. There are also a few otters, and there are weasels and stoats, which are fierce little creatures. But the day has long gone by when Englishmen have anything to fear from any wild beast, such as the wild boars and the wolves, which were common in every part of the land in the time of King Edgar.

King Edgar died when he was thirty-two years old. He had been twice married. His first wife was called Aelfleda, and she had a son named Edward. Edgar's second wife was called Aelfrida, and she also had a son whose name was Aethelred. There was a division among the people as to which of the young princes should succeed to the throne, and two parties were formed. Dunstan took up the cause of Edward, who was only a boy of fourteen, and whom the great Archbishop could easily guide. But though Edward had succeeded in gaining the crown, his life was but a short one, and had a tragic ending. Jealous of her step-son, and longing to see her own boy Aethelred made king, Aelfrida plotted against the young king's life, and soon found means to carry out her plan. One day, as Edward was out hunting, he stopped, as he rode back from the hunt, at the door of Corfe Castle, in Dorsetshire, where his step mother lived. When Aelfrida heard that the king was at the door, she came out and begged him to dismount, and enter the castle. The king, however, refused to enter. No doubt he knew that his step-mother was jealous of him, and wished to do him an injury. He would only stop to drink a cup of wine, he said, and then ride on again. The wine was brought, but while the king was drinking, a man, paid by Aelfrida to do the deed, stabbed him in the back, and killed him. The people heard with regret of the murder of the young king, but Aelfrida rejoiced, because nothing now stood in the way of her own son Aethelred.

Aethelred now, in an unlucky hour for his country, ascended the throne. As for Aelfrida, she soon found that her crime had not brought her happiness. Overcome by remorse, she shut herself in a nunnery, and passed the rest of her life sorrowing over the wrong she had done.

Chapter 8. The Danish Conquest 979-1016.

Famous persons who lived during the period described in this chapter:
     Aethelred, "The Un-redy," son of Edgar and Aelfrida, became king 979, d. 1016.
     Aelflaed, first wife of Aethelred.
     Edmund "Ironside," son of Aethelred and Aeflaed, afterwards King of England, b. 989.
     Edward the "Confessor," son of Aethelred and Emma, afterwards, King of England, b. 1004.
     Sweyn, King of the Danes, d. 1014.
     Canute, King of Denmark, afterwards King of England.
     Richard II. ("The Good"), Duke of Normandy, 996.
     Emma, sister of Richard, Duke of Normandy, second wife of Aethelred, m. 1002.
     Hugh Capet, King of France, d. 996
     Edric Streona, an English chief.
     Alphege (St. Alphege), Archbishop of Canterbury, killed by the Danes 1012.

Principal events during the during the period described in this chapter:
     1002. Aethelred marries Emma of Normandy.
     November 13th St. Brice's Day; Massacre of the Danes in England.
     1006. The Danes overrun England.
     1011. Canterbury taken by the Danes.
     1012. Alphege murdered by the Danes.
     1013. Flight of Aethelred to Normandy.
     1013. Sweyn becomes King of England.
     1014. Death of Sweyn. Aethelred returns to England.
     1015. Canute, King of Denmark, lands in Dorsetshire.
     1016. Death of Aethelred.

Aethelred, "The Un-redy." (Ch 8)

"The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor." Proverbs xxviii. 16

The reign of Aethelred (979) was an unhappy one for England. Aethelred was called The "Unready." This name did not mean that the King was unpunctual, or that he was not ready to do things when they had to be done; it really meant something quite different. There is an Anglo-Saxon word "rede" which means "counsel," and Aethelred the "Unready" really meant Aethelred the Un-redy -- that is to say, a man who was not well counselled or well advised in what he did.

The very first thing which Aethelred did when he became king showed that he was indeed without "rede"; for he quarrelled with the wisest counsellor he had. This wise counsellor was Dunstan, who was soon obliged to leave the king's court and to go and live far away, to escape from his enemies, who were the young king's friends.

The wise old man saw that the king would bring misfortune upon his country, but he could do nothing to stop it. Dunstan died in the year 988, nine years after Aethelred had come to the throne; he was sixty-three years old when he died. Seven kings had reigned in England during his life, and he had been the friend and adviser of four of them.

Other people besides Dunstan soon saw that Aethelred was a weak man, and without counsel. Among the persons who saw this was Sweyn, King of the Danes. Sweyn, who was called by his people "Sweyn of the Forked Beard," or "Fork-beard," was a great and powerful king, and he longed to come over to England and win victories over the English, as so many other Danish kings had done before him. At last he persuaded Olaf, King of Norway, to join with him, and the two kings sailed together with their fleet into the River Thames.

The English in London fought bravely, but Aethelred was less brave than his people. He thought of a way of getting rid of the Danes which would save him the trouble of fighting them. He offered to pay them large sums of money if they would go away and leave England in peace. It soon became plain that this was very nearly the worst plan he could have chosen; the Danes found out that Aethelred was afraid of them, and when they knew that they could get money by coming over, they came again and again.

Ethelred now put a tax upon the English; each man had to pay so much a year towards the sum which was to be given to the Danes. This tax was called the "Dane-geld," or the "Dane Money." [The German word for money is still "geld."] Naturally enough, the Danes, as soon as they learnt that the Danegeld was ready for them, lost no time in coming over to get it. And thus matters became worse than when the English had shown a brave front to their enemies.

Once more Ethelred showed how "un-redy" he was, for he thought of a new plan of getting rid of the Danes which was even worse than that of paying them money to go. He gave secret orders that on a certain night all the Danes who were living in England were to be killed. The night which was chosen was that of St. Brice's Day, which is on the 13th of November (1002). On that night a great many of the Danes, who suspected no harm, were cruelly put to death.

Among those who were killed, was the sister of Sweyn, King of Denmark. When Sweyn heard what had been done, he was terribly angry, and he vowed that he would come to England and destroy all that he could find there.

He sailed with an army, and came to Exeter. He took and burnt the city of Exeter, and killed many of the English. The next year he came to England again, and this time he landed near Norwich. The English were foolish enough to promise to pay the Danes a great sum of money if they would go away and not injure their town. The Danes took the money, and then burnt the town they had promised to spare.

Ethelred the Un-redy could do nothing to beat back the armies of the Danes, and soon misfortunes multiplied, for Edric Streona, one of Aethelred's own generals, and a great chief among the people, went over and joined the Danes with some of the English ships.

St. Alphege. (Ch 8)

"Then was it in every wise a heavy time because the Northmen never ceased from their evil doings." -- "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle." A.D. 1000.

At last Aethelred had scarcely any towns left in his possession. Every one had been taken by the Danes except London and Canterbury.

Soon a strong army of Danes marched to Canterbury. They took the city and burned it to the ground. The Archbishop of Canterbury at that time was called Alphege. He was made prisoner by the Danes.

They told Alphege that if his people would pay a large sum of money, he should be set free. Then the Archbishop replied: "My people are poor and in distress. They had little before you came, and now you have taken from them the little that they have. I will never make my people pay to set me free."

At first the Danes did not believe him. They thought that he would be afraid of death, and that he would ask his friends to pay the money. But Alphege was as brave as he was good. He took no trouble to try to get the money, but he spent his time in trying to convert to Christianity the Danish soldiers who guarded him.

The Danes now became angry; and one day, when their chiefs were feasting together, they sent for Alphege, their prisoner, and had him brought before them. In their fierce drunken anger they cried out to the Archbishop, "Where is your gold? Give us the gold!" Alphege stood calm and unmoved. Then the feasters dragged Alphege out of the hall, and began to throw at him their drinking cups and the bones which were left from the meat upon which they had been feasting.

The Archbishop fell upon his knees; and as he knelt, one of the Danes struck him to the ground with his axe, and killed him.

It is not wonderful that the English people were proud of their good Archbishop, and that they soon learnt to call him "Saint Alphege."

There is a church in the town of Greenwich called the church of St. Alphege, and in it these words were written up, and could be read by anyone until a few years ago, when the church was altered:

"This Church was built to the Glory of God and in memory of St. Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, who was here slain by the Danes, because he would not ransom his life by an unreasonable sum of money."

At last Aethelred gave up all hope of fighting against the Danes, and fled like a coward from his country. Thereupon Sweyn, King of Denmark, became the real King of England (1013), and for the first time there was a Danish king upon the English throne.

When Sweyn died, the people of England sent for Aethelred, and made him return to his country. They preferred to have a king of their own, even though he were a bad one, rather than a foreigner.

But Aethelred had not learnt wisdom while he was in exile; and though he and his son Edmund fought against the Danes, and tried once more to free the country from them, the English were again beaten and the Danes left masters of the field.

Aethelred was twice married. His first wife was named Aelflaed. His second was Emma of Normandy, sister of Richard "The Good," Duke of Normandy.

Aethelred died in Iho year 1016, when he was forty-eight years old. He had been king for thirty-seven years. Seldom has England been so unhappy and so unlucky as it was in the days of "Aethelred the Un-redy."

Chapter 9. The Danish Kings and Edward the Confessor 1016-1066.

Famous persons who lived during the period described in this chapter:
     Edmund (Ironside), son of Aethelred and Aelflaed, became King of England 1016, murdered 1016.
     Edward, son of Edmund Ironside, d. 1057.
     Edmund, son of Edmund Ironside.
     Canute, son of Sweyn, King of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, became King of England 1017, d. 1035.
     Emma, widow of Aethelred, wife of Canute, m. 1017.
     Harold, son of Canute, became King of England 1037, d. 1040
     Harthacanute, son of Canute, became King of England 1040, d. 1042.
     Sweyn, son of Canute, King of Norway.
     Edward (called "The Confessor"), son of Aethelred and Emma, became King of England 1042, d. 1066.
     Edith, daughter of Earl Godwin, wife of Edward the Confessor.
     Leofric of Mercia, an English Earl.
     Godwin, an English Earl, d. 1053.
     Sweyn, son of Godwin.
     Harold, son of Godwin, afterwards King of England.
     Tostig, son of Godwin, d. 1066.
     William, Duke of Normandy.
     Edward, son of Edmund Ironside, nephew of Edward the Confessor.
     Edgar (known as "Edgar Atheling"), son of Edward.
     Margaret, daughter of Edward.
     Christina, daughter of Edward.
     Malcolm III., King of Scots, husband of Margaret.
     Harold Hardrada, chief of the Northmen.

Principal events during the during the period described in this chapter:
     1016. Murder of Edmund Ironside.
     1017. Canute becomes King of England.
     1027. Birth of William of Normandy.
     1035. Death of Canute. Harold and Harthacanute divide England.
     1037. Harold becomes King alone.
     1040. Death of Harold. Succeeded by Harthacanute.
     1042. Death of Harthacanute.
     1042. Edward the Confessor becomes King.
     1049. Westminster Abbey commenced.
     1051. Banishment of Earl Godwin.
     1052. Return of Earl Godwin and his sons.
     1057. Death of Edward, son of Edmund Ironside.
     1065. King Edward collects the Anglo-Saxon laws. Westminster Abbey dedicated.
     1065. Death of Edward the Confessor.

Edmund Ironside and Canute. Harold and Harthacanute. (Ch 9)

"Canute, King of England, Denmark, Norway, and part of the Swedes, to Aethelnoth, Metropolitan, * and Elfric, Archbishop of York, and to all bishops, nobles, and to the whole nation of the English high and low, health." -- From a Letter of King Canute to the English.

[Metropolitan -- The Archbiship of Canterbury; the head, or Metropolitan of the Church in England.]

After the death of Aethelred, his son Edmund became king (1016). Edmund was a brave man and a good soldier, and justly gained the honourable title of Edmund Ironside. He fought many battles against Canute and the Danes; and at last both sides, weary of fighting, agreed to divide England between them. Canute was to have one part, and Edmund Ironside was to have the other part.

But this plan of having two kings did not last long; for after he had been king only seven months, Edmund died, leaving two little children, called Edward and Edmund. We must not forget Edward, the son of Edmund, for although he himself played no part in our history, his son, Edgar Atheling, and his daughter, Margaret, were both important personages, and became famous in their day. For the time they fled to Sweden, where they found a refuge.

When King Edmund Ironside died, Canute, the Dane, became king over all England (1017), for there was now no serious rival to fight against. Although Canute was a foreigner, he proved to be a very good king. He made up his mind that he would make friends with the English, and that he would govern the country in the way they wished. He sent away many of the Danes who had come over with him from Denmark, and gave the offices which they held to Englishmen. He said that the English laws should be observed, and not the Danish ones, and that equal justice should be done to Danes and English alike. He divided the English kingdom into four great divisions, each of which he put under the government of a "Jarl" or Earl. We shall see that these Earls became very important persons before many years had gone by. He married Emma of Normandy, who was the widow of King Aethelred the Unready.

It is not wonderful that, when the English saw how friendly King Canute was to them, they should be ready to help him and to obey him. So popular did he become with his new subjects, that, when he crossed the sea to fight against his enemies in Sweden, many of the English went with him, to fight as his soldiers. An English army, under King Canute, fought against the Swedes, and defeated them in a great battle.

While Canute was king, the people of foreign countries learnt to fear and respect England; and the name of Canute was well known throughout all Europe.

A well-known story is told of Canute, which shows that the king was a wise as well as a powerful monarch. One day, so the old chronicle tells us, the king, surrounded by his courtiers, stood on the sea-shore at Southampton. Willing to flatter him, and thereby to win his favour, his courtiers began to praise him, and to speak with awe of his power and authority. "Give the command," said one of them, "and even the waves of the sea would obey you, and the on-coming tide cease to flow." The king heard with indignation the words of the flatterer, and turning to his courtiers, he bade them bring his chair of state and place it on the beach in front of the advancing waves. He then solemnly ordered the tide to stop its advance. But the resistless tide swelled and rose, as the king knew full well it must, until the water washed Canute's feet as he sat on his throne. Then turning to his courtiers he sternly rebuked them.

Canute died when he was forty years old (1035), and after his death misfortune once more fell upon England. Canute had three sons -- Harthacanute, Sweyn, and Harold. Sweyn became King of Norway, Harthacanute became King of Denmark; but the question as to which of the three should be King of England brought about a sharp division. There were two parties, one in favour of Harold, the other of Harthacanute. One of the great Earls, Leofric of Mercia, supported Harold; another, Earl Godwin, supported Harthacanute.

It was at length agreed to divide England between the two kings, but this arrangement did not last long, for two years later, in 1037, Harold became sole king. On his death, however, Harthacanute succeeded him as king (1040). He was a very different man from his father; he was violent, unjust, and tyrannical. His attempts to raise taxes from the people led to a revolt, which was put down with great cruelty. Fortunately, after a short reign of two years, Harthacanute died; it is said that he killed himself through excessive drinking.

Edward the Confessor and the Great Earls. (Ch 9)

"King Edward came to Westminster at midwinter, and there caused to be consecrated the Minster which himself had built to the Glory of God, and of St. Peter, and all God's saints; and the Church-hallowing was on Childermass Day (December 28th)." -- "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle."

On the death of Harthacanute the English thought that the time had come to rid themselves for ever of Danish rule. The Danes in England were divided among themselves, and Harthacanute had left no son to claim the throne. The people were determined to have an English king once more, and there was no difficulty in deciding upon whom the choice should fall.

Edward, the second son of Aetlielred and Emma, had taken refuge in Normandy before the reign of Canute. Messages were now sent to him, inviting him to come over and occupy the throne of his father, Aethelred. Edward accepted the invitation the more readily because it was supported by the powerful influence of Earl Godwin, who at this time was the most important person in England. Godwin himself sought to increase his power over the king by giving him his daughter Edith in marriage.

At first all seemed to go well. The English were delighted to have once more an English king, and thought that at last their country would be free from foreign interference. Unluckily, they were doomed to disappointment.

During his long stay at the Norman Court, Edward had made many friends among the Normans and had acquired the tastes and adopted the manners of those among whom he lived. That he should bring over many of his Norman friends to share his good fortunes in England was natural, but not wise. The English nobles soon found that the power had passed from the hands of the Danes only to fall into that of the Normans. An English party soon grew up. It was led by Godwin, supported by his three sons, Sweyn, Harold, and Tostig. It was not long before an open quarrel broke out between the Norman and the English parties. The people of Dover attacked Eustace of Boulogne, a Norman noble, who had married King Edward's sister. They charged him with having insulted one of their townsmen. A riot followed, and Eustace barely escaped with his life.

Godwin supported the people of Dover, Edward stood by his Norman friends, and both sides openly took up arms. At first, fortune favoured the king, and he succeeded in driving Godwin and his three sons out of the country, but it was not long before the earl returned, stronger than ever. The people refused to support the king, whose whole favour was given to the Normans, and nothing was left for him but to submit to Godwin and to receive him into his favour.

Shortly after his return, Godwin died (1052), lamented by the English. His sons, Harold, Sweyn, and Tostig, became as great and as powerful as their father had been before them. Of the three brothers, Harold was the most powerful, and the weakness of Edward served to increase his influence.

The remaining years of Edward's reign are, indeed, occupied far more with the history of Harold than of the king himself. Step by step Harold succeeded in overcoming the other great nobles who might have disputed the mastery with him, till at last he was, without question, the foremost man in the kingdom.

Meanwhile, the king lived on; but he had no son, and it was clear that on his death there would be a struggle for the throne. The true heir would, no doubt, have been another Edward, a son of the king's elder brother, Edmund Ironside. Edward, with his three children, Edgar, Margaret, and Christina, was in Hungary. He was invited over to England, and would, no doubt, have been chosen king on his uncle's death had he not died within a few days after reaching England. His place should naturally have been taken by his son Edgar, known as "Edgar Atheling." But though Edgar Atheling played a great part in English history at a later date, and though his descendants became kings and queens of England, he himself never sat upon the throne.

It may seem strange that in this short account which has been given of the reign of King Edward so little should have been said about the king himself. It seems all the more strange when we remember that the name of this weak and unsuccessful king is, perhaps, better known to us than that of any of the Saxon kings, with the exception of Alfred. It was not till after his death that Edward received the title of "The Confessor." ["Confessor" meaning one who had suffered for his religion.]

By this name he will be always remembered, and the name of Edward the Confessor will always be connected with one great monument in English history. The king himself was a man of weak character, and did little for his country in stormy times; but he was pious and studious, a lover of books, and preferred the company of priests and students to that of soldiers and statesmen. From priests and students, therefore, he received due honour; and as in those days the priests were the only writers of history, it was natural that they should have spoken with praise and admiration of one who was friendly to them and to their Church. It has been said that the name of Edward the Confessor will always be connected with one great monument: it is that in which his own tomb may still be seen. In his day there lay in the middle of the River Thames a little island, named Thorney Island. On either side of it were marshes, and the Thames flowed broad and shallow, very different from the deep, swift stream which we see now. If we stand on Westminster Bridge, in the heart of London, we look down upon the spot where the Island of Thorney lay eight hundred and thirty years ago. It was on this island that King Edward built his church, which was dedicated to St. Peter. As we stand on Westminster Bridge, we can see two towers rising close to the Houses of Parliament; these are the towers of the "Church of St. Peter."

On the opposite page is a picture of the church. It is very different from that which Edward built more than eight hundred years ago, for many English kings and queens have added to the work which Edward began, and the beautiful building which we see in the picture has grown bit by bit, until it has become one of the greatest and most famous churches in the world. It is called by the name which King Edward gave to it "The Church of Saint Peter"; but all Englishmen know it still better by another name, and speak of it as "Westminster Abbey."

It is in Westminster Abbey that many of England's greatest men lie buried, and under its tall pointed arches we can see the graves of many famous men whose names are known to all the world. And when we see them we must not forget to ask which is the grave of Edward the Confessor, King of England, who first built the church of Saint Peter on Thorney Island more than eight hundred years ago.

Chapter 10. The Norman Conquerors 1066.

Famous persons who lived during the period described in this chapter:
     Harold, King of England, killed at Hastings, October 14th, 1066.
     William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, afterwards William I., King of England.
     Matilda, wife of William the Conqueror.
     Tostig, brother of Harold, killed at the battle of Stamford Bridge.
     Harold Hardrada, chief of the Northmen, killed at the battle of Stamford Bridge.
     Edgar Atheling, great-nephew of Edward the Confessor.

Principal events during the during the period described in this chapter:
     1066. January 6th Harold becomes King of England.
     1066. September 25th - Battle of Stamford Bridge.
     October 14th - Battle of Hastings.

The Last of the English Kings. (Ch 10)

"And this year also was Harold consecrated King; and he with little quiet abode therein, the while that he wielded the Realm." "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle."

On the death of Edward the Confessor, Harold at once came forward and claimed the throne. We have seen that he was not the true heir, but that Edgar, The Atheling, was alive. But at that time the rule that the Kings of England should succeed to the throne by right of birth was not fixed, nor always followed. Harold was on the spot, and powerful; Edgar was afar off, young, and without friends. It was not unnatural, therefore, that the Witanagemot, or Assembly of Councillors, should have agreed to choose as their king the great and powerful Earl of Wessex.

Harold showed himself not unworthy of the choice; and as long as he had only to contend with enemies within his own kingdom, he proved successful in all he undertook. He attacked and defeated the Welsh, who had made themselves a terror to the English on the bunks of the Severn. He defeated, or he won to his side, the great nobles who threatened his throne, and he won the confidence of the people, who saw in him a brave and wise sovereign of the same race and the same speech as themselves.

Unfortunately, the reign, so happily begun, was to end in a disaster, and Harold himself was partly to blame for the fate which was so soon to overtake both himself and his people.

Before we recount the last chapter in the history of our Saxon kings, we must go back for a moment to those Northern warriors who had settled on the coast of France, and who had founded the great Duchy of Normandy. Five dukes had ruled since the days of Rolf the Ganger. Now, in Harold's time there reigned in the city of Rouen a great soldier and a powerful ruler, known as William, Duke of Normandy. William and Harold were no strangers. About two years before the death of Edward the Confessor, the English earl was sailing down the Channel. A storm arose, the ship was wrecked, and Harold was cast ashore on the Norman coast. The duke heard that Harold was in his country. He sent messengers, and begged him to come to Rouen. While there, so at least the Norman historians declare, Harold made a promise, that on the death of Edward the Confessor, he would recognise the claim of William to the throne of England, and would assist him to make his claim good. The duke called upon Harold to swear to fulfil his promise with his hand placed upon a silver casket. Within the casket, we are told, were contained sacred relics, which, as it was believed at that time, made the oath more solemn and binding than it would otherwise have been, and made it a great sin on Harold's part to break it. It may well be asked what claim William of Normandy had to the crown of England. It was, in truth, a very slight one. His aunt, Emma of Normandy, had married King Aethelred, and Edward the Confessor, therefore, was his cousin. But William declared that there was something which gave him a greater claim than the mere fact of his being a relation to King Edward. He declared that when on a visit to England he had spoken to King Edward about the succession to the throne, and that the king had named him as his heir and successor.

It cannot be said that either the promise made by King Edward, or the oath sworn by Harold, gave William a just claim to the crown. It was soon seen that if William's claim was weak, his power of making other people admit it was strong. Harold had scarcely ascended the throne, when the duke demanded a fulfilment of the promises which he declared had been made to him. He styled himself King of England, called Harold a usurper, and persuaded the Bishops of the Church in Normandy to support his claim. He immediately set to work to collect an army for the invasion of England, and 900 ships and 60,000 soldiers were assembled on the Norman coast. To make the task of invasion easier, William sought for allies in England itself. He found them without difficulty. Tostig, Harold's brother, was angry because he himself had not been chosen king by the people. He readily promised aid to the Normans. Nor was this all. He sent to Norway, to Harold Hardrada, one of the most powerful of the chiefs of the Northmen, and invited him to come over with his army. Harold Hardrada agreed, and, landing in the North, joined his forces to those of Tostig.

The Battle of Hastings. (Ch 10)

"The Romans in England they once held sway,
The Saxons they after them led the way,
They tugged with the Danes till an overthrow
They both of them got from the Norman bow."

King Harold was watching the English Channel, when he heard his new enemies were marching to York. He started immediately for the North with all the troops he could collect. As soon as the two armies approached each other, a messenger was sent from Tostig to ask whether Harold would make peace and agree to divide the kingdom with his brother. Harold answered like a brave Englishman. "To my brother Tostig," said he "I will give the kingdom of Northumberland, and I will make peace with him, for he is an Englishman. But to Harold Hardrada, who is a foreigner and an enemy, I will give him six feet of English ground; or, as I hear that he is taller than most men, I will give him seven feet, but that is all the English ground he will have from me."

All hope of agreement was now gone, and nothing remained but to fight for the mastery. The battle that followed was long and fierce, but at length the enemy were defeated, and both Harold Hardrada and Tostig were killed. The spot where the battle was fought is known as Stamford Bridge, on the River Derwent, in Yorkshire. It was the last triumph of the English arms.

Harold, with his victorious army, marched off in haste to the south, to fight against his second enemy, William the Norman, but this time no victory awaited him. Four days after the battle of Stamford Bridge the Norman army landed at Pevensey, near Hastings. As William stepped on shore, he fell, but as he rose he picked up a clod of earth from the ground. "See," said one of the duke's followers, "our Duke has already taken the soil of England." Had Harold been at Pevensey with his army, he might have prevented the Normans from landing; but, unfortunately, he came too late.

The whole of the Normans got safely on shore, and marched to a place about five miles north of Hastings. It was not for some days that Harold was able to get an army strong enough to meet the enemy; his troops, it is said, had dispersed for the purpose of salting the meat which was to form their winter store. At last, upon the 14th day of October, in the year 1066, the English and the Norman armies met.

At first the Normans were beaten back by the English. The English soldiers stood with their shields and their axes in a great ring round King Harold. Again and again the Normans tried to break through the ring, and each time they were beaten back.

At last William ordered the Normans to pretend to run away. Then the English broke their ranks and followed them; but as soon as they had broken their ranks, the Norman horsemen rode among them and cut them down without difficulty. But still the great ring round the king remained unbroken. Then William thought of another plan he bade his archers fire their arrows up into the air, so that they should fall on the heads of the English.

It so happened that one of these arrows struck King Harold in the eye. The king fell to the ground mortally wounded. Then those who had stood round him began to give way, and when the English saw that the Royal Standard had fallen, and that their king was dead, they fled on every side.

Soon the battle was over, and the Normans had won the victory. Fifteen thousand of the Norman soldiers had been killed, and a still greater number of the English. The body of King Harold was found the next day upon the battlefield. It was buried under a heap of stones, but it was afterwards taken away and buried again at Waltham Abbey, in the county of Essex.

And so ended for many years the story of our English kings. William the Norman became King of England (1066), and for more than a hundred years England was ruled by foreigners, and was under the power of the Normans. A great abbey was built on the battlefield in memory of the great fight, and it is called to this day "Battle Abbey."

Chapter 11. The Story of the English

Our Forefathers in Germany.

"The history of the English people begins among the forests of Germany."

The last few chapters have been given up to the story of the Saxons in England, and the rule of the Anglo-Saxon kings. A few pages further on we shall read of the fall of the Anglo-Saxon kings, and of the rise of another power in England that of the Normans. This is, therefore, a proper and convenient place to say something more about our Anglo-Saxon forefathers, and to ask not only what they did, but what manner of men they were, what language they spoke, and what were their customs and their laws. Anyone who desires to learn the history of his country must follow the events which took place, must acquaint himself with the names of the kings, must know something of the battles which were fought, and of the portions of the various kingdoms, which, one after another, became powerful in England. It is for this reason that a brief account of these matters has been given in the preceding chapters of this book; but it must not be supposed that when the nature and order of these events has been learnt we have made ourselves master of what is really important in the history of Saxon England.

The fact that a particular King of Mercia was named Offa or Penda, that Aethelred was a poor creature, or that Edmund lost his life by treachery, makes very little difference to us who are now alive.

But there are parts of the history of the Anglo-Saxons which are of the greatest importance to us, because they explain much in the story of our country which would otherwise be difficult to understand, and because to them may be traced the things which we see and do, the words which we use, and the laws which we live under at the present day.

Once more, it is well to call to mind the fact that the number of pages in a history book does not always represent the number of years in that people's history. Scarcely seventy pages have been given up in this book to telling the story of the early English, but if we remember that between the time when Hengist and Horsa landed at Ebbsfleet in 449, and the time when Harold, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings, lost his life in 1066, is a space of no less than six hundred and seventeen years, we shall see that there was plenty of time for England to become a very Anglo-Saxon country. That it did so become, and indeed from that time to this has never really been anything else, we shall soon see.

But it is not much use saying that England became an Anglo-Saxon or an English country unless we know what the Anglo-Saxons or English were like. To learn this, it will be well to go back to the earliest account of our ancestors which exists. If we had to depend upon the fierce companions of Hengist and Horsa for our accounts, we should know very little about the subject; for, though in later days there were many famous Anglo-Saxon writers, both poets and historians, the earliest invaders of our shores were far greater masters of the sword than of the pen. Luckily, the same great writer who told us much of what we know of the ancient Britons has given us an account also of our Anglo-Saxon ancestors. Caius Cornelius Tacitus, the Roman who, in his book the "Agricola," left us an account of Britain, also wrote another book called "Germania," or Germany, which has happily been preserved down to our own day. In this book an account is given of the German tribes who inhabited the northern part of Central Europe, and with whom the Romans, in the time of Tacitus, were often at war.

But it will be asked -- what have these German tribes to do with our Anglo-Saxon forefathers? As a matter of fact, they have a great deal to do with them; for it was from these very German tribes that the Anglo-Saxon invaders came, bringing with them their language, their customs and their laws. An historian who set to work to write the history of the people of the United States of America, and made no mention of those European countries from which the white inhabitants of the United States first came would be making a great mistake; and in the same way, anyone who wrote the history of the Anglo-Saxons without enquiring who they were and where they came from would be only half telling the story.

Tacitus was one of the greatest of the Roman writers, and he manages to tell in a few words more than many other writers tell in a whole book. We may be sure that the description which he gives us of the Germans tells us all that he knew or believed with respect to them. This is how he describes them: "A fine, unmixed, and independent race, unlike any other people . . . with stern blue eyes, ruddy hair, of large and robust frames, but with a strength which only appeared when roused to sudden effort." Such were the Germans in appearance. "They would be the slaves of no man; they respected their women, and held them in love and honour. They considered no disgrace equal to that which was the sure reward of a man who showed himself a coward in battle. Fierce and cruel in war, they were content, when the war was over, to lay aside the sword and spear, and to plough their fields and to cultivate their land in peace and quiet."

They were free men, living in little villages scattered throughout a great uninhabited country. Their habits and their laws grew naturally out of the life they lived. In the centre of the little settlement was the village, and all round it for miles lay the uncultivated land, forest, barren heath, or marsh-land. A people which has once settled down to a fixed home soon has to give up hunting as a means of living, and has to take to cultivating the soil. This the Germans did. The head of each family cultivated a plot for himself. That was his own. The pastureland was common to all. Newcomers or old settlers who wanted more land could only have it if it were given to them by the whole village. Sometimes then, as now, people wanted land only for a short time, and for a certain purpose; in that case, it was "let" or "leased," to them. [The land which belonged to the first settlers was known as "Ethel." Land which was given to newcomers or old settlers out of what belonged to the whole village was called "Bocland," because it was given by a charter or "book." Commonland belonging to all the people, or 'folk,' was the "Folkland." The land which was let was the "Laen" or "Loan" land.]

The heads of the village were the "Elders," or "Eldermen," and the meeting in which the rules of the village were made was known as the "Folk-Moot," or People's Council. Each village governed itself, but that did not prevent the people of the same tribe or nation joining together for the purposes of war. The expeditions which from time to time advanced against the neighbouring peoples, and which finally reached the shores of England, were led by chiefs who had made themselves famous by their success in war. Each chief was surrounded by a band of young warriors, who swore to follow him and to serve him. To these he often gave lands which were taken in war, and by reason of their friendship with the chief, the followers, in time, came to be looked upon as persons of special distinction, or noblemen.

The chiefs themselves were, as a rule, chosen from those families of noble birth whose members claimed that they were descended from the gods. They were chosen for their bravery, their experience of warfare, and their bodily strength. Cowardice in the field was considered, as we have seen, to be the greatest of all crimes, the only crime for which it was impossible to atone. Tacitus, who has described the appearance and manners of the Germans, has given us a special account of the band who followed their chiefs. "In the field of battle," he tells us, "it is disgraceful in the prince to be surpassed in valour by his companions. . . . All are bound to defend him and to succour him in the heat of battle, and to make even their own actions add to his renown. This is the bond of honour, the most sacred duty."

The language which these free and warlike Germans spoke did not very greatly differ from that which is spoken at the present day in the country from which they came. In many parts of North-western Germany a language is still spoken which is called "Platt-deutsch," or "Low German," and this Low German is really very like the English which is spoken in Yorkshire and the North of England -- so like, that it is possible to understand very many of the words, and even whole sentences, without knowing any German. The language which the German invaders brought to this country has gone through great changes in the fourteen hundred years which have passed since the landing of the Jutes; but if we compare it with the English which we speak now, we shall see in a moment that it is to the early German invaders, and not to either Romans, Britons, or Normans, that we owe the greatest part of our English language.

Our Forefathers in England. (Ch 11)

"In the two little words, 'shire' and 'county,' if you could make them render up even a small part of their treasure, what lessons of English history are contained!" -- Trench: "On the Study of Words."

We have now learnt something about the men whose descendants became the English people; we have seen them in their German homes, we must now follow them across the sea and inquire what sort of people they became, and what were their manners, customs and speech when they became masters of England. It is very important indeed to do this, because, unless we know something of the life and manners of the Anglo-Saxons, we cannot hope to understand some of the most important of the institutions of our own country in our own day. The chiefs who led the Saxon invasion brought with them their faithful companions, and as land was taken from the Britons it became the property of the new-comers; some was kept as the common property of the whole tribe, some was taken by the chief, and some was given to his followers. As the land became more settled, the custom grew up of choosing the chief or king from the same family; and at last there came to be in each kingdom a royal family, some member of which was always chosen as king.

The customs which had been brought from Germany became in time the laws of the new land. Several sets of Anglo-Saxon laws were drawn up by different kings. We have already read of the laws of Ine, King of Wessex, and of Alfred, and these and others still remain, and may be read in our time. From them we learn many interesting things about the way in which justice was done.

Each village or settlement was made answerable for the crime that was committed in it; it was the business of the village to punish the guilty persons, and to pay the fine which the law imposed.

The Village Council governed the village, and a person who was charged with crime had to prove his innocence to his fellow-villagers; as they had to pay for his fault, it was their business to find out whether he were really guilty and thus we see the beginning of an institution which has lasted down to our own day, namely, the trial of a man by his neighbours and equals. To this day the decision as to a prisoner's guilt or innocence depends upon the verdict of twelve men of the county or town in which the crime he is charged with is committed; and it is the business of these twelve men who form the "Jury" to "well and truly try" the charge.

Besides the village council, there soon came to be councils of more importance. The country as it was conquered was divided up into "shares" or "shires" and in each of these there was a Shire Council, or Shire-Moot. The Shire-Moot both made laws and rules, and tried people for offences. We have nothing quite like this at the present day, but we have a County Court, or Shire Court, which decides disputes, and we have a County Council, or Shire-Council, which makes rules and laws for the shire. Even where a custom has long died out in England, if it be a good one, English people are fond of going back to it.

Not long after the Saxons became Christians, the country was divided up into "Parishes" as well as shires, and now we have gone back to the old names and the old things, and we have a Parish Council and a County Council once more. It is strange to read in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle," written a thousand years ago, of the doings of the Shire-Moots of Kesteven, Holland, and Lindsey, and then to take up a Lincolnshire newspaper of to-day and read about the County Councils of Kesteven, Holland, and Lindsey. It cannot be said that there was an English Parliament in exactly the same sense as we speak of Parliament now, but there was in the latter part of the Anglo-Saxon times a great Council known as the "Witanagemot," or Council of the Wise. The members were not elected, but were chosen by the king from the great families; perhaps there were some persons who had the right to attend. But though the Witanagemot was not elected, it often had great power, and questions which interested the people were freely discussed at its meetings.

But it is not only in the parish councils and the juries of the early English that we find things which remind us of what is very familiar to us at the present day, There is scarcely a name of a common thing, or a common custom mentioned in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" which has not got a meaning in our own day. We still have Dorsetshire, the "Share" of the Dorssetas; the Beadle of the County Court might have been an officer under King Alfred. It is a "furlong," or a "furrow-long" from the County Court to the Parish Church of St. Edmund the Martyr, or St. Edward the Confessor. The Alderman still takes a high place in the Town Council. The names of places, also, remain to teach us our history wherever we go throughout England.

It was in the eastern part of our island that the invaders first settled down, after having driven out or put to death the British population. The names which the followers of Hengist and Horsa gave to the new country, are the familiar names in daily use among us at this day. It is a thousand years ago since a gift of land was made to the Abbey of Medeshamsted. Those who drew up the Charter were careful to see that there should be no mistake as to what the gift was, and they wrote down the boundaries of the property as carefully as a lawyer would at the present day. The Abbey of Medeshamsted has now become the Cathedral of Peterborough; and if we look at the map of the counties of Northampton and Cambridge, we shall be able to follow the description given in the Charter almost as easily as if it had been drawn up yesterday.

Here are the words of the gift:

"This is the gift from Medeshamsted to North Burh, and so to the place which is called Folies, and so all the Fen right to Esendic, to the place which is called Fethermuth; and so on the straight way ten miles on to Cuggedic, and so to Raggewilh; and from Raggewilh five miles to the straight river that goes to Aehm and to Wisbec, and so about three miles to Throkonholt, right through all the Fen country to Dereword, which is twenty miles long, and so to Cynate Cross, and so on through all the meres and fens which lie towards Himtendun Port, through Welmesford, Clive, Aestun, Stanford, and from Stanford as the water runs to the aforesaid North Burh."

Some of these names do not seem quite familiar to us, but there is not one of them that we cannot find on the map in a form so like that given in the Charter that there can be no mistaking it. Northburgh exists now as it did in the days of Wolfhere, who made the grant. We have no Raggewilh, but Bothwell marks its place. The Great Northern Railway runs through Wisbech and Huntingdon. Clive, in in its old form is forgotten, but in its newer form of King's Cliffe is still familiar to us. Aehm has given place to Elm. Throkonholt survives as Throckenholt. Dereward, in the Fens, is still to be found in the Fens as Dereworth. Cynate Cross is Great Cross, Welmesford is Walmsford, Aestun is Aston, and Stanford, with the change of a letter, has come down to us as Stamford.

Chapter 12. The Historians and Writers of England Before The Norman Conquest

"And in truth after his time there were those among the English race who essayed to write religious poems, but not one was able to come on a level with him. For he learnt the art of song, not from man, nor from any human source, but received it as a free gift by Divine grace." -- Bede, describing Caedmon and his Poetry.

Now that we have come to an end of one long chapter in our history, it is natural to ask how we know anything of the facts which took place in days so long ago as those of the Britons, or even in the later times of Edgar and Alfred -- who are the historians that have preserved for us a record of these events, what are the books which they have written, and in what language can the story which they told be read? Happily for the world, the great conquests of Rome spread the Latin language over all Europe; and, at a later date, the Christian Church, in its effort to reach the heathen to whom it sent its missionaries, preserved the Latin language as the language of the Church. And thus it came about that for many hundred years almost all the books in the world were written in Latin -- a language easy to understand, clear and certain in its expressions, and which tells us about the events which it records as plainly as it told the story to the friends of Caesar in Rome, or to the monks who surrounded the Venerable Bede in his abbey in Northumberland eight hundred years later.

We have already seen how two great Roman writers have told us in Latin the story of the Conquest of Britain; and the works of Caesar and of Tacitus are books written in the best time of a great literature.


Of the Britons themselves we know very little from British writers. A few fragments of the works of writers of the ancient British or Celtic race have, however, come down to us; but it is in Ireland that the fullest Celtic records are to be found. The name of Nennius is attached to a history of the Britons written in Latin. Nennius, it seems, was of Celtic race, but he must have lived as late as the eighth or even the ninth century, long after the Britons had been driven out of the greater part of Britain.

The name of Gildas has come down to us as that of another writer who has given us a glimpse of the Britons; but Gildas himself does not seem to have been a Celt, and little is really known of him.

Wales preserves the name of a Celtic writer named Aneurin, and of Taliesin, the chief of the Bards. Both these writers are said to have lived in the sixth century, but neither is to us much more than a name. The famous legends of King Arthur, the heroic king of the Britons, have really come to us from Saxon or Continental writers of a much later period.


It is not, indeed, till we come to Anglo-Saxon times that we find the first traces of a real English literature -- a literature which becomes fuller and more splendid from year to year and from century to century. There are two kinds of writers who tell us the true story of our ancestors. There are the historians and chroniclers, whose task it has been to write down a record of what the men of their day said and did. There are also the poets, who in their way tell us as much as, and more than, the chroniclers; for they tell us what was in the thoughts and the minds of men, what were the things they believed in, loved, or feared. Luckily, we find both historians and poets at a very early date in our history. The great poem entitled "Beowulf" must have been written as far back as the seventh century, at a time when Oswy was king of Northumbria. It is written in Saxon. It contains over six thousand lines, and gives an account of the life and adventures of Beowulf, the hero, who sailed the northern seas and fought with monsters, conquered in battle, and ruled his people with wisdom and mercy. Whenever it was written, the poem was early known in England, and may be looked upon as really the first English poem.

Of about the same date is a great religious poem written by Caedmon of Whitby. The poem is called "The Paraphrase," and it tells part of the Bible story in verse, and speaks of the work of God, the power of evil, and the life of man. Bede, another great writer of whom we shall shortly have to speak, tells the story of the beginning of Caedmon's great poem. "As Caedmon slept," so writes Bede, "there came one to him and said, 'Sing, Caedmon.' 'I cannot,' replied he. 'I came hither from the feasting in the hall because I cannot sing.' 'But,' said the figure in the vision,' it is to me you should sing.' 'What ought I to sing?' inquired the poet. 'Sing the beginning of creatures,' was the reply." Having received which answer, Caedmon, so Bede tells us, began immediately to sing in verse the praises of God the Creator; and when the vision passed away he continued to write verses on the subject which had been sent to him, and in the end completed his great poem "The Paraphrase."

We must pass over the name of Aldhelm (b. 656), who, in the monastery of Malmesbury, wrote much in verse and prose. His work has not been preserved, and we only know of it through others.


We must hasten on to speak of the most notable of all Anglo-Saxon writers -- of Bede, the famous author of the "Ecclesiastical History, or History of the English Church." Born in 673, Bede was brought up first in the monastery of St. Peter at Wearmouth, afterwards at the monastery of St. Paul at Jarrow-on-Tyne. He wrote much, and he wrote well; and in his history of the Church he included much that is of the deepest interest to all Englishmen who wish to know what their country was like twelve hundred years ago, and how men acted and thought in the days before Alfred was king. The works of Bede, which were written in Latin, have been preserved, and have been many times translated into English, so that all who desire can read them. That the writer himself was a man loved and honoured in his day we have clear proof. The story of his death is a well-known, but beautiful one, and so simply told that it will be well to repeat it here.

Four years before his death Bede finished his great history. He was then fifty-nine. Four years later he was engaged in writing a translation of the Gospel of St. John. He was at work in his cell at the monastery at Jarrow when his last illness overtook him. One of his pupils said to him: "Most dear master, there is still one chapter wanting. Do you think it troublesome to be asked to answer any more questions?" "It is no trouble," said Bede. "Take your pen, make ready, and write fast." Then a little later the pupil spoke once more: "Dear master," said he, "There is yet one sentence not written." He answered: "Write quickly." Then said the pupil: "The sentence is now written;" and the master replied: "It is well; you have said the truth -- it is ended. Receive my head into your hands, for it is a great satisfaction to me to sit facing my holy place, where I was wont to pray, that I may, also sitting, call upon my Father." And thus, on the pavement of his little cell, singing, "'Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost,' he breathed his last, and so departed into the heavenly kingdom." Such is the story of the death of Bede written by his own pupil. It is told here because it is a beautiful story in itself, and because it shows us that we have now come to a time in English history when we can begin once more to picture men and women to ourselves as real people of whom we know something, and can read accounts of what happened in the actual words of eye-witnesses. It was in the year 735, when Aethelbald was King of Mercia, that Bede died. The tomb, bearing the inscription which tells us that within it lie the bones of the "Venerable Bede," may be seen to this day in the venerable cathedral of Durham. [The inscription runs thus: "Hac sunt in fossa Boedae venerabilis ossa."]


If not the greatest, Bede is certainly the most important of English writers before the time of the Norman Conquest, because so much of what he wrote has been preserved and may still be read; but there are two other names which must certainly be mentioned in this chapter. In the first place there is that of King Alfred himself, who wrote many books both in Latin and in English, or Anglo-Saxon. He translated the Church History of Bede from the Latin into a language the people could understand; he translated a portion of the Bible, and he also turned into English a famous Latin book by a writer named Boethius. The book deals with religious subjects, and is meant to be a help to Christians in leading a good life.

Not less important, perhaps, than what Alfred himself wrote was the "History of England" which was begun by his orders and under his direction. This history is known as "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" and in it were written down the events in each year as they took place. It begins with the history of the early Britons, but what it tells us of events which took place before the reign of King Alfred cannot be depended upon, as those who wrote it had no personal knowledge of the things they described; but from the time of Alfred, "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" becomes a really important record of the history of England. It was continued for many years, and the last event which is mentioned in it is the accession of Henry II. in 1154, two hundred and fifty years after the death of Alfred.

A word must be said of Asser, a Welsh monk of St. Davids (d. 910), for to him we owe "The Life of Alfred" from which most of the information about that great king has been gathered. There is no copy of the "Life," as Asser wrote it, in existence, but copies of the original made at a later date were preserved; and, though some alterations have no doubt been made, much of the old book has been kept.

There are a few other names which might be mentioned in this chapter if space permitted, but enough has been said to give an idea of how it is that we know anything of the events which took place in Anglo-Saxon England, and to whom it is that we owe our knowledge.




The second part of our History deals with the period of 206 years which elapsed between the landing of William the Conqueror at Hastings in 1066 and the accession of Edward I. in 1272. The time was one of great and far-reaching changes in England. The Normans who landed on our shores as foreigners and enemies gradually became mixed with the English whom they had conquered. The Norman kings ceased to be Norman, and began to rely upon their English subjects whom they had once despised, but whom they soon learnt to respect. The very speech of the people changed. While Norman-French ceased to be the language of the nobles, the people themselves learned to speak and write in a new language which, though it was English in the main, owed much to the tongue of the masterful conquerors. At length the distinction between Norman and English passed away altogether, and the kings of England became English in fact as well as in name.

Meanwhile, other great changes were taking place in the laws, habits, and thoughts of Englishmen. When we come to the story of Henry II. and Becket we shall learn how, in those days, the great struggle between the civil power on the one hand, and the Church on the other, had begun a struggle which was to last for many years, and was to have a great influence upon the history of our country. The story of Magna Charta is the story of the beginning of our laws, and of the foundation of our liberties. The life and death of Simon de Montfort carry us through the first years of our Imperial Parliament; and thus, when we come to the accession of Edward I., we find a real English nation, with its own language, its own laws, its own place in the world, strong enough to hold its position, and ready to risk its fortunes in war for the purpose of adding to its territory and strengthening its power. In the chapters that follow, we shall learn how England, in its new-found strength, plunged into war a war which, with various changes and various fortunes, occupied the energies of the country for more than a hundred years.

Chapter 13. William I, The Norman Conquest 1066-1087.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of William the Conqueror:
     William the First, called "William the Conqueror," Duke of Normandy, and King of England, b. 1027, became King of England, 1066, d. 1087
     Robert, Duke of Normandy.0
     Matilda (of Flanders), wife of William the Conqueror, m. 1053.
     Richard, son of William.
     William (Rufus), son of William, afterwards King of England.
     Henry, son of William, afterwards King of England.
     Adela, daughter of William, m. Stephen, Count of Blois.
     Lanfranc Archbishop of Canterbury,d. 1089
     Edgar Atheling, son of Edward and grandson of Edmund Ironside a Saxon King of England, d. 1158.
     Hereward (the "Wake"), a Saxon Noble, d. 107??.
     Gregory VII., one of the greatest of the Popes, d. 1085.

Principal events during the reign of William the Conqueror:
     1066. Battle of Hastings.
     1068. William defeats Edwin and Morcar.
     1069. William takes York. William defeats the Danes.
     1070. Lanfranc made Archbishop of Canterbury.
     1071. William defeats Hereward, and marches into Scotland.
     1073. William defeats his brother Robert in France.
     1083. Death of Matilda.
     1086. Domesday Book, a list of all the lands in England, and their owners, completed.
     1087. Siege of Mantes, and Death of William.

The Norman Conquerors. (Ch 13)

"Voe victis." ["Woe to the vanquished."]

We read in Chapter 10 an account of the great Battle of Hastings, in which William the Norman, whom we know of in history as William the Conqueror, defeated Harold, King of England. We saw how Harold lost his life in the battle, and how William and his Normans gained the mastery. Battle Abbey, near Hastings, still stands to tell us of the victory which was won on October 14th, 1066.

Now we have to inquire whether the Battle of Hastings, and the victory of the Normans, have left any other marks behind them in the history of our own country -- marks which we can see with our own eyes and in our own time.


First, we must understand what was the condition of poor England after the defeat at Hastings. It was poor England, indeed. Its king had been killed and its best army cut to pieces. The English people themselves were divided into Saxons and Danes, who had only ceased fighting against each other a short time before. On the north, beyond the river Tweed, were the Scots, ever ready to carry war into England; and on the west were the Welsh, all that was left of the old Britons whom the Saxons had long ago turned out of their country. And now, in addition to all the troubles that came from Danes, from Scots, and from Welsh, there was an army of Normans, under their great Duke William, standing as conquerors on the shores of Sussex.

It was not for long, indeed, that William and his army stood still. No sooner had the day been won than the Normans pressed forward to London, and made themselves masters of the whole of the southern part of England. At first, William determined that he would try to put himself in the place of King Harold, and hoped that the English, now they had been beaten, would submit to him, and recognise him as their king.

It seemed as if what he hoped for were likely to take place. Many of the English came and submitted themselves to him, and among them Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury. An English archbishop, Aldred of York, was found ready to crown William King of England, at Westminster. When the great crowd of Englishmen who had come together from all parts were asked whether they would accept William for their king, they cried out, "Yea, yea!" And so it seemed that without any further struggle the country was about to fall into the hands of a foreign king and a foreign army.

Those were dark days for England. Within the limits of the country there were people of four races -- Saxons, Danes, Normans, and Welsh -- all speaking different languages, and having different customs and different ideas. It is true that the Saxons and the Danes had at last become united, and that Canute and Harold had reigned over both Saxon and Dane alike, but the difference between Norman and English was one which seemed as if it could never be healed.

William the Conqueror could not speak a word of English. He and his barons talked and wrote in Norman-French. The English whom he had conquered talked and wrote a language from which our English speech really comes, but which was so unlike it that few who read this book could understand it. This language was Anglo-Saxon.

Here is a passage taken from an old rhyme, and written in AngloSaxon. It is a puzzle to readers of modern English:

"Merie sungen the muneches binnen Ely
da Cnut ching reu der by:
Rowel cnites ncer de land,
And here we bes muneches sceng."

The verse in its English form is more familiar:

"Merrily sang the monks of Ely
As Canute the king was passing by.
Row to the land, knights, said the king,
And let us hear these Churchmen sing."

Norman and Saxon. (Ch 13)

"It is to the stern discipline of our foreign kings that we owe not merely English wealth and English freedom, but England herself. And of these foreign masters the greatest was William of Normandy." J. K. Green: "History of the English People."

Here, then, were two peoples living in the same country, hating each other, and neither of them understanding what the other said.

Soon matters were made worse, for William had brought over with him from Normandy a great number of greedy barons, who would not rest content until they had received as a reward for their services broad lands and estates in England. William was compelled to give great grants of land to his followers, but before he could give the lands to the Normans, he had, of course, to take them away from the English, to whom they belonged.

Naturally, this gave rise to great ill-feeling, and still further increased the hatred of the English for the Normans. Attacks upon the Normans by the English were common, and all such attacks were punished with great severity and cruelty.

An order was given that all Englishmen should put out their fires at sundown, and that they should remain within their houses after nightfall. A bell was rung to mark the hour when the fire was to be extinguished, and an iron hood or cover had then to be put over the fire by every English householder. This hood was called the "Curfew," from a French word, "couvre-feu" which means, "Cover the fire."

The curfew bell, which was the signal for putting out the fires in the house, was for many a long year rung in almost every English town, and there are many places, such as Sandwich and Shrewsbury, where the old custom is, or was till very recently, kept up, and the curfew still "tolls the knell of parting day," although the hard law which the curfew bell gave notice of in the time of William the Conqueror has long since ceased to exist.

Soon the discontent of the English broke out into open war. The last descendant of the English kings was Edgar Atheling, grandson of Edmund Ironside. His name was one which was loved by the English, and more than ever loved now that he represented all that was dear to them, and all that had been taken from them by the Norman invaders.

Edgar Atheling does not seem to have been a man of great bravery or skill, but his name brought him many supporters. The chief among them were Edwin and Morcar, Earls of Mercia and Northumberland. The earls made war upon William, in the hope of putting Edgar upon the throne. They called to their aid Welsh, Scots, and Danes. But they did not know the man they had to deal with in William. He was too quick for them. He attacked them before help could come from their allies, defeated them, and destroyed their army. Edgar himself fled to Scotland. This was the beginning of many battles fought between the Normans and the English.

The Normans built strong castles on the great roads and on the rivers, so as to keep the English in check, and to enable them to hold the lands which they had taken from their enemies. The English fought bravely, but time after time they were beaten by the skill and strength of their enemies.

In one point the Normans had a great advantage over the English. They knew the value of discipline and good order in war. They had learnt the lesson which everybody has to learn before he can be successful in war, or in any undertaking which has to be carried out at the risk of life and involves danger "that he who would command must first learn to obey." No army has ever been successful in which there has not been discipline, and in which men were not ready to give up their own opinions as to what is best to do, and to obey the orders of those who have been put over them.

It would be a long story to tell of all the fighting that took place in England, but one or two incidents must be recalled. The first shows how skilful William was in making use even of his enemies.

In 1073, seven years after the Battle of Hastings, the king heard with alarm that his brother Robert in Normandy was threatening to take his duchy from him. He went over to France in great haste, and the army which he took with him was very largely made up of English soldiers, who, when they got into a foreign country, fought bravely enough against the enemies of the Norman king, whom they had so much reason to hate. With his English army William soon put down all his enemies in Normandy, and returned again to fight in England.

Now we come to the other incident which it is well to recall. After Edgar Atheling had fled into Scotland it seemed as if the last hope of the English had gone, for they were quite without leaders. But there was still one man who showed himself worthy of Alfred and Edgar. This was Hereward, the son of an English noble of Danish descent. He took up arms against the Conqueror, and resisted him with success for a long time.

At length, however, he was forced to take refuge in the Fen country around what is now the city of Peterborough. Protected by the impassable marshes, he defied the Normans. But William was not to be beaten. He had a number of flat-bottomed boats made, in which he placed his soldiers. He built a road, supported on wooden posts, or piles, two miles long through the marshes, and at last reached the English camp. Hereward's small forces were destroyed or taken prisoners, but Hereward himself managed to escape, and continued the war, landing from his ships upon the sea-coast and attacking the Norman towns.

At last, weary of pursuing his active enemy, or else thinking that he could no longer do harm, William made terms with Hereward, and gave him back his lands, and restored him to his former honours. The English long cherished the memory of the brave soldier who had fought for their cause after all seemed lost; and the name of Hereward the Wake, ["The Wake," meaning Awake, or Watchful.] England's Darling, lived long in the hearts of his countrymen.

But despite the gallantry of Hereward, the Norman power gradually spread over the whole of England, and not only over England. Marching into Scotland and into Wales, William defeated first the Scots and then the Welsh, and spread terror wherever his name became known. Within five years of the Battle of Hastings, William was complete master of the whole of England.

King, Barons, and People. (Ch 13)

"There never had been a moment from his boyhood when he [William the Conqueror] was not among the greatest of men." -- J. R. Green: "History of the English People."

And now that we have seen what happened after the Battle of Hastings, and how William became a king in fact as well as in name, it is time to inquire what the Conqueror did with the country he had conquered, and how he treated the people whom he had defeated.

It certainly appeared a very gloomy prospect for the English, and it seems wonderful that such great changes should have taken place since that time. We know that in our own day the differences which existed in William's reign have passed away, and that in England we have but one people, speaking one language, governed by one law, and under one Sovereign. We shall notice as we read on how these great changes came about. At first there seemed very little chance of any of them ever coming about at all, but really they were already beginning in a way which we can now see and understand.

We saw that William came over from Normandy accompanied by a great army of barons, all expecting to be paid for their services. They thought that because in Normandy they were nearly as great lords as their duke, and because they had done so much of the fighting under his leadership, they could make what terms they liked with William, and that they could compel him to give them whatever they wanted. But in this they were mistaken. William was determined that whatever he might be in Normandy, he would be a real king in England, and it so happened that things made it easy for him to gain greater power in England than he had ever had in Normandy.

In the first place, he very wisely said that all the laws of England should be kept. This meant, however, that they were to be kept when it was to his advantage that they should be kept, and that they should only be broken when it suited him.

Now, the English had been accustomed to make payments to the king and to the nobles for a great many purposes, and when William had killed their king, Harold, and taken away their land from their nobles, he declared that the payments which had been made to the king and to the English nobles should in the future be made to him only. This gave him very great sums of money, and money always gives power to him who has it.

Then, again, under the English kings there had been rules by which every town and district was compelled to send a certain number of men to fight the king's battles when called upon. William now said that, as he was king, these men should be sent to fight his battles; and thus he got an army besides the Norman army which he had brought with him. These English soldiers, though they did not love William much, hated the Norman barons more, and were always ready to support the king against his barons.

And lastly, the king, having taken their land from the English, gave a great deal of it to his followers. When he gave it, he made a bargain with everyone who received land from him that he should give some service in return, and that this service should be the sending of a certain number of armed soldiers to fight under the king's orders in case of need. If this service were not paid, the land was to be forfeited.

Thus, in many ways, the king got great power into his hands; and when the Norman barons became, as they often did, dissatisfied with him, and thought they ought to have a greater share of land or money, they found they were quite unable to frighten the king into giving them what they wanted. The king was so much stronger than they were, that if they threatened him or made war upon him, he was sure to march against them, defeat their soldiers and burn their castles.

It is easy to see that the king himself, strong and powerful as he was, had to depend a great deal upon the conquered English, for they alone could enable him to put down the fierce Norman barons, who all thought themselves as good as the king. And thus it came about that very soon the English began to look to William as their protector; and though they feared him very much, they found that greater justice was to be got from him, and from the judges whom he appointed, than from the savage barons who fought each for himself, and who did not care what injustice they did.

It was in France that William met with his death. He had gone over to make war upon the King of France. He marched to Mantes, a town not far from Paris, took the town, and burnt it to the ground. But as he rode through the burning streets, his horse, treading on a hot ember, started violently, and bruised the king. The injury proved fatal. William was carried to a monastery in Rouen, and there died on the 9th of September, 1087. He was sixty-one years of age, and had reigned as King of England twenty-one years.

Chapter 14. Feudalism

What Feudalism Means.

"Hear, my lord: I become liege-man of yours for life and limb and earthly regard, and I will keep faith and loyalty to you for life and death, God help me." -- A Vassal's Oath to his Feudal Lord.

Whenever we read the history of the English people and the early history of England, we are sure to come across the words "Feudal" and "Feudalism" very often. We shall find a great deal written about the "Feudal System." If these words were in common use now, it would not be necessary to explain what they mean, for we should often hear them, and should know what they meant; but the reason why many of us do not know what the words mean, is that the things which they describe are things of the past, and no longer familiar to those who live at the present day.

But there was a time when feudalism and the feudal system were very important matters in England, and we cannot possibly understand the past history of our country unless we know something about them. This chapter, therefore, will be given up to explaining what feudalism means, and what the feudal system was.

We have seen how, when William the Conqueror came over to England, he defeated the English and took from them all their lands. We saw also how he rewarded his own followers, the Norman barons, whom he had brought over with him, by giving them a great part of the land which he had taken from the English.

But William was a wise man as well as a great soldier. He had no intention of giving up the lands to his barons without getting back something in return for what he gave. We know that nowadays if one man has land which he "lets" to another, he expects to get in return a payment in money, which is called "rent." And in the same way, when one man lets a house to another, he expects to receive rent either weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly, according to the agreement which is made.

But this was not the kind of agreement which was made between William and those to whom he gave the land. What he did was to say to his barons, "I will give you so much land over which you shall be lord and master; but if I do, you must always give me certain services in return. In the first place, you must always be ready, whenever I go to war, to follow me and to fight for me; and not only that, but you must bring with you a certain number of armed men to fight my battles for me. You are to be their chief, but I am to be your chief and lord. The number of men whom you are to bring depends upon the size of the piece of land I give you, or upon the help which you have given me up till now.

"There are several things which you must do besides coming yourself to fight and bringing your men with you. When my daughter is married, you must pay a certain sum of money to me in order that I may be able to give her a good dowry or wedding gift. When my son comes of age and puts on his armour and becomes a knight, you must also pay me a sum of money. If I am taken prisoner, you must pay a sum of money towards my ransom in order that I may be set free."

These were the three things which the person to whom the land was given generally had to promise to do. They were called the three "Feudal Aids." Sometimes there were other things, but these were the commonest. The king who gave the land was called the "feudal lord," the land which was given was called the "fief," and the person who received it was called the "vassal," and was said to hold his fief from the king.

As a sign that he accepted the land on the conditions laid down, the vassal knelt before the feudal lord bareheaded and unarmed, and placed his hands in the hands of his lord, and then made his promise of obedience in these words: "Hear, my lord: I become liege man of yours for life and limb and earthly regard, and I will keep faith and loyalty to you for life and death, God help me." Then the feudal lord kissed the vassal, and the vassal became the owner of the land, and after his death his son succeeded him.

The making of this promise by the vassal to the feudal lord, and the acceptance by the vassal of his land as a fief from the king as his feudal lord, was called "doing homage," and every vassal was called upon to do homage for the land which he held.

But the king was not the only feudal lord. Sometimes, as we know, a landlord lets a piece of land to another man, who is called his "tenant," and this tenant again lets it to a third person who, becomes tenant of the first tenant. In the same way it often happened that vassals of the king granted parts of their land to vassals of their own. These vassals had to make promises to their lord, just as he had had to make promises before to the king, and the vassals, in their turn, only held their lands as long as they performed the services which they had undertaken to perform.

But King William, and those who came after him, very soon saw that if they allowed their own vassals to have too many vassals under them, there would soon grow up a very strong party who would care little for the king, and a great deal for their feudal lords.

The kings of England, therefore, always made their under-vassals pay homage to them as well as to their feudal lords. In the same way, every man, whether he were a vassal of the king or an under-vassal, bound himself before all things to serve the king.

This plan of giving of lands in return for the promise of services was called the "Feudal System," and all through the early part of English history it was the way in which nearly all the land of England was held. When the king went to war, he sent notices to his great vassals bidding them come and bring their soldiers with them. They, in their turn, sent notices to their under-vassals to come with their men, and thus the king was able to get together a large army in a short time, sometimes as many as sixty thousand men.

The chief thing for which the Feudal System was started was to enable the king always to get a sufficient number of soldiers to fight his battles.

Chapter 15. William II., The "Red King." 1087-1100.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of William Rufus:
     William II. (called "William Rufus"), third son of William the Conqueror, b. 1060, became King 1087, d. 1100.
     Robert, Duke of Normandy, brother of William Rufus.
     Henry, brother of William Rufus, afterwards King of England
     Adela, sister of William Rufus, wife of Stephen, Count of Blois, mother of Stephen, afterwards King of England.
     Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury, d. 1089.
     Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury.
     Edgar Atheling, son of Edward, and grandson of Edmund Ironside.
     Gregory VII., Pope, d 1085.
     Urban II., Pope, 1088-1099.
     Peter the Hermit (preached the Crusade).

Principal events during the reign of William Rufus:
     1087. William II. became King.
     1089. Death of Lanfranc.
     1091. Cumberland taken from the Scots.
     1093. Anselm made Archbishop.
     1095. The first Crusade.
     1099. Westminster Hall built.
     1100. William II shot in the New Forest.

The Sons of the Conqueror.

"If anyone would fain learn what manner of man the king was, let him know that he was of a square-set figure, with ruddy complexion and yellowish hair, and an overhanging brow; he had a shifting eye somewhat bloodshot; his strength was exceptionally great, and that despite his moderate stature. His stomach protruded slightly. Eloquence he had none, but had a marked stutter in his speech, especially when angered," -- William of Malmesbury: "Character of William Rufus."

William the Conqueror had ten children. Of these we may name Robert , the eldest; William, who became King of England, and who is known in English history as William Rufus, or "The Red"; Henry, who also became King of England; and a daughter named Adela, whom we shall hear of again, and whose son, Stephen, also became King of England.

We must remember that William the First was Duke of Normandy as well as King of England, and when he died, the question naturally arose as to who should succeed him as duke and as king. Robert, being the eldest, would have come first, and William himself declared that after his death Robert was to become Duke of Normandy. By the same rule which would have made him Duke of Normandy, he should also have become King of England.

But the three brothers had very little regard either for their father's wishes or for each other's rights. Robert's younger brother, William, came over in all haste to England, and immediately claimed the throne. He found plenty of supporters. Robert was the leader of the Norman barons, and the English, who hated the Norman barons, at once took sides against Robert, and with William. With the aid of the English, William succeeded in defeating the army of the barons, and in forcing them to acknowledge him as king.

Nor was he content with being King of England. Normandy had been left by William the Conqueror to his eldest son. But Robert was in want of money, and he had sold his right to the duchy to William. The king now hastened over to Normandy to take possession of the duchy which he had purchased. With the aid of his new English subjects, who were now seen following the banner of a Norman king, William obtained a complete victory; the Norman rebels were defeated, and Normandy as well as England was compelled to submit to the "Red King."

William Rufus, a fierce and cruel man, did little good to the country over which he was king, but his strength of will and his bravery soon made him undisputed master of England.

One or two things still remain to remind us of his life and death. Like all the nobles of his time, the king was a great lover of the chase, and his cruel and selfish nature made him think little of ruining others to serve his own pleasure.

Great tracts of country were set aside as royal forests. In them no man was to live. They were to be given up wholly to the deer, the wolves, and the wild boars which the king delighted to hunt. To kill the king's game was a crime punishable with death.

One of the best known of the great forests thus set aside, or perhaps enlarged, by William Rufus was in what we now know as the county of Hampshire. To make this forest, the inhabitants were driven off thousands of acres of land, their houses were destroyed, and those who lived in them were turned out into the world to live as best they could.

Everything has a beginning, and eight hundred years ago, in the time of William Rufus, this great royal forest was new. It was natural enough, therefore, to call it the "New Forest," and by that name it has been known down to the present day. When we take the train, and pass through the beautiful country which lies between Lyndhurst and Christchurch, in the county of Hampshire, we may remember that we are passing through the New Forest which William Rufus helped to make.

This bad and selfish act had a consequence which the man who did it could not foresee, but the act has been a fortunate one for us who live nowadays.

In the time of the Norman kings, the crown land of England belonged to the king, just as any private person's park belongs to him now, and the king could do what he liked with it. But in the years which have gone by since the time of William Rufus, there has been a great change made in this respect. Land which belongs to the "Crown" now really belongs to the "People," and as it belongs to all the people alike, they have a right to prevent private persons from enclosing it, or keeping people off it.

Anybody can now go freely throughout the whole of the New Forest, from end to end, and can enjoy the beauties of its scenery. No bit of land can be sold in the New Forest without the leave of a Minister appointed by Parliament; and thus, though we have little enough to thank William Rufus for, we may still thank him for the fact that, eight hundred years after his death, we are all able to enjoy a drive or a walk in the New Forest.

It was in this very forest that the king met his death (1100). He had gone out hunting and did not return. At last his body was found, pierced by an arrow, lying in the thick of the forest. It has never been known for certain whether the king was shot by accident, or whether he was murdered by someone who wished to avenge himself for the cruelties which had been done to those who had been turned out of their homes to make room for the wolves and for the deer. But that William Rufus fell by an arrow in the New Forest is certain.

Westminster Hall. (Ch 15)

"It was the great hall of William Rufus, the hall which had resounded with acclamations at the inauguration of thirty kings, the hall which had witnessed the just sentence of Bacon and the just absolution of Somers, the hall where the eloquence of Strafford had for a moment awed and melted a victorious party inflamed with just resentment, the hall where Charles had confronted the High Court of Justice with the placid courage which has half redeemed his fame." -- Macaulay: "Trial of Warren Hastings."

One other relic of the reign of William Rufus has come down to us. Everybody who has been in London knows Westminster Hall. It is the great hall which leads to the Houses of Parliament. It is very famous in our English history. Many important trials have taken place there, and many striking and memorable scenes are connected with it.

Till a few years ago the Courts of Law used to sit in a number of rooms which were built on the right-hand side of the hall. These rooms had been built a long time after the rest of the hall. They were very ugly and very inconvenient, and at last it was decided to pull them down and to make a new place for the Law Courts where they now stand, in the Strand, in London.

When the buildings were pulled down, underneath the walls were found a number of great buttresses, supporting the side of Westminster Hall. The buttresses were very old, and the stone was crumbling. It was plain that they were the very oldest part of the great hall. A clever architect was asked when they had been put up, and he said that they were part of the old wall which had been built by William Rufus. The stone of which the buttresses were made was so worn that it was not possible to leave them in the state in which they had been found. They were therefore strengthened, and covered up with fresh stone. But the shape of the old buttresses was kept, and we can still see them any day if we go down to Westminster. On preceding pages we see pictures of Westminster Hall and of William Rufus's buttresses.

Chapter 16. Henry I. 1100-1135

Famous persons who lived during the reign of Henry:
     Henry I. (called "Beauclerc"), fourth son of William the Conqueror and brother of William Rufus, b. 1068, became King 1100, d. 1135
     Matilda, daughter of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland, wife of Henry, m. 1100, d. 1118.
     William, son of Henry I., drowned 1120.
     Matilda, daughter of Henry I., d. 1167.
     The Emperor Henry V., first husband of Matilda, d. 1125.
     Geoffrey Of Anjou, second husband of Matilda, m. 1127.
     Robert, elder brother of Henry, Duke of Normandy, d 1135.
     Adela, sister of Henry.
     Stephen of Blois, husband of Adela.
     Stephen of Blois, son of Stephen and Adela, afterwards King of England, b. 1094
     Edgar Atheling, son of Edward and grandson of Edmund Ironside, taken prisoner 1106.
     Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, d. 1109.
     Edgar, King of Scotland, brother of Matilda, Queen of England, d. 1107.

Principal events during the during the reign of Henry I:
     1100. Henry seizes the Crown of England. Henry grants a Charter of Liberties. Henry marries Matilda
     1101. Henry acknowledged King of England by Robert.
     1104. Rebellion of the Barons under Robert.
     1106. Battle of Tenchebrai and capture Of Robert. Edgar Atheling taken prisoner,
     1111. Henry marches into Wales, and plants a Flemish colony at Haverford-west, in Pembrokeshire.
     1114. Matilda, Henry's daughter, marries the Emperor, Henry V.
     1118. Death of Queen Matilda. Revolt of the Barons.
     1120. Wreck of the "White Ship."
     1125. Death of the Emperor Henry.
     1127. Marriage of Matilda to Geoffrey (Plantagenet), Count of Anjou.
     1133. Henry, son of Matilda, afterwards Henry II. of England, born.
     1134. Rebellion in Wales.
     1135. Death of Henry 1.

Englishmen and Normans. (Ch 16)

"By easy stages we may trace
Our Saxon-Danish-Norman-English race."

When William Rufus was dead, the question arose as to who should succeed him as King of England.

It must be remembered that William the Conqueror had four sons -- Robert, Richard, William, and Henry -- Robert and Henry now remained, after the death of their brothers. Robert was the elder, and ought, by rights, to have become king; but Robert's friends were mostly in Normandy, and Henry's were in England. With the aid of his English friends, Henry seized the crown and proclaimed himself king. He reigned for thirty-five years, and, on the whole, his reign was a good one.

It is not necessary to follow Henry into all the wars which he fought, in England and in Normandy, nor to trouble ourselves about quarrels which are long forgotten. The chief point we have to notice is that during his reign the mixing together of the Normans and the English really began, and that the king himself was foremost to set an example of friendship between his subjects.

We saw in the last chapter how the Norman Conquest had led to a great division in England -- the Norman barons and their French followers on the one hand, and the defeated English on the other. Normans and English kept apart from each other; the Normans despising the Englishmen, and the Englishmen hating and fearing the Normans.

We know well enough that nowadays there is no distinction between Norman and English; they are one people, with one law and one language. The two peoples have become so mixed together that they are now really and truly one.

It was in the time of Henry the First that this mixing together of Normans and English first began. Henry, like William the Conqueror, saw very plainly that if he wanted to become a strong king, and to be able to hold his own against the Norman barons, he must make friends with the English, and look to them for support. In order, therefore, to obtain their goodwill, he decided to do a thing which at once won the hearts of his English subjects. He married Matilda, an English princess.

Who was this Princess Matilda? Let us see if we can trace back her history. In Chapter 13 we read of a prince named Edgar Atheling, the grandson of Edmund Ironside. We saw how the hopes of the English were fixed on him as the last of their royal family, and how, despite the bravery of Hereward, he was at last forced to give in to the Normans. Edgar Atheling had a sister named Margaret, who had married Malcolm, King of Scotland. Malcolm and Margaret had a daughter, and this daughter was Matilda, who was now to become the bride of the Norman king. It was, of course, a great joy to the English that a true English woman, the niece of their own prince, Edgar Atheling, should be raised to the throne. But while the English rejoiced, the Norman barons could not hide their anger when they saw their duke take as his wife one of the people whom they despised, and whom they had so deeply wronged.

It soon became plain that Henry had done wisely in thus choosing his wife. It was no small thing to have won the goodwill of the English. They only wanted leaders, such as William the Conqueror and Henry, to make them some of the best soldiers in Europe.

And this the king's Norman enemies soon found, to their cost. A number of the barons, friends of the king's brother Robert, rose in revolt against the king. Then Henry called to his aid his English subjects, and marching against his enemies, won a complete victory over them. The English, who at last had an opportunity of revenging themselves on their Norman oppressors, fought gladly under the king's banner.

But though Robert's friends were the weaker, Robert himself still kept up the war in Normandy. Henry crossed the Channel, took Robert prisoner, and defeated his army at the battle of Tinchebray (1106). Robert was imprisoned by his brother in Cardiff Castle, and remained in prison for the rest of his life. He died twenty-eight years after the battle of Tinchebray. The capture of Robert allowed Henry to make himself master of Normandy.

We shall remember that Henry had married Matilda. His daughter was called "Matilda," after her mother. While quite young, this little girl was married to Henry the Fifth, Emperor of Germany. Besides his daughter, Henry had also a son named William, of whom he was very fond. He hoped that William would become king after his death; but this was not to be.

"Twas vain: the loud waves lashed the shore,
Return or aid preventing:
The waters wild went o'er his child,
And he was left lamenting."
-- Campbell: "Lord Ullin's Daughter."

In the year 1120 the king was on his way back from Normandy, accompanied by his son. In one ship sailed the king, in another, called the "White Ship" was William, with a party of his friends. The king's ship started first on her journey, the "White Ship" followed. Her fifty rowers rowed with all their might to overtake the king's vessel. The prince and his companions made merry on board. Suddenly the "White Ship" struck on a rock and began to fill rapidly with water. A boat was lowered, and Prince William was placed in it.

