Infomotions, Inc.A Childs History Of England / Dickens, Charles

Author: Dickens, Charles
Title: A Childs History Of England
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
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A Child's History of England

by Charles Dickens

October, 1996  [Etext #699]

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A Child's History of England by Charles Dickens
Scanned and Proofed by David Price, email

A Child's History of England


IF you look at a Map of the World, you will see, in the left-hand 
upper corner of the Eastern Hemisphere, two Islands lying in the 
sea.  They are England and Scotland, and Ireland.  England and 
Scotland form the greater part of these Islands.  Ireland is the 
next in size.  The little neighbouring islands, which are so small 
upon the Map as to be mere dots, are chiefly little bits of 
Scotland, - broken off, I dare say, in the course of a great length 
of time, by the power of the restless water.

In the old days, a long, long while ago, before Our Saviour was 
born on earth and lay asleep in a manger, these Islands were in the 
same place, and the stormy sea roared round them, just as it roars 
now.  But the sea was not alive, then, with great ships and brave 
sailors, sailing to and from all parts of the world.  It was very 
lonely.  The Islands lay solitary, in the great expanse of water.  
The foaming waves dashed against their cliffs, and the bleak winds 
blew over their forests; but the winds and waves brought no 
adventurers to land upon the Islands, and the savage Islanders knew 
nothing of the rest of the world, and the rest of the world knew 
nothing of them.

It is supposed that the Phoenicians, who were an ancient people, 
famous for carrying on trade, came in ships to these Islands, and 
found that they produced tin and lead; both very useful things, as 
you know, and both produced to this very hour upon the sea-coast. 
The most celebrated tin mines in Cornwall are, still, close to the 
sea.  One of them, which I have seen, is so close to it that it is 
hollowed out underneath the ocean; and the miners say, that in 
stormy weather, when they are at work down in that deep place, they 
can hear the noise of the waves thundering above their heads.  So, 
the Phoenicians, coasting about the Islands, would come, without 
much difficulty, to where the tin and lead were.

The Phoenicians traded with the Islanders for these metals, and 
gave the Islanders some other useful things in exchange.  The 
Islanders were, at first, poor savages, going almost naked, or only 
dressed in the rough skins of beasts, and staining their bodies, as 
other savages do, with coloured earths and the juices of plants.  
But the Phoenicians, sailing over to the opposite coasts of France 
and Belgium, and saying to the people there, 'We have been to those 
white cliffs across the water, which you can see in fine weather, 
and from that country, which is called BRITAIN, we bring this tin 
and lead,' tempted some of the French and Belgians to come over 
also.  These people settled themselves on the south coast of 
England, which is now called Kent; and, although they were a rough 
people too, they taught the savage Britons some useful arts, and 
improved that part of the Islands.  It is probable that other 
people came over from Spain to Ireland, and settled there.

Thus, by little and little, strangers became mixed with the 
Islanders, and the savage Britons grew into a wild, bold people; 
almost savage, still, especially in the interior of the country 
away from the sea where the foreign settlers seldom went; but 
hardy, brave, and strong.

The whole country was covered with forests, and swamps.  The 
greater part of it was very misty and cold.  There were no roads, 
no bridges, no streets, no houses that you would think deserving of 
the name.  A town was nothing but a collection of straw-covered 
huts, hidden in a thick wood, with a ditch all round, and a low 
wall, made of mud, or the trunks of trees placed one upon another.  
The people planted little or no corn, but lived upon the flesh of 
their flocks and cattle.  They made no coins, but used metal rings 
for money.  They were clever in basket-work, as savage people often 
are; and they could make a coarse kind of cloth, and some very bad 
earthenware.  But in building fortresses they were much more 

They made boats of basket-work, covered with the skins of animals, 
but seldom, if ever, ventured far from the shore.  They made 
swords, of copper mixed with tin; but, these swords were of an 
awkward shape, and so soft that a heavy blow would bend one.  They 
made light shields, short pointed daggers, and spears - which they 
jerked back after they had thrown them at an enemy, by a long strip 
of leather fastened to the stem.  The butt-end was a rattle, to 
frighten an enemy's horse.  The ancient Britons, being divided into 
as many as thirty or forty tribes, each commanded by its own little 
king, were constantly fighting with one another, as savage people 
usually do; and they always fought with these weapons.

They were very fond of horses.  The standard of Kent was the 
picture of a white horse.  They could break them in and manage them 
wonderfully well.  Indeed, the horses (of which they had an 
abundance, though they were rather small) were so well taught in 
those days, that they can scarcely be said to have improved since; 
though the men are so much wiser.  They understood, and obeyed, 
every word of command; and would stand still by themselves, in all 
the din and noise of battle, while their masters went to fight on 
foot.  The Britons could not have succeeded in their most 
remarkable art, without the aid of these sensible and trusty 
animals.  The art I mean, is the construction and management of 
war-chariots or cars, for which they have ever been celebrated in 
history.  Each of the best sort of these chariots, not quite breast 
high in front, and open at the back, contained one man to drive, 
and two or three others to fight - all standing up.  The horses who 
drew them were so well trained, that they would tear, at full 
gallop, over the most stony ways, and even through the woods; 
dashing down their masters' enemies beneath their hoofs, and 
cutting them to pieces with the blades of swords, or scythes, which 
were fastened to the wheels, and stretched out beyond the car on 
each side, for that cruel purpose.  In a moment, while at full 
speed, the horses would stop, at the driver's command.  The men 
within would leap out, deal blows about them with their swords like 
hail, leap on the horses, on the pole, spring back into the 
chariots anyhow; and, as soon as they were safe, the horses tore 
away again.

The Britons had a strange and terrible religion, called the 
Religion of the Druids.  It seems to have been brought over, in 
very early times indeed, from the opposite country of France, 
anciently called Gaul, and to have mixed up the worship of the 
Serpent, and of the Sun and Moon, with the worship of some of the 
Heathen Gods and Goddesses.  Most of its ceremonies were kept 
secret by the priests, the Druids, who pretended to be enchanters, 
and who carried magicians' wands, and wore, each of them, about his 
neck, what he told the ignorant people was a Serpent's egg in a 
golden case.  But it is certain that the Druidical ceremonies 
included the sacrifice of human victims, the torture of some 
suspected criminals, and, on particular occasions, even the burning 
alive, in immense wicker cages, of a number of men and animals 
together.  The Druid Priests had some kind of veneration for the 
Oak, and for the mistletoe - the same plant that we hang up in 
houses at Christmas Time now - when its white berries grew upon the 
Oak.  They met together in dark woods, which they called Sacred 
Groves; and there they instructed, in their mysterious arts, young 
men who came to them as pupils, and who sometimes stayed with them 
as long as twenty years.

These Druids built great Temples and altars, open to the sky, 
fragments of some of which are yet remaining.  Stonehenge, on 
Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire, is the most extraordinary of these.  
Three curious stones, called Kits Coty House, on Bluebell Hill, 
near Maidstone, in Kent, form another.  We know, from examination 
of the great blocks of which such buildings are made, that they 
could not have been raised without the aid of some ingenious 
machines, which are common now, but which the ancient Britons 
certainly did not use in making their own uncomfortable houses.  I 
should not wonder if the Druids, and their pupils who stayed with 
them twenty years, knowing more than the rest of the Britons, kept 
the people out of sight while they made these buildings, and then 
pretended that they built them by magic.  Perhaps they had a hand 
in the fortresses too; at all events, as they were very powerful, 
and very much believed in, and as they made and executed the laws, 
and paid no taxes, I don't wonder that they liked their trade.  
And, as they persuaded the people the more Druids there were, the 
better off the people would be, I don't wonder that there were a 
good many of them.  But it is pleasant to think that there are no 
Druids, NOW, who go on in that way, and pretend to carry 
Enchanters' Wands and Serpents' Eggs - and of course there is 
nothing of the kind, anywhere.

Such was the improved condition of the ancient Britons, fifty-five 
years before the birth of Our Saviour, when the Romans, under their 
great General, Julius Caesar, were masters of all the rest of the 
known world.  Julius Caesar had then just conquered Gaul; and 
hearing, in Gaul, a good deal about the opposite Island with the 
white cliffs, and about the bravery of the Britons who inhabited it 
- some of whom had been fetched over to help the Gauls in the war 
against him - he resolved, as he was so near, to come and conquer 
Britain next.

So, Julius Caesar came sailing over to this Island of ours, with 
eighty vessels and twelve thousand men.  And he came from the 
French coast between Calais and Boulogne, 'because thence was the 
shortest passage into Britain;' just for the same reason as our 
steam-boats now take the same track, every day.  He expected to 
conquer Britain easily:  but it was not such easy work as he 
supposed - for the bold Britons fought most bravely; and, what with 
not having his horse-soldiers with him (for they had been driven 
back by a storm), and what with having some of his vessels dashed 
to pieces by a high tide after they were drawn ashore, he ran great 
risk of being totally defeated.  However, for once that the bold 
Britons beat him, he beat them twice; though not so soundly but 
that he was very glad to accept their proposals of peace, and go 

But, in the spring of the next year, he came back; this time, with 
eight hundred vessels and thirty thousand men.  The British tribes 
chose, as their general-in-chief, a Briton, whom the Romans in 
their Latin language called CASSIVELLAUNUS, but whose British name 
is supposed to have been CASWALLON.  A brave general he was, and 
well he and his soldiers fought the Roman army!  So well, that 
whenever in that war the Roman soldiers saw a great cloud of dust, 
and heard the rattle of the rapid British chariots, they trembled 
in their hearts.  Besides a number of smaller battles, there was a 
battle fought near Canterbury, in Kent; there was a battle fought 
near Chertsey, in Surrey; there was a battle fought near a marshy 
little town in a wood, the capital of that part of Britain which 
belonged to CASSIVELLAUNUS, and which was probably near what is now 
Saint Albans, in Hertfordshire.  However, brave CASSIVELLAUNUS had 
the worst of it, on the whole; though he and his men always fought 
like lions.  As the other British chiefs were jealous of him, and 
were always quarrelling with him, and with one another, he gave up, 
and proposed peace.  Julius Caesar was very glad to grant peace 
easily, and to go away again with all his remaining ships and men.  
He had expected to find pearls in Britain, and he may have found a 
few for anything I know; but, at all events, he found delicious 
oysters, and I am sure he found tough Britons - of whom, I dare 
say, he made the same complaint as Napoleon Bonaparte the great 
French General did, eighteen hundred years afterwards, when he said 
they were such unreasonable fellows that they never knew when they 
were beaten.  They never DID know, I believe, and never will.

Nearly a hundred years passed on, and all that time, there was 
peace in Britain.  The Britons improved their towns and mode of 
life:  became more civilised, travelled, and learnt a great deal 
from the Gauls and Romans.  At last, the Roman Emperor, Claudius, 
sent AULUS PLAUTIUS, a skilful general, with a mighty force, to 
subdue the Island, and shortly afterwards arrived himself.  They 
did little; and OSTORIUS SCAPULA, another general, came.  Some of 
the British Chiefs of Tribes submitted.  Others resolved to fight 
to the death.  Of these brave men, the bravest was CARACTACUS, or 
CARADOC, who gave battle to the Romans, with his army, among the 
mountains of North Wales.  'This day,' said he to his soldiers, 
'decides the fate of Britain!  Your liberty, or your eternal 
slavery, dates from this hour.  Remember your brave ancestors, who 
drove the great Caesar himself across the sea!'  On hearing these 
words, his men, with a great shout, rushed upon the Romans.  But 
the strong Roman swords and armour were too much for the weaker 
British weapons in close conflict.  The Britons lost the day.  The 
wife and daughter of the brave CARACTACUS were taken prisoners; his 
brothers delivered themselves up; he himself was betrayed into the 
hands of the Romans by his false and base stepmother:  and they 
carried him, and all his family, in triumph to Rome.

But a great man will be great in misfortune, great in prison, great 
in chains.  His noble air, and dignified endurance of distress, so 
touched the Roman people who thronged the streets to see him, that 
he and his family were restored to freedom.  No one knows whether 
his great heart broke, and he died in Rome, or whether he ever 
returned to his own dear country.  English oaks have grown up from 
acorns, and withered away, when they were hundreds of years old - 
and other oaks have sprung up in their places, and died too, very 
aged - since the rest of the history of the brave CARACTACUS was 

Still, the Britons WOULD NOT yield.  They rose again and again, and 
died by thousands, sword in hand.  They rose, on every possible 
occasion.  SUETONIUS, another Roman general, came, and stormed the 
Island of Anglesey (then called MONA), which was supposed to be 
sacred, and he burnt the Druids in their own wicker cages, by their 
own fires.  But, even while he was in Britain, with his victorious 
troops, the BRITONS rose.  Because BOADICEA, a British queen, the 
widow of the King of the Norfolk and Suffolk people, resisted the 
plundering of her property by the Romans who were settled in 
England, she was scourged, by order of CATUS a Roman officer; and 
her two daughters were shamefully insulted in her presence, and her 
husband's relations were made slaves.  To avenge this injury, the 
Britons rose, with all their might and rage.  They drove CATUS into 
Gaul; they laid the Roman possessions waste; they forced the Romans 
out of London, then a poor little town, but a trading place; they 
hanged, burnt, crucified, and slew by the sword, seventy thousand 
Romans in a few days.  SUETONIUS strengthened his army, and 
advanced to give them battle.  They strengthened their army, and 
desperately attacked his, on the field where it was strongly 
posted.  Before the first charge of the Britons was made, BOADICEA, 
in a war-chariot, with her fair hair streaming in the wind, and her 
injured daughters lying at her feet, drove among the troops, and 
cried to them for vengeance on their oppressors, the licentious 
Romans.  The Britons fought to the last; but they were vanquished 
with great slaughter, and the unhappy queen took poison.

Still, the spirit of the Britons was not broken.  When SUETONIUS 
left the country, they fell upon his troops, and retook the Island 
of Anglesey.  AGRICOLA came, fifteen or twenty years afterwards, 
and retook it once more, and devoted seven years to subduing the 
country, especially that part of it which is now called SCOTLAND; 
but, its people, the Caledonians, resisted him at every inch of 
ground.  They fought the bloodiest battles with him; they killed 
their very wives and children, to prevent his making prisoners of 
them; they fell, fighting, in such great numbers that certain hills 
in Scotland are yet supposed to be vast heaps of stones piled up 
above their graves.  HADRIAN came, thirty years afterwards, and 
still they resisted him.  SEVERUS came, nearly a hundred years 
afterwards, and they worried his great army like dogs, and rejoiced 
to see them die, by thousands, in the bogs and swamps.  CARACALLA, 
the son and successor of SEVERUS, did the most to conquer them, for 
a time; but not by force of arms.  He knew how little that would 
do.  He yielded up a quantity of land to the Caledonians, and gave 
the Britons the same privileges as the Romans possessed.  There was 
peace, after this, for seventy years.

Then new enemies arose.  They were the Saxons, a fierce, sea-faring 
people from the countries to the North of the Rhine, the great 
river of Germany on the banks of which the best grapes grow to make 
the German wine.  They began to come, in pirate ships, to the sea-
coast of Gaul and Britain, and to plunder them.  They were repulsed 
by CARAUSIUS, a native either of Belgium or of Britain, who was 
appointed by the Romans to the command, and under whom the Britons 
first began to fight upon the sea.  But, after this time, they 
renewed their ravages.  A few years more, and the Scots (which was 
then the name for the people of Ireland), and the Picts, a northern 
people, began to make frequent plundering incursions into the South 
of Britain.  All these attacks were repeated, at intervals, during 
two hundred years, and through a long succession of Roman Emperors 
and chiefs; during all which length of time, the Britons rose 
against the Romans, over and over again.  At last, in the days of 
the Roman HONORIUS, when the Roman power all over the world was 
fast declining, and when Rome wanted all her soldiers at home, the 
Romans abandoned all hope of conquering Britain, and went away.  
And still, at last, as at first, the Britons rose against them, in 
their old brave manner; for, a very little while before, they had 
turned away the Roman magistrates, and declared themselves an 
independent people.

Five hundred years had passed, since Julius Caesar's first invasion 
of the Island, when the Romans departed from it for ever.  In the 
course of that time, although they had been the cause of terrible 
fighting and bloodshed, they had done much to improve the condition 
of the Britons.  They had made great military roads; they had built 
forts; they had taught them how to dress, and arm themselves, much 
better than they had ever known how to do before; they had refined 
the whole British way of living.  AGRICOLA had built a great wall 
of earth, more than seventy miles long, extending from Newcastle to 
beyond Carlisle, for the purpose of keeping out the Picts and 
Scots; HADRIAN had strengthened it; SEVERUS, finding it much in 
want of repair, had built it afresh of stone.

Above all, it was in the Roman time, and by means of Roman ships, 
that the Christian Religion was first brought into Britain, and its 
people first taught the great lesson that, to be good in the sight 
of GOD, they must love their neighbours as themselves, and do unto 
others as they would be done by.  The Druids declared that it was 
very wicked to believe in any such thing, and cursed all the people 
who did believe it, very heartily.  But, when the people found that 
they were none the better for the blessings of the Druids, and none 
the worse for the curses of the Druids, but, that the sun shone and 
the rain fell without consulting the Druids at all, they just began 
to think that the Druids were mere men, and that it signified very 
little whether they cursed or blessed.  After which, the pupils of 
the Druids fell off greatly in numbers, and the Druids took to 
other trades.