It seemed as if he were saved, but as he left the side of the "White Ship" he heard the cries of his sister Mary, who had been left on board. The prince ordered the boatmen to return; but no sooner was the boat alongside the sinking ship than those on board the wreck sprang into the little boat. In a moment she was upset, and in a few minutes the whole of the gay company who had started that night from Barfleur was overwhelmed in the waves. One man alone, Berauld, a poor butcher, regained the shore.

Soon the news reached the English Court, but for a long time no one dared to tell Henry of his son's death. At last the terrible news was broken to him. The king was overcome with grief; not only did he lament the death of a son whom he dearly loved, but he foresaw that now that he had no longer an heir, there would be no peace after his death. So great was the king's grief, that it is said that after hearing the fatal news, he was never seen to smile again.

Although Henry had no son, we must not forget that he had a daughter, Matilda, who had been married to Henry V. of Germany. The Emperor Henry soon died, and left his young empress a widow. But she did not remain long unmarried, for she soon became the bride of Geoffrey, Count of Anjou. Anjou was a great province in France of which Angers and Tours were the principal towns.

There is not much to be told in this story about Geoffrey of Anjou, but there is one thing which we may remember him by. We often in English history meet with the word "Plantagenet." King Henry II., Richard I., John, and all the kings down to the accession of Henry VII., are spoken of as Plantagenet Kings, or kings of the Plantagenet family. What is the meaning of Plantagenet?

The word is taken from the Latin Planta genista, which means the common "Broom" plant. Most of us know the common broom, with its bright yellow flowers. It happened that Geoffrey of Anjou was accustomed to wear in his helmet as a crest or sign a sprig of yellow broom. From this, people began to call him "Plantagenet," or the Wearer of the Broom. The Empress Matilda married Geoffrey Plantagenet, and their son Henry became Henry II., King of England. And thus it is that Henry II. is known in English history as Henry Plantagenet.


In England it has always been the rule that the eldest son of the king or his children should come to the throne on the death of the king, and that if the king has no son or grandson, but only a daughter, then the daughter shall come to the throne and be queen. It is because of this rule that we have had several Queens of England -- Queen Mary, the great Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria. But in France there was a different rule from that which we have in England. This rule was called the "Salic Law." It prevented a woman from coming to the throne of France, and so there have been no queens of France. As Henry I. had no son, after the death of William his daughter Matilda would have come to the throne after his death according to the English rule.

But England and France were so much bound together at that time that it was not wonderful that many people should have said that the French rule ought to be followed in England, and that there should be no queen. There was one person who was very much in favour of the French rule, and this was Stephen of Blois, the nephew of Henry I. We need not go far to find out what was Stephen's reason for believing that the French rule was the best. If the French rule were followed, Stephen himself would become King of England, and his cousin Matilda would be prevented from coming to the throne.

Soon a fierce quarrel broke out between the friends of Stephen and the friends of Matilda, and the last years of Henry I. were made miserable by the constant quarrels among his relations.

King Henry died (1135) at the age of sixty-seven years, after a reign of thirty-five years. He was a wise king and a learned man, and his learning won for him the name of Beauclerc, or "The Scholar." Unluckily, the times in which he lived were times in which the sword had more power than the pen.


Chapter 17. King Stephen 1135-1154.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of King Stephen:
     Stephen, son of Stephen of Blois, and Adela, nephew of Henry I., b. 1094, became King 1135, d. 1154.
     Matilda, or Maud, daughter of Henry I., cousin of Stephen, and wife of Geoffrey Plantagenet.
     Henry, son of Matilda, afterwards Henry II., King of England.
     David, King of Scotland, became King 1124.
     Innocent II., Pope 1130.
     Adrian IV., or Nicholas Brakespeare, the only English Pope, 1154.

Principal events in the reign of King Stephen:
     1135. Stephen crowned King in London.
     1136. Stephen's title to the crown confirmed by Pope Innocent II.
     1138. David of Scotland invades England in support of the claim of his niece Matilda. The Scots defeated in the Battle of the Standard.
     1139. Matilda lands in England. Civil war commences.
     1141. Stephen taken prisoner by the Earl of Gloucester at Lincoln. Matilda enters London. The Londoners drive Matilda out of the city.
     1141. Matilda besieged at Winchester, and escapes. Earl of Gloucester taken prisoner. Stephen regains the Crown.
     1142. Escape of Matilda from Oxford.
     1144. Stephen excommunicated by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Quarrel with the Church.
     1152. Henry, son of Matilda, marries Eleanor of France.
     1153. Henry lands in England with an army.
     1153. Treaty of Wallingford. Stephen recognises Henry as his successor.
     1154. Death of Stephen.

A Miserable Reign. (Ch 17)

"On the death of King Henry, who had given peace to the realm and was the father of his people, his loss threw the whole kingdom into trouble and confusion. During his reign the law was purely administered in the seats of justice; but when he was removed, iniquity prevailed and they became the seed-beds of corruption. Thenceforth, England, before the resting-place of right, the habitation of peace, and the mirror of piety, was converted into an abode of malignity, a theatre of strife, and a school of rebellion. The sacred bonds of mutual concord before reverenced by the nation, were rent asunder; the ties of near relationship were dissolved, and the people, long clothed in the garments of peace, clamoured and became frantic for war." -- Acts of King Stephen.

This is going to be a very short chapter, about a reign in which the people of England went through great suffering and misery, a reign which has left very little mark behind it, whether for good or for evil. It is the reign of Stephen, who came to the throne on the death of his uncle, Henry I., in the year 1135, and who reigned nineteen years. During nearly the whole of Stephen's reign there was a fierce war going on in England between Stephen and his friends on the one side, and the Empress Matilda, the daughter of Henry I., on the other side. Sometimes one party gained the day, and sometimes the other; but whatever happened, the unfortunate people of England suffered. The barons built great castles, where they lived safely behind their strong stone walls. From these castles they sallied forth to rob and plunder all those who were defenceless and who were worth robbing.


A terrible description has been given of the state of England at this time. This is what the writer tells us of the cruelties of the savage barons: "They hanged up men by their feet, and smoked them with foul smoke. Some were hanged up by their thumbs, others by the head, and burning things were hung on to their feet . . . They put men into prison where adders, and snakes, and toads were crawling, and so they tormented them." And the barons did many terrible things besides these, about all of which the writer of whom we have spoken tells us in his book. At last the great quarrel between Stephen and Matilda came to an end. A treaty was made at Wallingford (1153). It was agreed that Stephen should be king as long as he lived, and that after his death, Henry, who was Matilda's son, should become king.

There is one more point to be noted with respect to this young Henry, of whom we shall read more in the next chapter. We said that, though Geoffrey of Anjou was not a very important person, we should hear something more of him in this book. Geoffrey, it must be remembered was the second husband of Matilda, and the father of the young Henry.

It was Geoffrey who carried a Sprig of Broom in his helmet, and who got the name of "Plantagenet" He was Geoffrey Plantagenet, and his son Henry was Henry Plantagenet. So we see that there was to be a change in the family from which the Kings of England came. Stephen was of the same family as William the Conqueror. He was his grandson; but when Stephen died his family ended, and another family came in, the family of the Plantagenets, and Henry was the first Plantagenet King. His mother, Matilda, was the granddaughter of William the Conqueror, but his father was a Count of Anjou.

Stephen died in the year 1154, having reigned eighteen years.

Chapter 18. Henry II. 1154-1189

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Henry II:
     Henry II. (Henry Plantagenet), son of Geoffrey of Anjou and Matilda, and grandson of Henry I., b. 1133, became King 1154, d. 1189, reigned 35 years.
     Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of Henry II., formerly wife of Louis VII. of France, m. 1152, d. 1204.
     Henry, son of Henry II., d. 1183.
     Richard, son of Henry II., afterwards King of England.
     Geoffrey, son of Henry II., d. 1186.
     John, son of Henry II., afterwards King of England.
     Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury, d. 1161.
     Thomas A'Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury 1162, murdered 1170.
     Frederick Barbarossa, the great Emperor of Germany, who quarrelled with Pope Alexander III., d. 1190.
     Pope Adrian IV. (Nicholas Brakespeare), the only Englishman elected Pope, d. 1159.
     Pope Alexander III. 1159.
     Malcolm IV., King of Scotland, d. 1165.
     William the Lion, King of Scotland.
     Roger Hoveden, of Howden, in Yorkshire, wrote the history of these times, d. 1201

Principal events during the during the reign of Henry II:
     1154. Henry II. becomes King.
     1155. Pope Adrian IV. gives Henry leave to invade Ireland.
     1156. Henry defeats his brother Geoffrey and makes him resign his claim to Anjou. 1170.
     1157. Expedition into Wales.
     1160. Henry collects a tax from every vassal, under the name of "scutage."
     1161. Death of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury.
     1162. Peace with France. Two rival Popes elected in the same year. Thomas A'Becket made Archbishop of Canterbury.
     1163. Beginning of quarrel between Henry and Becket.
     1164. Constitutions of Clarendon. Becket's flight.
     1165. Malcolm IV., King of Scotland dies. The Welsh defeat an English army at Corwen.
     1168. Dermott McMurragh, King of Leinster, does homage to King Henry.
     1169. Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, lands at Waterford. Meeting between Henry and Becket at Montmirail, in France.
     1170. Becket returns to England. Becket excommunicates his enemies. Henry expresses his anger against Becket. December 29th, murder of Becket.
     1171. Henry lands near Waterford, and receives the submission of the Irish Princes. John, son of Henry, made Lord of Ireland.
     1173. William the Lion King of Scotland, taken prisoner at Alnwick.
     1174. Burning of Canterbury Cathedral.
     1183. Death of Henry, son of the King.
     1188. War with the King of France.
     1189. Richard and John, the King's sons, join his enemies. William the Lion, King of Scotland, released. Death of Henry II.

Canterbury Cathedral. (Ch 18)

". . . . the architect
Built his great heart into these sculptured stones."
-- Longfellow: "The Golden Legend."

I want my readers to come a short journey with me. We will start from Victoria Station in London, and will take tickets by the express train on the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway. In about an hour and a half the train stops. We are at Canterbury. We alight, and a short walk brings us to the door of the great cathedral of Canterbury, the Metropolitan Church of England.

Let us pause for a moment before we enter, and look at the wonderful building, with its three towers, its graceful windows, and its beautiful carving. It must have been a famous architect who built Canterbury Cathedral. Who was he? Does history tell us anything about him? Yes, certainly it does; and, unfortunately for our pride as Englishmen, history tells us that it was no countryman of ours who planned the greater part of the stately church.

The greater part of the cathedral of Canterbury as we now see it was built in the year 1174. A short time before, there had been a great fire, and part of the old building (for Canterbury Cathedral was old 700 years ago) was burnt to the ground. It was necessary to find a good architect to do the work. At last it was decided to employ a Frenchman, named William, who came from the town of Sens, in the North of France, and who is generally known as William of Sens. Now we know who the architect was and where he came from, we shall not be surprised to learn another thing about the cathedral. Canterbury Cathedral is a most beautiful building, as everyone who has seen it knows; but beautiful though it be, it is not the only church of its kind in the world; there is another like it.

If, instead of stopping at Canterbury station we had gone on in the train to Dover, had crossed over the English Channel to Calais, and had taken the train through the north of France, we should have come, after a long journey, to the town of Sens. There we should see another cathedral, not quite so beautiful, perhaps, as the one at Canterbury, but still very much like it. Many parts of it, indeed, are exactly the same as parts of our English cathedral; the shape of the windows is the same, the carvings are the same. It is plain that either Sens has been copied from Canterbury, or Canterbury from Sens.

Now that we know who it was that planned the chancel of Canterbury Cathedral, we can easily guess that it was Canterbury which was copied from Sens, or, rather, that William of Sens, when he was brought over to work in England, thought the best thing he could do was to repeat at Canterbury the beautiful work he had done in his own country.

Before we go inside the cathedral, let us stop to ask whether there is anything else which we already know about it. We must carry our minds back into the history of England even further than the time of William the Conqueror.

We must go back to the very beginning of our history, to the days when Augustine, the Roman bishop, came into our land, and taught to the Saxon people of Kent the story of Christ. It was to Canterbury that Augustine came, and it was there that, by permission of King Aethelbert, he built the church which was to become the centre of all the Christian churches of England.

From the time of Augustine down to our own day, the city of Canterbury has been the home of the archbishops of the English Church. It is the story of one of the greatest of these archbishops that we are now going to read. And now let us go inside the doors. We walk up the long nave, go up a few steps, and to the left into a little chapel at the side.

Let us stop here for a moment, and if we have a knowledge of English history, and especially of that part of English history which has to do with the cathedral of Canterbury, we shall most certainly give a thought to a terrible event which once took place upon the very spot on which we now stand.

For here, in the very midst of the great cathedral, was committed a savage and dreadful murder, which seven hundred years ago startled all Europe, and which filled the people of England with wonder and alarm.

What is this terrible story? Whose blood was it that was shed here? And who were the men who did this violent deed within the walls of the cathedral itself? That is what we are now going to read.

The King and the Archbishop. (Ch 18)

"Law in his voice and fortune in his hand,
To him the Church, the realm, their powers consign;
Through him the rays of regal bounty shine,
Turned by his nod the stream of honour flows,
His smile alone security bestows:
Still to new heights his restless wishes tower,
Claim leads to claim and power advances power,
Till conquest unresisted ceased to please,
And right submitted, left him none to seize."
-- Johnson: "Vanity of Human Wishes."

When, to the great joy of all men, King Stephen died, there followed him on the throne of England a king whose name ought not to be forgotten by those who read the history of England. This king was Henry II., the son of Matilda, and the cousin of Stephen. He came to the throne in the year 1154, and reigned thirty-five years. He was a man of great courage, wisdom, and strength of mind. Like most other men, he had many good, and at the same time many bad, qualities. His reign was one of great difficulty and trial, and though he was successful in many things, and overcame many of his enemies, he had great disappointments, and died defeated and miserable.

There is not room in this book to tell the whole story of the long reign of Henry II., so we will content ourselves with that part of it which has to do with Canterbury Cathedral and its great archbishop.


But first, let us try to understand what sort of a man King Henry was. Even though he lived so long ago, we can picture him to ourselves, for those who knew him well have left us an account of his appearance which tells us almost as truly as a photograph what the king was like.

A man rather above middle height, square, and solidly built, and rather stout. His head was round and well shapen, his short reddish hair sprinkled with grey. His face was fiery, or, as a more polite writer of his time describes it, "lion-like." His eyes were grey, but often rather bloodshot. He was short-necked and square-chested, his hands were coarse and clumsy. Such was Henry II., as drawn by those who saw him from day to day.

And now we come to the other great personage of his reign. In the year 1118 there was born a child called Thomas Becket, or Thomas A'Becket. Thomas's father was a Norman by birth, and came from the town of Rouen, but he had lived long in England, and had become so good an Englishman, and was so much liked by his neighbours, that he had been made Port Reeve, or, as we should now call it, Mayor, of the City of London.

Thomas soon showed signs that he was a clever boy, and his cleverness won for him the friendship of Theobald, Archbishop of Canterbury. He became a priest, and was sent by the archbishop on several important journeys to Rome. Soon he attracted the attention of the king, who was struck by his cleverness and by his agreeable character. It was not long before he received from Henry a great mark of his favour, for he was made Chancellor, or Keeper of the King's Seal: an office of great dignity and importance.

Many stories are told of Thomas A'Becket and his life at this time. He lived in great luxury, keeping hundreds of servants and many horses, and rivalling the king himself in the splendour of his house. During this time King Henry and Becket agreed together well enough -- so well, indeed, that King Henry, not content with making his favourite Chancellor, raised him to the still higher office of Archbishop of Canterbury. From that day there came a change, and enmity arose between the king and the archbishop, which only ended in the death of the latter.

In order to understand how it was that King Henry and Thomas A'Becket quarrelled, and how it was that the archbishop came to lose his life as the result of the quarrel, we must try to understand something of what was going on in England at the time in which Henry and Becket lived.

The days of Henry II. were days in which much violence and cruelty were practised by those who were strong against those who were weak. The Norman barons, living in their strong castles and clothed in suits of armour, cared little for the sufferings of the poorer and worse-armed people among whom they lived. The king himself was wiser than the barons. He knew that he would be stronger if he did justice to all, and did not give himself up altogether to the wishes of the barons. He tried, therefore, in many ways to make laws which should do justice to everybody in the kingdom. But though he often wished to do well, it was not always easy even for a good king in such a time to protect the poor and the defenceless.

There was, however, another great power in England beside the king and the barons, which we must know something about if we want to understand rightly the history of England. This power was the power of the Church. It was felt not only in England, but in France, in Germany, in Italy, and in Spain. At the head of the Church was the Pope in Rome, and in England there were the archbishops, the bishops, and the clergy in all parts of the country.

In many ways the Church was very different then from what it is now. It was the Churchmen * who alone opened schools, who taught people how to read and write; and, indeed, there were very few except the clergy who could read or write at all. All over England there were great abbeys and monasteries, in which there lived priests, monks, and nuns. In these abbeys and monasteries books were to be found and teaching was to be got.

[* It should be understood that in the time of Henry II. a "Churchman" meant not only a priest or clergyman, but anyone who was in any way in the service of the Church. Monks, clerks, teachers, and often the servants of a church or monastery, were called "Churchmen," and had the right to be tried in the bishop's Court. The fact that a man could read and write was often held to be proof that he was a Churchman. We must remember these things in order that we may understand what is said in this chapter.]

Nor was this all. In many of the churches there was a place called a Sanctuary, to which anyone who was in danger of his life might fly, and in which he was safe from harm. At a time when so much injustice was done, and when so many cruel men used their power to injure the weak and defenceless, it was a great thing to have places to which those who were persecuted could go, and in which they could be safe. In an age, too, when there was so much ignorance, it was a good thing that there should be men who could teach reading and writing, and who could prevent the learning of all the wise men who had gone before from being forgotten.

And last of all, but most important of all, it was a good thing that in the midst of so much violence and cruelty there should be men and women who tried to teach the difference between right and wrong, between good and evil, and who kept England a Christian land. It is not wonderful, therefore, that when the Churchmen did all these things, they should be looked upon with favour and treated with honour.

But, unluckily, it often happens that too much good fortune spoils men. The clergy became so great and so powerful that many of them forgot that it was their duty to help and protect the poor against the strong. And not only did the clergy get strong, but they soon got very rich, and many of the abbeys and monasteries had lands of great extent; and thus it happened that in the time of Henry II. the Church of England did both harm and good. When it protected the poor, taught those who were ignorant, and set an example of a holy life, it did good. When it joined with the king and the barons to try to get riches and power, or when it tried to get power for itself, it did harm.

The Quarrel. (Ch 18)

"Ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi." -- Numbers xvi. 7.

And now we come back to the day on which Henry II. made Thomas A'Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, and put him at the head of the Church we have been talking about. We have seen that while he was Chancellor, Becket was gay and fond of pleasure, a friend of the king, and ready to share with him in all his sports. But from the very day on which Becket was made Archbishop of Canterbury it seemed as if a change had come over him. From that day he gave up all his time to trying to strengthen the Church, to give it more power, and to make it free from all interference, on the part either of the king or of the barons.

It was not long before the new archbishop and the king found cause for a quarrel. The Church at that time claimed that all clergymen, and everybody who was connected with the Church in any way, should only be tried, in case they committed offences, by judges belonging to the Church. They said that the king's Courts, in which persons who had committed crimes were usually tried, had no power over those who belonged to the Church, and that the king's judges had no right to try Churchmen. Now, it is easy to see that there was sure to be a quarrel before long over this claim made by the Church to set up its own judges, and to have its own courts of justice.

We saw that Henry was doing his best to improve the Courts of Justice in England, and to appoint Judges who would do justice to all alike. When the king's Courts decided against any man who was accused of a crime, they were able to punish him. And so also when two persons who had a dispute came before the king's Courts to have their case tried, the one who was declared to be in the right was able to make the other give up his claim, and do what the Court said was just.

But when King Henry found that Becket would not allow Churchmen to be tried by the judges, he was angry; for he said that every man, rich or poor, Churchman or not, ought to be equal in the king's Courts and obey the order of the judges. Becket, on his side, would not give way, and refused to allow Churchmen to go into the king's Courts.

There was also another cause of quarrel between the king and the archbishop. Many of the bishops and other clergy had great quantities of land. We read in Chapter 14 that in feudal times every man who had land had to "do homage for it." Henry said that the Churchmen ought to do "homage" to him for their land; Becket said that they should not do so. Then Henry called together a meeting of the barons, and he made a set of rules or laws. The place at which the meeting of the barons was held was called Clarendon, and the rules that were made there were known as "The Constitutions of Clarendon" (1164). One of these rules was that Churchmen should be tried in the king's Courts when they had committed crimes. Another was that all Churchmen should do homage to the king for their lands.

It is not easy now, so long after these things happened, to say whether Henry or Becket was in the right. In those days things were very different from what they are now. The judges whom the king appointed were not always just, nor did they always know the law. Sometimes, no doubt, justice was better done in the courts in which the bishops were the judges than in the king's Courts. Besides, it must be remembered that it was no new thing for which Becket fought, for at the time in which he lived the courts held by the Church were to be found in every country in Europe, and in every country Churchmen had the right to be tried and condemned only by Churchmen.

Of course, in our own time it would be quite wrong for Churchmen to refuse to be judged in the same courts as other people. In our own time, happily, the judges are just; they know the law, and they do justice equally to all men, rich or poor, whether they be Churchmen or whether they be not. If we can find excuses for Thomas A' Becket, we certainly ought not to blame Henry because he tried to make all people equal before the law.

But though it may be doubtful whether Henry or Becket was most in the right, one thing is certain, and that is that the king and the archbishop soon quarrelled with one another. In his anger, the king banished Becket from the land. The archbishop fled to the town of Sens, in Normandy. [It was here that Becket met with William of Sens, who, we saw, came over to England, and rebuilt a great part of the cathedral of Canterbury, in imitation of his own cathedral at Sens.]

After a time Henry and Becket became friends again, and Henry gave Becket leave to return to England. Becket crossed over, leaving Henry behind in France. When the archbishop came to Canterbury, thousands of people came out to welcome him back. The poor people looked upon him as their friend and protector against the barons. When Henry heard of the way in which Becket had been welcomed back, he flew into a great rage. He could not bear that a man who had been his enemy, and who had dared to disobey him, should be so beloved.

In his anger, Henry broke out into wild, hasty words. His eyes flamed and his face grew pale with passion. "What!" cried he, "a fellow that has eaten my bread has lifted up his heel against me -- a fellow that I loaded with benefits, dares insult the king and the whole royal family, and tramples on the whole kingdom -- a fellow that came to Court on a lame horse, with a cloak for a saddle, sits on the throne itself, and no man interferes? What sluggard wretches!" he cried, "what cowards have I brought up in my Court, who care nothing for their duty to their master! Not one will deliver me from this low-born priest!"

We cannot tell whether the king really wished that someone should take him at his word. We sometimes make hasty speeches and say things which we hope others will act upon, though we dare not act upon them ourselves; and then, when others have done the harm which we wished, but were afraid to do, we try to pretend to ourselves that it is not we who are to blame. And so, perhaps, when Henry, in his anger, cried out, "Not one will deliver me from this low-born priest!" he half hoped that some of those who stood by would take him at his word, and commit a crime which he was ashamed and afraid to commit himself.

It happened that there stood among the king's courtiers four knights -- Hugh de Morville, William de Tracy, Richard le Bret, Reginald Fitzurse. * The four knights overheard the king's words, and it was not long before they had formed a cruel plot to murder Becket, and thus to "deliver" the king from the "low-born priest."

[Fitzurse means "Son of the Bear," a name which well suited the savage Norman knight to whom it belonged. The English home of the Fitzurses is called to this day Bear-ham, or the village of the Bears. Some of the Fitzurses crossed into Ireland, and there their name took an Irish form, and they became the founders of the well-known family of the MacMahons -- MacMahon meaning in Irish exactly the same as Fitzurse in Norman: viz., "the Son of the Bear."]

Two reasons joined together to urge them to commit this crime. In the first place, no doubt they loved the king a little, for he was their lord, and they depended upon his favour. In the second place, they hated Becket far more than they loved the king. When he had been Chancellor, Thomas had despised the fierce barons, and had enjoyed the favour of the king. Since he became archbishop he had made many of the barons give up the lands which they had taken from the Church, and he had often helped those whom the barons had oppressed.

And so it happened that the hasty words of King Henry had fallen into the hearts of men who wanted no persuading to kill the king's enemy. Mounting their horses, the four knights rode off at full speed to the sea-coast. There they took ship across the Channel, and on a cold dreary day at the end of December, 1170, they came within sight of the three great towers of Canterbury Cathedral.

We now come to the story of the terrible deed which they did on that wintry day within the walls of the great cathedral.

The Murder. (Ch 18)

"Where is the Archbishop, Thomas Becket?"
"Here. No traitor to the King, but Priest of God,
Private of England. I am he ye seek.
What would ye have of me?"
"Your life."
-- Tennyson: "Becket."

It was late in the evening of the 29th December, when the winter's night was already setting in, that the dwellers in the archbishop's palace were suddenly alarmed. A crash was heard as the wooden door of the orchard outside was broken down, and soon it was known by all that the archbishop's enemies were outside, longing to get in, and to take the life of the man whom they hated.

Many of the monks who surrounded Becket fled like cowards at the approach of danger. Some few stood by their master, and did all they could to get him to take refuge in the cathedral. Within its walls they thought he would be safe. But, great as the danger was, Becket scorned to fly. He walked calmly along the passage which led into the cathedral. Before him walked an attendant bearing the cross, which was always carried before the archbishop.

At last, however, the frightened monks could no longer bear the slow pace at which the archbishop advanced, and they half-dragged and half-carried him into the cathedral. They shut the door and turned the key. Soon cries were heard outside. It was the four knights and their friends, who were driving before them the friends of the archbishop, and who were seeking to find their way into the cathedral.

When Becket heard the cries of his own friends outside, he bade those who were with him throw open the door, in order that those who were in danger might escape from the fury of the knights. But this brave act cost the archbishop his life. No sooner had the door been thrown open than Fitzurse and his companions rushed in.

Then all but the bravest fled from the archbishop's side, and he was left alone with but three faithful friends: Robert of Merton, his old teacher; William FitzStephen, his chaplain; and Edward Grim, a Saxon monk. With these three Becket reached the little chapel on the left-hand side of the cathedral, of which we read at the beginning of this chapter, and there the four murderers found him.

It was nearly dark, and at first the knights could not see Becket. "Where is Thomas Becket, traitor to the king?" cried one of them. Then Fitzurse exclaimed, "Where is the archbishop?" Becket knew the voice. "Reginald, here am," said he: "no traitor, but the archbishop and the priest of God. What do you wish?" As he said these words he advanced towards Fitzurse, who sprang back.

The four knights then began to upbraid Becket, and to bid him undo the harm that he had done. "I cannot do other than I have done," replied the archbishop. "Reginald, you have received many favours at my hands; why do you come armed into my church?" For answer, Fitzurse placed his axe against Becket's breast, saying, "You shall die!"

Another of the knights struck him with the flat of his sword, and told him to fly, or he was a dead man." I am ready to die for God and the Church," was the archbishop's answer. Then the knights fell upon him, and tried to drag him outside, for they feared to kill him in the church. But Becket was a strong man, and resisted their efforts.

There was a fierce struggle, and at last Fitzurse, mad with passion, cried out, "Strike! Strike!"

Then Becket saw that death was near, Fitzurse struck off his cap. Tracy aimed a blow at him with his sword, and wounded the brave Grim, who strove to defend his master. The same blow which struck down Grim wounded Becket, and the blood began to flow. Then the knights attacked him fiercely with their swords, and he fell dying on the floor of the chapel. A last blow on the head put an end to Becket's sufferings, and the murder was completed.

The four murderers ran hastily out of the cathedral, and after plundering the archbishop's house rode off unharmed.

Thus died Thomas A' Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, within the walls of his own cathedral. What became of the murderers is not certain. Some say that they went on a voyage to Jerusalem to do penance for their sins. Others say that they all of them died by some shameful death. But it seems as if they were really received back into favour again by the king, and that they were never punished for the crime they had committed.

What Henry thought of the cruel murder of his enemy remains to be told. The news was brought to him in France, and he received it with every sign of the deepest sorrow. Whether or not he really wished that Becket should be killed we do not know, but now that he was dead the king was overcome with remorse.

As a sign of his grief, he went to do penance at Canterbury. Barefooted, and without his royal robes, he walked to the cathedral, attended by a crowd of bishops and monks, with whom were many of his own courtiers. Kneeling before the tomb of Becket, he bade each of the bishops scourge him on his bare shoulders. Then throwing himself down upon the tomb, he lay there all night without food.

Such is the story of Henry and Becket. It is a story which should be remembered, because it shows how great a power the Church was in the early days of our history, and how even the strongest kings sometimes found their match among the archbishops and bishops of the Church.

The Pope's Gift. (Ch 18)

"Adrian the bishop, the servant of the servants of God, to His most dear Son in Christ, the noble king of England, sendeth greeting and apostolick benediction . . . we do grant that you do enter to possess that land, [Ireland] and there to execute according to your wisdom whatsoever shall be for the honour of God, and the safety of the realm.

"And further also do we strictly charge and require, that all the people of that land do with all humbleness, dutifulness, and honour, receive and accept you as their liege Lord and Sovereign."
-- From the Bull of Pope Adrian IV. to Henry II.

One or two other things which happened in the reign of Henry II. must not be forgotten. Henry was successful in his wars in Wales, in Scotland, and in Ireland. He defeated the Scots, and William the Lion, the Scottish king, was taken prisoner while leading an army into England.

Ireland was at this time divided among many kings and chieftains and its people were split up into numberless tribes, who were always fighting one against the other, and constantly plundering each other's lands. Henry thought that the time had come to make himself master of Ireland in fact as well as in name, for even before his time the Kings of England had claimed to be Lords of Ireland. He therefore gave leave to some of the Norman barons to conquer Ireland for him. He found help in a strange quarter. The Pope, who at that time was supposed to have the right to give away lands that were not under any regular king, wrote a paper, or "Bull," as it was called, in which he "gave" Ireland to Henry.

The Norman knights, under Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, landed at Waterford, in the south-east corner of Ireland, and made themselves masters of a large part of the country near the coast. From that time forward the English power increased in Ireland, and the Kings of England were known as Lords of Ireland. It was not, however, till many years later that the whole island submitted to English rule.

Although Henry had been great and powerful during his reign, and though he had been victorious in so many wars, his life ended in misery and defeat. His enemies in France took up arms against him, and when he hurried over to lead his armies he found that among his enemies was his own son, John. The defeat of his army and the treachery of his son broke down the old king's spirit, and he died an unhappy death at Chinon, in France, in the year 1189, and the 56th year of his age.

Chapter 19. Richard Coeur De Lion 1189-1199

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Richard I:
     Richard I. ("Coeur de Lion") second son of Henry II. and Eleanor of Aquitaine, b. 1157, became King 1189, d. 1199
     Berengaria, daughter of the King of Navarre, the wife of King Richard, m. 1191, d. 1230.
     John, son of Henry II., brother of Richard, afterwards King of England.
     Philip Augustus, King of France, d. 1223.
     Leopold, Duke of Austria, a leader of the Crusade, d. 1194
     Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, who governed England in Richard's absence, d. 1205.
     Roger Hoveden, who wrote the history of this time, d. 1201.
     Robin Hood, the famous outlaw of Sherwood Forest, is supposed to have lived during this reign.

Principal events in the reign of Richard I:
     1189. Richard I. becomes King of England.
     1190. Richard starts on a Crusade. Richard relieves Acre.
     1191. Richard marries Berengaria.
     1192. Richard makes peace with the Saracens.
     1192. Richard imprisoned by Leopold of Austria.
     1193. Hubert Walter, Justiciar.
     1194. Richard ransomed for £100,000.
     1199. Richard killed at the siege of Chaluz.

The Crescent and the Cross. (Ch 19)

"Richard, that robb'd the lion of his heart
And fought the holy wars in Palestine."
-- Shakespeare: "King John."

The next two chapters give an account of two brothers: Richard and John. Both brothers are remembered in English history, but for very different reasons. There was, indeed, a great difference in their characters and their lives.

Richard spent nearly all his reign outside England; John stayed in England. Richard was famous for his generosity, for the victories which he won over foreign enemies, and for his bravery in war. John, though, no doubt, also a brave man, is remembered as a cruel and unwise king, who was defeated in his own country by his own people. And yet it is true to say that we who are alive now owe more to John's defeats than to Richard's victories.

Richard was the first King of England of that name; he is therefore known as Richard I. He is also known by another name, which those who lived in his time gave him, and by which he is still called to this day. His friends and enemies were agreed in calling him Richard Coeur de Lion. "Coeur" is the French word for "heart," and Richard Coeur de Lion means "Richard of the Lion Heart," or "The Lion-hearted." We may ask why a King of England should have a French name, but we shall cease to wonder when we understand that Richard was really just as much a Frenchman as he was an Englishman.

It will be remembered how the Dukes of Normandy became Kings of England, and how after the time of Stephen the Princes of Anjou reigned in their stead. Now, as we all know, both Normandy and Anjou are in France, and the Norman and Angevin l kings were really quite as much French as they were English. They had lands and castles in France as well as iii England, and they probably talked French much more easily than they talked English. We can therefore understand why Richard came to be called "Coeur de Lion" instead of "The Lion-hearted."

Richard was a man of very great strength, bold as a lion, and a terrible enemy to meet in battle as he rode on his great warhorse, clad in armour, and swinging his battle-axe round his head. He loved nothing so much as war and fighting, and he lived at a time when everyone who was fond of fighting could easily get as much as he wanted. But most of the fighting which Richard did was done far away from England, and brought little profit to our country. How was it that a King of England came to be fighting so far away from his own land? This is how it befell.

It happened that two years before Richard I. came to the throne, the country which we know as Palestine, or the Holy Land, had been invaded and taken by the Turks. The Turks were not Christians, but believed in a man called Mahomed, who they said was the Prophet of God. From the name of Mahomed they took the name of Mahometans, and at the time of which we are speaking they were a very great and warlike people. Wherever they met the Christians, they fought against them, and when they were victorious they took the lands of the Christians, and made those they conquered declare that they believed in Mahomed instead of in Christ. Those who refused they either put to death or made slaves of.

We have learnt that the Turks had taken Palestine, and, as we all know, the capital of Palestine is Jerusalem, the city built by David, and in which Jesus Christ was crucified. It is not hard to understand that Christian people were sorry when they saw the city of Jerusalem fall into the hands of the Turks, and there were many of them who were determined that the Turks should be turned out of it if possible, and that the Christians should be put back there again. But this was more easily said than done, for the Turks were a brave and warlike people, and for a long time it seemed more likely that they would conquer the Christian people of Europe than that the Christians would conquer them.

The Crusade. (Ch 19)

"High deeds achieved of knightly fame,
From Palestine the champion came;
The Cross upon his shoulder borne,
Battle and blast hath dimmed and torn.
Each dint upon his battered shield
Was token of a foughten field."
-- Scott

Already the Christians had tried their best to beat the Turks. In the year 1094, nearly one hundred years before Richard became king, and long before the Moslems had re-taken Jerusalem, there appeared in Europe a man who not only had made up his mind that the Turks should be turned out of the Holy Land, but that he himself would be the first to lead on the Christians to the fight.

The name of this person deserves to be remembered. He was called Peter. He was one of those priests who at that time were known as "Hermits"; that is to say, he lived apart from all men in a solitary dwelling, and gave himself up to prayer and reflection. For this reason he is known in history as "Peter the Hermit."

It was in the year 1095, in the reign of William Rufus, King of England, that Peter the Hermit first called upon the kings and princes and peoples of Christian Europe to give up all their work and all their pleasure, and if need be their lives, to the task of beating the Turks and defending Jerusalem. He went about from place to place, preaching and exhorting the people to follow him. In his hand he bore a cross, and he bade all those whom he addressed prepare to leave all they had and fight for the cause of the Cross, which was the sign of the Christian religion.

It is for this reason that we speak of Peter the Hermit as being the first to preach a "Cross-ade" or, as we usually call it, a "Crusade"; that is to say, a war on behalf of the Cross. * In all parts of Europe the people responded to the call of Peter the Hermit, and rich and poor, high and low, armed themselves, and made ready to sail eastwards to the Holy Land, to fight for the cause of the Cross and for the recapture of the Holy Land.

[The Cross was the sign of the Christians, and all who went on the Crusade wore a cross on their flag, on their shield, or on their breast. On the other hand, the Mohamedans had for their sign the Crescent, such as we see nowadays upon the flag of Turkey. The wars of the Crusade are, therefore, sometimes spoken of as the "Wars of the Crescent and the Cross."]

No doubt the reasons which moved the minds of the Crusaders were very various. Some went because they loved adventure and fighting; others went in the hope of obtaining power or plunder; and lastly, there were very many who truly believed that in thus fighting against the Turk they were serving the cause of Christianity, and doing a right action. Of such we must speak with respect; for whether we think they took a wise course or not in thus going forth to fight on behalf of the cause in which they believed, we must at least admit that they risked their lives and their fortunes and gave up their comfort to fight for what they believed to be right.

The kings and princes of Europe were foremost to join the ranks of the Crusaders, and for the first time, princes who had been engaged in long rivalry at home were seen fighting side by side against a common enemy. Among the kings who came forward as leaders of the Crusade, none was more famous or more active than Richard of England. The adventure and the danger which accompanied this war, fought in a strange country against an Eastern enemy, were just what his bold spirit loved.

The history of Richard's valiant deeds in Palestine, of the great battle which he fought at Jaffa, of his attack upon Jerusalem, and of his quarrels with his companions, the King of France and the Archduke of Austria, may be read in any history of England. Perhaps the pleasantest way of learning something about them is to take up Sir Walter Scott's great novel, "The Talisman." It is a most delightful book, and no one can read the stories of Richard, of Saladin the Sultan of the Turks, of Edith Plantagenet, of Berengaria, Richard's wife, of Kenneth of Scotland, and of the crafty Duke of Austria, without pleasure.


But we need not give up much time to following Richard in his far-off Eastern battles, for the victories which he won and the courage which he showed, are not of much importance to the history and progress of the English people. What is really important to notice is not what Richard did when he was away from England, but what those whom he had left behind in England did during his absence. So occupied was the king with the Crusades, and so frequently was he engaged in fighting battles in France to preserve his French dominions, that the time which he spent in England was very short indeed.

It is an old proverb which says, "When the cat's away the mice will play"; and there is no doubt that when the strong hand of the king was taken away, the nobles and barons whom he had left behind found a good opportunity for strengthening themselves and preparing for a struggle against the king himself. We shall see in the next chapter what use the nobles and barons made of the power which they got into their hands, and we shall then have no difficulty in understanding how it was that King Richard's love of adventure, and his distant expeditions, did really make a great difference to the history of England, and to us who now live in the country.

It seems at first sight as if the battles fought by Richard Coeur de Lion under the walls of Jerusalem have little to do with the lives of those who read this book at the present day; but when we come to read the story of Magna Charta, to understand what it was, and how it was obtained, we shall then see that the two things have more to do with one another than we supposed.

On his way back from Palestine, Richard passed through the country of his enemy, Leopold, Archduke of Austria. By an act of treachery, which even in those rough times was condemned by all men, Richard was seized by order of the duke and thrown into prison. For twelve months he lay in prison, and it was long before his friends in England even knew where he was.

The story is that his whereabouts were discovered by his old friend and companion, the musician Blondel, who, roaming through Europe in search of his master, sat down under the wall of an unknown castle, and touching his harp, sang a tune which he remembered as being a favourite one with his royal master. Richard, from his prison, hearing the familiar air, recognised his friend and played an answering note. Blondel took the news back with him to England, and in course of time a ransom was paid, and Richard was restored to his country and his throne.

But his restless spirit would not allow him to remain long at ease. He started off again to France to fight against Philip, who threatened his Norman possessions there. While besieging the castle of Chaluz he was struck by an arrow from the bow of a soldier named Bertrand.

As he lay in his tent dying, the king was informed that the castle had fallen, and that Bertrand had been taken prisoner. The unhappy archer was brought before the king, trembling for his life, but Richard, with the generosity which was perhaps the best part of his nature, forgave the man to whom he owed his death, and ordered that his life should be spared. Unfortunately, those who served the king were not as kind as their master, and Bertrand was cruelly put to death. But the incident should be remembered, as one that does credit to the king.

Chapter 20. John -- The History of the Charters. 1199-1216.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of John:
     Innocent III., Pope 1108-1216.
     John, King of England, youngest son of Henry II. and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and brother of Richard 1., b. 1166, became King 1199, d. 1216.
     Isabella of Angouleme, the second wife of John, married 1200.
     Henry, son of John and Isabella, b. 1207, afterwards became Henry III., King of England.
     Arthur, Duke of Brittany, son of Geoffrey Plantagenet, grandson of Henry II. and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and nephew of John, murdered 1203.
     Philip Augustus, King of France, d. 1123.
     Louis, son of Phillp, who joined the English Barons against John, d. 1226.
     Hubert Walter, Archbishop of Canterbury, d. 1205.
     Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, d. 1225.
     Pandulph, the Pope's Legate in England, d. 1226.
     Alexander II., King of Scotland, son of William the Lion, married Joan, daughter of King John, d. 1249.

Principal events during the during the reign of John:
     1199. John becomes King.
     1200. John marries Isabella of Angouleme.
     1202. War with France.
     1203. Capture of Arthur. Death of Arthur.
     1204. Loss of Normandy.
     1205. Death of Hubert, Archbishop of Canterbury. Stephen Langton made Archbishop by Pope Innocent. John appoints John de Grey, Bishop of Norwich, to the same post. John quarrels with the Pope.
     1207. Henry, afterwards King Henry III, born.
     1208. England laid under an interdict by the Pope.
     1210. John lands at Dublin, and establishes English law in Ireland.
     1211. John exacts money from the monasteries and from the Jews. Expedition of the King into Wales. Pope Innocent declares John deposed John attacks Louis of France and the hostile Barons with success.
     1211. John makes submission to the Pope. Langton recognised as Archbishop.
     1213. John does homage to the Pope as King of England and of Ireland. The Barons refuse to follow John to France. Langton summons a council of the Barons.
     1214. Defeat of an English and a Flemish army at Bouvints by the French. John renews his illegal exactions in England.
     1215. The Barons assemble at Brackley. War between the King and the barons. June 15, Magna Charta signed. John appeals to the Pope, who excommunicates the Barons.
     1216. The Barons offer the Crown to Louis, son of the King of France, who lands in England. Destruction of John's army in crossing the Wash. Death of King John.

John and Arthur. (Ch 20)

KING JOHN -- "Why seek'st thou to possess me with these fears?
     Why urgest thou so oft young Arthur's death?
     Thy hand hath murder'd him: I had a mighty cause
     To wish him dead, but thou had'st none to kill him.
HUBERT -- No had, my lord! Why, did you not provoke me?
KING JOHN -- It is the curse of kings, to be attended
     By slaves, that take their humours for a warrant."
-- Shakespeare: "King John."

When the news of King Richard's death reached England there were confusion and disorder on every side. There were two claimants to the throne. One was strong and the other was weak. Right was on the side of the weak, but, as too often happens, Might was on the side of the wrong. The law by which the Kings of England succeeded to the throne was the same then as it is now: the eldest son came first, then his children if he had any. If the eldest son had no children, then the second son succeeded, and the second son's children. After the second son and his children came the third son. It was only when neither the eldest nor the second nor the third son had children that the fourth son could lawfully come to the throne.

Now let us remember how things stood at this time. Henry II., of whom we read in Chapter 18, was the father of Richard I. Henry had four sons. Henry, the eldest, was dead and had left no children. Richard I. was the second; he had become king and was now dead: he also left no children. The third was Geoffrey, who had married Constance of Brittany. He too was dead, but had left a son, named Arthur, Duke of Brittany, who, at the time of Richard's death, was only a boy of eleven. By the law and custom of England, Arthur should have become King of England on the death of his uncle Richard.

But we saw that Henry II. had four sons. The youngest of these was John, a cruel, hard, clever man, who could not bear to see the throne of England go to a boy, and he made up his mind that, if he could prevent it, that boy should never sit on the throne of England. So it is not hard to see how, when the news of Richard's death reached England, there were all the makings of a quarrel. On the one hand were the friends of Arthur, who was king by "right," on the other were the friends of John, who were determined that he, and not Arthur, should be king by "might."

The story of the death of Arthur is a melancholy one. Those of us who have read Shakespeare's great play of King John will remember how John, the cruel uncle, threw his nephew into prison, how he sent one of his followers, Hubert by name, to burn out the boy's eyes, and how Hubert, touched by the boy's pleadings, refused to obey the cruel order of the king. How John, fearing the anger of the English, took Arthur away, and shut him up in a French prison, and there, as it was believed, slew him with his own hand.

There is a proverb that "ill-gotten gains never prosper"; and even at a time when fighting never ceased, and when murder was common, John's violence and lawlessness had made him many enemies. Many of the barons, who, during Richard's long absence, had strengthened themselves, had built strong castles, and had got together small armies of followers, now appeared in arms against the king.

Nor were the barons without friends among the people. King John, a cruel and rapacious man, made enemies both among the rich and among the poor. From the barons and nobles he took large sums of money, and tried to deprive them of their lands and their rights. The poor he treated with cruel injustice, and those who had money he robbed without mercy, in order to fill his own coffers. John thus united against him the hatred of all classes among the people, and it soon became clear that there was to be a trial of strength between him and his many enemies, in which one side or the other must be beaten.

What Charters were, and How They were Won. (Ch 20)

"Litera scripta manet." [A Latin maxim meaning "The written word endureth."]

Now that we know who King John was, and when he lived, it is time to turn our attention to the great event which happened in his reign, and on account of which the name of King John will always be remembered. The great event I speak of is the signing of Magna Charta. Most of us have heard the words "Magna Charta," but to hear words used is not always the same thing as to understand what they mean. Let us inquire, therefore, first, what the words mean; and secondly, what is the thing which they describe.

"Magna" and "Charta" are both of them Latin words. "Magna" means "great," and "Charta" (sometimes written "Carta") means a "Charter," or written statement of rights. The particular Charta of which we are speaking is called the "Great Charter," because, though there were many other charters in English history, this one is the greatest and most important.

We may ask, why should a Latin name be used? The answer is that at the time when the Great Charter was made, or granted, by King John, all important writings were in Latin. The Bible used by the clergy was in Latin; the histories and chronicles which were written by the monks were in Latin; and all the laws of the country were in Latin.

Very few people in the time of King John could read or write at all, but those who could read and write all learnt Latin. This was a great convenience in some ways, for Englishmen, Frenchmen, Italians, and Germans, who were quite unable to understand each other's languages, could always talk or write in Latin, and thus make themselves understood in any country.

Now that we know what the words Magna Charta mean, it is time to ask what the Charta was, how it came to be granted in the time of King John, and why it is that Englishmen have always given it so important a place in the history of their country. To understand these things we must go back to the story of King John; and, indeed, we must go back even further than the time of King John, to the reigns of the kings who preceded him.

It will be remembered that in an earlier portion of this book, we learnt how William the Conqueror made himself master of all the land of England, and how he gave part of it to his own followers as a reward for their services. We saw, too, how, in order to keep down the powerful nobles, by whom his authority was threatened, he called upon the conquered English to help him against the barons. The English did help him, and so strong were the king and the people together, that the king, with the aid of the English, soon got the upper hand, and became master of the barons.

The next thing we saw was that first William the Conqueror, then William Rufus, his son, and in turn all the other kings who came after them, led their armies into France or Scotland or Wales, and fought battles against the French, the Scots, and the Welsh. In order that they might fight these battles, two things were needed money and soldiers. By the custom of the time, and by what was called the Feudal Law, the king had the right to call upon his nobles to follow him to war, and to bring a certain number of soldiers with them. He also had the right to demand the payment of fixed sums of money by the barons. In the same way he had the right to take money from the citizens of the towns, and to call upon each town to send a fixed number of soldiers.

But it is not hard to understand that at a time when laws and customs were often disregarded, and might was often more powerful than right, there were many disagreements between the king and those who were called upon to furnish men and money. The wars in France, and the Crusades in Palestine, soon swallowed up all the men and all the money, and then the king had to find a way of getting more. If the king were very strong, and the nobles or the citizens from whom he wished to get men or money were weak, then the plan was simple enough. The king said what he wanted, and if it were not given to him he took it, and punished those who dared to refuse him.

But sometimes it happened that the king was not strong enough to take what he wanted by force, and then he had to bargain. For instance, if he demanded men and money from some powerful baron who was strong enough to keep what he had got, and to hold his castle against the king's troops, the king had to make some promise of future favours to induce his unruly subject to do what he desired.

One of the commonest ways in which the barons took advantage of the king's needs was as follows. The king's promise was written down on parchment, and the Charter, or written record of his promise, was kept as a proof to all people that the rights which were mentioned in it had really been granted.

The same thing happened in the cities and towns, especially as they grew rich and populous. The king wanted money or men, the town had both money and men, but was in no hurry to give them away. "I want the aid of my loyal citizens," wrote the king. "Your loyal citizens will be quite ready to give you the aid you desire, but --"; and then the citizens, through their mayors or sheriffs, used generally to say that if the king would be pleased to give them the right to build a bridge, and take a toll from all the king's subjects who crossed over it; or if the king would allow them for ever afterwards to appoint their own judges and try their own disputes without any interference from the king and his successors, then they, the citizens, would be very happy to give the king what he wanted.

Perhaps, if the king were strong enough to take what he required, he marched a troop of soldiers into the town, threw the mayor and the chief citizens into prison, for daring to try to make a bargain with him, and kept them in prison till the money was paid and the men were provided.

But there were often reasons why the king thought a bargain the shortest way of getting what he wanted. He had already, perhaps, many enemies, and did not want to make more. It was easy to make promises for the future so long as he got what he wanted at the moment; and, besides, it was always easy to make a present of what really belonged to someone else. And so in many cases the bargain was struck, and the terms of the bargain were written down in a charter, which was duly signed and sealed, and kept among the city records.

Thus in the time of King John, the town of Nottingham agreed to pay a large sum of money every year for the right to appoint and elect its own Port-Reeve or Mayor, and its own magistrates, and in the time of Henry II. the town paid some more money to the king, who promised that in return all the citizens of Nottingham should be free to buy and sell in any market in England.

This was a great advantage, for, as a rule, those who had goods to sell in a market were made to pay a tax or toll before they were allowed to sell anything. The promises which were made to the people of Nottingham by William the Conqueror and Henry II. were written down on parchment and sealed with the king's seal, and these very parchments are still kept among the charters of Nottingham.

There are many of these ancient charters preserved to the present day, and they may be seen in the great public libraries in London, Oxford, and other places; and also in the British Museum in London. The City of London became at a very early date in our history the most powerful and important of English cities, and the citizens of London were among the first to use their power and their riches to obtain charters from the king. Each new charter which they received made them stronger than before, and enabled them to get better terms from each king in turn.

But it is easy to understand that in such troubled and warlike times as the days of William the Conqueror, Henry II., and John, a parchment writing, however carefully signed and sealed, was not always a certain protection.

It was easy for kings to make promises when they were weak; it was almost equally easy for them to break them when they became strong again. And so it often befell. Time after time we find that the kings broke faith, and failed to keep the promises which they had made, and which were written down in the charters. Then the struggle had to begin over again, and be continued until the king was compelled to "confirm" the charter, or to grant a new one in its stead.

The Sealing of the Great Charter. (Ch 20)

"Magna Charta was signed by John,
Which Henry the Third put his seal upon."
Old Rhyme.

We saw how the Norman kings with the help of the conquered English, had got the better of the barons. No sooner had they done so than they began to demand from the barons men and money beyond what the feudal laws and customs allowed them to take. When the barons were weak, as in the time of William the Conqueror and William Rufus, they gave what they were asked for. When, in their turn, the barons became strong and the king weak, they either refused the aid altogether, or gave it on condition of their receiving something in return.

As early as the reign of Henry I. we read of a charter being given by the king to the barons and people. King Stephen was also obliged to grant a charter which was full of promises which he had very little intention of ever performing. We have already seen that Henry II., who came after Stephen, was a great and powerful king, and, having the English on his side, he soon became more than a match for the barons. Indeed, the king had by that time become so powerful that neither the barons nor the people alone could resist his will successfully.

At last the barons saw that if they were to stand against the king at all, they must follow the example which William the Conqueror had been the first to set, and must get the people to join with them. As long as they fought only for themselves and for their own advantage, no one was likely to help them, and they were at the mercy of the king. But they soon saw that, by joining their own cause with that of all the people, they would be able to win success.

It was in the reign of King John that the barons thought the time had come for standing up once for all for their rights. It was not wonderful that they should think so. In the first place, John was a violent and cruel man, always ready to take by force what he could not obtain fairly. In the second place, John was engaged in quarrels both at home and abroad.

Abroad he had begun a war against the King of France. At home he had quarrelled with the clergy; and, in order to carry on his wars, he had made great demands upon the barons, and upon the people, for money and men. What he could not get as a gift he took by force, paying no attention to the rights of his subjects, nor to the promises which had been made by his father and his greatgrandfather.

It is easy to understand why John made many enemies. The Clergy hated him because he refused to obey the orders of the Church, and because he brought in foreign priests whom he set over the heads of the English clergy. The Barons hated him because he took their lands, broke the promises made in their charters, and brought in foreigners to whom he gave some of the richest lands in the, kingdom. The People hated him because he robbed them of their money, treated them with cruelty, and broke the laws.

At last the king's enemies would submit no longer, and they joined together in arms to fight against him. The barons met at Brackley in Northamptonshire (1215). At their head were Fitz Walter, William Marshall, and Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, the wisest and most famous of them all. They sent a message to the king, and told him plainly that they would no longer allow him to break the law and to overlook their rights. They threatened that, unless he would give a solemn promise in writing to observe their rights in the future, they would make war upon him and drive him from the throne.

The barons were wise enough to get all the help they could against the king. Many nobles from all parts of England joined them, and the Mayor and citizens of London sent word to them to say that the Londoners were on their side. The messengers found John at Oxford; they came before him and told him what were the demands they had been ordered to make. "These are our claims" said they, "and if they are not instantly granted, our arms shall do us justice." The fury of the king was terrible. "And why do they not demand my crown also?" cried he. "I will not," he continued, with a great oath, "I will not grant them liberties which will make me a slave."

But the barons were not to be terrified, or driven from their purpose. They at once declared themselves to be "the army of God and His Holy Church," and sent to all parts of the kingdom to call people to their aid. First there came a message in reply from London, saying that the Mayor and citizens were on the side of the barons, and then from all parts there poured in lords and knights, and friends of every degree. It is said that only seven knights remained with the king. Then John saw that, for the time at any rate, he could not resist, and he therefore agreed to meet the barons.

The meeting took place in a field by the side of the river Thames, not far from Windsor. The king came from Windsor, the barons from Staines. If we take a boat and row down the river from Windsor, we shall come to a broad meadow, about three miles from Windsor Bridge. It has a name which is very famous in English history; it is called Runnymede. It was at Runnymede that the Great Charter was agreed to by King John in the presence of the barons. (June 15, 1215.)


And now it may be asked, Why has this long chapter been given up to the story of Magna Charta, and of the other charters which went before it? What is this Great Charter, and why is it so famous?

The answer to the first part of the question is, that if we have carefully read and properly understood all that has been said in this chapter, we shall understand how most of the laws and liberties of England were obtained in the early part of our history. What the Great Charter was, and why it is so famous, we shall see in the next chapter.

Chapter 21. What the Great Charter Did for Englishmen.

An Englishman's Rights.

"Only law can give us freedom." -- Goethe.

Magna Charta, which was sealed by King John and the Barons at Runnymede on the 15th June, 1215, is a long paper or parchment containing Forty-nine Articles or divisions [afterwards increased to sixty-three.]. At the foot of the parchment are the seals of the king and of the barons.

We know exactly what Magna Charta was like, for we can actually see a copy of it at this very day at the British Museum. There were probably several copies made, and this is one of them. The Charter was written in Latin, as almost all laws and charters were at that time. It contained, as we have already learnt, forty-nine clauses or paragraphs.

Of these forty-nine clauses, only a very few are of much interest to us nowadays. The reason for this is easy to understand. The barons who made King John sign the Charter, did not pretend to be making a set of new laws. What they did was to write down clearly the laws and customs which they declared the king had broken, and which they wished to make him keep and observe in the future. A great many of these laws and customs had to do with things which were very important at the time, but which have ceased to be important in our own days.

For instance, a great many of the clauses of the Charter speak of the feudal rights of the nobles. Others had to do with the rights of the towns, some clauses gave permission to merchants to travel freely, and to carry on their business without interference, and some had to do with less important matters.

All these things mattered very much at the time, for the "Feudal law" was the law under which the barons lived. The feudal law has now been done away with, and is nearly forgotten. At that time the people in the towns had often hard work to protect themselves against the king or against the nobles. Nowadays all the people of England, whether in town or country, live under the same just laws, so there is little need for those parts of the Charter which have to do with the towns.

It is the same with many other clauses. So many things have changed in England, that the clauses no longer matter very much to us who live nearly seven hundred years after the time of King John. For these reasons we can leave out those parts of the Charter which are no longer important, and can turn our attention to the parts which are best known, and which really make a difference even in the present day.

The following are the clauses, or Articles, as they are called, of the Charter, which we ought specially to remember:

Article 40. "To none will we sell, to none will we refuse, to none will we delay, Right and Justice."

Article 17. "The Court of Common Pleas shall not follow the King's circuit, but shall be held in a certain fixed place."

Article 18. "We, [i.e., the King] or if we are absent from the kingdom, our Chief Justiciary, shall send four times a year into each County, two Judges who . . . shall hold the Assizes at the time and place appointed in the said County."

Article 39. "No Freeman shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or dispossessed of his tenement, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any wise proceeded against, unless by the legal judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land."

Article 20. "No Freeman, Merchant, or Villein, [husbandman] shall be excessively fined for a small offence; the first shall not be deprived of his means of livelihood; the second of his merchandise; the third of his implements of husbandry."

It would not be a bad plan to learn these Articles by heart; it would be well worth while; and we ought to try to understand clearly what they mean. This is not difficult, for they are most of them written in plain language.

Let us take them in order, and see what they mean and how far they concern us.

Article 40. "To none will we sell, to none will we refuse, to none will we delay, right and justice." Such is the promise made by King John on behalf of himself, and of those who were to come after him. It is well that such a promise should have been solemnly made to the people of England so long ago. Without justice to all alike, a country can never prosper. It had been the practice of King John, as it is still the practice of rulers in some parts of the world, to give judgments in favour of those who paid money for them: in other words, to "sell justice." Sometimes the judgment was delayed for months and years, so that the person who sought justice, and who had right on his side, was kept out of his rights all his life. King John promised that for the future, justice should never be "delayed." So, too, he promised that it should never be "refused" to those who asked for it.

These were great promises to make, and if they had been faithfully carried out, it would have been much better for England, and those who lived in it. Unfortunately, John himself was the very first to break these solemn promises which he had made, and many of the kings who came after him forgot or neglected the 40th Article of the Great Charter, and allowed justice to be sold, to be refused, and to be delayed to their subjects. But, thanks to the Charter, every king who acted thus knew that he was doing wrong, and breaking the law which he had promised to keep. It was a great thing to have this right rule always there to point to, and to fight for.

And now, happily, in our own time, we have very nearly got all that King John promised, for it can truly be said that in England, justice is never sold, that it is never denied to any man, rich or poor, high or low. It is true that justice is still sometimes delayed, and that it often takes a man a long time to get a judgment as to what are his rights; but every year more is being done to make going to law easier, and to make it possible for every man to have a judgment on his case in a short time.

The Judges of Assize. (Ch 21)

"In the first class I place the judges as of the first importance. It is the public justice that holds the community together." -- Burke.

But it was no use promising to give justice to all men, if there were no way in which justice could be done, and in which the rights and wrongs in any case could be heard.

In order that justice shall be done, there must be judges. To provide the judges, Articles 17 and 18 were put into the Charter. In the time of King John all justice was supposed to be done by the king himself, and as, of course, he had not time to try all the cases that arose, he used to appoint judges for the purpose.

Wherever the king went, the judges followed him. This was, of course, very inconvenient, for the king was constantly travelling about, sometimes in France, sometimes in Scotland, sometimes hunting, sometimes amusing himself in other ways. The consequence was that many people never got justice done to them at all, and though there were judges, they were of little use.

It was for these reasons that Articles 17 and 18 were put into the Charter. Article 17 says, "The Court of Common Pleas shall not follow the King's Court, but shall be held in a certain fixed place."

Article 18 says "We, or, if we are absent from the kingdom, our Chief Justiciary, shall send four times a year into each County, two Judges, who . . . shall hold the Assizes at the time and place appointed in the said County."

A few years ago, anyone who went to Westminster, in London, and entered the great hall close to the Houses of Parliament, which is known as Westminster Hall, would have seen on one side of the Hall as he went up, five doors, and above them written in order, "Queen's Bench," "Common Pleas," "Exchequer," "Lords Justices," "Lord Chancellor." These were the doors of the Courts of Law, in which the judges sat.

The second door was that of the "Common Pleas," and there sat the judges hearing cases brought before them from all parts of the kingdom. They sat just as they were commanded to sit in Article 17 of Magna Charta, and ever since the time of King John down to the time of Queen Victoria, the Judges of the Common Pleas have sat all the year round at Westminster, during the law terms, to hear cases and to give judgment. It did not matter where the king or queen might be, everyone knew that the judges were to be found "in a certain fixed place," namely, the Court of Common Pleas at Westminster.

In the year 1884 the old Courts at Westminster were pulled down, new ones having been opened two years earlier in the great building which stands in the Strand, in London, and which is called the Royal Courts of Justice. The Court of Common Pleas, the Court of Exchequer, and the Court of King's Bench are now all joined together, and all the judges who sit in them are called Judges of the King's Bench. [Or King's Bench Division of the High Court of Justice]. But though the name is changed, the thing is the same, and the Courts which sit at the Royal Courts of Justice in London are really the same Courts which are spoken of in Article 17 of Magna Charta.

But if everyone had to come to London to get justice, there would be very little justice done. This would be true even nowadays, when, thanks to railways, travelling is so easy and rapid. It would have been much more true in the time of King John, when there were scarcely any roads, and when it took weeks to get from York to London.

It was plain, therefore, that when those who wanted justice could not come to the judges, the judges must go to them. To provide for this, Article 18 was put into the Charter. It runs as follows: "We, or, if we are absent from the kingdom, our Chief Justiciary, shall send four times a year into each county, two judges, who . . . shall hold the Assizes at the time and place appointed in the said County."

Here we see it is provided that the judges shall go into every county, and shall hold the Assizes at some appointed place. Article 18 was written in the year 1215, but to this very day the rule which is laid down in it is carried out. Everyone who has lived in, or near, a County Town knows what is meant by the Assizes. Once or twice every year the Judges of Assize come to York, to Leeds, to Plymouth, to Manchester, to Norwich, to all the big towns in the country, and to some of the small ones, such as Bodmin in Cornwall, and Lewes in Sussex.

The two judges generally come into the town in state. The High Sheriff of the county goes to meet them in a grand carriage. Trumpeters ride before and blow upon their trumpets, and sometimes soldiers are sent to form a guard of honour for the judges. Two Courts are opened. In the one sits a judge clothed in a scarlet robe. He is called the "Crown Judge." All the prisoners who are in gaol waiting their trial are brought before him, to be tried by him and by a Jury, to be punished if they be guilty, and to be let free if they be innocent.

In the other Court sits the second judge in a black robe. He is called the "Civil Judge," and before him are brought all sorts of disputes between persons who have "gone to law" with each other.

Thus we see that the rule laid down in the 18th Article of Magna Charta is still observed. For more than 650 years the Judges of Assize have taken their journeys through England, doing justice to the people in the name of the king or of the queen. The next time we read in the paper the words "Assize News," or the next time we see the judges with their trumpeters coming into a town, we shall do well to remember that we owe their coming to Article 18 of Magna Charta.

Personal Liberty and Trial by Jury. (Ch 21)

"You shall well and truly try, and true deliverance make between our Sovereign Lord the King and the Prisoner at the Bar, and a true verdict give according to the evidence. So help you God!" -- The Oath administered to the Jury in a Criminal Case.

But we must not forget that the judges were appointed by the king, and that an unjust king might easily appoint unjust judges; and that if the king wished to harm any of his subjects, it was as easy for him to injure them through the judges as to do the harm himself. If, therefore, Magna Charta had stopped at Article 18 it would have been very incomplete. Something more had to be done. We shall see what that something was when we read Article 39. Article 39 was as follows: "No freeman shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or dispossessed of his tenement, or outlawed, or exiled, or in anywise proceeded against, unless by the legal judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the Land."

In the first place we must notice that Article 39 talks of "Freemen." Nowadays all men in England are free, but in the time of King John this was not so. In those days, and for many years afterwards, there were many Englishmen who were actually slaves, while there were others who were known as "Serfs," and who, though not slaves, were something very like it. They were prevented from leaving the land on which they lived, and they were compelled to do a large amount of work for their "Lord" without payment. To such as these, the 39th Article of the Charter did not apply. But as everybody in England is now a free man, every Englishman is concerned in the rule contained in the article.

What the rule says shortly is this, that no man shall be punished in any way except by Law, and that whenever he be charged with any crime, he shall have the right to be tried before a jury of his countrymen before he is found guilty. We have got so accustomed to the enjoyment of these rights now, that we hardly understand how valuable they seemed to those who first got them acknowledged as part of the laws of England. Those who do wrong must be punished, and it is often quite just that they should be put in prison; but if the right to put them into prison were left to those whom they had injured, or to any person who was powerful enough to carry them off against their will, there would soon be no peace in the land.

Over and over again it has happened in our history, that persons have been put into prison by powerful enemies, and their liberty taken away from them by force. But whenever this has been done, Article 39 of the Charter has been broken and set aside. The words of the Charter are very plain: "No man shall be arrested, or imprisoned, or dispossessed of his tenement (this means turned out of his house or land), or in anywise proceeded against (which means that no steps shall be taken to punish or to injure him), except by the legal judgment of his Peers."

If we want to know what is meant by "The legal Judgment of his Peers," we have only to go into any court where prisoners are being tried at the Assizes. There we shall see a Jury of twelve men chosen by lot from a long list of persons unknown to the prisoner. The jury will hear the whole of the case against the prisoner, and it is they who will have to say whether he be "Guilty," or "Not Guilty," of the crime which is laid to his charge. If they say that he be "not guilty," nothing more can be done to him, and no one can touch him.

It may be asked, What is the meaning of the word "Peers"? Peers here means "Equals," or persons in the same class of life. It was thought by those who drew up Magna Charta that it was only fair to a man that he should be tried by those of his own rank, and in his own way of life. For instance, they meant that a Baron should be tried by other barons, that a Churchman should be tried by other churchmen, and that a merchant, or a farmer, should, in the same way, be tried by those who were in the same rank of life as himself.

They thought that injustice would be done if those in one class were allowed to try those of another, for then there was always a danger that a jury of barons would be unfair to a churchman or to a merchant, that a jury of merchants would be unfair to a baron or a churchman, and so on. This was the more important, because, at the time when Magna Charta was signed, there were different laws for the churchmen, for the nobles, and for the merchants and farmers. Now that there is only one law for all, it is not necessary to make any distinction between the juries by which different people are tried.

How the Law Protects the Weak. (Ch 21)

The law is no respecter of persons.

We must not suppose that because we are so accustomed to the idea of every man being judged according to law only, that even in our time the danger against which Article 39 of Magna Charta was intended to guard us is unknown. It is not so long ago, indeed, since men were put into prison and their property taken from them in England by order of the king, or by order of the House of Commons, contrary to the law of the land.

In the reign of Charles I., the king himself did many things which were contrary to the law. Among other things, he tried to take prisoners five Members of Parliament in the House of Commons itself. But the House of Commons would not let the king take the Members prisoners. It was long before Charles could be punished for his illegal deeds, but at last, as we know, the Parliament and the people rose against him, and drove him from his throne, and put him to death.

The very first thing that his son, Charles II., was made to do when he was put back upon the throne was to sign a solemn promise that he would always act according to the law, and that he would obey the rules which had been laid down in Magna Charta, and in the other laws of England.

Thus we see that Magna Charta has been a protection for the people and Parliament of England against the king, when the king became too strong. But it was not the king only who broke the law and disobeyed the rules of Magna Charta. In the reign of George III., the House of Commons ordered some men who had written down the speeches made in Parliament to be put into prison.

At that time no one was allowed to give an account of what was said in Parliament. The House of Commons sent a messenger to take one of these men, named Wheble, prisoner. But Wheble had never been tried according to the law, which says that no man shall be imprisoned unless he has been tried and found guilty by a jury, or according to law. So when the messenger of the House of Commons came to take Wheble prisoner, Wheble turned the tables on him, and had the messenger himself made a prisoner.

The messenger was brought before the Lord Mayor of London to be tried, and the Lord Mayor said that it was plain that he had broken the law, for he had sought to imprison a man who had never been tried and found guilty. So the Lord Mayor sent the messenger of the House of Commons to prison. Then there was a great quarrel between the House of Commons and the Lord Mayor, but it ended in Wheble being allowed to go free. And thus we see that even the House of Commons has to obey the law, and is not allowed to break the rules laid down in Magna Charta.

And just as the king, when he was very powerful, tried to break the law, and just as Parliament, when it became very strong, tried to break the law, so also the very people for whom the law was made have sometimes tried to break it.

There was a time, not very long ago, when there were great trouble and alarm in the town of Sheffield. A Trades Union had been formed among the workmen who ground saws in Sheffield. It was called the "Saw Grinders' Union." All the saw grinders in Sheffield did not join the union, but those who belonged to it thought they were strong enough to make the others join. They tried to frighten the men who did not belong to the union. They broke their grindstones, they stole their tools, and they even killed some of the non-union men.

All these things were contrary to law; and so at last Parliament had to put a stop to this cruel work. They sent down men who made inquiry about all that had taken place, and who showed how the law had been broken. Then those who had broken the law were told that if ever they dared to offend in the same way again they would be severely punished.

Thus it will be seen that the Law is strong enough to punish King or Parliament, or People. It is a very good thing that the law is so strong and so clear, for history teaches us that those who have great power, whether they be king, or whether they be Members of Parliament, or whether they be working men, will often use their power to injure those who are weaker than themselves, and it is a good thing to have a law which will stop any man, whether he be rich or poor, high or low, from being unjust to others.

And even now, in our own time, there are many parts of the world in which people have been violently and unjustly put in prison, and their land and their property taken away from them, without any regard for the law, and without those who were thus unjustly treated receiving a fair and open trial. It is a most happy thing for us in England to know that no man, whether he be rich or poor, high or low, can be punished in any way, or deprived of his property, without a full and fair trial.

Magna Charta and the Seamstress. (Ch 21)

"He shall keep the simple folk by their right; defend the children of the poor, and punish the wrong-doer." Psalm lxxii.

And now we come to Article 20 of the Charter, which is as follows: "No Freeman, Merchant, or Villein [husbandman] shall be excessively fined for a small offence; the first shall not be deprived of his means of livelihood; the second of his merchandise; the third of his implements of husbandry."

This is a very important Article, and a very interesting one. Shortly put, it says, that however much one man may owe to another, he shall never be deprived of those things which are necessary to enable him to get a living.

The law nowadays is not exactly the same as that laid down in Article 20, for in our day a man's merchandise may be taken in payment of his debts, but the law still says that a man's bed, and a man's tools with which he gets his living, may not be taken away from him.

Thus, not long ago, it happened that a woman in London owed money to a man. The man to whom she owed the money, the "Creditor,'" as he is called, went to law and got an order from the judge which enabled him to take from the woman who owed him the money, and who is called the "Debtor" enough of her property to pay the debt. Now, the woman was a seamstress, and earned her living by her sewing machine.

The creditor sent bailiffs to take a sufficient amount of her property to pay the debt. Among other things the bailiffs took the sewing machine. This was against the law, and they had no right to do it. The woman in her turn went to the magistrate and told him what had been done. The magistrate said at once that the Law had been broken. He ordered the creditor to give back the sewing machine, and to pay a sum of money as a punishment for having broken the law.

This is a wise and reasonable rule, for it is only fair that all men and women should be allowed to keep the means by which they get their living. It is only good sense too; for if one man be owed money by another, it is no use taking from the debtor the very things by which he earns his livelihood. In the same way the law forbids a creditor to take the bed on which a man sleeps, or to take the tools with which he does his work. These rules, we shall see, were first laid down in Article 20 of the Great Charter.

"Things New and Old." (Ch 21)

"The old never dies till this happen, till all the soul of good that was in it get itself transformed into the practical new." -- Carlyle.

Now we have gone through the most important Articles of the Charter, and have seen how much these rules, which were drawn up and agreed to nearly seven hundred years ago, have to do with our own lives at the present day; and from this we may learn a lesson. It is said by some persons who do not think very carefully, that old laws must be bad ones, and that because a law has been a law for very many years, it must be old-fashioned or unreasonable. The moment we come to think, and to remember what we have just learnt about Magna Charta, we shall see how foolish such an opinion as this is.

Some laws which were made a long time ago are useless now, because the habits and customs of the people of England have changed so much that there is no longer any sense in the laws or use for them. For instance, laws were made at one time providing for the keeping up of castles on the border between England and Scotland, and on the border between England and Wales, and for making certain people answerable for finding soldiers to defend the castles. Now there is no need for such castles, and the law, therefore, has long ago become useless.

Then there was also a very strange law made in the time of Queen Elizabeth which is of no use nowadays. In the time of Queen Elizabeth it became the fashion to wear tall, starched "ruffs," or collars, stuck up all round the head, like the one in the picture. The ruffs grew taller and taller, for everybody thought that the way to become fashionable was to wear a "ruff" a little higher than his neighbour. At last a law was made which forbade people to wear "ruffs" more than a certain height, and those who did so were punished. There may, perhaps, have been some good in the law when it was made, but there is certainly no good in it nowadays. Nobody now wants to wear "ruffs" high, and if they did they would receive no worse punishment than being laughed at.

There are also laws which were bad laws when they were made, or which were made at a time when people did not know things which we have since discovered. For instance, many laws were made against witchcraft, and terrible punishments were inflicted upon those who were suspected of being witches. We now know that witchcraft and witches are foolish inventions, and all the laws against them, therefore, which were never wise, have long ago ceased to be part of the law of the land.

But there are some things which were right and true nearly 700 years ago, and which are as right and true now as they were then. It was right nearly 700 years ago that justice should be done to all men; it is also right now. It was right 700 years ago that no one should be punished except by law, and it is right now; and so we have to thank those ancestors of ours who lived in the time of King John because they were wise enough to make laws in their own time which were so just and so useful that the need for them is still felt.

And we must not forget that Magna Charta is still a part of the Law of the Land just as much as any Act of Parliament that was passed last year. Magna Charta was first signed by King John, but it was afterwards altered several times, and it was signed again by Henry III., the son of King John.

If we look in the law books which contain the statutes or laws of England, we shall find there, near the beginning, a statute which the lawyers call "Cap. IX., Hen. III." which means the ninth chapter of the statutes passed in the time of King Henry III. Ever since that time Magna Charta has been part of the law of England, and it is interesting to remember that when Charles II. came back to England after the death of Oliver Cromwell, and was put back upon the throne, he was made to promise that he would observe the rules of Magna Charta.

The Famous "Fifteens." (Ch 21)

"What hath this day deserv'd? What hath it done
That it in golden letters should be set,
Among the high tides in the Calendar?"
-- Shakespeare: "King John" Act III.

We saw that the Charter was signed in the year 1215. It is interesting to observe how many of the important things in the history of England have happened in a year ending in the number "15."

In 1215 Magna Charta was signed. In 1415 Henry V. won the great victory of Agincourt over the French. In 1715 took place the "Jacobite Rebellion," when the Pretender tried to lead his Scottish army into England, a rebellion which is generally known in history as "The 'Fifteen." In 1815 was fought the great battle of Waterloo. Here are four famous dates which we shall find it very easy to remember -- 1215, 1415, 1715, and 1815.

Chapter 22. Henry III. The Parliament of England. 1216-1272.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Henry III:
     Henry III, King of England, son of King John and Isabella of Angouleme, b. 1207, became King 1216, d. 1272.
     Eleanor of Provence, wife of Henry III. m. 1236.
     Edward, son of Henry III. and Eleanor of Provence, b. 1239, afterwards King of England.
     Margaret, daughter of Henry III., and Eleanor of Provence, m. Alexander
     Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury, d 1228.
     Hubert de Burgh, Justiciar, and Henry's most important Minister till 1232, d. 1243.
     Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, b. 1208, killed at Evesham 1265.
     Louis IX. (St. Louis), King of France, became King 1226, d. 1270.
     Philip III., King of France, became King 1270, grandfather of Isabella, who married Edward II, King of England.
     Rudolph of Hapsburg (the ancestor of the present Emperor of Austria), chosen Emperor 1273.
     Roger Wendover, a monk of St. Albans, who wrote part of the history of this time, d. 1236.
     Matthew Paris, another monk of St. Albans, who continued the history after the death of Roger Wendover, d. 1259.
     Roger Bacon, b. 1214, an Oxford student and monk, who is said to have first used gunpowder in England.

Principal events during the during the reign of Henry III:
     1216. Henry becomes king.
     1217. Louis returns to France. Hubert de Burgh destroys the French fleet. The barons' party make terms with the king.
     1219. Death of the Earl of Pembroke, Earl Marshal. Hubert de Burgh, Justiciar, becomes the King's chief Minister.
     1228. Death of Stephen Langton.
     1232. Hubert de Burgh dismissed by the king.
     1236. Henry marries Eleanor of Provence. Large numbers of foreigners come to England with the Queen.
     1239. Simon de Montfort marries Eleanor, sister of King Henry, and widow of William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. Edward, son of Henry and Eleanor, who was afterwards King of England, born. Quarrel between King Henry and De Montfort.
     1242. War in Poitou with France. The barons refuse to give Henry money for the war. Discontent with the foreigners and the foreign clergy.
     1252. Montfort puts himself at the head of the barons.
     1258. Henry summons a Parliament, known as the "Mad Parliament."
     1263. Beginning of the "Barons' War."
     1264. Montfort defeats Henry at Lewes.
     1265. Montfort summons a Parliament, in which members for the Towns appear for the first time. The battle of Evesham. Death of Montfort.
     1270. Death of Louis IX., King of France.
     1272. Death of Henry III.
     The greater part of Westminster Abbey, as we know it now, was built in the reign of Henry III.
     It is said that Roger Bacon, who lived during this reign, was the first person in England to describe Gunpowder and to explain its use.
     It was during this reign that the great Italian poet, Dante, was born (1265).

Henry III. and his Foreign Friends. (Ch 22)

CHAMBERLAIN -- "Is't possible, the spells of France should juggle
Men into such strange mysteries?
SANDS -- New customs,
Though they be never so ridiculous,
Nay, let 'em be unmanly, yet are follow'd.
* * * * *
CHAMBERLAIN . . . . now, I would pray our monsieurs
To think an English courtier may be wise,
And never see the Louvre."
-- "Henry VIII" Act I., Scene 3.

When John died he was succeeded by his son Henry. Henry was a boy of nine years of age when he became king. He reigned longer than any English sovereign except King George III. and Queen Victoria. But the reign of Henry was one of misery and disturbance for the people of England.

Little good was done for this country by the king. One thing, however, he did which was a good thing, and by which we may remember him. It was Henry III. who rebuilt the beautiful Abbey at Westminster, and a great deal of the Abbey as it now stands dates from the time of Henry III.

But if Henry did little that was good or worthy, some things happened during his reign which were of great importance, and which have made a great difference to the people of England. When we go through the reigns of the different kings and queens of England, and try to put down what is the chief thing to be remembered in each of them, we shall see when we come to the reign of Henry III. that the chief thing to be remembered is that the first English Parliament sat in the reign of Henry III.

If we take up a newspaper we often see the words "Imperial Parliament," and underneath them an account of the speeches which are made, and the Acts which are passed in the House of Lords and the House of Commons. This great Parliament, which everybody knows something about nowadays, has come down to us from the stormy reign of Henry III.

We must try to understand how it was that this came about. One thing we can hardly help noticing, and that is, how often good comes out of evil. We saw how in the time of King John there were injustice and cruelty throughout the land. We saw also how this very injustice and cruelty led to King John being forced to sign Magna Charta. And now again in the time of Henry III., we shall see how troubles and disturbances led to the founding of the Parliament of which we are so proud.

The whole story cannot really be told so shortly as it must be told here. A great deal must be left out which can be read in larger books, but the chief part of the story can be told in a few pages.

We shall find, as a rule, that whenever a great change is made in the history of a country, there has always been one great man whose name is remembered because of the part he took in helping to bring about that change. And so it is in this case. The name which Englishmen ought always to think of when they speak of the first Parliament, is the name of a very great man, Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester.

And now let us go back to the history itself. It seemed at first as if things would have gone on smoothly after the death of King John, for John had made promises of good behaviour in Magna Charta, on behalf of himself and of his son. But it was soon seen that there were many difficulties to be overcome.

As soon as the king grew old enough to be married, he took as his wife Eleanor of Provence. Provence is in the south of France, and Eleanor was, of course, a foreigner, and all her friends were foreigners too. These friends came over in numbers to England, and they all expected to receive from King Henry some of the riches of England, either in money or in lands. Some were given castles and lands, others were made archbishops or bishops. Nor had these strangers the good sense to use their fortune wisely. They despised the English people, and were cruel and insolent to them. We can easily understand that the English, both rich and poor, soon began to hate these ill-mannered foreigners, who took their land and their money, and who treated them so badly.

A party of barons formed themselves together. At the head of them was Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester. Simon was the son of a Frenchman who had become famous as a great soldier. Simon, the younger, came over to England when he became Earl of Leicester, at his father's death, and he soon learnt to share the feelings of the English barons and the English people. They, too, on their side, learnt to trust him, for they saw that he was a strong man, true and brave. Quarrels soon broke out between the king and the barons. The king broke the promises which had been made by his father in Magna Charta. Simon de Montfort and the barons took up arms against him, as the barons had done against John, and made him swear once more that he would keep to the Charter. In order that the barons and the people might have some way of making the king keep his promise in the future, Simon de Montfort declared that there must be a Council called to help the king in the government of the country.


Laws, and Law-makers. (Ch 22)

"Be it enacted by the King's most excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:" -- From the commencement of a modern Act of Parliament.

We now come to a very important time in the history of England. The story which is to be told in this chapter is the story of the beginning of Parliament. We all know pretty well what Parliament is, and we know something about what it does. Parliament is made up of the King or Queen, and the Two Houses, called the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Every law that is made has to be agreed to by the House of Commons, and by the House of Lords, and then by the King or Queen. It is with the House of Commons that we now have to do.

The House of Commons is made up of a great number of Members who have been chosen or elected by the people living in the counties and towns of England, Scotland, and Ireland, to speak on behalf of those who have elected them. In this way the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland make their own laws, and whether they be good laws or bad laws depends upon those who make them. If the laws be bad, the people of England, Scotland, and Ireland have nobody to thank but themselves. But if they be made in this way, they are more likely to be good laws than if they are made in any other way; for, as it was said by those who wrote about Parliament so long ago as the time of Simon de Montfort and Henry III., "They who are ruled by the laws know those laws best; they who make daily trial of them are best acquainted with them; and since it is their own affairs which are at stake, they will take more care, and will act with an eye to their own peace."

What was true in the time of King Henry is true now. Those who have to obey the laws are most likely to know whether the laws injure them or not; and, as a rule, people will more readily obey those laws which they have had some share in making.

Now let us see how it happened that the people of England first began to think of this way of making laws in the time of Henry III. It seems simple enough in these days, but it was a new thing then, and a great deal of hard work and hard fighting had to be done before our Parliament could be made such as we now know it.

In the time of Henry, nearly all the government of the country was carried on by the king and the king's Ministers; that is to say, by those officers whom he appointed. Armies were got together by order of the king; the king himself often led his soldiers in battle. Great buildings, such as Westminster Abbey, were built by order of the king.

To do all, or indeed any, of these things, money was wanted and often a great deal of money. At first, when William the Conqueror came over, and when the English had little power and could do nothing to protect themselves, it was not hard for the king to ask for whatever he wanted, and to take it, whether the owners liked or not. But by-and-by, as we have seen, the king found that this plan did not always succeed.

We read in another chapter how the barons forced King John to promise to do justice, and to keep to the rules laid down in Magna Charta. One of these rules was that the king should only take a "fair" amount of money from the barons and the people whenever he wanted money to spend. It was very easy to say that the king was only to take a fair amount, but who was to decide what was fair? If the king were strong, the king decided, and took what he chose, for "might was right." If the king were weak, then the barons or the citizens of the towns decided for themselves what they thought fair, and the king did not get what he wanted.

Neither way was a very good way, and both sides soon found this out. It has often been said of Englishmen, "that they are easier to lead than to drive"; they are often more ready to give a thing because they are asked to give, than to give it because they are commanded to do so. Simon de Montfort knew this very well, and after King Henry had been beaten at the battle of Lewes (1264), Simon formed a plan by which he thought that the quarrel between the king, who was always in want of money, and the barons and people, who had got to pay the money, could be put an end to.

"Let the king," said Simon, "call together the barons and the citizens, and let him tell them how much money it is that he wants, and what he wants it for, and then it will be for the barons and the people to say how much money they will give, and in what way it shall be collected. If the king asks what is right and just, then what he asks will be given to him, and it will be given all the more willingly because those who have to pay it will know for what purpose it is to be used, and will have given it of their own free will.'"

With this thought in his mind, Simon de Montfort and his friends advised the king to call together a Parliament, to help him to govern the country. And now, for the first time, a real Parliament was called. There sat in the Parliament only twenty-three barons. Some of the barons were enemies of Montfort, and some thought they would offend the king by coming; others were afraid to come. There were also a hundred and twenty Churchmen, and besides these there were the "Members," as we now call them, chosen from each county and town. The county members were called "Knights of the Shire," and, indeed, that is what they are called to this day.

When a new Parliament is called together, notices are sent to the Sheriff of each County Division, telling him to send to Parliament a "Knight of the Shire" for that part of the country. There are eight knights of the shire for Devon-shire. Little Rutland-shire has only one, and York-shire has no less than twenty-seven.

But when we talk about Knights of the Shire, we generally call them "County Members." Those who are sent to Parliament to speak on behalf of the towns were called "Burgesses." We now call them "Borough Members," which is very much the same thing.

The First Parliament. (Ch 22)

"Now call we our High Court of Parliament,
And let us choose such limbs of noble counsel,
That the great body of our state may go
In equal rank with the best-govern'd nation."
-- "Henry IV.," Part II., Act V., Scene 2

This first Parliament, which was called together six hundred years ago, did not do very much. The country was still divided into two parties, and Montfort had many enemies. The king was glad enough to get rid of the Parliament, and Parliaments were not then as strong as they are now, and so this first Parliament very soon came to an end. But though it was the first, we know very well that it was not the last, and from that time to this there has been a long chain of Parliaments, some good, some bad. Through them the people of England have been able to speak, and to say by what laws they wished to be governed, and what money they wished to pay.

One thing we ought to notice. It was thought when Parliaments first began, that it would be very hard for the king ever to get enough money to do what was needed for the country. It was feared that when the people of England were asked to give money, they would always say "No," and would keep as much of their money in their pockets as possible.

But this fear has not turned out to be well founded, and the reason is that English people have generally had good sense. They know well that a great deal of money must be spent in order that a great country such as England may be properly governed, and they have, therefore, nearly always been willing to give very large sums of money out of their pockets to enable the king to govern their country.

Nowadays the king or queen does not govern the country in the same way as King Henry II. or King William I. used to do. In the time of King Edward VII. it is Parliament which really decides who shall govern the country. But money is wanted now just as much as it was wanted in the time of King Henry, and every year Parliament is asked to give many millions of pounds, which have to be paid by the people of England in order that the Army and Navy may be kept up, that the Judges and the Police may be paid, that the Post Office may be carried on, and for many other purposes.

It is true that in the reign of Henry III. England seemed for a time to be split up into two parties the party of the king on the one hand, and the party of the barons and the people on the other and that these two parties were always at war with each other. But it would be a great mistake to think that this was always the case in the history of England. Over and over again, the Parliaments of England gladly gave the money that they were asked to give. It was only when they thought the king was breaking the law, or doing some unjust act, that they used their right to refuse to give him the money for which he asked.

The Fall of Montfort. (Ch 22)

"When the Barons in arms did King Henry oppose,
Sir Simon de Montfort their leader they chose;
A leader of courage undaunted was he,
And ofttimes he made their enemies flee.

"At length, in the battle on Evesham Plain,
The Barons were routed, and Montfort was slain."
-- "Sir Simon de Montfort," from Percy's "Reliques."

And now we must go back for a short time to Simon de Montfort, and see what happened to him after he had persuaded the king to call together a Parliament. It seemed as if from that time good-fortune had forsaken him. Many who had been his friends left him, and his enemies were always ready to do him harm.

Before long King Henry thought himself strong enough to take up arms a second time against De Montfort. He was soon joined by his son Edward, who had fought bravely by his father's side at the battle of Lewes. Montfort, like a brave old soldier, put himself at the head of his troops, and went out to meet the king. But this time everything seemed against him. His army was small, and that of King Henry was large; and, worst of all, the king's army was under the command of Prince Edward, whom Montfort himself had long ago instructed in the duties of a soldier and a general.

At last the armies came face to face with each other near Evesham, in Worcestershire (1265). Simon rode out in front of his troops to look at the army of the enemy. When he saw it drawn up in good order, and arranged with great art, he knew at once who must be the general who had displayed so much skill. "By the arm of St. James!" he cried, "they come on in wise fashion; but it was from me that they learnt it." He knew that his pupil, the young Prince Edward, was leading this great army against him.

The battle began, and soon the small band with Simon were cut down or forced to fly. Everywhere the victory rested with the young prince. Simon himself was struck from his horse, and, at last, fighting bravely, was killed upon the field of battle. Thus died Simon de Montfort, one of the greatest men of whom we read in the history of England.

Simon de Montfort was a foreigner by birth, but he had learnt to become as English as the English themselves. He was true and just in all his dealings, and, perhaps because he was so true and just, he made many enemies, for many men had unjustly taken that to which they had no right, and when they were made to give up that which did not belong to them, they were angry with the man who stood up for what was right.

A story is told of Simon which shows us what kind of a man he was. The king promised that all the foreign barons should be made to give up their castles. Now Simon himself was a foreigner, and held the two great castles of Kenilworth and Odiham.

But Simon was not going to be the first to break a law which he had helped to make. He gave up his two castles at once. But if he was to obey the rule, he was determined that others should do so too. His enemy, William of Valence, Earl of Pembroke, vowed that, whether the king ordered it or no, he at any rate would not give up his castles. Simon turned fiercely upon him: "You shall either give up your castles or your head," said he. William of Valence was wise enough to know that what Simon de Montfort said he meant, and in order to keep his head he soon gave up his castles.

Perhaps the most noble thing to be remembered about Simon de Montfort is the way in which he was always true to England and to his friends. No man fought harder for King Henry, or did better service to the king than Simon, and yet King Henry was always ready to desert him, and to honour and reward the enemies of England, rather than the man who was the friend of England.

Very different was the conduct of Simon. Once when Henry had treated him with great injustice, and taken from him a large sum of money, and many of his castles, Simon received from the King of France the offer of a much larger sum of money, and greater and stronger castles, if he would serve Louis instead of King Henry; for throughout all Europe the name of Simon de Montfort was known as that of a great leader and a wise counsellor. But Simon refused the offer of the King of France with scorn, and would never consent to serve any other country than England.

His name deserves a much higher place in the history of England than that of his sovereign. The memory of King Henry should be held in scorn by every Englishman, because he honoured and rewarded the enemies of England, and hated and ill-treated those who were true to England.

Henry III. died in the year 1272 in his sixty-sixth year.



The Third Part of our history deals with the period of two hundred and thirteen years which elapsed between the accession of Edward I. and the death of the last of the great line of Plantagenet kings, Richard III., on Bosworth field. The period is one of chequered fortunes. We shall read first how under our kings, now real Englishmen, the limits of the kingdom as it was to exist for more than three centuries were decided: how the great soldier Edward I. added Wales to his dominions, and how his feeble son lost Scotland.

With Edward III begins the story of the terrible Hundred Years War, which drained the resources of England and France, a war in which brilliant triumphs were succeeded by melancholy failures, and in which English kings and English soldiers first won and then lost the fair kingdom of France.

Lastly we come to the history of the civil conflict known as the "Wars of the Roses," and of the sordid quarrels which followed in its course; we see how the destruction of the great nobles led to the growth of a new aristocracy, while the crown obtained a power and influence in the country which even our greatest kings had never hitherto secured.

Something is said of the social life of the country; of Wycliffe, the great religious teacher; of Chaucer, the great English poet, the creator of our modern speech, and of Caxton the printer, the man to whom we owe the fixing of our language in forms which have become possessions for ever.

Chapter 23. Edward I. and "The Breaking of Wales." 1272-1307.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Edward I:
     Edward I., King of England, sometimes called "Edward Longshanks," son of Henry III. and Eleanor of Provence, b. 1239, became King 1272, d. 1307.
     Eleanor of Castile (Spain), sister of Alfonso IV., King of Castile, wife of Edward I., m. 1254, d, 1290.
     Edward, Prince of Wales, fourth son of Edward I., and Eleanor of Castile, b. 1284, afterwards King of England.
     Margaret, sister of Philip III., King of France, second wife of Edward I., m. 1299.
     Alexander III., King of Scotland, d. 1285.
     Margaret, sister of Edward I., wife of Alexander III.
     Margaret, "The Maid of Norway", granddaughter of Alexander and Margaret and great-niece of Edward I., recognised as Queen of Scotland, d. 1290.
     John Balliol, King of Scotland 1292. Resigned the crown before his death.
     Robert Bruce, grandfather of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland, d. 1295.
     Robert the Bruce, Baron Skelton Lord of Annandale, afterwards King of Scotland, b. 1274, became King 1306.
     Comyn, Regent of Scotland, murdered by Robert the Bruce 1306.
     William Wallace, Scottish patriot, executed 1305.
     Llewelyn, the last Welsh Prince of Wales, d. 1282.
     Rudolph of Hapsburg, ancestor of the present Emperor of Austria, chosen Emperor 1273.
     Great Writers
          Roger Bacon, d. 1294.
          Dante (the Italian Poet), b. 1265.

Principal events during the during the reign of Edward I:
     1272. Edward, then in Palestine on a Crusade, proclaimed King.
     1274. Edward reaches England. Persecution of the Jews in England.
     1275. Edward invades Wales.
     1282. The English capture Anglesey, but are defeated in North Wales. Edward invades South Wales. Death of Llewelyn.
     1284. Prince Edward presented to the Welsh at Carnarvon Castle. English law introduced into Wales.
     1285. Alexander III., King of Scotland, dies.
     1290. Death of Margaret, "The Maid of Norway," and Queen of Scotland. Balliol and Bruce claim the Scottish throne.
     1292. Edward decides in favour of Balliol.
     1294. Edward puts down a second insurrection in Wales. Balliol submits to Edward as his feudal lord. The Scots make an alliance with France, and declare war against England. Roger Bacon dies.
     1295. Edward marches into Scotland.
     1296. Edward captures Berwick. The Scots defeated at Dunbar. Conquest of Scotland.
     1297. William Wallace heads a Scottish insurrection. The English defeated by Wallace at Stirling Bridge. Edward begins war with the French in Flanders. The barons refuse to give aid until Edward had confirmed the "Charters."
     1298. Edward destroys the Scottish army at Falkirk.
     1299. Edward marries Margaret, sister of Philip, King of France.
     1305. Wallace taken and executed.
     1306. Robert the Bruce murders Comyn, Regent of Scotland, and joins the Scots. Bruce becomes King of Scotland.
     1307. Edward marches north. Death of Edward at Burgh-by-Sands, aged 69
     1307. Edward marches north. Death of Edward at Burgh-by-Sands, aged 69
     1282. Massacre of the Normans in Sicily, known as the "Sicilian Vespers."
     1306. William Tell, the hero of Switzerland, supposed to have revolted against Gesler, the Austrian Governor, in this year.
     1307. Switzerland declares itself independent.
     Marco Polo, the great Venetian traveller, visits China and Japan during this reign.

England at War. (Ch 23)

"In the person of the great Edward, the work of reconciliation is completed. Norman and Englishmen have become one under the best and greatest of our later kings, the first who, since the Norman entered our land, . . . followed a purely English policy." --Freeman.

We now come to the reign of three kings -- father, son, and grandson: Edward I., Edward II., and Edward III.

These three reigns cover a long period in the history of England, for from the day when Edward I. came to the throne, to the day on which his grandson, Edward III., died, is no less than one hundred and five years.

These one hundred and five years are full of interest; much happened in them that Englishmen ought to know and care about, but we have not room here to follow every subject in detail and we must therefore try to choose those which are the most important.

The reigns of the three Edwards must always be remembered as times of war. It is not always that the wars which take place during any part of a country's history are the most important things to read about and to remember.

We sometimes give up too much time to reading about battles and fighting just because they are interesting and exciting, and forget that the battles sometimes make really very little difference to the country, and that what happens during many years of peace is often far more important than what happens during a few years of war. But we cannot say about the wars of King Edward I. and of his son and grandson, that they were unimportant, and that they made no real difference to the history of England. On the contrary, we shall see they made a very great difference indeed, and that England would not have been what it is if these wars had not been fought.

Three countries touched or lay very close to the borders of England. With each of these countries England, during the reign of the Edwards, was at war. Wales, Scotland, and France were in turn invaded, and the red cross of "St. George" was seen on the Severn, the Forth, and the Seine.

The wars which began with the accession of Edward I., and ended, or rather ceased for a time, at the death of his grandson, Edward III., had very different results for the three countries in which they were carried on. It may be said that the one hundred and five years which passed between 1272 and 1377 saw "The Breaking of Wales," "the Making of Scotland," and "the Ruin of France."

We shall learn in the next chapters what is the meaning of these three sayings, and how far it is true to say that the wars of the Edwards "broke" Wales, "made" Scotland, and "ruined" France.

"The Breaking of Wales." (Ch 23)

"The Divine Providence having now, of its favour, wholly transferred to our dominion the land of Wales, with its inhabitants, heretofore subject to us in feudal right, all obstacles ceasing; and having annexed and united the same unto the crown of the aforesaid realm as a member of the same body; we therefore . . . . desiring that the people of those lands who have submitted themselves to our will should be protected in security, under fixed laws and customs, have caused to be rehearsed before us and the nobles of our realm, the laws and customs in those parts hitherto in use; which, having fully understood, we have, by the advice of the said nobles, abolished some of them, some we have allowed, and some we have corrected, and we have commanded and ordained certain others to be added thereto." -- From the Preamble to "The Statutes of Wales," passed by the Parliament held at Rhuddlan in Flintshire, 1284.

The Saxons in the long wars that followed the landing of Hengist and Horsa, broke down bit by bit the power of the Britons. The Saxons landed on the south and east coasts of England, and as they marched on towards the west, they drove before them the British tribes who refused to submit, and who were lucky enough to escape from the swords of their pursuers.

Step by step the Saxons advanced, and step by step the Britons retreated before them. The Saxons reached the sea at Carlisle, at Chester, the border between England and Wales, at Bristol, and at Plymouth. It seemed as if the unhappy Britons must either be pushed into the Irish Channel, or be utterly destroyed by their fierce enemies.

But if we take a map of England and draw a line joining Plymouth, Bristol, Chester, and Carlisle, we shall see that to the west of this line there lie two great pieces of country which form the most western parts of England, and which we know to be Cornwall and Wales.

In these distant corners the retreating Britons at last found refuge. Cornwall was very far off, and in Wales the steep mountains and thick forests formed a protection against the Saxon armies. It was in Cornwall and Wales, therefore, that the Britons at last settled, and it is in Cornwall and Wales that their descendants are to be found to this day.

But it was not long before the Saxons made their way into Cornwall. Between Devonshire and Cornwall there is no great natural division, no broad river like the Severn flows between them, nor are there in Cornwall high mountains like Snowdon and Cader Idris. Besides, it was easy for the sailors of Dover, Portsmouth, and Plymouth to sail down to the Land's End and into the harbours of Fowey, Falmouth, and Penzance without fear of being interrupted by the British tribes on land. And so it happened that before the time of Edward I. Cornwall had become a part of the Kingdom of England, and that the Saxons and Britons had already begun to mix together in the west. It is true that Cornwall was more British than any other part of England, and so it is now.

There is a well-known rhyme which says that

"By Tre, Pol, and Pen,
You may know Cornishmen."

The rhyme means that if a man has a name which begins with "Tre," such as "Trevenen," or with "Pol," such as "Poltimore," or with "Pen," such as "Penrose," he is most likely a Cornishman. Now Tre, Pol, and Pen are all British words. "Tre" means a village, "Pol" means a pool, and "Pen" means the top of a hill: so even now we can see marks of Cornwall being more British than Saxon. But nowadays we may go from Saltash [Saltash is the first town we reach on entering Cornwall from Devonshire by the Great Western Railway. Penzance is the last town in Cornwall before we reach the Land's End.] to Penzance without hearing a word of any other language than English; and even so long ago as the time of Edward I. Cornwall was fast becoming an English county.

But the history of Wales is altogether different. If we travel from Bangor to Barmouth, we go through village after village where all the old people, and nearly all the young ones, talk Welsh instead of English, and in which there are still some people who can talk no language but Welsh. These people are the descendants of the Britons who held their own against the Saxons a thousand years ago, and who have lived in the land, and who have kept their own language from that time to this.


Up to the time of Edward I. the Kings of England had never been able to make the Welsh submit to them. Armies had often been sent across the Severn into the mountains of Montgomery and Brecknockshire. Sometimes the English and the Normans had gained a victory, but the bravery of the Welsh, and the difficulty of fighting in pathless valleys and on steep mountain sides, had always been too much for the invaders in the end. They had been driven out, and the Welsh princes, though conquered for a time, had always got back what had been lost.

But now they had to deal with a man who was both a great soldier and a wise king; and at last, in spite of their own bravery, and in spite of the protection which their mountains and their forests afforded, the Welsh were forced to admit that they had found a master.

In the reigns of John and Henry III. there had been a great deal of fighting along the border-land between England and Wales. The Norman barons had built strong castles on the border, or sometimes beyond it, in lands which they had taken from the Welsh. And the Welsh on their side often crossed the border into England to rob and plunder the English.

In the reign of Henry III., while the long war between Henry and the barons was going on, the Welsh had become more powerful than before. Under their Prince Llewelyn they joined together to take back from the English all that they had lost, and even made an attack upon the English town of Shrewsbury.

At first Llewelyn was victorious, and the Welsh, proud of the bravery of their prince, came from all parts of the country to fight for him, and for their land. The Welsh have always been lovers of music and song. To this day some of the best and most sweet-voiced choirs in the kingdom are those which come from Wales. Each year there is held in Wales a great meeting called an "Eisteddfod," pronounced "Eistethvode," at which poems and songs which have been written on purpose are read and sung, and at which prizes are given to those who have done best. Six hundred years ago the Welsh were the same song-loving, musical people that they are now; and when Llewelyn, Prince of Wales, came forward to lead his people against the English, and when it seemed as if he were going at last to lead his countrymen to victory, there came from all parts, harpers, and poets, or "Bards," as they were called, who sang his praises, and foretold the great deeds which he was to do.

But, alas! for the Welsh, neither their own courage nor the promises of victory made to them by the Bards, were enough to save them from defeat. Weary of the attacks made upon the English border, King Edward at last determined to march into Wales. He sent a message to Llewelyn bidding him do homage to him as King of Wales. Llewelyn refused to obey, and the English army marched into his country.

At first it seemed as if victory were to be on the side of the Welsh; the English were defeated in North Wales. But ere long the fortune of war changed, and the Welsh were everywhere beaten. Llewelyn, the last Welsh Prince of Wales, was killed in battle in South Wales (1282), and Edward was soon master of the whole country, from Bangor on the north to Pembroke on the south.

The king used his victory wisely and well. Strong castles were built throughout the country to guard against another rising. On page 195 is a picture of one of them, which is standing to this day, and which may be seen by anyone who pays a visit to North Wales. The country was divided into twelve counties. English laws took the place of the old Welsh laws, and the king's son, the little Prince Edward (20) , who was born in Carnarvon Castle (1284), was made Prince of Wales (1301).

From that day to this the eldest son of the king or queen of England has borne as his first and highest title, the name of Prince of Wales. From the time of Edward I. the history of Wales as a separate country comes to an end. The people of Wales kept their old language, their old customs, and their old history, but they gave up their old laws and their old princes. Thus we see how the first war of the three Edwards ended in the "Breaking of Wales," and in joining together once more all the people of England who had been separated for a time by the fight between Saxon and Briton.

Chapter 24. Scotland.

"Over the Border."

"At the park afterward his parliament set he,
The good King Edward, at Lincoln his citie;
At St. Catherine's house the Earl Marshal lay;
In the Broadgate lay The Bruse, erle was he that day.
The King lay at Middleham; it is the bishop's towne:
And other lords came, in the countrie up and downe."
-- Longtoft, describing the Parliament of Lincoln.

We now come to the second set of wars which was fought during the reigns of the three Edwards, and which ended in the "Making of Scotland." Before we can understand how these wars began, and how they ended, we must turn our attention for a short time to the history of Scotland.

We are accustomed to think of England and Scotland as having been in old times two quite distinct countries, like England and France. We think of the English living on the south side of the "Border" and the Scots on the north side as people of two different nations, each governed by its own king and having its own separate Government.

It is true that a time came when the two countries were really divided in this way. But up to the time of Edward I. there was no such distinction. The division between England and Scotland is very different from the division between England and Wales. Between Somersetshire and Glamorganshire, there runs the broad water of the Bristol Channel; and the traveller has scarcely crossed the border between England and Wales, at any place between Chester and Cardiff, before he finds himself among the steep mountains and narrow valleys in which the Welsh armies were accustomed to take refuge.

But it is quite possible to go from England into Scotland and never know when the border has been crossed. It is true that at the eastern end the valley of the Tweed is deep, and makes a clear line between the two countries; but further to the west there is scarcely anything to show where England ends and Scotland begins. If we take the train from Carlisle to Dumfries, we shall stop first at a little station called Gretna Green. Gretna Green is in Scotland, but one must keep a very sharp look-out from the carriage window to know at what moment the train crosses the little stream of the Gretna which here divides the two countries.


Nor is there any very great difference between the way people talk in the North of England and in the South of Scotland. The Welsh which is spoken in Carnarvonshire is quite a different language from the English which is spoken in Shropshire, but there is really very little difference between the talk of Cumberland-men and Peebles-men. Indeed, there is no reason why there should be much difference, for they are all really part of the same people.

But if we go further north, across the Firth of Forth, and beyond Stirling, we shall find a very different state of things. Here the traveller leaves behind him the fertile fields and broad plains of the Lowlands, and begins to climb the steep sides or thread his way through the narrow passes of the Highland mountains. Here, even in our own day, we find a people speaking a language which is not English, but which is more like Welsh. It is called "Gaelic" and the Highlanders, who talk Gaelic, are quite a different people from the English-speaking Lowlanders.

When the Saxons came into England, and drove the Britons back before them, they did not stop either at the Tweed or the Gretna. There was no reason why those who had made their way into what is now Yorkshire, Durham, Cumberland, and Northumberland should not find their way into what we now call the Scottish counties of Peebles, Berwick, Selkirk, and The Lothians.

The Saxons, indeed, spread far and wide throughout the Lowlands of Scotland, and either drove out the Scots and Picts whom they found there, or became mixed up with them. The south of Scotland became nearly as Saxon as the north of England. In the same way, when William the Conqueror had made himself master of England, the Norman barons who had followed him passed on quite as a matter of course into the south of Scotland. Lands were given to them in Scotland as well as in England. They held these lands from the Scottish king, but at the same time they kept their lands in England, and looked to William and the kings of England as their real feudal lords.

Scotland itself was divided among many tribes and clans, and the early Kings of Scotland had but little power over the whole country. The people of Scotland had not at that time become one people; we shall see in this chapter how they became so. The kings of England, for a long time before the reign of Edward I., had claimed to be kings of Scotland, and English armies had sometimes marched far into Scotland. But the English kings had, as a rule, too much to do near home to allow of their taking much trouble to make good their claim to Scotland.

But when Edward I. came to the throne, a great change had come over England. The long wars between Henry and the barons were over. Edward himself was a true English king. The Normans and the Saxons had learnt to live together without quarrelling. The Norman barons, who spoke French, and who were looked upon by the English as foreigners and enemies, had now become the barons of England, many of whom talked English and were as ready to fight for England as they had formerly been to fight against England.

The king himself was beloved by all the people. The English hailed him as the first really "English" king since the death of Harold. Nor was Edward beloved for this reason only. Tall, handsome, and strong, with golden hair, he seemed to the English to be a real Englishman. He was proud and wilful, but he was a true lover of his people, seeking to do what was just and honest. His soldiers loved him for his courage, and for his readiness to share in all their hardships. The people looked upon him as their protector against the nobles. He was a religious man, a hard worker, and was always true to England and to the English people. It is not wonderful, therefore, that the English people, though they often feared him, learnt to love him, and were ready to follow him.

The Fight for the Scottish Crown. (Ch 24)

"Nemo me impune lacessit."
"Who dare meddle wi' me?"

[This is the Latin motto which accompanies the "thistle," the emblem of Scotland. It means, "No one can touch me with impunity." It is freely, but not incorrectly translated in the famous motto of the great Scottish family of the Campbells "Wha dare meddle wi' me?"]

We have seen how Edward led his armies into Wales; how he defeated and killed Llewelyn, the last of the Welsh princes, and how he added the twelve Welsh counties to the kingdom of England. It was, perhaps, not strange that when he had thus conquered one part of our island, he should turn his attention to another. Llewelyn was killed in the year 1282. In 1296, or fourteen years later, Edward was marching at the head of an English army into Scotland.

On the death of Alexander III., King of Scotland (1285), the next heir to the throne was a little girl named Margaret, grand-daughter of the late king, and daughter of Eric, King of Norway. Margaret, or as she was sometimes called, "The Fair Maid of Norway," was sent for, and she started from her home to become Queen of Scotland. But the child fell sick on the long voyage from Norway, and died ere the ship reached Scotland.

Then there came a terrible dispute. No fewer than thirteen persons claimed the crown of Scotland. Foremost among the claimants were two Norman barons, who held lands in both Scotland and England. One was John of Balliol, and the other was Robert Bruce. Balliol was Lord of Galloway in Scotland; Robert Bruce was Lord of Skelton in Yorkshire, and was also Lord of Annandale and Carrick in Scotland.

As no agreement could be come to as to who should become king of Scotland, it was at last decided to bring the matter before King Edward, and to ask him to decide. Edward heard the case and decided in favour of John Balliol, and so Balliol became King of Scotland. Edward now thought that a good time had come for making the Scottish king admit once for all the right of the King of England to be the feudal lord of the King of Scotland; and he commanded Balliol to do homage to him. Balliol was willing to do this, but the Scots would not allow him to yield, and at last he had to send a message to Edward refusing to admit his claim.

Edward's anger was roused. He summoned his army and marched northwards. Among the barons who followed him was Robert the Bruce, Lord of Skelton, Annandale, and Carrick, the, grandson of Robert Bruce, who had claimed the Scottish throne. Soon the royal army came to Berwick-on-Tweed, which was then a Scottish town. The townsmen refused to give up the city, and Edward attacked it with fury. Berwick was taken (1296), and thousands of the enemy were put to death. It was decided that the city should for the future belong to England, and from that time to this it has formed part of England. It has always been remembered, however, that it once was a part of Scotland, and so it became the custom, when speaking of the dominions of the King of England, to say, England, Ireland, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

The English kings would have liked to say that they were Kings of England, Ireland, and Scotland, but they could never make themselves masters of Scotland, and the only bit of Scottish land which they were able to keep was the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed. And so it was that instead of saying that they were kings of England, Ireland, and Scotland, they had to content themselves with saying that they were Kings of England, Ireland, and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

It was not till four hundred years after the death of Edward I. that the kings of England and Ireland could call themselves kings of Scotland also. Until a few years ago, at the beginning of the laws which were made by Parliament, and which had to do with England alone, and not with Scotland, it was written that the law was to be obeyed in England and the town of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

But we must get back to King Edward and his army. The king was everywhere victorious. He beat the Scots in the great battle at Falkirk (1298), where the English archers, who afterwards became so famous, broke the ranks of the Scots with their flights of arrows. The English army got as far as Scone, and took thence the famous Stone, called "The Stone of Destiny,'" upon which the Kings of Scotland had always been crowned. Edward brought the stone to Westminster, where it was placed under the Coronation Chair built by his order for the King of England, and there we may see it to this day if we pay a visit to Westminster Abbey.


But defeat taught the Scots a good lesson which they were not slow to learn. Their quarrels were for a time put aside, and all Scotsmen began to join together against the English enemy.

It was at this time that a great leader arose among the Lowland Scots, a man whose name is justly famous throughout Scotland to this day. This leader was William Wallace. His courage, his skill, and his fierce hatred of the English, all helped to make him a great hero in the eyes of the Scots. He had the most wonderful adventures; his life was often in danger, but over and over again he surprised and defeated the English troops.

He did what was even more important than this. He put courage into the hearts of his countrymen, and he made them feel that it was a right and good thing to fight, and if necessary to die, for their country. A great Scotsman has written a wonderful book which contains the story of the adventures of William Wallace. Everyone should read this book. It is called "The Tales of a Grandfather" and it is written by Sir Walter Scott.

But despite the bravery of Wallace, there seemed little chance for Scotland as long as Edward I. was alive. Wallace himself was taken prisoner, sent to London, and put to death (1305), and Edward, though he had now grown old and feeble, marched with a great army towards Scotland determined to put down the Scots once more, and for all.

But the old man's strength was fast failing. He was carried in a litter as far as Cumberland, and reached a little place named Burghon-Sands, from which he could see Scotland. But here ended his journey and his life. He died before he could cross the border (1307).

The first Edward was a great and wise king, and had he lived Scotland would hardly have escaped conquest. But his death saved Scotland, for his son who came after him was as weak and unfortunate as his father was strong and successful.

Chapter 25. Edward II. -- "The Making of Scotland." 1307-1327.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Edward II:
     Edward II., King of England, fourth son of Edward I. and Eleanor of Castile, b. 1284, became King 1307, d. 1327.
     Isabella, daughter of Philip IV., King of France, and wife of Edward II., m. 1308, d. 1358.
     Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Edward II., afterwards King of England, b. 1312.
     John, Earl of Cornwall, son of Edward II., died when a child.
     Eleanor, daughter of Edward II.
     Joan, daughter of Edward II., married David Bruce, son of Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.
     Robert the Bruce, Baron Skelton, and Earl of Annandale, b. 1274, became King of Scotland 1306, d. 1329.
     Piers Gaveston, favourite of Edward II., a Gascon knight, executed by the Barons 1312.
     Thomas, Earl of Lancaster, cousin to Edward II., and uncle to Queen Isabella, the leader of the Barons against the King, executed 1322.
     Hugh Despencer, favourite of King Edward after the death of Gaveston, beheaded by Roger Mortimer, Earl of March, 1326.
     James Douglas, fought under Robert the Bruce at Bannockburn, killed in Spain 1330.
     Philip IV., King of France, d. 1314.
     Edward Bruce, brother of Robert Bruce, d. 1318.
     Dante (the Italian poet), d. 1321.

Principal events during the during the reign of Edward II:
     1307. Edward becomes king, and makes Gaveston his favourite.
     1308. Gaveston banished by Parliament, directed by Thomas of Lancaster.
     1309. Return of Gaveston from Ireland.
     1310. The Barons unite against the King, and form a Council, called "The Lords Ordainers."
     1311. Gaveston again banished.
     1312. War between the King and the Barons. Gaveston beheaded.
     1314. Edward undertakes an expedition for the relief of Stirling. Great defeat of the English by Robert Bruce at Bannockburn.
     1315. Edward Bruce, brother of Robert Bruce, invades Ireland, and declares himself King of Ireland.
     1318. Edward Bruce killed in Ireland.
     1321. Edward makes Despencer his favourite. War between the King and the Barons.
     1322. Overthrow of the Barons. Capture and execution of Thomas of Lancaster.
     1323. Peace concluded with Scotland. Roger Mortimer escapes from prison, and takes up arms against the King.
     1325. Queen Isabella joins the rebel Barons.
     1326. Defeat and flight of the King.
     1327. The King deposed and imprisoned in Berkeley Castle. Murder of Edward.

Edward II. (Ch 25)

"It is not easy to imagine a man more innocent and inoffensive than this unhappy king [Edward II.], nor a prince less fitted for governing that fierce and turbulent people subjected to his authority." -- Hume.

The reign of Edward II., son of Edward I., is not a pleasing one for an Englishman to read about. It is a story of bad government and violence and defeat.

It was a long reign, lasting from 1307 to 1327, and there is much that might be told about it, but we have only space here to speak at length of one great event for which it must be remembered.

We said in an earlier chapter that during the reigns of the three Edwards, we should find the story of "The Breaking of Wales," "The Making of Scotland," and "The Ruin of France" It was in the reign of Edward II. that the Making of Scotland took place.

We saw at the end of the last chapter how Edward I., angered at the resistance of the Scots, had marched northward with a great army, intending once more to subdue them. We saw how Edward died within sight of Scotland, and how that country was freed from fear of an attack by its greatest and most powerful enemy.

It is impossible to say what might have happened to Scotland had Edward I. lived long enough to lead his army into the country a second time. Edward was a brave and skilful soldier, and had already won great victories both in Wales and Scotland; but the man who came after him was as weak as Edward I. was strong. He was no soldier, and had neither the power nor the wish to lead armies in battle. It was a great gain to Scotland that the king against whom her people had now to fight was so different from the great King Edward.

But there was another thing which was even more fortunate for Scotland than the death of Edward I. We shall remember that when Margaret, the "Fair Maid of Norway," died, no fewer than thirteen persons came forward to claim the throne of Scotland. Among them were John Balliol, whom Edward had made king, and Robert Bruce.

We saw how, when Balliol had offended King Edward, the English king marched against him and drove him from his throne. We also saw how, when Wallace came forward to fight for his country, he in turn was attacked and defeated by Edward. Nor should we have forgotten how Robert the Bruce, the grandson of Robert Bruce of whom we read just above, was one of the barons who rode with the English king, and who fought against the Scots under his banner.

When, however, Balliol had been driven from the throne, and Wallace had been defeated and put to death, there came a change.

William Wallace, by his bravery and success, had put courage into the hearts of the Scots, and the idea of freeing their country altogether from the English, and from the power of the English king, had grown quickly among them. The time had come when Bruce could hope to claim the crown of Scotland, and he determined to do so. At first secretly, and then openly, he deserted the English party, and soon placed himself at the head of the Scots who had followed the brave William Wallace, and of all those who were ready to fight for Scotland against the English.

No sooner had Robert Bruce put himself at the head of the Scottish army, than the hopes of Scotland began to brighten. There is no name of which Scotsmen are more proud than that of Robert the Bruce, and rightly so: for he was indeed the man who did more than any other to free their country and to defeat their enemies. Bruce was a man of great strength and courage, tall and handsome, and skilled in all the arts of war. He had also learnt how to win the love and trust of the Scottish people. The history of Scotland is full of stories of the bravery and adventures of Robert the Bruce; and both Robert and Bruce have been favourite names in Scotland ever since the days of the great king.

Bannockburn. (Ch 25)

"And the best names that England knew
Claim'd in the death-prayer dismal due.
Yet mourn not, land of fame!
Though ne'er the leopards * on thy shield
Retreated from so sad a field
Since Norman William came.
Oft may thine annals justly boast.
Of battles stern by Scotland lost;
Grudge not her victory,
When for her free-born rights she strove
Rights dear to all who freedom love,
To none so dear as thee!" -- Scott: "Rokeby."

[Refers to the "Leopards" or "Lions" in the coat of arms of England.]

Thus we see that, on the death of Edward I., matters looked more hopeful for the Scots than they had done for a long time past. At first they feared lest the English army which lay upon the border should continue its march upon Edinburgh; but the new King of England, who cared little for success in war, gave up the task which his father had begun, and returned to London. He soon showed himself unfit to rule. He took as his friend and favourite an unworthy man, named Piers Gaveston. He loaded Gaveston with favours; nor was this all. He allowed Gaveston to insult the proud barons who had been faithful servants to Edward I., and who saw with anger the riches and the power which were being given to an upstart stranger.

A long quarrel followed, between the king and Gaveston on the one side, and the barons on the other, which ended at last in the death of Gaveston. The barons joined together, and by force compelled the king to dismiss his favourite from all his offices. Nor were they content with this. Some of the fiercest of the barons, led by the Earl of Warwick, seized Gaveston themselves and put him to death (1312).

But while the king and the barons were thus quarrelling between themselves, the government of England was going from bad to worse. Men ceased to fear the king or to obey his orders. Instead of fighting against the enemies of the country, the best soldiers in England were fighting against each other. Nothing was done to help the English soldiers in Scotland, and Robert Bruce was now fighting fiercely against them in every part. Town after town was taken from the English, till at last only the strong fortress of Stirling was left to them. The Governor of Stirling Castle, Sir Philip Mowbray, a brave soldier, sent a message to King Edward. "If you do not come and help me before midsummer," said he, "I must give up your castle to the Scottish king."

Then at last King Edward was forced for very shame to try and do something to save his last fortress in Scotland. He raised a great army, and the barons, eager to regain what Edward I. had won, came from all parts to follow the king. The first thing to do was to reach Stirling, where the brave Sir Philip Mowbray was shut up. But between the English border and Stirling Castle lay Robert the Bruce with his army. Soon the two armies came face to face. On the English side there were not less than 100,000 men, of whom 3,000 were clad in armour. Among them were the greatest nobles in England. King Edward himself was at the head of the army, but he was not a general like his father, and it would have been better for England if he had stayed behind.


The army of the Scots numbered 40,000 men. At their head were Robert the Bruce, James Douglas, and Randolph. There is no space here to tell the story of Douglas or Randolph, but we must not forget their names, for we shall find them very often when we come to read the history of Scotland. They were three brave and practised generals, and those whom they led were ready to follow them to the death.

The place at which the two armies met was the village of Bannockburn. It was on the 24th of June, in the year 1314, that the great battle which has made Bannockburn so famous was fought. A story is told of an adventure which befell Bruce the night before the battle, and which shows us what kind of man he was.

There was a knight among the English, called Sir Henry de Bohun, who thought this would be a good opportunity to gain great fame to himself, and put an end to the war, by killing King Robert. The king being poorly mounted, and having no lance, Bohun galloped on him suddenly and furiously, thinking, with his long spear, and his tall powerful horse, easily to bear him down to the ground.

King Robert saw him, and permitted him to come very near; then suddenly turned his pony a little to one side, so that Sir Henry missed him with the lance-point, and was in the act of being carried past him by the career of his horse. But as he passed, King Robert rose up in his stirrups, and struck Sir Henry so terrible a blow on the head with his battle-axe that it broke to pieces his iron helmet as if it had been a nutshell, and hurled him from his saddle. He was dead before he reached the ground.

This gallant action was blamed by the Scottish leaders, who thought Bruce ought not to have exposed himself to so much danger, when the safety of the whole army depended on him. The king only kept looking at his weapon, which was injured by the force of the blow, and said, "I have broken my good battle-axe." [Part of the account on this page is taken from Sir Walter Scott's "Tales of a Grandfather."]

The next day, the 24th of June, the battle began. The English archers rained arrows upon the enemy, but the Scottish horsemen rode in among their ranks, cut them down, and dispersed them. Then the English horsemen came on at the charge, and they, too, soon fell into confusion.

The night before the battle, the Scottish king had given orders that steel spikes, or caltrops, as they were called, should be scattered about on the grass, and that pits should be dug. As the heavily-armed English Horse came on at full speed, their feet were pierced by the caltrops, and they fell headlong into the pits which had been prepared.

While the troops were in confusion, the Scots fell upon them, and soon it was clear that the battle was lost for the English. The king himself turned and fled. With great difficulty he reached the sea at Dunbar, after riding sixty miles at full speed. Thirty thousand of the English were killed, and all the waggons of provisions belonging to the English army fell into the hands of the Scots. It was a great defeat for England, and a great victory for Scotland.

From that time forward Robert Bruce was hailed by all as King of Scotland; and from his time down to the reign of James VI. of Scotland (three hundred years) the kingdom of Scotland held its own against all enemies. Nor did Scotland ever again come under a foreign king.

When King James VI. left Scotland it was only to go to England, there to reign as King of England as well as of Scotland; and ever since the happy day when England and Scotland became united together under one king, the two countries have been but one not because one country had beaten the other in war, but because the people in both were agreed that "in union there is strength" [James VI. of Scotland became James I. of Great Britain and Ireland in the year 1603.]

The reign of Edward II. was as unfortunate for the king himself as it was for his country. He quarrelled again and again with the barons and at last he was taken prisoner by them, deprived of his crown, and shut up in Berkeley Castle (1327). There he was cruelly murdered; but there were few among his subjects who regretted that this weak and unwise king had been driven from his throne.

Chapter 26. Edward III. -- "The Ruin of France." 1327-1377.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Edward III:
     Edward, King of England, son of Edward II. and Queen Isabella, b. 1312, became King 1327. d. 1377.
     Philippa of Hainault, wife of Edward III., m. 1328, d. 1360.
     Edward the Black Prince, eldest son of Edward III., b. 1330, d. 1376.
     Lionel, Duke of Clarence, b. 1338, d. 1368.
     John of Gaunt, b. 1340.
     Edmund Langley, Duke of York, b. 1341.
     Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, b. 1355, and two other sons and four daughters.
     Isabella, widow of Edward II., d. 1358.
     Roger Mortimer, friend of Queen Isabella, hanged 1330.
     Robert Bruce, King of Scotland, d. 1329.
     David Bruce, son of Robert Bruce, d. 1371.
     Joanna, wife of David Bruce, and sister of Edward III., d. 1362.
     Edward Balliol, claimant to the crown of Scotland, supported by Edward III., crowned King of Scotland 1332, resigned the crown 1356
     Philip the Fortunate, King of France. d. 1350.
     John II , King of France, taken prisoner at Poitiers, d. 1364.
     Charles V., King of France.
     Eustace de St. Pierre, one of the six burghers of Calais who submitted to Edward III.
     Sir Walter Manny, Edward's most successful general, d. 1372.
     Bertrand du Guesclin, a great French general.
     Sir John Chandos, a great English soldier, d. 1369; took Bertrand du Guesclin prisoner at the battle of Najara, in Spain, 1367.
     Robert Stuart, grandson of David Bruce, became King of Scotland 1371. The first of the Stuart kings.
     Jean Froissart, a great French historian, who wrote "Froissart's Chronicles." Lived long in England, d. 1410.

Principal events during the during the reign of Edward III:
     1327. February 1st, Edward III. becomes King. Isabella and Roger Mortimer regents.
     1330. Isabella imprisoned and Mortimer executed.
     1332. Edward assists Edward Balliol against David Bruce, and invades Scotland.
     1333. Edward defeats the Scots at Halidon Hill. Balliol proclaimed King of Scotland.
     1336. Second Expedition into Scotland.
     1337. Commencement of the Hundred Years' War.
     1340. War with France. The English fleet defeats the French fleet at Sluys.
     1342. War with France renewed.
     1346. Victory of Crecy. King David of Scotland taken prisoner at the battle of Neville's Cross.
     1347. Capture of Calais.
     1356. Victory of Poitiers. Truce with France.
     1359. Second Invasion of France.
     1360. Treaty of Bretigny.
     1367. Battle of Najara.
     1376. The "Good" Parliament. Death of the Black Prince.
     1377. Death of Edward III.

The Beginning of the Great War. (Ch 26)

"Fly, countrymen and citizens of France!
Sweet-flow'ring peace, the root of happy life,
Is quite abandon'd and expuls'd the land:
Instead of whom ransack-constraining war
Sits raven like upon your houses' tops:
Slaughter and mischief walk within your streets,
And, unrestrain'd make havoc as they pass."
-- From the Play of "Richard III," written about 1596.

This chapter is entitled "The Ruin of France" because it tells us of the beginning of the great war which lasted for one hundred years, and which brought ruin and desolation to France. Those who lived at the time tell us of the misery which the French people went through; how their fields were laid waste, how their houses were burned down, how thousands were killed in battle, and how many thousands more died of the famine which followed the laying waste of the fields.

But though the story tells us of the ruin of France, it tells us also of one very good thing that happened to the French people during these long years of war and suffering. It often happens that out of evil there comes good, and so it was in this case. For many years before the reign of Edward III., the French people had fought amongst themselves, and the kingdom of France had been divided up into a number of small divisions -- kingdoms, duchies, and counties each under a separate king, or duke, or count.

In the case of Normandy, the duke had been not only an enemy to the King of France, but was himself King of England. The dukes of Burgundy and Berry were rivals of the King of France; and though, at the time of Edward II.'s death, Normandy no longer formed part of the dominion of the English king, yet a great piece of the south of France, called Guienne, was still claimed by the King of England.

The wise reign of Louis IX., whose death took place in 1270, when Henry III. was King of England, had done much to strengthen and unite France; but much more had to be done before France became a really united nation. It was only when the French people were obliged to fight for their lives and their liberties against the foreign armies of Edward III. and Henry V. of England, that they really began to understand that all quarrels at home must be set aside until the foreign enemies had been driven out of France. We shall see, when we come to the reign of Henry VI. how they did at last put aside all their quarrels, and did succeed in turning the English out of France.

Now we must see how it came about that the French began to learn this lesson in the reign of Edward III. The reign of Edward II. was taken up, as we know, with the Scottish war. The English barons had never forgiven the Scots for the defeat at Bannockburn, and by the time Edward III. had come to the throne they were ready and willing once more to march into Scotland. Robert Bruce was dead (1329), and his son David had neither the courage nor the wisdom of his father. Edward Balliol, son of John Balliol, who, as we may remember, was king before Robert Bruce, made his way into Scotland and attacked David Bruce. David fled and Balliol was declared king.

But he did not long remain king. He was unwise enough to promise to do homage to Edward III. The Scots could not forgive him for this, and he in his turn was driven from the throne. All these quarrels and misfortunes in Scotland had given a great advantage to the English, and when Edward III. again crossed the border it seemed as if he were going to repeat the victories of his grandfather, Edward I. Indeed, there can be little doubt that if England had only had to fight Scotland at this time, Scotland would soon have lost all that it had won at Bannockburn.

But fortune favoured Scotland. It was at this time that a quarrel broke out between England and France, and Edward had to turn his attention to a more dangerous enemy than David Bruce. Both sides were ready to quarrel, and so it was not hard to find an excuse. The King of France declared that the Scots were his allies, and that he was bound to help them. King Edward replied that the Scots were his enemies, and that if the French helped them, they were his enemies too; and what was more, he said that if right were done, he himself ought to be King of France, and not Philip, who then sat upon the French throne.

It matters little nowadays what were the rights or the wrongs of the quarrel. Both sides were ready for the fight, and if one excuse had not been enough, they would soon have found another.

Crecy. (Ch 26)

"Lances in rest; Advance banners; Archers, bend your bows; cry, 'St. George for England!'"

The war began. French ships took English merchantmen in the Channel. Edward sent out an English fleet, and for the first time English sailors beat the French at sea. Then Edward crossed over to France with an army of 30,000 men, and landed at La Hogue. He intended to march into Flanders, where he hoped to find his allies, but he was only able to advance with great difficulty, and he lost many men from sickness or in battle.

At last he reached a little village called Crecy, which we shall see marked on the map. Here he halted his army, hoping to receive help from his allies. But the King of France was close by with a large army. At the head of no less than 120,000 men, he marched rapidly from Abbeville towards Crecy. The English soldiers, who were about 20,000 in number, were drawn up in order by the king. They were in three divisions, one of which was in command of Edward, Prince of Wales (eldest son of the king), who was at this time only sixteen years old.

It was the 26th of August, 1346. The king, mounted on a white horse, rode through the ranks early in the morning, cheering up his men, and telling them how great would be the glory if they gained the victory over this great French army.

By this time the French were getting nearer. When they came within a few miles of Crecy, Philip sent on an officer to find out where the English army was, and how it was arranged. The officer came back and said that the English were in good order, and had had time to rest. It would be better, he thought, to wait a day and let the French soldiers rest too. Philip commanded his army to halt, but the French soldiers, who believed that they would easily beat the small army before them, pressed on to the attack.

The battle began between the archers. The French had with them 15,000 Italian soldiers from Genoa, armed with crossbows. On the English side, the archers were armed with the long-bow. It is said that just before the battle, a great thunderstorm took place, and that the bows of the Genoese, who had been marching as fast as they could to get to the field of battle, got wetted with the rain. When they were thus wetted, the strings became slack, and the bow would no longer shoot as hard and as straight as it did before. The English archers, on the other hand, had kept their long-bows dry in their cases. After the storm was over, the bows were drawn forth, and they shot as strong and as true as ever. It was soon seen that on this day, at any rate, the long-bow was a better weapon than the cross-bow.


The English archers shot so fast that, as an Italian who wrote an account of the battle says, "It seemed to snow." The Genoese could bear it no longer; they cut their bow-strings, threw away their bows, and turned to fly. As they fled, they broke in amongst the French horsemen, and all was confusion. Then the French cavalry came under the storm of arrows, and many of them fell pierced even through their armour. As they fell from their horses, the Cornish men and Welshmen who were with King Edward stabbed them on the ground. When the French king saw that his archers had given way, he ordered his knights to charge, and a great battle took place between the knights and men in armour on both sides.

In the middle of this fight was the Black Prince. He fought bravely, and was in great danger of his life. So great was his danger, that the Earl of Warwick sent a messenger to King Edward begging him for help. "Is my son dead?" said the king. "Not so," replied the messenger, "but he needs help" "Nay, then," said the king, "he has no aid from me. Tell him that I know that he will bear him like a man, and show himself worthy of his knighthood." The prince did indeed show himself worthy of his knighthood, for at last he and those who were with him succeeded in putting to flight the French and making victory certain.

King Philip himself rode full speed from the field of battle. It was dark when he reached the castle of Broye. He blew with his horn at the castle gate. The warder on the castle walls called out into the darkness, "Who comes there on such a night?" "It is the Fortune of France," said the king; and almost alone, "Philip the Fortunate," for so men had called him, escaped with bare life from the field of Crecy.

A Chapter of Victories. (Ch 26)

"Telling me--
It was great pity, so it was,
That villainous saltpetre should be digg'd
Out of the bowels of the harmless earth,
Which many a good tall fellow had destroy'd
So cowardly; and, but for these vile guns,
He would himself have been a soldier."
-- Shakespeare: "King Henry IV.," Part I.

The story of the battle of Crecy has been told at some length for several reasons. In the first place, Crecy was a very great and memorable fight, of which Englishmen have a real right to be proud. The French lost on that day two kings -- the Kings of Majorca and Bohemia -- 11 princes, 80 bannerets, 1,200 knights, and 30,000 men. In the second place, the success which Edward won on the field of Crecy no doubt encouraged him to go on with the cruel war which for a hundred years made England and France bitter enemies.

And, lastly, there is one other thing which makes Crecy very memorable among the many battles of which history tells us. If we had been upon the battle-field of Crecy we should have heard all the fierce and terrible noises which are always to be heard upon a battle-field; the shouts of those who are fighting, the cries and groans of the wounded, the trampling of the horses, and the clash of arms.

But at Crecy we should have heard another sound, different from all these other noises, a sound which was not heard at Hastings, at Bannockburn, nor at any of the great battles which had already taken place in the history of England. We should have heard a loud, deep report, which came from neither man nor horse. It was not the sound of charging cavalry, nor yet that of the clash of steel.

What was this sound? It was the thunder of the Cannon, heard for the first time in any battle in which English soldiers were engaged. For the first time, at the battle of Crecy, the gunpowder which some say Roger Bacon, an English monk, first showed English people the use of, and which was certainly quite new to the world, was used in cannon.

The cannons were small, weak affairs, made of wood, hooped with iron. The balls which they threw were scarcely larger than a cricketball, and no doubt the long-bow and the broad-sword killed many hundreds more at the battle of Crecy than did the cannon.

But from that day onwards the power of gunpowder began to grow greater than that of the long-bow and the broad-sword, until at last in our own day the arrow is forgotten, and the sword has become little more than an ornament.

The great thing to remember about the use of gunpowder is not that more people have been killed in battle since gunpowder was used -- for indeed, it is probable that quite as many men were killed in the old battles as in the battles which are fought now -- but that gunpowder did this: it made the weak equal to the strong, and the small equal to the great.

No amount of strength will protect a man against a rifle bullet or a cannon shot, and a rifle will shoot quite as hard if it be held by a small and a weak man as when it is held by a giant. We shall see, as we read our English history, how, from the time of the battle of Crecy, the knights in armour, who had been masters of all the world up to that time, gradually lost their power as their strength and their armour ceased to protect them.

Crecy, however, was not the only great victory which was won by the English during the reign of King Edward III. In the year 1333 King Edward defeated the Scottish army at Halidon Hill. In 1340, seven years later, an English fleet defeated a French fleet at Sluys, off the coast of Flanders, or Belgium as we now call it. In 1347, after the battle of Crecy, King Edward took the town of Calais, after a siege which lasted twelve months; and in 1356 a great victory was won by the English over the French at Poitiers, in which John, King of France, was taken prisoner. In 1360 peace was at last made with France at Bretigny, but the terms of the peace were not kept to by either side, and the war went on.

The reign of Edward III. was a very splendid one, if we think only of the victories which were won by English armies under his command. It is quite right to be proud of these victories, for they were won by our forefathers against great odds, and every Englishman should be proud that he belongs to the same race that won the victories of Crecy and Poitiers. We, however, must not forget that the war was a cruel and perhaps a useless one. A very large part of France was ruined and laid waste, and England too was much weakened by the loss of men and money. But while we regret the war, we can still admire the courage and skill of King Edward and of his warlike son, the Black Prince. King Edward III. was certainly one of the greatest of our kings. The king died in the year 1377, in the fifty-first year of his reign.

Chapter 27. Richard II. 1377-1399.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Richard II:
     Richard II, King of England, son of Edward the Black Prince, and grandson of Edward III., b. 1366, became King 77, deposed 1399, reigned 22 years.
     Anne of Bohemia, daughter of the Emperor Charles IV. of Germany, first wife of Richard II., m. 1382, d. 1394.
     Isabella, daughter of Charles VI., King of France, second wife of Richard II., m. 1396.
     John Of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Regent of the Kingdom, son of Edward III., and uncle of King Richard, d. 1399.
     Edmund of Langley, Duke of York, son of Edward III. and uncle of the King,
     Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, son of Edward III., and uncle of King Richard, d. 1397.
     Michael de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, Richard's Minister, d. 1389.
     Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt and cousin of King Richard, afterwards King of England, b. 1366.
     Gregory XL, Pope, d. 1570.
     Charles VI., King of France (called Bien-aime', or "The Well-Beloved"), 1380-1422.
     John Wycliffe, an Oxford preacher, b. 1321, d. 1384.
     Wat Tyler, leader of Kentish insurgents, killed 1381.
     Sir William Walworth, Lord Mayor of London, d. 1381.
     Timour the Tartar, sometimes called Tamerlane.
     Geoffrey Chaucer, a great poet, b. 1328, d. 1400.

Principal events during the reign of Richard II:
     1377. Richard II. becomes King, June 22nd. A Spanish force lands in the Isle of Wight, and a Spanish and French fleet sails up the Thames to Gravesend. John Philpot, Alderman of London, collects a fleet at his own cost, and defeats the Spanish and French.
     1380. War in France.
     1381. Wycliffe preaches against the priests. Wat Tyler's rebellion.
     1382. Richard marries Anne of Bohemia. Wycliffe condemned by the Pope.
     1384-5 War in Scotland and in Ireland.
     1386. Michael de la Pole, Richard's Minister, impeached.
     1387. John of Gaunt makes himself Regent.
     1388. The "Wonderful" or "Merciless Parliament." Battle of Otterburne, or "Chevy Chase," between the English and Scots.
     1389. Richard takes the government into his own hands.
     1396. Death of Queen Anne. Richard marries Isabella, daughter of the King of France. The King causes John of Gaunt to be taken prisoner.
     1398. Quarrel between Bolingbroke and the Duke of Norfolk. Richard banishes them both. Tamerlane, or Timour the Tartar, invades India, captures Delhi, and puts 100,000 persons to death.
     1399. Bolingbroke returns and defeats the King. Death of John of Gaunt. The King deposed, imprisoned at Pontefract Castle, and (probably) murdered.

Wat Tyler. (Ch 27)

"And you, that love the Commons, follow me.
Now show yourselves men: 'tis for liberty.
We will not leave one lord, one gentleman:
Spare none but such as go in clouted shoon,
For they are thrifty honest men, and such
As would (but that they dare not) take our parts."
-- "King Henry VI., Part II."

Richard II. came to the throne after the death of Edward III. He was the grandson of Edward III. and son of Edward the Black Prince, who died before his father.

King Richard was an unfortunate and an unwise king, and his life ended in misery and disgrace. There is not room here to tell the story of his reign at great length, but there were one or two very important things that happened in it which cannot be left out.

Richard was only eleven years old when he came to the throne. The most powerful man in the country was the king's uncle, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the fourth son of King Edward III. The king had two other uncles, The Duke of York, and The Duke of Gloucester. The three brothers, John of Gaunt, Edmund of York, and Thomas of Gloucester, played a great part in the story of Richard's reign.

One of the most remarkable events which took place in the reign of Richard II. was the rebellion which was got up by Wat Tyler (1381). We shall remember that during the reign of Edward III. there had been much fighting between England and France, and between England and Scotland. These long wars had cost much money, and heavy taxes had to be raised to pay for them. The people were poor, and they found these taxes very burdensome. One tax in particular was most unpopular. This was the Poll Tax, which was a tax of twelve pence upon every head or "poll" in the country; that is to say, it had to be paid by every person over fifteen years of age. Twelve pence does not seem very much nowadays, but in the time of Richard II. twelve pence was worth as much as eighteen shillings in our time. The collection of the Poll Tax gave rise to great discontent, and at last led to open rebellion.

[By 2016 US standards, that would be a few hundred dollars, depending on how it's assessed with inflation. https://www.measuringworth.com/]

One day the tax-collector came to the house of a man named Walter the Tiler, or "Wat Tyler" as he was called, who lived in the town of Dartford in Kent. He asked Wat Tyler to pay a heavy tax, and at the same time added to Wat's anger by insulting his daughter. In a fury Wat knocked the man down and killed him. The townspeople approved the deed, and soon the news of it spread far and wide, and all those who were discontented praised the Tiler of Dartford for what he had done. Soon, from all the southern and eastern counties of England the people began to gather together, and at last in a great body, 60,000 strong, they set off to march to London. Wat Tyler was put at the head of the people's army, and he led them to Blackheath, which is close to London. By this time there were no less than 100,000 men gathered together. The king and his court, and all the wealthy people of London, were greatly alarmed, especially when they heard that Wat Tyler and his friends had declared that they would upset the Government, take all they wanted from the rich, and divide what they took among the poor.

Although the followers of Wat Tyler had much to complain of, and they did some violent things, they were not all robbers and plunderers, as the people of London thought they were; many of them were honest men who really wanted to get right done to them, and they believed that the king was on their side and would help them. They asked for four things: 1. That they should no longer be made slaves to any man, nor be compelled to give their work without payment. 2. That the rent of the land they lived upon should be paid in money, and that they should no longer be compelled, as they often were, to do work as payment for their rent. They frequently found that the work which they were made to do was really worth much more than the rent which they owed. 3. That they should be free to buy and sell where they liked, and to take their goods freely to market. 4. That none of them should be punished for what they had done since the rebellion began.

The king met the people, and gladly promised to grant these things if they would go home. Most of them were content with the promise, and many went home; but Wat Tyler and Jack Straw, another leader, and some of the worst men among them, would not go home. They marched to London; they got possession of the Tower of London; they threatened the king's mother.

Richard himself rode out to meet them. He found them in front of St. Bartholomew's Church in Smithfield. There were 20,000 men, and Wat Tyler was at the head of them. Wat Tyler went up to the king, bidding his followers stay till he gave them a sign; they were then to come forward and kill all but the king. "He is young" said Wat Tyler; "we can do with him as we please; we will lead him with us all about England, and so shall we be lords of the kingdom without doubt."

As Wat Tyler was speaking to the king, there came up Sir William Walworth, Mayor of London, with twelve horsemen. He was angry with Wat Tyler, and he cried out, "Ha! thou knave; darest thou speak such words in the king's presence?" Tyler made a sharp answer, and Walworth at once killed him with his sword. At first it seemed as if the crowd would avenge the death of their leader. "They have killed our captain," they cried, and they bent their bows. Then Richard with great courage and readiness rode forward, saying, "Sirs, what aileth you? I will be your leader and captain. Follow me, for I am your king." The people, pleased with Richard's courage, did what he bade them, and soon dispersed again to their own homes. And thus came to an end what seemed at one time to be a very dangerous rebellion. As to the promises which the king had made, some were fulfilled; but most of them, unfortunately, were broken and forgotten.

The end of Richard's reign was less happy than the beginning. He was a mere child when he came to the throne, and during his early years he had submitted to be ruled by his uncle, John, Duke of Lancaster, commonly known as John of Gaunt. But after Wat Tyler's rebellion had been put down, Richard, who had reached the age of manhood, determined to take the reins of government in his own hands. He found little difficulty in carrying out his resolves, for John of Gaunt, while governing in the king's name, had made himself unpopular in the country. The king appointed new ministers chosen from among his own friends. The chief of the new ministers was Michael de la Pole, who received the title of Earl of Suffolk. Richard further strengthened his own position by his marriage with Anne of Bohemia, daughter of the emperor. John of Gaunt, deprived of Richard's favour, was compelled to take refuge in flight, and the king seemed for the time to be master of the situation. But the departure of the Duke of Lancaster had really only left the field open to his brother Thomas, Duke of Gloucester. Thomas, who it will be remembered was the youngest son of King Edward III. was greatly offended at the king's choosing De la Pole as his minister. De la Pole had been a merchant and did not belong to one of the great families of the nobles, and Thomas was easily able to persuade his friends among the nobility that their rights and their power were likely to be endangered if such persons as the Earl of Suffolk were allowed to hold the highest offices in the kingdom.

The Banishment of Bolingbroke. (Ch 27)

"Herald: Harry of Hereford, Lancaster, and Derby,
Stands here for God, his sovereign, and himself,
On pain to be found false and recreant,
To prove the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray,
A traitor to his God, his king, and him;
And dares him to set forward to the fight."
-- Shakespeare: "King Richard II."

It was not long before a party was formed among the nobles. At the head of it was Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, and its leaders were the Earls of Warwick, Arundel, and Nottingham, and Henry of Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt. The first step taken by the new party was to "appeal" the king's ministers of treason, [To charge them with being guilty of high treason.] and hence they came to be called "Lords Appellant." They took up arms to enforce their claims, seized the king, and called together a Parliament, the members of which they knew would be favourable to their cause. The Earl of Suffolk fled from the country, several of the ministers were put to death, and the king was compelled for a time to bow to the storm which he could not resist. It was not long, however, before he found an opportunity of avenging the insult which had been put upon him. In the year 1387 he reached the age of twenty-one, and he soon showed that he was determined to prove to all the world that he had come of age and could act for himself.

One day as he sat in his great Council he turned to his uncle the Duke of Gloucester, with these words, "How old do you think I am?" "Your Highness," replied the duke, "you are in your twenty-second year." "Then" said the king, "I surely am old enough to manage my own concerns. I have been longer under the control of guardians than any ward in my dominions. I thank you, my Lords, for your past services, but I require them no longer."

[A ward is a minor; a person under the age of 21.]

Richard was not long in giving effect to his words. The Duke of Gloucester and the other Lords Appellant were dismissed from their offices, and a king once more chose his own ministers from among his own friends.

Queen Anne had died in the year 1394, and Richard now further strengthened his position by a marriage with Isabella, daughter of King Charles VI. of France (1396). The marriage was not popular among the English people, but it proved an advantage to the king because it insured, for the time at any rate, peace with France and left the King free to deal with his enemies at home.

For a time Richard seemed content with the victory he had won, but in reality he was only waiting until he should be strong enough to punish the man who had so grievously offended him. He was content to wait ten years until his opportunity came; but in the year 1397 he struck the blow he had so long intended. Gloucester, Arundel, and Warwick were charged with plotting a new rebellion. Arundel was beheaded, Gloucester was thrown into prison and murdered while there, Warwick was banished. For a time it seemed as if Bolingbroke and Nottingham would escape. The king even showed them special favour, and made the one Duke of Hereford, and the other Duke of Norfolk. But he had not forgotten his grudge, and he skilfully contrived a quarrel between the two dukes. It was decided that after the custom of the times the quarrel should be settled by a fight between the two parties, and arrangements were made for a tournament to be held in the presence of the king at which the Dukes of Hereford and Norfolk were to meet in single combat. At the last moment, however, and just as the two combatants had entered the lists, the king threw down his staff between them, and ordered the heralds to stop the fight. This done, he sentenced Norfolk to banishment for life, and Hereford to banishment for ten years.

It seemed at length as if the king had freed himself from all his enemies, but, as events showed, this was far from being the case. The Duke of Gloucester and the Earl of Arundel were dead, and "dead men tell no tales" and do no mischief, but Bolingbroke, though banished from the country, was still alive and eager to regain the power he had lost, and the estates from which his father, John of Gaunt, and he had been driven.

Before long a favourable opportunity arose. In the year 1399 Richard started at the head of an expedition to Ireland. English rule in that country was threatened by an armed rebellion, and the king determined to go over himself to restore order. But in those days a voyage to Ireland was often a matter of many days, and the king, once on the other side of the Irish Channel, soon lost his power over the government in London. His enemies at once saw that the time had come when they might safely return and claim their own again.

While Richard was still in Ireland, Henry Bolingbroke, Duke of Hereford, landed at Eavenspur in Yorkshire. At first he declared that he sought nothing but the restoration of his father's estates, but success soon taught him to claim a still greater prize. He was joined by the Earl of Northumberland, and by his son Henry Percy, known on account of his hasty and impetuous character as "Harry Hotspur." He soon was surrounded by a considerable army. The news of this fresh rebellion reached Richard in Ireland and he hastened to return. But the wind was contrary, and many days passed before he was able to set up his standard in England. It was then too late, and his enemies were too powerful to be resisted.

Despairing of success, he gave himself up to the Earl of Northumberland, and shortly after, yielding to the threats of his enemies, he consented to abdicate the crown in the hope of saving his own life. Parliament was persuaded to declare that the claim of Henry Bolingbroke to the crown of England was a good one, and to proclaim him King. Richard was confined a close prisoner in Pontefract Castle, and there, he was murdered. For a long time after his death many people believed that he was still alive, and that he would one day return and take the crown. Nor were all doubts removed when the new king, anxious to prove to all men that his rival was no longer to be feared, caused the body of Richard to be brought up from Pontefract and publicly exhibited to the people of London. There were still some who said that the body was not that of the king, but of some person who resembled him. But as time passed on, the fact of Richard's death ceased to be disputed, and there can indeed be no doubt that he was put to death shortly after his imprisonment in Pontefract Castle. He ceased to reign in the twenty-third year after his accession to the crown.

Geoffrey Chaucer. (Ch 27)

"Dan Chaucer, well of English undefyled,
On Fame's eternal bead roll Worthie to be fyled."
-- Spenser: "Faerie Queene"

There are three things that we must bear in mind when we read of the reign of Richard II., for they are all of great importance in English history.