Thus I have come to the end of the Roman time in England.  It is 
but little that is known of those five hundred years; but some 
remains of them are still found.  Often, when labourers are digging 
up the ground, to make foundations for houses or churches, they 
light on rusty money that once belonged to the Romans.  Fragments 
of plates from which they ate, of goblets from which they drank, 
and of pavement on which they trod, are discovered among the earth 
that is broken by the plough, or the dust that is crumbled by the 
gardener's spade.  Wells that the Romans sunk, still yield water; 
roads that the Romans made, form part of our highways.  In some old 
battle-fields, British spear-heads and Roman armour have been 
found, mingled together in decay, as they fell in the thick 
pressure of the fight.  Traces of Roman camps overgrown with grass, 
and of mounds that are the burial-places of heaps of Britons, are 
to be seen in almost all parts of the country.  Across the bleak 
moors of Northumberland, the wall of SEVERUS, overrun with moss and 
weeds, still stretches, a strong ruin; and the shepherds and their 
dogs lie sleeping on it in the summer weather.  On Salisbury Plain, 
Stonehenge yet stands:  a monument of the earlier time when the 
Roman name was unknown in Britain, and when the Druids, with their 
best magic wands, could not have written it in the sands of the 
wild sea-shore.


THE Romans had scarcely gone away from Britain, when the Britons 
began to wish they had never left it.  For, the Romans being gone, 
and the Britons being much reduced in numbers by their long wars, 
the Picts and Scots came pouring in, over the broken and unguarded 
wall of SEVERUS, in swarms.  They plundered the richest towns, and 
killed the people; and came back so often for more booty and more 
slaughter, that the unfortunate Britons lived a life of terror.  As 
if the Picts and Scots were not bad enough on land, the Saxons 
attacked the islanders by sea; and, as if something more were still 
wanting to make them miserable, they quarrelled bitterly among 
themselves as to what prayers they ought to say, and how they ought 
to say them.  The priests, being very angry with one another on 
these questions, cursed one another in the heartiest manner; and 
(uncommonly like the old Druids) cursed all the people whom they 
could not persuade.  So, altogether, the Britons were very badly 
off, you may believe.

They were in such distress, in short, that they sent a letter to 
Rome entreating help - which they called the Groans of the Britons; 
and in which they said, 'The barbarians chase us into the sea, the 
sea throws us back upon the barbarians, and we have only the hard 
choice left us of perishing by the sword, or perishing by the 
waves.'  But, the Romans could not help them, even if they were so 
inclined; for they had enough to do to defend themselves against 
their own enemies, who were then very fierce and strong.  At last, 
the Britons, unable to bear their hard condition any longer, 
resolved to make peace with the Saxons, and to invite the Saxons to 
come into their country, and help them to keep out the Picts and 

It was a British Prince named VORTIGERN who took this resolution, 
and who made a treaty of friendship with HENGIST and HORSA, two 
Saxon chiefs.  Both of these names, in the old Saxon language, 
signify Horse; for the Saxons, like many other nations in a rough 
state, were fond of giving men the names of animals, as Horse, 
Wolf, Bear, Hound.  The Indians of North America, - a very inferior 
people to the Saxons, though - do the same to this day.

HENGIST and HORSA drove out the Picts and Scots; and VORTIGERN, 
being grateful to them for that service, made no opposition to 
their settling themselves in that part of England which is called 
the Isle of Thanet, or to their inviting over more of their 
countrymen to join them.  But HENGIST had a beautiful daughter 
named ROWENA; and when, at a feast, she filled a golden goblet to 
the brim with wine, and gave it to VORTIGERN, saying in a sweet 
voice, 'Dear King, thy health!' the King fell in love with her.  My 
opinion is, that the cunning HENGIST meant him to do so, in order 
that the Saxons might have greater influence with him; and that the 
fair ROWENA came to that feast, golden goblet and all, on purpose.

At any rate, they were married; and, long afterwards, whenever the 
King was angry with the Saxons, or jealous of their encroachments, 
ROWENA would put her beautiful arms round his neck, and softly say, 
'Dear King, they are my people!  Be favourable to them, as you 
loved that Saxon girl who gave you the golden goblet of wine at the 
feast!'  And, really, I don't see how the King could help himself.

Ah!  We must all die!  In the course of years, VORTIGERN died - he 
was dethroned, and put in prison, first, I am afraid; and ROWENA 
died; and generations of Saxons and Britons died; and events that 
happened during a long, long time, would have been quite forgotten 
but for the tales and songs of the old Bards, who used to go about 
from feast to feast, with their white beards, recounting the deeds 
of their forefathers.  Among the histories of which they sang and 
talked, there was a famous one, concerning the bravery and virtues 
of KING ARTHUR, supposed to have been a British Prince in those old 
times.  But, whether such a person really lived, or whether there 
were several persons whose histories came to be confused together 
under that one name, or whether all about him was invention, no one 

I will tell you, shortly, what is most interesting in the early 
Saxon times, as they are described in these songs and stories of 
the Bards.

In, and long after, the days of VORTIGERN, fresh bodies of Saxons, 
under various chiefs, came pouring into Britain.  One body, 
conquering the Britons in the East, and settling there, called 
their kingdom Essex; another body settled in the West, and called 
their kingdom Wessex; the Northfolk, or Norfolk people, established 
themselves in one place; the Southfolk, or Suffolk people, 
established themselves in another; and gradually seven kingdoms or 
states arose in England, which were called the Saxon Heptarchy.  
The poor Britons, falling back before these crowds of fighting men 
whom they had innocently invited over as friends, retired into 
Wales and the adjacent country; into Devonshire, and into Cornwall.  
Those parts of England long remained unconquered.  And in Cornwall 
now - where the sea-coast is very gloomy, steep, and rugged - 
where, in the dark winter-time, ships have often been wrecked close 
to the land, and every soul on board has perished - where the winds 
and waves howl drearily and split the solid rocks into arches and 
caverns - there are very ancient ruins, which the people call the 
ruins of KING ARTHUR'S Castle.

Kent is the most famous of the seven Saxon kingdoms, because the 
Christian religion was preached to the Saxons there (who domineered 
over the Britons too much, to care for what THEY said about their 
religion, or anything else) by AUGUSTINE, a monk from Rome.  KING 
ETHELBERT, of Kent, was soon converted; and the moment he said he 
was a Christian, his courtiers all said THEY were Christians; after 
which, ten thousand of his subjects said they were Christians too.  
AUGUSTINE built a little church, close to this King's palace, on 
the ground now occupied by the beautiful cathedral of Canterbury.  
SEBERT, the King's nephew, built on a muddy marshy place near 
London, where there had been a temple to Apollo, a church dedicated 
to Saint Peter, which is now Westminster Abbey.  And, in London 
itself, on the foundation of a temple to Diana, he built another 
little church which has risen up, since that old time, to be Saint 

After the death of ETHELBERT, EDWIN, King of Northumbria, who was 
such a good king that it was said a woman or child might openly 
carry a purse of gold, in his reign, without fear, allowed his 
child to be baptised, and held a great council to consider whether 
he and his people should all be Christians or not.  It was decided 
that they should be.  COIFI, the chief priest of the old religion, 
made a great speech on the occasion.  In this discourse, he told 
the people that he had found out the old gods to be impostors.  'I 
am quite satisfied of it,' he said.  'Look at me!  I have been 
serving them all my life, and they have done nothing for me; 
whereas, if they had been really powerful, they could not have 
decently done less, in return for all I have done for them, than 
make my fortune.  As they have never made my fortune, I am quite 
convinced they are impostors!'  When this singular priest had 
finished speaking, he hastily armed himself with sword and lance, 
mounted a war-horse, rode at a furious gallop in sight of all the 
people to the temple, and flung his lance against it as an insult.  
From that time, the Christian religion spread itself among the 
Saxons, and became their faith.

The next very famous prince was EGBERT.  He lived about a hundred 
and fifty years afterwards, and claimed to have a better right to 
the throne of Wessex than BEORTRIC, another Saxon prince who was at 
the head of that kingdom, and who married EDBURGA, the daughter of 
OFFA, king of another of the seven kingdoms.  This QUEEN EDBURGA 
was a handsome murderess, who poisoned people when they offended 
her.  One day, she mixed a cup of poison for a certain noble 
belonging to the court; but her husband drank of it too, by 
mistake, and died.  Upon this, the people revolted, in great 
crowds; and running to the palace, and thundering at the gates, 
cried, 'Down with the wicked queen, who poisons men!'  They drove 
her out of the country, and abolished the title she had disgraced.  
When years had passed away, some travellers came home from Italy, 
and said that in the town of Pavia they had seen a ragged beggar-
woman, who had once been handsome, but was then shrivelled, bent, 
and yellow, wandering about the streets, crying for bread; and that 
this beggar-woman was the poisoning English queen.  It was, indeed, 
EDBURGA; and so she died, without a shelter for her wretched head.

EGBERT, not considering himself safe in England, in consequence of 
his having claimed the crown of Wessex (for he thought his rival 
might take him prisoner and put him to death), sought refuge at the 
court of CHARLEMAGNE, King of France.  On the death of BEORTRIC, so 
unhappily poisoned by mistake, EGBERT came back to Britain; 
succeeded to the throne of Wessex; conquered some of the other 
monarchs of the seven kingdoms; added their territories to his own; 
and, for the first time, called the country over which he ruled, 

And now, new enemies arose, who, for a long time, troubled England 
sorely.  These were the Northmen, the people of Denmark and Norway, 
whom the English called the Danes.  They were a warlike people, 
quite at home upon the sea; not Christians; very daring and cruel.  
They came over in ships, and plundered and burned wheresoever they 
landed.  Once, they beat EGBERT in battle.  Once, EGBERT beat them.  
But, they cared no more for being beaten than the English 
themselves.  In the four following short reigns, of ETHELWULF, and 
his sons, ETHELBALD, ETHELBERT, and ETHELRED, they came back, over 
and over again, burning and plundering, and laying England waste.  
In the last-mentioned reign, they seized EDMUND, King of East 
England, and bound him to a tree.  Then, they proposed to him that 
he should change his religion; but he, being a good Christian, 
steadily refused.  Upon that, they beat him, made cowardly jests 
upon him, all defenceless as he was, shot arrows at him, and, 
finally, struck off his head.  It is impossible to say whose head 
they might have struck off next, but for the death of KING ETHELRED 
from a wound he had received in fighting against them, and the 
succession to his throne of the best and wisest king that ever 
lived in England.


ALFRED THE GREAT was a young man, three-and-twenty years of age, 
when he became king.  Twice in his childhood, he had been taken to 
Rome, where the Saxon nobles were in the habit of going on journeys 
which they supposed to be religious; and, once, he had stayed for 
some time in Paris.  Learning, however, was so little cared for, 
then, that at twelve years old he had not been taught to read; 
although, of the sons of KING ETHELWULF, he, the youngest, was the 
favourite.  But he had - as most men who grow up to be great and 
good are generally found to have had - an excellent mother; and, 
one day, this lady, whose name was OSBURGA, happened, as she was 
sitting among her sons, to read a book of Saxon poetry.  The art of 
printing was not known until long and long after that period, and 
the book, which was written, was what is called 'illuminated,' with 
beautiful bright letters, richly painted.  The brothers admiring it 
very much, their mother said, 'I will give it to that one of you 
four princes who first learns to read.'  ALFRED sought out a tutor 
that very day, applied himself to learn with great diligence, and 
soon won the book.  He was proud of it, all his life.

This great king, in the first year of his reign, fought nine 
battles with the Danes.  He made some treaties with them too, by 
which the false Danes swore they would quit the country.  They 
pretended to consider that they had taken a very solemn oath, in 
swearing this upon the holy bracelets that they wore, and which 
were always buried with them when they died; but they cared little 
for it, for they thought nothing of breaking oaths and treaties 
too, as soon as it suited their purpose, and coming back again to 
fight, plunder, and burn, as usual.  One fatal winter, in the 
fourth year of KING ALFRED'S reign, they spread themselves in great 
numbers over the whole of England; and so dispersed and routed the 
King's soldiers that the King was left alone, and was obliged to 
disguise himself as a common peasant, and to take refuge in the 
cottage of one of his cowherds who did not know his face.

Here, KING ALFRED, while the Danes sought him far and near, was 
left alone one day, by the cowherd's wife, to watch some cakes 
which she put to bake upon the hearth.  But, being at work upon his 
bow and arrows, with which he hoped to punish the false Danes when 
a brighter time should come, and thinking deeply of his poor 
unhappy subjects whom the Danes chased through the land, his noble 
mind forgot the cakes, and they were burnt.  'What!' said the 
cowherd's wife, who scolded him well when she came back, and little 
thought she was scolding the King, 'you will be ready enough to eat 
them by-and-by, and yet you cannot watch them, idle dog?'

At length, the Devonshire men made head against a new host of Danes 
who landed on their coast; killed their chief, and captured their 
flag; on which was represented the likeness of a Raven - a very fit 
bird for a thievish army like that, I think.  The loss of their 
standard troubled the Danes greatly, for they believed it to be 
enchanted - woven by the three daughters of one father in a single 
afternoon - and they had a story among themselves that when they 
were victorious in battle, the Raven stretched his wings and seemed 
to fly; and that when they were defeated, he would droop.  He had 
good reason to droop, now, if he could have done anything half so 
sensible; for, KING ALFRED joined the Devonshire men; made a camp 
with them on a piece of firm ground in the midst of a bog in 
Somersetshire; and prepared for a great attempt for vengeance on 
the Danes, and the deliverance of his oppressed people.

But, first, as it was important to know how numerous those 
pestilent Danes were, and how they were fortified, KING ALFRED, 
being a good musician, disguised himself as a glee-man or minstrel, 
and went, with his harp, to the Danish camp.  He played and sang in 
the very tent of GUTHRUM the Danish leader, and entertained the 
Danes as they caroused.  While he seemed to think of nothing but 
his music, he was watchful of their tents, their arms, their 
discipline, everything that he desired to know.  And right soon did 
this great king entertain them to a different tune; for, summoning 
all his true followers to meet him at an appointed place, where 
they received him with joyful shouts and tears, as the monarch whom 
many of them had given up for lost or dead, he put himself at their 
head, marched on the Danish camp, defeated the Danes with great 
slaughter, and besieged them for fourteen days to prevent their 
escape.  But, being as merciful as he was good and brave, he then, 
instead of killing them, proposed peace:  on condition that they 
should altogether depart from that Western part of England, and 
settle in the East; and that GUTHRUM should become a Christian, in 
remembrance of the Divine religion which now taught his conqueror, 
the noble ALFRED, to forgive the enemy who had so often injured 
him.  This, GUTHRUM did.  At his baptism, KING ALFRED was his 
godfather.  And GUTHRUM was an honourable chief who well deserved 
that clemency; for, ever afterwards he was loyal and faithful to 
the king.  The Danes under him were faithful too.  They plundered 
and burned no more, but worked like honest men.  They ploughed, and 
sowed, and reaped, and led good honest English lives.  And I hope 
the children of those Danes played, many a time, with Saxon 
children in the sunny fields; and that Danish young men fell in 
love with Saxon girls, and married them; and that English 
travellers, benighted at the doors of Danish cottages, often went 
in for shelter until morning; and that Danes and Saxons sat by the 
red fire, friends, talking of KING ALFRED THE GREAT.

All the Danes were not like these under GUTHRUM; for, after some 
years, more of them came over, in the old plundering and burning 
way - among them a fierce pirate of the name of HASTINGS, who had 
the boldness to sail up the Thames to Gravesend, with eighty ships.  
For three years, there was a war with these Danes; and there was a 
famine in the country, too, and a plague, both upon human creatures 
and beasts.  But KING ALFRED, whose mighty heart never failed him, 
built large ships nevertheless, with which to pursue the pirates on 
the sea; and he encouraged his soldiers, by his brave example, to 
fight valiantly against them on the shore.  At last, he drove them 
all away; and then there was repose in England.

As great and good in peace, as he was great and good in war, KING 
ALFRED never rested from his labours to improve his people.  He 
loved to talk with clever men, and with travellers from foreign 
countries, and to write down what they told him, for his people to 
read.  He had studied Latin after learning to read English, and now 
another of his labours was, to translate Latin books into the 
English-Saxon tongue, that his people might be interested, and 
improved by their contents.  He made just laws, that they might 
live more happily and freely; he turned away all partial judges, 
that no wrong might be done them; he was so careful of their 
property, and punished robbers so severely, that it was a common 
thing to say that under the great KING ALFRED, garlands of golden 
chains and jewels might have hung across the streets, and no man 
would have touched one.  He founded schools; he patiently heard 
causes himself in his Court of Justice; the great desires of his 
heart were, to do right to all his subjects, and to leave England 
better, wiser, happier in all ways, than he found it.  His industry 
in these efforts was quite astonishing.  Every day he divided into 
certain portions, and in each portion devoted himself to a certain 
pursuit.  That he might divide his time exactly, he had wax torches 
or candles made, which were all of the same size, were notched 
across at regular distances, and were always kept burning.  Thus, 
as the candles burnt down, he divided the day into notches, almost 
as accurately as we now divide it into hours upon the clock.  But 
when the candles were first invented, it was found that the wind 
and draughts of air, blowing into the palace through the doors and 
windows, and through the chinks in the walls, caused them to gutter 
and burn unequally.  To prevent this, the King had them put into 
cases formed of wood and white horn.  And these were the first 
lanthorns ever made in England.