About the year 1328, fifty years before Richard came to the throne, there was born Geoffrey Chaucer, the first great English poet. The name of Chaucer will always be remembered, for two reasons. First, he was a real and great poet, whose best known poem "The Canterbury Tales" is still read with pleasure by thousands of Englishmen.

In the poem we read how a number of travellers met on their way to the tomb of Thomas A' Becket at Canterbury. They met at an inn, and as they ride along the road together they tell each other stories, and give an account of their adventures. There are a Sailor, a Farmer, a Priest, the Landlord of the inn, a Soldier or Knight, a Student, and many others. Their stories are very amusing, and they are also very interesting, because we learn from them just how people lived, what they thought and talked about, how they dressed, how they made their money, and how they spent their money five hundred years ago. We can learn a great deal more history from the stories in Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales" than we can from many history books. We see that there is every reason for remembering Chaucer, because he was a great poet.

The other reason for which he must be remembered is that he was really the first great writer who wrote English in the way in which we now speak it. Before his time there were a great many people, chiefly the rich, the barons, and the courtiers, who talked French, or a language very like French. The poorer people, and most of the merchants and tradesmen, who were of Saxon families, talked English, but English very different from what we speak now, and when they wrote, they wrote in Anglo-Saxon, which we should find it very difficult to understand at the present time.

But gradually those who spoke French, and those who spoke Anglo-Saxon, got mixed up together, and as they got mixed up, the language they spoke also got mixed, and soon a new language came to be used, which was neither French nor Anglo-Saxon, but which was made up of both. This language was really the English Language which we talk now, and in which there are very many Norman and French words, and a still greater number of Saxon words.

This new language was spoken before Chaucer's time, but he was the first person to write it down in the form of poetry. When it was once written down, other people followed the example, and wrote in the same way, and thus began the writing of all those tens of thousands of English books which have been written and read in England since the time of Chaucer.

The Black Death -- John Wycliffe. (Ch 27)

"As thou these ashes, little brook! wilt bear
Into the Avon, Avon to the tide
Of Severn, Severn to the narrow seas,
Into main ocean they, this deed accurst
An emblem yields to friends and enemies
How the bold teacher's doctrine, sanctified
By truths shall spread throughout the world dispersed."
-- Wordsworth: "To Wycliffe."

We said that there were three special things to be remembered about the reign of Richard II. One is the life and writings of Geoffrey Chaucer, the second is the "Black Death." The Black Death was a terrible sickness which spread over England and Ireland between the years 1348 and 1407. Thousands of people died of it in a very short time. It is said that over a million persons died of this terrible disease in England alone.

The third thing to be remembered is the life and death of John Wycliffe. John Wycliffe was born in Yorkshire in the year 1324. He was a great preacher and teacher of the people. Many of the priests at that time were bad and ignorant, and he preached against them, saying that men should live better lives, and that many of the things which the priests taught were untrue.

He had many followers, who were known as "Lollards." The great work for which Wycliffe is known is his translation of the Bible into English. This Bible was not the same as that which we use now, and very few copies of it were made, for in the time of Wycliffe nobody in England knew how to print books. But we must not forget that Wycliffe was the first English translator of the Bible. Wycliffe died in 1384, and was buried at Lutterworth, in Leicestershire.

After his death his bones were dug up and burnt by order of the Pope, and his ashes were thrown into the little river "Swift" which runs past Lutterworth. But though Wycliffe was dead, and his bones burnt, the work he had done was not forgotten.

His ashes were thrown into the Swift, the Swift bore them into the Avon, the Avon to the Severn, the Severn to the Sea, and the Sea to the Wide World; so has his name been carried down in English history, till it has become one which all readers of English history throughout the world now know and are proud of.

Chapter 28. Henry IV. 1399-1413.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Henry IV:
     Henry IV., son of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster, and grandson of Edward III., b. 1366, became king 1399, d. 1413, reigned 14 years.
     Mary Bohun, first wife of Henry IV., m. 1381, d. 1394.
     Henry, son of Henry IV., afterwards King of England, b. 1388.
     Thomas, Duke of Clarence, son of Henry IV.
     John, Duke of Bedford, son of Henry IV.
     Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, and two daughters.
     Joanna, daughter of Charles, King of Navarre, second wife of Henry IV., m. 1403, d. 1437.
     Owen Glendower, leader of the Welsh insurrection, d. 1415.
     Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, great-grandson of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, third son of Edward III., and the true heir to the throne on the death of Richard, b. 1392.
     Archibald Douglas, leader of the Scottish army.
     The Earl of Northumberland, father of Harry Hotspur, d. 1408.
     Harry Hotspur, son of the Earl of Northumberland, d. 1403.
     Robert III., King of Scotland, d. 1406.
     James Stuart (James I. of Scotland), son of Robert.
     Charles VI. (The Well-Beloved), King of France.
     Sir William Gascoigne, Chief Justice of the King's Bench.

Principal events during the reign of Henry IV:
     1399. September 30th, Henry crowned King. Henry sets aside the claim of the Earl of March, the true heir to the throne. Insurrection by the friends of King Richard II.
     1400. King Richard II. said by some to have been murdered at Pontefract Castle in this year. Expedition into Scotland. Insurrection of Owen Glendower in Wales.
     1402. Harry Percy (Hotspur) destroys the Scottish army, under Archibald Douglas, at Homildon Hill.
     1403. Alliance of Percy and Douglas in support of the cause of the Earl of March. Hotspur joins Owen Glendower. Henry defeats the rebels at Shrewsbury.
     1408. The Earl of Northumberland and Owen Glendower in revolt against the King are defeated at Bramham Moor, in Yorkshire.
     1409. Final defeat of Owen Glendower.
     1411. Henry joins in the quarrel between the King of France and the Duke of Burgundy.
     1413. Death of Henry IV.

A Troubled Reign. (Ch 28)

"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."
-- Shakespeare: "Henry IV." Part II.

The reign of Henry IV. is an interesting and important one, and for several reasons. In the first place it must be remembered that Henry was not the true heir to the throne, and that he had by force dethroned and imprisoned Richard, the rightful king, and indeed after Richard's death it was not Henry but the descendants of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, who, by the law and custom of England, ought to have succeeded to the crown. One of these descendants was living. His name was Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, who was the great-grandson of Lionel, Duke of Clarence. Henry knew well that his own claim was not a good one, and it was for this reason that he made haste to call together a Parliament, and to get from it a declaration that he was the true heir. Parliament could not indeed alter the fact, but it could do much to strengthen the hands of the new king by giving him its support.

But Parliament did not give its support for nothing. Over and over again during King Henry's reign Parliament made demands upon the king, which he granted because he knew that his power depended not upon his own good title, but upon the support of Parliament. He thus did many things which he would certainly never have done had he felt himself quite firm upon his throne, and Parliament gained more power during his reign than it had possessed for many years past.

The reign of Henry IV. is interesting for another reason. As we have just read, he was not the true heir to the crown, and he lived in constant fear of losing in war what he had won by war. By his skill and bravery he gained a victory over his various enemies at home, and was able to hand on the crown to his son. But he was never free from the fear of civil war, and we shall see that in the end this fear of war at home led his son to begin a war abroad which he thought would turn people's minds away from the questions which had led to so much quarrelling at home. There seems little doubt that the long war with France, which began in the reign of Henry's son, was in a great part owing to the uncertain title by which King Henry held his crown.

It was indeed not long before civil war broke out again in England, and Henry, who had attacked and defeated Richard, the lawful king, now found himself attacked in turn in more than one quarter. Within a few months of his coronation a rising took place on behalf of King Richard, but Henry easily put it down, and the Earls of Kent and Huntingdon, who were the rebel leaders, were taken and executed.

The next rebellion was a more serious one. It began in Wales, where a Welsh gentleman named Owen Glendower, a former follower of King Richard, put himself at the head of an army, and declared himself Prince of Wales and crossed the English border. With the Welsh alone it would not have been difficult to deal, although Glendower proved himself a formidable leader, and the skill with which he escaped pursuit earned for him among the English soldiers the name of "The Magician." But matters became much more serious when the Scots, in their turn, rose on behalf of King Richard who, they declared, was still alive. Luckily the English Parliament was still in a good humour with the king, and sufficient money was found to put an army into the field. An English force under the Earl of Northumberland, and his son Harry Percy, or "Hotspur" met the Scots and totally defeated them at the battle of Homildon Hill in Northumberland (1402), and the famous Earl of Douglas was taken a prisoner by Hotspur.

But out of the victory grew yet another trouble for the king. Henry ordered Hotspur to hand over his prisoner Douglas to him, but this Hotspur refused to do, and the quarrel between the king and the great house of Northumberland soon became so bitter that at last the Percies, with their prisoner Douglas, openly joined a party of rebels, and made common cause with Owen Glendower and with Edmund Mortimer, uncle of the Earl of March, who had now become an ally of the Welsh leader, and had given him his daughter in marriage. With all these enemies arrayed against it, the royal cause seemed to be in great danger. Fortunately for Henry, his enemies were divided in their councils, and had not really all the same end in view. Fortunately, also, the people of England were not very eager to support the party which had among its leaders a Welsh chief and a Scottish earl both long known as bitter enemies of England, and which received help from France, sent by Queen Isabella, the widow of Richard II.

The king advanced against the rebels, who at once declared Edmund Mortimer, the young Earl of March, to be the true king, and prepared to maintain their cause in battle. Like a good general, Henry managed to meet his enemies before they could unite their forces. He attacked the army of the Percies at Shrewsbury (1403) before Glendower with his Welsh troops could come up. The battle ended in the entire defeat of the rebel army. Hotspur was killed and Douglas was taken prisoner. The loss on both sides was very great, and included very many gentlemen of name.

[Edmund Mortimer, the young Earl of March, was at this time only a boy of eleven years of age. If we look at the table on page 266, we shall see that he was the true heir to the crown, his father, Roger Mortimer, having been killed in the year 1398. His title came to him through Philippa, the daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence, who, as we have seen, was the third son of Edward III. His title was clearly a better one than that of the descendants of John of Gaunt, or of Edmund, Duke of York.]

But even after this success the troubles of King Henry were by no means over. The Earl of Northumberland was pardoned, but both the Scots and the Welsh remained in arms; and the French, taking full advantage of the disturbed state of England, made fierce attacks upon the coast. Jersey and Guernsey were taken by them. A French expedition landed in Plymouth Sound and burnt the town of Plymouth. Another expedition landed in the Isle of Wight. The English in their turn sent out ships to attack the French coast, and there was fierce fighting all down the Channel. The Scots were still threatening, but the danger from that quarter was diminished by the capture of James, the heir to the crown of Scotland. The young prince was on his way to France when the ship which bore him stopped off Flamborough Head. He was taken from the ship, made prisoner (1405) by order of King Henry and brought to London, where he was kept till the end of Henry's reign.

From this time forward the dangers which threatened the king grew less. Not that the civil war was by any means over. Northumberland, though he had been pardoned and received into favour, had by no means forgotten his old quarrel. He escaped to Wales from Scotland, and shortly afterwards reappeared in the north of England at the head of an army. He was, however, met by the royal troops and defeated at Bramham Moor, near Arthington, in Yorkshire (1408), and was killed in the battle. The French continued to attack England, and a French fleet, sailing into Milford Haven, brought aid to the Welsh under Glendower. For a time this strange alliance between Welshmen and Frenchmen baffled the royal troops, but not for long. The command of the army in Wales was given to the king's eldest son, young Henry of Monmouth, who showed, in the war that followed, the bravery and some of the military skill which afterwards made him famous as a victor in the great battle of Agincourt.

In the year 1409 the struggle ended, the Welsh were defeated, and the country compelled to submit to the English rule. The French were no longer able to do mischief, for France itself was distracted by civil war and had no time for interfering with the affairs of other countries. It seemed as if at last Henry had obtained rest and peace, but the rest he had so hardly won he was not able to enjoy. He was attacked by the terrible disease of leprosy, and the last few years of his life were passed as a bedridden cripple. On the 20th of March, 1413, he died in a fit, in the Jerusalem Chamber, Westminster Abbey.

The story of his last moments is told in Shakespeare's play of Henry IV., Act iv., Scene 5, of the Second Part, which contains the famous scene of young Harry of Monmouth sitting by his father's bedside under the belief that the life of the old king had passed away, and placing on his own head the golden crown. But the king still lived, and with returning consciousness saw the act of his son, and rebuked him in the words which, as Shakespeare records them, are so dignified and touching.

The prince, starting at finding that his father is still alive, says:

"I never thought to hear you speak again."

Then the king answers him thus:

"Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought;
I stay too long by thee, I weary thee.
Dost thou so hunger for mine empty chair,
That thou wilt needs invest thee with mine honours
Before thy hour be ripe? O foolish youth!
Thou seek'st the greatness that will overwhelm thee."

Whether or not this strange scene really took place is not certain. It is doubtful, too, whether the story be true, which represents Henry of Monmouth, before he came to the throne, as a wild young man, keeping bad company and following lawless courses; it is certain, however, that the crown which Henry IV. had won by force, and had fought so hard to keep, passed on to his son without difficulty, and with the full agreement of the people of England.

Henry IV. was twice married. His first wife was Mary Bohun, daughter of the Earl of Hereford. She died in 1394. Nine years later, in 1403, Henry married Joanna, daughter of Charles, King of Navarre, who survived her husband.

One very evil thing in the reign of Henry IV. must be remembered. It was in his day that persecution for religion received special encouragement from the law. The teaching of Wycliffe had borne fruit, and there was a large party in the country who refused to believe all that was told them by the priests. They believed that the Church had become corrupt, and that great changes were needed. Those who held these views were known as Lollards. They soon aroused the enmity of the bishops, who gave them their name, and, who declaring that they were "tares" in the wheatfield, and must he rooted out, set to work to persecute them. At the request of the bishops, Parliament passed an Act * punishing the heretics, as the Lollards were called, with the penalty of death.

[Lollards, from the Dutch "lollard," a mumbler of prayers.]

[De Heretico Comburendo, or "Concerning the Burning of Heretics." From that day forward, and for many years, the wicked and cruel practice of burning men to death on account of their religious opinions was practised in England.]

Chapter 29. Henry V. 1413-1422.

Famous persons who lived of Henry V:
     Henry V., eldest son of Henry IV. and Mary Bohun, King of England, b. 1388 at Monmouth, and therefore sometimes called Henry of Monmouth, became king 1413, d. 1422, reigned 9 years.
     Catherine, daughter of Charles VI., King of France, wife of Henry V., m. 1420, afterwards wife of Owen Tudor, m. 1423.
     Henry, Jon of Henry V. and Catherine, afterwards King of England, b. 1421.
     Charles VI., King of France, d. 1422.
     Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, an ally of the English.
     The Duke Of Bedford, brother to King Henry.
     Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, great grandson of Lionel, third son of Edward III., and the true heir to the throne, d. 1424.
     The Earl Of Suffolk, killed at Agincourt 1415.

Principal events during Henry V:
     1413. Henry V. crowned king.
     1414. Henry lays claim to the crown of France. Parliament votes money for a war with France.
     1415. Henry lands in France. The Duke of of Bedford made Regent of England. Sept. 22. Henry takes Harfleur. Oct. 25 (St. Crispin's Day), battle of Agincourt. John Huss, the great Bohemian Reformer, burnt at Prague.
     1416. An English fleet under the Duke of Bedford defeats the French fleet off Harfleur.
     1417. Second expedition of Henry into France.
     1418 Siege of Rouen.
     1419. Capture of Rouen. The French make friends with the Burgundians, their former enemies, and join them against the English.
     1420. Henry marries Catherine of France. Peace with France.
     1421. Henry and Catherine return to England. The French with the aid of Scottish mercenaries, defeat an English army at Beauge. Henry's third expedition into France. Successful campaign in France. Birth of Henry VI. of England.
     1422. Death of Henry at Vincennes, in France.

Agincourt. (Ch 29)

"Upon St. Crispin's day
Fought was this noble fray,
Which Fame did not delay
To England to carry;
O when shall English men,
With such acts fill a pen,
Or England breed again
Such a King Harry?"
-- Michael Drayton (1563-1631): "Ballad of Agincourt."

Henry V. stands out as an heroic figure in the history of England. During his lifetime he won the praise which is always accorded to the young, the successful, and the brave. His brilliant victory over the French made him a popular hero in his lifetime, and the misfortunes which overtook England after his death, under the feeble rule of his son, made men look back with regret to the "brave days of King Harry," and contrast the splendour of his rule with the humiliation and disaster of their own time. There was much in Henry's character to justify the admiration of his people. He was brave, open, and straightforward, and, above all, successful in war, but there can be little doubt that the country paid a great price for the glory which he won. In the fifteenth century England was a small and poor country compared with France, and the opportunity which enabled Henry to take advantage of the divisions among Frenchmen, and to make himself master for a time of half the kingdom of France, left England drained of men and money, and utterly unable to retain the prize which her soldiers had won.

But that Henry was popular, and indeed beloved, during his lifetime can scarcely be doubted, and he had no sooner ascended the throne than he gave ample proof of his desire to reign justly, and to put an end to those internal quarrels which during his father's lifetime had divided the kingdom. A story is told of Henry when he was still a young man, before he became king, which deserves to be remembered. It is said that one of the prince's gay companions was one day arrested for some brawl, and brought before Gascoigne, the Lord Chief Justice. The young prince, angry at his friend's capture, and believing that, as a son of the king and heir to the throne, he would be able to terrify the Chief Justice, appeared in the court, and, with threatening words, laid his hand upon his sword, and ordered the judge to release the prisoner.

But Gascoigne remembered that the law is no respecter of persons. So far from releasing the prisoner, he gave orders that Henry himself should be sent to gaol for daring to insult one of the king's judges. To prison, therefore, the prince went, according to the story, and to his credit it is said that, instead of blaming the act of the judge, he recognised the courage and wisdom which Gascoigne had shown. When King Henry IV. was told of what had happened, he said, "Happy is the king who possesses a judge so resolute in the discharge of his duty, and a son so willing to yield to the authority of the law."

One of the first acts of the new king on ascending the throne was to send for the Chief Justice, to assure him that he bore no ill-will towards him and to receive him into his favour.

Nor was this the only proof that he gave of his respect for the law. Unluckily, he extended his favour equally to bad as well as to good laws. We have seen how in the two previous reigns a sect known as the "Lollards" had grown up, and how the teaching of Wycliffe had fixed itself in the minds of many men. The archbishops and bishops fearing lest the teaching of the Lollards should diminish the power of the Pope and draw people away from the Church, had persuaded Henry IV. and his Parliament to pass a savage law by which "heretics" might be burned to death for their opinions. It was not long before Henry V. was persuaded in his turn to attack the Lollards, who soon found themselves the object of terrible persecutions. Sir John Oldcastle, afterwards known as Lord Cobham, was a man of distinction and a personal friend of the king's, but he was a Lollard, and had not hesitated to attack the Pope and the clergy, and to declare himself a follower of Wycliffe. He was tried and condemned, and imprisoned in the Tower, whence he managed to escape, but was at length recaptured, and was put to death, with many of his followers (1417).

There were, however, greater difficulties to be encountered at home than the enmity of the Lollards, and Henry well knew that the only way of escaping from the endless civil wars which had distracted the kingdom during his father's reign was to turn the thoughts and the weapons of Englishmen against a foreign enemy. From the outset he had determined upon a war with France. It was not hard to find a pretext, and whether the pretext were a good one or a bad one mattered little. As the heir to Edward III. he boldly claimed the crown of France. The French at that time, divided by internal quarrels, sought to avoid war, and offered him the hand of a French princess, the French province of Aquitaine, and a large sum of money in satisfaction of his claim.

But Henry would have all or none. He refused the offer and declared war. Parliament was summoned and voted money, and the Church, grateful for Henry's punishment of the Lollards, gave large sums towards the war. Whatever may be thought of the cause of the quarrel or of the consequences of the war, there can be no doubt that the campaign which now took place was one of which Englishmen may well be proud. An English army under an English king successfully invaded the kingdom of France, and though ill supplied, moving in an enemy's country, and confronted by great odds, achieved a victory which startled all Europe.


It was on the 25th October, 1415, [St. Crispin's Day.] that the two armies met in the battle which decided the campaign. The English army, exhausted with constant marching, ill-fed, and reduced in numbers, came upon the enemy close to the castle of Agincourt. The records of what took place upon that day are clear and certain, and they tell us of a victory more complete and more surprising than any which had ever been won by an English army over a civilised enemy. The two armies were most unequal in numbers. The French had 50,000, the English 15,000; and yet, rather than have cowards or unwilling men in his ranks, Henry bade all those who feared to risk their lives to go home before the fight began. The French loss amounted to 10,000 killed and 14,000 prisoners, that of the English to 1,500.

Some of the finest lines in Shakespeare are about King Henry and the battle of Agincourt.

The poet tells us how, the morning before the battle, the Earl of Westmoreland, seeing how small the English army was, exclaimed--

"'Oh! that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England,
That do no work to-day!'"

Then King Henry replies--

'What's he, that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? -- No, my fair cousin:
If we are marked to die, we are enough
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold;
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires:
But, if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, 'faith, my coz, wish not a man from England:
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour,
As one man more, methinks, would share from me,
For the best hope I have. Oh! do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he that hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse:
We would not die in that man's company,
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian;
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home
Will stand a-tip-toe when this day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his friends,
And say, 'To-morrow is St. Crispian';
Then will he strip his sleeve and shew his scars,
And say, 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in their mouths as household words,--
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloster,--
Be in their flowing cups freshly remembered:
This story shall the good man teach his son,
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered:
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap, while any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day."

In the city of Oxford there stands the famous College of All Souls, and in the chapel of the college there is a lofty screen covered with life-sized statues. The college and the chapel alike are memorials of the battle of Agincourt. It was in memory of those who fell on that famous field that the chapel was built, in order that perpetual prayers might be made, after the fashion of that time, for the souls of those who had fallen fighting for England. The stone figures which were put up in the time of Henry V. have been broken and destroyed, but in later days new statues have been erected in their places, and to this day the chapel of All Souls' College, Oxford, remains to commemorate the victory won on St. Crispin's day so many centuries ago.

A second campaign still further strengthened Henry's hold upon France. Normandy was taken, and in 1420 Henry married Catherine, daughter of the King of France, receiving a promise at the same time that he should succeed to the throne of France on the death of Charles VI. But a great nation like the French can never be long kept down under foreign conquerors, however powerful and however able.

No sooner had Henry returned to England than the war broke out again, and a third expedition had to be undertaken. To the last the king's good fortune stood him in good stead, and once more victory attended his arms; but the strain and exposure of his warlike life told upon the king's health. He fell sick, and on the 31st August, 1422, he died at the castle of Vincennes, close to Paris.

From the day of his death the English power in France, which his genius had maintained, steadily declined. The great kingdom which he had claimed and won melted away in the feeble grasp of his successor, till nothing remained to bear witness to his splendid military genius save the suffering of a wasted land, and the poverty of an exhausted people. Englishmen had yet to learn the lesson that it was as impossible for England to keep down and govern France, as it would be for Frenchmen to keep down and govern England.

Chapter 30. Henry VI. "The Freeing of France." 1422-1445.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Henry VI:
     Henry VI, son of Henry V. and Catherine of France, sometimes called "Henry of Windsor," b. 1421, became king at the age of nine months) 1422, d. 1471.
     Margaret Of Anjou, wife of Henry VI., daughter of Rene, King of Naples in Italy, m. 1445.
     Edward, Prince of Wales, son of Henry VI. and Margaret, killed 1471.
     Catherine, widow of Henry V., and mother of Henry VI., d. 1438
     Owen Tudor, a Welsh gentleman, second husband of Catherine, widow of Henry V., m. 1423, d. 1461.
     Edmund Tudor, Earl of Richmond, son of Owen Tudor, and father of Henry VII., King of England.
     Charles VII., King of France, 1422-1461.
     Joan Of Arc, "The Maid of Orleans," b. 1412, burnt 1431.
     John, Duke Of Bedford, uncle of Henry VI., and general of the English troops in France, d. 1435.
     Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester ("the Good Duke Humphrey"), uncle of Henry VI., Regent of England together with Bedford, d. 1447.
     Cardinal Beaufort, one of the Regents with Bedford and Gloucester, d. 1447.
     Richard, Duke of York, grandson of Edmund Langley, great-grandson of Edward III., leader of the Yorkists, killed at Wakefield 1460.
     Edward, son of Richard, Duke of York, b. 1442, afterwards King of England.
     Richard, Duke of Gloucester, son of Richard, Duke of York, and brother of Edward, afterwards King of England, b. 1452.
     Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, a leader of the Yorkists sometimes called "The King Maker," and "The Last of the Barons," b. 1428, killed 1471, at Barnet.
     Jack Cade, leader of "Cades Rebellion," when the rioters marched to London, taken and killed 1450.
     John Fust and John Gutenberg, of Mentz, in Germany, who set up the first printing press, and made the first metal types for printing, 1442-1450.
     William Caxton, first English printer, b. 1421.
     Christopher Columbus, who discovered America, b. in Genoa 1436.
     Mahomet II., Sultan of he Turks 1451-1453.

Principal events during the reign of Henry VI:
     1422. Henry VI. becomes king. Charles VII. becomes King of France.
     1423. James, King of Scotland released by Henry. Marriage of Queen Catherine to Owen Tudor.
     1424. War in France. Bedford Regent in France.
     1428. The Earl of Salisbury besieges Orleans.
     1429. Joan of Arc visits the King of France. Joan of Arc leads the French troops and relieves Orleans. Charles crowned at Rheims.
     1430. Capture of Joan of Arc.
     1431. Trial and execution of Joan of Arc. Further disasters to the English army in France.
     1438. Death of Queen Catherine.
     1445. Marriage of Henry VI. and Margaret of Anjou.
     1450. Jack Cade's Rebellion.
     1451. Quarrel between the Duke of Somerset and the Duke of York.
     1453. Loss of all the English dominions in France except Calais. Birth of Edward, Prince of Wales. King Henry becomes imbecile. The Turks under Mahomet II. take Constantinople, May 29th.
     1455. Beginning of the Wars of the Roses. Victory of the Yorkists at St. Albans. Truce between York and Lancaster.
     1460. The Yorkists take up arms but are dispersed. Defeat and capture of Henry at Northampton. Margaret raises an army, and defeats the Yorkists at Wakefield. Richard, Duke of York, killed at Wakefield.
     1461. Defeat of the Yorkists at St. Albans. Prince Edward, son of Richard, Duke of York, defeats the Lancastrians at Mortimer's Cross, near Hereford, and marches to London. Edward declares Henry to have forfeited the Crown, and is proclaimed King as Edward IV. Defeat of the Lancastrians at Towton. Edward crowned in London. Margaret seeks aid in France.
     1464. Margaret takes up arms again. Lancastrians defeated at Hexham. Edward marries Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Sir John Grey.
     1470. Insurrection against Edward. Edward taken prisoner by the Earl of Warwick, and imprisoned in Middleham Castle. Edward released and replaced on the throne. Edward defeats Warwick. Warwick offers his help to Queen Margaret. Warwick raises an army for King Henry. Flight of Edward to Holland, and entry of Warwick into London.
     1471. Return of Edward, battle of Barnet, and death of Warwick. Victory of the Yorkists at Tewkesbury. Death of Edward, son of Henry and Margaret. Imprisonment of Margaret in the Tower. Death of Henry VI.

[A marriage between the Dauphin Louis and the daughter of the King of Scotland was then under discussion. The Scottish king had promised to send aid to Charles VII.]

The "Maid of Orleans." (Ch 30)

"I have come to ask that I may be taken to the King; he cares not for me or my words; nevertheless, ere mid-Lent comes I must be before the King, even though I have to wear my legs to the knees in journeying to him. For no one in the world, neither King, nor Duke, nor Scottish Princess, I nor any other, can recover the Kingdom of France; nor is there any succour for it save me alone, though rather would I stay at home and spin by my poor mother's side . . . but go I must, because such is the wish of the Lord." -- Chronicle of Joan of Arc.

When Henry V. died, he was master of France. The English dominion covered the whole of the great piece which is marked on the map (p. 234), and after the battle of Agincourt it was no idle boast for a King of England to call himself King of France.

But what Henry V. won, Henry VI. lost, Henry VI., who came to the throne on his father's death, was but a child nine months old, his little head, too small to wear the crown of England, was crowned with his mother's bracelet. While the little Henry was king in name, his uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester, together with Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester, really had the kingly power, and were made "Regents" of the kingdom.

Henry's life was long and unhappy, a time of war and suffering. In the story of English history it will always be remembered as the reign in which we lost France. In the history of France it is remembered as the time of victory, a glorious time for the French people.

The most interesting person we have to do with in the reign of Henry VI. is neither the King of England nor the King of France, but a young French girl who was born and brought up far away from courts and palaces. In one of the chief streets of the great city of Paris there is a statue of this young girl. She is seated on a powerful war-horse, she is dressed in armour, and in her hand she holds a sword. Her name is one of the most honoured names in the whole of France. It is Joan of Arc, the peasant girl of Domremy, who saved her country.

The story of Joan can only be told very shortly here. Her father was a labourer, and Joan was employed during the day in looking after his sheep. Like many another young Frenchwoman of her time, she thought with sorrow of the misfortunes of her country, and longed to see it freed from its English enemies.

As she thought and dreamed of a better time, she fancied that an angel brought her a message that the happier time was coming, and that she was to take a part in bringing it about. She told the neighbours, and the neighbours laughed at her, but the neighbours were wrong and Joan was right; for, after all, her own heart had spoken to her truly, and she, the little shepherdess, was really going to do a great work for France.

She made up her mind that she would go straight to Charles, the King of France. The king was at Chinon. It was a long journey to get there, and many were the dangers which Joan had to encounter on the road; but at last she reached the king's court. She told him that she had come to save France: "and you," said she, "shall be crowned King of France in your own city of Rheims."

Now of this there seemed but little chance, for Rheims and its great Cathedral, in which the Kings of France were crowned, were in the hands of the English. The king smiled to see so strange a champion, but at last he was moved by Joan's earnest manner, and he ordered the learned men of his Court to ask her questions and to find out all about her, and about the wonderful message which she said had come to her from the angel.

The learned men soon found out that Joan, at any rate, was full of courage and hope, and the French soldiers, who had lost so many battles, needed courage and hope more than anything at that time. And so Joan was sent by order of the king to join the royal army, which was trying to raise the siege of the town of Orleans. She rode forth in full armour, mounted on a white horse. When she came among the soldiers, every man was moved by her courage and by her example, for she did not fear during the thickest part of the fight. Soon men began to believe that she was indeed specially sent by God to free the kingdom of France from its enemies. The spirits of the French rose whenever they saw her, while the English, on their side, were alarmed and perplexed.

Under Joan's leadership, the French army soon raised the siege of Orleans, defeated the English, and set free the French garrison of the town, who had long given up all hope of being rescued. From that time forward the fortunes of the English in France began to fail. In battle after battle they were defeated. Rheims was retaken, and Joan's promise came true. Charles was crowned King of France in the Cathedral (1429). But though Joan had saved her country, she did not save herself. In the year 1430 she was taken prisoner in a skirmish outside the town of Compiegne by the soldiers of the Duke of Burgundy.

The English paid 10,000 francs for the prisoner. And now a terrible event took place. Joan was accused of witchcraft, and it was said that she had used wicked arts to bewitch her enemies. She was thrown into prison, and was urged to confess her crime. Once she gave way to her tormentors, and confessed; but her courage soon came back to her, and she withdrew what she had said. She was sentenced to be imprisoned for life; but this did not satisfy her enemies, and they soon found an excuse for putting her on her trial once more. She was brought before the French Bishop of Beauvais, and was condemned by him to be burnt alive.

This terrible punishment was carried out on the 30th of May, 1431, and poor Joan was burnt to death in the market-place at Rouen, in Normandy. The square in which she was burnt is still known as "The Maiden's Square" (Place de la Pucelle), and Joan still lives in the memory of Frenchmen as "The Maid of Orleans" (La Pucelle d'Orleans). But though Joan's death was sorrowful, her great work had really been done. The English power in France had been broken for ever, and the long war of a hundred years, which had begun in the reign of Edward III., died out at last in the reign of Henry VI.

All English men and women should admire Joan of Arc, although she was the enemy of England, and helped to defeat its armies; for she was a brave and good woman, who set an example of love of country, which any Englishman or Englishwoman may be proud to follow.

Nor must we forget that though Henry VI., and those who lived in his time, thought that it was a great disgrace to be defeated, and lamented the loss of France, it was really and truly a most fortunate thing for England that she was at last freed from the necessity of trying to keep down the great French people. It was neither right nor possible that England should go on governing France. Just as Frenchmen could never really keep down Englishmen in their own country, so also it was impossible for Englishmen to keep down Frenchmen in France.

The Loss of France. (Ch 30)

"Montjoie St. Denis!"

[The battle cry of the Kings of France.]

But the failure of the English in France did not end with the death of Joan. Quarrels arose between the English and their French Burgundian allies. The Duke of Bedford, the best of the English generals, died in 1435. Paris, which it is strange to think had been long held by English troops and governed by an English governor, was lost. The gates were thrown open to Charles VII., and the King of France once more ruled in his own capital.

Maine, the Duchy of Normandy, and Guienne alone remained under the banner of "St. George," but even these had now to be abandoned. Maine was given up by treaty in 1444, a condition of the surrender being that the young English king should receive the hand of Margaret of Anjou in marriage. The truce that followed this settlement was but a short one, and five years later (1449) war broke out again. Disaster once more overtook the English armies, and after an overwhelming defeat at Formigny (1450), Normandy itself, the duchy from which the Kings of England had themselves sprung, and which had so long been an undisputed possession of the English crown, fell into the hands of the enemy.

It may easily be supposed that the loss of Normandy and the weakness which had led to it proved an encouragement to the forces of disorder in England, and the loss which the war had inflicted upon the people made it easy for an active man to stir up revolt in England itself. In 1450, the same year as the battle which decided the fate of Normandy, Jack Cade, a soldier of fortune, who had fought in the French wars, following the example of Wat Tyler in the days of Richard II., placed himself at the head of a force composed of discontented men, and marched with arms, followed by thousands from Kent and Sussex, against the City of London. Several of the king's officers were killed, and for a time it seemed as if the rebels would command the city. They had no common cause except that of the common suffering, and as their leader promised them the redress of all their grievances and hinted that they might also become masters of their neighbours' property, they were naturally eager to support so promising a cause.

But even the weak government of Henry VI. was strong enough to put down the rebellion of Jack Cade. Cade himself was taken and executed (1450) and his followers dispersed, but the fact that so formidable a movement came so near success shows how disturbed the country was, and how easy it would be for better known men than Jack Cade to light the fire of civil war.

Though a gleam of good fortune seemed to shine on King Henry when he succeeded in putting down Cade's rebellion, the dark cloud soon closed in again. In the year 1453 was lost the last of the great possessions of England across the Channel. After much fierce fighting, Bordeaux was taken, and the Province of Guienne fell into the hands of the French.

Thus it came about that within the short space of thirty-one years the power of England in France had melted away, and of all the great possessions in that country over which Henry V. had ruled there remained to England only Calais and a few small towns in the neighbourhood. The Channel Islands, part of the Duchy of Normandy, from which William the Conqueror came, fortunately retained their connection with England, and they remain to this day among the brightest ornaments of that crown with which their ruler, the Norman William, endowed the sovereigns of England, and which now adorns the brow of our British monarchs, who have no more loyal subjects than those who live in the Channel Islands.

Chapter 31. York and Lancaster. 1445-1455.

The Rival Houses.

"In a word, he [Henry VI.] would have adorned a cloister, though he disgraced a crown; and was rather respectable for those vices he wanted than for those virtues he possessed. He founded the colleges of Eton and Windsor, and King's College in Cambridge for those scholars who had begun their studies at Eton." -- Smollett.

The misfortunes which happened in France were not the only ones which befell our country in the reign of Henry VI. Unhappily, no sooner had war with a foreign enemy come to an end, than there began a "civil" war at home, in which Englishmen fought on both sides.

In order to understand this war, we must be quite clear about one or two things which helped to bring it about. King Henry VI. was the son of Henry V. and of his wife Catherine. Henry, as we shall remember, was descended from John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, the fourth son of Edward III. He was therefore spoken of as belonging to The House of Lancaster. His mother, Catherine, who became a widow on the death of Henry V., wished to remain at Court and take care of the little king her son. But the king's uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester, took so much power into their hands, that the queen found that she could very seldom get her own way, and could do very little. She therefore left the Court, and married a Welsh gentleman named Owen Tudor.

We must not forget the name of this Welsh gentleman; for though history tells us little about him, and though he never became very famous, the name of "Tudor" did become very famous in the history of England, and some of the greatest Sovereigns that England ever had were descended from this Owen Tudor.

When his mother, Catherine, went away, Henry was left in the power of his uncles. He was a dreamy, weak-minded boy, easily guided by others. His uncles thought that it would be a good thing to find him a clever and strong-minded wife, and they therefore arranged that he should marry Margaret of Anjou; Margaret, indeed, turned out to be as strong-minded and ambitious as anyone could wish.

Now we understand about three of the people who come into this story. There is Catherine, the mother of Henry VI., who first married Henry V., and then married Owen Tudor. Then there is Henry VI. himself, a king of the House of Lancaster. And lastly we have Henry's wife, Margaret of Anjou.

But there is another person about whom we must say something, namely, Richard, Duke of York. Richard, Duke of York, was, like Henry, himself a Plantagenet, and descended from both Lionel, Duke of Clarence, the second son of Edward III., and from Edmund Langley, Duke of York, fifth son of Edward III. He was spoken of as belonging to the House of York. All these relationships may seem rather puzzling, but they will become clearer if we look at the table on page 266. We ought to know something about them if we want to understand the story of these times.

It will be seen, therefore, that among the great families who claimed descent from Edward III. there were two parties, one represented by King Henry, the head of the House of Lancaster, the other by Richard, Duke of York, head of the House of York. Both sides, therefore, had a claim to the crown, and if anything, the claim of Richard, Duke of York, was the better of the two; but at that time, as at so many other times in the world's history, "might" seemed at least as powerful as "right," and the supporters of Richard were so many and so strong that, as we shall see, they were able to make good their title by force quite apart from the question of right.

How that war came about it is now easy to see. The country was indeed full of the materials which, if once a light be set to them, are sure to kindle into the fierce flames of civil war. In the first place, there was the king, a young man of feeble character, whose weak mind occasionally gave way altogether. His wife, Margaret of Anjou, possessed all the courage, the ambition, and the energy which her husband lacked. The early years of the king's reign had been years of foreign war, and in that war the country had suffered a great and, as many thought, a disgraceful defeat. The soldiers who had so long fought in France had returned in thousands to England, where they became a burden to the peaceful inhabitants from their turbulence; unfit for peaceful occupations, they were ready to take the first opportunity of serving under any leader who would promise them fighting and plunder.

Around the king there stood a number of great nobles, ambitious men anxious to make use of the king's name to further their own interests. Of these great noblemen the chief were the families of the Beauforts, the Tudors, the Percies of Northumberland, the Nevilles of Westmoreland, the Staffords of Buckingham. Meanwhile, as we have seen, there was another party opposed to the king and his friends, a party composed, like that which surrounded Henry, of great and ambitious nobles, each with his retinue of armed men. Such were the Earls of Salisbury and Warwick, of the family of Neville, and John Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk. It was to Richard, Duke of York, that members of this party looked as their head. It was not long before the rivalry between the two great factions passed from mere quarrelling into open war; and it is of this war that something must be said in this chapter. It is not easy, and it is not necessary, to follow carefully all the ups and downs, and the various changes of fortune, which marked the Wars of the Roses, but a word must be said about the character of the war itself.

The Wars of the Roses, which began in 1455 and lasted for thirty years, were in some ways very unlike other wars from which our country has suffered. It was not the people of England who were fighting against a foreign enemy, nor was it even the people of England divided into two parties engaged in civil war. It was the White Rose against the Red Rose, the House of York against the House of Lancaster, the friends of the House of York against the friends of the House of Lancaster.

The chief men on either side fought for power and riches. They fought because they hated each other, they fought because they loved fighting. They always found plenty of friends who loved power, riches, and fighting, ready to join them.

But, strange as it may seem, these terrible wars, which lasted so long, and in which so many fierce battles were fought, did not do much harm to the common people of England. Great battles were fought in different places, and many of the great lords and their followers were killed on both sides. But even quite close to places where the battles were fought, work went on, and people lived quietly, peaceably, without caring much what happened in the battle, or which side won.

There is a famous collection of letters which were written by members of the family of Paston to one another at this time. They have been put together in a book, and we can read them now. It is strange to notice how little those who were not actually concerned in the fighting seemed to think about the war that was going on. In many of the letters, nothing is said about the Wars of the Roses, or about the House of Lancaster or the House of York; and when we read them, we might think that there had been perfect peace in the country at the time when they were written.

White Rose and Red Rose. (Ch 31)

SOMERSET: "Let him that is no coward, nor no flatterer
Pluck a red rose from off this thorn with me.
WARWICK: I love no colours, and without all colour
Of base insinuating flattery
I pluck this white rose with Plantagenet.
SUFFOLK: I pluck this red rose with young Somerset
And say withal I think he held the right."
--Shakespeare: "Henry VI.," Part I.

Every reader of English history is familiar with the name which has been given to the long struggle which began in the reign of Henry VI., and ended thirty years later at the battle of Bosworth Field (1485). We describe it as the "Wars of the Roses." The phrase has become so much a part of our history that it is worth while to say a few words as to what it means, and how it came to be used.

The two most important counties in England are Yorkshire and Lancashire. They are great rivals in many things, though they are happily not enemies. If we look at a soldier who belongs to one of the Yorkshire regiments, such as the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (47th and 81st) we shall see that he bears on his collar a Rose. If we look at a soldier of one of the Lancashire regiments, such for instance as the Royal North Lancashire (47th and 81st) we shall see that he, too, has on his collar a Rose.

The rose is one of the crests or signs of Yorkshire, and it is also one of the crests or signs of Lancashire, but there is a difference between the two. If we see the rose painted up in Yorkshire, as we may do in many places, we shall see that it is a White Rose; but if we saw it painted up in Lancashire, it would be a Red Rose.

If we go into the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, we can see in some of the coloured glass windows the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster joined together. How was it that these two roses ever came to be divided? How was it that they ever came together again? That is what we shall learn in the next few chapters.

On the Thames Embankment in London there is a great block of buildings where lawyers live. There are gardens in front of the buildings which come nearly down to the river. The great block of buildings is called The Temple, and the gardens are the Temple Gardens.

On a summer's day, some four hundred years ago, Richard, Duke of York and John Beaufort, Earl of Somerset, who was of the House of Lancaster, were walking in the Temple Gardens with their friends. The story says that the two quarrelled, and that their friends took up the quarrel on either side. Then Beaufort plucked a Red Rose from a bush hard by, and said to his friends, "Let those who are of my party wear my flower." Then the Duke of York plucked a White Rose for his badge. And so it came about that the Red Rose stood for the House of Lancaster, and the White Rose for the House of York, not only in this first quarrel, but in the terrible war which followed it.

Chapter 32. Edward IV. 1455-1483.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Edward IV:
     Edward IV., son of Richard, Duke of York, and Cicely Neville, King of England, b. 1442, became King 1461, d. 1483, reigned 22 years.
     Elizabeth Woodville, widow of Sir John Grey, wife of Edward IV., m. 1464.
     Elizabeth, afterwards wife of King Henry VII.
     Edward, afterwards Edward V.
     Richard, Duke of York; and four other daughters.
     George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV., murdered 1478.
     Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of Edward IV., afterwards King of England, b. 1450.
     Lord Rivers and Lord Grey, members of the Queen's family.
     Louis XI., King of France, 1461-1483.
     William Caxton, who introduced the art of printing into England.
     Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, sister of Edward IV., who befriended William Caxton.

Principal events during the reign of Edward IV (after the death of Henry VI):
     1475. Edward claims the crown of France and lands with an army at Calais. Edward collects money for the French war in the form of "Benevolences," or taxes levied from the people without the consent of Parliament.
     1475. Louis XI. of France persuades Edward to give up his claims and to leave France.
     1478. Edward accuses his brother, the Duke of Clarence, of treason, and causes him to be murdered in the Tower.
     1483. Death of Edward.

The Chances of War -- Wakefield -- St. Albans -- Towton -- Barnet -- Tewkesbury. (Ch 32)

"What is most astonishing in the life of this prince [Edward IV.] is his good fortune, which seemed to be prodigious." -- Rapin.

It was in 1455 that fighting first began. A battle was fought (May 23rd) at St. Albans, in which the Yorkist party were the victors. King Henry himself was taken prisoner by Richard, Duke of York, and the Duke of Somerset, the king's chief minister, was killed. But though the king was a prisoner, his wife was free, and determined at any cost to destroy her enemies. She succeeded in stirring up the king's friends, and this time the fortunes of war turned against the Yorkists, who were routed at Ludford, near Ludlow, in 1459. It was one of the most unfortunate features in this unhappy war that as each party gained the upper hand it sought by cruelty and oppression to destroy its opponents, and, as might have been expected, the attempt only drove the defeated party into fiercer resistance. Men who feel that they have nothing to lose are always dangerous enemies; and thus on the present occasion the defeated Yorkists, united by the violence of the king's party, again appeared in arms. On the 10th of July, 1460, the Earl of Warwick defeated the Lancastrians at Northampton. A second time the king was taken prisoner, and a second time the queen escaped to carry on the war. The Duke of York seemed now to have within his reach the prize for which he longed namely, the crown of England, for King Henry was in his power; but as yet he did not dare to enforce his claim. He demanded, however, that he should succeed King Henry, thus depriving the Prince of Wales, Henry's eldest son, of his rights.

But Queen Margaret, ever courageous and determined, had succeeded once more in rallying the Lancastrian forces. At the battle of Wakefield (December 31st, 1460), the Yorkists suffered a terrible defeat. Richard, Duke of York, was slain on the field. A second battle at St. Albans (February 1461) gave another victory to the Lancastrians and restored the king to his friends. London, which throughout stood by the Yorkists, was only saved by the valour of Edward, the young son of Richard of York, who arrived with his troops in time to protect the City.

And now, for the first time we have the strange spectacle of two kings of England demanding the allegiance of the people, for Edward with the consent of his followers, boldly claimed the crown, and proclaimed himself King of England as Edward IV. He soon proved himself worthy of his position. He advanced against the Lancastrians, and on the 29th of March, 1461, engaged them at Towton, near Tadcaster. The battle, in which 60,000 men were slain, was one of the fiercest in all the war, and once more fortune deserted the cause of Henry. His army was defeated and almost destroyed, while many of the most powerful Lancastrian nobles were slain on the field. Henry fled to Scotland, and for a time Edward reigned as undisputed King of England. His strength lay partly in his own character as a skilful and courageous commander in battle, but it was probably from the support which he received from the great Earl of Warwick, the most powerful of the Yorkist nobles, that he owed his success at this time. So great was the power of Warwick, so important was his aid to the party which he supported, that he came to be called "Warwick, the King-Maker," and indeed it seemed as if the gift of the crown of England lay in his strong hands.

In the short interval of peace which now followed, an event of some importance took place. This was the marriage of Edward to Elizabeth Woodville, the widow of Sir John Grey, one of the Lancastrian party. The marriage was made contrary to the advice of Warwick, who desired to see the king married to a French princess, and who disliked the Woodvilles and feared their influence over the king. From that time forward the "King-Maker" set himself to injure Edward and to help the fallen Henry. He secretly entered into an agreement with the Lancastrians. Edward himself was entrapped by a party of Lancastrians and imprisoned, and for a short time Warwick was sufficiently powerful to wreak his vengeance upon the hated family of Woodville, and to secure the execution of Earl Rivers, the head of the Woodville family (1469).

It seemed, however, fated that in this strange civil war the victor, whoever he was, must expect to see himself within a very short time in the position of the vanquished. Edward escaped from his prison and took the field. Warwick now openly turned traitor and joined Henry and Queen Margaret, who in 1470 made one last attempt to recover the crown. But again Edward proved himself an unrivalled general in the field. The two armies met at Barnet, a few miles north of London. The Yorkists were victorious, a fog covered the field of battle, and Warwick, "the King-Maker" and traitor, losing his way, arrived only in time to find the battle lost. Falling into the hands of the victorious Yorkists, he was slain, together with his brother and his principal followers (14th April, 1471). One more attempt to retrieve their fallen fortunes was made by the Lancastrians, and Margaret, courageous to the last, led her army against Edward. At Tewkesbury, however, a battle took place (4th May, 1471), and Edward was again completely victorious. Margaret herself was taken prisoner, and her son Edward was killed.

A few days later the feeble King Henry, once more in the hands of his enemies was murdered in his prison, it is said by the hand, or at any rate by the order, of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, brother of the king. And thus, at last, Edward found himself in undisputed possession of the crown, and for a time at least the House of York was supreme.

Edward IV. now reigned as King of England, with no one to dispute his right. The war had been long and disastrous. Many men had lost their lives on both sides, but the greatest loss had been among the nobles. When the House of Lords was called together after the Wars of the Roses, there were less than forty lords left to obey the call.

Little space need be devoted to the reign of Edward IV. after the battle of Tewkesbury. That battle was fought, as we have read, in the year 1471, and for twelve years King Edward reigned as undisputed king, enjoying the ease which his previous activity in the field had won for him. It cannot be said that he was a good king, but he was undoubtedly a popular one and deserved to be so, for he allowed his subjects to enjoy for the first time for many years the blessings of peace. His subjects were not slow to take advantage of the opportunity given to them, and it is from this period that we must date the beginning of the growth of wealth in England which became so marked a hundred years later.

Of the great nobles with their turbulent following many had been slain, others had been ruined or banished from the country. Meanwhile, a class of wealthy merchants, who cared nothing for the disputes of the nobles, had been growing up. Trade with foreign countries had increased, and the war which had ruined the nobility had left the country but little the worse. Nor did Edward run the risk of losing his popularity by making excessive demands upon Parliament. He preferred rather to compel a small number of rich men to pay him money under the form of forced loans, or "benevolences," than to trouble Parliament for "supplies." This plan found favour with the many who were not asked to contribute, and they did not care to ask whether it were legal or not. They were content that others should be called upon to pay as long as they themselves went free. It has been said with truth that "the price of liberty is eternal vigilance," and the proverb receives its illustration in this case, for Parliament having once given up or ceased to exercise its right to vote money, found it difficult to regain that right when it desired to do so. We shall learn in a later chapter how our English Sovereigns, having learnt from King Edward how to govern without a Parliament, improved the lesson and reduced Parliament for many years to a condition in which it was almost powerless either for good or evil.

Unluckily, the bitter enmities which had been raised during the Wars of the Roses had not as yet been exhausted. Hatred and distrust still divided parties, and even families, and in the year 1478 Edward, convinced that his own brother, George, Duke of Clarence, was plotting against him, threw him into prison, and caused him to be put to death. His younger brother, Richard, Duke of Gloucester, he trusted, but his trust was terribly misplaced.

On the 9th of April, 1483, Edward died, leaving two sons, Edward aged twelve, and Richard aged nine, and five daughters, of whom we must remember the eldest, Elizabeth by name, who at the time of her father's death was eighteen years of age,

Chapter 33. The Invention of Printing.

William Caxton and the Compositor's Case.

"There are no tools more ingeniously wrought, or more potent than those which belong to the art of the printer." -- The Common School Journal. 1843.

Before passing to the history of the next reign, something must be said of certain events which took place in our history during the reign of Edward IV., which, though they are not part of the political history of the time, are of very great importance, and had a great influence upon the life of our nation. The fifteenth century will always be memorable as that in which the art of printing was introduced into England.

Before the time of Edward IV. that is to say, before the year 1470 printing was unknown in England. The art of Printing had been known and practised for some time abroad, but there had been no printing press set up in England.

The name of the first man who brought the printing press into England ought to be remembered, for few things have made more difference to our country than the invention of printing. The name of the man of whom I speak was William Caxton. When he was quite a young man, he came up to London from Kent, and got employment in the shop of a man who dealt in wool and woollen goods. At that time, most of the wool which was used in England was bought and sold at the great markets which were held at the town of Bruges, in Belgium. He stayed in Bruges for many years working at his trade. He got on very well, and became rich and much respected. It was not till he was fifty years old that Caxton made a great change in his business, a change which ended in making his name very famous in English history.

The town of Bruges was under the government of the Duke of Burgundy, and the Duke of Burgundy had married Margaret, the sister of King Edward IV. of England.

Now it happened that Caxton had been amusing himself by translating into English a French poem called "The History of Troy." Margaret was very friendly to Caxton, who was her countryman, and when she heard that he was translating the "Siege of Troy," she sent for him and asked him to read it to her. When he had finished the whole work, the princess asked him to give her a copy of it to send to her friends in England. But to copy out a poem which fills a whole book is a long and tiresome task, and Caxton soon became very tired of the work.

He got so tired of it that at last he decided to go to some Dutch printers who were living in Bruges, and who were among the first persons who printed books in Europe. From these printers he learnt how to print himself, and before very long was able to print a copy of his poem for the princess.

Margaret sent the book over to her brother, and those who saw it in England were astonished and delighted with the work. At last Caxton made up his mind to leave Bruges and to come over to England. He brought with him his printing press, and set it up near Westminster Abbey in London. There he soon set to work to print books, and though his press was a very small one, and worked much more slowly than those which are used now, he was able during his life to print no less than ninety-nine books.

It was in the year 1477 that Caxton first set up his printing press in England, and from that time the number of printing presses has increased very quickly, and now millions of books are printed each year. We must not forget that it was to William Caxton that the credit is due of having been the first to bring the art of printing into England.

An instructive and rather amusing historical lesson may be learnt from an article which is in daily use in every printing office at the present day.

The man who sets up or "composes" the different types or letters for a book such as that which we are now reading, is called a "compositor." He has before him, when he is "composing," two shallow trays made of wood, divided into a number of little boxes or compartments. The metal types which he uses are kept in these little boxes: all the A's in one, the B's in another, the C's in another, and so on. He takes them out and arranges them in the proper order to spell the words which have to be printed.

The trays which hold the type are called "cases." All the capital letters, A, B, C, D, and so on, are in the top case, or, as printers call it, "the upper case." The little boxes in which the capital letters are kept, are arranged in the order of the alphabet, A, B, C, D, and so on, until we come to the letter J. There is no place here for the letter J, Then we go on in the proper order: K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, and so on, until we come to the letter U. The letter U, like the letter J, is out of its place. We must go on to the end of the alphabet, and after we have finished all the other boxes, down to X, Y, and Z, AE and OE, we shall find the two compartments for J and U.

It seems at first as if the order in which a compositor's case is arranged could have very little to do with the history of King Edward IV.; but we shall see that the arrangement of the letters in the compositor's case does after all tell us a little story of its own, and does really take us back a great many years in our history.

The first compositor's case that was ever used in England was made in the reign of Edward IV., and it was made to hold all the letters which people used at that time. But in the time of Edward IV. the letters J and U were never used in writing. "I" was used instead of J, and V did duty for U. If King Edward, when writing a letter to his brother Richard of York, had wanted to put a date June 8th, he would probably have written it with the letters IVNE viiith.

And so it was natural enough that when the first compositor's case was made, no place should be found for J and U. Many years afterwards, the two letters came to be used in English printing. The compositors had got so used to the old order with the J and the U left out that they never liked to alter it, so they decided to stick the two letters in at the end, and the compositor's alphabet now ends "W, X, Y, Z, AE, OE, U, J."

In Chapter 26 we read an account of the battle of Crecy, and we learnt how for the first time gunpowder was used on the field of battle. The use of gunpowder made a very great change in the world, for it made the Weak equal to the Strong, and it enabled a poor man to have as good arms and to defend himself as well as a rich man. We may truly say of gunpowder that it made all men more equal, by making the strong and the proud less powerful than before.

But if gunpowder made a great change in the world, the invention of Printing made a still greater change. There is something else besides strength and courage which gives power, and that is Knowledge. From the day when printing was invented, it became possible for thousands and thousands of people, who had never before had a chance of learning, to buy and read books and to acquire the knowledge which the books contained.

In our own time there are none so poor that they cannot, if they choose, learn from books. Every child is taught how to read in the schools; books cost only a few pence, and for those who are not able, or who do not care, to spend even a few pence, there are Public Libraries in almost all towns, and in many villages, in which people can read the best books without any payment. The invention of printing made all people more equal than they were before, because it raised up those who were poor and ignorant by giving them the chance of reading and learning things which, before there were printed books, only the rich could read and learn.

The Fall of Constantinople. (Ch 33)

"The capture of Constantinople by the Turks, and the flight of its Greek scholars to the shores of Italy, opened anew the science and literature of the older world, at the very hour when the intellectual energy of the Middle Ages had sunk into exhaustion." -- J. R. Green.

There is one thing which ought not to be forgotten when we read the history of the first printing press in England. Caxton's printing press was set up in the year 1477 in Westminster. In the year 1453, or twenty-four years earlier, the great city of Constantinople had been besieged and taken by the Turks. The Christians who lived in it had been put to death or turned out, and all the great libraries and schools in Constantinople had been broken up or destroyed.

At first it seemed as if the taking of Constantinople, far away in Turkey, had little to do with the setting-up of a printing press in Westminster, but we shall see that really the two things had a great deal to do with each other.

For many hundreds of years, learned men from all parts of Europe had gone to live at Constantinople to study Greek and Latin, and to read the Greek and Latin books which were kept at the libraries of Constantinople. But when Constantinople was taken by the Turks, all these Latin and Greek scholars were driven out of the city. They were glad to escape with their lives, and with such books as they could carry away with them. They wandered all over Europe, and, being learned men, many of them found a welcome in the cities and towns in which they stopped. In these cities and towns they began to teach the people how to read the Latin and Greek books which they had brought with them, and also taught them to read the Latin and Greek books which were kept in many of the towns of Europe, but which few people at that time were able to read.

But if there had been no way of adding to the number of books except by writing them out with a pen from beginning to end, it is plain that very few people would have been able to read them or to take advantage of the New Learning which had come from Constantinople. Luckily, it was just at this time that the printing press was invented, and so it came about that as fast as people were taught to read the Greek and Latin books we have spoken about, there were found printers to make copies of them, and to spread them all over Europe. In this way, many books which had been forgotten for more than a thousand years, became known again, and all the great thoughts of famous men who lived in Greece and in Rome in ages past were made known once more to people in every country. Thus we see that at the time when the printing presses first made it possible to print a great number of books, there happened to be a great number of books which it was necessary to print.

Chapter 34. Edward V. and Richard III. 1483-1485.

Famous persons who lived in the reigns of Edward V. and Richard III:
     Edward V., King of England, the right heir to the crown, eldest son of Edward IV., b. 1470, murdered in the Tower 1483.
     Richard, second son of Edward IV. and brother of King Edward V., murdered in the Tower 1483.
     Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Edward IV., sister of the young princes, became wife of Henry of Richmond, afterwards King Henry VII.
     Richard III., King of England, son of Richard, Duke of York, and brother to Edward IV., b. 1450, became king 1483, killed at Bosworth 1485, reigned two years.
     Anne Neville, daughter of the Earl of Warwick, and widow of Edward, Prince of Wales (son of Henry VI.), wife of Richard HI., m. 1472.
     Elizabeth, widow of Edward IV. and mother of the young princes and of Elizabeth, d. 1402.
     Henry of Richmond, son of Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort, afterwards King of England.
     Philip de Comines, the great French historian, who wrote the history of these times, b. 1445, d. 1509.
     Christopher Columbus, who discovered America, b. 1435.
     Martin Luther, the great German Reformer, b. 1483.

Principal events during the reigns of Edward V. and Richard III:
     1483. April 30, Richard seizes the young King Edward, and declares himself king. July 6, Richard crowned. August, the young princes murdered in the Tower. October 18, insurrection of the Lancastrians under Buckingham. Buckingham captured and executed.
     1485. August, Henry of Richmond lands at Milford. August 22, Battle of Bosworth. Death of Richard. Henry crowned king.

The Last of the Plantagenets. (Ch 34)

"We must live together like brothers, fight together like lions, and fear not to die together like men. And if you consider and wisely ponder all things in your mind, you shall perceive that we have manifest causes and apparent tokens of triumph and victory . . . Wherefore, advance forth your standards, and everyone give but one sure stroke, and surely the journey is ours. And as for me, I assure you this day I will triumph by victory, or suffer death for immortal fame." -- Address of Richard III. to his army before the battle of Bosworth.

The names of two kings have been placed at the head of this chapter, and, indeed, the events which occurred during the reign of the poor boy whose name figures in our history as Edward V. require but little record. It will be remembered that on his death Edward IV. left two sons, Edward and Richard, both of them children. Edward was undoubtedly the true heir to the crown if the throne were to go to the Yorkists; but here again we have proof that sometimes "might" takes the place of "right," and that violence and cruelty triumph, if only for a short time. It has been mentioned that Edward IV. trusted his younger brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and with little reason for his confidence. From the day of his brother's death Richard determined that, whatever obstacles might stand in the way, the crown of England should be his. It is plain that the chief obstacle lay in the life of his two nephews; but these young children were defenceless, and Richard made up his mind to sweep them from his path. He ordered the little King Edward and his brother to be shut up close prisoners in the Tower of London. There they were smothered as they lay in their beds, and the place where their bodies were buried under one of the stone staircases is still pointed out to those who visit the Tower. That Richard was the author of the murder no one really doubted, but the Duke of Gloucester was too powerful a man to meddle with, and Richard was able to gratify his long-cherished ambition to claim, with the assent of Parliament, the crown of England.

For a short time, and a short time only, he compelled the country to acknowledge his lawless rule; and in the first year of his reign he even succeeded in putting down a rebellion led by the Duke of Buckingham, whom he defeated, took prisoner, and ordered to be executed. But his punishment was not far off, and once more the House of Lancaster was to triumph over the House of York.

The First of the Tudors. (Ch 34)

"Let us, therefore, fight like invincible giants, and set on our enemies like untimorous tigers, and banish all fear like raging lions. And now advance forward, true men against traitors, pitiful persons against murtherers, true inheritors against usurpers, the scourges of God against tyrants. Display my banner with a good courage; march forth like strong and robustious champions, and begin the battle like hardy conquerors . . . In the Name of God and St. George, let every man courageously advance forth his standard." -- Proclamation of Henry, Earl of Richmond, to his army before the battle of Bosworth.

In order to understand who it was that drove Richard III. from his throne, we must go back to what we read in Chapter 31. It will be remembered that when Henry V. died, his widow, Catherine, lived for a time at the Court of her little son, Henry VI., but that at last she got tired of the continual interference of the king's uncles, the Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester. She went away from the Court, and married a Welsh gentleman named Owen Tudor. We said that this Welsh gentleman ought to be remembered because the name of Tudor would come in again in English history; and now we shall see how it was that the name of Tudor became the name of the kings and queens of England.

Catherine and Owen Tudor had a son, who was called Edmund, Earl of Richmond, and Edmund, Earl of Richmond, married Margaret Beaufort, daughter of the Duke of Somerset who, we must remember, was a Lancastrian, Edmund and Margaret had a son called Henry -- "Harry of Richmond," as he is called in Shakespeare and it is with this son Henry, or "Harry of Richmond," we have now got to do. It is clear, therefore, that Harry of Richmond was altogether one of the Red Rose party, and to him all the Lancastrians now looked as their champion against Richard III. Henry had not only many friends among the Lancastrians, but he had also friends among the Yorkists; for Richard, by his cruelty, had made himself hated.

And so, at last, the Lancastrians made up their minds once more to try the fortune of war. Henry of Richmond was in France. On the 1st of August, 1485, he sailed from Harfleur in that country, and after a voyage of seven days arrived at Milford Haven, in Wales. He brought with him a small army of 3,000 men. Many Welshmen joined him; they remembered that he was himself the grandson of a Welshman -- Owen Tudor.

Henry now marched eastward into England, and was soon joined by several thousand men. As soon as the news reached King Richard, he put himself at the head of his troops and marched to meet his rival. On the 21st of August the king reached Bosworth, twelve miles from Leicester. He had with him 30,000 men, but many of these were secret enemies of his cause, and he dared not trust them. Henry had by this time reached Tamworth. His army, though much smaller than that of the king, was composed of men who had all willingly joined him, and who were ready to die for his cause.

On the 22nd of August was fought the famous battle of Bosworth Field. Both Richard and Henry fought valiantly in the hottest of the battle. Scarcely had the fight begun when Lord Stanley, who, with 5,000 men, had hitherto sided with King Richard, suddenly came over with all his followers to Henry of Richmond. The royal troops were disheartened, but the misfortune only encouraged Richard himself to fight more fiercely than before.


Three times he charged with his horsemen against the centre of the enemy. His hope was to kill Henry of Richmond, and he dashed forward crying, "Treason! treason! treason!" He killed, with his own hand, Sir William Brandon, who bore Henry's standard. He cut down Sir John Cheyner, who was close to Henry, and he dealt a desperate blow at his rival. But here his short success ended. Sir William Stanley rode up with his followers, and Richard, fighting fiercely, was borne to the ground and slain.

The body of the king was stripped of his rich armour. Richard had ridden into the battle with a golden crown upon his helmet. When he fell, the crown rolled away and could not be found. At last it was discovered lying under a hawthorn bush. Sir William Stanley brought the golden circlet to Henry of Richmond, and there, on the field of battle, he placed it on the conqueror's head, hailing him no longer as Henry of Richmond, but as Henry VII., King of England. So fell Richard of Gloucester, the last of the Plantagenet Kings.

Many hard things have been said of Richard III., and many of them are no doubt well deserved; but we must not forget that most of the accounts which we have of his life were written by his enemies, who told all that was bad and little that was good about him. It is of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, that Shakespeare's great play "Richard III." is written. In that play we have Richard described as a man of great cruelty, and a deformed hunchback. Whether Richard were in fact as black as he was painted we cannot now with certainty determine, but that he gained the throne by violence and cruelty is undoubted, and there were few in England who were grieved when he in turn lost by violence that which he had so shamefully won.


The Union of the Roses. (Ch 34)

"We will unite the white rose with the red:
Smile, Heaven, upon this fair conjunction,
That long hath frown' d upon their enmity!
What traitor hears me, and says not, Amen?"
-- Shakespeare: "Richard III."

With Henry VII. we begin the story of the Tudors, and this must be told in another chapter. But though with Richard there ended the line of the Plantagenet Kings, and though the battle of Bosworth crushed the power of the House of York, it is pleasant to think that after all these long wars and this fierce fighting, the bitter quarrel between Red Rose and White Rose was at last made up by a happy marriage.

We shall remember that when Edward IV. died, he left several children, including the two little princes, Edward and Richard, who were smothered in the Tower. The eldest girl was Elizabeth. The year after the battle of Bosworth Field, Henry of Richmond, now King Henry VII., married Elizabeth, daughter of Edward IV., a princess of the House of York.

There is a rose-tree which we sometimes see in old-fashioned gardens which is called the "York and Lancaster rose," for the roses which it bears have their petals streaked with red and white, or some flowers red and others white. This flower might well have become the emblem of the Kings of England after the marriage of Henry VII. For now, indeed, the Red Rose and the White Rose were united, and the great Houses of Lancaster and York were friends at last.

Year 8



The portion of our history which is described in the Fourth Part of this book is peculiarly full of interest and variety. It is in every sense a brilliant and exciting period, in which men of action and men of thought crowd upon the scene, and in which the genius of the English race may be said to have found its highest expression. The Tudor Sovereigns themselves, with all their faults, were men and women of strong character, well fitted for the stirring times in which they lived.

In the short space of 118 years, during which they ruled over the country, the whole world, and England as part of the world, seemed to be changed. It is not often in the world's history that the ideas of the grandson are so widely different from those of the grandfather, that the latter would have altogether failed to understand the ideas and expressions of the former. And yet, if we remember what a change passed over the world in the closing years of the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, we shall be able to understand that for once, at any rate, men could speak of something new with the certainty that the knowledge which they possessed had never been granted to those who came before them.

In England men became aware that there was a New World, they spoke of a New Learning, and they fought for a New form of Religion, and in the struggle between New and Old the full strength of the nation showed itself. It was a splendid time in our history, and it was peculiarly an "English" time, for we had not, as we have had in later days, the help of Irish genius and Irish courage, and Scotland was still a foreign and often a hostile kingdom. The story of the growth and expansion of England in these days is only less marvellous than that which is familiar to us in our own day.

Chapter 35. Henry VII. 1485-1509.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Henry VII:
     Henry VII., King of England, son of Edmund Tudor and Margaret Beaufort, b. 1456, became king 1485, d. 1509.
     Elizabeth of York, daughter of Edward IV., wife of Henry VII., m. 1486, d. 1503.
     Arthur, eldest son of Henry, m. Catharine of Aragon, d. 1502.
     Margaret Tudor, eldest daughter of Henry and Elizabeth, m. James IV. of Scotland, d. 1541.
     Henry, second son of Henry, afterwards King of England.
     Mary Tudor, second daughter of Henry, m. Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, d. 1534
     Charles VIII, King of France, d. 1498.
     Louis XII., King of France.
     Ferdinand and Isabella, Sovereigns of Castile and Aragon, Ferdinand d. 1512.
     Maximilian I., Emperor.
     James IV., King of Scotland.
     Innocent VIII., Pope, d. 1492.
     Alexander VI., Pope, poisoned 1503.
     Pius III., Pope, d. 1503.
     Julius II., Pope.
     Christopher Columbus, discoverer of the New World.
     Martin Luther, b. 1483.
     Thomas Wolsey, afterwards Cardinal Wolsey, b. 1471.
     Empson and Dudley, Ministers of Henry VII.
     Cardinal Morton, Henry's Chief Minister, d. 1506.
     Great Painters:
          Leonardo da Vinci (Florentine), b. 1445.
          Albert Durer (German), b. 1471.
          Michael Angelo (Florentine), b. 1474.
          Titian (Venetian), 1477.
          Raphael d'Urbino (Roman), b. 1483.
          Correggio (Italian), b. 1494.
          Hans Holbein (German), b. 1494.

Principal events in the reign of Henry VII:
     1485. Battle of Bosworth. Henry becomes king.
     1486. Henry marries Elizabeth of York.
     1487. Lambert Simnel's rebellion.
     1496. Sebastian Cabot starts on his voyage of discovery.
     1492-8. Perkin Warbeck's rebellion.
     1499. Perkin Warbeck executed.
     1502. Prince Arthur dies. Henry VII.'s Chapel at Westminster built.
     1503. Death of Queen Elizabeth (of York). Empson and Dudley in office.
     1504. Parliament summoned.
     1507. Wolsey first employed.
     1509. Henry dies.

In this reign Columbus discovered the New World; Vasco da Gama sailed round the Cape of Good Hope; the province of Brittany became part of the kingdom of France; Granada was taken from the Moors by the Spaniards (1492), and the Moors or Mahomedans were driven out of Spain, 1499.

The Tudors. (Ch 35)

"A warlike prince ascends the regal state, A prince long exercised by Fate, Long may he keep, though he obtains it late." -- Dryden.

In the last chapter we read how the line of the Plantagenet Kings came to an end with the death of King Richard III. on Bosworth Field. We read how the crown of England was picked up from a hawthorn bush and placed upon the head of Henry of Richmond, who was known from that day forward as Henry VII., King of England.

Richard III. was the last of the Plantagenets. Henry VII. was the first of the Tudors. The Plantagenet kings, as we know, were the descendants of Geoffrey of Anjou, father of King Henry II., who married Queen Matilda in the year 1127. The battle of Bosworth was fought in the year 1485; so we see that from the year 1164, when Henry II., the first of the Plantagenet kings, came to the throne, to the year 1485, when Richard III., the last of the Plantagenet kings, died at Bosworth, was a period of three hundred and thirty-one years. And now we leave the history of the Plantagenet kings and come to that of the Tudor Kings, beginning with Henry VII. What is meant by calling Henry a Tudor King, and what is meant by the Tudor Period? It is not difficult to understand what is meant if we remember what we read in the earlier part of our history. It is not in the reign of Henry VII. that we first meet with the name of Tudor; but it is in the reign of Henry VI., sixty-two years before.

Queen Catherine, the mother of Henry VI., had two husbands. The first was King Henry V., who won the great victory of Agincourt; the second was a Welsh gentleman named Owen Tudor. This Owen Tudor was the grandfather of Henry VII., and Henry VII. of course bore the name of his grandfather and father.

There are five kings and queens in English history who bore the surname of "Tudor," and they came to the throne one after another. The first was Henry VII.; the second was Henry VIII., his son; the third was Edward VI., the son of Henry VIII.; the fourth was Queen Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII. and the sister of Edward VI.; the fifth and last was Queen Elizabeth, the daughter of Henry VIII. and the sister of Edward VI. and Mary.

These five -- Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth -- are called the Tudor Sovereigns of England. The first of them, Henry VII, came to the throne in 1485; the last of them, Queen Elizabeth, died in the year 1603. It is the one hundred and eighteen years between 1485 and 1603, which are known as the Tudor Period; and it is about the events which took place during this period that we are now going to read.

The King's Title. (Ch 35)

"Possession is nine points of the law."

The first thing which King Henry had to do after he came to the throne was to make sure that the same power which had given him the crown should not deprive him of it. The House of Lancaster had won the day at Bosworth Field, and Richard, the leader of the House of York, lay dead upon the battlefield. But though Richard was dead, there were other princes of the House of York, and there were some who had as good or better right to the crown than Henry of Richmond. The king knew well enough that unless he could win over to his cause some of those who had fought so long for the Yorkists, he would always be in danger of having to fight for his crown, and perhaps, like Richard himself, of losing it in some disastrous battle.

There was, however, a way by which the interests of the House of Lancaster and the House of York might be joined together, and the time had come when Englishmen were only too glad to put an end to the cruel civil war which had so long raged in their country.

King Edward IV. had four children. Of these two were boys -- Edward and Richard -- the little princes who had been so cruelly murdered in the Tower by their uncle Richard III. But though the little princes were dead, their elder sister Elizabeth was still alive. It was the wish of nearly all Englishmen that Henry VII. should marry the Princess Elizabeth, and thus unite the Houses of York and Lancaster.

Henry was a wise man, and he saw clearly that nothing would make him so strong and his position so sure as a marriage with Elizabeth; and even before the battle of Bosworth he had made up his mind to such a marriage. At the same time, he was not at all willing to admit that he himself had no right to the crown. He thought that it would be a very bad thing for him if people were to say that he owed his kingdom to his wife, and that he himself had no right to it.

The first thing he did, therefore, was to call Parliament together, and to get them to pass an Act in which they declared that "the inheritance of the crown should be, rest, remain, and abide in the most royal person of our Sovereign Lord King Henry VII. and his heirs, perpetually with the Grace of God so to endure, and in none other." This was really very much the same thing as saying that Henry VII. was king because he was king, that he had taken what he had got, and that he meant to keep it by the same means which had helped him to obtain it.

It was the old story of "Might is Right"; but "might is right" only so long as the strong man does not meet with a stronger; and all through his reign Henry found that, although his Parliament had declared that he was king and "none other," there were people who were quite ready to say that they had a better right than he, and that they would overthrow by force the crown which had been won by force.

It was not till the year after the battle of Bosworth that Henry married the Princess Elizabeth of York. He wanted everybody to understand that he claimed the crown for himself, because he was descended from John of Gaunt and from King Edward III., and not because he had married the daughter of King Edward IV. If he had once declared that the crown ought to go to the family of Edward IV., he would soon have been in a great difficulty, for Elizabeth was not the only one of Edward IV.'s family who might claim the throne.

We shall see how great a danger these relations of Edward IV. proved, and how much the king had to fear from them.

Lambert Simnel; or, Carpenter, King, and Kitchen Boy. (Ch 35)

"There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip."