All this time, he was afflicted with a terrible unknown disease, 
which caused him violent and frequent pain that nothing could 
relieve.  He bore it, as he had borne all the troubles of his life, 
like a brave good man, until he was fifty-three years old; and 
then, having reigned thirty years, he died.  He died in the year 
nine hundred and one; but, long ago as that is, his fame, and the 
love and gratitude with which his subjects regarded him, are 
freshly remembered to the present hour.

In the next reign, which was the reign of EDWARD, surnamed THE 
ELDER, who was chosen in council to succeed, a nephew of KING 
ALFRED troubled the country by trying to obtain the throne.  The 
Danes in the East of England took part with this usurper (perhaps 
because they had honoured his uncle so much, and honoured him for 
his uncle's sake), and there was hard fighting; but, the King, with 
the assistance of his sister, gained the day, and reigned in peace 
for four and twenty years.  He gradually extended his power over 
the whole of England, and so the Seven Kingdoms were united into 

When England thus became one kingdom, ruled over by one Saxon king, 
the Saxons had been settled in the country more than four hundred 
and fifty years.  Great changes had taken place in its customs 
during that time.  The Saxons were still greedy eaters and great 
drinkers, and their feasts were often of a noisy and drunken kind; 
but many new comforts and even elegances had become known, and were 
fast increasing.  Hangings for the walls of rooms, where, in these 
modern days, we paste up paper, are known to have been sometimes 
made of silk, ornamented with birds and flowers in needlework.  
Tables and chairs were curiously carved in different woods; were 
sometimes decorated with gold or silver; sometimes even made of 
those precious metals.  Knives and spoons were used at table; 
golden ornaments were worn - with silk and cloth, and golden 
tissues and embroideries; dishes were made of gold and silver, 
brass and bone.  There were varieties of drinking-horns, bedsteads, 
musical instruments.  A harp was passed round, at a feast, like the 
drinking-bowl, from guest to guest; and each one usually sang or 
played when his turn came.  The weapons of the Saxons were stoutly 
made, and among them was a terrible iron hammer that gave deadly 
blows, and was long remembered.  The Saxons themselves were a 
handsome people.  The men were proud of their long fair hair, 
parted on the forehead; their ample beards, their fresh 
complexions, and clear eyes.  The beauty of the Saxon women filled 
all England with a new delight and grace.

I have more to tell of the Saxons yet, but I stop to say this now, 
because under the GREAT ALFRED, all the best points of the English-
Saxon character were first encouraged, and in him first shown.  It 
has been the greatest character among the nations of the earth.  
Wherever the descendants of the Saxon race have gone, have sailed, 
or otherwise made their way, even to the remotest regions of the 
world, they have been patient, persevering, never to be broken in 
spirit, never to be turned aside from enterprises on which they 
have resolved.  In Europe, Asia, Africa, America, the whole world 
over; in the desert, in the forest, on the sea; scorched by a 
burning sun, or frozen by ice that never melts; the Saxon blood 
remains unchanged.  Wheresoever that race goes, there, law, and 
industry, and safety for life and property, and all the great 
results of steady perseverance, are certain to arise.

I pause to think with admiration, of the noble king who, in his 
single person, possessed all the Saxon virtues.  Whom misfortune 
could not subdue, whom prosperity could not spoil, whose 
perseverance nothing could shake.  Who was hopeful in defeat, and 
generous in success.  Who loved justice, freedom, truth, and 
knowledge.  Who, in his care to instruct his people, probably did 
more to preserve the beautiful old Saxon language, than I can 
imagine.  Without whom, the English tongue in which I tell this 
story might have wanted half its meaning.  As it is said that his 
spirit still inspires some of our best English laws, so, let you 
and I pray that it may animate our English hearts, at least to this 
- to resolve, when we see any of our fellow-creatures left in 
ignorance, that we will do our best, while life is in us, to have 
them taught; and to tell those rulers whose duty it is to teach 
them, and who neglect their duty, that they have profited very 
little by all the years that have rolled away since the year nine 
hundred and one, and that they are far behind the bright example of 


ATHELSTAN, the son of Edward the Elder, succeeded that king.  He 
reigned only fifteen years; but he remembered the glory of his 
grandfather, the great Alfred, and governed England well.  He 
reduced the turbulent people of Wales, and obliged them to pay him 
a tribute in money, and in cattle, and to send him their best hawks 
and hounds.  He was victorious over the Cornish men, who were not 
yet quite under the Saxon government.  He restored such of the old 
laws as were good, and had fallen into disuse; made some wise new 
laws, and took care of the poor and weak.  A strong alliance, made 
against him by ANLAF a Danish prince, CONSTANTINE King of the 
Scots, and the people of North Wales, he broke and defeated in one 
great battle, long famous for the vast numbers slain in it.  After 
that, he had a quiet reign; the lords and ladies about him had 
leisure to become polite and agreeable; and foreign princes were 
glad (as they have sometimes been since) to come to England on 
visits to the English court.

When Athelstan died, at forty-seven years old, his brother EDMUND, 
who was only eighteen, became king.  He was the first of six boy-
kings, as you will presently know.

They called him the Magnificent, because he showed a taste for 
improvement and refinement.  But he was beset by the Danes, and had 
a short and troubled reign, which came to a troubled end.  One 
night, when he was feasting in his hall, and had eaten much and 
drunk deep, he saw, among the company, a noted robber named LEOF, 
who had been banished from England.  Made very angry by the 
boldness of this man, the King turned to his cup-bearer, and said, 
'There is a robber sitting at the table yonder, who, for his 
crimes, is an outlaw in the land - a hunted wolf, whose life any 
man may take, at any time.  Command that robber to depart!'  'I 
will not depart!' said Leof.  'No?' cried the King.  'No, by the 
Lord!' said Leof.  Upon that the King rose from his seat, and, 
making passionately at the robber, and seizing him by his long 
hair, tried to throw him down.  But the robber had a dagger 
underneath his cloak, and, in the scuffle, stabbed the King to 
death.  That done, he set his back against the wall, and fought so 
desperately, that although he was soon cut to pieces by the King's 
armed men, and the wall and pavement were splashed with his blood, 
yet it was not before he had killed and wounded many of them.  You 
may imagine what rough lives the kings of those times led, when one 
of them could struggle, half drunk, with a public robber in his own 
dining-hall, and be stabbed in presence of the company who ate and 
drank with him.

Then succeeded the boy-king EDRED, who was weak and sickly in body, 
but of a strong mind.  And his armies fought the Northmen, the 
Danes, and Norwegians, or the Sea-Kings, as they were called, and 
beat them for the time.  And, in nine years, Edred died, and passed 

Then came the boy-king EDWY, fifteen years of age; but the real 
king, who had the real power, was a monk named DUNSTAN - a clever 
priest, a little mad, and not a little proud and cruel.

Dunstan was then Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, whither the body of 
King Edmund the Magnificent was carried, to be buried.  While yet a 
boy, he had got out of his bed one night (being then in a fever), 
and walked about Glastonbury Church when it was under repair; and, 
because he did not tumble off some scaffolds that were there, and 
break his neck, it was reported that he had been shown over the 
building by an angel.  He had also made a harp that was said to 
play of itself - which it very likely did, as AEolian Harps, which 
are played by the wind, and are understood now, always do.  For 
these wonders he had been once denounced by his enemies, who were 
jealous of his favour with the late King Athelstan, as a magician; 
and he had been waylaid, bound hand and foot, and thrown into a 
marsh.  But he got out again, somehow, to cause a great deal of 
trouble yet.

The priests of those days were, generally, the only scholars.  They 
were learned in many things.  Having to make their own convents and 
monasteries on uncultivated grounds that were granted to them by 
the Crown, it was necessary that they should be good farmers and 
good gardeners, or their lands would have been too poor to support 
them.  For the decoration of the chapels where they prayed, and for 
the comfort of the refectories where they ate and drank, it was 
necessary that there should be good carpenters, good smiths, good 
painters, among them.  For their greater safety in sickness and 
accident, living alone by themselves in solitary places, it was 
necessary that they should study the virtues of plants and herbs, 
and should know how to dress cuts, burns, scalds, and bruises, and 
how to set broken limbs.  Accordingly, they taught themselves, and 
one another, a great variety of useful arts; and became skilful in 
agriculture, medicine, surgery, and handicraft.  And when they 
wanted the aid of any little piece of machinery, which would be 
simple enough now, but was marvellous then, to impose a trick upon 
the poor peasants, they knew very well how to make it; and DID make 
it many a time and often, I have no doubt.

Dunstan, Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey, was one of the most sagacious 
of these monks.  He was an ingenious smith, and worked at a forge 
in a little cell.  This cell was made too short to admit of his 
lying at full length when he went to sleep - as if THAT did any 
good to anybody! - and he used to tell the most extraordinary lies 
about demons and spirits, who, he said, came there to persecute 
him.  For instance, he related that one day when he was at work, 
the devil looked in at the little window, and tried to tempt him to 
lead a life of idle pleasure; whereupon, having his pincers in the 
fire, red hot, he seized the devil by the nose, and put him to such 
pain, that his bellowings were heard for miles and miles.  Some 
people are inclined to think this nonsense a part of Dunstan's 
madness (for his head never quite recovered the fever), but I think 
not.  I observe that it induced the ignorant people to consider him 
a holy man, and that it made him very powerful.  Which was exactly 
what he always wanted.

On the day of the coronation of the handsome boy-king Edwy, it was 
remarked by ODO, Archbishop of Canterbury (who was a Dane by 
birth), that the King quietly left the coronation feast, while all 
the company were there.  Odo, much displeased, sent his friend 
Dunstan to seek him.  Dunstan finding him in the company of his 
beautiful young wife ELGIVA, and her mother ETHELGIVA, a good and 
virtuous lady, not only grossly abused them, but dragged the young 
King back into the feasting-hall by force.  Some, again, think 
Dunstan did this because the young King's fair wife was his own 
cousin, and the monks objected to people marrying their own 
cousins; but I believe he did it, because he was an imperious, 
audacious, ill-conditioned priest, who, having loved a young lady 
himself before he became a sour monk, hated all love now, and 
everything belonging to it.

The young King was quite old enough to feel this insult.  Dunstan 
had been Treasurer in the last reign, and he soon charged Dunstan 
with having taken some of the last king's money.  The Glastonbury 
Abbot fled to Belgium (very narrowly escaping some pursuers who 
were sent to put out his eyes, as you will wish they had, when you 
read what follows), and his abbey was given to priests who were 
married; whom he always, both before and afterwards, opposed.  But 
he quickly conspired with his friend, Odo the Dane, to set up the 
King's young brother, EDGAR, as his rival for the throne; and, not 
content with this revenge, he caused the beautiful queen Elgiva, 
though a lovely girl of only seventeen or eighteen, to be stolen 
from one of the Royal Palaces, branded in the cheek with a red-hot 
iron, and sold into slavery in Ireland.  But the Irish people 
pitied and befriended her; and they said, 'Let us restore the girl-
queen to the boy-king, and make the young lovers happy!' and they 
cured her of her cruel wound, and sent her home as beautiful as 
before.  But the villain Dunstan, and that other villain, Odo, 
caused her to be waylaid at Gloucester as she was joyfully hurrying 
to join her husband, and to be hacked and hewn with swords, and to 
be barbarously maimed and lamed, and left to die.  When Edwy the 
Fair (his people called him so, because he was so young and 
handsome) heard of her dreadful fate, he died of a broken heart; 
and so the pitiful story of the poor young wife and husband ends!  
Ah!  Better to be two cottagers in these better times, than king 
and queen of England in those bad days, though never so fair!

Then came the boy-king, EDGAR, called the Peaceful, fifteen years 
old.  Dunstan, being still the real king, drove all married priests 
out of the monasteries and abbeys, and replaced them by solitary 
monks like himself, of the rigid order called the Benedictines.  He 
made himself Archbishop of Canterbury, for his greater glory; and 
exercised such power over the neighbouring British princes, and so 
collected them about the King, that once, when the King held his 
court at Chester, and went on the river Dee to visit the monastery 
of St. John, the eight oars of his boat were pulled (as the people 
used to delight in relating in stories and songs) by eight crowned 
kings, and steered by the King of England.  As Edgar was very 
obedient to Dunstan and the monks, they took great pains to 
represent him as the best of kings.  But he was really profligate, 
debauched, and vicious.  He once forcibly carried off a young lady 
from the convent at Wilton; and Dunstan, pretending to be very much 
shocked, condemned him not to wear his crown upon his head for 
seven years - no great punishment, I dare say, as it can hardly 
have been a more comfortable ornament to wear, than a stewpan 
without a handle.  His marriage with his second wife, ELFRIDA, is 
one of the worst events of his reign.  Hearing of the beauty of 
this lady, he despatched his favourite courtier, ATHELWOLD, to her 
father's castle in Devonshire, to see if she were really as 
charming as fame reported.  Now, she was so exceedingly beautiful 
that Athelwold fell in love with her himself, and married her; but 
he told the King that she was only rich - not handsome.  The King, 
suspecting the truth when they came home, resolved to pay the 
newly-married couple a visit; and, suddenly, told Athelwold to 
prepare for his immediate coming.  Athelwold, terrified, confessed 
to his young wife what he had said and done, and implored her to 
disguise her beauty by some ugly dress or silly manner, that he 
might be safe from the King's anger.  She promised that she would; 
but she was a proud woman, who would far rather have been a queen 
than the wife of a courtier.  She dressed herself in her best 
dress, and adorned herself with her richest jewels; and when the 
King came, presently, he discovered the cheat.  So, he caused his 
false friend, Athelwold, to be murdered in a wood, and married his 
widow, this bad Elfrida.  Six or seven years afterwards, he died; 
and was buried, as if he had been all that the monks said he was, 
in the abbey of Glastonbury, which he - or Dunstan for him - had 
much enriched.

England, in one part of this reign, was so troubled by wolves, 
which, driven out of the open country, hid themselves in the 
mountains of Wales when they were not attacking travellers and 
animals, that the tribute payable by the Welsh people was forgiven 
them, on condition of their producing, every year, three hundred 
wolves' heads.  And the Welshmen were so sharp upon the wolves, to 
save their money, that in four years there was not a wolf left.

Then came the boy-king, EDWARD, called the Martyr, from the manner 
of his death.  Elfrida had a son, named ETHELRED, for whom she 
claimed the throne; but Dunstan did not choose to favour him, and 
he made Edward king.  The boy was hunting, one day, down in 
Dorsetshire, when he rode near to Corfe Castle, where Elfrida and 
Ethelred lived.  Wishing to see them kindly, he rode away from his 
attendants and galloped to the castle gate, where he arrived at 
twilight, and blew his hunting-horn.  'You are welcome, dear King,' 
said Elfrida, coming out, with her brightest smiles.  'Pray you 
dismount and enter.'  'Not so, dear madam,' said the King.  'My 
company will miss me, and fear that I have met with some harm.  
Please you to give me a cup of wine, that I may drink here, in the 
saddle, to you and to my little brother, and so ride away with the 
good speed I have made in riding here.'  Elfrida, going in to bring 
the wine, whispered an armed servant, one of her attendants, who 
stole out of the darkening gateway, and crept round behind the 
King's horse.  As the King raised the cup to his lips, saying, 
'Health!' to the wicked woman who was smiling on him, and to his 
innocent brother whose hand she held in hers, and who was only ten 
years old, this armed man made a spring and stabbed him in the 
back.  He dropped the cup and spurred his horse away; but, soon 
fainting with loss of blood, dropped from the saddle, and, in his 
fall, entangled one of his feet in the stirrup.  The frightened 
horse dashed on; trailing his rider's curls upon the ground; 
dragging his smooth young face through ruts, and stones, and 
briers, and fallen leaves, and mud; until the hunters, tracking the 
animal's course by the King's blood, caught his bridle, and 
released the disfigured body.

Then came the sixth and last of the boy-kings, ETHELRED, whom 
Elfrida, when he cried out at the sight of his murdered brother 
riding away from the castle gate, unmercifully beat with a torch 
which she snatched from one of the attendants.  The people so 
disliked this boy, on account of his cruel mother and the murder 
she had done to promote him, that Dunstan would not have had him 
for king, but would have made EDGITHA, the daughter of the dead 
King Edgar, and of the lady whom he stole out of the convent at 
Wilton, Queen of England, if she would have consented.  But she 
knew the stories of the youthful kings too well, and would not be 
persuaded from the convent where she lived in peace; so, Dunstan 
put Ethelred on the throne, having no one else to put there, and 
gave him the nickname of THE UNREADY - knowing that he wanted 
resolution and firmness.