There were two great rebellions against King Henry during his reign. The first was the rebellion of Lambert Simnel. Lambert Simnel was a young man, the son of a carpenter at Oxford. He was a handsome youth with pleasant manners. It chanced that this boy -- for Lambert Simnel was only fifteen when we first hear about him -- fell into the hands of an Irish priest named Richard Simon, who took him over to Ireland.

At that time Thomas Fitzgerald, the Earl of Kildare, was Governor, or, as it was called, "The Lord Deputy," of Ireland. He was a great friend of the Yorkists, and was quite ready to believe anything which was likely to help the cause of the House of York and to injure the cause of King Henry. It so happened, therefore, that when Richard Simon told him something about the boy Simnel which, if it had been true, would have been a very bad thing for King Henry, the Earl of Kildare readily believed it, or, what was much the same thing, he said that he believed it.

The story which Simon the priest told the Earl of Kildare was a strange one. Edward IV. had had two brothers -- George, Duke of Clarence, who was the elder, and Richard, Duke of Gloucester, afterwards Richard III., who was the younger.

In the year 1478, the Duke of Clarence had quarrelled with his brother, King Edward. King Edward imprisoned the unhappy duke in the Tower of London, and there he was secretly put to death. There is a story that he was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. There was no doubt at all that the Duke of Clarence was dead; but he had left behind him a son named Edward, who was known as the Earl of Warwick.

The Earl of Warwick was still alive, and Henry VII. had taken care to have him shut up in the Tower and kept there. But now Simon came and told the Earl of Kildare and his Yorkist friends that the handsome boy whom they had brought with them was no other than this same Edward, Earl of Warwick, son of the Duke of Clarence. He had escaped, said Simon, from the Tower, and he now came to ask all true friends of the House of York to take up his cause, and to fight for him against Henry of Lancaster, the Usurper.

[As a matter of fact, even if it had been true that Lambert Simnel were really the Earl of Warwick, he would have had no right to the crown as long as Elizabeth, now the wife of Henry VII., was alive. Elizabeth was the daughter of Edward IV., the elder brother of the Duke of Clarence, and therefore came before the son of the Duke of Clarence in the succession to the crown.]


It seems very unlikely that those who were the first to come forward to help Lambert Simnel really believed that he was the Earl of Warwick. All they wanted was to drive King Henry from the throne and to get power for themselves. To do this, they were quite ready to make use of Lambert Simnel, or of anybody else who would help their cause. At the same time, it seems very likely that many people both in England and in Ireland did really, for a time, believe in the pretender. At any rate, a large number of Yorkists joined him.

Margaret of Burgundy, who was the sister of Edward IV. and who had a deep hatred for King Henry, sent over two thousand well-trained German soldiers to help the so-called Earl of Warwick. The army landed in Lancashire, and marched into England.

Meanwhile, King Henry did two wise things. In the first place, he sent to the Tower, where the real Earl of Warwick was imprisoned, and had the poor boy brought out and taken through the streets of London so that everyone could see him. It was quite plain that if the real Earl of Warwick were still in the Tower, the young man who had just landed in Lancashire could not be the Earl of Warwick, but must be a false pretender.

The other wise thing which Henry did was to lose no time in sending an army against his new enemy. A battle was fought near Newark, in Nottinghamshire, at a place called Stoke (1487). It was a fierce fight, and the Germans sent by Margaret fought bravely; but at last they were overcome, and the victory rested with the royal troops. Lambert Simnel himself was taken prisoner and brought to London.

Everyone thought, that now Henry had taken the usurper prisoner, he would put him to death without mercy, and would probably send most of the nobles who had helped him to the scaffold at the same time. But Henry did a much wiser thing than this. One or two of the chief nobles who had helped Lambert Simnel were put to death; the rest were compelled to pay large fines to the king.

Some of them were commanded to come to the king's court in London. When they got there, they were invited to a great dinner given by the king. As they sat at dinner, a serving-boy came round bearing a wine-cup. When they looked at this serving-boy, they found he had a face which they knew. It was Lambert Simnel, the false Earl of Warwick, for whom they had been fighting, and on whose account they had lost such large sums of money. He had been the king's enemy; but he had fallen so low that the king no longer feared him -- he only despised him. King Henry had given orders that Lambert Simnel, who had claimed the crown of England, should serve as a scullion in the royal kitchen. Such was the end of the first rebellion.

Perkin Warbeck. (Ch 35)

"Our intelligence comes swiftly to us, that James of Scotland late hath entertained Perkin the counterfeit, with more than common grace and respect; nay, courts him with rare favours." -- From Ford's play of "Perkin Warbeck."

"Save King Richard the Fourth! save thee, King of hearts! The Cornish blades are men of mettle; have proclaimed through Bodnam, and the whole country, my sweet prince monarch of England: four thousand tall yeomen, with bow and sword, already vow to live and die at the foot of King Richard." -- From the same.

But this was not the only rebellion which took place in the reign of Henry VII. Five years after the capture of Lambert Simnel (1492), another pretender came forward. This was Peterkin, or Perkin Warbeck, the son of a Jew living at Tournay, in Belgium. Warbeck was not a boy like Lambert Simnel, but a handsome young man of great courage and ready wit. He pretended to be the Duke of York.

In the story of Richard III.'s reign we read how that cruel king had caused his two nephews, the sons of Edward IV., to be smothered in the Tower of London. The elder of these little princes was Edward, known in our history as "Edward V." The younger was Richard, Duke of York. It was this Richard, Duke of York, whom Perkin pretended to be. He said that the little prince had never been murdered, but that he had escaped from the Tower and had taken refuge abroad.

Warbeck, like Lambert Simnel, found his first friends in Ireland. He landed at Cork (1492), and, pleased with his friendly manners and with his handsome face, the people of Cork readily believed what in their hearts they wished to be true -- namely, that he was Richard of York, rightful King of England. Warbeck soon found other and more powerful friends. Margaret, Duchess of Burgundy, helped him as she had helped Simnel, because she hated Henry VII. The King of France became his friend for a time, because he thought that he would weaken England by befriending him.

James IV., King of Scotland, helped him because, in those days, the Scots were nearly always ready to fight against England whenever they got a chance. A few of the great nobles of the House of York helped him because they wanted to get back their estates which Henry had taken from them; but the greater number of the people of England neither helped Perkin Warbeck nor believed in him. And thus Henry was, at length, able to overcome his new enemy as he had overcome the old one.

Warbeck first tried to land in Kent; but those of his friends who got ashore were taken prisoners and hanged by the men of Kent. Then he went on to Ireland, where he found many friends but few helpers. He crossed over to Scotland, and here he got on better; for James went so far as to march with an army into Northumberland. Warbeck called on the people of Northumberland to rise and fight for their king; but the people of Northumberland did not do anything of the kind, and James had to march back again. When he got back, he told Perkin that he would rather he left Scotland, and so the poor adventurer had to set sail once more. At last he landed in Cornwall, and here it seemed as if he might have some chance of success.

Not long before, the men of Cornwall had had a great quarrel with the king. They had complained of the taxes which Henry had made them pay, and had at last refused to give any money at all. No less than 16,000 Cornishmen started to march to London, headed by Michael Joseph, a farrier of Bodmin, and Thomas Flammock, a lawyer. The Cornishmen marched as far as Deptford in Kent, where they were overtaken by the king's army and beaten after a fierce battle. Joseph and Flammock were executed, and, as a punishment for their rebellion, Henry laid still heavier taxes upon Cornwall.

When, therefore, Perkin Warbeck landed in Cornwall, he had little doubt that the Cornishmen, angry with the king, would come to his aid. Indeed, at first, many thousands joined him, and he got as far as Exeter; but the people of Exeter shut the gates of the city and stood fast against the invader. From this time Warbeck's good fortune left him. He was overtaken by the King's army near Taunton, defeated, and taken prisoner. Among the treasures at the Guildhall at Exeter may still be seen the sword which king Henry gave to the loyal city, for shutting its gates against the rebels.

Perkin Warbeck was for a time kept in prison, and perhaps his life would have been spared, had it not been that a fresh plot was discovered. The Earl of Warwick, who was shut up in the Tower, tried to escape, and Warbeck was thought to have been helping him. Determined to have no more plots, Henry caused both the Earl of Warwick and Perkin to be tried; they were both found guilty: the earl had his head cut off, and Perkin was hanged (1499).

How the King Got Rich. (Ch 35)

"In things a moderation keep; Kings ought to shear, not skin their sheep." -- Herrick.

The two rebellions about which we have just read show us plainly that Henry VII. had some reason to feel unsafe on his throne. None but a wise and prudent king could have escaped the dangers which threatened Henry on every side. But Henry showed himself to be wise and prudent not only at home, but abroad. There were many indeed who held that the king's wisdom sometimes took the form of trickery, and that he was very ready to deceive others in order to gain an advantage for himself. But we must not forget that Henry had many enemies, and that, in the long run, he kept England safe and strong throughout the whole of his reign.

It is only by reading much longer histories than this that we can ever learn to understand all the difficulties that Henry had to fight against and to overcome in Europe. But it would not be right to pass over these difficulties altogether.

At that time there were three great Powers France, Spain, and The Empire. The Empire meant, in the time of King Henry, that part of Europe which was ruled over by The Emperor. It included a great part of what is now Germany and Austria, the Netherlands (which are now Holland and Belgium), and parts of Italy.

There were nearly always disputes and quarrels going on between France, Spain, and The Empire, each Power trying to get stronger by taking something from the other two. When France went to war with Spain, the King of France at once tried to get the Emperor to help him, or, at any rate, to remain quiet, while the King of Spain, of course, tried to make the King of France and the Emperor come to blows. In the same way, whichever Powers were fighting, both sides tried to get the help of England, and the side which did not get it, generally threatened to make war upon England for helping its enemies.

It was not a pleasant thing to be threatened in this way, and to be forced to take part in other people's quarrels; and Henry spent a great part of his reign in trying to keep out of war. To do this, he had to make promises first to one side and then to the other, and thus to keep free from trouble. He promised help to Spain against France. The Spaniards were afraid to lose his friendship; if they complained too much, he promised help and sent none. The French thought twice before making war upon England, lest they should turn an enemy who did them no harm into a real enemy who would fight against them with all the power of England at its back. And thus, throughout all his reign, Henry managed to hold the balance even, and, above all, to keep out of war.

But this was not all. Not only did King Henry lose nothing by war; but he found a way of gaining something from the very danger which threatened him. The people of England were more warlike than the king himself, and they were always ready at that time to fight the French. This is not wonderful; for we must remember that less than eighty years had passed since Henry V. had been king not only of England, but of half of France also, and it was less than fifty years since the last of the English troops had been driven out of France. [Calais and the two little towns of Hammes and Guisnes near it were the only parts of France which still belonged to England at this time.]

When Henry found that the people were set upon war, he said: "Very well, you can have the war; but you must pay for it." The people of England liked fighting, but they did not like paying taxes; and they soon found that under King Henry they would have more paying to do than fighting. Henry collected very large sums of money from the people, and at last crossed with his army into France. But he had very little intention of fighting, and the war came to an end almost as soon as it was begun. Then those who had paid the taxes found that the king had got the better of them. He had put a very large sum of money into his Treasury, and had spent very little upon the war.

Indeed, Henry soon became far richer than any King of England had ever been. There were several ways in which he collected money. In the first place, he put heavy fines upon those who were suspected of joining in the rebellions against him. Then he thought of another way.

During the Wars of the Roses, it had been the custom for great nobles to go about attended by very large numbers of their retainers and friends, who all wore the livery or uniform of the great noble whom they followed, and who were ready to fight, and to break the law at the order of their chief. These large bands of lawless men had become a real danger; and now that so many of the great nobles had been killed, the king felt himself strong enough to command those who were left to give up the custom of keeping up their liveries.

Henry forbade the practice. At first the nobles tried to resist; but the king was too strong for them. He punished those who broke the new laws, and made them pay very heavy fines. One day the king paid a visit to the Earl of Oxford, one of the greatest of the nobles. When he came to the earl's castle, at Hedingham in Essex, the king found that great preparations had been made to receive him. Long lines of retainers in the earl's livery were drawn up on each side as the king entered.

The King looked at the men in livery and said nothing; but as he was leaving the castle at the close of his visit, he turned to the earl and said: "I thank you, my lord, for your good cheer; but I cannot endure to have my laws broken in my sight. My attorney must speak with you." The king's attorney did speak to the earl to some purpose, and the earl had to pay a fine of £10,000 as a punishment for trying to honour the king by breaking his laws.

Henry also collected large sums of money by means of what were called Benevolences. A "Benevolence" means a thing that is given of a man's goodwill and pleasure, and not by compulsion. But Henry's Benevolences seem to have had another meaning. When his ministers were in want of money, they drew up lists of those they thought ought to pay. Then the Royal Commissioner went to each person whose name was upon the list, and "invited him to give of his own free will" what the king asked for.

Generally those who were thus invited gave what they were asked to give; for they knew quite well that those who did not wish to give would very soon be made to give. Some of them complained that they were not rich enough to pay what was asked; but Cardinal Morton, the king's minister, soon found an excellent way of settling all questions of this kind. If a man lived in great state and spent much money, the cardinal asked him for a "Benevolence"; "for," said he, "the splendour in which you live and the money which you spend prove that you are a rich man, so pay at once."

If, on the other hand, a man lived very poorly, spending but little, and making no show, then the cardinal had an equally ready answer. "You spend so little, you are so saving and thrifty, that you must needs have plenty of money in your coffers. The saving man is the rich man, so pay at once." And so, either way, the king got his money. The people called this trap of the cardinal's, Morton's Fork. If a man escaped one prong, he was certain to fall upon the other.

What the Rich King did with His Money. (Ch 35)

"The raising or keeping of a standing army within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in time of peace, unless it be with the consent of Parliament, is against law." -- From the "Mutiny Act" passed every year by Parliament.

It might seem at first sight as if the fact that Henry collected a great sum of money and became very rich, had but little to do with the history of England in our own day; but really it had a good deal to do with it, as we shall see.

Most of us know something about the British army. There must be few who have not seen some of our soldiers in their scarlet or blue coats. The soldiers in our army join it for a fixed number of years, and while they are in the army they serve in whatever part of the world they are ordered to serve in obedience to the orders of the King and Parliament. Our army is called a Standing Army because it is called together not only in time of war, but is kept up in peace time, so that it may be ready to fight when a war comes.

But there was a time when there was no standing army in England. Before the reign of Henry VII., when the King made war, he used to send to all the vassals of the Crown to bid them come and join him and fight under his banner. At the same time he sent to all the great nobles and commanded them to bring their vassals also to join the royal army. Sometimes also soldiers were paid, as they are now, to fight during the war. But when the war was over, all those who had fought in it went back to their homes again, and in time of peace there was no "Standing Army."

It was in the reign of Henry VII. that there first began to be a change in this matter. We have seen that the King was often in danger, and that he was threatened with the loss both of his throne and of his life. Henry felt that, unless he had always somebody to guard him against his enemies, he might one day be surprised and killed by some friend of the House of York, or by some pretender like Lambert Simnel or Perkin Warbeck. He therefore made up his mind to have what is called a Body Guard -- that is to say, a guard of armed men whose duty it was to attend him wherever he went, and to protect him against all harm.

These men were paid by the king, and they served him both in peace and in war. There were at first very few of them; but they were really the first "Standing Army"' which England ever had. They were called the Yeomen of the Guard,, If we want to know what a Yeoman of the Guard looked like, we need only go as far as the Tower of London, and there we shall see at this very day the Yeomen of the Guard, who wear the very same kind of dress which the Yeomen of the Guard wore in the time of King Henry VII., and whose duty it still is to guard the King or Queen of England when the king or queen goes anywhere in state.

But before anyone can keep up a number of soldiers, one thing is necessary. He must have money to pay them; for soldiers, like other people, will not serve unless they be paid. Henry knew this well; and it was for this reason that he took so much trouble to save up money, to raise "Benevolences," and to make people pay him fines.

Nowadays it is not the king who pays the army, but it is the people of England who pay the taxes which are voted by Parliament. If Parliament were to refuse to vote the money to pay the soldiers, there would soon be no army; but Henry knew very well that "who pays the piper calls the tune." He wanted his soldiers to obey him, and not to obey Parliament. He therefore called Parliament together as little as he could help, and he managed to get nearly all the money he wanted without asking Parliament for it. This made him a very powerful king; for while he had soldiers who would do what he told them, and as long as he could get money without asking Parliament for it, he was really master of the country.

Sometimes Henry found that people refused to pay him the money which he asked for, or disputed his right to make them pay it. To get over this difficulty, he set up a new court which was called the Court of Star Chamber. The first duty of the Court of Star Chamber was to help Henry to put down the great nobles whom he feared, and to see that the Statutes against "Liveries" were observed. Those who disobeyed were compelled to pay heavy fines, and thus the king got money without going to Parliament.

[It was called the Court of Star Chamber because the ceiling of the chamber at Westminster in which the judges sat was decorated with stars.]

The judges of the Court of Star Chamber were generally friends of the king, and were quite willing to help him to get all the money he: wanted. As time went on, the Court of Star Chamber often did very hard things, and came to be hated by the people of England, because those who appeared before it did not receive a fair trial. When we read further on in English history, we shall find that the Court of Star Chamber at last became so hated that it was put an end to by Parliament, and the kings of England were forbidden ever to set up such a Court again.

Some Royal Marriages. (Ch 35)

"Hail, happy pair! kind Heaven's great hostages!
Sure pledges of a firm and lasting peace;
Call't not a match, we that low style disdain
Nor will degrade it with a term so mean;
A league it must be said
Where countries thus espouse, and nations wed."
John Oldham: -- On the Marriage of the Prince of Orange with the Lady Mary.

King Henry had four children -- Arthur, Margaret, Henry, and Mary. The name of Princess Margaret does not often appear in the history of England; but it is one that ought not to be forgotten, for it is from Princess Margaret, daughter of Henry VII. that King Edward VII. is descended. When she was nearly fourteen years old, Margaret was married to James IV., King of Scotland. It seemed a strange thing, at a time when England and Scotland were so often at war with each other, that an English princess should marry a Scottish king; but Henry wanted to make as many friends as he could, and he was glad to get the friendship of his neighbour, the King of Scotland, by giving him his daughter in marriage.

We shall see further on that the marriage between James and Margaret did not prevent England and Scotland from fighting against each other. But though the marriage did not bring peace at the time, it really helped to bring about lasting peace between England and Scotland.

James and Margaret had a son, James, who became James V. of Scotland on the death of his father at the battle of Flodden. James V. had a daughter, Mary, who became Queen of Scots. It was her son, James VI. of Scotland, who afterwards became James I., King of England and Scotland.

When Margaret and James were married, some of Henry's friends said to him: "What will happen if your sons die, or if they have no children? Will not the children of the King and Queen of Scotland have a right to the throne of England, and will it not be a very bad thing that this great kingdom of England should thus be added to the kingdom of Scotland?" "What you say may happen," replied Henry; "but I do not think that, if it does, any harm will be done. You may be sure that if England and Scotland are ever joined together, the great and wealthy Kingdom of England will draw the smaller and poorer Kingdom of Scotland to it, and it will be the King of England who will be King of Scotland."

And this is what really took place; for when King Henry's grandchildren died, the crown of England went to the King of Scotland; but the King of Scotland came to London and was crowned there as King of England and Scotland, and the Parliament of England and Scotland is now held in London and not in Edinburgh. So the wise King Henry was right.

The king's eldest son was Prince Arthur. Henry hoped to make another friend by marrying Arthur. The King and Queen of Spain at that time were called Ferdinand and Isabella. They had a daughter named Catharine, and Henry proposed that Arthur should marry Catharine. Ferdinand and Isabella agreed, and Catharine came over to England. After waiting a long time while King Henry and her parents were disputing as to how much money should be paid by Spain as a dowry or wedding gift on the marriage of the princess, Catharine was married to Arthur. But within five months of the marriage Arthur died, and Henry's plan seemed all undone again.

But the king would not so easily give up his hope of winning the friendship of Spain by marriage. First he offered to marry Catharine himself; but as the king was forty-five years old and his daughter-in-law, Catharine, was only sixteen, the young Princess's mother very naturally did not like the match.

Then Henry hit on another plan, and he got Ferdinand and Isabella to consent to their daughter marrying Prince Henry, her brother-in-law. Prince Henry afterwards became King Henry VIII., and we shall see that this marriage brought many troubles with it, and did very little to secure for England the friendship of Spain.

Changes Abroad. (Ch 35)

"From the dim landscape roll the clouds away;
The Christians have regained their heritage
Before the Cross has waned the Crescent's ray."
-- Scott: "Vision of Don Roderick."

Two things happened during Henry's reign, in Europe, which cannot be passed over. The first was the Expulsion of the Moors from Spain. At one time the whole of Europe had been in danger of being overrun by the Turks, who were followers of Mahomed, or, as we call them, Mahomedans. After many fierce battles, the Mahomedans had been driven out of a great part of Europe; but they still remained in Spain, despite all the efforts of the Spaniards to turn them out.

It was in the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella that the Spaniards, after much fierce fighting, at length succeeded in driving the last of the Moors -- for so the Mahomedans who had come into Spain were called -- out of their country (1499).

The second thing specially to be remembered has to do with another part of Europe. If we look at the map we shall see a great piece of France marked Brittany. Up to the reign of Henry VII. Brittany had been a separate Province, or Duchy, governed by the Dukes of Brittany, and not under the French king. In the reign of Henry VII. Brittany for the first time became part of France, for Anne, Duchess of Brittany, married Philip, King of France; and thus the kingdom of France and the duchy of Brittany were joined together, and have remained part of one country ever since.


It is easy to see how important this change was to England. The map shows us Calais, which belonged to England, and shows that the whole of the coast of the Channel, from St. Malo to south of Nantes, was under the Duchy of Brittany. It was only the bit between St. Malo and Calais that belonged to France. But when France and Brittany became united, the whole of the French coast, from Calais to Bayonne, was for the first time governed by one king, who was generally the enemy of England.

Ever since the time of Henry VII., England, whenever she has gone to war with France, has had an enemy's coast facing her shores for more than 600 miles. The great naval harbour and fortress of Brest is in Brittany.

King Henry died in 1509, in the twenty-fourth year of his reign, at the age of fifty-three. There is one thing by which he will always be remembered, and that is the beautiful chapel at the end of Westminster Abbey, which was built by him, and which is called after him, "Henry the Seventh's Chapel."


Chapter 36. Henry VIII. and England at War 1509-1547.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Henry VIII:
     Henry VIII., King of England, second son of Henry VII. and Elizabeth of York, b. 1491, became king 1509, d. 1547.
     Wives of Henry VIII.:
          Catharine of Aragon, m. 1509, d. 1536.
          Anne Boleyn, m. 1532, executed 1536.
          Jane Seymour, m. 1536, d. 1537.
          Anne of Cleves, m. 1540, d. 1557.
          Catharine Howard, m. 1540, executed 1542.
          Catharine Parr, widow of Lord Latimer, m. 1543.
     Mary, daughter of Henry and Catharine of Aragon, afterwards Queen of England, b. 1516.
     Elizabeth, daughter of Henry and Anne Boleyn, b. 1533, afterwards Queen of England.
     Edward, son of Henry and Jane Seymour, b. 1537, afterwards King pf England.
     Louis XII., King of France, d. 1515.
     Francis I., King of France, d. 1547.
     Henry II., King of France, son of Francis I., d. 1559
     Ferdinand II., King of Castile and Aragon, d. 1512.
     Ferdinand V., King of Spain, 1516.
     Charles I., grandson of Ferdinand V., also reigned as "the Emperor Charles V."
     Maximilian I., Emperor, d. 1519.
     James IV, King of Scotland, killed in battle at Flodden, 1513.
     Margaret Tudor, wife of James IV., d. 1541.
     James V., King of Scotland, d, 1542.
     Mary, daughter of James V., afterwards Queen of Scotland, b. 1542,
     Julius II., Pope, d. 1513.
     Leo X., Pope, d. 1522.
     Adrian VI, Pope, d. 1533,
     Clement VII., Pope, d. 1534.
     Paul III., Pope.
     Soliman the Magniflcent, Sultan of Turkey, 1520.
     Thomas Wolsey, afterwards Cardinal Wolsey, d. 1530.
     Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
     Thomas Cromwell, executed 1540.
     Sir Thomas More, Speaker of the House of Commons, and Lord Chancellor, executed 1535.
     John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, d. 1519
     Cardinal Beaton, Archbishop of St. Andrews, Regent of Scotland, assassinated 1546.
     Martin Luther, the great German Reformer, d. 1546.
     Calvin, the great French Reformer, d. 1564.
     John Knox, follower of Calvin.
     William Tyndale, translator of the Bible, burned in the Netherlands, 1536.
     Miles Coverdale, assistant of Tyndale.
     Great Painters:
          Leonardo da Vinci (Florentine), d. 1520.
          Raphael (Roman), d. 1520.
          Perugino (Roman), d. 1524.
          Albert Durer (German), d. 1528.
          Correggio (Italian), d. 1534.
          Holbein (German), d. 1543.
          Michael Angelo (Florentine).
          Titian (Venetian).

Principal events during the during the reign of Henry VIII:
     1509. Henry VIII. marries Catharine of Aragon, June 3rd. St. Paul's School founded by Dr. Colet.
     1512. Henry declares war against France.
     1513. Henry invades France. Battle of "The Spurs." Scottish invasion of England. Battle of Flodden.
     1514. Peace between England and France. Mary (sister of Henry) marries Louis XII. Margaret (sister of Henry) marries Douglas, Earl of Angus. Wolsey made Archbishop of York.
     1515. Mary (Henry's sister) marries Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Wolsey created cardinal, papal legate, and chancellor.
     1516. Birth of Princess Mary.
     1520. Field of the Cloth of Gold. Magellan passed through the Straits which have since borne his name.
     1521. Duke of Buckingham executed for high treason. The title of "Defender of Faith" given to Henry by Leo X.
     1522. War with France and Scotland. First circumnavigation of the globe (in 1154 days, by Magellan's expedition).
     1523. Parliament assembled. Sir T. More Speaker.
     1524. Peru discovered by Pizarro and Almagro.
     1525. Henry tries to raise money without authority of Parliament.
     1526. Publication of Tyndal's version of the New Testament. Soliman the Magnificent, Sultan of Turkey, takes Hungary.
     1520. Fall of Wolsey. More Chancellor. Cranmer advises Henry to obtain the opinions of the Universities as to divorce with Catharine. The Turks defeated before Vienna.
     1530. Death of Wolsey, November 28th, at the age of 59.
     1531. Henry divorces Catharine.
     1532. Henry marries Anne Boleyn. Cranmer Archbishop of Canterbury. Sir T. More resigns chancellorship.
     1533. Appeals to Rome prohibited by Parliament. Cranmer declares Henry's marriage with Catharine illegal. Pope declares Cranmer's proceedings null and void. Elizabeth born at Greenwich, September 7th. Tyndal's translation of the New Testament publicly burned by Tonstal, Bishop of London.
     1534. Parliament settles succession on Henry's second marriage. Parliament declares Henry supreme head on earth of the English Church. Revolt of the Earl of Kildare in Ireland put down. Canada discovered by Cartier, a French navigator.
     1535. Sir T. More beheaded, July 6th, aged 53. The Pope excommunicates Henry, and lays England under an interdict. Tyndal and Miles Coverdale publish a more correct version of the bible. Tobacco first known in Europe.
     1536. Catharine dies at Kimbolton, aged 50. Parliament passes an Act for the suppression of minor monasteries: 376 of them granted to the king. Anne Boleyn beheaded. A new English version of the Scriptures ordered to be printed. Henry marries Jane Seymour. Parliament settles succession on the children of Henry and Jane. California discovered by Cortes.
     1536-7 "The Pilgrimage of Grace."
     1537. Prince Edward born. Jane Seymour dies.
     1538. General suppression of monasteries.
     1539. Parliament confirms surrender of monasteries. English translation of Bible allowed to be freely circulated. Cranmer's Bible published.
     1540. Henry marries Anne of Cleves. Cromwell disgraced and executed, July 28th. Anne of Cleves divorced. Henry marries Catharine Howard. Cherry trees brought from Flanders and planted in Kent.
     1542. Catharine Howard beheaded. Scottish army defeated at Solway. Mary, Queen of Scots, born December 7th. Her father, James V., dies December 14th. Cardinal Beaton made Regent of Scotland. Henry takes title of King of Ireland. Parliament makes Ireland a kingdom.
     1543. Henry marries Catharine Parr.
     1544. War with Scotland.
     1545. French attempt to land in England, but are repulsed.
     1546. Death of Luther, aged 62, February 18th.
     Assassination of Cardinal Beaton, May 28th.
     1547. Henry dies, at the age of 56, January 28th.

King Harry. (Ch 36)

"Every inch a King."

We now come to the story of Henry VIII. and his long reign. King Henry VIII. is a well-known figure in English history. Whatever may have been his faults, and he had many, there can be no doubt that by far the greater number of the people in England who lived in his time loved him, and thought him a great king. King Harry, Bluff King Hal, are the names by which he went.

He came to the throne when he was a mere youth. He was not quite eighteen years old when his father died. Fair, ruddy, strongly-built, and active, he seemed not only to his English subjects, but to foreigners, the finest-looking man of all the kings of Europe.

The king, too, had a merry mind. He was fond of sport, fond of exercise, fond of good living, fond of show: these were just the things to make him popular with the people. It is true that he was also very fond of having his own way, and that he was selfish and overbearing; but those who suffered most from his self-will were those who stood nearest to him -- his ministers and the great nobles. Many of these were put to death by the king's orders, and many of them lost their fortunes because they did not please him.

But, to tell the truth, the common people of England were often not sorry to see the great nobles who lived among them lose their heads or their properties, and as long as King Henry let the people go their own way, and did not tax them too heavily, they were always ready to call out "God save his Highness!" and to praise a King of England who showed himself so strong and so determined.

We shall see, however, that when King Henry did try to take too much money out of the pockets of the Commons, they were as ready to quarrel with him as any of the nobles; but this happened very seldom, and it is true to say that to the day of his death Henry was beloved by far the greater number of his people.

We know very well what the king was like. Indeed, he is the first King of England whose face is really familiar to us. It was in his day that one of the first and one of the greatest portrait-painters of modern times began to paint pictures in England. Hans Holbein, the German, has left us pictures of Henry which, beyond all doubt, show us the king just as he appeared in his own royal court of Windsor.

We often hear King Henry spoken of as the Fat King: and very plump he certainly was. We can see in Holbein's picture the rings half sunk in his fat fingers. His cheeks were fat, his figure was large, and as he grew older he became somewhat too stout. His eyes were small, and not very handsome to our way of thinking nowadays; but there seems no doubt that though it is the fashion to flatter kings and great men, those who saw King Henry and who spoke of him as a dignified and handsome prince, gave expression to the general opinion of the time.


The king had many faults. He did many things which seem very hateful to us now; though it is not always easy for us to judge about the right and wrong of things which happened more than three hundred years ago. But one thing is certain about King Henry -- he had a very strong will, and not only that, but he was strong enough to get his will carried out. Some of the greatest men who ever lived in England were Henry's ministers. These men rose to great power, and it seemed as if they could rule all England, and King Henry as well. But when they came to oppose the king, each of them in turn found out that he had met with a stronger man than himself. They lost first of all their offices, and then their lives.

Nor was it only the king's ministers who found that Henry was a dangerous man to anger. King Henry reigned thirty-eight years, and during that time he was married no less than six times. His first wife, Catharine of Aragon, a Spanish princess, he divorced; his second wife, Anne Boleyn, an English lady, was put to death by her husband's command because she offended him; his third wife, Jane Seymour, also an English lady, died within two years of her marriage. His fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, a Dutch princess, he divorced. His fifth, Catharine Howard, the daughter of an English duke, fared no better than his second, for she too was beheaded by order of the king. His last wife, Catharine Parr, a daughter of an English knight, had the good fortune to outlive him.

It is the story of this strange king that we are now going to read. It is a story which is the more interesting because it took place at a time when many great changes were going on in England, and when many great men and women were living who have become famous in the history of our country.

Foreign Friends and Foes -- The Battle of the "Spurs." (Ch 36)

"For those that fly may fight again,
Which he can never do that's slain."
-- Butler: "Hudibras."

The reign of Henry VIII. was a long one, lasting no less than thirty-eight years. Every part of it was marked by events which were of great interest and importance in the history of England. It is not easy in a short book like this to give a full account of all that took place; but we must be content to read about the most important things, and about those which have had most to do with making England what it is. For this reason we must give only a short space to matters which took up a long time, and which occupied much attention in the early years of Henry's reign.

These matters are those which concern the dealings of the king and his ministers with the other Kings of Europe, matters which we should now call questions of Foreign Policy. At the time when Henry VIII. came to the throne, there were three great Powers in Europe: France, Spain, and The Empire. [The Empire meant, in the time of King Henry, that part of Europe which was ruled over by The Emperor. It included a great part of what is now Germany and Austria, the Netherlands, which are now Holland and Belgium, and parts of Italy.]

A fourth Power was England, which, however, was not thought by any of the other three to be on an equal rank with them, and which indeed was not yet as powerful as any of them. The other nations of Europe were soon to find out that the best of them had found its match in the Island Kingdom; but at this time they thought of it only as a useful ally which might help a friend with a round sum of money, and with two or three thousand soldiers who would be hard to beat when they once took to fighting. Henry VII. had done something to show the Emperor and the Kings of France and Spain that England was a country to be reckoned with, and Henry VIII. was not the man to give up anything that his country had won.

He eagerly followed in the footsteps of his father, and hastened to join in the rivalry between the sovereigns of Europe. It is hard in our days to understand the way in which arrangements were made between great countries in the days of Henry VIII. For, indeed, in those days there was no trick, no deceit, no stratagem, which the ministers of the great countries of Europe were not ready to practise. Nor must it be forgotten that the kings and emperors themselves often took the chief part in making bargains and treaties, and if they did not take part themselves, they sent their favourite ministers with secret orders to act for them.

It is most wearisome to read through all the accounts of the plotting and bargaining which went on between the Kings of Europe in the first years of Henry VIII.'s reign. France, Spain, and The Empire each wanted to be master of Europe, and each in turn, in order to become master, tried to ruin the other.

At one time France sought the aid of Spain against The Empire, at another time Spain and The Empire joined forces against France, and each nation in turn tried by promises and threats to win England to its side, or to prevent her from joining its enemies. It often happened that while the King of France was promising aid and assistance to the King of England, he was secretly making just the same promises to the King of England's enemies; while, on the other hand, there is little doubt that the King of England never lost an opportunity of paying the King of France back in his own coin, and of deceiving him in his turn.

The plotting, the falsehoods, the battles, the peaces, which fill the pages of the history of this time, have been for the most part forgotten; but some of them we must not forget because they made a great difference to the history and fortunes of our country.

It must be borne in mind that at the beginning of his reign, Henry VIII. was naturally the friend and ally of the King of Spain, for he had married his brother Arthur's widow, Catharine, who we know was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, the King and Queen of Spain. The marriage of Henry with Catharine is a very important thing to remember for two reasons. The first reason is that Henry, as the son-in-law of Ferdinand of Spain, naturally became for a time the enemy of Louis XII., King of France. The second reason is a more important one still, because, as we shall see, it led to great troubles, for the disputes, which afterwards arose as to whether the marriage were legal or not, led to great events in the history of England.

Why is it so important in our history that Henry, at the beginning of his reign, was an enemy of France? It is important for two reasons. In the first place it led to a short war with France, during which a rather odd battle was fought. This battle took place near Terouenne, and is known as The Battle of the Spurs (1513).

It is called by this odd name because there was more running away than fighting, and the Frenchmen used their "spurs" a great deal more than they used their swords. It seems that the French cavalry were seized with a panic and rode off, despite the efforts of their officers to stop them. The alarm once given, it was impossible to stop the flight. The whole French army was thrown into confusion, and some of the most famous of the French nobles and soldiers were taken prisoners. Among them was the famous Chevalier Bayard, who was known throughout France for his bravery and gallantry, and who earned for himself the title of Bayard, the knight without fear and without reproach.

But out of the enmity between England and France there came a much fiercer and more important battle than the Battle of the Spurs, namely, the Battle of Flodden Field, in which the armies of England and Scotland met on the 9th of September, 1513, and in which no less than 6,000 Englishmen and 9,000 Scots lost their lives.

Flodden Field. (Ch 36)

"Still from the sire the son shall hear
Of the stem strife and carnage drear
Of Flodden's fatal field,
Where shivered was fair Scotland's spear,
And broken was her shield!"
-- Scott: "Marmion."

How was it that the battle of Flodden sprang from the quarrel between Henry and Louis XII? It came about in this way.

While the English army, under King Henry, was besieging the town of Terouenne, in France, James IV., King of Scotland, managed to pick a quarrel with England. There was very little really to quarrel about. The chief matter was a complaint that Henry had refused to give up the jewels which his father, Henry VII., had left to Queen Margaret of Scotland. But James, a brave but rash man, did not need much of an excuse for going to war with the old enemies of his country, especially at a time when England was fighting against the French, who had so long been the friends of Scotland. James sent a message to King Henry ordering him to leave France; and he did more, for he sent three thousand Scotsmen to help King Louis.

King Henry sent the Scottish messenger back with a very flat refusal, but before the messenger could reach King James, the Scottish troops crossed the border, plundering and burning. A few days later the king himself at the head of a great Scottish army, which was said to number no less than a hundred thousand men, marched south from Edinburgh, and on the 22nd of August, 1513, crossed the Tweed, and a few days later fixed his camp on the side of Flodden Hill, which lies on the Cheviot Mountains. In front of him flowed the River Till.

It was not long before an English army came out to stop his further march. The Earl of Surrey called upon the northern counties to arm. His force was soon joined by Lord Thomas Howard, High Admiral of England, with 5,000 men. With an army numbering 25,000 in all, he advanced to Flodden. He saw at once that it was impossible to attack the Scottish army in front, for the deep waters of the Till would check the advance of the troops. He therefore decided to try to draw King James from the position which he had taken up.

To do this he marched his army across the Till, passing by a single narrow bridge. James has been much blamed for not attacking the English while they were crossing the river. Whatever may have been the reason for his failing to do so, it is certain that Surrey's army was allowed to cross without interference, and soon the Scots, to their dismay, saw the English army between them and their own country.

In the wonderful account which Sir Walter Scott gives of the battle in his great poem Marmion, the march of the English army across the Till is thus described:

"From Flodden ridge
The Scots beheld the English host
Leave Barmore Wood, their evening post,
And heedful watched them as they crossed
The Till by Twisel Bridge.

"High sight it is, and haughty, while
They dive into the deep defile;
Beneath the caverned cliff they fall,
Beneath the castle's airy wall.
By rock, by oak, by hawthorn fee,
Troop after troop are disappearing;
Troop after troop their banners rearing;
Upon the eastern bank you see,
Still pouring down the rocky den,
Where flows the sullen Till,
And rising from the dim-wood glen,
Standards on standards, men on men,
In slow succession still.

"And, sweeping o'er the Gothic arch,
And pressing on, in ceaseless march,
To gain the opposing hill.
That morn, to many a trumpet clang,
Twisel! thy rocks deep echo rang;
And many a chief of birth and rank,
Saint Helen! at thy fountain drank.
Thy hawthorn glade which now we see
In spring-tide bloom so lavishly,
Had then from many an axe its doom,
To give the marching columns room.

"And why stands Scotland idly now,
Dark Flodden! on thy airy brow,
Since England gains the pass the while
And struggles through the deep defile?
What checks the fiery soul of James?
Why sits that champion of the dames
Inactive on his steed,
And sees, between him and his land,
Between him and Tweed's southern strand,
His host Lord Surrey lead?"

The Scots could now no longer resist the temptation to attack the enemy. King James ordered the camp to be burnt, and under cover of the smoke he swept downwards on Surrey's army.

"From the sharp ridges of the hill,
All downward to the banks of Till,
Was wreathed in sable smoke.
Volumed and fast, and rolling far,
The cloud enveloped Scotland's war,
As down the hill they broke;
Nor martial shout, nor minstrel tone,
Announced their march; their tread alone.
At times one warning trumpet blown,
At times a stifled hum,
Told England, from his mountain-throne
King James did rushing come.
Scarce could they hear or see their foes,
Until at weapon-point they close."

The battle which followed was long and fierce, but at last fortune decided in favour of the English. King James himself was left dead upon the field, surrounded by the bravest of his army, who had given up their lives in the vain attempt to save their king. No less than 9,000 Scots fell in the battle, and among the dead were members of the noblest families of Scotland.

The English did not follow up the victory, but were content that Scotland was now compelled to give up helping the French,

But the war between France and England did not last long. At that time, though friendships were quickly broken, they were quickly made again. Louis, King of France, soon found means to separate Henry from his ally the Emperor, and a peace was made between England and France in August, 1514. As a condition of the peace, Henry gave his beautiful sister Mary Tudor, then only sixteen years old, as a bride to the old King of France. Happily, Louis lived only a very short time after his marriage, and Mary at once married Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, whom she had always loved.

Chapter 37. The Great Cardinal and the King's Divorce

Cardinal Wolsey.

"This Cardinal,
Though from a humble stock, undoubtedly
Was fashioned to much honour from his cradle.
He was a scholar, and a ripe and good one;
Exceeding wise, fair-spoken, and persuading;
Lofty and sour to them that loved him not;
But, to those men that sought him, sweet as summer;
And though he were unsatisfied in getting,
Which was a sin yet in bestowing, madam,
He was most princely. Ever witness for him
Those twins of learning, that he raised in you,
Ipswich and Oxford."
-- Shakespeare: "King Henry VIII"

It was during this time of wars and treaties, when Henry was making promises to the other sovereigns of Europe, and breaking them as often as he made them, that a great man rose into fame in England. This was Thomas Wolsey, whom we usually speak of as Cardinal Wolsey.

It cannot be doubted that Wolsey was one of the greatest men of the time in which he lived, and his greatness was admitted not only in England, but throughout Europe. He was born at Ipswich in the year 1471. His father was a wool merchant, and must have been well off, for he sent his son to college at Oxford, where young Wolsey distinguished himself. He entered the Church, and soon became employed by Henry VII., who sent him on important business to the Continent. But it was not till Henry VIII. became king that Wolsey began to rise rapidly. The new king found in him the most agreeable of companions and the wisest of counsellors. No reward seemed too great for the king's favourite, and from one high office he passed on to another.

Soon Wolsey became the wealthiest and the most powerful man in England next to the king. In 1515 the Pope made him a Cardinal, and it seemed at length as if Wolsey had obtained all that even he could ever wish for. Wherever the king went, Wolsey accompanied him. Treaties were made by the advice of the Cardinal, and sometimes his name was put on treaties by the side of that of the king, as if he were indeed king himself, and not a subject. The most wonderful stories are told of his wealth and of the splendid state in which he lived.

Here is an account of the great man's household, taken from the Chronicle of King Henry VIII.: "You shall understand that he had in his hall continually three boards, kept with their several principal officers, that is to say, a 'steward' which was always a priest; a 'treasurer' a knight; and a 'controller' an esquire; also a 'cofferer' being a doctor; three 'marshalls'; three 'yeomen ushers' in the hall, besides two 'grooms,' and 'almoners.' Then in the hall kitchen, two 'clerks of the kitchen,' a 'clerk controller,' a 'surveyor of the dresser,' a 'clerk of the spicery,' the which together kept also a continual mess in the hall.

"Also in his hall kitchen he had of 'master cooks ' two, and of other 'cooks,' 'labourers,' and 'children of the kitchen,' twelve persons; four 'yeomen of the silver scullery,' two 'yeomen of the pastry,' with two other 'pastelers' under the yeomen. Then in his prime kitchen a 'master cook,' who went daily in velvet or in satin, with a chain of gold."

And so the list goes on for a whole long page of the Chronicle, including, among many other officers and servants, a "yeoman of the barge," a "master of the horse," a "master of the children," "crossbearers," "singers," "cup-bearers," "carvers," a "herald," a "keeper of the tents," an "apothecary," a "physician," sixteen "stable grooms," twenty-four "waiters," sixteen "chaplains," a "chaff-wax," four "minstrels," and a "clerk of the green cloth."

When, in the year 1520, King Henry met Francis I., King of France, near Calais, Wolsey was the foremost figure among the English who accompanied the king. The meeting itself was one that was long remembered. It is known in history as The Field of the Cloth of Gold, so splendid were the dresses which were worn by the two kings and by the gorgeous train of nobles who accompanied them. The very tents in which the two kings and their followers lived during the whole time of the festivities were of cloth of gold and of embroidery. There are pictures which give us some idea of this famous meeting between the kings of England and France, and both in the pictures and in the written accounts it is always the great Cardinal Wolsey who takes the foremost place after the king.

But though Wolsey was rich, he was certainly generous with his money. He built a splendid palace at Hampton Court, near London, and afterwards gave it to the king. If we want to know what Hampton Court Palace was like, we have only to take the train from Waterloo Station in London to Hampton Court, a journey of not more than forty-five minutes; and we can see for ourselves the great and beautiful building.

Nor is Hampton Court the only mark of Wolsey's generosity. In his own town of Ipswich he founded a Grammar School, which exists to this day. At Oxford he built the great and beautiful college first called Cardinal College, and now known as Christ Church. Nor was this all. He did much to assist learned men, and to help on education. It is clear that Wolsey made a wise use of his wealth; but, unhappily for himself, like many another man, he was never contented with the success he had won while there was still anything more to win. He had been made Bishop, Cardinal, Chancellor, but there was one thing more he had set his heart on, and that was to be made Pope. It was this ambition which at last brought about his downfall.


The Fall of Wolsey. (Ch 37)

"O Cromwell, Cromwell!
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, He would not in my age
Have left me naked to my enemies."
-- Shakespeare: "King Henry VIII."

To understand how it was that Wolsey's wish to become Pope led to his downfall we must go back to the history of King Henry himself. It must be remembered that Henry had married, when he was quite young, Catharine of Aragon, daughter of the King and Queen of Spain. For many years the king and queen had lived together in happiness, or, at any rate, without quarrelling. They had only one child, a girl, who was born in 1516, and who was called Mary.

They had no son, and this made Henry discontented, for he longed for a son to come after him on the throne; and as time went on, Henry grew tired of his queen, and wished to put her away, and marry in her stead Anne Boleyn, one of Queen Catharine's ladies-in-waiting. At that time it was only possible for a man to put away his wife, or, as we call it, to get a divorce, by leave of the Pope, and unless Henry could get the leave of the Pope, he could not get rid of Catharine. The king asked the Pope to give him leave, saying that there was a good reason for a divorce, because it was against the laws of the Church that a man should marry his brother's widow.

Now Henry himself had married his brother's widow, for Catharine had been married to Arthur before she married Henry. It was true that Henry himself had been anxious to marry Catharine, and had got the Pope's special leave to do so at the time. But now all this seemed to be forgotten, and he was only too glad of an excuse which would enable him to get what he wanted. He decided to send Cardinal Wolsey to Rome to get the consent of the Pope, but when Wolsey got to Rome he found himself in a very hard position.

The Pope, who was named Clement VII., was at that time very much afraid of the Emperor Charles V., who had a great many soldiers in Italy, and could have done much harm to the Pope if he wished. But Charles was the nephew of Queen Catharine, and, naturally enough, he was very angry with King Henry for wishing to divorce his aunt. Wolsey would have been glad to serve his king and to get the Pope's consent, but at the same time he hoped some day to become Pope himself, and he did not therefore like to offend Clement. The Pope, in his turn, feared to offend the Emperor Charles; and thus it happened that Wolsey had at last to come back to King Henry and to tell him that he had failed in his errand, and that the Pope had refused to agree to the divorce.

From that day Henry determined that he would be rid of Wolsey. As long as Wolsey would serve him and help him to get his way, he was willing to give him power and wealth; but now that the Cardinal had failed to gain what his master longed for, Henry was ready to forsake him and ruin him.

It was not long before Henry found excuses for showing his displeasure. He first charged Wolsey with breaking the law by coming into the kingdom of England as a servant of the Pope, and not of the King of England. It is true that by the law of England the Pope has no authority in our Island, but it must not be forgotten that it was Henry himself who had welcomed Wolsey, when he first came, as the Pope's Legate or Ambassador, and that he had been glad enough to make use of his services.

Indeed, the charge was only an excuse. The king withdrew his favour from the Cardinal. In October, 1529, Wolsey was forced to give up the Great Seal, which was the sign of his office as Lord Chancellor of England. He sought to win back Henry's favour by giving up to him all his wealth, houses, and estates, and asking leave to go and live in his own bishopric. But the king would show no mercy. Parliament joined in the attack upon the fallen minister, and brought charges against him.

At last, after he had lost nearly all his property, Wolsey received a pardon for the crimes he was declared to have committed, and he was allowed to live at Richmond, near London. But he had many enemies, and soon the king's anger was stirred up against him again. In November, 1530, he was arrested in York, by order of the king, on a charge of high treason. An order was given to the Earl of Northumberland to bring him to London, but on the way Wolsey fell sick. Worn out, and at the point of death, he reached Leicester Abbey, where he was received by the abbot and monks.

Broken down in health and in spirit, he felt that death was approaching. It is said that his dying words were words of loyalty and good advice to the king who had treated him so unjustly, for he felt to the last that Henry had been most unjust to him. "Had I," said the dying cardinal, "but served my God as diligently as I have served my king, He would not have given me over in my grey hairs. But this is the just reward that I must receive for my diligent pains and study, not regarding my service to God, but only to my king." Thus died this great man (1530), who, with all his faults, should be remembered as one who loved England well and served her faithfully.

"The Defender of the Faith." (Ch 37)

"The majestic lord
That broke the bonds of Rome."
-- Gray: "Installation Ode."

But it must not be supposed that because King Henry had not got what he wanted by sending Cardinal Wolsey to the Pope he had given up his object, or that he was one bit less determined than before to get rid of his wife, Queen Catharine, and to marry Anne Boleyn.

We have now to learn how it was that the king gained the object which he had so much at heart; but in order to understand this we shall have to go back a little and to read about things which had been happening not only in England, but in other countries in Europe. So long as Henry believed that he could get the Pope's consent to the divorce, he was quite ready to admit that the Pope, and the Pope alone, had the right to give him leave to put away his wife. In fact, so ready was he to support the power of the Pope, that not long before Wolsey's journey to Rome, Henry had gone so far as to write a book which was intended to prove to all the world that the Pope was the only true head of the Church.

The Pope, on his side, was so pleased to find the King of England writing a book on his behalf, that he declared from that day forward, the King of England should be known as The Defender of the Faith. When we read what happened later in the history of Henry's reign, we shall think this a very strange title for the king to possess, but having once got the title, Henry kept it; and not only did Henry keep it, but so did all the kings and queens of England who came after him, and who certainly could not be called "Defenders of the Faith" in the sense in which Pope Clement used the words.

If we put our hand in our pocket and are lucky enough to find there a penny or a shilling, we shall see on it the letters "F. D." These are the first letters of two Latin words [Fidei Defensor] which mean "Defender of the Faith"; and it is because of the book which Henry VIII. wrote in defence of the Pope nearly four hundred years ago that King Edward VII. now has among his titles that of "Defender of the Faith."


But though Henry was quite willing to support the Pope while the Pope supported him, he very soon changed his view when he found that neither threats nor entreaties could make Clement give his permission for the divorce. Henry soon made up his mind that if he could not get what he wanted with the Pope's help, he would get it without it.

At first sight it is not easy to see why this quarrel between the king and the Pope over a question such as that of the king's marriage should be of great importance in the history of England, nor why it should be put into a book like this, which is only long enough to contain an account of the chief events that took place. But we shall see as we read on that this quarrel had very important results, and led to changes in England of which the consequences are felt by every English man and woman who is alive at this day.

As soon as Henry found that Clement would not consent to the divorce, he sent round to all the great Universities of Europe to ask the opinion of the learned men about the question. He thought that if he could get the learned men in all the Universities to say that the marriage with Catharine was against the law, the Pope would be obliged to change his opinion, and to give his consent. But, unluckily, most of the Universities either sent no answer at all, or sent the very answer which Henry did not wish to receive. They said that the marriage was according to law, and that Henry had no right to divorce Catharine.

And now at last Henry was driven to take a step which in those days was a very bold one. Up to that time the Pope had claimed to have authority over all the Christian countries of Europe, and to be Head of the Church in all these countries. It was because he claimed to be Head of the Church in England that he had forbidden Henry to get rid of Catharine.

As long as Henry was willing to admit that the Pope had a right to interfere in England, it was plain that he could not get his own way. But as he was determined to get his own way, it was not unnatural that he should soon begin to consider whether, after all, a King of England were bound to obey the Pope, and whether it would not be a good thing to say once for all that the King of England was not bound to obey any foreigner.

This was just the thought that did come into Henry's mind. It very often happens that when kings or other people in a high position, wish very much to be told that something they want to do is right, they soon find someone to tell them just what they want to hear. This was what happened in Henry's case. He wanted very much to be told that the time had come when the King of England ought no longer to obey the Pope, and two men came forward at that very moment to tell him that it was his duty to do exactly what he wanted to do.

These two men became very famous in later years. One of them was Thomas Cranmer, a clergyman, who was at this time a tutor in a private family. The other was Thomas Cromwell, who had been secretary to Cardinal Wolsey. It was Thomas Cranmer who advised the king not to trouble any longer about what the Pope said, but to ask the opinion of the learned men in the Universities.

Thomas Cromwell went farther than Cranmer, for he said that if the king were wise he would be his own master; that there was not room for two masters in England, and that Henry had only got to say that he was Head of the Church just as much as he was Head of the Army, and of the Parliament, and of the Government of the country, and there would be an end of all the difficulty. He went on to say that if Henry wanted an example to follow he had only to look to Germany, and there he would see that other Christian princes had already taken the bold step which he now advised.

Nothing pleases a man better than to receive advice which exactly falls in with his own views. Both Cranmer and Cromwell were richly rewarded for what they had done. Cranmer before long was made a bishop, and only two years later (1533) was raised to the high office of Archbishop of Canterbury. Cromwell was chosen by the king as his most trusted minister, and for many years held as great a power in England as his master, Cardinal Wolsey, had done before him.

Chapter 38. The Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther.

"We have got our open Bible, we have got faith and love, we can preach the Gospel of the grace of God." -- Luther.

When Thomas Cromwell told Henry that there were Christian princes in Europe who had already declared they would no longer obey the orders of the Pope, he said what was quite true. For some years past a great movement had been going on in Europe, and great changes had been taking place in Germany, and in The Netherlands, [Now called Holland and Belgium.] and in France.

These great changes soon reached England, and they are so important, and have had so much to do with the history of our country and the lives of our countrymen, that the whole of this chapter must be given up to an account of what the changes were, and what were the results which followed them.

The great movement which has just been mentioned is known in history as the Protestant Reformation, and it is to the Protestant Reformation that we owe the fact that England and Scotland are among the great Protestant countries of the world. In the year 1517 a German monk named Martin Luther began to attack the Pope and the Church. He said that the teaching of the Church was no longer what it ought to be, and that the priests withheld knowledge from the people which they had no right to withhold.

The Pope had always forbidden the Bible to be freely translated, and to be read by the people in languages which they could understand. It was only allowed to be printed in Greek or in Latin. Luther said that it ought to be translated into German, English, and French, so that Germans, Englishmen, and Frenchmen, and, indeed, all other people, might read the Scriptures in a language which they could understand. He complained, too, of many things which were done by the bishops and the priests, and he complained especially that persons were allowed to go about the country telling men that if they gave them a sum of money they would obtain a pardon for their sins. Luther said that no man could pardon the sins of another man, and that it was a wicked thing to buy and sell these pretended pardons, or indulgences, as they were called.

It was not long before a great quarrel broke out between the Pope on one side and Luther on the other. The Pope tried hard to put down the German monk, but Luther was a bold man and went about fearlessly preaching and teaching. He said that the time had come when the Christian Church ought to be altered, or reformed; and he objected to, or protested against, the way in which the Church was governed at that time by the Pope. It was because Luther made this protest, and tried to bring about this reform, that those who agreed with him were called Protestants and Reformers. We shall see that the teaching and preaching of Luther, though it was begun in Germany, at length reached England, and that it is to this German monk that we owe largely the Protestant Reformation.

Luther's preaching convinced many people in Germany, and several of the German princes became members of the Reformed Church. A fierce struggle began between the Protestants or Reformers on the one side, and the Roman Catholics, or supporters of the Pope, on the other; and there was war for many years in Germany, France, and the Netherlands.

There is not room, however, in this book to tell the story of the Reformation in Germany. We must pass on to the story of the Reformation in England; but before we leave Martin Luther behind altogether, we shall do well to try and make a picture to ourselves of what this great man was like.

We can get some idea of what he was like from the picture on page 310. The description of those who saw him and knew him tells us even more than the picture. He was a man of good stature and of great strength, a man who feared nothing, and whose courage kept him up through all the troubles and dangers through which he passed. His face was rugged and massive; it was the face of a man who was honest as the day, full of determination, and quite without fear. For many years Luther's life was in constant danger; never for an instant, however, did he hold back from the work he had undertaken on account of the danger which threatened him.

There are many things we see and hear around us every day which should remind us of Martin Luther, and which we owe in part to the work he did. There is one thing which we owe to him that many of us know, though perhaps all those who know it are not aware that it had anything to do with the great Reformer. Luther wrote many books, of which some are now forgotten; but there is one thing Luther wrote and which is not forgotten, either in Luther's own land or in this country. This is the set of verses known as Luther's Hymn. In German the hymn begins like this:

"Ein Feste Burg ist unser Gott."

Here are two verses of the hymn in its English form:

"A safe stronghold our God is still,
A trusty shield and weapon;
He'll help us clear from all the ill
That hath us now o'ertaken.
The ancient prince of hell
Hath risen with purpose fell;
Strong mail of craft and power
He weareth in this hour:
On earth is not his fellow.

"With force of arms we nothing can,
Full soon were we down-ridden;
But for us fights the proper Man,
Whom God Himself hath bidden.
Ask ye, who is this same?
Christ Jesus is His name,
The Lord Sabaoth's Son:
He and no other one
Shall conquer in the battle."

The "New Learning" -- Erasmus, Colet, and More. (Ch 38)

"The old order changeth, yielding place to new,
And God fulfils himself in many ways."
-- Tennyson: "The Passing of Arthur."

It was not long before the teaching of Luther reached England. It was the custom at that time for students to go about from one great University to another, learning what they could from the most famous teachers in each place. English students soon brought to England an account of the New Teaching, or "New Learning."

By this time, too, many books were printed, and thus the writings of Luther and of those who agreed with him were brought over to England, and became known to many persons. Nor was the teaching of Luther the only thing which threatened the Roman Catholic Church, Before the printing press was invented, nearly all those who could read and write were priests or monks, and the few books which were written were generally kept in the churches or monasteries. It was not wonderful, therefore, that people got to think that books, and the learning that was to be found in books, belonged to the Church only, and that common people, who were not priests or monks, had no business to meddle with books or with book-learning.

But when the printing press had once been invented there came a great change. Every year numbers of new books were brought out, and these books were openly sold for money; so that anyone who could afford it could buy a copy and learn for himself those things which, hitherto, people had only been able to learn through the priests and the monks. All over Europe, and in England, men now began to read books and to explain them in their own way, and they began to find out many things that the priests had never told them. It was a new thing for people to think for themselves, and the priests, who had so long been accustomed to make people think in their way, did not like to see so many new books printed and read.

But those who loved the new books and longed to find out all that was in them, refused to stop reading and studying, even though the Pope and the priests ordered them to do so. And thus it came about that, in addition to Luther and his friends, the Pope found another set of people who did not admit that he had the right to give orders and to say what was right and what was wrong. Among those who were the foremost to bring the "New Learning" into England were three men, Erasmus, Sir Thomas More, and Colet.

Erasmus was a native of Rotterdam, or what we should now call a Dutchman. He was a great student, and he could not only read Latin easily, but he could write most beautiful Latin also. He wrote many books, which became very famous in his time. The chief thing that he taught in all of them was that men ought to think for themselves, and not merely to believe things to be true because their fathers before them, or the priest, or the Pope, or anyone else, said they were true.

Although Erasmus was a Dutchman, he spent a great deal of his time in England. He was a great friend of Sir Thomas More, and he used to spend much time with More at Oxford and elsewhere. He also wrote many letters to Sir Thomas More, and received many letters from him in return. The writings of Erasmus are very clever and witty. A great deal of them is taken up in laughing at the ignorance of the people who lived in his time, and in showing them how ready they had been to believe just what they were told without taking the trouble to find out whether it were true or false.

Thomas More, who afterwards became Sir Thomas More, is known in English history, not only as the friend of Erasmus, but as a good and noble Englishman, who lived a beautiful life and died a noble death. He first began life as a lawyer. In the reign of Henry VII. he became a Member of Parliament, and fourteen years after Henry VIII. came to the throne he was made Speaker of the House of Commons. In 1529 he was made Lord Chancellor, and in 1535 he was beheaded by order of the king, as we shall read a little farther on.

John Colet was a great scholar. He studied at the University of Oxford, and went abroad to Italy and to Paris to learn Greek. In Paris he made friends with Erasmus. He had already become a friend of More's at Oxford. In the twentieth year of King Henry VII.'s reign (1505) he was made Dean of St. Paul's. His name is, or ought to be, very well known to many English boys in our day.

Up to a few years ago there stood a great building in St. Paul's Churchyard, opposite the Cathedral of St. Paul's. This building was St. Paul's School, one of the great public schools of England. It was John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, who founded St. Paul's School. The school no longer stands in the old place in St. Paul's Churchyard, but has been moved to another part of London, where there is more space and fresher air; but it is to be hoped that the "Paulines," as the boys of St. Paul's call themselves, still remember and honour the name of their founder, John Colet, Dean of St. Paul's, the friend of Erasmus and Sir Thomas More.

Chapter 39. Henry as Head of the Church

Henry's Quarrel with the Pope, and What It Led to.

"Henry the Eighth by the Grace of God, of England, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, and Supreme Head on Earth of the Church of England, and Ireland." -- Henry's title, taken from Royal Letters Patent to Sir G. Cheinie.

Now that we have read about Luther and the Protestants, and about Erasmus and the friends of the New Learning, it is time to go back to the story of Henry VIII. in England. In the previous chapter we read about Henry's quarrel with Pope Clement about the divorce which Henry wanted, but which Clement would not allow him to have. We read also how Thomas Cranmer and Thomas Cromwell had given the same advice to King Henry. "If," said Thomas Cromwell, "you cannot do what you want with the Pope's leave, why not do it without? All you have to do is to say that the Pope has no right to give orders to the King of England, and that the king, and not the Pope, is at the head of the English Church."

This advice fell in with Henry's own wishes; but perhaps if he had had to fight alone against the Pope, without anyone on his side, he might have feared to follow Thomas Cromwell's advice; for the power of the Pope was very great, both in England and on the Continent. But, as we have just read in the last chapter, the Pope had already made two sets of enemies.

In the first place there were Luther and his friends the Protestants, in the second place there were men like Erasmus and More, who, though they had not quarrelled with the Pope, were not liked by many of the priests on account of the books they wrote and the ideas they taught. What then could be more natural than that Henry should become the friend of the Pope's enemies? And this, indeed, was just what happened.

The king, who but a few years before had been called "Defender of the Faith," now declared that whether the Pope gave his consent to the divorce or not did not matter. The King of England, he said, was the Head of the Church of England, and the Pope had no right to interfere. He allowed the Protestant preachers, whom the Pope had condemned, to come into England and to remain there unharmed. He made Sir Thomas More Lord Chancellor, and, what was more than all, he allowed the Reformers, or Protestants, to translate the Bible into English, and gave permission for the Bible to be freely read in all the churches.

But it must not be supposed that Henry had done all this to please either Luther and the Protestants, or Erasmus and the learned men. He had done it in order to get his own way, and to please himself. In May, 1533, Cranmer declared Catharine to be divorced. The king had already married Anne Boleyn, and Cranmer declared that the marriage was lawful, and so at last Henry got his way. Pope Clement was very angry, and declared that neither Henry nor Cranmer had any right to act without his leave.

But now that Henry had gone so far, he was not going back. If the Pope were to be his enemy, he determined that he in his turn would show himself a bitter enemy to the Pope. He commanded everyone to admit that he alone was Head of the Church of England. Those who would not submit were thrown into prison and their property was taken from them. Parliament was called together, and declared that the king was right and the Pope wrong, and Henry, having got Parliament on his side, was determined at any cost to make everyone bow to his will.

Among the victims of his anger were some of the worthiest and noblest men in England. John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester, and Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor, were among the best friends of the king. They were ready to serve him, and they were ready to obey him. But there was one thing they would not do. They would not do what they believed to be wrong, nor say what they believed to be false, even though the king bade them.

Neither More nor Fisher believed that the king had any right to disobey the Pope, and to make himself Head of the Church; and when they were called upon to swear that they would obey Henry as Head of the Church, they both of them refused to do so. Neither the age of Fisher (for the bishop was seventy-six) nor the goodness and faithful service of More could protect them from the king's fury. They were thrown into the Tower, and while they were there, Parliament, to please the king, declared them guilty of treason, and they were condemned to death, Fisher was executed at the Tower on June 22nd, 1535. It was not till a fortnight later, July 6th, that More met his fate.

But Fisher and Sir Thomas More were not the only victims of the king's savage temper. Anne Boleyn, his beautiful wife, for whom Henry had not feared to quarrel with the Pope, was among the first to suffer. The king charged her with not being true to him; she was tried and condemned to death, and on May 19th, 1536, was executed at the Tower.

She left behind her one child, who was christened Elizabeth, and who afterwards became very famous in English history as Queen Elizabeth. The day after Anne Boleyn's execution Henry married Jane Seymour, who had been one of Anne's ladies, and who was the daughter of Sir John Seymour, a Wiltshire gentleman.

The "Hammer of the Monks." (Ch 39)

"It has come to our ears, being at once publicly notorious, and brought before us on the testimony of many witnesses worthy of credit, that you, the Abbot before mentioned, have been of long time noted and diffamed, and do yet continue so noted, of simony, * of usury, of dilapidation and waste of the goods, revenues, and possessions of the said monastery, and of certain other enormous crimes and excesses hereafter written." -- Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Abbot of St. Albans, 1489.

[Simony: the crime of selling offices/positions in the Church for money.]

But though Anne Boleyn was dead, Henry's quarrel with the Pope was not at an end. Indeed, he had already found out that by keeping up his dispute with the Pope, he had always an easy way of growing rich left open to him. Throughout all England at that time there were great buildings known as Monasteries and Nunneries, which belonged to the Church, and in which monks and nuns used to live.

Many of these monasteries and nunneries had become very rich, and some of the best land in England belonged to them. Some of the monks lived good lives, and did good work in teaching and helping the poor among whom they lived. There were others who lived bad lives, and spent their money upon themselves, and who were a disgrace to the Church to which they belonged.

When Henry made up his mind to destroy the monasteries and nunneries, it was not hard for him to find out many bad things which could truly be said of the monks and nuns, and which he could use as an excuse for taking away their property.

But there can be no doubt that what made Henry most anxious to destroy the monasteries and nunneries was the great wealth which they possessed. It was Thomas Cromwell who was foremost in this work, and he soon won Henry's favour by the zeal which he showed. More than 800 monasteries and nunneries were broken up and destroyed, and the great wealth which belonged to them was seized by the king.

Perhaps, if this money had been wisely used for the good of the country, there would have been little to complain of, but Henry and Cromwell were most extravagant. Very large sums of money and the greater part of the lands which had belonged to the monks were given by the king to his favourites, and most of what he did not give away he kept for himself. Many of the most beautiful abbeys and churches were allowed to fall into ruin, and the schools which had been kept by the monks were in many cases shut up. So bitter was Thomas Cromwell against the monks, and so fiercely did he attack the monasteries, that he earned the name of The Hammer of the Monks, by which was meant that he had hammered and crushed them to pieces.

But though the monks and nuns had in many cases ceased to do good, it is not wonderful that they had friends throughout the country. In many places they had helped the poor, in others they had taught those who had no other teachers, and they had allies among the great nobles. It is easy to understand, therefore, why when Thomas Cromwell "hammered" the monasteries to pieces he should have made many enemies. In Lincolnshire the friends of the monks rose in rebellion, but were soon put down by the king's friends.

It is interesting and amusing to read the answer which King Henry gave to the people of Lincolnshire when they brought their grievances before him. If we read it we shall understand how great a person the King of England was in those days, and how little the people of the country had to do with its government. This is what the king said to the people of Lincolnshire:


"First we begyn and make answere to the foure and sixe articles, because upon them [de]pendeth much of the rest. Concernyng chosyng of counsylors, I never have read, heard, nor knowne, that princes, counsailors and prelates should be appoynted by rude and ignorant common people, nor that they wer persones mete [fit], nor of the abilitie to discerne and choose mete and sufficient counsailors for a prince; how presumpteous then are ye, the rude commons of one shire, and that one of the most brute and beastly of the whole realme, and of the least experience, to fynd faute with your Prince . . ."

A fiercer rebellion than that in Lincolnshire broke out in Yorkshire (1536-7), and a large army, collected from all parts of the North, was soon gathered together. The rebels marched with priests at their head carrying crosses and banners, and the priests promised their blessing to those who took part in the rebellion. The march of this northern army was called the Pilgrimage of Grace. At first it seemed as if the friends of the king would be beaten, but before long the royal troops succeeded in driving back the rebels, many of whom were taken and put to death, while the rest returned peaceably to their homes.

It is not easy to understand the part which Henry himself played at this time. Although he was an enemy of the Pope, he would not join openly with the Reformers. On one thing, however, he was determined, and that was that he was the Head of the Church of England, and indeed, head of everything else in England. It soon became clear that nobody was safe who dared to say or to do anything against the will of the king. At the same time, it is fair to King Henry to say that he did not interfere with those who did not interfere with him, and during his reign the number of Protestants in England grew steadily larger.

Anne of Cleves -- The Fall of Thomas Cromwell. (Ch 39)

"For marriage is a matter of more worth
Than to be dealt in by attorneyship."
-- Shakespeare: "Henry VI.," Part I.

In 1537 was born Prince Edward, the only son of Henry's third wife, Jane Seymour. Henry was delighted at the birth of a son, and the child was at once proclaimed Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester. Farther on in this book we shall read how this little prince became Edward VI., King of England.

This is how the joyful event was spoken of:


"In Octobre on Saint Edwardes eve was borne at Hampton Courte the noble Impe [child], prince Edward whose Godfathers at the Christenyng were the Archbishop of Canterbourie, and the Duke of Norffolk, and his Godmother, the Lady Mary, the Kynges daughter, and at the bishoping [christening] was Godfather the Duke of Suffolk; at the birth of this noble prince was great fires made through the whole realme and great joye made with thanks givying to almightie God whiche hath sent so noble a prince to succeed in the crowne of this Realme; But Lorde what lamentacion shortly after was made for the death of his noble and gracious mother, quene Jane, which departed out of this life the fourtene day of Octobre, next following . . . ."

For so it was, twelve days after the birth of Prince Edward, his mother, Jane Seymour, died.

It was two years before King Henry married again, and this time the wife whom he chose was a foreigner. Her name was Anne of Cleves, daughter of the Duke of Cleves, one of the Protestant princes of Germany. It was Thomas Cromwell who advised the king to marry Anne of Cleves. The friends of the Pope were very angry with Cromwell, and he thought he would be safe from their anger if he could persuade the king to marry a Protestant wife.

It was said that Anne was very beautiful; and a picture was shown to the king which seemed to prove that what had been said of her was true. But when the Queen came to England, and Henry saw her with his own eyes, he found she was exceedingly plain; and not only that, but she could not speak a single word of anything but German, which Henry himself could not understand. The king could not refuse to marry Anne, according to his promise, but it was not long before he made up his mind to get rid of her.

Meanwhile he could not conceal his anger against Cromwell, who had led him into the marriage, and when Cromwell's enemies brought accusations against him, Henry gladly listened to them. Cromwell was arrested, tried for high treason, and executed (1540). He had long had few friends save the king, and now the king deserted him as he had deserted Wolsey. As soon as Cromwell was dead, Henry divorced Anne of Cleves. He treated her kindly, and gave her a house to live in, and money to keep it up. She lived quietly in England for seventeen years after her divorce, and long after Henry's death.

A month after he had got rid of Anne of Cleves, Henry married his fifth wife, Catharine Howard, niece of the Duke of Norfolk. In less than eighteen months, Catharine had shared the fate of Anne Boleyn. Parliament, as usual, was ready to undertake any shameful and cruel work which the king ordered it to perform. Catharine was condemned by Parliament, January, 1542, and was beheaded in the following month.

It was not till the year 1543, eighteen months later, that the king married his sixth and last wife. This was Catharine Parr, a widow, and daughter of Sir Thomas Parr, to whom Henry was married in his fifty-third year. This lady had the good fortune to outlive her husband, and died in the reign of Edward VI. (1548).

Ireland, Scotland, and France. (Ch 39)

"There's a saying, very old and true,
If that you will France win,
Then with Scotland first begin."
-- Shakespeare: "Henry V."

Before we leave the reign of Henry VIII. altogether, we must turn our attention for a short time to what took place during the last part of that reign in Ireland, Scotland, and France. In Ireland a rebellion broke out. At the head of it was Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, the son of the Earl of Kildare. An English army was sent over, and after a long and fierce campaign, in which great cruelties were committed on both sides, the revolt was put down. The authority of England was now fixed more firmly in Ireland than it had ever been before, and Henry was the first of the English kings to take the title of King of Ireland (1542).

The troubles in Scotland were more serious. The party which then held power in Scotland had at its head Cardinal Beaton, who looked upon King Henry as one of the worst enemies of the Roman Catholic Church. Beaton and all his friends were ready to join in any war against the King of England. At the same time there were already many Reformers in Scotland who hated Cardinal Beaton, and who refused to help him against England. These quarrels between different parties in Scotland proved to be of advantage to England, for they led to much fighting in Scotland, and weakened the attack of the Scots upon England.

However, it was not long before an excuse was found for war between the two countries. James V. of Scotland marched southwards at the head of an army, but his troops declined to follow him into England. Some of them also refused to obey the orders of the general whom the king appointed. They threw down their arms, and while all was confusion, the English troops attacked and defeated them.

It was while Scotland was suffering from these troubles that an event took place which proved to be of great importance, both to England and to Scotland. On the 7th of December, 1542, was born Mary, daughter of James V, King of Scotland, and of Mary of Guise, his queen. We shall read much more about this little Princess Mary, who afterwards became famous under the name of Mary, Queen of Scots. Indeed, it was not long before the little princess became a queen. Only seven days after she was born, her father, James, died, and Mary became from that day the rightful Queen of Scotland.

Henry very soon found himself at war both with Scotland and with France. He sent an army into France to help the Emperor Charles against Francis I., King of France, but little came of the expedition. The emperor found that Henry was much more anxious to take Boulogne for himself than to help him to gain the object he had in view, and to capture the city of Paris.

Charles and Francis before long came to a separate agreement without consulting Henry, and the King of England found himself without an ally. For the first time for many a year the French fleet attacked the shores of England, and French troops actually landed in the Isle of Wight, but were driven back by the inhabitants. The war came to an end in 1546, and all that Henry had gained was the capture of Boulogne, which was taken after a long siege.

Nor did Henry meet with much more success in Scotland. He had demanded that the little Queen of Scots should be given in marriage to his son Edward, and this was agreed to by treaty in 1543. Both Edward and Mary were still quite young children. Henry required that the Queen should be sent into England for safe keeping. The Roman Catholic party in Scotland, under Cardinal Beaton, naturally refused to give her up. Henry sent the Duke of Norfolk with an army and he found friends amongst the Protestant party across the Border. But the expedition was not a success, and the English troops were withdrawn without having succeeded in their object.

In the same year Cardinal Beaton was murdered. It was said by some that he had been murdered by Henry's wish; but though his death was a great blow to the Roman Catholic party in Scotland, and though it led to a fierce conflict in that country, it did not make the Scots more willing to give up their queen to King Henry.