At first, Elfrida possessed great influence over the young King, 
but, as he grew older and came of age, her influence declined.  The 
infamous woman, not having it in her power to do any more evil, 
then retired from court, and, according, to the fashion of the 
time, built churches and monasteries, to expiate her guilt.  As if 
a church, with a steeple reaching to the very stars, would have 
been any sign of true repentance for the blood of the poor boy, 
whose murdered form was trailed at his horse's heels!  As if she 
could have buried her wickedness beneath the senseless stones of 
the whole world, piled up one upon another, for the monks to live 

About the ninth or tenth year of this reign, Dunstan died.  He was 
growing old then, but was as stern and artful as ever.  Two 
circumstances that happened in connexion with him, in this reign of 
Ethelred, made a great noise.  Once, he was present at a meeting of 
the Church, when the question was discussed whether priests should 
have permission to marry; and, as he sat with his head hung down, 
apparently thinking about it, a voice seemed to come out of a 
crucifix in the room, and warn the meeting to be of his opinion.  
This was some juggling of Dunstan's, and was probably his own voice 
disguised.  But he played off a worse juggle than that, soon 
afterwards; for, another meeting being held on the same subject, 
and he and his supporters being seated on one side of a great room, 
and their opponents on the other, he rose and said, 'To Christ 
himself, as judge, do I commit this cause!'  Immediately on these 
words being spoken, the floor where the opposite party sat gave 
way, and some were killed and many wounded.  You may be pretty sure 
that it had been weakened under Dunstan's direction, and that it 
fell at Dunstan's signal.  HIS part of the floor did not go down.  
No, no.  He was too good a workman for that.

When he died, the monks settled that he was a Saint, and called him 
Saint Dunstan ever afterwards.  They might just as well have 
settled that he was a coach-horse, and could just as easily have 
called him one.

Ethelred the Unready was glad enough, I dare say, to be rid of this 
holy saint; but, left to himself, he was a poor weak king, and his 
reign was a reign of defeat and shame.  The restless Danes, led by 
SWEYN, a son of the King of Denmark who had quarrelled with his 
father and had been banished from home, again came into England, 
and, year after year, attacked and despoiled large towns.  To coax 
these sea-kings away, the weak Ethelred paid them money; but, the 
more money he paid, the more money the Danes wanted.  At first, he 
gave them ten thousand pounds; on their next invasion, sixteen 
thousand pounds; on their next invasion, four and twenty thousand 
pounds:  to pay which large sums, the unfortunate English people 
were heavily taxed.  But, as the Danes still came back and wanted 
more, he thought it would be a good plan to marry into some 
powerful foreign family that would help him with soldiers.  So, in 
the year one thousand and two, he courted and married Emma, the 
sister of Richard Duke of Normandy; a lady who was called the 
Flower of Normandy.

And now, a terrible deed was done in England, the like of which was 
never done on English ground before or since.  On the thirteenth of 
November, in pursuance of secret instructions sent by the King over 
the whole country, the inhabitants of every town and city armed, 
and murdered all the Danes who were their neighbours.

Young and old, babies and soldiers, men and women, every Dane was 
killed.  No doubt there were among them many ferocious men who had 
done the English great wrong, and whose pride and insolence, in 
swaggering in the houses of the English and insulting their wives 
and daughters, had become unbearable; but no doubt there were also 
among them many peaceful Christian Danes who had married English 
women and become like English men.  They were all slain, even to 
GUNHILDA, the sister of the King of Denmark, married to an English 
lord; who was first obliged to see the murder of her husband and 
her child, and then was killed herself.

When the King of the sea-kings heard of this deed of blood, he 
swore that he would have a great revenge.  He raised an army, and a 
mightier fleet of ships than ever yet had sailed to England; and in 
all his army there was not a slave or an old man, but every soldier 
was a free man, and the son of a free man, and in the prime of 
life, and sworn to be revenged upon the English nation, for the 
massacre of that dread thirteenth of November, when his countrymen 
and countrywomen, and the little children whom they loved, were 
killed with fire and sword.  And so, the sea-kings came to England 
in many great ships, each bearing the flag of its own commander.  
Golden eagles, ravens, dragons, dolphins, beasts of prey, 
threatened England from the prows of those ships, as they came 
onward through the water; and were reflected in the shining shields 
that hung upon their sides.  The ship that bore the standard of the 
King of the sea-kings was carved and painted like a mighty serpent; 
and the King in his anger prayed that the Gods in whom he trusted 
might all desert him, if his serpent did not strike its fangs into 
England's heart.

And indeed it did.  For, the great army landing from the great 
fleet, near Exeter, went forward, laying England waste, and 
striking their lances in the earth as they advanced, or throwing 
them into rivers, in token of their making all the island theirs.  
In remembrance of the black November night when the Danes were 
murdered, wheresoever the invaders came, they made the Saxons 
prepare and spread for them great feasts; and when they had eaten 
those feasts, and had drunk a curse to England with wild 
rejoicings, they drew their swords, and killed their Saxon 
entertainers, and marched on.  For six long years they carried on 
this war:  burning the crops, farmhouses, barns, mills, granaries; 
killing the labourers in the fields; preventing the seed from being 
sown in the ground; causing famine and starvation; leaving only 
heaps of ruin and smoking ashes, where they had found rich towns.  
To crown this misery, English officers and men deserted, and even 
the favourites of Ethelred the Unready, becoming traitors, seized 
many of the English ships, turned pirates against their own 
country, and aided by a storm occasioned the loss of nearly the 
whole English navy.

There was but one man of note, at this miserable pass, who was true 
to his country and the feeble King.  He was a priest, and a brave 
one.  For twenty days, the Archbishop of Canterbury defended that 
city against its Danish besiegers; and when a traitor in the town 
threw the gates open and admitted them, he said, in chains, 'I will 
not buy my life with money that must be extorted from the suffering 
people.  Do with me what you please!'  Again and again, he steadily 
refused to purchase his release with gold wrung from the poor.

At last, the Danes being tired of this, and being assembled at a 
drunken merry-making, had him brought into the feasting-hall.

'Now, bishop,' they said, 'we want gold!'

He looked round on the crowd of angry faces; from the shaggy beards 
close to him, to the shaggy beards against the walls, where men 
were mounted on tables and forms to see him over the heads of 
others:  and he knew that his time was come.

'I have no gold,' he said.

'Get it, bishop!' they all thundered.

'That, I have often told you I will not,' said he.

They gathered closer round him, threatening, but he stood unmoved.  
Then, one man struck him; then, another; then a cursing soldier 
picked up from a heap in a corner of the hall, where fragments had 
been rudely thrown at dinner, a great ox-bone, and cast it at his 
face, from which the blood came spurting forth; then, others ran to 
the same heap, and knocked him down with other bones, and bruised 
and battered him; until one soldier whom he had baptised (willing, 
as I hope for the sake of that soldier's soul, to shorten the 
sufferings of the good man) struck him dead with his battle-axe.

If Ethelred had had the heart to emulate the courage of this noble 
archbishop, he might have done something yet.  But he paid the 
Danes forty-eight thousand pounds, instead, and gained so little by 
the cowardly act, that Sweyn soon afterwards came over to subdue 
all England.  So broken was the attachment of the English people, 
by this time, to their incapable King and their forlorn country 
which could not protect them, that they welcomed Sweyn on all 
sides, as a deliverer.  London faithfully stood out, as long as the 
King was within its walls; but, when he sneaked away, it also 
welcomed the Dane.  Then, all was over; and the King took refuge 
abroad with the Duke of Normandy, who had already given shelter to 
the King's wife, once the Flower of that country, and to her 

Still, the English people, in spite of their sad sufferings, could 
not quite forget the great King Alfred and the Saxon race.  When 
Sweyn died suddenly, in little more than a month after he had been 
proclaimed King of England, they generously sent to Ethelred, to 
say that they would have him for their King again, 'if he would 
only govern them better than he had governed them before.'  The 
Unready, instead of coming himself, sent Edward, one of his sons, 
to make promises for him.  At last, he followed, and the English 
declared him King.  The Danes declared CANUTE, the son of Sweyn, 
King.  Thus, direful war began again, and lasted for three years, 
when the Unready died.  And I know of nothing better that he did, 
in all his reign of eight and thirty years.

Was Canute to be King now?  Not over the Saxons, they said; they 
must have EDMUND, one of the sons of the Unready, who was surnamed 
IRONSIDE, because of his strength and stature.  Edmund and Canute 
thereupon fell to, and fought five battles - O unhappy England, 
what a fighting-ground it was! - and then Ironside, who was a big 
man, proposed to Canute, who was a little man, that they two should 
fight it out in single combat.  If Canute had been the big man, he 
would probably have said yes, but, being the little man, he 
decidedly said no.  However, he declared that he was willing to 
divide the kingdom - to take all that lay north of Watling Street, 
as the old Roman military road from Dover to Chester was called, 
and to give Ironside all that lay south of it.  Most men being 
weary of so much bloodshed, this was done.  But Canute soon became 
sole King of England; for Ironside died suddenly within two months.  
Some think that he was killed, and killed by Canute's orders.  No 
one knows.


CANUTE reigned eighteen years.  He was a merciless King at first.  
After he had clasped the hands of the Saxon chiefs, in token of the 
sincerity with which he swore to be just and good to them in return 
for their acknowledging him, he denounced and slew many of them, as 
well as many relations of the late King.  'He who brings me the 
head of one of my enemies,' he used to say, 'shall be dearer to me 
than a brother.'  And he was so severe in hunting down his enemies, 
that he must have got together a pretty large family of these dear 
brothers.  He was strongly inclined to kill EDMUND and EDWARD, two 
children, sons of poor Ironside; but, being afraid to do so in 
England, he sent them over to the King of Sweden, with a request 
that the King would be so good as 'dispose of them.'  If the King 
of Sweden had been like many, many other men of that day, he would 
have had their innocent throats cut; but he was a kind man, and 
brought them up tenderly.

Normandy ran much in Canute's mind.  In Normandy were the two 
children of the late king - EDWARD and ALFRED by name; and their 
uncle the Duke might one day claim the crown for them.  But the 
Duke showed so little inclination to do so now, that he proposed to 
Canute to marry his sister, the widow of The Unready; who, being 
but a showy flower, and caring for nothing so much as becoming a 
queen again, left her children and was wedded to him.

Successful and triumphant, assisted by the valour of the English in 
his foreign wars, and with little strife to trouble him at home, 
Canute had a prosperous reign, and made many improvements.  He was 
a poet and a musician.  He grew sorry, as he grew older, for the 
blood he had shed at first; and went to Rome in a Pilgrim's dress, 
by way of washing it out.  He gave a great deal of money to 
foreigners on his journey; but he took it from the English before 
he started.  On the whole, however, he certainly became a far 
better man when he had no opposition to contend with, and was as 
great a King as England had known for some time.

The old writers of history relate how that Canute was one day 
disgusted with his courtiers for their flattery, and how he caused 
his chair to be set on the sea-shore, and feigned to command the 
tide as it came up not to wet the edge of his robe, for the land 
was his; how the tide came up, of course, without regarding him; 
and how he then turned to his flatterers, and rebuked them, saying, 
what was the might of any earthly king, to the might of the 
Creator, who could say unto the sea, 'Thus far shalt thou go, and 
no farther!'  We may learn from this, I think, that a little sense 
will go a long way in a king; and that courtiers are not easily 
cured of flattery, nor kings of a liking for it.  If the courtiers 
of Canute had not known, long before, that the King was fond of 
flattery, they would have known better than to offer it in such 
large doses.  And if they had not known that he was vain of this 
speech (anything but a wonderful speech it seems to me, if a good 
child had made it), they would not have been at such great pains to 
repeat it.  I fancy I see them all on the sea-shore together; the 
King's chair sinking in the sand; the King in a mighty good humour 
with his own wisdom; and the courtiers pretending to be quite 
stunned by it!

It is not the sea alone that is bidden to go 'thus far, and no 
farther.'  The great command goes forth to all the kings upon the 
earth, and went to Canute in the year one thousand and thirty-five, 
and stretched him dead upon his bed.  Beside it, stood his Norman 
wife.  Perhaps, as the King looked his last upon her, he, who had 
so often thought distrustfully of Normandy, long ago, thought once 
more of the two exiled Princes in their uncle's court, and of the 
little favour they could feel for either Danes or Saxons, and of a 
rising cloud in Normandy that slowly moved towards England.


CANUTE left three sons, by name SWEYN, HAROLD, and HARDICANUTE; but 
his Queen, Emma, once the Flower of Normandy, was the mother of 
only Hardicanute.  Canute had wished his dominions to be divided 
between the three, and had wished Harold to have England; but the 
Saxon people in the South of England, headed by a nobleman with 
great possessions, called the powerful EARL GODWIN (who is said to 
have been originally a poor cow-boy), opposed this, and desired to 
have, instead, either Hardicanute, or one of the two exiled Princes 
who were over in Normandy.  It seemed so certain that there would 
be more bloodshed to settle this dispute, that many people left 
their homes, and took refuge in the woods and swamps.  Happily, 
however, it was agreed to refer the whole question to a great 
meeting at Oxford, which decided that Harold should have all the 
country north of the Thames, with London for his capital city, and 
that Hardicanute should have all the south.  The quarrel was so 
arranged; and, as Hardicanute was in Denmark troubling himself very 
little about anything but eating and getting drunk, his mother and 
Earl Godwin governed the south for him.

They had hardly begun to do so, and the trembling people who had 
hidden themselves were scarcely at home again, when Edward, the 
elder of the two exiled Princes, came over from Normandy with a few 
followers, to claim the English Crown.  His mother Emma, however, 
who only cared for her last son Hardicanute, instead of assisting 
him, as he expected, opposed him so strongly with all her influence 
that he was very soon glad to get safely back.  His brother Alfred 
was not so fortunate.  Believing in an affectionate letter, written 
some time afterwards to him and his brother, in his mother's name 
(but whether really with or without his mother's knowledge is now 
uncertain), he allowed himself to be tempted over to England, with 
a good force of soldiers, and landing on the Kentish coast, and 
being met and welcomed by Earl Godwin, proceeded into Surrey, as 
far as the town of Guildford.  Here, he and his men halted in the 
evening to rest, having still the Earl in their company; who had 
ordered lodgings and good cheer for them.  But, in the dead of the 
night, when they were off their guard, being divided into small 
parties sleeping soundly after a long march and a plentiful supper 
in different houses, they were set upon by the King's troops, and 
taken prisoners.  Next morning they were drawn out in a line, to 
the number of six hundred men, and were barbarously tortured and 
killed; with the exception of every tenth man, who was sold into 
slavery.  As to the wretched Prince Alfred, he was stripped naked, 
tied to a horse and sent away into the Isle of Ely, where his eyes 
were torn out of his head, and where in a few days he miserably 
died.  I am not sure that the Earl had wilfully entrapped him, but 
I suspect it strongly.

Harold was now King all over England, though it is doubtful whether 
the Archbishop of Canterbury (the greater part of the priests were 
Saxons, and not friendly to the Danes) ever consented to crown him.  
Crowned or uncrowned, with the Archbishop's leave or without it, he 
was King for four years:  after which short reign he died, and was 
buried; having never done much in life but go a hunting.  He was 
such a fast runner at this, his favourite sport, that the people 
called him Harold Harefoot.

Hardicanute was then at Bruges, in Flanders, plotting, with his 
mother (who had gone over there after the cruel murder of Prince 
Alfred), for the invasion of England.  The Danes and Saxons, 
finding themselves without a King, and dreading new disputes, made 
common cause, and joined in inviting him to occupy the Throne.  He 
consented, and soon troubled them enough; for he brought over 
numbers of Danes, and taxed the people so insupportably to enrich 
those greedy favourites that there were many insurrections, 
especially one at Worcester, where the citizens rose and killed his 
tax-collectors; in revenge for which he burned their city.  He was 
a brutal King, whose first public act was to order the dead body of 
poor Harold Harefoot to be dug up, beheaded, and thrown into the 
river.  His end was worthy of such a beginning.  He fell down 
drunk, with a goblet of wine in his hand, at a wedding-feast at 
Lambeth, given in honour of the marriage of his standard-bearer, a 
Dane named TOWED THE PROUD.  And he never spoke again.

EDWARD, afterwards called by the monks THE CONFESSOR, succeeded; 
and his first act was to oblige his mother Emma, who had favoured 
him so little, to retire into the country; where she died some ten 
years afterwards.  He was the exiled prince whose brother Alfred 
had been so foully killed.  He had been invited over from Normandy 
by Hardicanute, in the course of his short reign of two years, and 
had been handsomely treated at court.  His cause was now favoured 
by the powerful Earl Godwin, and he was soon made King.  This Earl 
had been suspected by the people, ever since Prince Alfred's cruel 
death; he had even been tried in the last reign for the Prince's 
murder, but had been pronounced not guilty; chiefly, as it was 
supposed, because of a present he had made to the swinish King, of 
a gilded ship with a figure-head of solid gold, and a crew of 
eighty splendidly armed men.  It was his interest to help the new 
King with his power, if the new King would help him against the 
popular distrust and hatred.  So they made a bargain.  Edward the 
Confessor got the Throne.  The Earl got more power and more land, 
and his daughter Editha was made queen; for it was a part of their 
compact that the King should take her for his wife.