About Ships, Flags, and Soldiers. (Ch 39)

"Saint George he is for England
Saint Denys is for France."
-- Old Song.

The wars of which we have just spoken were not very important in themselves, and led to no great results at the time, but for one thing they ought to be remembered. Much of the fighting, both with France and with Scotland, had been fighting at sea, and for the first time we find that royal ships were built by order of the king for the special purpose of fighting at sea. One of the finest of these ships was the "Great Harry," of 1,000 tons. She carried twenty-three great guns, and some of her cannon carried shot weighing thirty pounds, which is heavier than most of the cannon-balls which were used at the battle of Trafalgar nearly three hundred years later. Some of the cannon made in this reign weighed as much as five tons.

It was Henry who first made a regular payment to soldiers who served in the ships of the Royal Navy; and the famous corps of the Royal Marines traces back its history to this time.

It was Henry also who first ordered that every king's ship should fly, at the masthead and at the bowsprit, the flag with the Red Cross on the white ground, which is called the Cross of St. George. This flag is now carried on every admiral's ship in the British Navy, and the red St. George's Cross may be seen in the middle of the Union Jack, if we look at the coloured picture at the beginning of this book.

There is an old picture of a seafight, which took place in the reign of Henry VIII., between Lord Howard, High Admiral of England, and Sir Andrew Barton, a Scottish privateer. In this picture the English ships may be seen with the red St. George's Cross for their flag, and the Scottish ships with the white Cross or Saltire of St. Andrew. In the flag which is now carried by all ships in the Royal Navy these two crosses are joined together.

It was in the year 1547 that Henry died. He was fifty-five years of age, and had reigned over thirty-seven years. Before his death he had made a will declaring that his son Edward should succeed him on the throne; that after Edward should come his elder daughter Mary, and that after Mary should come his second daughter, Elizabeth.


Chapter 40. Edward VI. 1547-1553

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Edward VI:
     Edward VI., King of England, son of Henry VIII. and Jane Seymour, b. 1537, became king 1547, d. 1553.
     Mary, sister of Edward VI., afterwards Queen of England.
     Elizabeth, sister of Edward VI. and Mary, afterwards Queen of England.
     Mary, Queen of Scots.
     Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset, Lord Protector, uncle to Edward VI., executed 1552.
     John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, Lord Protector.
     Lady Jane Grey, daughter of Henry Grey, Marquis of Dorset, and great-granddaughter of Henry VII., m. Lord Guilford Dudley.
     Lord Guilford Dudley, son of the Duke of Northumberland, husband of Lady Jane Grey.
     Henry II., King of France.
     Charles I., King of Spain, known also as the Emperor Charles V.
     Philip, King of Naples and Sicily, son of Charles V., afterwards Philip II. of Spain, and husband of Mary, Queen of England.
     Paul III., Pope, d. 1550.
     Julius III., Pope.
     Soliman the Magnificent, Sultan of Turkey.
     Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
     Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, imprisoned in this reign.
     Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London, imprisoned in this reign

Principal events during the during the reign of Edward VI:
     1547. Edward VI. becomes King of England. Catharine Parr marries Sir Thomas Seymour. The Earl of Hertford made Duke of Somerset and Lord Protector. Francis L, King of France, dies. John Knox preaches in Scotland. Battle of Pinkie Cleugh.
     1548, The Queen of Scots affianced to the Dauphin. The orange tree imported from China into Portugal.
     1548. The French land in Scotland.
     1549. The Book of Common Prayer adopted. Gardiner and Bonner sent to the Tower. Francis Xavier, the great French missionary, goes to Japan.
     1551. The Duke of Somerset tried and condemned. Shrewsbury School founded.
     1552. The Duke of Somerset executed.
     1553. Parliament fixes the succession on Lady Jane Grey. Edward VI. dies.

Lord Protector Somerset. (Ch 40)

"THIRD CITIZEN. Woe to the land that's governed by a child!

FIRST CITIZEN. So stood the State, when Henry the Sixth
Was crowned in Paris but at nine months old.

THIRD CITIZEN. Stood the State so? No, no, good friends, God wot:
For then this land was famously enrich'd
With politic grave counsel: then the King
Had virtuous uncles to protect his grace.

FIRST CITIZEN. Why, so hath this, both by his father and mother.

THIRD CITIZEN. Better it were, they all came by his father."
-- Shakespeare: "King Richard III."

We now begin the story of the reign of Edward VI. It was a short reign, lasting only six years, but it has an important place in the history of England. In order to understand the events which took place in these six years, we must go back a little and recall what we know about the new king. Of all Henry VIII.'s six wives, the one whom he had probably loved the best was Jane Seymour; and one of the reasons why Henry loved the memory of Jane so much was because she was the mother of his only son.

It was this son, who was born on the 12th October, 1537, who now became King of England at the age of eight years. It must not be forgotten that though Henry had only one son he had two daughters, Mary, the daughter of Catharine of Aragon, and Elizabeth, daughter of Anne Boleyn. But though Mary and Elizabeth were both older than their brother Edward, Edward came to the throne before either of them, according to the law of England, which always gave the sons the right to succeed before the daughters.

Jane Seymour was dead, but she had many relations who were still alive. We shall see that these relations played a very important part in the reign of the new king. In order to show his affection for his wife, Henry had given great rewards to her relations, and had placed them in high offices. Her eldest brother, Edward Seymour, was made Earl of Hertford; another relation, Sir John Russell, was made Lord Russell; while a third was made High Admiral of England. Now it so happened that though Jane Seymour was not a Protestant herself, most of her relations belonged to the Protestant party. Among these, Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford, was the most powerful.

As the young king was quite a child, it was clear that for some years at least he would have to be guided and advised by others. It was soon seen that the Earl of Hertford had made up his mind that he would become the chief adviser to his little nephew. He persuaded the king's Council to declare him to be Lord Protector of the king, and to bestow upon him in the name of the king the title of Duke, of Somerset. It is under the name of the Duke of Somerset that we hear about Edward Seymour during King Edward's reign.

King Edward had been a brought up as a Protestant; and as the Duke of Somerset, who now really ruled the kingdom in the king's name, was also a Protestant, the Reformers in England began to hope that their cause would win the day. Nor were they disappointed, for it was during the reign of Edward VI. that the Reformed Church really took the place of the Roman Catholic Church in England.

But the first work which occupied the Protector was the work of war. It had been agreed that poor little King Edward should marry Mary Stuart, of Scotland, and though the king was only nine years old, and Mary only four, Somerset called upon the King of Scotland to fulfil the promise which had been made, and to send Mary to England.

The party which was at that time most powerful in Scotland was the Roman Catholic party, and the Roman Catholics had no love for Somerset and his Protestant friends, and did not at all want to see the Queen of Scotland married to a Protestant king. They therefore refused point blank to do what Somerset asked. The refusal led to war; an English army again crossed the Border, and defeated the Scots at Pinkie Cleugh (1547), near Edinburgh.

But little came of the victory. Somerset had no sooner gained the battle than he came back in haste to London, fearing lest in his absence his enemies there might do him some mischief. It was an odd way to try to win a bride, by sending an army into her country, and killing some hundreds of her best soldiers; and it is not wonderful that Somerset did not succeed in winning Mary of Scotland for his young master. Indeed, he might almost have foreseen what really took place.

The Scots were determined that their young and beautiful queen should not marry the King of England, and they rightly thought that the best way to protect her from any further claims was to marry her to somebody else. Accordingly, just a year after the battle of Pinkie Cleugh, Mary was betrothed, not to King Edward, but to King Edward's enemy, Francis, Dauphin * of France, who afterwards became King Francis II. of France.

[The eldest son of the King of France was always called the Dauphin, just as the eldest son of the King or Queen of England is always called the Prince of Wales. The word is pronounced DOW-finn and literally means 'dolphin,' which was the heraldic emblem of the French heir-apparent.]

As soon as Somerset, the Lord Protector, got back to London, he set to work to strengthen his own power. As was usual in those days, he thought the best way to begin was by getting rid of those who were likely to become his enemies or his rivals. He brought a charge of treason against his own brother, Thomas Seymour, Admiral of England. Parliament, as usual, was ready to help, and Thomas was condemned by the House of Commons, unheard and without trial, and beheaded.

Still further to strengthen his own power, Somerset now sought to marry the Princess Mary, the elder sister of the king; and when he found this was impossible, he sought the hand of her sister Elizabeth; but in this also he was unsuccessful.

The Fall of Somerset and the Rise of Northumberland. (Ch 40)

"He has gambled for his life, and lost: he hangs." -- Tennyson: "Queen Mary."

It soon became clear that, after all Somerset had done to gain power for himself, and to weaken his enemies, he was still in great danger. Many of the nobles hated him, and were jealous of him. Those who were the friends of the old Church looked upon him as their chief enemy.

In many parts of the country the breaking-up of the monasteries had caused great discontent, for the people who had been accustomed to receive charity from the monks, and who had found in the monasteries their only teachers, were very angry with the Reformers. In some of the counties the people rose in rebellion, as they had done before in Henry VIII.'s time, and Somerset found much difficulty in putting them down and in restoring quiet.

It was not wonderful that when he found that the friends of the monks were everywhere his enemies, Somerset should have done all he could to help and strengthen the Protestants, who were his friends. In doing this he found a ready helper in the king, who had been brought up as a Protestant, and who was now getting old enough to take some part himself in settling what should be done.

The king's council was made up of warm friends of the Reformation, who lost no time in helping on the cause which they cared so much about. The bishops who would not admit that the king was the true Head of the Church in England were turned out. Two of them -- Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, and Bonner, Bishop of London were put into prison, and Protestant bishops were put in their places.

A new Protestant Prayer-Book, written in English, was drawn up and ordered to be used in all churches, and Protestant schools were started in many places with the help of the money that had been taken from the monasteries. In all these things Somerset, as a member of the council, took a chief part. But the time had at last come when he was to fall from power, as so many others had done before him.

Among the bitterest enemies of Somerset was Dudley, Earl of Warwick. Warwick had led the king's troops against the rebels, and had been very successful in beating them and in restoring peace. He used his power to attack Somerset. First of all, he accused him of having kept for himself the money which had been taken from the monasteries, or which had been paid in fines by the nobles who had risen in rebellion against the king, and had been punished for their disloyalty. This money, said Warwick and his friends, belonged to the king, and to the king's treasury, but Somerset had dishonestly kept it, and spent it on himself.

So many people had lost their money and were lamenting over its loss, that it was easy enough to find plenty who were ready to join in the cry against the Lord Protector. Then Warwick brought another charge. He said that Somerset had agreed to a disgraceful peace with the King of France, and that he had given up the King of England's rights to those parts of France which he still claimed.

At last Warwick felt strong enough to do what he had long wanted to do, namely, to get rid of Somerset altogether, and to take his place as chief councillor of the young king. He persuaded Edward to make him Duke of Northumberland; and having collected a number of friends who, like himself, hated Somerset, he openly charged the Protector with high treason. Somerset was taken prisoner, was tried, and, after a short delay, was executed on Tower Hill on the 22nd January, 1552.

The Duke of Northumberland now became the most powerful man in England, and it seemed that he had at last got all he hoped for, namely, the power to use the name of King Edward for his own purposes. The first use he made of his power was to marry his son, Lord Guilford Dudley, to the Lady Jane Grey. Farther on we shall read the sorrowful story of poor Lady Jane Grey, who for a few short hours was Queen of England.

But to understand the story rightly we must find out who Lady Jane Grey was, and why the Duke of Northumberland was so anxious that she should become the wife of his son. The easiest way to understand who Lady Jane was, is to look at the table which is given on this page. With a little patience we shall be able to trace out her family, and to see exactly what relation she was to the Royal Family of England. We shall see that she was the great-niece of Henry VIII, and the grand-daughter of his sister Mary and the young Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk, about whom we read in Chapter 36.

Henry VII. married Elizabeth of York. These are their children:
     Arthur, Prince of Wales (died at age 15)
     Margaret Tudor (married King James IV of Scotland)
     Henry VIII, King of England
     Mary Tudor (married King Louis XII of France, then Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk)

Margaret and James IV. of Scotland's children
     James V.
     Mary, Queen of Scots.

Henry VIII.'s children:
     Edward VI.

Mary Tudor and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk's child:
     Frances Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk.

Lady Jane Grey was the daughter of Frances Henry Grey, Duke of Suffolk. Thus she was Henry VII's great grand-daughter and Henry VIII's great-niece,

The reason why Northumberland wanted his son to marry Jane was a very plain one. Parliament had declared that neither Mary nor Elizabeth, the two daughters of Henry VIII., had any right to come to the throne; and if they did not there would only be one other person when King Edward died who would have a better right than Lady Jane Grey to come to the throne as Queen of England. This one person was Mary, Queen of Scots; but nobody believed that Mary, Queen of Scots, would be allowed to become Queen of England. Northumberland, therefore, hoped to see his son become the husband of one who would be queen as soon as King Edward was dead.

And it was already plain to all that in a very few months King Edward would be dead. The poor boy had always been weak and ailing. Scarcely able to walk, he liked to be carried to the window to see what was passing in the world outside. In the Council Chamber he sat on the throne supported by cushions, an unhappy sufferer, weak and in pain. In the year 1553 he was taken ill with measles, and later in the same year he had small-pox also. He caught cold, and before long the cold went to his lungs, and he got consumption.

Northumberland saw that the king was dying, and he saw too that if he were to make any use of the king's name before he died, he must do so at once. He persuaded the dying king to make a will in which he declared that the Lady Jane was the true heir to the throne. This was Edward's last act. On the 6th July, 1553, the poor king died, in the seventh year of his reign.

The reign of Edward VI. was a short one, but the king himself, unlike his father, was not the chief person in the history of his time. But the reign was a very important one in English history -- so important, indeed, that before going on to the next reign it is necessary to say a little more about the great change which had taken place in England while Edward was on the throne. It is impossible to understand the story of the next reign unless we also understand quite clearly what had gone before it.

Chapter 41. What the Reformation Meant

The "Old Religion" and the "New."

"The Bishop of Rome [the Pope] hath no jurisdiction in this realm of England." -- From one of the "Articles" or Rules of the Church of England agreed to in Queen Elizabeth's time.

It is not possible to tell the story of these times without speaking very often about The Reformation, the New Religion, and the Protestants. It will be a good thing, therefore, to explain in a short way, before we go on any further, what is meant by these words, and what the Reformation and the New Religion were.

We have already read something about the Reformation which was begun by Martin Luther in Germany, and which, in Edward VI.'s time, had spread to England. The New Religion was the religion of those who had followed the teachings of Luther and of his friends, and both in England and in Germany the followers of the New Religion were called Protestants or Reformers.

But when we read of the New Religion we must not suppose that the religion of the Protestants was really a new one. It was the Christian religion in which the people of England had believed since the time when St. Augustine first began to preach at Canterbury, 900 years before the reign of Henry VIII. It was the Christian religion which had been taught ever since the time of Christ, 1,500 years before.

The difference between the Reformers, on the one side, and the friends of the Pope, on the other, was not as to whether the Christian religion should or should not be the religion of England, but as to whether the way in which the Christian religion was then taught and practised by the Pope, the priests, and those who agreed with the Pope, were the right and true way or not.

There is not room in this book to set down all the matters about which the two parties could not agree, nor, indeed, is it necessary to do so, for some of the things about which people differed greatly at that time are not very important now. But no one can understand the history of England during the time of Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth, who does not know what were the most important things about which Protestants and Roman Catholics disagreed.

At that time the Pope of Rome claimed to have the right to interfere in the affairs of all the countries of Europe. He said that he was Head of the Church in France, in Germany, and in England, and that he alone had the right to say how the Church should be governed in each of those countries. He did not say that he had the right to make or alter the laws of England, but he did say that those who belonged in any way to the Church were not under the laws of England, but under the laws of the Church, and that the king's judges and the king's courts had no power and no right to judge them if they were accused of doing wrong.

The Pope also declared that many offences could only be punished by the Church, and that the person who committed these offences must be tried by the bishops, and not by the king's judges. He also said that no bishop could be appointed in England without his leave.

Sometimes it had happened in the past that there had been a quarrel between the Pope and the King of England, and then the Pope, in order to punish the king, had forbidden the clergy in England to hold services in the churches, and had commanded them not to bury or to baptise people.

Thus, though the Pope lived far away in the city of Rome, in Italy, he really had the power to interfere with the people of England, and to do them harm when he wished. The kings of England had always very much disliked any interference by the Pope, and the people of England had generally been on the side of the King of England when the king tried to get rid of the right of the Pope to meddle in the affairs of their country.

The Reformers now said that the Pope ought no longer to be the Head of the Church in England, and that he ought to have no power to interfere with Englishmen, or to punish them for what they did, or what they said, or what they thought.

The Reformers, therefore, believed that the Pope had no authority in England. The Roman Catholics believed that the Pope had, and ought to have, authority in this country in many matters. This, then, was one great difference between the two parties.

Freedom of Opinion and Liberty of Conscience. (Ch 41)

"It is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the Primitive Church, * to have publick Prayer in the Church, or to minister the Sacraments, in a tongue not understanded of the people." One of the "Articles" or Rules of the Church of England agreed to in Queen Elizabeth's time.

[* Primitive Church: The early church in the first centuries after the death of Christ.]

But there was a much more important difference than this. For many years the Popes had claimed the right not only to judge men for what they did, but for what they thought. They said that there was only one true form of the Christian religion, and that was the form which was taught by the Pope, the bishops, and the priests. No man, they said, had a right to choose the form of his religion for himself, and a man committed a sin if he did not believe exactly what the Church taught him.

The Protestants, on the other hand, said that neither the Pope nor the bishops had any right to say what a man or a woman should believe. They said that every man ought to think for himself, and to try and find out for himself what was right and true. They said that the true religion was to be found in the Bible, and that the teaching of the priests was not the teaching of the Bible.

The Roman Catholics declared that the Pope and the bishops were the only persons who had a right to say what was the true meaning of the Bible, or to decide what was right and wrong. The Protestants, on the other hand, said that a man must read the Bible for himself, and must understand it by the help of his own conscience. And thus we see there was another great difference between the Protestants and the Roman Catholics, for while the Roman Catholics said that the Pope and the Church were the only true judges of what was right and wrong, the Protestants held that each man had a right to judge for himself, with the help of the Bible and of his own conscience.

The Roman Catholics had always been forbidden by the Pope to translate the Bible into English, or to read it for themselves. Both the Bible and the prayers which were read in the churches were in Latin, and few people except the priests could understand them. The Protestants declared that the words of the Bible were meant for everybody to read and understand, and that, therefore, the Bible ought to be translated into a language which would be understood by the people. One of the first things the Protestants did when they got the power was to translate into English both the Bible and the prayers which were used in the churches, so that everybody might read and understand them.

It must not, however, be supposed that the Protestants believed they needed no help to guide them, and that they were able by themselves to know what was right, or to do what was right. All true Protestants believed that it was only by prayer to God that they could be guided aright, and be enabled to do what was right. The difference between them and the Roman Catholics in this matter was that the Protestants believed that the guidance and help of God would be given to every man, woman, and child who truly sought for it, and that it was not necessary to go to a priest, to a bishop, or to the Pope in order to learn what was God's will.

It was the Protestants who first claimed and won for us two great liberties which all Englishmen now enjoy, namely, Freedom of Opinion, that is the right to think what we please; and Liberty of Conscience, that is the right to believe what we think right. We shall see that the Protestants in their turn often refused to others the liberties they had gained for themselves. Nevertheless, no one can doubt that, despite their mistakes, we owe much to those Protestants who fought and suffered for freedom of thought in Queen Mary's time.

Chapter 42. Mary. 1553-1558.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Queen Mary:
     Mary, Queen of England, daughter of Henry VIII. and Catharine of Aragon, b. 1516. became Queen 1553, d. 1558.
     Philip of Spain, husband of Mary.
     Elizabeth, sister of Mary, afterwards Queen of England.
     Lady Jane Grey, daughter of the Duke of Suffolk, great-granddaughter of Henry VII., executed 1554.
     Lord Guilford Dudley, husband of Lady Jane Grey, executed 1554.
     John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland, father of Guilford Dudley, executed 1553
     Henry II., King of France.
     Francis, son of Henry II., Dauphin of France, husband of Mary, Queen of Scots.
     Mary. Queen of Scots, m. Francis II. 1558.
     Charles I., King of Spain, also known as the Emperor Charles V., abdicated 1556, d. 1558.
     Philip II., King of Spain 1556, husband of Mary.
     Ferdinand I., Emperor 1556.
     Julius III., Pope, d. 1555.
     Paul IV., Pope, d. 1555.
     Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, Mary's chief minister, d. 1555.
     Edmund Bonner, Bishop of London.
     Thomas Cranmer, Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, burned 1556.
     Hugh Latimer, Protestant Bishop of Worcester, burned 1555.
     Nicholas Ridley, Protestant Bishop of London, burned 1555.
     John Hooper, Protestant Bishop of Gloucester, burned 1555.
     The Duke Of Guise, French General, took Calais, 1558.
     Sir Thomas Wyatt, leader of "Wyatt's Rebellion," executed 1554.
     John Knox, the great Scottish Reformer.

Principal events during the during the reign of Queen Mary:
     1553. Northumberland claims the Crown on behalf of Lady Jane Grey. Mary claims the Crown. Northumberland executed. Parliament repeals statutes of Edward VI. Counsellor discovers a passage round the North Cape. Edmund Spenser, the poet, born. Christ's Hospital founded.
     1554. Wyatt's Rebellion. Lady Jane Grey executed. Mary marries Philip of Spain. England reconciled to the Pope. Philip forbidden to exercise any authority in England.
     1555. Ridley and Latimer burned. Bishop Gardiner dies.
     1556. Cranmer burned. The Emperor Charles resigns Spain and its dependencies to Philip.
     1557. Russian ambassadors conclude a treaty in London. Bonner's persecution.
     1558. Mary, Queen of Scots marries the Dauphin of France. Loss of Calais. Mary dies.

Queen Jane. (Ch 42)

"Seventeen -- a rose of grace!
Girl never breathed to rival such a rose:
Rose never blew that equal I'd such a bud,"
-- Tennyson: "Queen Mary."

No sooner was King Edward dead than there arose confusion and conflict throughout the country. There were two great parties in the land, each longing for power. On the one side were the Protestants, the friends of the New Religion, under the leadership of the Duke of Northumberland. On the other side were the friends of the Old Religion, whose hopes were fixed upon Princess Mary, the daughter of Henry VIII. and Catharine of Aragon.

Northumberland wished to be first in the field, and to force people to take his side before the friends of Mary had had time to collect. He called the Council together, and proclaimed that the true and rightful heir to the throne was his daughter-in-law, the Lady Jane Grey. At the same time orders were given that Mary should be taken prisoner. But Mary was too quick for the duke. A friend brought her word of what was going on in the Council. Without a moment's delay, she rode off to her friends in Norfolk, and thence to Framlingham, a strongly fortified house in Suffolk, where she knew she was safe from surprise.

If we look at the table on page 331, we shall see in a minute who Lady Jane Grey was and what claim she had to the crown of England. She was the great-granddaughter of Henry VII. and the daughter of the Duke of Suffolk. By right of descent, Mary had a better claim to the throne than Lady Jane Grey, and so also had Elizabeth, but both Mary and Elizabeth had been declared by Parliament to be deprived of their rights. Mary, too, was a friend of the Old Religion, and Northumberland hoped that the people would support him and Lady Jane Grey, who was a Protestant, against Mary. We shall see that he was mistaken. If we look again at the table on p. 331, we shall see that there was another person who had a better claim to the crown than Lady Jane Grey, and that was Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots But it was not till after the death of Queen Mary of England that Mary, Queen of Scots put forward her claim to the throne.

Meanwhile the Duke of Northumberland had proclaimed Lady Jane Grey to be Queen of England at St. Paul's Cross, in London. When the name of Queen Jane was read out by the herald, it was received in silence; nobody cheered or cried "God save the Queen." An ostler boy in the crowd alone raised a cry against the new queen. He was seized by the guards, and his ears were nailed to the pillory. No one interfered on his behalf, but it was plain that Queen Jane had few friends.

The truth was that the people of London, and the greater part of the people of England also, had no love at all for Northumberland, nor did they care very much about the New Religion which he supported. As long as King Edward had been on the throne and had chosen to support the Protestants, the people kept pretty quiet; it was only those who had been injured by the breaking-up of the monasteries who rose in rebellion. But now that they were asked to fight for the New Religion, with Northumberland as their leader, and against Mary, whom they looked upon as the true heir to the crown, the people of England soon made up their minds what they would do.

For it is quite plain that though in the time of Henry VIII., Parliament had declared that neither Mary nor Elizabeth had any right to come to the throne, most people in England paid no attention at all to what Parliament had decided about the matter, and everybody except a few friends and supporters of the Duke of Northumberland looked upon Mary as the only right and proper person to be queen.

It was true that Mary belonged to the Old Religion, and that by this time the new Protestant religion had spread very widely through the country; but the time had not yet come when Englishmen were ready, from one end of England to the other, to fight and die for the Protestant religion. We shall see later on that such a time did come, and we shall see, too, that no one did more to make the English people Protestants, and fierce enemies of the Pope and his friends, than Queen Mary herself, whom nearly all England was now ready to welcome as queen.

But before we go on to the reign of Queen Mary, we must give a little space to the short sad reign of a queen whose name is not to be found in the list of the Kings and Queens of England.

The Death of Lady Jane Grey (Ch 42)

"Live still to die, that by death you may purchase eternal life."
-- Lady Jane Grey.

Little is left to mark the sad history of poor Queen Jane. But Jane herself was such a sweet and good woman that we must not altogether forget her or the part which she played in the history of our country. She was but seventeen years old in the year which led her to the crown and to her death.

In these few years she had learnt much. She was a wonder of learning, even at a time when young ladies of high rank were often great scholars. She knew and could read Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, and could write both of the two last-named languages. But this was not all nor the best that could be said of Lady Jane Grey. She had learnt to be a true Christian. Everything that is told of her makes us love her as a pure-hearted, brave, and good Englishwoman.

But neither Jane's goodness nor her learning was enough to protect her. She was indeed only an instrument in the hands of other persons, who hoped to use her for their own ends, and what she suffered she suffered for their crimes and not for her own. Northumberland soon saw that if he were going to keep Mary from the throne he must do something at once, for every day it became clearer that the people were in favour of Mary and against him.

He set off with a small army to attack Mary in Suffolk. He hoped that many friends would come and join him, but none came. On the contrary, from all sides the lords and gentlemen of the eastern counties came forward to fight for the true queen.

The duke soon saw that his cause was lost. He gave himself up, and acknowledged Mary as the rightful queen. His cowardice, however, did not save him. He was sent to the Tower, and was there beheaded on August 22nd, 1553. He died hated by both parties, for in the hope of saving his life he declared that he was no longer a Protestant, but a believer in the old religion. Thus, after ruining his Protestant friends, he deserted them as soon as he felt his own life in danger. It is not wonderful that while his enemies despised him, those who had been his friends hated him.

Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Lord Guilford Dudley, were both imprisoned in the Tower. At first it seemed as if their lives would be spared; and perhaps they might have been allowed to live if it had not been that a rising among the Protestants took place in the county of Kent, under Sir Thomas Wyatt, and that those who took part in it declared that they were fighting for Queen Jane. Alarmed at this new danger, Mary and her councillors decided that Jane should be put to death.

A priest was sent by the order of Queen Mary to try to win Lady Jane to the Roman Catholic religion. Lady Jane treated the priest, who was an old man, with courtesy and kindness, but she said that she did not wish to hear him, that her mind was made up, and that she wished to die as she had lived, in the Protestant faith. She was sure of her own courage, but she was not so sure about that of others who were dear to her. She wrote and begged her husband not to follow the bad example which had been set him by the Duke of Northumberland and not to forsake his religion under the fear of death.

Her sweetness won the heart even of her gaolers. To Sir John Brydges, the Governor of the Tower, she gave a small book of English prayers. The book can still be seen. Sir John asked his prisoner to write a few words in it. These are the words which Queen Jane wrote:

"Forasmuch as you have desired so simple a woman to write in so worthy a book, good master lieutenant, therefore I shall as a friend desire you, and as a Christian require you, to call upon God and incline your heart to His laws, to quicken you in His way, and not to take the truth utterly out of your mouth. Live still to die, that by death you may purchase eternal life."

Her husband, Guilford Dudley, was to be executed before her. She was asked if she would like to see him. She said, No: if it would profit either of them, she would see him; otherwise she would wait for her death alone.

When she came to the foot of the scaffold, she sprang up the steps, and said that she had broken the law in accepting the crown; but as to any guilt of intention she wrung her hands, and said she washed them clean of it in innocency before God and man. She "died a true Christian woman."

This is how the rest of the story is told in the Chronicle of Queen Mary:

"The hangman kneeled down and asked her forgiveness, which she forgave most willingly. Then he willed her to stand upon the straw, which doing, she saw the block. Then she said, 'I pray you despatch me quickly.' Then she kneeled down, saying, 'Will you take it off before I lay me down?' and the hangman answered, 'No, madam.' She tied a kercher about her eyes; then feeling for the block, she said, 'What shall I do? where is it?' One of the by-standers guiding her thereunto, she laid down her head upon the block, and stretched forth her body, and said, 'Lord, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.' And so ended."


"In Time of Persecution." (Ch 42)

"The blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church."

The rising which had taken place, and which led to the death of Lady Jane Grey, was put down after some difficulty. The rebels, under Sir Thomas Wyatt, got as far as London, and actually reached the walls of the city. Wyatt hoped that the Londoners would rise to help him, but in this he was disappointed. The Londoners were true to the queen, and Wyatt was taken prisoner and executed (1554).

But though Wyatt had not succeeded, the causes which had led him and his friends to take up arms were very serious, and were soon felt to be serious not only in the county of Kent but throughout the whole of England. We have seen that the people of England were not at this time ready to fight for or against the old religion or the new. Indeed, they were for the most part content to let their kings and queens settle what should be the religion of the country very much as they pleased. The only thing which they wanted was not to be too much interfered with themselves.

But although the greater part of the people of England were at this time content to accept what the king or queen might choose, there were on both sides men who were not at all of this way of thinking, and who were determined, whatever it might cost, to win a victory for their own party. On both sides there were men and women who believed that the religion to which they belonged was the only true one, and that those who did not agree with them were not only in the wrong, but were wicked people who ought to be put down for the good of the country and for the sake of true religion.

On the one side, the Reformers never ceased to teach and to preach the reformed doctrines, and to attack the Pope and the Pope's party. On the other side, the friends of the Pope and of the old religion were as earnest in teaching and preaching what they believed to be right, and in declaring that nothing could be worse or more wicked than to listen to or believe in the new doctrines.

On both sides there were men and women who were ready to give up their own lives readily for the sake of what they believed to be right; and, alas! there were also men and women on both sides equally ready to take the lives of others who did not agree with them, in the vain hope that by persecution they could make men change their views and give up what they believed to be right.

Happily, we understand much more clearly nowadays than men did in the reign of Queen Mary, that the very worst way to make people give up their opinions about what they believe to be right, and their duty, is to persecute them and to make them suffer. We have learnt that persecution is much more likely to make people -- especially English people -- cling to what they think than to make them give up their opinions.

We have learnt, too, that the very sight of men and women suffering for saying and thinking what they honestly believe to be right, often makes people sorry for those who suffer and angry with those who cause the suffering. In this way it often happens that persecution, instead of stopping men from teaching and thinking as they please, brings them friends whom they would never have had if they had been left alone, and makes men sorry for them who would have taken no notice of them if they had not been persecuted.

The Spanish Marriage. (Ch 42)

"If this man marry our queen, he will be king, King of England, my masters; and the queen, and the laws, and the people, his slaves, What? shall we have Spain on the throne and in the Parliament; Spain in the pulpit and on the law-bench; Spain in all the great offices of State; Spain in our ships, in our forts, in our houses?" -- Tennyson: "Queen Mary."

The causes which had led to the rebellion of the Kentish men under Sir Thomas Wyatt were twofold, and it is necessary to understand what they were, because they were the same causes which led to many other troubles during Queen Mary's reign.

It must be remembered that Mary was the first queen who had ever reigned of her own right over England, and when she became the sovereign of the country, a difficulty arose which had never arisen before. It had been easy to find a wife for the King of England, for though the king's wife was always called The Queen, she had no power in the government of the country. It did not matter whether she were a foreigner like Catharine of Aragon, or an Englishwoman like Jane Seymour.

But now a very different question arose. The sovereign of the country was a woman, and it was necessary to find a husband for her. Who was the queen's husband to be, and what power was he to have over the government of the country? Was he to be called The King? And if so, was he to rule England as King Henry or King Edward had ruled it? Was he to be a foreigner or an Englishman?

Whichever he might be, it seemed as if there would be danger, for if he were a foreigner there was no knowing what power he might not get over the queen, power which he would very likely use for the good of a foreign country, and not for the good of England. On the other hand, if he were an Englishman, he must be chosen from among the queen's subjects, and then it was certain that there would be jealousy and strife among all the great nobles in the country when they saw one of their number picked out and made a king over them.

While the people of England were puzzling over this difficult question, Queen Mary herself settled it without asking anybody's advice, and settled it in what was perhaps the worst way in which it could have been settled; the worst for herself and the worst for her country. It is not strange that the queen should feel that the choosing of a husband was her own affair, for no woman in the world likes to have her husband chosen for her.

But it is one of the disadvantages of being a king or a queen that in matters like this a great many other people are concerned besides the bride and bridegroom. The person whom Mary chose for her husband was Philip of Spain, son of the Emperor Charles V. It was not wonderful that she should wish to marry Philip.

It must not be forgotten that her own mother, Catharine, had been a Spaniard, and that Mary had received far more kindness from her Spanish relations than from her English relations. Philip would shortly become King of Spain, and, moreover, the King of Spain was one of the greatest Roman Catholic sovereigns in Europe, a friend of the Pope, and of the old religion in which Mary believed so firmly, and in which she had been brought up.

But the very things which made Mary welcome Philip as a husband made the English people detest him. In the first place he was a foreigner, and the English did not like foreigners, or wish them to have any power in England. In the second place, Philip was a Spaniard, and the Spaniards were particularly disliked in England.

Already the English merchants and adventurers had begun to come to blows with the Spaniards in America and in other parts of the world, and already they were beginning to dispute with them the possession of some of the rich territory of the newly-discovered countries. And more than this, the Spaniards had already begun that persecution of the Protestants which afterwards made them so justly hated by Reformers in all parts of Europe. English people feared that the new king would not be long in setting up in this country the cruel court which was known in Spain as The Holy Inquisition.

This Court of the Inquisition was made up of bishops and priests acting under the direction of the Pope, and its business was to try people for their opinions, and to see whether they believed what the Pope declared to be the only true opinions. Those who were found guilty by the Inquisition were often punished in the most cruel way, and were frequently tortured to make them confess what their judges wanted them to confess.

We shall see that Englishmen were right in fearing that Philip would try and bring into England the plan which he had adopted in Spain. It was not wonderful that, having this fear in their minds, they should have disliked the queen's choice of a husband. But the marriage of Queen Mary with Philip of Spain was not the only thing which had stirred up those who joined in Wyatt's rebellion, and which had made many other Englishmen who had not joined in the rebellion angry and discontented.

The Oxford Martyrs. (Ch 42)

"Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out." -- Bishop Latimer at the Stake.

When Mary first came to the throne it was clear to everyone that she intended to bring back the Old Religion in which she had been brought up, and to which she was so much attached. It seemed a natural thing that just as Edward VI., or rather those who advised Edward VI., had dismissed the bishops who refused to admit that the king was the true head of the Church, and had replaced them by men like Cranmer, so Mary should now turn out Cranmer and Latimer, and put back Gardiner and Bonner in their places.

If no more than this had been done, perhaps the Protestants would have remained quiet. But it soon became plain that Mary meant to go much further, and not only to set up the Old Religion again, but to make everybody admit that the Old Religion was the only true religion.

On the 25th July, 1554, Mary was married to Philip at Winchester. It was decided that Philip was to be called king, but that he was to have no right to interfere with the making of laws, or with the government of the country. The English people were wisely determined that if they were to have a foreign king, he should have no power to meddle with their concerns.

It soon became clear, however, that it was easier to say that the king should have no power than to prevent him from using the power which he got through being the queen's husband. Mary was very fond of Philip, much fonder than Philip was of her, and it soon became evident that what the king wished, the queen was only too ready to command. It was plain, moreover, that the king and queen were of the same mind about one thing -- and that was putting down the Protestants.

Parliament, which, as usual at this time, did pretty much what the king or queen happened to order, declared that the Pope was the only true head of the Church, that all that had been said and done to the contrary by Henry VIII. and Edward VI. was wrong and of no account, and that every man who refused to obey the new law might be put to death. The Protestant bishops and clergymen were turned out of their places, and Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury; Hooper, Bishop of Gloucester; Latimer, Bishop of Worcester; and Ridley, Bishop of London, were thrown into prison.

Urged on by Philip, Mary gave orders that the cruel persecution which had begun in Spain should be continued in England. In many parts of England men and women who were known to be Protestants were brought before the Roman Catholic bishops for trial, and were asked by them if they would consent to give up their belief and go back to the Old Religion. Hundreds of brave men and women were found who declared that neither the fear of imprisonment nor of death would make them give up their religion, or say that they believed what in their hearts they thought to be false.

For such as these there was no mercy. No less than 280 persons were burned to death in various parts of England for refusing to give up their religion.

Among those who thus died were the three bishops Latimer, Ridley, and Hooper. Hooper was burned at Gloucester, Latimer and Ridley at Oxford. These brave and good men met their death with a courage which did more for the cause of the Protestants than many sermons or many learned books could ever do. They met their judges and reasoned with them without fear, and sought neither mercy nor pardon.

Ridley was the first tried and condemned to death. Then Latimer, an old man of eighty, was brought before the judges. His appearance as he stood there before the men who he knew had made up their minds to condemn him to a cruel death is thus described:

"Latimer was then brought in -- eighty years old now -- dressed in an old threadbare gown of Bristol frieze, a handkerchief on his head with a nightcap over it, and over that again another cap, with two broad flaps buttoned under the chin. A leather belt was round his waist, to which a Testament was attached; his spectacles, without a case, hung from his neck."

It is well to try and picture to ourselves the brave old bishop, as he stood awaiting his sentence. Many other brave and good men died in the times about which we are reading, because they would not say what they believed to be untrue, and because they would not give up the religion which they loved. Among them were both Protestants and Roman Catholics. On whichever side they were, we cannot read of their sufferings without admiring them for their courage and their love of what they thought to be the truth. But among all who suffered, none better deserves to be remembered than this old man of eighty, in his threadbare gown of Bristol frieze, standing up boldly before his judges after two long, weary years in prison.

Indeed, the names of Latimer and Ridley have always lived in the memory of Englishmen; and if we who read about them now admire them, and feel sorry for them, what must those Englishmen have thought who saw them die at the stake in Oxford?

It was on the 16th October, 1555, that the two bishops were burned. As the torch was put to the faggots, Latimer spoke, and the words which he spoke will always be remembered. "Be of good comfort, Master Ridley," said the brave old bishop, "and play the man; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."

Latimer's last words proved to be true. The persecution of those who died for their faith helped the people of England to understand how great a cause these men were fighting for. The right of men and women to think as they please, to worship God in what way they think right, and to believe what their own conscience tells them to be true, is now no longer disputed in our country. We owe much of the liberty which we enjoy to the men who first "lighted the candle" of which Latimer spoke, and who taught Englishmen that it was better for a man to die than to give up the right to do what his conscience told him was his duty.

In St. Giles', at Oxford, stands a tall monument. It is called the Martyrs' Memorial, and commemorates the burning of Latimer and Ridley, which took place close by, in Broad Street.


The Death of Cranmer. (Ch 42)

"The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." -- Matt. xxvi. 41.

It was not till the next year (1556) that Archbishop Cranmer was put to death. The friends of the queen tried hard to get him to confess that he had been in the wrong, and that the Old Religion was, after all, the only true one. They hoped that he would do as Northumberland had done, and give up his opinions in the hope of saving his life. They felt sure that if the Archbishop of Canterbury, who had done so much to set up the Protestant Church, were to confess that he were in the wrong, and to beg for the queen's mercy, all those who had taken the side of the Reformers would feel that a great blow had been struck at their cause.

At first it seemed as if the queen's friends were going to get what they wanted. Wearied out by imprisonment, and with the fear of death before him, Cranmer consented to sign a paper in which he admitted that he had been in the wrong, and that the New Religion was a false one. But this did not save his life. Mary decided that he should be put to death, after all. Then when he saw that it was too late to hope for life, the archbishop's courage came back to him, and with it there came a feeling of shame that he had ever denied the truths which he had for so long taught to others.

When he was called upon to declare before all the people that he had given up the Protestant religion, and that he now believed all that was in the paper which he had signed, he said openly that he had not changed his opinion, that when he had signed the paper he had done so in fear of death and in the hope of saving his life; no other thing that he had ever done in his life troubled him so much as having written things which were contrary to the truth; the hand which had signed the paper had most offended, and therefore it should be the first to suffer in the flames. "The Pope," he said, "I utterly refuse, with all his false doctrine." On the 2ist March he was put to death. True to his word, he thrust his right hand, the hand which had signed the paper, first into the flames, where it was consumed.

All over the country many other Protestants, not so well known as Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley, but not less brave, were put to death because they would not admit that the Pope was head of the Church in England, and had the right to settle their religion for them.

That Mary really thought she was doing what was right, in persecuting and putting to death those who did not agree with her, is quite certain. She truly believed that she was doing what was her duty as a queen and as a Christian woman; and however terrible and hateful we may think her actions to have been, we must not forget that they seemed very different to her than they do to us nowadays. But though Mary thought that it was right to persecute and burn the enemies of the Pope, the people of England, or at any rate the greater part of them, soon made up their minds that what she did was wrong and hateful.

Many of those who were of the same religion as the queen had no love either for the Pope, or for Philip the queen's Spanish husband, and they would much rather have seen their neighbours allowed to follow their own religion, as long as they did not interfere with others. Many who before had cared little about the New Religion, and had had little love for those who preached it, or for those who believed in it, began to take sides with the men whom they saw persecuted and ill-treated.

The Protestants themselves, from one end of England to the other, instead of being frightened by the persecution which the queen hoped would make them change their religion, became angry instead, and determined never to rest until they had got rid of a queen who had a Spanish husband, and who believed that the Pope had the right to interfere with the lives of the people of England.

The Loss of Calais. (Ch 42)

That gateway to the mainland over which
Our flag hath floated for two hundred years
Is France again." -- Tennyson: "Queen Mary"

Before long Mary, who had begun her reign with the good wishes of by far the greater part of her subjects, came to be more and more disliked every year. Nor did the queen's troubles end with the hatred which followed the persecution of the Protestants. She had other matters which interfered with her happiness and peace of mind even more than the ill-will of her subjects. Her husband Philip had never loved her. He was eleven years younger than the queen, and he had been brought up to a very different sort of life from that which he was compelled to lead in England.

In Spain, Philip, as the son of the Emperor Charles, and as the future King of Spain, was a very great person, and everybody was anxious to please him. In England, on the other hand both nobles and common people hated him because he was a foreigner and because he was a Spaniard; the Protestants also hated him because he was their bitter enemy, and one of the strongest supporters of the Pope. Mary was very fond of her husband, but he did not return her affection; he cared little for her serious way of living, and he sought every opportunity of going away from her.

He soon had a good reason for leaving her. In the third year of Queen Mary's reign (1556), Charles V., Philip's father, tired of ruling a great kingdom, gave up his crown, and went to live for the rest of his days in a monastery. Philip now became King of Spain, and he was glad to return once more to his own country, leaving Mary sorrowing over his absence. Only once did he come back to England, and then but for a short time.

But though he had left the country he was still able to do it harm. Spain was at war with France, and Philip called upon the Queen of England to help him in his quarrel. Mary joined in the war to please her husband, and against the wish of most of her subjects.

But it seemed as if nothing could prosper in this unhappy reign. The English troops took but little part in the war; they helped Philip in a battle fought at St. Quentin, in which the Spanish and English troops won a victory. But a very short time afterwards the fortune of the war turned, and England suffered a loss which seemed to those who were living at that time to be one of the most shameful that could befall the country.

The Duke of Guise, the French general, marched with a strong army against Calais, the last of the English possessions in France. After a short siege of a week the town surrendered (1558). Two hundred and eleven years before, Edward III. had taken it after a siege of eleven months. When all else was lost to England of the great possessions which she had once held in France, Calais remained; and now that it had been lost, all England felt that a great disgrace had overtaken the country. No one felt this more than the unhappy queen herself. It is said that when the news of the fall of Calais reached her she was overcome with grief. "When I die," she said, "you will find the word 'Calais' written upon my heart."


It was not wonderful that Englishmen at the time should mourn over the loss of the town which they had kept for so long, but there can be no doubt that it was really a very good thing, not only for France but for England, that the Duke of Guise succeeded in winning back the place.

There would never have been any lasting peace between England and France as long as Englishmen kept a part of the land of France. The French would always have been wanting to fight us whenever they got a chance, in order to get back their own land. Nor could we have blamed them if they had, for it is to be hoped that no Englishman would ever rest quiet if Frenchmen were to take, and try to keep, any piece of British land, however small or however distant.

But, as has been said, the people of England were very angry and very sad at the time, and they laid the blame for the loss, of Calais upon Mary's Spanish husband, who had dragged England into a war in which she had no concern.

Deserted by her husband, disliked by her people, unsuccessful in war, Mary now felt that all her plans had failed. The Pope, whom she had all her life done her best to serve, had taken the side of France against Spain, and therefore was her enemy. Philip, for whom she had offended her people, and for whose sake she had undertaken the unlucky war with France, had left her; and, worst of all, she now knew that she was dying, and that she would leave no child to come after her on the throne.

This would have been bad enough in itself, but it was made far worse when she remembered that the next heir to the throne was the daughter of Anne Boleyn, her sister Elizabeth, whom she hated, and who was the favourite of the Protestants whom she had so long fought against and persecuted.

On the 17th November, 1558, in the sixth year of her reign, Queen Mary died after a painful illness. She was forty-two years old when she died. Her reign, which began so hopefully for herself and her friends, ended in gloom and disappointment for all those who had taken her part or who wished her well. Few women have tried harder to do what they thought right than Queen Mary, and it would be unfair to forget this when we read the story of her reign, and of the cruel things that were done by her orders.

But the reign of Queen Mary has always been held to have been one of the most hateful and miserable in our history, and justly so. There were few in all England who felt any sorrow when the news came that the queen was dead. The people of England who had seen the cruel things that had been done among them, the burnings and the persecutions which had made the land wretched, spoke of her by the name by which she will always be remembered in English history.

Chapter 43. Elizabeth -- The Protestant Queen. 1558-1603.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Queen Elizabeth:
     Elizabeth, Queen of England, daughter of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn, b. 1533, became Queen 1558, d. 1603.
     Henry II., King of France, d. 1559.
     Francis II., King of France, son of Henry II., husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, d. 1560.
     Charles IX., King of France, brother of Francis II., d. 1574.
     Henry III., King of France, brother of Francis and Charles, a suitor of Elizabeth under the name of Duke of Anjou, murdered 1589.
     Henry IV. (Henry of Navarre), King of France.
     Philip II., King of Spain, brother-in-law of Elizabeth, d 1598.
     Philip III., son of Philip II., King of Spain.
     Ferdinand I., Emperor, d. 1564.
     Maximilian II., son of Ferdinand I., Emperor, d. 1576.
     Rudolph II., son of Maximilian II., Emperor.
     Mary, Queen of Scots, executed 1587.
     James VI., King of Scotland, son of Mary, afterwards James I. of England and Scotland.
     The Earl of Murray, Regent of Scotland, murdered 1570.
     Paul IV., Pope, d. 1559.
     Pius IV., Pope, d. 1566.
     Pius V., Pope d. 1572.
     Gregory XIII., Pope, d. 1585.
     Sixtus V., Pope, died 1590.
     Urban VII, Pope, d. 1590.
     Gregory XIV., Pope, d. 1591.
     Innocent IX , Pope, d. 1592.
     Clement VIII, Pope.
     Elizabeth's Chief Ministers:
          William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, b. 1520, d. 1598.
          Sir Francis Walsingham, b. 1536, d. 1590.
          Sir Nicholas Bacon, b. 1510, d. 1579.
          Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, son of Lord Burleigh, b. 1550.
          John Knox, Scottish Reformer, d. 1572.
          Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, minister and favourite of the queen, d. 1588.
          Robert Devereux, Earl of Essex, minister and favourite of the queen, executed 1601.
     Great Seamen and Soldiers:
          Sir Walter Raleigh, b. 1552.
          Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of England, b. 1536
          Sir John Hawkins, b. 1520, d. 1596.
          Sir Martin Frobisher, d. 1594.
          John Davis.
          Sir Francis Drake, b. 1545, d. 1596.
          Sir Richard Grenville, b. 1540, d. 1591.
          Sir Philip Sidney, b. 1554, killed at Zutphen, 1586.
          Sir Humphrey Gilbert, b. 1539, d. 1584.
     Great Writers:
          William Shakespeare, b. 1564, d. 1616.
          Edmund Spenser, b. 1553, d. 1599
          Ben Jonson, b. 1574.
          Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, son of Nicholas Bacon, b. 1561.
          Sir Philip Sidney, b. 1554, d. 1586.
          Christopher Marlow, d. 1593.
          Richard Hooker d. 1600.
          Ralph Holinshed, the chronicler, d. 1581
          John Foxe, author of "The Book of Martyrs," d. 1587.
          John Stow, author of "Stow's Chronicle," d. 1605.
          John Fletcher, b. 1576.
          Philip Massinger, b. 1583
          Francis Beaumont, b. 1584.
          John Ford, b. 1586.
     Great Painters:
          Michael Angelo, Florentine, d 1564.
          Titian, Venetian, d. 1576.
          Tintoretto, Venetian, d. 1594.
     Henry Damley, m. Mary, Queen of Scots 1565, murdered 1567.
     James, Earl of Bothwell m. Mary, Queen of Scots 1567, d. 1578.
     William Lee, inventor of stocking-frames.
     Sir Edward Coke, Chief Justice of England, the great lawyer, b. 1552.

Principal events during the during the reign of Queen Elizabeth:
     1558. Elizabeth becomes Queen.
     Nicholas Bacon, Chancellor. Sir W. Cecil, Secretary of State. Elizabeth discontinues mass in favour of English service.
     1559. The Roman Catholic bishops refuse to officiate at the coronation. The Pope denies Elizabeth's right to the crown. A Protestant Parliament. Acts of Supremacy and Uniformity passed. Francis II., husband of Mary, Queen of Scots, becomes King of France. John Knox promotes the Reformation in Scotland.
     1560. Elizabeth sends a fleet to help the Scottish Reformers. Treaty of Edinburgh signed. The French commissioners agree that Mary shall renounce her claim to the throne of England. Mary and Francis refuse to recognise the surrender of the commissioners. Shan O'Neil's rebellion in Ireland. Westminster School founded. Francis II. of France dies.
     1561. Mary goes to Scotland. Dudley becomes Elizabeth's favourite. Francis Bacon born.
     1562. Elizabeth has small-pox. Civil war in France.
     1563. A subsidy voted for troops in France. Elizabeth avoids settling the question of succession.
     1564. Rizzio becomes Mary's favourite. William Shakespeare born. The Puritans first begin to be heard of. Michael Angelo dies. Calvin dies.
     1565. Mary marries Darnley.
     1566. Murder of Rizzio.
     1567. Parliament dissolved. Murder of Darnley. Mary marries Bothwell. Flight of Bothwell. Mary captured at Carberry Hill. Resigns crown. The Earl of Murray, Regent of Scotland.
     1567. The revolt of the Netherlands against Spain. The Royal Exchange founded. Rugby School founded.
     1568. Escape of Mary from Loch Leven. Arrested in England. Alva's persecution in the Netherlands. Mary removed from Bolton to Hampton Court, thence to Tutbury.
     1569. Mary removed to Coventry. Insurrection in the North, led by Westmoreland and Dacre.
     1570. The Pope excommunicates Elizabeth, and commands her subjects not to obey her. A man posting the Pope's bull in London is hanged. The Regent Murray murdered.
     1571. Parliament claims the right of free speech. Mary's friends seize Edinburgh Castle. Harrow School founded. Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England adopted. The battle of Lepanto. The Austrians under Don John defeat the Turkish fleet.
     1572. The Duke of Norfolk executed. Henry of Navarre marries Margaret of France. Massacre of St. Bartholomew. John Knox dies.
     1573. Elizabeth supports the Netherlands. Siege of La Rochelle. The city of Manila, in the East Indies, built by the Spaniards.
     1574. Charles IX. of France dies. Ben Jonson, the great poet, born.
     1575. The Netherlands offer sovereignty to Elizabeth. The Prince of Orange appointed Stadtholder.
     1576. Henry of Navarre becomes a Protestant. The great painter Titian dies of Plague in Venice. Martin Frobisher sails to discover the North-West passage. Wentworth imprisoned for his speech in the House of Commons.
     1577. Drake begins his voyage round the world.
     1578. English auxiliaries assist the Dutch. The Pope sends troops to assist the Roman Catholics in Ireland. Norwegians try to interfere with English commerce. Elizabeth asserts right of free navigation. Drake explores California. Sir Humphrey Gilbert plants the colony of Virginia.
     1579. The seven provinces of the Netherlands combine against the Spaniards. Elizabeth enters into a treaty with the Sultan. The Turkey Company established.
     1580. The Duke of Anjou offers marriage to Elizabeth. Elizabeth imprisons Leicester. Drake returns and is knighted. The Papal and Spanish troops defeated in Ireland.
     1581. Jesuit plots against Elizabeth. The University of Edinburgh founded. Ralph Holinshed, the chronicler, dies.
     1582. Elizabeth dismisses her suitor the Duke of Anjou. Correction of the calendar by Gregory XIII.
     1583. Elizabeth claims sovereignty over Newfoundland. James of Scotland escapes from confinement in England.
     1584. Conspiracies against Elizabeth. A national association formed to defend her. Second expedition to Virginia under Raleigh. The Prince of Orange murdered. Henry of Navarre becomes heir to the crown of France.
     1585. The Earl of Leicester sent with troops to the United Provinces. Drake and Frobisher attack the Spanish possessions in the West Indies. Ambassadors from Japan received at Rome. Conde with an English fleet relieves Rochelle. Antwerp surrenders to the Spaniards. Davis explores North-East America. Coaches first used in England. Cardinal Richelieu, afterwards the great French minister, b. Sept. 5.
     1586. Battle of Zutphen. Death of Sir Philip Sidney.
     1587. Mary, Queen of Scots beheaded. Philip prepares to invade England. Pope Sixtus issues a Bull and preaches a crusade against England. Drake destroys the Spanish fleet at Cadiz.
     1588. The Spanish Armada sails. The Earl of Leicester dies. The Armada destroyed.
     1589. King James of Scotland marries Anne of Denmark. Henry of Navarre takes title of King of France. The stocking-frame invented.
     1590. The first paper mill in England established at Dartford. The Battle of Ivry.
     1591. An English army under Essex sent to help Henry IV. of France. Trinity College, Dublin, founded by Elizabeth.
     1592. The Cathedral of St. Mark at Venice built.
     I 593. Wentworth imprisoned, and three other members of the House of Commons. Henry IV. of France becomes a Roman Catholic. Alliance between Elizabeth and Henry IV.
     1594. Spanish attempts to murder Elizabeth. Henry IV. enters Paris. The Falkland Isles discovered.
     1598. The Edict of Nantes, giving protection to the Protestants in France, issued by Henry IV. Elizabeth refuses to make peace without the Netherlands. Lord Burleigh dies. Shakespeare performs his own plays in London.
     1599. Essex disgraced. Spenser dies. Oliver Cromwell born.
     1600. Trial and pardon of Essex. Charles Stuart (afterwards Charles I.) born. The East India Company founded. Inquiries into electricity by Dr. W. Gilbert, of Colchester.
     1601. Insurrection and execution of Essex. The Spaniards land at Kinsale. The Earl of Tyrone's rebellion suppressed by Mountjoy. Monopolies abolished by Elizabeth. English factories established on the Malabar coast of India. The Poor Law of the forty-third year of Elizabeth passed. Robert Cecil negotiates with James as to succession.
     1603. Elizabeth dies, aged 69.

"Good Queen Bess." (Ch 43)

GARTER KING-AT-ARMS. -- "Heaven, from thy endless goodness, send prosperous life, long, and ever happy, to the High and Mighty Princess of England, Elizabeth!" -- Shakespeare: "Henry VIII"

"Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us,
God save the Queen!"
-- Henry Carey: "God save the Queen."

We now come to the story of the reign of one of the most famous of all the sovereigns of England. The name of Queen Elizabeth, or of "Good Queen Bess," as her people called her, is justly held in honour by Englishmen. It is true that Elizabeth did many things which appear to us cruel and harsh, and that she can be fairly charged with being mean in some things, and deceitful in others. More than once she used her power and her high position to injure those of whom she was jealous or whom she feared. But when all that can be said against Queen Elizabeth has been said, we must still admit that she was a wonderful woman and a great queen.

Whatever mistakes she made, there was one mistake which Elizabeth was never guilty of. She never forgot that she was Queen of England, and that it was her duty to make England great, prosperous, and respected.

Edward VI. had tried to reign as king of the Protestants of England, Mary as queen of the Roman Catholics of England. But from the very beginning of her reign, Elizabeth tried to reign, not as queen of this party or of that, but as queen of all the people of England. As long as people served her faithfully, obeyed the laws which she approved, and were true to the country, she was true to them. Her faults were best known to those who lived near her, and who had much to do with her; but it was her virtues and not her faults which English men and English women who did not live at the Court saw and understood.

The accession of the new queen was the signal for rejoicing throughout the land. Men of all parties were tired of the cruelties and the misfortunes of Mary's reign, and there was but one cry heard as Elizabeth rode into London -- it was the cry of "God save the Queen."

Parliament, in the time of Henry VIII., had passed an Act declaring that Elizabeth had no right to come to the throne. But by a later Act the King had been given power to declare in his will who should succeed him, and he had actually made a will naming Elizabeth as Queen in due course. Now nearly everyone was glad to see Elizabeth on the throne, safe and well, for during Mary's reign her life had often been in danger.

Mary was, above all things, a friend of the Pope: Elizabeth had been brought up in the Reformed Religion, and was the hope of all those who belonged to it. During her sister's reign, Elizabeth had really been kept prisoner, first in one place and then in another. The Pope's party had over and over again tried to find her out in some plot against Queen Mary, or to prove that she was trying to upset the Old Religion. But Elizabeth had been wise and wary. She had taken care not to give offence, or to do anything which might give her enemies power over her, and thus she had managed to escape safely through all the dangers which had threatened her.

It was, perhaps, a good thing for Elizabeth that she had been a prisoner while she was young, and that she had learnt what was meant by the religious persecutions which had gone on all around her. When she came to be queen, she showed a caution and a wisdom which were not to be expected in so young a woman.

As soon as the news of Queen Mary's death was known, Elizabeth was brought up from Hatfield, where she was staying, and was at once recognised as queen by all parties. She was twenty-five years old when she came to the throne, and seldom was any woman, whether queen or not, better provided with learning and accomplishments,. She had studied deeply history, philosophy, and poetry. She wrote, and wrote well, English, French, Italian, Latin, and Greek. She was a beautiful dancer, and could play and read music.

Whether at any time of her life she were really beautiful, it is hard to say. If we were to believe all that her flatterers said and wrote about her, we must believe that she was the most beautiful creature that ever lived upon earth. If, on the other hand, we are to take as true all the unkind things that were said of her by her enemies, we shall think of her as a plain, awkward, dried-up little shrew, who had no beauty in anybody's eyes except her own.

The pictures of Queen Elizabeth do not tell us very much, for, in the first place, they are not all alike, and, in the second place, pictures can flatter as well as courtiers; though, to tell the truth, if we are to judge by the pictures only, we shall not think that Elizabeth was a very beautiful woman. It seems most likely that the real Elizabeth was something between what her friends on the one side, and her enemies on the other, declared her to be.

When she was young she was probably bright, graceful, and dignified, and most people were ready to think that a graceful young queen, dressed in the richest clothes that wealth could buy, was beautiful. As years went by and the queen became an old woman, not only did she lose her good looks, but there seems no doubt that she made the mistake of trying by her dress and by her manner to look young and beautiful, long after the time of youth and beauty had gone.

The Queen's Ministers -- The Claim of the Queen of Scots. (Ch 43)

"The wisest Princes need not thinke it any diminution of their Gretnesse, or derogation to their Sufficiency to rely upon counsel." -- Bacon's Essays.

We now come to an account of what took place in the first years of Elizabeth's reign. Mary had been the queen of the Old Religion, Elizabeth was to be the queen of the New Religion; and she was wise enough to see that she could only be safe if she openly declared herself on the side of the Reformers, who were now the stronger party in the kingdom, and who were ready to serve her with devotion.

One of the first things that Elizabeth did was to choose her ministers, and she showed her wisdom by her choice. Her chief minister was William Cecil. Cecil had been a friend of the Duke of Northumberland in the time of Edward VI. Under Mary he had declared himself to be a friend of the old religion. Now that Elizabeth was on the throne he came forward as a Protestant; but though he had made many changes before he became Elizabeth's minister, he made none after that time.

For forty years Cecil served the queen faithfully. He helped her with his wise counsel in all her difficulties. Elizabeth, on her side, knew that she could trust Cecil more than any other adviser, and she was true to him to the end of his life. She made him Lord Burleigh, and she gave him great wealth and power, which he always used wisely. Few sovereigns have had a better minister than Elizabeth, and few ministers have ever been better trusted or better rewarded than William Cecil, Lord Burleigh.

From the time of Queen Elizabeth, the family of Cecil has often taken a part in directing the affairs of this country. In our own lifetime Robert Cecil, Marquess of Salisbury, has, like William Cecil, Lord Burleigh, been the trusted minister of the Sovereign of England. Among the other ministers whom the queen chose were Walsingham, Nicholas Bacon, and Lord Robert Dudley, the brother of Guildford Dudley, the unfortunate husband of Lady Jane Grey.

As soon as Elizabeth had been crowned queen, it became clear that there were many difficulties before her. Most of the countries of Europe accepted her as the true Queen of England, but there were two exceptions. Paul IV., who was then Pope, told the English ambassador that Elizabeth had no right to be queen, but that if she would send and beg for his permission to succeed to the throne he would give it. Elizabeth did not trouble Paul IV. She neither asked for nor wanted his permission. She ordered her ambassador to leave Rome; and she reigned for forty-five years without the Pope's leave, but with the full agreement of the people of England.

The other exception to the friendliness of the sovereigns of Europe was the conduct of Henry II., King of France. Henry declared that Elizabeth had no right to come to the throne. The true heir, he said, was Mary Stuart, great-granddaughter of Henry VII., who had married the Dauphin Francis, the heir to the throne of France.

As this claim which was made by the King of France on behalf of Mary Stuart was the beginning of a bitter quarrel between Elizabeth and Mary, and led to much trouble and sorrow, we must try to understand how it arose.

We shall understand this most easily if we look at the plan which shows the family of Henry VII. (see pp. 432 and 803). It will be seen that Elizabeth properly came before Mary Stuart, because she was the daughter of Henry VII.'s son, while Mary, was descended from Margaret, Henry VII.'s daughter. It is true that Margaret was older than Henry, but by the law and custom of England, the son of the king had the right to succeed to the throne before the daughter.

But the King of France did not forget that both the Pope and the Parliament of England had at one time declared that Elizabeth had no right to come to the throne. The Pope had declared that she could not come to the throne because Henry had no right to divorce Catharine, and to marry Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth's mother. The English Parliament in the reign of Henry VIII. had declared that Elizabeth could not succeed, because at that time Henry was angry with Anne Boleyn, and had ordered her to be executed. If it were true that Elizabeth had no right to come to the throne, then the King of France was quite right when he said that Mary Stuart was the next heir.

But there was a great deal to be said on the other side. In the first place, Henry VIII. had, with the consent of Parliament, made a will before he died, in which he specially declared that Elizabeth should come to the throne. In the second place, whatever the King of France thought, the people of England had made up the:r minds that they did not want, and would not have, either a foreign queen or a queen of the old religion, but that they did want, and would have, an English and a Protestant queen.

And there was a third reason, which no doubt had a great deal of weight with people in England who at first felt inclined to agree with the King of France, namely, that Parliament passed an Act declaring that Elizabeth was the true heir to the throne both by birth and by law, and that any man or woman who declared the contrary should be put to death, and thus it came about that, despite the Pope and despite the King of France, Elizabeth found herself seated firmly upon the throne.

The Act of Uniformity, and the Court of High Commission -- The "Puritans." (Ch 43)

"Men must beware, that in the Procuring of Religious Unity, they doe not Dissolute and Deface the Lawes of Charity and of humane Society." -- Bacon's Essays.

Two things began at once to occupy the new queen. One was the question of religion, the other was the question of marriage. Just as Mary had turned out the Protestant bishops, so Elizabeth now turned out all the Roman Catholic bishops who would not admit that Elizabeth was the true head of the Church. All the bishops but one were turned out, and Protestants put in their places; but most of the parish clergymen kept their places, and readily agreed to accept the Protestant services. Indeed, most of them were Protestants at heart.

Parliament then passed two Acts (1559), called respectively the Act of Uniformity and the Act of Supremacy. The former enacted not only that everybody in the country should publicly attend the Protestant services, but declared that all the Protestant services throughout the country were to be of one uniform pattern. The latter declared all persons to be guilty of high treason who did not admit the queen's title. Many persons were punished under these laws, and many were put to death for disobeying them. The charge which was made against those who offended against the Act of Supremacy was that they had been guilty of high treason. In order to carry out the Act of Uniformity, a special Court was set up, called the Court of High Commission.

Most of those who were tried and punished by the Court of High Commission were Roman Catholics and friends of the Pope, but some were Protestants. Many of the Protestants who had fled from the country in the time of Queen Mary had lived during their exile in Germany or Switzerland. In the latter country they had become the followers of a French Protestant preacher named Calvin, and were known as Calvinists.

In England they soon got another name. They believed that the Reformation had not gone nearly far enough, and that the Church which Elizabeth had set up under the Act of Uniformity was too much like the Roman Catholic Church whose place it had taken. They said that in a true Protestant Church there ought to be no bishops, and that each congregation ought to choose its own minister, and they declared that many other things were needed to purify the Protestant Church and to make it what it ought to be.

Because they desired, as they said, to purify the Church, these men came to be called Puritans; and though they did not become very powerful in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, we shall learn further on in our history that they played a great part in later times.

Elizabeth would not allow anyone, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant, to break the laws which she had made. She did not, like Queen Mary, say that people might not think what they liked, nor did she put people to death on account of what they thought or believed, but she declared that everyone who publicly broke the Act of Uniformity or the Act of Supremacy should be punished. And thus it was that both Roman Catholics and Puritans alike came to be condemned by the Court of High Commission.

It is sad to think that a Protestant queen and a Protestant parliament should have forgotten how much they owed to those who had fought and died for the right to worship God in the way they thought right. It is sad to think that under Elizabeth men were put to death for their religion, but, unfortunately, there is no doubt that such was the case.

There is one thing, however, which we must remember. The Roman Catholics who refused to obey the Acts were friends of the Pope, and there is no doubt that the Pope would have gladly given his help to any foreign nation which would have sent an army into England, to take the crown away from Queen Elizabeth, and to force the country back to the old religion.

It is not true to say that all the Roman Catholics who were put to death by the Court of High Commission were guilty of high treason. But it cannot be doubted that many of them hoped to see a change made in England by the help of foreign armies. No one need ever feel sorry for an Englishman who is put to death because he has been plotting to bring foreign soldiers into England against the will of the people. A man who does this is a traitor, and the sooner he is punished the better.

The Queen and Her Suitors. (Ch 43)

"Cupid all arm'd; a certain aim he took
At a fair vestal throned by the west,
And loosed his love-shaft smartly from his bow,
As it should pierce a hundred thousand hearts:
But I might see young Cupid's fiery shaft
Quenched in the chaste beams of the wafry moon
And the imperial votaress passed on,
In maiden meditation, fancy-free."
-- Shakespeare: "Midsummer Night's Dream."

[Spoken by Oberon, of Titania, Queen of the Fairies, but meant by Shakespeare to be a compliment to Queen Elizabeth.]

There was another important question besides that of religion which troubled Elizabeth and her ministers at the very beginning of her reign. This was the question of the queen's marriage. It was very important to the country that the queen should marry, so that there might be a Protestant heir to the throne; but to those who remembered the harm which had been done by Queen Mary's marriage with Philip of Spain, it seemed also of the greatest importance that the queen should marry the right person.

There was not likely to be any difficulty in finding a suitor for the hand of a young queen, and, indeed, there was no lack of persons ready to offer themselves; and it was soon seen that the difficulty would now be to choose among so many.

Among those who sought the hand of the queen were her brother-in-law, Philip the Second of Spain; Charles of Austria, son of the Emperor Ferdinand; Eric, King of Sweden; the Duke of Holstein, son of the King of Denmark; and the Duke of Anjou, brother of Henry III., King of France. Never did a lady have such distinguished wooers. Parliament sent an address to the queen begging her to take a husband. The queen thanked the members, but said she would rather remain single. At the same time she would not say "No" to her suitors, and seemed to incline now to one and now to another.

The Duke of Anjou was, perhaps, the one for whom she had the greatest liking, but in the end Elizabeth stuck to the resolution which she had expressed in her answer to Parliament. She would have no husband, and remained single to the end of her days -- The Virgin Queen. Whether it were that she feared the loss of her power if she had a husband, or whether it were that she never found a husband to her liking, is not certain, but, whatever her reason, Elizabeth chose to remain unmarried.

The first part of the new reign was not fortunate for England. The queen was forced to agree to give up the English claims to Calais, a town which every Englishman still hoped might be won back again; and the French town of Havre, which had been captured by the English troops, was retaken by the French after a fierce siege.

France at this time was governed by the Roman Catholic party, and for this reason was hostile to Protestant England. There were, however, in France, a great number of Protestants who, under the name of Huguenots (derived from the German word Eidgenossen, meaning "Confederates") were trying hard to upset the French Government and to put a Protestant king upon the throne. Although Elizabeth did not like to make war openly upon France, she constantly sent help to the Huguenots, and allowed English soldiers to go over and fight on their side. This was another cause for disagreement between England and France at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign; and there was a third cause, about which we shall read in the next chapter, and which at one time seemed as if it would prove more serious than either of the others.


Chapter 44. The Sorrowful History of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Mary in Scotland.

"Adieu, beloved France, adieu,
Thou ever wilt be dear to me,
Land which my happy childhood knew,
I feel I die in quitting thee."
-- Marx Beranger: "Mary Stuart's Farewell."

We must not forget that Mary Stuart, who had married the Dauphin of France, was also by right Queen of Scotland. In 1559 Henry II., King of France, died, and Francis II., Mary's husband, became King of France. It appeared as though there were here the beginning of a great danger for England. That the Queen of France should be also Queen of Scotland, and that both she and her husband should be Roman Catholics and eager to support the old religion, seemed a very serious matter. Luckily, however, for England, the young King Francis died before he had reigned eighteen months (1560), and was succeeded by his brother Charles IX.

Mary was now no longer Queen of France. Her mother-in-law, Catherine de Medicis, hated her, and Mary was glad of any reason which would take her away from the French Court, where she was now no longer mistress, and where, since the new king had come to the throne, she had few friends and many enemies. When, therefore, the message reached Mary from the Parliament of Scotland inviting her to come back to her own country and live among her subjects, she accepted, if not with joy, at any rate willingly.

On the 15th day of August, 1561, she set sail from Calais. Her heart sank as she saw the shores of France, the land in which she had been so happy, pass slowly out of sight, and tears came to her eyes as she bade adieu to that pleasant country. English ships of war were looking out for her, for Mary claimed to be Queen of England, and thereby declared herself an enemy of Elizabeth. But a sea-fog favoured the Queen of Scots, and she reached Leith, the seaport of Edinburgh, in safety.

And now, before we go any further with the story of Mary, Queen of Scots, we must pause for a moment to learn what was the condition of Scotland at this time. Unless we do so, we shall not be able to understand how it was that the story of the "Queen of Scots" plays so important a part in the history of England.

The division which had been caused in England by the Protestant Reformation had been very great, but in Scotland the division was even greater, for the two parties soon came to blows, and a fierce civil war broke out. We have seen how among the Protestant exiles, who came back at the beginning of Elizabeth's reign, there were followers of Calvin, men who afterwards were called Puritans in England, but the fiercest and most earnest follower of Calvin came to Scotland. This was John Knox, who soon became the head of the party of Reformers in Scotland. Everywhere he preached against the Roman Catholic Church, and went so far as to make violent attacks upon the queen to her face. He preached so fiercely against her one day that Mary, frightened by his language and by his harsh appearance, burst into tears.

But though the party of Knox and the Reformers was very strong, Mary, too, had many friends. She was young and she was beautiful. There seems no doubt, indeed, that she was one of the most beautiful women of her time. She could always reckon upon the goodwill of France, now she had left it, and the Roman Catholic party in Scotland was still powerful.

Nor was this all. There were many thousands in England who belonged to the old religion, and who believed that Elizabeth had no right to the crown. But if Elizabeth had no right to the crown, then Mary, Queen of Scots was the true Queen of England. Thus it will be seen that Mary had good friends, and a great chance of success when she first came to Scotland. If she had only shown more wisdom, her fate might have been a very fortunate one, but she chose to do things which made her own friends desert her, and which made her enemies feel that she was a danger to them as long as she lived.

Mary's first husband had been Francis II, King of France, and she was now a widow; but it was not long before she married again. She chose as her husband Henry Darnley, a young nobleman of handsome appearance but of a bad and brutal character. She soon learned to hate her new husband. Among the courtiers of the queen was an Italian named David Rizzio, of whom the queen was very fond. He was a good musician and a clever talker, and the queen, fresh from the gay Court of France, liked his company much better than that of the savage Scottish nobles who were the companions of Henry Darnley.

In a fit of jealousy, Darnley, with three of the lords -- Morton, Ruthven, and Lindsay -- broke into the room where the queen was sitting with the Countess of Argyle and Rizzio. Mary tried to protect her friend, but the lords dragged Rizzio from her and murdered him with their daggers in the next room. In the royal palace of Holyrood, in Edinburgh, the room is still shown where Mary was sitting when her husband and his cruel friends broke in, and the place is pointed out where Rizzio fell pierced with no less than fifty-five wounds. From that moment the queen determined to be rid of Darnley, and her determination was all the greater because she had already made up her mind to marry a third husband.

The husband whom the queen had made up her mind to marry was the Earl of Bothwell. It was not long before the queen was free to do what she wished. Darnley fell ill of small-pox. By the queen's order he was brought to her house near Edinburgh, called the Kirk-o'-fields. Mary herself went to nurse him there, but returned to Edinburgh in the evening. On the night of the 9th February, 1567, she left her husband at ten o'clock to go to a ball at the palace, At three o'clock in the morning a violent explosion took place. Kirk-o'-fields was blown up by gunpowder, and the body of Darnley was found among the ruins. No one doubted that Bothwell had been the murderer, and many declared that the queen had known of the plot.


The Flight of Mary, Queen of Scots. (Ch 44)

"The Queen, the Beauty, sets the world in arms." -- Johnson: "Vanity of Human Wishes."

But although everyone, whether in Scotland or in other countries, declared that Bothwell was her husband's murderer, Mary was determined to have her own way, and married him two months after the death of Darnley.

At first the Parliament of Scotland had declared that Bothwell was innocent, but as soon as the queen actually married him they no longer pretended to have any doubt of his guilt. A number of the Protestant lords took up arms. They declared Bothwell to be the murderer of the king, they sent to Queen Elizabeth for help, and they marched against Mary and her husband. Bothwell fled to the Orkney Islands. Hunted from his refuge, he put to sea, and was driven by a storm on to the coast of Norway. There he was taken, imprisoned as a pirate, and died in prison eleven years later.

Queen Mary herself was taken prisoner by the lords and shut up in Lochleven Castle, in the middle of Loch Leven. It was not long, however, before the queen succeeded in making her escape. No sooner was she free than she called upon her friends to help her. She at once raised an army, and marched against her half-brother, Murray, the leader of the Protestant lords. The two armies met at Langside, near Glasgow, and the battle which took place ended in the entire defeat of the queen's troops.

Mary herself rode off at full speed, and never stopped till she reached Dundrennan, on the Solway Firth. There she paused, uncertain what course to take. Behind her were Murray and the Scottish lords, her bitter enemies; in front, across the waters of the Solway, were England and Queen Elizabeth, whose crown she had claimed and whose enmity she had good reason to fear. Her friends advised her not to set foot in England, but rather to return to her friends in France.

Mary, however, made up her mind to take refuge in England and to trust to the goodwill of Elizabeth. She crossed the water in a small boat and landed at Workington, in Cumberland. Thence she went to Carlisle. News was at once brought to Elizabeth that her rival was now in her power. From that day forward Mary was really a prisoner during the whole of the nineteen years which passed between the day of her defeat at Langside and the day of her death (1587).

The Queen of Scots in England. (Ch 44)

"The glory and the glow
Of the world's loveliness hath passed away;
And Fate hath little to inflict to-day,
And nothing to bestow."
-- W. M. Praed: "Retrospect."

The story of these years is a sorrowful one. It is not easy, even at the present day, to give a clear account of what really took place, or to say how far Mary, Queen of Scots deserved the fate that overtook her. Even now, three hundred years after the time when these things took place, there are many people who declare that Mary was a good and an honest woman, most unjustly and cruelly treated by Elizabeth. On the other hand, there are many who declare that Mary was a bad woman, who, having murdered one husband in order to marry another, took part in plots against the life of Queen Elizabeth, and was ready to get the help of France, Spain, or Scotland to enable her to seize the crown of England against the wishes of the English people.

One thing, however, is certain -- namely, that while Mary, Queen of Scots remained alive and in England she was always a danger to Elizabeth and to the Protestant cause. In France, in Spain, and in Scotland her best friends were the worst enemies of England. On Queen Elizabeth's death, Mary would, beyond doubt, have become Queen of England, and the enemies of England would have expected her to help them, and to put down the Protestants.

While Mary was in England, plot after plot was made against Elizabeth by Mary's friends, and by men who looked to her as their rightful queen. Whether Mary knew of all or of any of these plots is uncertain. It is most probable that she knew of most of them, but it is not proved that she helped them on. It was certainly believed that she had taken part in the murder of Darnley, and a box or casket was found, containing letters which proved, if they were genuine, that Mary certainly did know of the murder.

But there were many who said then, and many who still believe, that these "casket letters," as they were called, were forgeries -- that is to say, that they were written by Mary's enemies for the purpose of making people believe that she was guilty.

Whatever may have been the truth about Mary's guilt, Elizabeth made up her mind from the time Mary first came into Carlisle that she should be kept a prisoner. Year after year the beautiful Queen of Scots was moved from one prison to another. Each time a new plot was discovered, or each time Elizabeth's friends declared that they had found out a new plot, Mary's imprisonment was made stricter and harsher.

She begged to see Elizabeth, but Elizabeth never consented to see her. At length Mary was removed to her last prison, the Castle of Fotheringay, near Peterborough. Whether at that time Elizabeth had made up her mind that Mary should be put to death is not certain, but the discovery of a new plot sealed her fate. The plot, which was known as Babington's conspiracy, was the work of a young man named Babington. His plan was to set Mary Stuart free, to stab Queen Elizabeth with a dagger, to invite the Spanish troops in the Netherlands to come over and attack England, and to set up the Roman Catholic religion again. Whether Mary knew of this plot is not quite certain. It does not seem likely that she approved of it, but she had received a letter from Babington; and this letter was found.

Elizabeth and her ministers now decided that the time had come when an end must be put, once for all, to these dangers. Babington and his friends were taken, tried, and executed. The next thing to be done was to try Mary herself. The trial took place at Fotheringay. It was soon plain to all that the judges whom Elizabeth had appointed had already made up their minds as to what their sentence was to be. Mary was to die.

In these last hours of her life the Queen of Scots behaved with wonderful courage. She asked to be brought face to face with her accusers. She declared that she was Queen of Scots, and that an English court had no right to try her. She was innocent, she said, and she was about to be unjustly condemned without being heard in her own defence.

But neither her courage nor her arguments moved the minds of her judges. On the 25th of October, 1586, the judges gave their sentence. They declared that "Mary Stuart, commonly called Queen of Scots," was guilty of "pretending a title to the Crown of this Realm of England, tending to the hurt, death, and destruction of the Royal Person of our Lady the Queen." They also declared that she had taken part in Babington's plot. Their sentence was that she should be put to death.

Parliament at once begged Elizabeth to order the sentence to be carried out. There can be no doubt that most Englishmen, and nearly all Protestant Englishmen, were tired of these plots against their queen; and that when the Parliament begged Elizabeth to put Mary to death they really spoke the wishes of the people. For some time Elizabeth refused to sign the warrant, or order, for the execution. Whether she really wished to save Mary's life or not is uncertain, but she wished to be able to say that she had consented to sign the death-warrant against her own will, and only because her Parliament and her ministers told her that it was her duty. At last, however, she gave an order to affix the Great Seal to the warrant.

And now we come to the last scene in the life of the unhappy Mary, Queen of Scots. The courage which had kept her up through the trial did not forsake her on the scaffold. She listened quietly to the reading of the order for her death. She declared that after nearly twenty years of imprisonment death was welcome, and that she was glad to die for her religion. As for the plots against Queen Elizabeth, she vowed that she had never taken any part in them by thought, deed, or word.

On the next day (February 8th, 1587), early in the morning, she was led into the great hall of Fotheringay Castle. It was hung with black, and in the middle were the executioner and the block. The ladies who were with her wept bitterly, but Mary herself remained firm till the fatal moment when the axe of the executioner fell. Thus died the unfortunate Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, in the forty-fifth year of her age,

Chapter 45. Protestants and Roman Catholics Abroad and at Home

The Huguenots.

"Remember Saint Bartholomew!" -- Macaulay: "Ivry."

But if Elizabeth had troubles at home, she had also troubles abroad. The same quarrel between Protestants and Roman Catholics which was going on in England and Scotland was going on at the same time in almost all the countries of Europe. In France the Protestants, who were called Huguenots, had grown in numbers, and had gained strength; but the Roman Catholic party was still stronger. In Spain the cruel persecution which had been undertaken had really succeeded, for the few Protestants in Spain had been put to death, or driven out of the country, or compelled to change their religion.

But, though the Spaniards had succeeded in putting down Protestantism in their own country, they found they had a harder task before them when they came to try to do the same thing in the Netherlands, which were at that time under the government of the King of Spain. The sturdy Dutchmen fought fiercely for their religion, and they had on their side the goodwill of all the Protestants of England.

It was not easy for Elizabeth to know what was the wisest course to take. She was a Protestant queen, and both she and her people wished that the Protestant cause should triumph in Europe. But Spain and France were powerful countries, and it was a dangerous thing for a queen who had enemies enough at home, to declare war openly upon such powerful sovereigns as the kings of Spain and France.

But what Elizabeth did not dare to do, many of her subjects undertook. Hundreds of Englishmen crossed over to France and to the Netherlands to fight on the side of their Protestant friends. There can be no doubt that Elizabeth wished for their success, and often gave them help in their expeditions; but if they failed in what they undertook, she was careful to declare that they had acted against her will and contrary to her wish.

At the beginning of Elizabeth's reign France was an enemy to England, and Spain was for a short time friendly with England, but before many years had gone by this state of things had changed. Two things had happened in France which helped to bring about the change.

On the 24th of August, 1572, St. Bartholomew's Day, a terrible massacre had taken place. The followers of the Duke of Guise, who was at the head of the Roman Catholic party in France, had murdered no less than 40,000 of the chief men among the Protestant party in Paris. The houses of the Huguenots had been marked beforehand, and on the evening of St. Bartholomew's Day, the cruel work of dragging condemned men from their houses and of putting them to death was begun. Admiral Coligny, the chief of the Huguenots in Paris, was among those who were murdered.

The king, Charles IX., himself had taken part in the massacre. It was said that he amused himself by shooting down the Protestants from the window of his palace. The Pope, Gregory XIII., approved of the action of the Roman Catholics. It is easy to understand that this cruel massacre made the Protestants of England more determined than ever to stand by their queen and to protect themselves against a danger such as that which had overtaken their friends in France.

In France itself it soon became clear that the massacre had done more harm than good to the Roman Catholic cause. Henry of Navarre, the leader of the Huguenots, had escaped with his life, but on the death, in 1589, of Henry III., who had succeeded Charles IX. as King of France, he took up arms and put himself at the head of his party. He won a great victory at the Battle of Ivry (1590), and was able to advance as far as Paris itself. He was told that the people of Paris would welcome him, and would receive him as their king. But on one condition only. He must declare himself a Roman Catholic. "Paris is worth a mass," said the king; and he consented to make the change which was required of him. In March, 1593, he entered Paris to be crowned Henry IV., King of France.

[Mass is a form of service in the Roman catholic Church.]

But though Henry IV., King of France, had changed his religion to gain a kingdom, he remained till the end of his life a good friend to the Huguenots, to whose help he owed his crown. He issued an edict, or decree, which was called the Edict of Nantes, from Nantes, a town on the west coast of France, at which the decree was signed (1598). The "Edict of Nantes" gave to the French Protestants the right to follow their own religion, and to live in France as the equals of the Roman Catholics. Nor was this all; as long as he lived, Henry IV. was a good friend to Elizabeth and to Protestant England. It is easy, therefore, to understand how great a change took place in the feeling between England and France when Henry IV. became king.

England and Spain. (Ch 45)

"The life-and-death wrestle between the Reformation and the Old Religion had settled into a permanent struggle between England and Spain. France was disabled. All the help which Elizabeth could spare barely enabled the Netherlands to defend themselves. Protestantism, if it conquered, must conquer on another field, and by the circumstances of the time the championship of the Reformed Faith fell to the English sailors." -- Froude.

But though England had now many friends in France, it was soon clear that she had made an enemy of Spain. It will be remembered that Philip II. of Spain, after the death of Queen Mary, had made an offer for the hand of his sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth had refused the offer. She had made up her mind not to marry at all, but if she did marry she knew better than to choose for her husband a man so hated by her subjects as Philip II. It will easily be understood that the refusal of Elizabeth to accept him as her husband may have made Philip unfriendly towards England.

But Philip soon had much stronger reasons for looking on England as an enemy. The time about which we are now reading was a time in which almost every year brought some new discovery. Each year bold sailors from Portugal, Spain, France, and England, sailed further and further, into seas till then unknown, and brought back rich merchandise from countries which people from Europe had never before visited.

The Portuguese and the Spaniards had got the start of the other nations of Europe. Already the Portuguese had established colonies in the East, while the Spaniards had conquered Mexico and other parts of the coast of America, which were then known as the Spanish Main, or mainland. From their new possessions the Spaniards brought into Europe immense riches in the form of gold and silver from the mines of Mexico and Peru. Most of the new lands which they had conquered were in hot climates, where white men could not work, and already the cruel trade known as the slave trade had begun. Slaves, most of them from Africa, were taken across the sea to work in the new colonies.

But it soon became pretty clear that the wealth of Mexico and the Spanish Main was not to be left in the hands of Spaniards alone. The Spaniards found themselves face to face with a nation of seamen, who step by step, and year by year, forced from them the place which they had so long held as the principal colonists of the New World.

Throughout the whole reign of Queen Elizabeth the great struggle between Spaniards and Englishmen was going on. It was a fierce and cruel struggle on both sides. Both Spaniards and Englishmen fought for gold, and men who fight for gold are often fierce enough and cruel enough.

But the fight between Spaniards and Englishmen was also a fight between Roman Catholics and Protestants, between the Old Religion and the New. The Spaniard looked upon the Englishman not only as a man who wished to rob Spain of the great prizes which she had won in the New World, but as a heretic, a man who was hateful to God, and who might justly burn at the stake for his sins. The Englishman, in his turn, looked upon the Spaniard as a cruel, narrow-minded man, the persecutor of Protestants, the friend of the cruel tortures of the Inquisition, and the enemy of England.

With these fierce hatreds on both sides, the strife between the two nations was certain to be fought out to the bitter end, and it is to this strife that we must now turn our attention, for unless we do so, we shall understand but little of the true history of the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

It was not to be supposed that Philip of Spain would long endure the attacks which were made upon his subjects by the English sailors. Indeed, he had plenty of reasons for being angry with Queen Elizabeth and her people. Philip had once been King of England, and after Mary's death he had sought the hand of Elizabeth in the hope that he might regain the place which he had lost. But Elizabeth, greatly to the joy of her subjects, had refused to become the wife of a Roman Catholic and a Spaniard.

For several years past English Protestant soldiers had been flocking over to the Netherlands to fight on behalf of their fellow Protestants against the Spaniards. And now Frobisher, Drake, and many another English captain, were engaged in burning Spanish ships, sacking Spanish colonies, seizing the wealth of Spain, under the very guns of the Spanish fortresses, and, in the words of Francis Drake, "doing all they could to singe the King of Spain's beard."

And last, but not least, Philip, as a great champion of the Pope, looked upon Elizabeth and her people as heretics, whom it was his duty to bring back if necessary, by the sword to the true religion. No wonder, then, that at last Philip of Spain should have made up his mind to strike one great blow at England, a blow which he hoped would once for all break the power of the Protestant party, and chase these fierce islanders from the sea.

Chapter 46. The Story of the Great Armada

England in Peril.

"The nations not so blest as thee
Must in their turn to tyrants fall,
Whilst thou shalt flourish great and free,
The dread and envy of them all.

"Still more majestic shalt thou rise,
More dreadful from each foreign stroke;
As the loud blast that tears the skies
Serves but to root thy native oak.

"Thee haughty tyrants ne'er shall tame;
Thy cities shall with commerce shine.
And thine shall be the subject main,
And every shore it circles thine!

"Rule, Britannia! Britannia rules the waves!
Britons never shall be slaves!"
-- Thomson: "Rule, Britannia."

In the year 1587, Philip began to make preparations for the famous expedition against England which has made Queen Elizabeth's reign for ever famous in the history of our country. He collected sailors and soldiers not only from Spain, but from all those parts of Europe which were at that time under the government of Spain from Sicily, Genoa, and Venice, and from the Low Countries.

It was Philip's plan to collect a large army near Antwerp, which is only two hundred miles from London, and to bring it across the Channel under the protection of a great fleet which was to sail from Spain. Thirty thousand foot-soldiers and eighteen hundred cavalry were collected in the Netherlands. Another great army was raised in Spain, and all the best and bravest soldiers of Spain came forward ready and longing to fight in the cause which they believed to be so good a one, and to share in the victories which the Invincible Armada, or "The Unconquerable Fleet," was to earn for Spain.

But Philip was not content with collecting ships, soldiers, and sailors. He sent to the Pope to ask for his aid and his blessing. The Pope sent his blessing, and, in order to help still further the cause of Spain, he declared Elizabeth to be deposed from her throne. It may seem at first sight as if it mattered very little what the Pope said, and that no declaration made at Rome would alter things in England. But it must not be forgotten that many, if not all, of the Roman Catholics in England believed that the Pope had the right to depose Queen Elizabeth, and that when she had once been deposed they were no longer bound to obey her or to look upon her as their queen.

This was a real danger, and it is not to be wondered at that Elizabeth and her ministers should at first have taken very severe steps to prevent the Roman Catholics from giving any help to the Spaniards, or acting as the Pope wished them to act. Many were imprisoned upon very slight suspicion, and some were cruelly treated. There was also a real danger at one time lest the Protestants, who were now the larger part of the nation, should try to take vengeance upon the Roman Catholics for the massacre of St. Bartholomew and the cruelties which had been practised by the Spanish generals in the Netherlands.

Luckily, however, the danger passed over, and soon it was seen that, though there might be a few exceptions, when England was in peril of invasion by a foreign enemy, all Englishmen were united and ready to stand shoulder to shoulder for their country's cause.

Hundreds of Roman Catholics came forward and offered to serve by sea or by land against the enemy, determined to show that they were Englishmen first and servants of the Pope afterwards: a true and proper spirit for every man of English birth.

How the "Armada" Came, and what they did in England. (Ch 46)

"With God, for Queen and Fatherland."

And now we come to one of the most stirring and splendid chapters in the history of England --the story of how the country, with its great queen at its head, rose as one man to protect the shores of England from the Spaniards. It seemed a fight against terrible odds. The fleets of Spain were the largest in the world. The thousands of soldiers who obeyed Philip had become hardened in the art of war, and were the foremost warriors of their age. The wealth of the New World filled the coffers of the Spanish king to overflowing.

England, on the other hand, seemed altogether unfitted to hold her own against such a foe. Her people were still divided by a great religious quarrel. Within the island, of which England formed but a part, there was another nation which might at any time take the opportunity of working off its old grudges against its old enemy. No one could say from day to day how soon a Scottish army might not cross the Border.

As to an English army, there was none. There were a certain number of armed men bound to serve the queen, but they were not accustomed to act together. Few of them had any experience of war, and training such as that of the well-drilled Spanish regiments was unknown. Of ships the country had a fair supply, but they were mostly small merchant vessels armed with a few guns, but not reckoned fit to fight against the tall ships and the heavily armed "galliasses" of Spain.

But some advantages England did possess. Her coasts could only be approached across a stormy sea, and, as has so often happened in English history, the winds and the waves proved her greatest ally. Moreover, Elizabeth, whatever faults she may have had, was a true Englishwoman, and fit to be queen of a great country in a time of trial. She faced the danger bravely. She called upon her people to stand by her, and with one accord the people answered her appeal.

On every side volunteers came forward in thousands. Merchants offered their ships for the war, and offered them with powder, shot, and crews all ready on board. A hundred and thirty thousand men were mustered throughout the kingdom. Fortifications were put up at the mouth of the Thames and elsewhere, and every ship fit for service was manned and stationed in the Channel.

There is a fine description of Queen Elizabeth taking her right place as chief of her people in time of danger. She rode down to Tilbury to review the army, and these are her words as they have come down to us:

"My loving people! We have been persuaded by some that are careful of our safety to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes, for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear! I have always so behaved myself, that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and goodwill of my subjects; and, therefore, I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation and sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood even in the dust. I know that I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart of a king, and a king of England, too, and think foul scorn that Parma, * or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which, rather than any dishonour should grow by me, I will myself take up arms. I myself will be your general, the judge and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field."

[The Duke of Parma was the Spanish general in the Netherlands.]

These were indeed words worthy of a Queen of England.

The preparations for the sailing of the great Armada dragged along very slowly. Once the ships put to sea, but were driven back by stormy weather. At last, on the eighth of July, 1588, the fleet started once more on its great task of conquering England.

The preparations which had been made were immense. The number of ships was one hundred and thirty-one. The number of sailors was nearly 8,000. Seventeen thousand soldiers were packed into the different vessels. There were 180 priests on board, and 85 surgeons and doctors. The priests were to convert the English from their Protestantism when England had been taken. The doctors and surgeons were to take care of the wounded in case the Armada suffered any loss in battle. As matters turned out, the doctors found more to do than the priests. On one of the ships, the "Capitana," there was a chest full of beautifully made swords, which were to be given to the English Roman Catholic lords when they had joined the Spaniards against their queen and country.

The Duke of Medina Sidonia was at the head of the whole fleet. Under him was Admiral Recalde, and many other officers famous for their bravery and skill in war. The duke's orders were very strict. He was to sail up the Channel till he got to Dunkirk. He was to stop for no man. If the English came out to fight him he was to sail on and let them follow. When he got to Dunkirk, he was to take on board the army which was waiting there to join him. He was to enter the Thames, land the troops, and wait till England had submitted.

All went well with the great Armada for the first few days. A few ships which were scattered by a storm joined the fleet again. On a Friday afternoon the leading ships came within sight of the English land, and they could see the high cliffs of the Lizard to the north.

Meanwhile, in England the whole people, from Berwick to The Land's End, were waiting in anxious expectation for the first news of the enemy. Beacons were prepared along the coast, and on every high point throughout the country. The orders were to light them as soon as the Spanish ships were sighted.

"The Enemy in Sight." (Ch 46)

"Night sank upon the dusky beach, and on the purple sea,
Such night in England ne'er had been, nor e'er again shall be.
From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford Bay,
That time of slumber was as bright and busy as the day."
-- Macaulay: "The Armada."

It was a Scottish privateer named Fleming who first brought the news to Plymouth that the enemy was at hand. He had seen them off the Lizard, and they were coming up Channel with a fair wind.

When the news came, the captains of the warships were playing a game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe, a flat green space which looks out on the broad and beautiful waters of Plymouth Sound.

Here is a description of some of the men who were playing in this famous game of bowls, or who stood by to watch the players. The account is by Charles Kingsley, who wrote a noble and famous book called "Westward Ho," in which this whole story of the fight against the Armada is told at much greater length than it can be told here:

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

"See those five talking earnestly. Those soft long eyes and pointed chin you recognise already; they are Walter Raleigh's. The fair young man in the flame-coloured doublet, whose arm is round Raleigh's neck, is Lord Sheffield; opposite them stands, by the side of Sir Richard Grenville, a man as stately even as he, Lord Sheffield's uncle, the Lord Charles Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral of England; next to him is his son-in-law, Sir Robert Southwell, captain of the Elizabeth Jonas; but who is that short, sturdy, plainly-dressed man, who stands with legs a little apart, and hands behind his back, looking up, with keen grey eyes, into the face of each speaker? His cap is in his hands, so you can see the bullet head of crisp brown hair and the wrinkled forehead, as well as the high cheek-bones, the short square face, the broad temples, the thick lips, which are yet as firm as granite. A coarse plebeian stamp of man: yet the whole figure and attitude are those of boundless determination, self-possession, and energy; and when at last he speaks a few blunt words, all eyes are turned respectfully upon him -- for his name is Francis Drake.

"A burly, grizzled elder, in greasy sea-stained garments, contrasting oddly with the huge gold chain about his neck, waddles up, as if he had been born, and had lived ever since, in a gale of wind at sea. The upper half of his sharp dogged visage seems of brick-red leather, the lower of badger's fur; and as he claps Drake on the back, and with a broad Devon twang, shouts, 'Be you a coming to drink your wine, Francis Drake, or be you not ? -- saving your presence, my lord;' the Lord High Admiral only laughs, and bids Drake go and drink his wine; for John Hawkins, Admiral of the port, is the Patriarch of Plymouth seamen, if Drake be their hero, and says and does pretty much what he likes.

"In the crowd is many another man whom one would gladly have spoken with face to face on earth. Martin Frobisher and John Davis are sitting on that bench, smoking tobacco from long silver pipes."

* ~ * ~ * ~ *

It was to this company that Captain Fleming brought his great piece of news. Lord Howard would have gone off at once to his ship, but Hawkins was in no such hurry. He would rather, he said, finish his game before he left. Drake agreed with Hawkins. "There was time to finish the game first, and beat the Spaniards afterwards." So the famous game was finished; and then the old sea captains turned to their work with a will. We shall see how well they did it.

As Drake said, "there was time enough," but there was not too much. The English ships with difficulty warped out to sea against a head wind. They got out just in time to see the great Spanish fleet sweeping up the Channel in an immense crescent, the horns of which were fully seven miles apart. For a short time the Spaniards paused. Many of the wisest of them were in favour of sailing into Plymouth Sound and engaging the English fleet in the narrow waters, where the heavy slow-sailing ships of Spain would fight to the greatest advantage.

"How the Armada Failed." (Ch 46)

"Then courage, noble Englishmen,
And never be dismayed;
If that we be but one to ten,
We will not be afraid."
-- "Ballad of Brave Lord Willoughby."

But the Duke of Medina Sidonia dared not disobey his orders, and he sailed on again eastwards. Howard and Drake allowed the enemy to pass, and then followed them up the Channel. Soon the fighting began. The Capitana ran into another Spanish ship and became disabled. Her friends left her in the lurch, and she was soon captured by the English. On board her was found the chest of swords which were to have gone to the English Roman Catholic lords as soon as they had turned traitors to their country.

The Spaniards soon had reason to know that when England is in danger, Englishmen can put aside their differences; for some of these very Roman Catholic lords were at that moment in full pursuit of the Armada, and the heavy guns of their ships were firing their shot into the high sides of the Spanish vessels.

It soon became clear that, big as the Spanish ships were, they were no match either in sailing or in gunnery for the English. The English ships were longer and lower than those of the Spaniards. They sailed far better than the tall galleons. The Spaniards longed to get close with their enemy to grapple with him, and then make use of the crowds of soldiers whom they carried. But the English ships were too quick for them.

Moreover, it soon became clear that in another matter the English had an advantage. We have seen that as far back as the time of Henry VIII. very large cannon had been made in England, and those that were now carried on the English ships were heavier and more powerful than any which had ever been used at sea. "Never had there been so fierce a cannonade before in the history of the world," said one of the Spanish officers.

It was feared at one time that the Spaniards might stop off the Isle of Wight and attack Portsmouth and Southampton. But once more the Duke of Medina Sidonia obeyed his orders, and kept on his way towards Dunkirk. Many of the English ships, after fierce fighting for many hours, ran out of powder, and had to go back to port for more. But those who returned for this purpose came back to the fleet again, and as the Spaniards got nearer to Dunkirk the English fleet increased.

At Dunkirk the Spaniards found their friends waiting for them on shore, and the English fleet under Lord Howard, Drake, and Hawkins was joined by another fleet under Lord Henry Seymour, which had been left to watch Dunkirk and protect the Thames. It was here that the great battle took place. The Spaniards would not come out to sea, so the English captains thought of a plan by which they could make them come out. Fire-ships were got ready filled with tar, powder, pitch, and everything that would burn fiercely. Two brave men, Captain Young and Captain Prowse, undertook to take the fire-ships close to the Spanish fleet. In the darkness they came within a short distance of where the Spaniards lay at anchor. The fire-ships were lighted and left to sail by themselves before the strong wind in among the Spanish lines.

The Spanish ships cut their anchor cables in their haste to escape from the terrible danger which threatened them, and got out to sea as best they could. But some had no spare anchors, and when they got outside the harbour, could not anchor again, and were carried far away from the rest of the fleet. Some of them drifted ashore and were wrecked; then, to make matters worse, the English fleet came sailing down with a fair wind.

The battle raged with fury. The shot from the heavy English cannon went through and through the Spanish ships, which were crowded with soldiers, the decks ran with blood, yet neither side would give way. But as the day drew on the Spaniards could bear it no longer. Some of their best ships were disabled or taken. Hundreds of their men had been killed. The water-casks which carried their fresh water had been shot through and through. There was nothing for it but to get away by the easiest road. At one time it seemed as if the wind would drive the fleet on shore, and for a while the Spaniards thought there would be nothing left for them but to surrender. But the wind changed, and blew, as it so often does in the Channel, from the south-west.

How the "Armada" went Home Again. (Ch 46)

"Afflavit Deus et dissipantur." ["God blew with His breath, and they were scattered."] -- Motto on the medal struck to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

What was left of the Armada toiled slowly on its way into the North Sea. The English did not follow. As has often happened in English history, those whose business it was to keep our soldiers and sailors properly supplied had not done their duty. Lord Howard, Drake, and all the other English sailors had fought their best, and were willing to go on fighting, but they could not fight without powder. There was no powder left in most of the ships, and there was no more to be got. But what the English cannon were not able to do was done by the stormy seas of the German Ocean and the Atlantic.

The Armada sailed north, past the mouth of the Thames, past Hull, and past Leith, until it reached Cape Wrath. There the vessels turned to the westward between the Orkney Islands and the mainland of Scotland. They dared not return through the narrow waters of the St. George's Channel, but kept on into the Atlantic till they had passed the north-west corner of Ireland.

Then, at last, they turned southwards towards their Spanish homes, but few ever reached the ports from which they sailed. The great rollers of the Atlantic broke up the tall unwieldy ships, and the south-westerly gales drove them on to the rocky and inhospitable shores of Donegal, Sligo, Galway, and Kerry. Those who escaped the fury of the waves, fell into the hands of the wild Irish tribes, or of the English soldiers and settlers. The former in many cases put them to death for the plunder which might be taken from them. The latter threw them into prison or killed them, as enemies of England, and men likely to be dangerous in case they took part with those of the Irish who were in rebellion against Elizabeth.

Of the whole great expedition which had left Spain to conquer England less than 10,000 men returned alive, and of these many hundreds, worn out by hardship and starvation, died shortly after they had returned to their homes.

When the news of the great disaster was brought to Philip, he bore himself like a brave man. He thanked Heaven that the misfortune was no worse. "We are bound," he wrote, "to give-praise to God for all things which He is pleased to do. I, on the present occasion, have given thanks to Him for the mercy which He has shown. In the foul weather and violent storms to which the Armada has been exposed, it might have experienced a worse fate."

In England the news was received by all men with true joy and thankfulness. At last the power of Spain upon the sea had been broken, and England and the Protestant religion were safe from attack. A great Thanksgiving Service, at which the queen attended, was held in St. Paul's Cathedral. A medal was struck to mark the deliverance of the country from its enemies, and round its edge was written in Latin, "God blew with His breath, and they were scattered."

It was, indeed, true, that although the valour, seamanship, and skill of our English seamen had broken the first attack of the Armada and saved the country from invasion, it was the winds and the waves, the tempests of the Atlantic, and the rock-bound coasts of Scotland and Ireland which had destroyed the proudest ships of the great Armada, and had wrecked for ever the hopes of the King of Spain.

Chapter 47. The Last Years of the Great Queen.

The Queen and Her Favourite.

"Essex, the ornament of the Court and of the Camp, the model of chivalry, the munificent patron of genius, whom great virtues, great courage, great talents, the favour of his sovereign, the love of his countrymen, all that seemed to ensure a happy and glorious life, led to an early and an ignominious death." -- Macaulay: "Burleigh and his Times" (1832).

It was in the year 1588 that the Spanish Armada was defeated, and Elizabeth had already reigned for thirty years. She was still unmarried. She had always feared that if she took a husband she might have to submit to his will and to give up her own. This, however, did not prevent her choosing from among her courtiers favourites, by whom for a time she allowed herself to be governed, and on whom she bestowed wealth, honours, and power.

It was in the year 1588 that the Earl of Leicester, who for several years had been the favourite of the queen, died. It was not long before she chose another of her courtiers to take his place. This was the Earl of Essex, a young man of great courage, very handsome, and much loved by the people. The earl soon gained great power over the queen, and like all men who gain great power, he made many enemies. Among these enemies were Sir Walter Raleigh and Robert Cecil, son of Lord Burleigh.

The enemies of Essex at length found an opportunity of injuring him in the eyes of the queen. A rebellion had broken out in Ireland (1599), at the head of which was O'Neil, Earl of Tyrone. Raleigh and Cecil persuaded the queen to send Essex as her general into Ireland. They felt sure that Essex, though brave, had not the wisdom nor the knowledge to enable him to carry on this difficult war. They proved to be right.

Essex failed to put down the rebellion, and returned to London disappointed and disgraced. Lord Mountjoy took his place as general in Ireland, and after fierce fighting he succeeded in defeating O'Neil (1601). The war was marked by great cruelty on both sides, and the land was laid waste, towns and villages were burned to the ground over a large part of Ireland; but peace was at last restored, and the authority of the queen was fixed in the country more firmly than before.

Meanwhile the enemies of Essex were not content with what they had done. They brought charges against him, and accused him of having played the part of a coward in the war against the Earl of Tyrone. Essex was found guilty, and was sentenced to be imprisoned in his own house. He was soon set at liberty, and in fierce anger against his enemies he was unwise enough to try by force of arms to compel the queen to punish Cecil and his friends.

He appeared in the streets of London with three hundred armed men. He hoped that the Londoners, who had always been fond of him, would rise and help him. But no one moved. Essex was imprisoned, and sent to the Tower. He was tried, and condemned to death as a traitor. For some time Elizabeth refused to sign the order for his death, but at last she consented to do so, and her favourite was executed at the Tower.

There is a well-known story told of the death of Essex. It is said that Queen Elizabeth had given her favourite a ring, and had told him that if ever he needed her help in the time of danger or trouble, he should send this ring to her. As he lay in prison shortly before his death, the earl saw from the window of his cell a boy who, from his appearance, he thought might be trusted with the precious ring. He threw the ring through the window, the boy picked it up, and Essex begged him to carry it to his cousin Lady Scrope.

But the boy, unluckily, made a mistake. He took the ring on which Essex's life depended to Lady Nottingham, sister of Lady Scrope. Now, Lady Nottingham was a bitter enemy of the earl's, and she kept the ring. Elizabeth, so the story goes, waited long for the token which she expected to receive, but it never came. Believing that Essex was too proud or too angry to claim his life at her hands, Elizabeth signed the fatal order; and Essex, believing that Elizabeth had been false to him and to her promise, met his death (1601).

After the earl's death the Countess of Nottingham fell ill. On her death-bed she sent to beg the queen to come to her, and she confessed what she had done. She begged the Queen's pardon for her crime. Elizabeth was furious. She struck the dying countess in her fury. "God may pardon you," she cried, "but I will never pardon you."

The Death of the Great Queen. (Ch 47)

"That great queen has now been lying two hundred and thirty years in Henry VII.'s Chapel. Yet her memory is still dear to the hearts of a free people." -- Macaulay (1832).

The long reign of Elizabeth was now drawing to its close, and its close was sad and dark. Essex had been a favourite with the people, and Elizabeth felt that she had lost the love of many of her subjects by consenting to the death of a man whom she, too, loved. In her old age she had grown feeble, and her proud spirit often deserted her. She lay for hours by herself, speaking to no one, and refusing to be comforted. She had no child, and her courtiers were beginning to turn their thoughts from the old queen to the young king, who must so soon follow her on the throne.

Cecil and Raleigh had already begun to write letters to James of Scotland, for it was James VI., King of Scotland, who, by right of descent and by the will of Elizabeth herself, was now to become King of England. The fear which had been expressed when Henry VII. gave his daughter in marriage to the Scottish king, was now proved to be well-founded. The Queen of England, the granddaughter of Henry VII., was childless, and the Scottish king, descended from Margaret Tudor, was to take his place upon the throne of England.

On the 24th of March, 1603, Queen Elizabeth died, at her palace at Richmond, in the seventieth year of her age and the forty-fifth of her reign. With all her faults, she was one of the greatest of our sovereigns. With her we come to the end of the Tudor period. She was the last of the Tudors; and, what is more, she was the last sovereign of England. Never had England been greater or richer in famous men and famous deeds than in the time of its last sovereign.

The next reign brought a Stuart king to the throne. This Stuart king was king not only of England but of Scotland, and from that time onwards the history of England and the history of Scotland go forward, side by side, as the history of one great and united country. The last Queen of England lies in Westminster Abbey, and the beautiful monument raised to her memory may be seen to this day, in the stately chapel built by her grandfather, which forms part of the ancient Abbey of Westminster.


Chapter 48. A New World and a New Age

Rolling Back the Clouds.

"We sailed wherever ships could sail,
We founded many a mighty state;
Pray God our greatness may not fail
Through craven fears of being great." -- Tennyson.

We have now gone through the story of the Tudor period. With all their faults, no one can deny that Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Elizabeth were great sovereigns; and that under them England became great and prosperous. Indeed, the hundred and eighteen years between the Battle of Bosworth Field and the death of Queen Elizabeth may truly be said to have been the most glorious years in the history of England. For it must be remembered that up to the end of the year 1602, England stood alone. Ireland was more of a weakness than a strength, and Scotland was still a foreign country, and very often an enemy's country. The glory of the Tudor period is the glory of England.

It must, indeed, have been a wonderful time to live in. It must have seemed as if all the world were changing, that all the old things, and all the old thoughts which men were accustomed to, were giving place to new things which no man up to that time had ever dreamed of. Let us try to picture to ourselves some of these great changes. Let us try to understand what were the new things that came into the world between the death of Richard III. and the death of Queen Elizabeth.


To begin with, it is true to say that the world itself was doubled for every Englishman. On the preceding page we see a map of the world as it was known to the poet Chaucer, to Henry V., the brave victor of Agincourt, or to the men and women of Henry VI.'s time. Mark how small is the part which stands out from the dark cloud. Now look at the map on p. 399, which shows the world as it was known to the Englishmen and Scotsmen who stood round King James I. at his coronation. Mark how the clouds are rolled back, how the light shines upon the great continent of America, upon the Cape of Good Hope the southern point of Africa, upon Japan in the far east, and even upon the coast of Australia in the distant southern sea.

Year after year during this wonderful hundred years, brave men set out upon new and adventurous journeys. Each year the news came back that in despite of stormy seas, of fierce enemies, of sickness, and of all the dangers which beset the traveller in unknown lands, some new point had been reached, some new way discovered.

Over and over again, some bold adventurer died before his work was done; but as fast as one brave sailor or soldier fell a victim to the dangers of the sea, to the spears and arrows of savage tribes, or to the deadly fevers and diseases which sprang from the swamps of North America, the jungles of India, and the African sands, another was found to take his place. Every country in Europe sent its bravest. Spain and Portugal led the way. The Dutch followed in their footsteps.

Later on, English seamen took the lead. In 1486, the year in which Lambert Simnel headed his rebellion against Henry VII, Bartholomew Diaz, a native of Portugal, sailing to the South, reached the Cape of Good Hope. Six years later (1492) a still greater man sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. It was in that year that Christopher Columbus, the Genoese, first sighted North America, and brought to Europe the tidings of that New World that has become so great and important in our own days.

In 1497 another Portuguese sailor, Vasco da Gama, passed the Cape of Good Hope and sailed into the Indian Ocean; and while he sailed to the East, others were following Columbus to the West. Let us look at the map of America. In North America we see the great gulf which runs far back into the country which is now called Canada. It is called the Gulf of St. Lawrence. In South America we see an enormous country bearing the name of Brazil. It was in the year 1500, in the reign of Henry VII., King of England, that Corte Real, a Portuguese, first sailed into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and Pedro Cabral discovered Brazil. At the same time (1496 to 1502) Sebastian Cabot, a Bristol man, whose father was a Venetian, discovered Newfoundland.

If we look at the map of India nowadays, we shall see that nearly all of it is marked as forming part of the British Empire, but there are still one or two places which belong to other countries. Among them is the small State of Goa. If we look under the name Goa in the map, we may see, written in small letters, the word "Portuguese."

It was in the first year of the reign of Henry VIII. that the Portuguese took Goa, which has belonged to them ever since.

Now let us turn back once more to the map of America. At the foot of the map the continent of South America comes down to a point. This point is called Patagonia, a country inhabited by men so tall that ancient travellers brought home stories of a land inhabited by giants. At the end of Patagonia there lies still farther to the south an island, which is called Tierra del Fuego, or, the Land of Fire. Between the mainland and the island there runs a narrow arm of the sea, or strait. It was through this strait that Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese, first sailed in the year 1520, and to this day the Strait of Magellan bears his name.

Passing through the straits, he kept on his way through unknown seas, until at last, in the year 1522, after a voyage of one thousand one hundred and fifty-four days, he came back to Europe, having sailed round the world. In 1521, the same year in which Henry VIII. won from the Pope his title of "Defender of the Faith," Hernan Cortez, a valiant Spaniard, conquered the rich country of Mexico. Eight years later, another great Spanish soldier, Francis Pizarro, invaded Peru.

Nor was it the soldiers, the sailors, and the adventurers only who helped to roll back the clouds from the unknown parts of the world. Missionaries soon began to go forth to the farthest ends of the world, longing to teach the heathen the story of Christ, and ready, if need be, to give up their lives for their religion. In 1542, the year in which poor Catharine Howard was beheaded, Francis Xavier, a French monk, landed in India, and began to teach and preach to the natives.

And while some went south, some went east, and some west; others set their faces towards the north and tried to find a way round the world through the ice and snow of the North Pole. In 1553, the first year of Queen Mary's reign, Richard Counsellor, a sea captain, of London, succeeded in passing round the North Cape at the top of Norway, and sailing into the White Sea in Russia, the sea on which Archangel now stands; while in 1576 another great English captain, Martin Frobisher, a Devonshire man, set out to find the NorthWest Passage, or passage round the North American continent, a road which many brave men have tried to find since his day.

England's Part in Rolling Back the Clouds. (Ch 48)

"Where shall the watchful sun,
England, my England,
Match the master-work you've done,
England my own?
When shall he rejoice agen
Such a breed of mighty men
As come forward, one to ten,
To the song on your bugles blown,
England --
Down the years on your bugles blown."
W. E. Henley: "Rhymes and Rhythms."

By this time, the great discoveries had, for the most part, been made, and now it was that Englishmen began in earnest to turn their attention to the new lands of which their fathers had not known the existence. Some went to find a new home, some to trade, some to win new dominions for their queen; others sailed away to hunt for adventures, fully prepared to fight, and sometimes to take what plunder they could from their enemies. Hawkins, Drake, Frobisher, and Raleigh were the leaders of the English adventurers.

In 1577 Drake began his famous journey round the world. He fought the enemy wherever he found them. Every Spaniard was always an enemy, and it is to be feared that most of those who did not fall in with the wishes of Francis Drake were enemies too. In 1580 Drake returned to England rich with the spoil gathered during years of fighting and adventure, with waggon-loads of treasure, and a name that will live for ever in the story of English romance. The name of his ship was the "Golden Hind," and the story of those who sailed and fought on this famous vessel is so strange and wonderful, that no Englishmen ought ever to forget the name of Sir Francis Drake and the "Golden Hind."

Nor should the names of our English sea captains be forgotten in another great country in which English is spoken, namely The United States of America. It was Drake who first travelled through the most beautiful and the richest of all the States, the State of California. It was Humphrey Gilbert who first planted a colony of Englishmen in a new State, which he called, after the virgin Queen of England, Virginia. Our own countrymen in North America have therefore good reason to remember the "Sea-dogs" of Queen Elizabeth's time.

It was in 1583, in the twenty-fifth year of her reign, that Queen Elizabeth first declared herself to be the sovereign of the New Found Land, and the colony of Newfoundland is, to this day, proud of being the oldest colony in the British Empire. Two years later, John Davis, exploring in North America, passed through the strait which separates Greenland from North America, and gave it the name of Davis Strait.

And while the great English nations of America were thus growing up, the power of England in another part of the world was just beginning, like a little seed, to spring above the ground. It was in the last years of the reign of Queen Elizabeth (1600) that a Company was formed to trade in the East, and settlements, or Factories as they were called, were first set up on the coast of Malabar.

The Company was called the East India Company. At first it was weak, scarcely able to protect its life from the power of Spain, Portugal, and France. As year by year it grew in power, year by year the territory over which it ruled became larger, till at last, from a little seed, it grew to be a great tree which overshadowed the whole land; and first Spain, then Portugal, and, last of all, France, had to yield to the masters of India, the English East India Company.

At the present day the King of England rules over 288,000,000 subjects in the great peninsula of India.

Things "New" or "Old"? (Ch 48)

"Unnumbered treasures ope at once, and here
The various offerings of the world appear." -- Pope.

We have seen how, during the hundred and eighteen years between the accession of Henry VII. and the death of Queen Elizabeth, the world seemed to be doubled in size for Englishmen. Lands which no Englishmen had ever heard of, or ever visited, were made known through the reports of travellers from all the nations of Europe. The great continent of America was discovered, new lands in Africa and Asia became known to the people of Europe, while even the far-off coast of Australia was for the first time marked upon our maps.

But Englishmen who stayed at home soon began to know something more about the new countries than even the travellers who returned safely from their distant shores could tell them. It was a strange and wonderful thing for a citizen of London, or for some country squire in Yorkshire or Devonshire, to hear that Drake had crossed the Atlantic and fought fierce battles with strange enemies, or to gather from big books printed in Holland that Dutch sailors had found lands bright with flowers and rich with treasure in the distant seas beyond India.

These accounts of battles and adventures thousands of miles from home, the news of which only reached Europe years after they had taken place, must have seemed almost like fairy tales to most Englishmen. But it was not till they began to see with their own eyes the treasures which these newly-discovered lands afforded, that they began to understand what a difference the voyages of these bold sailors were going to make to the Old Country. Not only did the world itself seem to have doubled, but the things in it seemed to have doubled also. It is strange to think how many things there are which we use every day, and which we are accustomed to look upon as things which we could not possibly get on without, which first became known in England during the Tudor period.

Here is a table piled up with objects which are very well known to us all. Let us see what they are. First we have a plate of potatoes, the commonest of our vegetables.

We are not all smokers, but there are very few of us who are not familiar with the look of the pipes, cigars, and tobacco which lie on the table.

The potato is not the only common vegetable which we perceive. There is a bundle of asparagus, a fine head of cauliflower, a couple of artichokes; there are two fruits which we all know very well, the orange, of which so many millions are sold in shops and in the streets, and the cherry, whose red and white bunches we can see in summer-time in almost any garden throughout the length and breadth of England. And lastly, there is a pot of those bright tulips which make our spring gardens so gay. What are we to call all these things? Are we to speak of them as "things new" or "things old"? Certainly, we who live in the reign of King Edward VII. can speak of them as things which are old enough to go back far beyond the memory of anyone who is now living.

Who would think it possible that English people, and more especially Irish people, could ever get on without potatoes? How would our smokers get on without their pipe or their cigar? And yet we have only to go back to the days of Queen Elizabeth to come to a time when all the things which are represented in the picture were things which were very new, and which the English people were beginning to use for the first time in English history.

It was Sir Walter Raleigh who brought the potato and tobacco from North America in the year 1592. It seems strange that the world ever got on without potatoes and tobacco. The crop of potatoes in the United Kingdom for a single year was no less than 5,633,000 tons, and 3,000,000 tons were brought into the country from abroad. In the same period a tax was paid on no less than 63,765,000 pounds of tobacco; and yet before the reign of Queen Elizabeth the people of England and Ireland did not know the taste of a potato, and had never even heard of smoking tobacco. It was in the year 1548 -- the year in which the Reformation began in England -- that orange trees were first brought into Portugal from China; and from Portugal the trees spread through Spain, France, and Italy.

The year (1540) in which Thomas Cromwell had his head cut off, and in which Henry VIII. married Catharine Howard, was the year in which cherry trees were first brought over from Holland and planted in England; and some forty years later (1578) tulip bulbs were brought over from the same country, and planted in English gardens. The artichoke we also owe to the Dutch. The asparagus and cauliflower came to us in the last year of Queen Elizabeth's reign; the former from Asia, and the latter from the island of Cyprus.

It was not till after the death of Queen Elizabeth that we first hear of two other articles being brought into England, which are perhaps even more familiar to us than potatoes and tobacco. Queen Elizabeth had neither tea nor coffee for her breakfast, and for the best reason. Tea and coffee were not known in England till more than fifty years after her death; and her Majesty, and those of her Majesty's subjects who could afford it, were obliged to put up with a flagon of ale at breakfast if they did not care to drink cold water.

Chapter 49. Literature and Art in the Tudor Period.

The Open Bible.

"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." -- Psalm cxix. 105.

Every man and woman in the world, rich or poor, must eat and drink; and so, perhaps, in one sense it may be said, that more people are interested in eating and drinking than in anything else. It is therefore fair to speak about potatoes, cherries, and so on, before we come to the subject of books, of pictures, or other matters, which, though they interest many people, do not interest all the world.

But it would be a very poor sort of a life which was made up only of eating and drinking, smoking and sleeping; and if the "hundred years of the Tudor period" had added nothing to our treasures except a few luxuries for the larder or the table, it would not be necessary for us to study it with great care, or to be particularly thankful to our forefathers who lived under Henry VIII. or Queen Elizabeth.

But happily there are very few people in England, whether they be young or old, rich or poor, who do not give up some of their time to books, and who have not learnt something through what is written in books. There are few who at one time or another in their lives have not seen or admired some beautiful picture, or some stately building, or who have not read or heard some poem which has pleased or moved them.

In the next few pages we shall see some pictures which will help to remind us that we who live in England now, who are fond of reading, who love beautiful pictures, and who care for beautiful poetry, owe a great deal to those who lived in the Tudor period. Nay more, we shall learn that many Englishmen who read little, not at all, and who do not know a line of poetry, are still, without themselves being aware of it, using words and uttering thoughts which have as certainly come down to them from the days of Henry or Elizabeth as have the potatoes and tobacco which Raleigh discovered, and with which they are so familiar.


Here is one of these pictures which help to tell this story. What does the picture show? Half a dozen books upon a table, that is all. Yes, but what are these books? Let us see if we can read their titles. There is one book whose name is familiar to all. It is the Bible, and note that it is lying open for every man to read. It is to the reign of King Henry VIII. that we owe the open Bible. As far back as the time of Richard II., Wycliffe had translated the Bible, but very few copies of the book had been made, and the priests had forbidden men to read the Bible in the English tongue. In 1526, three years before the fall of Wolsey, William Tyndall, a scholar of Oxford, translated the New Testament into English, and had it printed abroad. Some copies were brought over to England, but they were burnt by order of the bishops. Four years later Tyndall translated a great part of the Old Testament, but he was not allowed to finish his work, for he was thrown into prison at Antwerp, in Belgium, and was there put to death by the Emperor Charles V. (1536).

Luckily another Englishman had been at work on the same task as Tyndall. Miles Coverdale brought out a translation of the Bible the year before Tyndall's death. It was first printed abroad, and then in England. Two years after it came out King Henry VIII. gave permission for the book to be freely printed and read, and in that year (1537) it first became lawful for Englishmen to read the Bible in English. Three years later a royal order was made that the English Bible should be read in all the churches throughout the land, * and though attempts were made from time to time to stop the reading of the book; from that time to this not a day has passed on which the Bible, written in a language which every Englishman can understand, has not been read aloud in some English church.

[* The Bible which was ordered to be read in all churches was called "Cranmer's Bible," and had been prepared under the direction of Archbishop Cranmer.]

The Bible of Henry VIII.'s time was not exactly the same as that which we use now. The one which is generally used at the present time is that which was translated in the time of James I, who came to the throne on the death of Queen Elizabeth, just after the Tudor period. But the great thing we have to remember is that it was in the time of Henry VIII. that Englishmen were first freely allowed to read the Bible in their own tongue.

Now let us look at some of the other books upon the table in the picture. There is a small book standing up near the Bible. On it are written the words "Common Prayer." This is the Prayer Book, or Book of Common Prayer, which is used by a great number of people at the present day. The Book of Common Prayer comes to us, like the open Bible, from the Tudor period. The first Prayer Book was printed in the time of Edward VI. (1549).

A second copy, in which some things had been altered came out three years later. The Prayer Book of Edward VI. is not exactly the same as that which is used now, for a hundred years later, in the reign of Charles II. (1662), some further changes were made, and it is the book as it was altered in Charles II.'s time which is now used. But it is true to say that the English Prayer Book really comes from the time of Edward VI.

It must not be supposed, however, that what is in the Prayer Book was written for the first time in Edward VI.'s day, nor must we imagine that the English people had been without a Prayer Book up to that time. But the Prayer Book which English people had used had been written in Latin, and a great part of this Latin book was translated into English by those whom Edward VI. appointed to do the work.

The Psalms of David were translated from Latin into English, and many of the prayers which are to be found in the Prayer Book are translated from Latin prayers which had been used by Christians in all countries and in all ages, and which are still used by them throughout the world. It is very fortunate for us that these things were translated from Latin into English in the Tudor period, for there can be no doubt that those who did the work at that time were able to write simple and beautiful English.

Shakespeare. (Ch 49)

"Soul of the age!
Th' applause! delight! the wonder of our stage!
My Shakespeare rise!
Thou art a monument, without a tomb,
And art alive still, while thy book doth live,
And we have wits to read, and praise to give."
-- Ben Jonson: "To the Memory of Shakespeare."

Now look at the name on the back of the large thick book. It is a name which everybody knows. It is the single word Shakespeare. Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers that ever lived, was born and wrote during the Tudor period. Wherever the English language is spoken, and English books are read, the name and the writings of William Shakespeare are known. It is strange to think that though the name and the writings of William Shakespeare are familiar to all the world, we really know very little about the great writer himself. There are some things, however, which we do know, and which must be told here.

William Shakespeare was born in the year 1564, at Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire. He was the son of John and Mary Shakespeare. It is not known exactly what was the occupation of his father, but it is plain that he held a good position among his fellow-townsmen, for at various times he was appointed Alderman and High Bailiff of Stratford. Little is known of William Shakespeare himself. It is probable that he was sent to school at the Stratford Grammar School. It is clear that he must have received a good education, and, like most boys of the time, he doubtless acquired some knowledge of Latin. In 1582, in his nineteenth year, he married Anne, daughter of John Hathaway, living at Shottery, a village within a mile of Stratford.


Five years after his marriage he left Stratford for London. It appears that all this time he was in difficulties for want of money, and many stories are told of the shifts to which the great poet was put to earn a living. According to one account he picked up a few pence by holding the horses at the theatre door, and is even said to have been a call-boy, whose duty it was to inform the actors when it was their turn to go out on the stage. Whatever be doubtful, it is, however, certain that between 1588 and 1589 he commenced writing his great plays, the first being Love's Labour's Lost.

This was followed by Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, and many others. Hamlet appeared in 1602, when Shakespeare was thirty-eight years old. The last play is said to have been The Tempest, written in 1610, when James I. was king.

Of the poet's later life we know some facts with certainty. In 1597, at the age of thirty-three, he returned to Stratford and bought the principal house there, which he called "New Place." At New Place he lived until his death in 1616. He was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford, where his monument is still to be seen. Although Shakespeare had three children, his family soon died out, and none of his descendants are living at the present day.

This is, indeed, but a short account of the life of a very great man. But if we do not know much about Shakespeare himself, it will be only our own fault if we do not know a great deal about the wonderful plays which he wrote, Hamlet, Henry V., Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Othello, and many others. It is no use talking much about these plays here; all English men and English women ought to read them. But there are one or two things about them which should be said even in a short history of England such as this.

It is probably true that ten Englishmen use the words of Shakespeare for every one who has read his plays. This may seem strange at first, but the fact is easily explained. The plays of Shakespeare have been read, repeated, or acted by so many millions of English-speaking people since the time when they were written, that the very phrases which they contain have become part of the English language. Shakespeare said so many things well, and put so many good thoughts into such good words, that those who came after him have found no better way of saying the same things, and have been content to use just the words which Shakespeare himself used.

Scarcely a day passes without our using some phrase or sentence taken from Shakespeare, and very often we do not know that the words which we use have really come to us from the great poet of Queen Elizabeth's time.

There is only one book which English people quote from more often than from Shakespeare, and that is The Bible; and these two books, the Bible and Shakespeare, have helped to make it certain that as long as the English language is spoken, the words and expressions of Queen Elizabeth's time will not be forgotten.

[The authorised version of the Bible was first printed in 1611, eight years after the death of Queen Elizabeth, but the language is the language of the last half of the Tudor period.]

Here are some common phrases of our English speech which we owe to William Shakespeare. Some of them, perhaps, were phrases which were known before Shakespeare's time, but it is because Shakespeare used them, and put them into his plays, that they have now become part of the everyday language of Englishmen. "What's in a name?" "Conscience makes cowards of us all," "All that glitters is not gold" "Trifles light as air" "A pound of flesh" "To be or not to be?" "A sea of troubles" "Patience on a monument" "Love's labour lost" "Much ado about nothing" "Sweet are the uses of adversity," and many others.

And in the same way many words, thoughts, and sentences out of the Bible have become part of the common speech of all Englishmen, even of those who never read the Bible. For instance: "The labourer is worthy of his hire" "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" "Darkness which may be felt" "Making bricks without straw" "Spare the rod and spoil the child" "Job's comforter" "The patience of Job" "Casting pearls before swine" "To escape by the skin of the teeth" "A good Samaritan" "The Prodigal Son" "The widow's mite" and "A talent."

"Nowhere." (Ch 49)

"For I dipped into the future, far as human eye can see,
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be." -- Tennyson: "Locksley Hall"

We have not come to the end of the books on the table in our picture. One of them is called The Faerie Queene. "The Faerie Queene" is a very famous English poem. It was written by Edmund Spenser (b. 1553, d. 1599), who wrote in the time of Queen Elizabeth. The poem is in twenty-four chapters or "cantos." It describes the adventures of a brave knight called the "Red Cross Knight," and of a beautiful maiden called "Una." The poem is really an allegory -- that is to say, a story which is not only interesting in itself, but which has a hidden meaning in it.

The story of the "Red Cross Knight" and Una is intended to teach us to love truth and goodness, and to hate falsehood and evil. Many of those who have not read Spenser's "Faerie Queene," have read the Pilgrim's Progress. The "Pilgrim's Progress" is also an allegory, and those who have read it will easily understand what is meant by the word.

Then there is another small book on the table called "Bacon's Essays." These are the writings of the famous Francis Bacon (b. 1561, d. 1626), who is often called Lord Bacon. [Francis Bacon's real title was "Baron Verulam, Viscount St. Albans."]

These Essays are very celebrated. In the first place, because Francis Bacon, who wrote them, was one of the greatest and cleverest men of his time, and, indeed, one of the cleverest Englishmen who ever lived. In the second place, the essays are celebrated because they are so well written, and contain so much wisdom. The essays are short; each is about a different subject. One is an essay on "Truth," another on "Friendship," a third on "Gardens," and so on. They were first written in Latin, but were afterwards re-written by Bacon himself in English. The English in which they are written is wonderfully clear and good.

The only book we have not yet noticed is the one which bears the name "Utopia" (1526). Utopia was a very famous book at the time it was written. The writer was Sir Thomas More (b. 1480, d. 1535), of whom we read in the story of the Reformation. The name "Utopia" is really made up of two Greek words which mean "Nowhere," and the book is an account of a country which did not really exist, but which Sir Thomas More pictured to himself as what he would like England to be.

The chief thing to remember about the "Utopia" is, that the people who were supposed to live in this land of "Nowhere" three hundred years ago, enjoyed many things which were really unknown in any country before the days in which we now live, and some things which even we should like to have, but have not yet got. In "Nowhere" there was a nine hours' day; no one was allowed to work more than nine hours out of the twenty-four. It is pleasant to think that we in England have at last got as far as this, and in most mills and factories the hours of work are nine hours only, and already there are many places in which nine hours have been shortened to eight.

In "Nowhere," every child had to go to school, and all the teaching was free -- the parents had to pay no school fees. It was not till the year 1870 that a law was made giving power to compel all children to go to school, and it was not till the year 1891 that another law was made which gave to every parent the right to send his children to school and to have them taught without paying any school fees. So it has taken us three hundred years to get some of the good things which were enjoyed by the people of "Nowhere."

Unfortunately, we are still behind the people of Utopia in some matters. In Utopia, everyone cared for his neighbour's good, everyone had a clean and healthy house to live in, no one was overworked. It would be a good thing if we could truly say that, in these and many other respects, England in our own day was as happy and well-off as Sir Thomas More's country of Utopia.

Now we have come to the end of the books which stand upon the table, but it must not be supposed that these are all the great and famous books which were written in the Tudor period. There are many other writers, about whom there is not room to tell. There were Massinger (b. 1583, d. 1640) and Ford (b. 1586, d. 1639), writers of plays, Ben Jonson (b. 1574, d. 1637), Poet Laureate -- a really great poet; there were Beaumont (b. 1584, d. 1616) and Fletcher (b. 1576, d. 1625), also very famous play-writers. The works of all these writers have come down to us, and there is much in them which is of great interest and beauty. Perhaps if they had lived at another time we should have known and admired their works even more than we do, but the wonderful genius of Shakespeare shines so brightly that we have come to take less notice of the other play-writers who lived and wrote in his day. Still, if we want to have a real knowledge of the writers of the Tudor period, we must not forget Beaumont and Fletcher, Massinger and Ford, or, least of all, Ben Jonson -- "Rare Ben Jonson" as he has been called.

But enough has been said in this chapter to show that the days of Henry, Edward, and Elizabeth were very rich in great writers, and that some of the most famous books in the English language have come down to us from their times.

Art in the Tudor Period. (Ch 49)

"A famous age in modern times for learning in every kind, wherein painting was revived, and poetry flourished, and the Greek language was restored." -- Dryden: Preface to "Juvenal."

At page 291 there is a picture of King Henry VIII., and if we turn back to what is said about that picture we shall read that the art of painting portraits began to be practised with great skill and success about King Henry's time.

But it was not only the painting of portraits, but the painting of other pictures, which improved during these years. Some of the most famous painters in the world lived during the Tudor period. The most famous of them were not Englishmen, but some of them lived and painted in England. Many of the pictures which they painted are still to be seen in England, and all their most famous pictures have been copied so often that we in England feel familiar with them although we may never have seen the pictures themselves.

For these reasons it would not be right in a history of England to leave out all account of the great artists of other countries. Besides, we should not fully understand how wonderful a time this Tudor period was, if we were not told that it was celebrated, not only for its great sovereigns and statesmen, its great sailors and explorers, its great preachers and great writers, but also for its great painters. The picture of Henry VIII. at page 291 is copied from a painting by Hans Holbein (b. 1494, d. 1543), who was born in Germany, but who lived for many years of his life in England. His paintings are very famous.

Here is a copy of another picture; very likely many of those who read this book will have seen it before. The picture which is here copied was painted by a wonderful Italian artist, whom many people believe to be the greatest painter that ever lived. His name was Raphael Sanzio d'Urbino (b. 1483, d. 1520). Urbino was a small town near Florence at which Raphael was born. [Portrait of Raphael by Himself.]


The picture has a double interest. In the first place, it is interesting because of its beauty, and because of the fact that it was painted by Raphael about whom we are reading. In the second place, it is of interest because it is a picture of Raphael himself, which he must have drawn from his own reflection in the looking-glass.

There were many other famous painters who lived during the Tudor period, some of whose pictures we can see at this day in the National Gallery in London, or in other great collections of pictures in England and abroad. Among them are Albrecht Durer (b. 1471, d. 1528), a great German painter and engraver, and Correggio (b. 1494, d. 1534) and Titian (b. 1477, d. I 576), great Italian painters. The names of others will be found in the list of famous persons given in this book. On page 418 there is one more picture of a great work of art a statue and not a painting. It is a copy of a statue by Michael Angelo (b. 1474, d. 1564), a native of Florence. Michael Angelo was one of the greatest painters and sculptors that ever lived, and besides being a sculptor and a painter, he was a poet and a musician. The statue, of which we see the picture, is part of a great monument which was carved by Michael Angelo over the tomb of Lorenzo de Medici, the famous Prince of Florence. [Portion of the Tomb of Lorenzo, Duke of Urbino, in the Medicis Chapel, Florence.]


There is a story about Michael Angelo which will help us to understand how great an artist he was. When he was a boy of fourteen years old he was sent to the house of a very famous painter to learn his art. But so clever was the pupil, that instead of having to pay anything to his teachers, he received from them payment in return for the wonderful work he did.

Very little has been told about these great artists in this book, but any of us who care for art, for drawing, for painting, for beautiful pictures and beautiful sculptures, will be certain at one time or another to see and admire paintings or statues by some of them. It will then be useful and pleasant to know something about the time in which these artists lived, and to remember when it was that they did their work. Some of the best pictures which were painted during the Tudor period can be seen without any payment in the great collection of pictures in the National Gallery in London.

Chapter 50. Parliament -- Dress -- Dwellings -- Schools -- The Calendar

Parliament in Tudor Times.

"Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel."

"All things by turn and nothing long."

The history of Parliament during the Tudor period is not a very bright one. Parliament was called together several times, but it cannot be said that it did much, or that what it did was of much good to the country, or brought much credit to itself.

The Parliaments of Edward IV. and Richard III. were much braver and more outspoken than those of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth, and after Elizabeth's death Parliament soon became the strongest power in the land. But the Tudor kings and queens were nearly always masters of the House of Commons, and made its members do very much what they commanded them to do. Whenever the king or queen wished to put some great man to death, Parliament was always ready to pass a Bill of Attainder, or to declare that the person who had to be got rid of was guilty of High Treason. Whichever religion happened to be the stronger, it was always easy to get a Parliament to declare that religion to be the only right and true one.

There was, however, one matter on which even the Tudor Parliaments were very determined; and that was the right to vote, or refuse to vote, money. When Wolsey, at the time of his greatest power, came down to the House of Commons and requested the House to vote £800,000, the members sat silent. Wolsey, angry and astonished that they should dare to treat him thus, called on a member by name. The member bowed, said nothing, and sat down again.

The cardinal could bear the silence no longer. He told them that he came on a message from the king, and that he expected an answer. At last, Sir Thomas More, who was the Speaker, kneeling on one knee, replied "that the House was indeed abashed at the presence of so great a man, but that by their ancient rights they were not bound to give an answer, and that they would talk over the matter when the cardinal had gone." The proud cardinal left them in anger.

A second time he came back and asked them for the vote, and again they refused to speak of the matter while he was there. At length, after a long debate, the House decided to vote, not the sum of £800,000 which the king had asked, but a sum less than half that amount, and payment of this was to be spread over four years. In this way King Henry got a lesson which he did not forget. He found that, when it came to a question of money, Parliament would refuse to obey even his orders. He was very careful in the future not to summon a Parliament oftener than he could help, and he did his best to get money in any way rather than by a vote of the House of Commons.

On one other occasion did Parliament show a spirit of independence, or rather one member was found ready to do so. This was in the time of Queen Elizabeth, when Peter Wentworth, a Cornish member, spoke out pretty plainly about the queen's interference with the House of Commons. He declared that the queen had no right to dictate to the House of Commons. He said so in a speech which got him into great trouble. He was put into prison, a Committee of Members was appointed to examine him, and he was finally sent to the Tower. After a month the queen ordered that he should be released, and he was allowed to go back to the House of Commons, where he was compelled to go down on his knees and listen to a lecture from the Speaker.

This, however, did not cure Wentworth of his plain speaking, and on two other occasions he was imprisoned for the same offence -- that of speaking his opinion clearly about the queen and her policy, and denying her right to interfere with the House of Commons. It was well that there was one courageous man in the Parliament of Queen Elizabeth who was ready to risk his own comfort and his own life for the independence of Parliament. But until the strong hand of the Tudor kings and queens was removed, the House of Commons was unable to play a very important part in the affairs of the country. It may, perhaps, be said with truth that the country did not get on very badly, although Parliament was not so powerful as it became afterwards in the reign of the Stuart kings who succeeded the Tudors. It is lucky that though Parliament did so little that was good or useful during all this time, the country grew rich and strong and became respected abroad with very little help from Parliament.

But though the House of Commons did now and then stand firm when it was asked to pay money, it really did very little more than what the king or queen told it to do. It must not be forgotten that the Tudor kings, Henry VII. and Henry VIII., were much richer than the Kings of England who had gone before them. They kept a great deal of the money taken from the great nobles and the monasteries, and thus they were able to spend large sums without having to ask Parliament to vote taxes.

Queen Elizabeth, when she wanted money, found another plan of getting it. She sold to rich people the right to make or to sell all sorts of different things which were much in use at the time. This right to make or to sell a particular thing was called a "Monopoly." It is wonderful what a number of these monopolies there were. In return for large sums of money, Elizabeth gave to different people the sole right to sell salt, currants, iron, gunpowder, vinegar, brandy (or, as it was then called, Aqua Vita), Latin grammars, paper, starch, and many other things.

Here are some lines which are supposed to give an account of a conversation between two citizens of London about these monopolies. We see that "monopolies" made a real difference to those who had to wear dirty linen and dear boots because of them.

"There is some hope we shall have justice now.
You see how brown this band is; well, my wife
Says that the patent makes all soap so dear
She cannot wash my linen."

"Ay, and on leather
There's a monopoly! These shoes of mine
Cost half a crown too much, and all to feed
Some idle courtier." -- Sterling: "Strafford."

There was one thing which took place in the reign of Henry VII. which was of great importance both to England and to Ireland, a mention of which must not be left out here. This was the passing of "Poynings' Act." Poynings' Act was an Act passed by the Parliament of Ireland in the year 1494, at a time when Sir Edward Poynings was Lord-Deputy or Governor of Ireland, and was named after him.

By this Act it was declared that from that time forward all Acts of Parliament passed by the Parliament of England before the year 1494 should have force and be obeyed in Ireland. It further declared that no Parliament should be held in Ireland without the consent of the King of England, and that if an Irish Parliament did pass laws, the King of England might "disallow," or refuse to assent to these laws. If the King of England disallowed an Act passed by the Irish Parliament, the Act had no effect, and no one was bound to obey it.

Thus the Parliament of England, though it did not get power to make laws for Ireland, did get the power to prevent any laws being made in Ireland of which the King of England and his ministers did not approve.

Poynings' Act lasted for three hundred years. It was repealed in the year 1782, in the reign of George III., and for a short time Ireland had a separate Parliament which could make laws which could not be disallowed in the way laid down in Poynings' Act. After the year 1800, the separate Irish Parliament was done away with, and Irish members were sent over to sit in the Parliament of the United Kingdom at Westminster.

Dresses and Houses. (Ch 50)

"I'll be at charge for a looking-glass,
And entertain a score or two of tailors,
To study fashions to adorn my body.
Since I am crept in favour with myself,
I will maintain it with some little cost."
-- Shakespeare: "Richard III."

It was the fashion in the Tudor times to spend a great deal of money on dress. Both men and women decked themselves in silks and velvets, and the pictures of the time give us some notion of the gorgeous dresses which were worn. Here is an account of the dress worn by the admiral who went to welcome Anne of Cleves at Calais. It reminds one of the old nursery rhyme of the famous ship, in which

"The captain wore a chain of gold
Round about his neck."

"And so marching towards Calais, a mile and more from the town, met her Grace the Karl of Southampton, Great Admiral of England, and apparelled in a coat of purple velvet, cut on cloth of gold, and tied with great eglets [tassels] and trefoils of gold, to the number of CCC, and baldrick-wise [like a belt] he wore a chain, at the which did hang a whistle of gold, set with rich stones of great value. And in this company XXX gentlemen of the King's household, very richly apparelled with great massive chains, and in especial, Sir Francis Bryan and Sir Thomas Seymour's chains were of great value and strange fashion. Beside this, the Lord Admiral had a great number of gentlemen in blue velvet and crimson satin, and his yeomen damask of the same pattern, and the mariners of his ship in satin of Bruges, both coats and slops [breeches] of the same colour; which Lord Admiral, with low obeisance welcomed her, and so brought her into Calais by the Lantern Gate, where the ships lay in the haven garnished with their banners, pencells, [pennants] and flags pleasantly to behold."

The dress of the ladies was as fine as that of the men. Queen Elizabeth set the example of wearing the enormous starched ruffs, or collars, which are to be seen in nearly all the pictures of this time. So great were the sums spent upon dress, that from time to time the king or the queen issued orders forbidding people to spend more than a certain amount of money upon their dress and adornments. But these laws did not do much to prevent people from spending their money. Fashions were then, as they are now, too strong for the law.

If we want to know the kind of dress which was worn by men who were not very rich, we have only to look at the Bluecoat Boys, or scholars of Christ's Hospital, in London, who still wear the long blue coat, knee breeches and yellow stockings which were worn by boys at the school when it was founded in 1553.

But although the dresses of the time were rich and costly, some of the commonest articles which we wear now were either unknown or were known for the first time in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The queen was the first among her people to wear silk stockings, a pair of which was presented to her as a great treasure.

While the dresses which people wore became richer and more splendid than before, the houses in which the richer part of the population lived became more spacious, more comfortable, and more durable than ever before. It is the custom to speak of the Tudor or Elizabethan style of architecture, by which is meant the style in which houses and churches were built during the time of the Tudors.


Above we have pictures of two windows. One of them is what is called a Pointed window. All the arches in it go up to a point. It was built a long time before the Tudor period. The other was built in the time of Queen Elizabeth. In it the upright shaft, or mullion, of the window goes straight up to the top without forming an arch. This style of building a window is called the Perpendicular style, because the mullions of the windows are "perpendicular." This style was adopted soon after the "Black Death," at the beginning of the fifteenth century, perhaps because it was cheaper to build in it than in the older "Pointed style." Some of the most famous buildings in England built in Tudor times, and in the Perpendicular style, are the chapel of King's College, Cambridge, and Hatfield House, the residence of the Marquess of Salisbury in Hertfordshire.


Colleges and Schools. (Ch 50)

"Most Merciful God and Loving Father, we give Thee most humble and hearty thanks for Thy great bounty bestowed upon us of this House, by its especial benefactors . . . humbly beseeching Thee so to bless our honest endeavours that the Church and Commonwealth of this land may be bettered by our studies, and that we ourselves may finally be made partakers of everlasting happiness." -- From the Form of Thanksgiving for Founders and Benefactors in one of the Colleges in the University of Oxford.

There is no time in England when more was done for education than the Tudor period. We have already seen how Cardinal Wolsey founded the great college of Christ Church in the University of Oxford (1546), and between the years 1485 and 1603, no fewer than thirteen other colleges were founded at Oxford and Cambridge.

Many of our most famous public schools also date from this time. Winchester, it is true, is older, for it was founded by William of Wykeham in the year 1387. Eton, too, which was founded from Winchester, dates from the time of Henry VI. (1440), but Harrow (1571), Rugby (1567), Shrewsbury (1551), St. Paul's (1509), Merchant Taylors' (1561), Westminster (1560), Christ's Hospital (1553), are all great public schools which began their history in the days of the Tudors.

And all over the country there are ancient Grammar Schools which are still doing good and noble work, which were founded under Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary or Elizabeth.

If we were to give the list of all the schools which date from the Tudor period, we should have to print hundreds of names and to mention schools in every county of England. Certainly every scholar ought to be grateful to the Tudor sovereigns for the help they have given to so many generations of English boys.

Unfortunately, in those days not much trouble was taken to start schools for girls. Thus it happened that the boys got the whole of the benefit. Now, however, some of the money which was left to support the boys' schools is very wisely being used to found good schools for girls also, and so English girls will some day, perhaps, have as much reason to be grateful to Queen Bess and her brother, King Edward, as English boys.

Old Style and New Style, or the Change in the Calendar. (Ch 50)

"See the minutes, how they run;
How many make the hour full complete,
How many hours bring about the day,
How many days will finish up the year,
How many years a mortal man may live."
-- Shakespeare: "Henry VI.," Part 3.

One very interesting thing happened during Elizabeth's reign which must be mentioned by itself, because it has nothing to do with any of the matters about which we have been reading. It is a thing which ought to interest us now, because it really makes a difference to us who live in the present day. It is the great change in the Calendar made by Pope Gregory XIII. in the year 1582. Everybody knows that there are 365 days in a year, but everybody does not know that besides the 365 days, there are also in every year 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 49 seconds; that is to say, that the earth takes 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 49 seconds to go round the sun.

Before the time of Gregory it was quite well-known that the year was made up of 365 days and something over, but there had been a mistake in reckoning up the exact amount left over. The length of the year had been reckoned as 365 days, 6 hours. Now between 365 days, 6 hours, which was the wrong time, and 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, 49 seconds, which was the right time, there was little difference -- only 11 minutes and 11 seconds.

But if we multiply 11 minutes and 11 seconds several hundred times, we get a big figure in the course of many years; and thus it had come about that the calendar had got seriously "out of order." The 24th of June was no longer the real Midsummer Day, and the days did not really begin to get longer after the 21st of December, as they ought to have done. The mistake in Gregory's time had grown to as much as ten days.

It was high time, therefore, that this mistake should be corrected, and Gregory did a very wise thing when he issued an order commanding that every country should drop ten days out of its reckoning of the year, and begin to date everything ten days later. The Roman Catholic countries which obeyed the Pope did what they were commanded, and took up the new way of reckoning the year. This new way was called the New Style.