But, although she was a gentle lady, in all things worthy to be 
beloved - good, beautiful, sensible, and kind - the King from the 
first neglected her.  Her father and her six proud brothers, 
resenting this cold treatment, harassed the King greatly by 
exerting all their power to make him unpopular.  Having lived so 
long in Normandy, he preferred the Normans to the English.  He made 
a Norman Archbishop, and Norman Bishops; his great officers and 
favourites were all Normans; he introduced the Norman fashions and 
the Norman language; in imitation of the state custom of Normandy, 
he attached a great seal to his state documents, instead of merely 
marking them, as the Saxon Kings had done, with the sign of the 
cross - just as poor people who have never been taught to write, 
now make the same mark for their names.  All this, the powerful 
Earl Godwin and his six proud sons represented to the people as 
disfavour shown towards the English; and thus they daily increased 
their own power, and daily diminished the power of the King.

They were greatly helped by an event that occurred when he had 
reigned eight years.  Eustace, Earl of Bologne, who had married the 
King's sister, came to England on a visit.  After staying at the 
court some time, he set forth, with his numerous train of 
attendants, to return home.  They were to embark at Dover.  
Entering that peaceful town in armour, they took possession of the 
best houses, and noisily demanded to be lodged and entertained 
without payment.  One of the bold men of Dover, who would not 
endure to have these domineering strangers jingling their heavy 
swords and iron corselets up and down his house, eating his meat 
and drinking his strong liquor, stood in his doorway and refused 
admission to the first armed man who came there.  The armed man 
drew, and wounded him.  The man of Dover struck the armed man dead.  
Intelligence of what he had done, spreading through the streets to 
where the Count Eustace and his men were standing by their horses, 
bridle in hand, they passionately mounted, galloped to the house, 
surrounded it, forced their way in (the doors and windows being 
closed when they came up), and killed the man of Dover at his own 
fireside.  They then clattered through the streets, cutting down 
and riding over men, women, and children.  This did not last long, 
you may believe.  The men of Dover set upon them with great fury, 
killed nineteen of the foreigners, wounded many more, and, 
blockading the road to the port so that they should not embark, 
beat them out of the town by the way they had come.  Hereupon, 
Count Eustace rides as hard as man can ride to Gloucester, where 
Edward is, surrounded by Norman monks and Norman lords.  'Justice!' 
cries the Count, 'upon the men of Dover, who have set upon and 
slain my people!'  The King sends immediately for the powerful Earl 
Godwin, who happens to be near; reminds him that Dover is under his 
government; and orders him to repair to Dover and do military 
execution on the inhabitants.  'It does not become you,' says the 
proud Earl in reply, 'to condemn without a hearing those whom you 
have sworn to protect.  I will not do it.'

The King, therefore, summoned the Earl, on pain of banishment and 
loss of his titles and property, to appear before the court to 
answer this disobedience.  The Earl refused to appear.  He, his 
eldest son Harold, and his second son Sweyn, hastily raised as many 
fighting men as their utmost power could collect, and demanded to 
have Count Eustace and his followers surrendered to the justice of 
the country.  The King, in his turn, refused to give them up, and 
raised a strong force.  After some treaty and delay, the troops of 
the great Earl and his sons began to fall off.  The Earl, with a 
part of his family and abundance of treasure, sailed to Flanders; 
Harold escaped to Ireland; and the power of the great family was 
for that time gone in England.  But, the people did not forget 

Then, Edward the Confessor, with the true meanness of a mean 
spirit, visited his dislike of the once powerful father and sons 
upon the helpless daughter and sister, his unoffending wife, whom 
all who saw her (her husband and his monks excepted) loved.  He 
seized rapaciously upon her fortune and her jewels, and allowing 
her only one attendant, confined her in a gloomy convent, of which 
a sister of his - no doubt an unpleasant lady after his own heart - 
was abbess or jailer.

Having got Earl Godwin and his six sons well out of his way, the 
King favoured the Normans more than ever.  He invited over WILLIAM, 
DUKE OF NORMANDY, the son of that Duke who had received him and his 
murdered brother long ago, and of a peasant girl, a tanner's 
daughter, with whom that Duke had fallen in love for her beauty as 
he saw her washing clothes in a brook.  William, who was a great 
warrior, with a passion for fine horses, dogs, and arms, accepted 
the invitation; and the Normans in England, finding themselves more 
numerous than ever when he arrived with his retinue, and held in 
still greater honour at court than before, became more and more 
haughty towards the people, and were more and more disliked by 

The old Earl Godwin, though he was abroad, knew well how the people 
felt; for, with part of the treasure he had carried away with him, 
he kept spies and agents in his pay all over England.

Accordingly, he thought the time was come for fitting out a great 
expedition against the Norman-loving King.  With it, he sailed to 
the Isle of Wight, where he was joined by his son Harold, the most 
gallant and brave of all his family.  And so the father and son 
came sailing up the Thames to Southwark; great numbers of the 
people declaring for them, and shouting for the English Earl and 
the English Harold, against the Norman favourites!

The King was at first as blind and stubborn as kings usually have 
been whensoever they have been in the hands of monks.  But the 
people rallied so thickly round the old Earl and his son, and the 
old Earl was so steady in demanding without bloodshed the 
restoration of himself and his family to their rights, that at last 
the court took the alarm.  The Norman Archbishop of Canterbury, and 
the Norman Bishop of London, surrounded by their retainers, fought 
their way out of London, and escaped from Essex to France in a 
fishing-boat.  The other Norman favourites dispersed in all 
directions.  The old Earl and his sons (except Sweyn, who had 
committed crimes against the law) were restored to their 
possessions and dignities.  Editha, the virtuous and lovely Queen 
of the insensible King, was triumphantly released from her prison, 
the convent, and once more sat in her chair of state, arrayed in 
the jewels of which, when she had no champion to support her 
rights, her cold-blooded husband had deprived her.

The old Earl Godwin did not long enjoy his restored fortune.  He 
fell down in a fit at the King's table, and died upon the third day 
afterwards.  Harold succeeded to his power, and to a far higher 
place in the attachment of the people than his father had ever 
held.  By his valour he subdued the King's enemies in many bloody 
fights.  He was vigorous against rebels in Scotland - this was the 
time when Macbeth slew Duncan, upon which event our English 
Shakespeare, hundreds of years afterwards, wrote his great tragedy; 
and he killed the restless Welsh King GRIFFITH, and brought his 
head to England.

What Harold was doing at sea, when he was driven on the French 
coast by a tempest, is not at all certain; nor does it at all 
matter.  That his ship was forced by a storm on that shore, and 
that he was taken prisoner, there is no doubt.  In those barbarous 
days, all shipwrecked strangers were taken prisoners, and obliged 
to pay ransom.  So, a certain Count Guy, who was the Lord of 
Ponthieu where Harold's disaster happened, seized him, instead of 
relieving him like a hospitable and Christian lord as he ought to 
have done, and expected to make a very good thing of it.

But Harold sent off immediately to Duke William of Normandy, 
complaining of this treatment; and the Duke no sooner heard of it 
than he ordered Harold to be escorted to the ancient town of Rouen, 
where he then was, and where he received him as an honoured guest.  
Now, some writers tell us that Edward the Confessor, who was by 
this time old and had no children, had made a will, appointing Duke 
William of Normandy his successor, and had informed the Duke of his 
having done so.  There is no doubt that he was anxious about his 
successor; because he had even invited over, from abroad, EDWARD 
THE OUTLAW, a son of Ironside, who had come to England with his 
wife and three children, but whom the King had strangely refused to 
see when he did come, and who had died in London suddenly (princes 
were terribly liable to sudden death in those days), and had been 
buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.  The King might possibly have made 
such a will; or, having always been fond of the Normans, he might 
have encouraged Norman William to aspire to the English crown, by 
something that he said to him when he was staying at the English 
court.  But, certainly William did now aspire to it; and knowing 
that Harold would be a powerful rival, he called together a great 
assembly of his nobles, offered Harold his daughter ADELE in 
marriage, informed him that he meant on King Edward's death to 
claim the English crown as his own inheritance, and required Harold 
then and there to swear to aid him.  Harold, being in the Duke's 
power, took this oath upon the Missal, or Prayer-book.  It is a 
good example of the superstitions of the monks, that this Missal, 
instead of being placed upon a table, was placed upon a tub; which, 
when Harold had sworn, was uncovered, and shown to be full of dead 
men's bones - bones, as the monks pretended, of saints.  This was 
supposed to make Harold's oath a great deal more impressive and 
binding.  As if the great name of the Creator of Heaven and earth 
could be made more solemn by a knuckle-bone, or a double-tooth, or 
a finger-nail, of Dunstan!

Within a week or two after Harold's return to England, the dreary 
old Confessor was found to be dying.  After wandering in his mind 
like a very weak old man, he died.  As he had put himself entirely 
in the hands of the monks when he was alive, they praised him 
lustily when he was dead.  They had gone so far, already, as to 
persuade him that he could work miracles; and had brought people 
afflicted with a bad disorder of the skin, to him, to be touched 
and cured.  This was called 'touching for the King's Evil,' which 
afterwards became a royal custom.  You know, however, Who really 
touched the sick, and healed them; and you know His sacred name is 
not among the dusty line of human kings.


HAROLD was crowned King of England on the very day of the maudlin 
Confessor's funeral.  He had good need to be quick about it.  When 
the news reached Norman William, hunting in his park at Rouen, he 
dropped his bow, returned to his palace, called his nobles to 
council, and presently sent ambassadors to Harold, calling on him 
to keep his oath and resign the Crown.  Harold would do no such 
thing.  The barons of France leagued together round Duke William 
for the invasion of England.  Duke William promised freely to 
distribute English wealth and English lands among them.  The Pope 
sent to Normandy a consecrated banner, and a ring containing a hair 
which he warranted to have grown on the head of Saint Peter.  He 
blessed the enterprise; and cursed Harold; and requested that the 
Normans would pay 'Peter's Pence' - or a tax to himself of a penny 
a year on every house - a little more regularly in future, if they 
could make it convenient.

King Harold had a rebel brother in Flanders, who was a vassal of 
HAROLD HARDRADA, King of Norway.  This brother, and this Norwegian 
King, joining their forces against England, with Duke William's 
help, won a fight in which the English were commanded by two 
nobles; and then besieged York.  Harold, who was waiting for the 
Normans on the coast at Hastings, with his army, marched to 
Stamford Bridge upon the river Derwent to give them instant battle.

He found them drawn up in a hollow circle, marked out by their 
shining spears.  Riding round this circle at a distance, to survey 
it, he saw a brave figure on horseback, in a blue mantle and a 
bright helmet, whose horse suddenly stumbled and threw him.

'Who is that man who has fallen?' Harold asked of one of his 

'The King of Norway,' he replied.

'He is a tall and stately king,' said Harold, 'but his end is 

He added, in a little while, 'Go yonder to my brother, and tell 
him, if he withdraw his troops, he shall be Earl of Northumberland, 
and rich and powerful in England.'

The captain rode away and gave the message.

'What will he give to my friend the King of Norway?' asked the 

'Seven feet of earth for a grave,' replied the captain.

'No more?' returned the brother, with a smile.

'The King of Norway being a tall man, perhaps a little more,' 
replied the captain.

'Ride back!' said the brother, 'and tell King Harold to make ready 
for the fight!'

He did so, very soon.  And such a fight King Harold led against 
that force, that his brother, and the Norwegian King, and every 
chief of note in all their host, except the Norwegian King's son, 
Olave, to whom he gave honourable dismissal, were left dead upon 
the field.  The victorious army marched to York.  As King Harold 
sat there at the feast, in the midst of all his company, a stir was 
heard at the doors; and messengers all covered with mire from 
riding far and fast through broken ground came hurrying in, to 
report that the Normans had landed in England.

The intelligence was true.  They had been tossed about by contrary 
winds, and some of their ships had been wrecked.  A part of their 
own shore, to which they had been driven back, was strewn with 
Norman bodies.  But they had once more made sail, led by the Duke's 
own galley, a present from his wife, upon the prow whereof the 
figure of a golden boy stood pointing towards England.  By day, the 
banner of the three Lions of Normandy, the diverse coloured sails, 
the gilded vans, the many decorations of this gorgeous ship, had 
glittered in the sun and sunny water; by night, a light had 
sparkled like a star at her mast-head.  And now, encamped near 
Hastings, with their leader lying in the old Roman castle of 
Pevensey, the English retiring in all directions, the land for 
miles around scorched and smoking, fired and pillaged, was the 
whole Norman power, hopeful and strong on English ground.

Harold broke up the feast and hurried to London.  Within a week, 
his army was ready.  He sent out spies to ascertain the Norman 
strength.  William took them, caused them to be led through his 
whole camp, and then dismissed.  'The Normans,' said these spies to 
Harold, 'are not bearded on the upper lip as we English are, but 
are shorn.  They are priests.'  'My men,' replied Harold, with a 
laugh, 'will find those priests good soldiers!'

'The Saxons,' reported Duke William's outposts of Norman soldiers, 
who were instructed to retire as King Harold's army advanced, 'rush 
on us through their pillaged country with the fury of madmen.'

'Let them come, and come soon!' said Duke William.

Some proposals for a reconciliation were made, but were soon 
abandoned.  In the middle of the month of October, in the year one 
thousand and sixty-six, the Normans and the English came front to 
front.  All night the armies lay encamped before each other, in a 
part of the country then called Senlac, now called (in remembrance 
of them) Battle.  With the first dawn of day, they arose.  There, 
in the faint light, were the English on a hill; a wood behind them; 
in their midst, the Royal banner, representing a fighting warrior, 
woven in gold thread, adorned with precious stones; beneath the 
banner, as it rustled in the wind, stood King Harold on foot, with 
two of his remaining brothers by his side; around them, still and 
silent as the dead, clustered the whole English army - every 
soldier covered by his shield, and bearing in his hand his dreaded 
English battle-axe.

On an opposite hill, in three lines, archers, foot-soldiers, 
horsemen, was the Norman force.  Of a sudden, a great battle-cry, 
'God help us!' burst from the Norman lines.  The English answered 
with their own battle-cry, 'God's Rood!  Holy Rood!'  The Normans 
then came sweeping down the hill to attack the English.

There was one tall Norman Knight who rode before the Norman army on 
a prancing horse, throwing up his heavy sword and catching it, and 
singing of the bravery of his countrymen.  An English Knight, who 
rode out from the English force to meet him, fell by this Knight's 
hand.  Another English Knight rode out, and he fell too.  But then 
a third rode out, and killed the Norman.  This was in the first 
beginning of the fight.  It soon raged everywhere.

The English, keeping side by side in a great mass, cared no more 
for the showers of Norman arrows than if they had been showers of 
Norman rain.  When the Norman horsemen rode against them, with 
their battle-axes they cut men and horses down.  The Normans gave 
way.  The English pressed forward.  A cry went forth among the 
Norman troops that Duke William was killed.  Duke William took off 
his helmet, in order that his face might be distinctly seen, and 
rode along the line before his men.  This gave them courage.  As 
they turned again to face the English, some of their Norman horse 
divided the pursuing body of the English from the rest, and thus 
all that foremost portion of the English army fell, fighting 
bravely.  The main body still remaining firm, heedless of the 
Norman arrows, and with their battle-axes cutting down the crowds 
of horsemen when they rode up, like forests of young trees, Duke 
William pretended to retreat.  The eager English followed.  The 
Norman army closed again, and fell upon them with great slaughter.

'Still,' said Duke William, 'there are thousands of the English, 
firms as rocks around their King.  Shoot upward, Norman archers, 
that your arrows may fall down upon their faces!'

The sun rose high, and sank, and the battle still raged.  Through 
all the wild October day, the clash and din resounded in the air.  
In the red sunset, and in the white moonlight, heaps upon heaps of 
dead men lay strewn, a dreadful spectacle, all over the ground.

King Harold, wounded with an arrow in the eye, was nearly blind.  
His brothers were already killed.  Twenty Norman Knights, whose 
battered armour had flashed fiery and golden in the sunshine all 
day long, and now looked silvery in the moonlight, dashed forward 
to seize the Royal banner from the English Knights and soldiers, 
still faithfully collected round their blinded King.  The King 
received a mortal wound, and dropped.  The English broke and fled.  
The Normans rallied, and the day was lost.

O what a sight beneath the moon and stars, when lights were shining 
in the tent of the victorious Duke William, which was pitched near 
the spot where Harold fell - and he and his knights were carousing, 
within - and soldiers with torches, going slowly to and fro, 
without, sought for the corpse of Harold among piles of dead - and 
the Warrior, worked in golden thread and precious stones, lay low, 
all torn and soiled with blood - and the three Norman Lions kept 
watch over the field!


UPON the ground where the brave Harold fell, William the Norman 
afterwards founded an abbey, which, under the name of Battle Abbey, 
was a rich and splendid place through many a troubled year, though 
now it is a grey ruin overgrown with ivy.  But the first work he 
had to do, was to conquer the English thoroughly; and that, as you 
know by this time, was hard work for any man.

He ravaged several counties; he burned and plundered many towns; he 
laid waste scores upon scores of miles of pleasant country; he 
destroyed innumerable lives.  At length STIGAND, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, with other representatives of the clergy and the 
people, went to his camp, and submitted to him.  EDGAR, the 
insignificant son of Edmund Ironside, was proclaimed King by 
others, but nothing came of it.  He fled to Scotland afterwards, 
where his sister, who was young and beautiful, married the Scottish 
King.  Edgar himself was not important enough for anybody to care 
much about him.

On Christmas Day, William was crowned in Westminster Abbey, under 
the title of WILLIAM THE FIRST; but he is best known as WILLIAM THE 
CONQUEROR.  It was a strange coronation.  One of the bishops who 
performed the ceremony asked the Normans, in French, if they would 
have Duke William for their king?  They answered Yes.  Another of 
the bishops put the same question to the Saxons, in English.  They 
too answered Yes, with a loud shout.  The noise being heard by a 
guard of Norman horse-soldiers outside, was mistaken for resistance 
on the part of the English.  The guard instantly set fire to the 
neighbouring houses, and a tumult ensued; in the midst of which the 
King, being left alone in the Abbey, with a few priests (and they 
all being in a terrible fright together), was hurriedly crowned.  
When the crown was placed upon his head, he swore to govern the 
English as well as the best of their own monarchs.  I dare say you 
think, as I do, that if we except the Great Alfred, he might pretty 
easily have done that.

Numbers of the English nobles had been killed in the last 
disastrous battle.  Their estates, and the estates of all the 
nobles who had fought against him there, King William seized upon, 
and gave to his own Norman knights and nobles.  Many great English 
families of the present time acquired their English lands in this 
way, and are very proud of it.

But what is got by force must be maintained by force.  These nobles 
were obliged to build castles all over England, to defend their new 
property; and, do what he would, the King could neither soothe nor 
quell the nation as he wished.  He gradually introduced the Norman 
language and the Norman customs; yet, for a long time the great 
body of the English remained sullen and revengeful.  On his going 
over to Normandy, to visit his subjects there, the oppressions of 
his half-brother ODO, whom he left in charge of his English 
kingdom, drove the people mad.  The men of Kent even invited over, 
to take possession of Dover, their old enemy Count Eustace of 
Boulogne, who had led the fray when the Dover man was slain at his 
own fireside.  The men of Hereford, aided by the Welsh, and 
commanded by a chief named EDRIC THE WILD, drove the Normans out of 
their country.  Some of those who had been dispossessed of their 
lands, banded together in the North of England; some, in Scotland; 
some, in the thick woods and marshes; and whensoever they could 
fall upon the Normans, or upon the English who had submitted to the 
Normans, they fought, despoiled, and murdered, like the desperate 
outlaws that they were.  Conspiracies were set on foot for a 
general massacre of the Normans, like the old massacre of the 
Danes.  In short, the English were in a murderous mood all through 
the kingdom.

King William, fearing he might lose his conquest, came back, and 
tried to pacify the London people by soft words.  He then set forth 
to repress the country people by stern deeds.  Among the towns 
which he besieged, and where he killed and maimed the inhabitants 
without any distinction, sparing none, young or old, armed or 
unarmed, were Oxford, Warwick, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby, 
Lincoln, York.  In all these places, and in many others, fire and 
sword worked their utmost horrors, and made the land dreadful to 
behold.  The streams and rivers were discoloured with blood; the 
sky was blackened with smoke; the fields were wastes of ashes; the 
waysides were heaped up with dead.  Such are the fatal results of 
conquest and ambition!  Although William was a harsh and angry man, 
I do not suppose that he deliberately meant to work this shocking 
ruin, when he invaded England.  But what he had got by the strong 
hand, he could only keep by the strong hand, and in so doing he 
made England a great grave.

Two sons of Harold, by name EDMUND and GODWIN, came over from 
Ireland, with some ships, against the Normans, but were defeated.  
This was scarcely done, when the outlaws in the woods so harassed 
York, that the Governor sent to the King for help.  The King 
despatched a general and a large force to occupy the town of 
Durham.  The Bishop of that place met the general outside the town, 
and warned him not to enter, as he would be in danger there.  The 
general cared nothing for the warning, and went in with all his 
men.  That night, on every hill within sight of Durham, signal 
fires were seen to blaze.  When the morning dawned, the English, 
who had assembled in great strength, forced the gates, rushed into 
the town, and slew the Normans every one.  The English afterwards 
besought the Danes to come and help them.  The Danes came, with two 
hundred and forty ships.  The outlawed nobles joined them; they 
captured York, and drove the Normans out of that city.  Then, 
William bribed the Danes to go away; and took such vengeance on the 
English, that all the former fire and sword, smoke and ashes, death 
and ruin, were nothing compared with it.  In melancholy songs, and 
doleful stories, it was still sung and told by cottage fires on 
winter evenings, a hundred years afterwards, how, in those dreadful 
days of the Normans, there was not, from the River Humber to the 
River Tyne, one inhabited village left, nor one cultivated field - 
how there was nothing but a dismal ruin, where the human creatures 
and the beasts lay dead together.

The outlaws had, at this time, what they called a Camp of Refuge, 
in the midst of the fens of Cambridgeshire.  Protected by those 
marshy grounds which were difficult of approach, they lay among the 
reeds and rushes, and were hidden by the mists that rose up from 
the watery earth.  Now, there also was, at that time, over the sea 
in Flanders, an Englishman named HEREWARD, whose father had died in 
his absence, and whose property had been given to a Norman.  When 
he heard of this wrong that had been done him (from such of the 
exiled English as chanced to wander into that country), he longed 
for revenge; and joining the outlaws in their camp of refuge, 
became their commander.  He was so good a soldier, that the Normans 
supposed him to be aided by enchantment.  William, even after he 
had made a road three miles in length across the Cambridgeshire 
marshes, on purpose to attack this supposed enchanter, thought it 
necessary to engage an old lady, who pretended to be a sorceress, 
to come and do a little enchantment in the royal cause.  For this 
purpose she was pushed on before the troops in a wooden tower; but 
Hereward very soon disposed of this unfortunate sorceress, by 
burning her, tower and all.  The monks of the convent of Ely near 
at hand, however, who were fond of good living, and who found it 
very uncomfortable to have the country blockaded and their supplies 
of meat and drink cut off, showed the King a secret way of 
surprising the camp.  So Hereward was soon defeated.  Whether he 
afterwards died quietly, or whether he was killed after killing 
sixteen of the men who attacked him (as some old rhymes relate that 
he did), I cannot say.  His defeat put an end to the Camp of 
Refuge; and, very soon afterwards, the King, victorious both in 
Scotland and in England, quelled the last rebellious English noble.  
He then surrounded himself with Norman lords, enriched by the 
property of English nobles; had a great survey made of all the land 
in England, which was entered as the property of its new owners, on 
a roll called Doomsday Book; obliged the people to put out their 
fires and candles at a certain hour every night, on the ringing of 
a bell which was called The Curfew; introduced the Norman dresses 
and manners; made the Normans masters everywhere, and the English, 
servants; turned out the English bishops, and put Normans in their 
places; and showed himself to be the Conqueror indeed.

But, even with his own Normans, he had a restless life.  They were 
always hungering and thirsting for the riches of the English; and 
the more he gave, the more they wanted.  His priests were as greedy 
as his soldiers.  We know of only one Norman who plainly told his 
master, the King, that he had come with him to England to do his 
duty as a faithful servant, and that property taken by force from 
other men had no charms for him.  His name was GUILBERT.  We should 
not forget his name, for it is good to remember and to honour 
honest men.

Besides all these troubles, William the Conqueror was troubled by 
quarrels among his sons.  He had three living.  ROBERT, called 
CURTHOSE, because of his short legs; WILLIAM, called RUFUS or the 
Red, from the colour of his hair; and HENRY, fond of learning, and 
called, in the Norman language, BEAUCLERC, or Fine-Scholar.  When 
Robert grew up, he asked of his father the government of Normandy, 
which he had nominally possessed, as a child, under his mother, 
MATILDA.  The King refusing to grant it, Robert became jealous and 
discontented; and happening one day, while in this temper, to be 
ridiculed by his brothers, who threw water on him from a balcony as 
he was walking before the door, he drew his sword, rushed up-
stairs, and was only prevented by the King himself from putting 
them to death.  That same night, he hotly departed with some 
followers from his father's court, and endeavoured to take the 
Castle of Rouen by surprise.  Failing in this, he shut himself up 
in another Castle in Normandy, which the King besieged, and where 
Robert one day unhorsed and nearly killed him without knowing who 
he was.  His submission when he discovered his father, and the 
intercession of the queen and others, reconciled them; but not 
soundly; for Robert soon strayed abroad, and went from court to 
court with his complaints.  He was a gay, careless, thoughtless 
fellow, spending all he got on musicians and dancers; but his 
mother loved him, and often, against the King's command, supplied 
him with money through a messenger named SAMSON.  At length the 
incensed King swore he would tear out Samson's eyes; and Samson, 
thinking that his only hope of safety was in becoming a monk, 
became one, went on such errands no more, and kept his eyes in his 

All this time, from the turbulent day of his strange coronation, 
the Conqueror had been struggling, you see, at any cost of cruelty 
and bloodshed, to maintain what he had seized.  All his reign, he 
struggled still, with the same object ever before him.  He was a 
stern, bold man, and he succeeded in it.

He loved money, and was particular in his eating, but he had only 
leisure to indulge one other passion, and that was his love of 
hunting.  He carried it to such a height that he ordered whole 
villages and towns to be swept away to make forests for the deer.  
Not satisfied with sixty-eight Royal Forests, he laid waste an 
immense district, to form another in Hampshire, called the New 
Forest.  The many thousands of miserable peasants who saw their 
little houses pulled down, and themselves and children turned into 
the open country without a shelter, detested him for his merciless 
addition to their many sufferings; and when, in the twenty-first 
year of his reign (which proved to be the last), he went over to 
Rouen, England was as full of hatred against him, as if every leaf 
on every tree in all his Royal Forests had been a curse upon his 
head.  In the New Forest, his son Richard (for he had four sons) 
had been gored to death by a Stag; and the people said that this so 
cruelly-made Forest would yet be fatal to others of the Conqueror's 

He was engaged in a dispute with the King of France about some 
territory.  While he stayed at Rouen, negotiating with that King, 
he kept his bed and took medicines:  being advised by his 
physicians to do so, on account of having grown to an unwieldy 
size.  Word being brought to him that the King of France made light 
of this, and joked about it, he swore in a great rage that he 
should rue his jests.  He assembled his army, marched into the 
disputed territory, burnt - his old way! - the vines, the crops, 
and fruit, and set the town of Mantes on fire.  But, in an evil 
hour; for, as he rode over the hot ruins, his horse, setting his 
hoofs upon some burning embers, started, threw him forward against 
the pommel of the saddle, and gave him a mortal hurt.  For six 
weeks he lay dying in a monastery near Rouen, and then made his 
will, giving England to William, Normandy to Robert, and five 
thousand pounds to Henry.  And now, his violent deeds lay heavy on 
his mind.  He ordered money to be given to many English churches 
and monasteries, and - which was much better repentance - released 
his prisoners of state, some of whom had been confined in his 
dungeons twenty years.

It was a September morning, and the sun was rising, when the King 
was awakened from slumber by the sound of a church bell.  'What 
bell is that?' he faintly asked.  They told him it was the bell of 
the chapel of Saint Mary.  'I commend my soul,' said he, 'to Mary!' 
and died.

Think of his name, The Conqueror, and then consider how he lay in 
death!  The moment he was dead, his physicians, priests, and 
nobles, not knowing what contest for the throne might now take 
place, or what might happen in it, hastened away, each man for 
himself and his own property; the mercenary servants of the court 
began to rob and plunder; the body of the King, in the indecent 
strife, was rolled from the bed, and lay alone, for hours, upon the 
ground.  O Conqueror, of whom so many great names are proud now, of 
whom so many great names thought nothing then, it were better to 
have conquered one true heart, than England!

By-and-by, the priests came creeping in with prayers and candles; 
and a good knight, named HERLUIN, undertook (which no one else 
would do) to convey the body to Caen, in Normandy, in order that it 
might be buried in St. Stephen's church there, which the Conqueror 
had founded.  But fire, of which he had made such bad use in his 
life, seemed to follow him of itself in death.  A great 
conflagration broke out in the town when the body was placed in the 
church; and those present running out to extinguish the flames, it 
was once again left alone.

It was not even buried in peace.  It was about to be let down, in 
its Royal robes, into a tomb near the high altar, in presence of a 
great concourse of people, when a loud voice in the crowd cried 
out, 'This ground is mine!  Upon it, stood my father's house.  This 
King despoiled me of both ground and house to build this church.  
In the great name of GOD, I here forbid his body to be covered with 
the earth that is my right!'  The priests and bishops present, 
knowing the speaker's right, and knowing that the King had often 
denied him justice, paid him down sixty shillings for the grave.  
Even then, the corpse was not at rest.  The tomb was too small, and 
they tried to force it in.  It broke, a dreadful smell arose, the 
people hurried out into the air, and, for the third time, it was 
left alone.

Where were the Conqueror's three sons, that they were not at their 
father's burial?  Robert was lounging among minstrels, dancers, and 
gamesters, in France or Germany.  Henry was carrying his five 
thousand pounds safely away in a convenient chest he had got made.  
William the Red was hurrying to England, to lay hands upon the 
Royal treasure and the crown.


WILLIAM THE RED, in breathless haste, secured the three great forts 
of Dover, Pevensey, and Hastings, and made with hot speed for 
Winchester, where the Royal treasure was kept.  The treasurer 
delivering him the keys, he found that it amounted to sixty 
thousand pounds in silver, besides gold and jewels.  Possessed of 
this wealth, he soon persuaded the Archbishop of Canterbury to 
crown him, and became William the Second, King of England.

Rufus was no sooner on the throne, than he ordered into prison 
again the unhappy state captives whom his father had set free, and 
directed a goldsmith to ornament his father's tomb profusely with 
gold and silver.  It would have been more dutiful in him to have 
attended the sick Conqueror when he was dying; but England itself, 
like this Red King, who once governed it, has sometimes made 
expensive tombs for dead men whom it treated shabbily when they 
were alive.

The King's brother, Robert of Normandy, seeming quite content to be 
only Duke of that country; and the King's other brother, Fine-
Scholar, being quiet enough with his five thousand pounds in a 
chest; the King flattered himself, we may suppose, with the hope of 
an easy reign.  But easy reigns were difficult to have in those 
days.  The turbulent Bishop ODO (who had blessed the Norman army at 
the Battle of Hastings, and who, I dare say, took all the credit of 
the victory to himself) soon began, in concert with some powerful 
Norman nobles, to trouble the Red King.

The truth seems to be that this bishop and his friends, who had 
lands in England and lands in Normandy, wished to hold both under 
one Sovereign; and greatly preferred a thoughtless good-natured 
person, such as Robert was, to Rufus; who, though far from being an 
amiable man in any respect, was keen, and not to be imposed upon.  
They declared in Robert's favour, and retired to their castles 
(those castles were very troublesome to kings) in a sullen humour.  
The Red King, seeing the Normans thus falling from him, revenged 
himself upon them by appealing to the English; to whom he made a 
variety of promises, which he never meant to perform - in 
particular, promises to soften the cruelty of the Forest Laws; and 
who, in return, so aided him with their valour, that ODO was 
besieged in the Castle of Rochester, and forced to abandon it, and 
to depart from England for ever:  whereupon the other rebellious 
Norman nobles were soon reduced and scattered.

Then, the Red King went over to Normandy, where the people suffered 
greatly under the loose rule of Duke Robert.  The King's object was 
to seize upon the Duke's dominions.  This, the Duke, of course, 
prepared to resist; and miserable war between the two brothers 
seemed inevitable, when the powerful nobles on both sides, who had 
seen so much of war, interfered to prevent it.  A treaty was made.  
Each of the two brothers agreed to give up something of his claims, 
and that the longer-liver of the two should inherit all the 
dominions of the other.  When they had come to this loving 
understanding, they embraced and joined their forces against Fine-
Scholar; who had bought some territory of Robert with a part of his 
five thousand pounds, and was considered a dangerous individual in 

St. Michael's Mount, in Normandy (there is another St. Michael's 
Mount, in Cornwall, wonderfully like it), was then, as it is now, a 
strong place perched upon the top of a high rock, around which, 
when the tide is in, the sea flows, leaving no road to the 
mainland.  In this place, Fine-Scholar shut himself up with his 
soldiers, and here he was closely besieged by his two brothers.  At 
one time, when he was reduced to great distress for want of water, 
the generous Robert not only permitted his men to get water, but 
sent Fine-Scholar wine from his own table; and, on being 
remonstrated with by the Red King, said 'What! shall we let our own 
brother die of thirst?  Where shall we get another, when he is 
gone?'  At another time, the Red King riding alone on the shore of 
the bay, looking up at the Castle, was taken by two of Fine-
Scholar's men, one of whom was about to kill him, when he cried 
out, 'Hold, knave!  I am the King of England!'  The story says that 
the soldier raised him from the ground respectfully and humbly, and 
that the King took him into his service.  The story may or may not 
be true; but at any rate it is true that Fine-Scholar could not 
hold out against his united brothers, and that he abandoned Mount 
St. Michael, and wandered about - as poor and forlorn as other 
scholars have been sometimes known to be.