England, and some other countries which were at that time unfriendly to the Pope, refused to make the change; and it was not till a hundred and seventy years later, in the year 1751, and in the reign of King George II., that the change was made in England. Thus it happened that for a long time the different countries of Europe kept their calendars in different ways; some, such as England, kept to the Old Style, which was wrong; while others, such as Italy, France, and Spain, accepted the New Style, which was right. For this reason we often find in old books dates given in both the old and the new styles, thus: 3rd September, O.S., 14th September, N.S., 1740. * Under the Old Style the year began on the 25th of March, while under the New Style it commences on the 1st of January. This is why, in some English Histories, we find dates given thus, "March 23rd, 1630/31."

[The difference of the time in Gregory's alteration in the Calendar was ten days; at the time of the alteration in England it had increased to eleven days.]

In Russia at the present day the New Style has not been accepted. There are still some things in England to remind us of the Old-Style calendar. Some people still make a cake for Twelfth Night that is to say, the 6th of January. Twelfth Day is really only the old Christmas Day, or 25th of December.



The hundred and eleven years which followed the death of Queen Elizabeth contain the Stuart period of our history, during which the six sovereigns of the House of Stuart reigned over Great Britain. The period is remarkable as one of great political conflicts, during which the foundations of the Constitutional Monarchy of the United Kingdom were laid.

The Tudor sovereigns had attempted to rule without the aid of Parliament, and they had been in a large measure successful. The power of the Crown in the time of Henry VIII., and of Elizabeth, was immense; that of Parliament was insignificant. Under the Stuarts a great change took place. Weak sovereigns like James I. and Charles I. were unable to follow in the footsteps of Henry and Elizabeth, and they soon found themselves face to face with the opposition of the House of Commons, which grew as the king showed an ever increasing disregard for its powers and its privileges. In the struggle which followed, the Crown was for a moment swept away, and the Commons appeared to be absolutely triumphant. But, as has so often happened, the English people, though ready to accept changes, were not willing that those changes should be very great, or hastily made. The Crown was restored, the king reigned again, but William and Mary, and Anne -- the last of the Stuart sovereigns -- reigned with powers far more limited than those which were exercised by Elizabeth and claimed by Charles I.

Government by the people through Parliament was not yet secured, but the right of Parliament, and especially of the House of Commons, to take a direct part in the government of the country was acknowledged. It is of this great political struggle between Crown and Parliament, with all its moving and exciting incidents, that we are now to read the story.

Chapter 51. James Stuart, King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. 1603-1625.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of James I:
     James I. (James VI. of Scotland), son of Mary, Queen of Scots and Henry Darnley, b. 1566, became King of "Great Britain" 1603, d. 1625.
     Anne Of Denmark, daughter of Frederick II., wife of James I., m. 1589, d. 1619.
     Henry, eldest son of James I. and Anne, b. 1594, d. 1612.
     Charles, second son of James I. and Anne, b. 1600, afterwards King of England.
     Elizabeth, daughter of James and Anne, m. Frederick V., Elector Palatine, 1613.
     Henry IV. of Navarre, King of France, d. 1610.
     Louis XIII., King of France.
     Philip III., King of Spain, d. 1621.
     Philip IV., King of Spain.
     Rudolf II, Emperor, d. 1612.
     Matthias, Emperor, d. 1619.
     Ferdinand II., Emperor.
     Clement VIII., Pope, d. 1605.
     Leo XL, Pope, d. 1605.
     Paul V., Pope, d. 1621.
     Gregory XV., Pope, d. 1623.
     Urban VIII., Pope.
     Robert Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, d. 1612.
     Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, Lord Chancellor, d. 1626.
     Sir Walter Raleigh, executed 1618.
     George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham.
     Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester, afterwards Earl of Somerset, d. 1616.
     Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of France.
     Great Writers:
          William Shakespeare, d. 1616.
          Ben Jonson.
          Francis Bacon, Viscount St. Albans, d. 1626.
          John Fletcher, d. 1625.
          Philip Massinger, d. 1640.
          Francis Beaumont, d. 1616.
          John Ford, d. 1639
          Cervantes (Spaniard), author of "Don Quixote," d. 1616.
     Inigo Jones, architect.
          Galileo, Florentine.
          Johann Kepler, German.
          Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish.
          Van Dyck, Flemish
          Guido, Italian.

Principal events during the reign of James I:
     1603. Accession of James to the throne of England. Cobham's conspiracy. Trial of Raleigh.
     1604. Hampton Court Conference held.
     1605. Gunpowder Plot.
     1608. Protestant settlement of Ulster. Quebec built by the French.
     1610. Henry IV. of France assassinated.
     1611. Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester, becomes minister. The Authorised Version of the Bible completed.
     1613. English factories set up at Surat, in India.
     1615. Lady Arabella Stuart dies.
     1616. Francis Beauniont, poet, dies. Shakespeare dies.
     1618. Sir Walter Raleigh executed. Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, becomes the King's favourite and minister. Commencement of the Thirty Years' War.
     1619. Queen Anne, wife of King James, dies.
     1620. Seizure of the Palatinate by Spaniards.
     1621. Bacon disgraced.
     1623. Prince Charles visits Madrid.
     1624. War with Spain.
     1625. James dies.

How a Stuart became King of England. (Ch 51)

"All the blue bonnets are over the Border."

In the preceding chapters we have read the story of the Tudor Period -- the reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth. We now come to what is known as the Stuart Period.

The Stuart Period occupies 111 years. It began in 1603, when James I. of England came to the throne, and ended in 1714 at the death of Queen Anne. The first question that naturally comes to our minds is, "Why are these 111 years called the Stuart Period?" In order to get an answer to this question we must carry our minds back as far as the reign of Henry VII., the first of the Tudors.

We read in the last Part how Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII. and sister of Henry VIII., married James IV., King of Scotland, in the year 1502. James IV. (who was killed at the battle of Flodden Field) and Margaret had a son, who became James V. of Scotland. James V. had a daughter, whose name is very well known to all who have read the history of England.

This daughter was Mary, Queen of Scots, who was beheaded, by order of Queen Elizabeth, at Fotheringay Castle in the year 1587. Mary, Queen of Scots was married three times. Her second husband was Henry Darnley, who was killed by an explosion of gunpowder at Kirk-o'-fields, Edinburgh. The son of Henry Darnley and Mary, Queen of Scots was called James, and became King of Scotland under the title of James VI. Now James VI., King of Scotland, bore for his family-name the name of Stuart. The sovereigns of Scotland had belonged to the Stuart family ever since the time of Robert Stuart (1371).

We have now learnt that James VI. of Scotland was a Stuart, and that he was descended from Margaret Tudor. We have still to learn how it was that the name of Stuart came to be as well known in the history of England as it had been hitherto in the history of Scotland. If we turn back to the reign of Henry VII., we shall find an account of the marriage between Margaret Tudor and James IV. of Scotland, and we shall read the following passage: "When Margaret and James were married, some of Henry VII.'s friends said to him: 'What will happen if your sons die, or if they have no children? Will not the children of the King and Queen of Scotland have a right to the throne of England?'" Those who asked this question did not speak without good reason, for what they feared might happen did actually take place.

Henry VII.'s son, Henry VIII., came to the throne on the death of his father, and Henry VIII.'s three children -- Edward VI., Mary, and Elizabeth -- all reigned in England, but neither Edward, nor Mary, nor Elizabeth left any children; and thus it came about that on the death of Queen Elizabeth in 1603, the next heir to the crown of England was James Stuart, King of Scotland, great-grandchild of Margaret Tudor. There was no doubt at all about James being the right heir; and as soon as Elizabeth was dead, everyone in England at once looked to James as their new king.

But when he became King of England James did not cease to be King of Scotland. He was king of the two countries at the same time, and was known across the Border as James VI., King of Scotland, and on the English side of the Border as James I., King of England. It is the story of what took place during the reign of James Stuart, and of his children and grandchildren, which has now to be told. There were six sovereigns of the line of Stuart -- James I., Charles I., Charles II, James II, Mary, and Anne.


Henry VII. (Tudor 1456-1509) married Elizabeth of York (d. 1503). Their children:
Henry VIII. (1491-1547)
Margaret (1489-1541)

Henry VIII married six times:
Catharine of Aragon; child Mary (1516-1558)
Anne Boleyn; child Elizabeth (1533-1603)
Jane Seymour; child Edward VI. (1537-1553)
Anne of Cleves
Catharine Howard
Catharine Parr

Margaret married James IV. (Stuart) of Scotland (d. 1513 at Flodden) Their child:
James V. of Scotland (1512-1542) married Mary of Guise; their child:
Mary (Stuart), Queen of Scots (1542-1587) married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley; their child:
James VI. (Stuart; 1566-1625)

In reading the history of England up to the present time, a great deal has been said about the kings and the queens, and what they did and thought. It was right to pay much attention to these things in the earlier part of our history, because the kings and queens were often the most powerful and important persons in the country, and what they did and thought made the greatest possible difference to those who lived under their rule. In the reigns of Henry VIII. and of Queen Elizabeth, it is impossible not to turn our attention first of all to the king or the queen, and to regard him or her as the chief figure in the story of the time.

Now, however, we have come to a period in our history when another great power besides that of the Crown began to make itself felt. This new power was the power of Parliament. The history of the Stuart Period is a history of the long and fierce struggle which took place between the king on the one hand, and the Parliament on the other. The king fought to keep his own power and the right to rule the country by his own will. The Parliament fought for the right to prevent the king from governing the country by his own will and against the will of Parliament. In the end Parliament won the day, and made it part of the fixed and settled law of the land that the king or queen has no right to rule this country without the consent of Parliament.

At the present day the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland is what is called a Constitutional Government -- that is to say, a Government in which all things are done in accordance with the fixed rule and law of the Constitution. * Some of the laws and rules of our Constitution were fixed and settled before the Stuart Period, and some have been fixed and settled since its close, but many of the most important rules and laws of the British Constitution were first firmly fixed during this Stuart Period, about which we are now going to read.

[Constitution, from the Latin 'constituere,' to establish -- a thing "established" or "constituted."]

The New King and His Subjects. (Ch 51)

"Elizabeth died: and the Kingdom passed to one who was, in his own opinion, the greatest master of king-craft who ever lived, but who was, in truth, one of those kings whom God seems to send for the express purpose of hastening revolutions." -- Macaulay.

James was thirty-six years old, and had been King of Scotland thirty-five years, when the news reached him that Queen Elizabeth was dead and that he had become King of England as well as of Scotland. He was, naturally, very pleased to hear the news. Scotland was at that time a poor country, and was still greatly disturbed by the rivalry of the two parties which had fought against each other so fiercely in the reign of Mary, Queen of Scots. England under Elizabeth had become rich and powerful, and there seemed no longer any fear of civil war among the English. James was therefore glad to exchange the palace at Holyrood for the greater splendour of Windsor and St. James's. He came to London in great state, stopping at several places on the way in order to receive the congratulations of his new subjects.

Many of the nobles and chief persons came to meet the king upon his journey, at York, at Newark, and elsewhere. The king, anxious to seem gracious and to please everybody, gave titles right and left to those who were presented to him. From the very first he wished to be thought a gracious king. It is doubtful, however, whether those who saw James were as much struck by his kingly appearance as he wished them to be, and as he, no doubt, thought they were. It is said that the king was of ungainly appearance, clumsy in movement, and not very cleanly in his habits; but whatever other people may have thought of the king, the king beyond all doubt thought a great deal of himself. We shall see that James's good opinion of himself soon brought him into trouble.

If we go back a long way in English history to the time of the Plantagenets, who reigned before the Tudors, we shall find that the English kings in those days -- Henry IV., Henry VI., and Edward IV. -- though they had a great deal of power, could not always do as they liked. The great nobles were also very powerful, and were able to interfere with the king and to control his actions. Sometimes, indeed, they were as powerful as the king himself, for we read of the Earl of Warwick being called the "King-Maker" because it was said that he had power to make or unmake kings as he chose. Parliament, too, was not without its share of power in those days. The Commons of England had always claimed the right to prevent the king from imposing any taxes upon the country without their consent, and the House of Commons itself often refused to vote money to the king until he promised to remedy the grievances of which they complained. But during the Wars of the Roses most of the great nobles had been killed in battle, or had lost their lives upon the scaffold; and when the first of the Tudor sovereigns, Henry VII, came to the throne he found no power left in the country strong enough to resist his will.

The great nobles had been killed or had been deprived of their land, and the House of Commons was not yet strong enough to fight alone against a powerful king. And thus it came about that during the reigns of the Tudors, the power of the Crown became greater than it had ever been before in our history; and the Tudor kings and queens, being very determined and able men and women, knew how to make the most of the power they had won.

The Doctrine of "Divine Right." (Ch 51)

"I will have none of that: I will have one doctrine and one discipline, one religion in substance and in ceremony." -- James I. at the Hampton Court Conference.

But it was not only the downfall of the nobles which had given greater power to the Crown. A great change had come over the title by which the King or Queen of England claimed to rule. A strange doctrine had been invented, or, rather, had been brought over to England from other countries in which it had already been preached by kings and by those who flattered them. It is necessary to remember the name of this strange doctrine, because it played a very important part in the history of the Stuart Period. It was called the Doctrine of "Divine Right," and it declared that kings rule over their subjects as a matter of right, and that this right is given to them by God.

It is quite plain that this idea was certain to lead to one result. If it were true that the king reigned, not by the consent of the people, but by a right which the people could not interfere with, then it was evident that the king could do anything he liked, and that he was above all laws which the people or the Parliament, which represented the people, might make. If the king wanted a thing done in one way, and the Parliament and the people wanted it done in another, the king had only to say, "It does not matter to me what your wishes may be, I am a king by Divine Right, and what I wish must be the law." Then, of course, either the king or the Parliament had to give way.

In the times of the Tudor kings and queens of Henry VIII. and Elizabeth there were often disputes between the Crown and the Parliament; but the Crown being strong and Parliament weak, it was Parliament which had to give way. We shall see that when disputes of the same kind broke out in the time of the Stuarts, things were altered, and it was not long before Parliament and the people declared that the king had no Divine Right to rule over them, but that he, like everybody else, must act according to law.

James I., when he came from Scotland, thought that he had only to step into the shoes of Queen Elizabeth and Henry VIII. in order to exercise all the power which they had exercised. He was much mistaken, but it was some time before he found out his mistake. James was a great believer in his Divine Right to rule over the people of England and Scotland; indeed, he was never so happy as when he was laying down the law for his subjects.

The first thing that occupied his attention was the difference of religion which he found existing in England. At that time there were three great parties in England. There were the friends of the Protestant Reformed Church as fixed by law, which was called The Established Church; there were the Roman Catholics; and, lastly, there were those Protestants who thought that the Reformation had not gone far enough, and who, though they were great enemies to the Roman Catholics, were also enemies to the Protestant Church as fixed by law. This party was called the Puritan party, and we have already read something about it in the story of Queen Elizabeth.

During the last years of Queen Elizabeth's reign, the Puritans had increased in number and in influence. This was not wonderful. When Queen Elizabeth and her counsellors had settled once for all that the Protestant religion must take the place of the Roman Catholic in England, they had not been content to declare that all public services held in England should be Protestant services, but they had laid down a great number of rules and regulations declaring exactly what was to be the form of the services and what the bishops and the clergy were to teach.

Unfortunately, they went further, and they set to work to persecute and punish all those, whether they were Roman Catholics or whether they were Puritans, who did not obey the rules and regulations which they made. It is easy to see that in doing this they were forsaking the truth which, as Protestants, they should have been the first to teach -- namely, that a man has a right to worship God after his own conscience, and that no one has a right to punish him for doing so.

The Puritans believed that the Protestant Church as it had been set up by Edward VI. and Elizabeth was still too much like the Roman Catholic Church, and many of them refused to obey the orders of the bishops and to attend services in the churches. For their disobedience they had been punished; and just as the persecution of the Protestants by Roman Catholics had made the Protestants stronger than they were before, so the persecution of the Puritans by the Protestant Church now led to an increase in the influence and the power of the Puritans.

It is necessary to understand something about the division between these three parties at the time when James I. became, king, or otherwise we should not be able to follow the story of what took place. When the king came to London, everyone was very curious to know with which of the three parties he would side. There were some who held that in his heart he favoured the Roman Catholics, and would do his best to strengthen their cause. There were others who thought that he would do all he could to help the Puritans, and this did not seem unlikely. The Protestants in Scotland mostly belonged to a party called the Presbyterian party, and the Presbyterians were as a rule more friendly to the Puritans than to the other English Protestants.

But James soon made it quite clear that he intended to side neither with the Roman Catholics nor with the Puritans, but with the bishops and with the Established Church. He declared that, like Henry VIII., he was the Head of the Church in England; and he went further, and declared that no one could lay down the teaching of that Church better than himself. He took part in the disputes between the different parties. He wrote books and he preached sermons.

A great meeting, or "Conference," was held at Hampton Court. He ordered the bishops and the leaders of the Puritans to come to the Conference and argue before him; and, when he could not get the best of the argument in any other way, he interrupted the speaker by declaring that he was the true and only judge of what was right, and that those who differed from him would do well to keep silence. Having made up his mind which party he would favour, the king was not slow to put in force the laws against all those who differed from that party, whether they were Roman Catholics or Protestants. In consequence, he made enemies on both sides, and we shall see that both sides tried to punish him, though in different ways.

The Beginning of Troubles. (Ch 51)

"For freedom's battle once begun,
Bequeathed by bleeding sire to son,
Though baffled oft, is ever won." -- Byron.

At the very beginning of the reign, plots were formed against the king and against his Council, at the head of which was Robert Cecil, son of Elizabeth's famous minister Lord Burleigh. These plots were known as the Main Plot and the Bye Plot. The chief conspirator was Lord Cobham, and Sir Walter Raleigh was said to be mixed up in the latter plot. It was proved that the conspirators had tried to get the help of Spain to further their objects. Raleigh was found guilty and imprisoned in the Tower, where he remained for many years. The little cell in which he spent so long a time may still be seen in the White Tower, which forms the great central building of the Tower of London.

The discovery of the conspiracy strengthened the position of King James upon the throne, and his support of the bishops and of the Established Church gained him the support and good will of by far the greater number of the Protestants of England. It was not long, however, before he found himself in trouble. He had declared himself to be a King by Divine Right and Head of the Church in England; he now went further, and thought that he would prove to all the world that not only was he above the law, but that he had a right to do that which was contrary to the law.

In the year 1604 Parliament was called together. The electors of Buckinghamshire elected as their member Sir Francis Goodwin. The king disapproved of the election of Goodwin, and declared that he had been wrongly elected. He sent down orders to the county, and caused another member -- namely, Sir John Fortescue -- to be elected instead. Here, then, were two members elected to the House of Commons for the same seat. The question was, which should be allowed to sit for the county of Buckingham, the king's man or the Commons' man?

The quarrel does not seem very important now, but it should be remembered, because it was the first skirmish in the great battle which was fought in the Stuart times between king and Parliament, and which ended at last in the triumph of Parliament. This first skirmish was a drawn battle. The Commons refused to let Sir John Fortescue take his seat. The king commanded the Commons to admit him. The Commons stuck to their refusal. The king commanded the Commons to confer with the House of Lords. The Commons replied that the matter was their business, and did not concern the House of Lords. The king got angry, and told the Commons that they held all their rights by his royal favour alone. The Commons respectfully replied that this was a mistake, and that the power of making laws lay in the High Court of Parliament, and that they could be made only by the agreement of the Commons, the accord of the Lords, and the assent of the Sovereign.

At last, after the quarrel had lasted a long time, it was put an end to by a proposal made by the king -- that neither Sir Francis Goodwin nor Sir John Fortescue should be member, but that there should be another election. Ever since this time the House of Commons has had the right to settle disputes arising out of the election of its own members. [The right to try petitions was delegated by the Home of Commons in 1868 to the judges, and all election petitions are now tried by two judges.]

This first quarrel with Parliament having come to an end, a still more serious danger threatened the country. This time it was Parliament itself which was in danger. James and the Church party had made up their minds that both Roman Catholics and Puritans should be punished if they refused to obey the law and to acknowledge the king's title as Head of the Church, and his power, with the consent of Parliament, to fix the form in which services should be held. All those who refused to obey, whether they were Roman Catholics or Puritans, were punished and were persecuted with almost as much bitterness as the Protestants had been in former days by the Roman Catholics.

The Pilgrim Fathers. (Ch 51)

"Down to the Plymouth Rock, that had been to their feet as a door-step
Into a world unknown, -- the corner-stone of a nation!
O strong hearts and true! not one went back in the 'Mayflower!'
No, not one looked back, who had set his hand to this ploughing!"
-- Longfellow: "The Sailing of the 'Mayflower.'"

Some of the Puritans decided to leave England for ever, and to sail away to the New World across the Atlantic, where they thought that they would be safe from persecution. Some of them crossed the Channel, and went to live in Holland; but in Holland they were among foreigners, and though they could not any longer live in England, they longed to be in a land where English law was known and where the English tongue was spoken. They determined at last to find such a land for themselves.

In 1620, sixteen years after the Hampton Court Conference, a party of English Puritans -- men, women, and children, to the number of 100 -- sailed from Boston, in Lincolnshire, for North America. The ship they sailed in was called the Mayflower. They stopped on their voyage at Plymouth, and Plymouth was the last English town which they saw. After a long voyage their little vessel sighted land on the American coast in what is now the State of Massachusetts.

They came to shore, and made a little settlement in the new and strange country. Like good Englishmen, they called their new town after the one they had left in the old country they loved, in spite of the unkindness of its rulers. The town has grown, but it still bears the name which its founders gave it -- "Plymouth." The stone on which the sea-worn travellers first set foot in America is still shown with pride by their descendants, the citizens of the State of Massachusetts in the great Republic of the United States. It is called to this day "The Pilgrims' Stone," after those who had made this long pilgrimage in search of freedom.

Those citizens of the United States who can claim to be descended from the Pilgrim Fathers, who landed from the Mayflower at Plymouth, in Massachusetts, in the year 1620, are proud of their forefathers. And, indeed, they have reason to be, for the descendants of the Puritans who left England to escape persecution during the days of the Stuarts grew and multiplied in the new land, and to this day form the best and strongest part of the population of that part of the United States in which they settled, and which they called by the name which they have kept to this day -- "The New England States." The New England States are Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

Many of the Puritans remained behind, and cherished their anger against the king, in the first place because he had persecuted them and their friends, and in the second place because they thought that he was in his heart friendly to the Roman Catholics. The Puritan party grew stronger and stronger, for at that time by far the greater number of people in England were Protestants, and even those who did not agree with the Puritans in all things were friendly to them on account of their religion. The Roman Catholics were no less angry with the king, who persecuted them, than were the Protestants; and as their party was not very strong in England, but was very strong in Spain and in other foreign countries, they were accustomed to look abroad for help in their struggle against the king.

The Gunpowder Plot. (Ch 51)

"Please to remember the Fifth of November:
Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot."

In the year 1604 a Roman Catholic gentleman of the name of Catesby formed a plot by which he hoped to put an end once for all to the persecution of his friends, and to punish the king and Parliament. Together with a soldier of the name of Guy Fawkes, a Yorkshireman, he became the author of the famous "Gunpowder Plot." An empty cellar near to the House of Lords was taken by the conspirators, and a tunnel through the ground was begun, which it was hoped they would be able to get directly under the Houses of Parliament.

By what seemed to the conspirators a stroke of good fortune, the tunnel became unnecessary, for they were soon able to hire another cellar which lay exactly under the House of Lords. In this cellar Catesby and Fawkes collected a number of barrels of gunpowder, their object being, when the proper time came, to blow up the Houses of Parliament, and thus to get rid of their enemies. The plot very nearly succeeded, but, happily, those who had first started it were not content to keep the secret among a few persons only. It was their intention after the explosion to kill or to carry off the members of the Royal Family, and some of them hoped to make Arabella Stuart, a relative of James, queen.

But in order to do all these things money was required, and Fawkes and Catesby had therefore to tell their story to several rich Roman Catholics whom they thought they could trust, and from whom they expected to receive help. Among these rich Roman Catholics were Sir Everard Digby and Sir Thomas Tresham. Now, it is not very hard for one person to keep a secret if he has a great interest in doing so. It is not so easy for two people to keep a secret; but when the secret becomes known to a score of different people, then it is almost certain that before long it will cease to be a secret at all.

And so it was in this case. Several of the conspirators had friends in Parliament, and though each of them was quite willing that other people's friends should be blown up, they were anxious that their own particular friends should escape. Sir Thomas Tresham had a friend in the House of Lords, named Lord Monteagle, who had married his sister. We can imagine what must have been the astonishment of Lord Monteagle and his family, as they were sitting at supper on the 26th of October, 1605, when a strange man came suddenly into the room, handed a letter to the page-boy, and disappeared. Still greater was the astonishment when the letter was read out aloud to those assembled. This is what was in it:

"My lord, out of the love I bear to some of your friends, I have a care of your preservation, therefore I would advise you, as you tender your life, to devise some excuse to shift your attendance at this Parliament, for God and man hath concurred to punish the wickedness of this time; and think not slightly of this advertisement, but retire to yourself into your country, where you may expect the event in safety; for though there be no appearance of any stir, yet I say they shall receive a terrible blow this Parliament, and yet they shall not see who hurts them. This counsel is not to be contemned, because it may do you good, and can do you no harm, for the danger is passed as soon as you have burnt the letter, and I hope God will give you the grace to make good use of it, to whose holy protection I commend you."

This was quite enough to arouse suspicion, and suspicion once aroused, it was a short step towards making a thorough search in the Houses of Parliament. Cecil, James's chief minister, to whom the news was brought, acted wisely. Parliament was to meet on the 5th of November. He let the plot go on, and up to the last moment the plotters believed that they had kept their secret. A little after midnight Sir Thomas Knevett, a magistrate of Westminster, and a party of soldiers, entered the cellar, where Guy Fawkes stood with a dark lantern in his hand ready to light the match which was to explode the gunpowder. He struggled fiercely, but was overpowered and made a prisoner. He was taken to the Tower and put to the torture, in the hope of making him tell the names of his accomplices; but he bravely refused to confess. He was executed February 1st, 1606.

His bravery, however, did not save his companions. One by one they were discovered and the plot laid bare. Catesby tried to raise a revolt among the Roman Catholics in Worcestershire, and was killed fighting desperately. Sir Everard Digby and several others were taken and executed. It was not wonderful that the people of England should have been shocked and alarmed when they heard the news of the Gunpowder Plot; nor, indeed, was it wonderful that they should have been exceedingly angry with the Roman Catholics, in whose supposed interest the plot had been formed.

The whole of the Protestants, indeed, were furious, and thousands of Roman Catholics suffered who had nothing whatever to do with the plot, and who were as indignant with the conspirators as any Protestant in the land. For a time, however, the passionate anger of the people would hear no reason, and the laws against the Roman Catholics were made stricter, and were carried out even more harshly, than they had hitherto been.

James Quarrels with the House of Commons. (Ch 51)

"Grievances and supply must go hand in hand." -- Sir Thomas Wentworth.

But James was no sooner free from one trouble than he fell into another. He had already quarrelled once with Parliament over the election of Sir Francis Goodwin, and now he quarrelled with it again about a much more serious matter. We have seen that James believed that he was a king "by Divine Right," that he was above the law, and that he himself had power to make laws. It was this last claim that brought him into conflict with Parliament. The king had been extravagant in his expenditure; he was constantly in want of money. He tried to get money in many ways, and among others by selling titles of rank to those who cared to buy them. Not a very honourable way of earning a title!

When he had come to the end of all other means, James made up his mind to impose taxes upon the people without consulting Parliament. He declared that he had the right to do this by his "Prerogative" It was allowed by all, that by the Constitution of England certain powers belonged to the king, and could be used by him without asking Parliament. Among such powers were those of declaring war and making treaties with other nations. James now said that his "prerogative "also gave him the right to increase the Customs duties and to levy taxes. When, however, he came to try to carry out his intentions, he was met by the House of Commons with a very firm resistance. The Commons told him plainly that in trying to raise money without asking Parliament he was breaking the law as laid down in the Charters, and as declared over and over again in the laws and statutes of England.

The struggle between the king and Parliament lasted during the whole reign, but the House of Commons remained firm, and in the end the king was obliged to obey the law and to ask Parliament to vote the money. Parliament was not unwilling to vote the money, but every time it did so it took care first of all to draw up a list of grievances and to get a promise from the king that he would remedy them if the money were given.

During the first half of his reign James had the great advantage of having Cecil for his chief minister. He was a very able man, and had power enough over the king to prevent his making great mistakes. In 1612, however, nine years after the accession of the king Cecil died, and from that time forward the king's ministers were unworthy men who sought only their own interests, and who cared little for the welfare of the country. The two best-known of these ministers were Robert Carr and George Villiers. Robert Carr was a Scotsman, who was a great favourite with the king, who made him in turn Viscount Rochester and Earl of Somerset. After the downfall of Rochester, Villiers took his place in the affections of the king, and became an especial favourite with the king's son, Charles. We shall hear more of Villiers in the next reign.

It would be impossible to speak about the ministers of King James without saying something about a very distinguished man who served the king in the office of Lord Chancellor, and who ended his life during this reign in shame and disgrace. This was the famous Francis Bacon, about whom we read in the time of Queen Elizabeth. His name is known to all the world as the writer of "Bacon's Essays."

He was, perhaps, the cleverest Englishman of his time. He had been appointed Lord Chancellor, and had been given the title of Viscount St. Albans. In the quarrel between the king and Parliament, Bacon was one of the king's ministers against whom the House of Commons brought the most serious charges. They declared that he had over and over again been guilty of taking bribes, which were offered to him on condition that he would give unjust judgments.

The charges were true, and were proved beyond all doubt, The Chancellor was forced to admit that he was guilty. He was impeached by the House of Commons before the House of Lords. The unhappy man confessed his crime, and threw himself upon the king's mercy. He was sentenced to be imprisoned for life in the Tower, to be dismissed from all his offices, and to pay a fine of 40,000. The king consented to release him from prison, and the fallen Chancellor lived on for a few years at his house near St. Albans. He died in 1626.

The Ancestors of King Edward VII. (Ch 51)

"The true succeeders of each royal house,
By God's fair ordinance conjoin together!
And let their heirs (God, if Thy will be so)
Enrich the time to come with smooth-faced peace,
With smiling plenty, and fair prosperous days!"
-- "Richard III.," Act V., Scene 4.

The mention of Prince Charles's name on the preceding page may remind us that hitherto nothing has been said about King James's family; but some of the members of this family played so important a part in our history that they must not be passed over. James himself had married Anne, daughter of the King of Denmark.

He had three children Henry, Charles, and Elizabeth. Henry, Prince of Wales, did not live to take any great part in our history. Perhaps it would have been a good thing had he done so, for all writers of his time agree in describing him as a young man of great promise, handsome in figure, courageous, anxious to do good, and beloved of the people. Unluckily, this good prince died of a fever in the year 1612, in the nineteenth year of his age.

His brother Charles was a very different character. We need not stop to describe him here, for we shall read more about him, his follies, and his fortunes, when he had become Charles I., King of England. We must note, however, that during his father's lifetime a marriage was arranged between him and the Infanta, daughter of the King of Spain. Charles, accompanied by Villiers, went to Madrid to pay his court to the lady; but the match was broken off -- thanks, some people said, to the misbehaviour of Villiers while he was at the Spanish capital. The failure of the match gave great satisfaction in England, where the Protestants looked with horror upon the idea of a marriage between the Prince of Wales and a Spanish princess. It was then arranged that Charles should marry Princess Henrietta Maria. But this marriage, which was not so unpopular as that which had first been proposed, was not solemnised until after the death of King James.

The name of Princess Elizabeth does not occur very often in the history of England, but there are strong reasons why it should not be forgotten. Elizabeth was married when she was quite a child to Frederick V., the Elector Palatine, * one of the Protestant princes of Germany. At the time of the marriage the bride was seventeen and the bridegroom the same age. The life of Frederick and Elizabeth was a chapter of misfortunes.

[The Palatinate was the district which lies on the west side of the river Rhine, between the towns of Mannheim and Karlsruhe. The Elector Palatine, or Prince of the Palatinate, was one of the princes of Germany who at that time elected the emperor. There were first seven and afterwards nine electors.]

In the year 1618 a fierce war between Protestants and Roman Catholics, known as the Thirty Years' War, broke out. Frederick took the side of the Protestants, and was chosen King of Bohemia by the Protestant princes. But, so far from reigning over his new kingdom, he was driven out of his own dominions by the enemy. All his life long he fought for a crown which he never possessed except in name. Men spoke of him as the "Snow King," so quickly did all his claims to royalty melt away.

But though Frederick and Elizabeth never reigned as king and queen themselves, they became the ancestors of one of the greatest sovereigns of the world; for it is from Frederick, the "Snow King" and Elizabeth, the daughter of James I., that King Edward VII. is descended. On the following page is a table which will show us how this has come about.

In telling the story of the year 1618 we must not omit to mention one sad event by which it was marked. This was the death of the gallant, but unfortunate, Sir Walter Raleigh. Fifteen years before, he had, as we have already seen, been accused of taking part in Lord Cobham's conspiracy. He had been imprisoned in the Tower, and had there passed the weary years, shut off from all the world, in a little cell within the thick walls of the White Tower. While in prison he had made use of his time to write his famous book entitled "The History of the World." In 1617 he was released, and was sent off in command of an expedition to Guiana, in South America. It was hoped that he would discover the fabled "Golden City," of El Dorado, of which many travellers' tales had been told, and which was believed to lie to the south of the great river Orinoco.

But the expedition was a failure. The Golden City remained undiscovered, and, what was worse, Raleigh managed to come to blows with the Spaniards, who had already established themselves in South America. England was at that time supposed to be at peace with Spain, and the king especially did not wish to offend the Spaniards. The opportunity was too good a one to be lost by Raleigh's enemies. He was accused of making war upon the king's "dear brother," the King of Spain. He was tried, and though he was not punishable with death for any offence he had committed since his release from the Tower, his old sentence, which had been pronounced upon him fifteen years before, was revived against him, and under that sentence he was condemned to death, and executed on the 29th of October, 1618.

The Translation of the Bible. (Ch 51)

"The English version of the Bible remains the noblest example of the English tongue. Its perpetual use made it, from the instant of its appearance, the standard of our language." -- J. K. Green: "History of the English People."

We have not yet said much about the reign of James I. that is very creditable to the king, or that is very pleasant to look back upon. There were, however, three things which were done during the reign and under the direction of the king which were of great importance in themselves, and which have had the most fortunate consequences for our country. If we turn to the beginning of our Bible we shall find in the Preface the following inscription:

The Translators of the Bible wish Grace, Mercy, and Peace,
through JESUS CHRIST our Lord."

[The Kings of England at this time still called themselves Kings of France.]

What is the history of this inscription? After the Conference at Hampton Court, which has been already mentioned, the king gave orders that a translation of the Bible should be made which should become from that time forward the only translation allowed by law to be used in the churches. The translation was made by forty-seven learned men. The Bible as translated in the time of James I. is the one which is read to this day by nearly everybody who reads the Bible in the English language.

We have reason to be thankful that the Bible was translated just at this time. The scholars who did the work did not perhaps know quite as much Hebrew as some students do now, and there are some passages which might have been more correctly translated if the translators had been more skilful than they were. It is for this reason that in our own day a new version or edition of the Bible has been printed which is called the Revised Version, and in which the small errors made by the translators of King James's time have been corrected. But those who did the work of correction took pains to make as little alteration as possible in the actual words, and in this they acted rightly. In the first place, after nearly three hundred years of daily use by Englishmen of all classes and of all lands, the actual words of King James's Bible have become so familiar to all who speak English that it would have seemed to many millions of people to be losing an old friend if they lost the familiar words of their Bible.

In the second place, it would have been a great mistake to make more alterations than were actually needed, because it would have been scarcely possible to make the language more beautiful than it is in the Old Version. The time of James I. was the time of Shakespeare, and it was just before the time of Milton. It was an age when people wrote very simple and yet very clear and beautiful English. One of the best and simplest writers of English that ever lived -- namely, John Bunyan, the author of the Pilgrim's Progress -- was born in the year 1628; and among those who made the translation of the Bible in James's time were men who had the same power that Bunyan had of writing noble and simple English.

The Union with Scotland, and the Plantation of Ulster. (Ch 51)

"All your strength is in your union,
All your danger is in discord." -- Longfellow: "Hiawatha."

"It is the sin fullest Thing in the world, to forsake or destitute a Plantation, once in Forwardnesse: For besides the Dishonour, it is the Guiltinesse of Blood, of many Commiserable Persons." Bacon's Essays: No. 33, "Of Plantations," p. 143.

A second event took place in the reign of James I. which deserves to be remembered because of the good results which in the end it led to. This was the union between the crowns of England and Scotland. We have already seen how it was that the King of Scotland succeeded as a matter of right to the throne of England. This was the first step towards bringing about that real Union between England and Scotland which exists at the present day, and which is so great a strength to our country. England and Scotland now form parts of a truly "United Kingdom," united at home and united abroad, having one sovereign, one parliament, one army, one navy, and respected throughout the world as parts of one great and united country.

It must not be supposed, however, that the union of the two crowns which followed when James became King of England as well as King of Scotland put an end at once to the jealousy and envy which had so long existed between the two countries. On the contrary, we shall see that battles were still fought between English and Scottish armies, and that there were fierce conflicts between the people of the two countries.

For many years to come Scotland had a Parliament of its own, separate from that of England. The Scottish army was quite independent of the English army; duties were levied upon goods crossing the Border from England into Scotland or from Scotland into England; Scotsmen were still regarded as foreigners in England, and Englishmen were looked upon in the same light in Scotland.

But the first step towards a real union had been taken, and from that time forward the healing-up of the old enmities between the two countries went on. The Scots became content with the new state of things, for they felt that they had lost neither in honour nor strength. They had given a king to England, instead of England forcing a king upon them, and what war would never have accomplished was at length brought about by the good will and good sense of the two peoples. The third thing which was done in the reign of James I., and to which it is possible to look back with pleasure and satisfaction, was the settlement of the north of Ireland by a number of Englishmen and Scotsmen who were sent over by order of the king to occupy and cultivate the lands which had become vacant in the Province of Ulster. During the constant fighting and the many insurrections which had taken place in Ireland, many of the Irish had been driven from their lands, or had left them to seek their fortunes in some other country.


James believed that peace might be secured, and that the Protestant cause might be strengthened, if he could succeed in raising up a loyal and Protestant population in the north of Ireland, and it was with this object that the new "Colonists" were sent over. This "planting" of English and Scottish families in Ireland is usually spoken of as the "Plantation of Ulster." The descendants of the colonists grew and prospered in their new home; and the Protestants of Ulster have always been among the most thriving, industrious, and successful of the inhabitants of Ireland.

We shall learn in a later chapter how in the reign of William III. the Ulster Protestants saved Ireland for the United Kingdom at a time when a foreign army had become master of a greater part of the island, and how the gallant defence of Londonderry turned the tide of battle in favour of the Protestant cause. At this day not only are the Protestants of Ulster among the most loyal, industrious, and energetic of the inhabitants of the United Kingdom, but it is hardly possible to find any part of the world in which Ulster men have not made their mark by their industry and their energy.

And now we have come to the end of the reign of James I. On the 13th of March, 1625, James was taken ill on his return from hunting. He died on the 27th of March, in the fifty-ninth year of his age and the twenty-third year of his reign.

Chapter 52. Charles I. How the King Angered the Parliament. 1625-1630.

Famous persons who lived in the reign of Charles I:
     Charles I., King of Great Britain, second son of James I. and Anne of Denmark, b. 1600, became King 1625, executed 1649.
     Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV. of France, wife of Charles I., b. 1609, m. 1625.
     Charles, eldest son of Charles I., b. 1630, afterwards King of England.
     Mary, daughter of Charles I., b. 1631.
     James, second son of Charles I., b. 1633, afterwards King of England.
     Elizabeth, daughter of Charles I., b. 1635, d. 1650.
     Henry, youngest son of Charles I., Duke of Gloucester, b. 1640.
     Henrietta, daughter of Charles I., b. 1644.
     Louis XIII., King of France, d. 1643.
     Louis XIV., King of France.
     Philip IV., King of Spain.
     Ferdinand II., Emperor, d. 1637.
     Ferdinand III., Emperor.
     William. Prince of Orange, husband of Princess Mary.
     Urban VIII. , Pope, d. 1644.
     Innocent X., Pope.
     George Vllliers, Duke of Buckingham, Charles' favourite, murdered 1628.
     William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, executed 1645.
     Sir Nicholas Hyde, Chief Justice, d. 1631.
     Sir Thomas Wentworth, afterwards Earl of Strafford, executed 1641.
     William Lenthall, Speaker of the Long Parliament.
     Oliver Cromwell, afterwards Lord Protector.
     John Hampden, d. 1643.
     William Prynne.
     Alexander Leslie, Earl of Leven, leader of the Covenanters.
     Earl Of Montrose, leader of the King's Army in Scotland.
     General George Monk.
     Ferdinand, Lord Fairfax, d. 1647.
     Thomas, Lord Fairfax.
     Prince Rupert, nephew of Charles I.
     Cardinal Richelieu, chief minister of Louis XIII., d. 1642.
     Cardinal Mazarin, chief minister of France.
     Great Writers:
          John Milton.
          Ben Jonson, d. 1637.
     Great Painters:
          Peter Paul Rubens, Flemish, d. 1640
          Van Dyck, Flemish, d. 1641.
          Guido, North Italian, d. 1642.
          Rembrandt, Dutch.
          Sir Peter Lely, German.

Principal events during the reign of Charles I:
     1625. Accession of Charles I. Charles marries Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV. of France. First Parliament of Charles summoned and dissolved.
     1626. Impeachment of Buckingham. Second Parliament of Charles I. summoned and dissolved. Attempts to levy Ship-money.
     1627. The city of Boston, U.S.A., built by English emigrants.
     1628. Third Parliament of Charles I. summoned. Buckingham murdered by Felton. Petition of Right agreed to by Charles.
     1629. Parliament passes the "Remonstrance." Third Parliament of Charles I. dissolved. Holies and other members imprisoned.
     1630. Charles, Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II., born. Strafford made chief minister.
     1632. Gustavus Adolphus killed at the battle of Lutzen.
     1633. Prince James, afterwards James II., 1648. Laud made Archbishop of Canterbury.
     1634. William Prynne put in the pillory.
     1636. John Hampdan resists payment of Ship-money.
     1638. The Judges decide against Hampden.
     1640. The fourth Parliament of Charles dissolved. The Scots enter England. Meeting of the Long Parliament (Nov. 3). Impeachment of Strafford and Laud.
     1641. Act for Triennial Parliaments passed. Star-Chamber abolished. Execution of Strafford.
     1642. Charles attempts to arrest the five members. Commencement of Civil War. Battle of Edgehill.
     1643. Royalists' successes in the West of England. Louis XIV., at the age of five, becomes King of France, Anne of Austria Regent, and Cardinal Mazarin chief minister.
     1644. Charles summons a Royalist Parliament at Oxford. Battle of Marston Moor. The "Self-Denying Ordinance."
     1645. Battle of Naseby.
     1646. Charles surrenders to the Scots.
     1647. Charles, given up by the Scots, is imprisoned, and escapes. Imprisoned a second time at Carisbrooke.
     1648. The Scottish Parliament raises an army for the king. Cromwell defeats the Royalists at Preston. Charles removed to Hurst Castle. Colonel Pride "purges the House of Commons." The Peace of Westphalia ends the Thirty Years' War.
     1649. Commissioners appointed to try the king. Charles I. executed.

Cavaliers and Roundheads. (Ch 52)

"For God, for the Cause, for the Church, for the Laws,
For Charles, King of England, and Prince Rupert of the Rhine."
-- Macaulay: "Naseby."

We are now going to read the story of Charles 1, one of the most unfortunate, though not one of the worst, of our kings. The story of his reign may be divided into three parts. The first part contains an account of the long list of faults and errors which the king committed, and of the struggle which he made to set up the kingly power above that of the Parliament and the people. The second part tells how the king, angry at being opposed, tried to reign, without Parliament, as an absolute sovereign. The third part tells how Parliament and people, unable any longer to endure the conduct of the king, rose against him in arms, fought for their liberties, and at last inflicted upon their sovereign the punishment of death for the crimes which they declared he had committed against the country.

It would be quite impossible to understand the last part of this story unless we had already made ourselves familiar with the first part. The people of England had never learned to hate their kings. At the beginning of King Charles's reign it would never have crossed the mind of any Englishman that England could be governed in any other way than by a king. Even at the very height of the Civil War which took place in this reign, by far the greater number of those who fought against the king had no wish to change the form of government in England, or to get rid of kings altogether.

It is well to remember these things, because they prove to us how many and great must have been the faults which Charles committed to have driven the English people into open war against him. We shall see that these faults were both many and great, and that they were of a kind which Englishmen found it very difficult to forgive or to overlook. It has always been the boast of Englishmen that they love liberty, and that they respect the law. King Charles was unwise enough to make a fierce attack upon the liberties of Englishmen, and to break the laws which had been passed for the protection of those liberties. He learnt, however, that no man in England, not even if he be a king, has the right to break the law; and that if he does break the law he will be punished for doing so.

When Charles became King of England and Scotland, on the death of his father in the year 1625, he was in his twenty-fifth year. He was a handsome and spirited young man, gifted with many good qualities, and popular with his subjects. He had scarcely succeeded to the throne when he decided to complete the arrangements which had already been set on foot during his father's lifetime for his marriage with the Princess Henrietta Maria, sister of Louis XIII., King of France. The marriage was not very popular in England, for the Princess was a Roman Catholic, and the people would have preferred a Protestant queen; but a French marriage was thought very much better than the Spanish marriage which had first been talked of. The new queen was a mere child when she was married. She was only fifteen when she left France. She was welcomed by Charles with sincere pleasure, for she was young, pretty, and attractive, and she was a good wife to Charles during the whole of his troubled life.

We see here a picture of Charles, painted by the famous Dutch artist, Van Dyck, in a later period of the king's reign than that of which we are now speaking. The portrait gives us some idea of the gay costumes which were fashionable at the Court of the Stuarts. The king and his courtiers, indeed, followed the examples set by the nobles of France, and decked themselves in gorgeous dresses of velvet and satin; their curled locks were allowed to grow down to their shoulders, and the beautiful lace worn by these gaily-clad gentlemen would stir the envy of any lady in the present day. With gay dresses went gay manners and a love of enjoyment which could often only be gratified by great extravagance.


There had been times in English history before the reign of Charles when costumes had been very rich, and when the extravagance of the Court had been very marked, but they were never so rich and so marked as they now became; but while there was one set of people who followed the fashion of gaiety and expense, there was growing up at the same time another set of people -- namely, the Puritans who not only did not care for fine dresses and lively amusements, but who actually thought it wrong to dress in any but the most sober manner, and who condemned amusements as a sinful waste of time. Thus it came about that not only were there two parties differing in their opinions, but that those who held these different opinions led very different kinds of lives, and could often be distinguished from each other by their dress and appearance.

We hear much during this reign of the Cavaliers on the one side, and of the Roundheads on the other. The Roundheads, or Puritans with their straight, cropped hair, their sombre dress, and their strict rules of life were never tired of finding fault with the folly, the extravagance, and the careless lives of the Cavaliers. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, with their long curled hair, their slashed satin jackets, their fine laces and their feathers, despised the Roundheads for their common looks and their dull lives, and declared that not only were they unable to enjoy life themselves, but that they were also determined to prevent anyone else from enjoying it either.

But it must not be supposed for a moment that the whole of the English people were either extravagant Cavaliers or sour-looking Puritans. Then, as now, by far the greater number of people were quiet, honest men and women who were quite content to enjoy life in their own way, and to let other people do the same. For the most part they would have been glad to keep out of quarrels; and it was not until they believed their liberties, their rights, and their properties were really threatened, that they at last consented to take part on one side or the other.


The Quarrel Grows. (Ch 52)

"So much for Buckingham!" -- Colley Cibber's"Richard III."

At the time when Charles came to the throne all Europe was in arms, and Protestants and Roman Catholics were engaged in a fierce war. Charles hardly knew which side to take. The queen was a Roman Catholic, and Charles himself was very anxious to be a good friend to the King of France. On the other hand, the whole feeling of the people of England was in favour of the Protestant cause. Undoubtedly, if Charles had been able to please himself, he would have done nothing to help the Protestants, and he and the Duke of Buckingham, his minister, would have taken sides with the King of France.

But the king was in want of money, and to get money he must go to Parliament. In the year 1625, therefore, Parliament was called together, and the House of Commons were asked to vote the money the king required. They were asked for a million pounds, but they knew very well if they once gave all that was asked of them, they would have lost all power over the king for a long time to come, and would have no chance of getting their grievances redressed. They therefore refused to vote more than £150,000, and they took another step which greatly displeased the king.

It had been the custom, when a king or queen came to the throne, to vote to the new sovereign a grant of "Tunnage and Poundage," to which he or she was entitled for their whole lives. "Tunnage and poundage" were taxes levied upon every tun of beer or wine, and upon every pound of merchandise, which was imported into the country. Such payments are now called Customs Duties. When once the vote had been passed, the king was always sure of having a considerable sum of money every year without going to the House of Commons to get it; but in the first Parliament of King Charles the House of Commons refused to do what had been done by their predecessors. They declared that they would vote "tunnage and poundage" to the king, but that they would vote it for one year only, and not for the king's life. The king was furious; and, rather than take the money on such conditions, he refused it altogether.

Meanwhile an incident had taken place which showed that the House of Commons had good reasons for mistrusting the king. Louis XIII., King of France, was at this time engaged in a civil war with his Protestant subjects, and his army had laid siege to the strong town of La Rochelle, in the west of France, in which the Protestants, or "Huguenots," as they were called, had taken refuge. Louis' chief minister was a very great and famous man named Richelieu. Richelieu tried to persuade Charles to help him and King Louis against the Huguenots. But Charles did not dare to do this openly, for at that very time his English subjects were most anxious that he should send an expedition to help the Huguenots against Louis. A fleet of eight English ships had been collected in the Channel. It was hoped that it would be sent to relieve the garrison of La Rochelle.

The ships actually started, and had got as far as the French coast when Admiral Pennington, who was in command, received orders from the king to take on board French soldiers and sailors, and actually to sail away to La Rochelle to fight, not for the Huguenots, but against them. But the king had reckoned without his host, for the captains and crews refused to obey the orders, and Pennington had to sail back to England. The fleet was once more ordered to sail to Dieppe, and this time Pennington succeeded in handing over the ships to the French, but the sailors, having been compelled by force to go as far as La Rochelle, deserted, and many of them went over to the enemy.

This strange story will show us how great was the difference between king and people, and how little reason Parliament had to trust in the wisdom or honour of the king. Naturally, when a dispute next arose between Charles and the House, the feeling on either side was more bitter than it had ever been before. Nor was it long before a new conflict arose. As on the former occasion, it was brought about by a demand for money, which the Commons would not vote unless their grievances were attended to.

The king, it must be remembered, had refused the "tunnage and poundage" duties altogether, because he could not get them granted for his lifetime; he was, therefore, in very great need of money, and when Parliament met again the first thing they were asked to do was to vote subsidies. The House of Commons were not in a good humour. In the first place, they were angry with the king for having sent English ships to help King Louis, and they declared that he was in reality the friend of the Roman Catholics and the enemy of the Protestants.

In the second place, they were very angry with Buckingham, whom they believed to be the king's adviser in all the actions of which they disapproved, and whom they specially blamed for the part he had taken in the unfortunate expedition to La Rochelle. When, therefore, they were asked to vote the subsidies they were more determined than ever. Their grievances, they said, must be heard and redressed before they would vote a penny. The king saw that nothing could be got without sacrificing Buckingham, and he accordingly at once dissolved this his first Parliament. Thus we see how King Charles made his first attack upon the liberties of Parliament, and took the first step on the path of despotism -- the path which was destined to lead him to so much misfortune.

The King Sets Aside Magna Charta. (Ch 52)

"Whatever, by the manifestation of the Royal displeasure, tends to intimidate individual members from proposing, or this House from receiving, debating and passing Bills, tends to prevent even the beginning of every reformation in the State, and utterly destroys the deliberative capacity of Parliament. We, therefore, claim, demand, and insist upon it, as our undoubted right, that no persons shall be deemed proper objects of animadversion by the Crown, in any mode whatever, for the votes which they give, or the propositions which they make, in Parliament." -- Burke: Motion on Speech from the Throne, 1784.

Now that Parliament was dissolved, the king soon found himself in a difficulty. The government of the country could not be carried on without money, and money had to be got somehow. The king and his ministers thought of two ways of getting it -- the one a very dangerous and foolish way, the other a wise one. The first step the king took was to issue orders under the Great Seal for the payment of money. Those to whom these orders were sent, for the most part, obeyed them, fearing the anger of the king; but they did not forget that in issuing such orders the king was breaking the law laid down in the 12th Article of Magna Charta, which says that "No scutage or aid shall be imposed in our Kingdom except by the Common Council of the Realm."

[See also 34 Edward I., cap. i (de Tallagio non concedendo). "No Tallage or Aid shall be taken or levied by us or our Heirs in our Realm without the good Will and Assent of the Archbishops, Bishops, Earls, Barons, Burgesses, and other Freemen of the Land."]

The feeling in the country was not yet strong enough to resist these illegal demands, but they gave rise to a very bitter spirit, and helped to turn men's minds against the king.

The second method by which Charles tried to get money was a wiser one than that which has just been described. The English people have always been more easy to lead than to drive, and the king, knowing this, thought that if he could carry out some policy which was particularly pleasing to Parliament, he might obtain more from the good will of the House of Commons than he could obtain from its fears. He knew that one of the most popular things which he could do would be to renew the war with Spain, and accordingly an expedition was sent out to Cadiz to try to capture the Spanish treasure-ships coming from South America.

But the expedition was very badly managed, and ended in a complete failure, and thus, when at last, in February, 1626, Charles was compelled to summon his second Parliament, he found the Commons in no better humour than before. On the contrary, the very first thing they did was to draw up a fresh list of their grievances, and to the old grievances they now added new ones. They complained bitterly of the ways in which the king had raised money: ways which they declared were altogether illegal. It was hardly wonderful, therefore, that when the king sent a message to the House asking for a vote of money, he should have been met at once with the old request that he would first redress grievances; and among these grievances it was clear that the continued favour shown to Buckingham was one of the most serious.

Then the king did an exceedingly foolish thing. He forgot all his wise intentions of winning the Commons to his side by doing things which would please them, and he began to threaten them. "I will be willing," so ran the king's reply to the Commons "I will be willing to hear your grievances, as my predecessors have been, so that you will apply yourselves to redress grievances and not to inquire after grievances. I must let you know that I will not let any of my servants be questioned by you: much less such as are of eminent place and near to me. I see you specially aim at the Duke of Buckingham. I would you would hasten for my supply, * or else it will be worse for yourselves; for, if any ill happen, I think I shall be the last to feel it."

[* Supply. The sums of money voted by Parliament are called "Supplies."]

It is necessary to remember this answer, for it shows us clearly what an important thing the House of Commons was fighting for. The king declared that Parliament had no right whatever to question any of his servants or ministers. The House of Commons, in the year 1626, declared that this was quite a mistake, and that it was both the right and the duty of Parliament to inquire into what the king's ministers did, and to punish them if they did wrong.

We know that the view which was then held by the House of Commons is the one which is now admitted by everyone in this country. It is one of the chief rules of our Constitution that the ministers of the Crown shall always be answerable to Parliament for everything which they do, and for everything which they advise the sovereign to do. If what is done by the ministers, or by the sovereign on the advice of the ministers, be wrong, then it is on the ministers that the punishment falls. But we shall see that a long and fierce fight was needed before King Charles and those who came to the throne after him would admit that the Parliament had the right to "question the king's servants."

The House of Commons replied to the king's threat by impeaching Buckingham and bringing serious charges against him, some of which were true, and some of which were false. It did not at all suit the king's purpose to allow the charges to be tried, and once more he got himself out of the difficulty for the moment by dissolving Parliament, but not before the House of Commons had had time to draw up another long list of its grievances.

Charles as an Absolute King. (Ch 52)

"The Right Divine of Kings to govern wrong." -- Pope: "Dunciad."

The king had got rid of his troublesome House of Commons for a time, but he had not got his money, and the money had to be obtained somehow. Despite the protest of the Commons, methods which were clearly illegal were once more resorted to. The king declared that the country was in danger of invasion, though no one quite knew who was going to invade it. The threatened invasion was made the excuse for extorting money from all sorts of persons who were known to possess it.

Parliament had refused to grant "tunnage and poundage" dues. The king collected them without the consent of Parliament, by orders under the Great Seal. The seaport towns, including the Port of London, were compelled to furnish ships or the money to pay for ships. The Roman Catholics were compelled to pay heavy fines, and were made to serve as soldiers contrary to the law. But this was not all. Not content with breaking the law, the king and his advisers claimed that in doing these illegal acts Charles was doing no more than he had a right to do by his own power and without the assent of Parliament.

There was at this time a party in the Established Church which was always ready to claim as much power and authority for the king as possible. They declared, as King James had declared, that kings ruled by "Divine Right"; that they were appointed by God; and that they were, therefore, not bound to obey the laws made for other people. At the head of this party was Laud, Bishop of Bath and Wells, who was afterwards made Archbishop of Canterbury. Laud and others went so far as to say in their sermons that all that the king had done was right, and that those who opposed him were not only bad subjects, but bad Christians also.

It was natural that when men saw the king acting illegally, and when they saw his illegal actions supported by the bishops, they were in the greatest fear for their liberties. It was natural, too, that the Puritans who had long been opposed to the bishops, and who had suffered much for refusing to obey the rules of the Established Church should become the leaders in resisting the king. Indeed, from this time forward, the division between the king's friends on the one side, and the Puritans on the other, became greater from day to day. But the time had not yet come when men were prepared openly to resist the king. Sixteen years were to pass before the quarrel came to the point of open fighting. We shall see that nearly everything Charles did during those sixteen years helped to make the quarrel more bitter.

In the year 1627, the year after the second Parliament had been dissolved, five gentlemen were imprisoned by order of the king for refusing to obey the king's orders to pay money. They declared that, by law, they were not bound to pay the money. They were accordingly sent to gaol without trial, and kept there. But all those who have read the early part of our English history know that, so far back as the year 1215, a law had been made which declared in plain terms that "No Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned unless by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." These words are to be found in the 29th Article of Magna Charta; and it seemed to everyone as if there could be no doubt whatever that the five gentlemen had been imprisoned contrary to law.

The matter was tried before the judges in the Court of King's Bench, and, to the surprise and dismay of all, the Chief Justice Sir Nicholas Hyde, declared that the law had not been broken, but that the prisoners, having been arrested by the special order of the king, could not claim either to be let out or to be tried. To many it seemed that the Chief Justice had given a wrong judgment in order to please the king, but to all who loved liberty and the old law of England it seemed that if the Chief Justice were right, and if the law had been truly laid down by him, then it was high time that the law should be altered. What was the good of the 29th Article of Magna Charta if free men could be taken and imprisoned without trial?

The king knew quite well that in acting as he had done he was making himself and his ministers hated by many of his subjects. He therefore tried once more to win back the good will which he had lost, by doing something which he thought would be pleasing to the people, and especially to the Protestants. He accordingly sent a fresh expedition, under Buckingham, to help the Huguenots, but this second expedition, like the first, ended in a total and disgraceful failure.

The Petition of Right: a Storm in the Commons. (Ch 52)

"Que Droict soit faict" ("Let right be done").

In March, 1628, Charles was at last forced to call together his third Parliament. It seemed as if his pride would never allow him to take a wise step without also compelling him to take a foolish one which undid all the good that his sensible conduct might have effected. Many of those who had been imprisoned contrary to law were released, but at the same time the king could not refrain from threatening the House of Commons in words which only made its members more stubborn and less friendly. As before, the king asked for money, and, as before, the Commons gave the same answer, in the words of Sir Thomas Wentworth, one of the members: "Grievances and supplies should go hand in hand." In order that there might be no mistake as to what their chief grievances were, the Commons drew up a petition to the king, which was known as the "Petition of Rght." These were the chief points in the Petition of Right:

(1) That no man should be compelled to pay money to the king without the consent of Parliament, and that no man be damaged or punished for refusing to pay.

(2) That no man should be imprisoned without cause shown.

(3) That soldiers and sailors should not be quartered on the people against their will.

(4) That in time of peace no one should be punished by martial law -- that is to say, by military law.

The King declined to give a straightforward answer to the petition. He said that everything ought to be done which was just and right, but he took care not to say that the particular things which the House of Commons had asked for should be done. The House was greatly disappointed, and the king seemed no nearer to getting his money than before. Charles, however, discovered that the House of Commons was in earnest. The Speaker came to him and told him what the temper of the members was, and at last, in despair of getting the much needed money in any other way, the king, on June 7th, 1628, gave orders that the Petition of Right should be acceded to, in the usual words, "Let right be done." * The Commons were delighted. The king had performed his part of the bargain, and they were ready to perform theirs. They voted the required subsidies without hesitation.

[The answer of the Crown, in accepting or granting terms of a petition, was at that time, and still is, given in the old Norman-French, thus: "Soit Droict fait comme il est desire."]

Then, however, there arose another difficulty. The king had assented to the Petition of Right, not in the least desiring that right should be done, but because he wanted money. The Commons had compelled the king to sign the petition because they wanted to see the abuses of which they complained done away with. When, however, they came to put the king's promises to the test, they found Charles as obstinate as ever. He had just promised that no man should be compelled to pay taxes without the consent of Parliament, but he now declared that "tunnage and poundage" were not taxes, and that he would levy them whether the Commons liked it or not. The House of Commons objected.

This time Charles did not at once dissolve Parliament, but he prorogued it -- that is to say, he dismissed it for a time. It seemed as if the king could never hit on a new plan. Once more, in the hope of pleasing the House of Commons, the Duke of Buckingham was ordered to start off upon an expedition -- the object of which was to raise the siege of La Rochelle, where the Huguenots were being besieged. But this expedition was no less unfortunate than those which had gone before it.

In Portsmouth High Street there is a house which is pointed out as that in which George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, was murdered. Such, indeed, was the fate of Charles's favourite minister. Just as the duke was about to embark with the fleet, he was stabbed to the heart by one of his former officers, named Felton, who declared that in committing the crime he believed he was serving the cause of God and of his country.

Unluckily, the death of one bad adviser did not prevent Charles from seeking the counsel of others who were neither wiser nor better. Nothing could induce the king to perform the promises which he had made when he gave his consent to the Petition of Right, and the quarrel with the House of Commons, which had now re-assembled, continued until at last it came to a head. Tired of the opposition he met with, the king sent a message to the Commons to adjourn. The Commons declined to adjourn.

On March 2nd, 1629, a second messenger was sent with a similar command. The Speaker, Sir John Finch, who was a friend of the Court, was about to read the king's message to the House, but the members had duties which they were determined to perform, and they feared lest Parliament might be dissolved and they might be all sent about their business before they had time to perform them. Two of the boldest of the members, Denzil Holles and Valentine, stood one on each side of the Speaker's chair, and by main force they held the Speaker down and prevented him from reading the king's message.

The doors were locked. Everyone felt that a solemn and terrible moment had come, and that dangers threatened of which none could see the end. Some openly wept when they saw violence thus used in the House of Commons, and when they reflected that such violence was necessary to protect the liberties of the people.

All were deeply moved. With the Speaker held down by main force in his chair, and with the doors locked, the Commons passed resolutions declaring once more their determination to maintain the liberties which had been claimed in the Petition of Right. The king came down to Westminster, and, furious at what he heard, would have battered in the doors of the House of Commons. Happily, this last act of violence was unnecessary. The resolutions were passed, and the House had done its business, and was content to adjourn when the king's messenger arrived.

Charles at once dissolved Parliament (March 10th, 1629), and his first thought was to punish those members who had taken the chief part in the scene which has been described. One of them, Sir John Eliot, was fined £2,000, Holles was fined a thousand marks, and Valentine £500. All the offenders were sent to gaol, and Sir John Eliot died in prison.

Chapter 53. The King Defies Parliament. 1630-1642.


"From the day on which the Houses met there was a war waged by them against the king -- a war for all that they held dear, a war carried on at first by means of Parliamentary forms, at last by physical force." -- Macaulay.

We have now come to the end of the first stage of the great struggle between King and Parliament. In five years Charles had summoned and dissolved Parliament three times. Eleven years were now to pass during which no Parliament was summoned, and during which the king attempted to rule as an absolute sovereign. To rule as an absolute sovereign, it was, above all things, necessary that Charles should find some strong and determined man to serve him as his minister.

Such a man he found in Sir Thomas Wentworth, who up to this time had been not only a member of the House of Commons, but had been one of those members who were foremost in opposing the king. It showed some wisdom on the part of Charles that he was able to choose out Wentworth as a man who could help him if he would, and it showed skill on the king's part to be able to persuade Wentworth to leave his old friends and to come over and join the king's party. This, in fact, Wentworth did; he was made Lord Wentworth, and from that day forward to the end of his life faithfully served the king. We shall see how ill Charles repaid him for his faithful service.

There were two great difficulties which the king had to meet and overcome when he set himself to the task of governing England without a Parliament. In the first place, there was the old difficulty of want of money. Money had to be got, and yet it could only be obtained by breaking the law, and every time the law was broken the king made fresh enemies. Then there was the difficult task of satisfying and keeping in order the Puritans.

The Puritan party was growing every day stronger and stronger; those who were opposed to the king and to the bishops on religious grounds were now helped by those who opposed the king and the bishops for political reasons. As it had so often happened before, the moment the king began to persecute and punish the Puritans on account of their religion, the Puritans became stronger and more numerous than before. Those who cared little for the opinions which the Puritans held began to look upon those who held them as men who were unjustly and cruelly treated.

The want of money was the first thing which led to a difficulty. In the year 1634 Charles undertook to help the King of Spain against the Dutch, and promised to supply a certain number of ships for the purpose. The people of England were no friends to the Spaniards, and had no desire to see the Dutch persecuted and defeated. They did not wish to provide ships at all, still less did they wish to pay money for them unless it had been voted by Parliament. But the king declared that by an ancient custom he had the right to compel the payment of "ship-money," and, acting under Wentworth's advice, he sent collectors through the country to raise the tax.

It seemed as if Charles had made up his mind to try how completely he could set aside every Article of Magna Charta. He had already caused men to be imprisoned without a trial; and now he made it clear once more that, despite Magna Charta and despite the Petition of Right, he intended to levy taxes without the consent of Parliament. The attempt led to a trial which has become famous in the history of England.

There was a gentleman named John Hampden, member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire. He owned some land at Stoke Mandeville, near Aylesbury. The collectors of "ship-money" came to him and told him that he was bound to pay twenty shillings in respect of these lands. Hampden declined to pay, and said that it was contrary to law that a tax should be levied without the consent of Parliament, and that Parliament had never consented to the levying of "ship-money."'

The point was tried before twelve of the judges, but, unluckily -- as in the case of the five members who had been tried before Sir Nicholas Hyde -- the judges, or the greater number of them, were on the side of the king and wished to win his favour at any cost. Seven out of the twelve declared that Hampden was in the wrong; and they did what was much more serious -- they laid it down as part of the law of England that no Act of Parliament could take away or alter the power of the king, or prevent him from "commanding the subjects, person, property, and money" of the people.

This judgment was a terrible blow to Hampden's party in the House of Commons. Once more the people of England had reason to feel that if the law were really what the judges declared it to be, it was high time the law should bettered.

Two Evil Counsellors. (Ch 53)

"Thorough." -- Motto of the Earl of Strafford.

The king now placed all his reliance upon Wentworth and upon Laud, whom he had made Archbishop of Canterbury. Both the Archbishop and Wentworth were very able men, and were ready to go great lengths to serve their master; but they showed more zeal than wisdom, and what they did made Charles more disliked and distrusted than he was before. Laud was determined that the laws by which the services in the Established Church were fixed should be strictly carried out, and that every one who broke them should be punished.

The Court of Star-Chamber, about which we read in the time of Henry VII., was made use of to try the offenders, and cruel punishments were inflicted upon those who were brought before the Court. Those who dared to say anything against the bishops and against the form of service used in the Established Church were severely dealt with. Prynne, a Puritan lawyer, who was said to have attacked the royal family in a book which he had written, was fined, put in the pillory, had his ears cut off, and was sent to gaol. Many others were tried and imprisoned by the Court of Star-Chamber.

Nor was Laud content to punish those who differed from the bishops. He himself made changes within the Church which many of those who had hitherto been its best friends did not like or think wise. Some believed that he was a friend of the Roman Catholics, and that he was trying to make the Church of England a Roman Catholic Church. But it was not until he was so rash as to try to compel the Scots to accept the rules and ceremonies of the Church of England that he actually drove his enemies into civil war. The Archbishop was, no doubt, an honest man, who believed that he did right in trying to make everyone think the same as he did; and two things must be remembered in his favour when we condemn him for what he did or tried to do in England.

In the first place, the law was on his side. The law declared that all services and ceremonies in the country should be of one pattern; and Laud had a right to say, when he punished those who used other forms and ceremonies, that they were breaking the law. In the second place, it must not be forgotten that though we hear much of the Puritans, and though their leaders have become famous on account of the part they took in opposing the king, the very great majority of the people of England were at this time members of the Protestant Established Church, were contented with its rules and services, and wished to keep the Prayer-Book unaltered.

But when Laud, in an unhappy hour, tried to compel the Scots to give up their own form of religion and to accept from him forms and ceremonies which they hated, he soon found that though he could punish and terrify a few offenders in England he could not either punish or terrify a whole people. The Scottish Presbyterians were furious when the English forms of service were used. In the great church of St. Giles's, at Edinburgh, an incident took place which deserves to be remembered, because the act of one person showed what was in the minds of many. Among the congregation was a woman named Janet Geddes. When she heard what she considered a Popish service, and saw the ministers dressed in white surplices, which she looked upon as the dress of the Roman Catholic priests, she could contain herself no longer. She took up the stool on which she sat (so, at least, runs the story) and threw it at the head of the bishop.

Whether or not it be actually a fact that Janet Geddes threw her stool at the bishop's head, it is undoubtedly a fact that the same spirit which she is said to have shown, was shown in other ways by thousands of the Scottish Presbyterians. They drew up a Declaration, called the "Solemn League and Covenant," in which they laid down their views as to how the Church should be governed, and condemned the changes with which they were threatened. In all parts of Scotland men flocked to sign The Covenant, and the "Covenanters," as those who signed were called, showed that they were ready, if necessary, to fight for their faith.

An army was quickly raised, and, under the command of General Alexander Leslie, marched towards the Border. Charles was at his wits' end. The Scots were in arms, and he had no money to raise troops to put down those whom he looked upon as rebels. A few troops whom he could get together were useless, and ran away before they were attacked. There was but one thing to be done. A truce was made with the Scots, Charles undertaking to pay their expenses as soon as Parliament met; and on April 13th, 1640, the king was forced, much against his will, to assemble his fourth Parliament.

This time he hoped and believed that he would get what he wanted. With a Scottish army actually on the Border, he felt sure that the English Parliament would lose no time in doing all that was necessary to defeat and drive back the invaders. He was, however, mistaken; and great must have been his disappointment when the fourth Parliament, like the first and the second and the third, began its proceedings by declaring that before anything else was done their grievances must be remedied.

The king, in his anger, dissolved Parliament on May 5th, after a session of twenty-three days, and once more tried to rule as a despotic sovereign. As before, Charles looked to Laud and Wentworth, who had now been made Earl of Strafford, as his two chief advisers. They showed once more that their advice and actions were more dangerous than helpful to the king. Laud, who had long been hated by the Puritans, now gave bitter offence to all who were supporters of the Parliament by declaring that it was not only contrary to the law but that it was wickcd and a sin against God to resist the king, whatever he did. Englishmen were indignant when told that they were committing a sin when obeying the law of the land as made by Parliament.

Nor did Strafford succeed any better in winning friends to the king. He had been sent to Ireland as Lord Deputy, or Governor; and acting on behalf of the king, and with the kindgs consent, he had governed Ireland as a despot, paying no attention either to Parliament or the law. Strafford's well-known motto was the word "Thorough," and whatever he undertook he certainly did thoroughly. It is not hard to find excuses for the things which he did in Ireland, for the country was really in a terrible state. The Irish Parliament had no power, and the law was openly disregarded. Strafford was determined that, whatever else happened, order should be restored; and, though the methods by which he governed the country were cruel and despotic, he certainly did succeed in restoring peace and in bringing Ireland once more under the government of the king.

But in order to do this he was compelled to raise and train an army in Ireland, and this proved to be the cause of his downfall. His enemies in England felt that if the king could once obtain the help of a victorious general, with a strong, well-disciplined army, he would soon be able to crush Parliament and to rule as he pleased. They, therefore, looked anxiously for an opportunity to destroy Strafford's power. It was not long before the opportunity came. The Scots still remained in arms upon the Border, and at last actually crossed it and marched into Northumberland and Durham. The king was really at a loss what to do. He had no troops, and could raise none without money.

The Long Parliament. (Ch 53)

"Put not thy trust in princes." -- Words used by Strafford on hearing that the king had abandoned him.

Once more Charles was compelled to summon Parliament. The fifth and last Parliament of Charles I. met on November 3rd, 1640. This famous Parliament, known as the "Long Parliament" sat for no less than nineteen years and four months. It began its life as a powerful and respected body, and it ended its days powerless and despised; but during its existence it did a great work.

The very first thing which the new Parliament did was to make a fierce attack upon the two great enemies of its liberties -- Strafford and Laud. There were two ways in which Parliament might punish a man. The one was to "Impeach" him; the other, to bring against him a "Bill of Attainder." When a man was impeached, the House of Commons brought charges against him before the House of Lords. The House of Lords sat as judges and tried the accused person. A "Bill of Attainder" was a bill brought into one of the Houses of Parliament, passed through both Houses, and agreed to by the king; it then became an Act like any other Act of Parliament, and had to be obeyed as part of the law. In a Bill of Attainder the person accused was declared to be guilty of certain crimes, and it was enacted that he should be punished for them in a certain way. The punishment was generally death.

Out of the two ways open to them of attacking Strafford, the House of Commons chose the first. They impeached him of high treason before the House of Lords. They said that he had acted contrary to law in Ireland -- that he had raised an army, and that he had offered to bring the army into England to put down Parliament. Strafford defended himself bravely. He proved that what he had done, he had done not only with the consent but with the approval of the king. He denied that he had intended to bring an army into England.

The Commons soon found that they were not likely to prove their case, and, fearing lest Strafford should escape, they suddenly changed their plan and brought in a Bill of Attainder against the earl in the House of Commons. The Bill was carried by a large majority. The House of Lords also passed it. One thing only was needed to make the Bill law and to insure the death of Strafford. That one thing was the consent of the king. To his everlasting shame Charles gave his consent and signed his name, knowing that by doing so he was sacrificing the life of one of the most faithful servants he had ever had. The terrible penalty was carried out. In the report of the State Trials we read how an order was sent to the Constable of the Tower to deliver over the "bright Execution Ax," and on May 12th, 1641, Strafford was beheaded.

Encouraged by their success, the House of Commons now impeached Laud. He was removed from the office which he held, but nothing further was done to him at the time. Bills were brought into the House, the object of which was to punish all those who had assisted the king in his illegal actions. Some of them were passed. The collection of "ship-money" was declared illegal. The judges who had declared the contrary were impeached. The Court of Star-Chamber and other similar courts were abolished. A Bill was passed providing that a Parliament should be held every three years, [The "Triennial Bill."] and a Bill was actually passed by which the king was forbidden to dissolve Parliament without its own consent.

The Arrest of the Five Members. (Ch 53)

"Privilege! Privilege!"

The long struggle between the King and Commons had now come to the stage when it could no longer be continued without war. It soon became clear that if the king had consented to the new Bills, it was only because he had felt himself compelled to do so by force and had no intention of keeping his promises when free from restraint. Charles saw plainly that if he were to get his own way it could only be by force of arms. He had lost so many friends by his tyranny and faithlessness, that he felt it was high tim