The Scotch became unquiet in the Red King's time, and were twice 
defeated - the second time, with the loss of their King, Malcolm, 
and his son.  The Welsh became unquiet too.  Against them, Rufus 
was less successful; for they fought among their native mountains, 
and did great execution on the King's troops.  Robert of Normandy 
became unquiet too; and, complaining that his brother the King did 
not faithfully perform his part of their agreement, took up arms, 
and obtained assistance from the King of France, whom Rufus, in the 
end, bought off with vast sums of money.  England became unquiet 
too.  Lord Mowbray, the powerful Earl of Northumberland, headed a 
great conspiracy to depose the King, and to place upon the throne, 
STEPHEN, the Conqueror's near relative.  The plot was discovered; 
all the chief conspirators were seized; some were fined, some were 
put in prison, some were put to death.  The Earl of Northumberland 
himself was shut up in a dungeon beneath Windsor Castle, where he 
died, an old man, thirty long years afterwards.  The Priests in 
England were more unquiet than any other class or power; for the 
Red King treated them with such small ceremony that he refused to 
appoint new bishops or archbishops when the old ones died, but kept 
all the wealth belonging to those offices in his own hands.  In 
return for this, the Priests wrote his life when he was dead, and 
abused him well.  I am inclined to think, myself, that there was 
little to choose between the Priests and the Red King; that both 
sides were greedy and designing; and that they were fairly matched.

The Red King was false of heart, selfish, covetous, and mean.  He 
had a worthy minister in his favourite, Ralph, nicknamed - for 
almost every famous person had a nickname in those rough days - 
Flambard, or the Firebrand.  Once, the King being ill, became 
penitent, and made ANSELM, a foreign priest and a good man, 
Archbishop of Canterbury.  But he no sooner got well again than he 
repented of his repentance, and persisted in wrongfully keeping to 
himself some of the wealth belonging to the archbishopric.  This 
led to violent disputes, which were aggravated by there being in 
Rome at that time two rival Popes; each of whom declared he was the 
only real original infallible Pope, who couldn't make a mistake.  
At last, Anselm, knowing the Red King's character, and not feeling 
himself safe in England, asked leave to return abroad.  The Red 
King gladly gave it; for he knew that as soon as Anselm was gone, 
he could begin to store up all the Canterbury money again, for his 
own use.

By such means, and by taxing and oppressing the English people in 
every possible way, the Red King became very rich.  When he wanted 
money for any purpose, he raised it by some means or other, and 
cared nothing for the injustice he did, or the misery he caused.  
Having the opportunity of buying from Robert the whole duchy of 
Normandy for five years, he taxed the English people more than 
ever, and made the very convents sell their plate and valuables to 
supply him with the means to make the purchase.  But he was as 
quick and eager in putting down revolt as he was in raising money; 
for, a part of the Norman people objecting - very naturally, I 
think - to being sold in this way, he headed an army against them 
with all the speed and energy of his father.  He was so impatient, 
that he embarked for Normandy in a great gale of wind.  And when 
the sailors told him it was dangerous to go to sea in such angry 
weather, he replied, 'Hoist sail and away!  Did you ever hear of a 
king who was drowned?'

You will wonder how it was that even the careless Robert came to 
sell his dominions.  It happened thus.  It had long been the custom 
for many English people to make journeys to Jerusalem, which were 
called pilgrimages, in order that they might pray beside the tomb 
of Our Saviour there.  Jerusalem belonging to the Turks, and the 
Turks hating Christianity, these Christian travellers were often 
insulted and ill used.  The Pilgrims bore it patiently for some 
time, but at length a remarkable man, of great earnestness and 
eloquence, called PETER THE HERMIT, began to preach in various 
places against the Turks, and to declare that it was the duty of 
good Christians to drive away those unbelievers from the tomb of 
Our Saviour, and to take possession of it, and protect it.  An 
excitement such as the world had never known before was created.  
Thousands and thousands of men of all ranks and conditions departed 
for Jerusalem to make war against the Turks.  The war is called in 
history the first Crusade, and every Crusader wore a cross marked 
on his right shoulder.

All the Crusaders were not zealous Christians.  Among them were 
vast numbers of the restless, idle, profligate, and adventurous 
spirit of the time.  Some became Crusaders for the love of change; 
some, in the hope of plunder; some, because they had nothing to do 
at home; some, because they did what the priests told them; some, 
because they liked to see foreign countries; some, because they 
were fond of knocking men about, and would as soon knock a Turk 
about as a Christian.  Robert of Normandy may have been influenced 
by all these motives; and by a kind desire, besides, to save the 
Christian Pilgrims from bad treatment in future.  He wanted to 
raise a number of armed men, and to go to the Crusade.  He could 
not do so without money.  He had no money; and he sold his 
dominions to his brother, the Red King, for five years.  With the 
large sum he thus obtained, he fitted out his Crusaders gallantly, 
and went away to Jerusalem in martial state.  The Red King, who 
made money out of everything, stayed at home, busily squeezing more 
money out of Normans and English.

After three years of great hardship and suffering - from shipwreck 
at sea; from travel in strange lands; from hunger, thirst, and 
fever, upon the burning sands of the desert; and from the fury of 
the Turks - the valiant Crusaders got possession of Our Saviour's 
tomb.  The Turks were still resisting and fighting bravely, but 
this success increased the general desire in Europe to join the 
Crusade.  Another great French Duke was proposing to sell his 
dominions for a term to the rich Red King, when the Red King's 
reign came to a sudden and violent end.

You have not forgotten the New Forest which the Conqueror made, and 
which the miserable people whose homes he had laid waste, so hated.  
The cruelty of the Forest Laws, and the torture and death they 
brought upon the peasantry, increased this hatred.  The poor 
persecuted country people believed that the New Forest was 
enchanted.  They said that in thunder-storms, and on dark nights, 
demons appeared, moving beneath the branches of the gloomy trees.  
They said that a terrible spectre had foretold to Norman hunters 
that the Red King should be punished there.  And now, in the 
pleasant season of May, when the Red King had reigned almost 
thirteen years; and a second Prince of the Conqueror's blood - 
another Richard, the son of Duke Robert - was killed by an arrow in 
this dreaded Forest; the people said that the second time was not 
the last, and that there was another death to come.

It was a lonely forest, accursed in the people's hearts for the 
wicked deeds that had been done to make it; and no man save the 
King and his Courtiers and Huntsmen, liked to stray there.  But, in 
reality, it was like any other forest.  In the spring, the green 
leaves broke out of the buds; in the summer, flourished heartily, 
and made deep shades; in the winter, shrivelled and blew down, and 
lay in brown heaps on the moss.  Some trees were stately, and grew 
high and strong; some had fallen of themselves; some were felled by 
the forester's axe; some were hollow, and the rabbits burrowed at 
their roots; some few were struck by lightning, and stood white and 
bare.  There were hill-sides covered with rich fern, on which the 
morning dew so beautifully sparkled; there were brooks, where the 
deer went down to drink, or over which the whole herd bounded, 
flying from the arrows of the huntsmen; there were sunny glades, 
and solemn places where but little light came through the rustling 
leaves.  The songs of the birds in the New Forest were pleasanter 
to hear than the shouts of fighting men outside; and even when the 
Red King and his Court came hunting through its solitudes, cursing 
loud and riding hard, with a jingling of stirrups and bridles and 
knives and daggers, they did much less harm there than among the 
English or Normans, and the stags died (as they lived) far easier 
than the people.

Upon a day in August, the Red King, now reconciled to his brother, 
Fine-Scholar, came with a great train to hunt in the New Forest.  
Fine-Scholar was of the party.  They were a merry party, and had 
lain all night at Malwood-Keep, a hunting-lodge in the forest, 
where they had made good cheer, both at supper and breakfast, and 
had drunk a deal of wine.  The party dispersed in various 
directions, as the custom of hunters then was.  The King took with 
him only SIR WALTER TYRREL, who was a famous sportsman, and to whom 
he had given, before they mounted horse that morning, two fine 

The last time the King was ever seen alive, he was riding with Sir 
Walter Tyrrel, and their dogs were hunting together.

It was almost night, when a poor charcoal-burner, passing through 
the forest with his cart, came upon the solitary body of a dead 
man, shot with an arrow in the breast, and still bleeding.  He got 
it into his cart.  It was the body of the King.  Shaken and 
tumbled, with its red beard all whitened with lime and clotted with 
blood, it was driven in the cart by the charcoal-burner next day to 
Winchester Cathedral, where it was received and buried.

Sir Walter Tyrrel, who escaped to Normandy, and claimed the 
protection of the King of France, swore in France that the Red King 
was suddenly shot dead by an arrow from an unseen hand, while they 
were hunting together; that he was fearful of being suspected as 
the King's murderer; and that he instantly set spurs to his horse, 
and fled to the sea-shore.  Others declared that the King and Sir 
Walter Tyrrel were hunting in company, a little before sunset, 
standing in bushes opposite one another, when a stag came between 
them.  That the King drew his bow and took aim, but the string 
broke.  That the King then cried, 'Shoot, Walter, in the Devil's 
name!'  That Sir Walter shot.  That the arrow glanced against a 
tree, was turned aside from the stag, and struck the King from his 
horse, dead.

By whose hand the Red King really fell, and whether that hand 
despatched the arrow to his breast by accident or by design, is 
only known to GOD.  Some think his brother may have caused him to 
be killed; but the Red King had made so many enemies, both among 
priests and people, that suspicion may reasonably rest upon a less 
unnatural murderer.  Men know no more than that he was found dead 
in the New Forest, which the suffering people had regarded as a 
doomed ground for his race.


FINE-SCHOLAR, on hearing of the Red King's death, hurried to 
Winchester with as much speed as Rufus himself had made, to seize 
the Royal treasure.  But the keeper of the treasure who had been 
one of the hunting-party in the Forest, made haste to Winchester 
too, and, arriving there at about the same time, refused to yield 
it up.  Upon this, Fine-Scholar drew his sword, and threatened to 
kill the treasurer; who might have paid for his fidelity with his 
life, but that he knew longer resistance to be useless when he 
found the Prince supported by a company of powerful barons, who 
declared they were determined to make him King.  The treasurer, 
therefore, gave up the money and jewels of the Crown:  and on the 
third day after the death of the Red King, being a Sunday, Fine-
Scholar stood before the high altar in Westminster Abbey, and made 
a solemn declaration that he would resign the Church property which 
his brother had seized; that he would do no wrong to the nobles; 
and that he would restore to the people the laws of Edward the 
Confessor, with all the improvements of William the Conqueror.  So 
began the reign of KING HENRY THE FIRST.

The people were attached to their new King, both because he had 
known distresses, and because he was an Englishman by birth and not 
a Norman.  To strengthen this last hold upon them, the King wished 
to marry an English lady; and could think of no other wife than 
MAUD THE GOOD, the daughter of the King of Scotland.  Although this 
good Princess did not love the King, she was so affected by the 
representations the nobles made to her of the great charity it 
would be in her to unite the Norman and Saxon races, and prevent 
hatred and bloodshed between them for the future, that she 
consented to become his wife.  After some disputing among the 
priests, who said that as she had been in a convent in her youth, 
and had worn the veil of a nun, she could not lawfully be married - 
against which the Princess stated that her aunt, with whom she had 
lived in her youth, had indeed sometimes thrown a piece of black 
stuff over her, but for no other reason than because the nun's veil 
was the only dress the conquering Normans respected in girl or 
woman, and not because she had taken the vows of a nun, which she 
never had - she was declared free to marry, and was made King 
Henry's Queen.  A good Queen she was; beautiful, kind-hearted, and 
worthy of a better husband than the King.

For he was a cunning and unscrupulous man, though firm and clever.  
He cared very little for his word, and took any means to gain his 
ends.  All this is shown in his treatment of his brother Robert - 
Robert, who had suffered him to be refreshed with water, and who 
had sent him the wine from his own table, when he was shut up, with 
the crows flying below him, parched with thirst, in the castle on 
the top of St. Michael's Mount, where his Red brother would have 
let him die.

Before the King began to deal with Robert, he removed and disgraced 
all the favourites of the late King; who were for the most part 
base characters, much detested by the people.  Flambard, or 
Firebrand, whom the late King had made Bishop of Durham, of all 
things in the world, Henry imprisoned in the Tower; but Firebrand 
was a great joker and a jolly companion, and made himself so 
popular with his guards that they pretended to know nothing about a 
long rope that was sent into his prison at the bottom of a deep 
flagon of wine.  The guards took the wine, and Firebrand took the 
rope; with which, when they were fast asleep, he let himself down 
from a window in the night, and so got cleverly aboard ship and 
away to Normandy.

Now Robert, when his brother Fine-Scholar came to the throne, was 
still absent in the Holy Land.  Henry pretended that Robert had 
been made Sovereign of that country; and he had been away so long, 
that the ignorant people believed it.  But, behold, when Henry had 
been some time King of England, Robert came home to Normandy; 
having leisurely returned from Jerusalem through Italy, in which 
beautiful country he had enjoyed himself very much, and had married 
a lady as beautiful as itself!  In Normandy, he found Firebrand 
waiting to urge him to assert his claim to the English crown, and 
declare war against King Henry.  This, after great loss of time in 
feasting and dancing with his beautiful Italian wife among his 
Norman friends, he at last did.

The English in general were on King Henry's side, though many of 
the Normans were on Robert's.  But the English sailors deserted the 
King, and took a great part of the English fleet over to Normandy; 
so that Robert came to invade this country in no foreign vessels, 
but in English ships.  The virtuous Anselm, however, whom Henry had 
invited back from abroad, and made Archbishop of Canterbury, was 
steadfast in the King's cause; and it was so well supported that 
the two armies, instead of fighting, made a peace.  Poor Robert, 
who trusted anybody and everybody, readily trusted his brother, the 
King; and agreed to go home and receive a pension from England, on 
condition that all his followers were fully pardoned.  This the 
King very faithfully promised, but Robert was no sooner gone than 
he began to punish them.

Among them was the Earl of Shrewsbury, who, on being summoned by 
the King to answer to five-and-forty accusations, rode away to one 
of his strong castles, shut himself up therein, called around him 
his tenants and vassals, and fought for his liberty, but was 
defeated and banished.  Robert, with all his faults, was so true to 
his word, that when he first heard of this nobleman having risen 
against his brother, he laid waste the Earl of Shrewsbury's estates 
in Normandy, to show the King that he would favour no breach of 
their treaty.  Finding, on better information, afterwards, that the 
Earl's only crime was having been his friend, he came over to 
England, in his old thoughtless, warm-hearted way, to intercede 
with the King, and remind him of the solemn promise to pardon all 
his followers.

This confidence might have put the false King to the blush, but it 
did not.  Pretending to be very friendly, he so surrounded his 
brother with spies and traps, that Robert, who was quite in his 
power, had nothing for it but to renounce his pension and escape 
while he could.  Getting home to Normandy, and understanding the 
King better now, he naturally allied himself with his old friend 
the Earl of Shrewsbury, who had still thirty castles in that 
country.  This was exactly what Henry wanted.  He immediately 
declared that Robert had broken the treaty, and next year invaded 

He pretended that he came to deliver the Normans, at their own 
request, from his brother's misrule.  There is reason to fear that 
his misrule was bad enough; for his beautiful wife had died, 
leaving him with an infant son, and his court was again so 
careless, dissipated, and ill-regulated, that it was said he 
sometimes lay in bed of a day for want of clothes to put on - his 
attendants having stolen all his dresses.  But he headed his army 
like a brave prince and a gallant soldier, though he had the 
misfortune to be taken prisoner by King Henry, with four hundred of 
his Knights.  Among them was poor harmless Edgar Atheling, who 
loved Robert well.  Edgar was not important enough to be severe 
with.  The King afterwards gave him a small pension, which he lived 
upon and died upon, in peace, among the quiet woods and fields of 

And Robert - poor, kind, generous, wasteful, heedless Robert, with 
so many faults, and yet with virtues that might have made a better 
and a happier man - what was the end of him?  If the King had had 
the magnanimity to say with a kind air, 'Brother, tell me, before 
these noblemen, that from this time you will be my faithful 
follower and friend, and never raise your hand against me or my 
forces more!' he might have trusted Robert to the death.  But the 
King was not a magnanimous man.  He sentenced his brother to be 
confined for life in one of the Royal Castles.  In the beginning of 
his imprisonment, he was allowed to ride out, guarded; but he one 
day broke away from his guard and galloped of.  He had the evil 
fortune to ride into a swamp, where his horse stuck fast and he was 
taken.  When the King heard of it he ordered him to be blinded, 
which was done by putting a red-hot metal basin on his eyes.

And so, in darkness and in prison, many years, he thought of all 
his past life, of the time he had wasted, of the treasure he had 
squandered, of the opportunities he had lost, of the youth he had 
thrown away, of the talents he had neglected.  Sometimes, on fine 
autumn mornings, he would sit and think of the old hunting parties 
in the free Forest, where he had been the foremost and the gayest.  
Sometimes, in the still nights, he would wake, and mourn for the 
many nights that had stolen past him at the gaming-table; 
sometimes, would seem to hear, upon the melancholy wind, the old 
songs of the minstrels; sometimes, would dream, in his blindness, 
of the light and glitter of the Norman Court.  Many and many a 
time, he groped back, in his fancy, to Jerusalem, where he had 
fought so well; or, at the head of his brave companions, bowed his 
feathered helmet to the shouts of welcome greeting him in Italy, 
and seemed again to walk among the sunny vineyards, or on the shore 
of the blue sea, with his lovely wife.  And then, thinking of her 
grave, and of his fatherless boy, he would stretch out his solitary 
arms and weep.

At length, one day, there lay in prison, dead, with cruel and 
disfiguring scars upon his eyelids, bandaged from his jailer's 
sight, but on which the eternal Heavens looked down, a worn old man 
of eighty.  He had once been Robert of Normandy.  Pity him!

At the time when Robert of Normandy was taken prisoner by his 
brother, Robert's little son was only five years old.  This child 
was taken, too, and carried before the King, sobbing and crying; 
for, young as he was, he knew he had good reason to be afraid of 
his Royal uncle.  The King was not much accustomed to pity those 
who were in his power, but his cold heart seemed for the moment to 
soften towards the boy.  He was observed to make a great effort, as 
if to prevent himself from being cruel, and ordered the child to be 
taken away; whereupon a certain Baron, who had married a daughter 
of Duke Robert's (by name, Helie of Saint Saen), took charge of 
him, tenderly.  The King's gentleness did not last long.  Before 
two years were over, he sent messengers to this lord's Castle to 
seize the child and bring him away.  The Baron was not there at the 
time, but his servants were faithful, and carried the boy off in 
his sleep and hid him.  When the Baron came home, and was told what 
the King had done, he took the child abroad, and, leading him by 
the hand, went from King to King and from Court to Court, relating 
how the child had a claim to the throne of England, and how his 
uncle the King, knowing that he had that claim, would have murdered 
him, perhaps, but for his escape.

The youth and innocence of the pretty little WILLIAM FITZ-ROBERT 
(for that was his name) made him many friends at that time.  When 
he became a young man, the King of France, uniting with the French 
Counts of Anjou and Flanders, supported his cause against the King 
of England, and took many of the King's towns and castles in 
Normandy.  But, King Henry, artful and cunning always, bribed some 
of William's friends with money, some with promises, some with 
power.  He bought off the Count of Anjou, by promising to marry his 
eldest son, also named WILLIAM, to the Count's daughter; and indeed 
the whole trust of this King's life was in such bargains, and he 
believed (as many another King has done since, and as one King did 
in France a very little time ago) that every man's truth and honour 
can be bought at some price.  For all this, he was so afraid of 
William Fitz-Robert and his friends, that, for a long time, he 
believed his life to be in danger; and never lay down to sleep, 
even in his palace surrounded by his guards, without having a sword 
and buckler at his bedside.

To strengthen his power, the King with great ceremony betrothed his 
eldest daughter MATILDA, then a child only eight years old, to be 
the wife of Henry the Fifth, the Emperor of Germany.  To raise her 
marriage-portion, he taxed the English people in a most oppressive 
manner; then treated them to a great procession, to restore their 
good humour; and sent Matilda away, in fine state, with the German 
ambassadors, to be educated in the country of her future husband.

And now his Queen, Maud the Good, unhappily died.  It was a sad 
thought for that gentle lady, that the only hope with which she had 
married a man whom she had never loved - the hope of reconciling 
the Norman and English races - had failed.  At the very time of her 
death, Normandy and all France was in arms against England; for, so 
soon as his last danger was over, King Henry had been false to all 
the French powers he had promised, bribed, and bought, and they had 
naturally united against him.  After some fighting, however, in 
which few suffered but the unhappy common people (who always 
suffered, whatsoever was the matter), he began to promise, bribe, 
and buy again; and by those means, and by the help of the Pope, who 
exerted himself to save more bloodshed, and by solemnly declaring, 
over and over again, that he really was in earnest this time, and 
would keep his word, the King made peace.

One of the first consequences of this peace was, that the King went 
over to Normandy with his son Prince William and a great retinue, 
to have the Prince acknowledged as his successor by the Norman 
Nobles, and to contract the promised marriage (this was one of the 
many promises the King had broken) between him and the daughter of 
the Count of Anjou.  Both these things were triumphantly done, with 
great show and rejoicing; and on the twenty-fifth of November, in 
the year one thousand one hundred and twenty, the whole retinue 
prepared to embark at the Port of Barfleur, for the voyage home.

On that day, and at that place, there came to the King, Fitz-
Stephen, a sea-captain, and said:

'My liege, my father served your father all his life, upon the sea.  
He steered the ship with the golden boy upon the prow, in which 
your father sailed to conquer England.  I beseech you to grant me 
the same office.  I have a fair vessel in the harbour here, called 
The White Ship, manned by fifty sailors of renown.  I pray you, 
Sire, to let your servant have the honour of steering you in The 
White Ship to England!'

'I am sorry, friend,' replied the King, 'that my vessel is already 
chosen, and that I cannot (therefore) sail with the son of the man 
who served my father.  But the Prince and all his company shall go 
along with you, in the fair White Ship, manned by the fifty sailors 
of renown.'

An hour or two afterwards, the King set sail in the vessel he had 
chosen, accompanied by other vessels, and, sailing all night with a 
fair and gentle wind, arrived upon the coast of England in the 
morning.  While it was yet night, the people in some of those ships 
heard a faint wild cry come over the sea, and wondered what it was.

Now, the Prince was a dissolute, debauched young man of eighteen, 
who bore no love to the English, and had declared that when he came 
to the throne he would yoke them to the plough like oxen.  He went 
aboard The White Ship, with one hundred and forty youthful Nobles 
like himself, among whom were eighteen noble ladies of the highest 
rank.  All this gay company, with their servants and the fifty 
sailors, made three hundred souls aboard the fair White Ship.

'Give three casks of wine, Fitz-Stephen,' said the Prince, 'to the 
fifty sailors of renown!  My father the King has sailed out of the 
harbour.  What time is there to make merry here, and yet reach 
England with the rest?'

'Prince!' said Fitz-Stephen, 'before morning, my fifty and The 
White Ship shall overtake the swiftest vessel in attendance on your 
father the King, if we sail at midnight!'

Then the Prince commanded to make merry; and the sailors drank out 
the three casks of wine; and the Prince and all the noble company 
danced in the moonlight on the deck of The White Ship.

When, at last, she shot out of the harbour of Barfleur, there was 
not a sober seaman on board.  But the sails were all set, and the 
oars all going merrily.  Fitz-Stephen had the helm.  The gay young 
nobles and the beautiful ladies, wrapped in mantles of various 
bright colours to protect them from the cold, talked, laughed, and 
sang.  The Prince encouraged the fifty sailors to row harder yet, 
for the honour of The White Ship.

Crash!  A terrific cry broke from three hundred hearts.  It was the 
cry the people in the distant vessels of the King heard faintly on 
the water.  The White Ship had struck upon a rock - was filling - 
going down!

Fitz-Stephen hurried the Prince into a boat, with some few Nobles.  
'Push off,' he whispered; 'and row to land.  It is not far, and the 
sea is smooth.  The rest of us must die.'

But, as they rowed away, fast, from the sinking ship, the Prince 
heard the voice of his sister MARIE, the Countess of Perche, 
calling for help.  He never in his life had been so good as he was 
then.  He cried in an agony, 'Row back at any risk!  I cannot bear 
to leave her!'

They rowed back.  As the Prince held out his arms to catch his 
sister, such numbers leaped in, that the boat was overset.  And in 
the same instant The White Ship went down.

Only two men floated.  They both clung to the main yard of the 
ship, which had broken from the mast, and now supported them.  One 
asked the other who he was?  He said, 'I am a nobleman, GODFREY by 
name, the son of GILBERT DE L'AIGLE.  And you?' said he.  'I am 
BEROLD, a poor butcher of Rouen,' was the answer.  Then, they said 
together, 'Lord be merciful to us both!' and tried to encourage one 
another, as they drifted in the cold benumbing sea on that 
unfortunate November night.

By-and-by, another man came swimming towards them, whom they knew, 
when he pushed aside his long wet hair, to be Fitz-Stephen.  'Where 
is the Prince?' said he.  'Gone! Gone!' the two cried together.  
'Neither he, nor his brother, nor his sister, nor the King's niece, 
nor her brother, nor any one of all the brave three hundred, noble 
or commoner, except we three, has risen above the water!'  Fitz-
Stephen, with a ghastly face, cried, 'Woe! woe, to me!' and sunk to 
the bottom.

The other two clung to the yard for some hours.  At length the 
young noble said faintly, 'I am exhausted, and chilled with the 
cold, and can hold no longer.  Farewell, good friend!  God preserve 
you!'  So, he dropped and sunk; and of all the brilliant crowd, the 
poor Butcher of Rouen alone was saved.  In the morning, some 
fishermen saw him floating in his sheep-skin coat, and got him into 
their boat - the sole relater of the dismal tale.

For three days, no one dared to carry the intelligence to the King.  
At length, they sent into his presence a little boy, who, weeping 
bitterly, and kneeling at his feet, told him that The White Ship 
was lost with all on board.  The King fell to the ground like a 
dead man, and never, never afterwards, was seen to smile.

But he plotted again, and promised again, and bribed and bought 
again, in his old deceitful way.  Having no son to succeed him, 
after all his pains ('The Prince will never yoke us to the plough, 
now!' said the English people), he took a second wife - ADELAIS or 
ALICE, a duke's daughter, and the Pope's niece.  Having no more 
children, however, he proposed to the Barons to swear that they 
would recognise as his successor, his daughter Matilda, whom, as 
she was now a widow, he married to the eldest son of the Count of 
Anjou, GEOFFREY, surnamed PLANTAGENET, from a custom he had of 
wearing a sprig of flowering broom (called Genêt in French) in his 
cap for a feather.  As one false man usually makes many, and as a 
false King, in particular, is pretty certain to make a false Court, 
the Barons took the oath about the succession of Matilda (and her 
children after her), twice over, without in the least intending to 
keep it.  The King was now relieved from any remaining fears of 
William Fitz-Robert, by his death in the Monastery of St. Omer, in 
France, at twenty-six years old, of a pike-wound in the hand.  And 
as Matilda gave birth to three sons, he thought the succession to 
the throne secure.

He spent most of the latter part of his life, which was troubled by 
family quarrels, in Normandy, to be near Matilda.  When he had 
reigned upward of thirty-five years, and was sixty-seven years old, 
he died of an indigestion and fever, brought on by eating, when he 
was far from well, of a fish called Lamprey, against which he had 
often been cautioned by his physicians.  His remains were brought 
over to Reading Abbey to be buried.

You may perhaps hear the cunning and promise-breaking of King Henry 
the First, called 'policy' by some people, and 'diplomacy' by 
others.  Neither of these fine words will in the least mean that it 
was true; and nothing that is not true can possibly be good.

His greatest merit, that I know of, was his love of learning - I 
should have given him greater credit even for that, if it had been 
strong enough to induce him to spare the eyes of a certain poet he 
once took prisoner, who was a knight besides.  But he ordered the 
poet's eyes to be torn from his head, because he had laughed at him 
in his verses; and the poet, in the pain of that torture, dashed 
out his own brains against his prison wall.  King Henry the First 
was avaricious, revengeful, and so false, that I suppose a man 
never lived whose word was less to be relied upon.


THE King was no sooner dead than all the plans and schemes he had 
laboured at so long, and lied so much for, crumbled away like a 
hollow heap of sand.  STEPHEN, whom he had never mistrusted or 
suspected, started up to claim the throne.

Stephen was the son of ADELA, the Conqueror's daughter, married to 
the Count of Blois.  To Stephen, and to his brother HENRY, the late 
King had been liberal; making Henry Bishop of Winchester, and 
finding a good marriage for Stephen, and much enriching him.  This 
did not prevent Stephen from hastily producing a false witness, a 
servant of the late King, to swear that the King had named him for 
his heir upon his death-bed.  On this evidence the Archbishop of 
Canterbury crowned him.  The new King, so suddenly made, lost not a 
moment in seizing the Royal treasure, and hiring foreign soldiers 
with some of it to protect his throne.

If the dead King had even done as the false witness said, he would 
have had small right to will away the English people, like so many 
sheep or oxen, without their consent.  But he had, in fact, 
bequeathed all his territory to Matilda; who, supported by ROBERT, 
Earl of Gloucester, soon began to dispute the crown.  Some of the 
powerful barons and priests took her side; some took Stephen's; all 
fortified their castles; and again the miserable English people 
were involved in war, from which they could never derive advantage 
whosoever was victorious, and in which all parties plundered, 
tortured, starved, and ruined them.

Five years had passed since the death of Henry the First - and 
during those five years there had been two terrible invasions by 
the people of Scotland under their King, David, who was at last 
defeated with all his army - when Matilda, attended by her brother 
Robert and a large force, appeared in England to maintain her 
claim.  A battle was fought between her troops and King Stephen's 
at Lincoln; in which the King himself was taken prisoner, after 
bravely fighting until his battle-axe and sword were broken, and 
was carried into strict confinement at Gloucester.  Matilda then 
submitted herself to the Priests, and the Priests crowned her Queen 
of England.

She did not long enjoy this dignity.  The people of London had a 
great affection for Stephen; many of the Barons considered it 
degrading to be ruled by a woman; and the Queen's temper was so 
haughty that she made innumerable enemies.  The people of London 
revolted; and, in alliance with the troops of Stephen, besieged her 
at Winchester, where they took her brother Robert prisoner, whom, 
as her best soldier and chief general, she was glad to exchange for 
Stephen himself, who thus regained his liberty.  Then, the long war 
went on afresh.  Once, she was pressed so hard in the Castle of 
Oxford, in the winter weather when the snow lay thick upon the 
ground, that her only chance of escape was to dress herself all in 
white, and, accompanied by no more than three faithful Knights, 
dressed in like manner that their figures might not be seen from 
Stephen's camp as they passed over the snow, to steal away on foot, 
cross the frozen Thames, walk a long distance, and at last gallop 
away on horseback.  All this she did, but to no great purpose then; 
for her brother dying while the struggle was yet going on, she at 
last withdrew to Normandy.

In two or three years after her withdrawal her cause appeared in 
England, afresh, in the person of her son Henry, young Plantagenet, 
who, at only eighteen years of age, was very powerful:  not only on 
account of his mother having resigned all Normandy to him, but also 
from his having married ELEANOR, the divorced wife of the French 
King, a bad woman, who had great possessions in France.  Louis, the 
French King, not relishing this arrangement, helped EUSTACE, King 
Stephen's son, to invade Normandy:  but Henry drove their united 
forces out of that country, and then returned here, to assist his 
partisans, whom the King was then besieging at Wallingford upon the 
Thames.  Here, for two days, divided only by the river, the two 
armies lay encamped opposite to one another - on the eve, as it 
seemed to all men, of another desperate fight, when the EARL OF 
ARUNDEL took heart and said 'that it was not reasonable to prolong 
the unspeakable miseries of two kingdoms to minister to the 
ambition of two princes.'

Many other noblemen repeating and supporting this when it was once 
uttered, Stephen and young Plantagenet went down, each to his own 
bank of the river, and held a conversation across it, in which they 
arranged a truce; very much to the dissatisfaction of Eustace, who 
swaggered away with some followers, and laid violent hands on the 
Abbey of St. Edmund's-Bury, where he presently died mad.  The truce 
led to a solemn council at Winchester, in which it was agreed that 
Stephen should retain the crown, on condition of his declaring 
Henry his successor; that WILLIAM, another son of the King's, 
should inherit his father's rightful possessions; and that all the 
Crown lands which Stephen had given away should be recalled, and 
all the Castles he had permitted to be built demolished.  Thus 
terminated the bitter war, which had now lasted fifteen years, and 
had again laid England waste.  In the next year STEPHEN died, after 
a troubled reign of nineteen years.

Although King Stephen was, for the time in which he lived, a humane 
and moderate man, with many excellent qualities; and although 
nothing worse is known of him than his usurpation of the Crown, 
which he probably excused to himself by the consideration that King 
Henry the First was a usurper too - which was no excuse at all; the 
people of England suffered more in these dread nineteen years, than 
at any former period even of their suffering history.  In the 
division of the nobility between the two rival claimants of the 
Crown, and in the growth of what is called the Feudal System (which 
made the peasants the born vassals and mere slaves of the Barons), 
every Noble had his strong Castle, where he reigned the cruel king 
of all the neighbouring people.  Accordingly, he perpetrated 
whatever cruelties he chose.  And never were worse cruelties 
committed upon earth than in wretched England in those nineteen 

The writers who were living then describe them fearfully.  They say 
that the castles were filled with devils rather than with men; that 
the peasants, men and women, were put into dungeons for their gold 
and silver, were tortured with fire and smoke, were hung up by the 
thumbs, were hung up by the heels with great weights to their 
heads, were torn with jagged irons, killed with hunger, broken to 
death in narrow chests filled with sharp-pointed stones, murdered 
in countless fiendish ways.  In England there was no corn, no meat, 
no cheese, no butter, there were no tilled lands, no harvests.  
Ashes of burnt towns, and dreary wastes, were all that the 
traveller, fearful of the robbers who prowled abroad at all hours, 
would see in a long day's journey; and from sunrise until night, he 
would not come upon a home.

The clergy sometimes suffered, and heavily too, from pillage, but 
many of them had castles of their own, and fought in helmet and 
armour like the barons, and drew lots with other fighting men for 
their share of booty.  The Pope (or Bishop of Rome), on King 
Stephen's resisting his ambition, laid England under an Interdict 
at one period of this reign; which means that he allowed no service 
to be performed in the churches, no couples to be married, no bells 
to be rung, no dead bodies to be buried.  Any man having the power 
to refuse these things, no matter whether he were called a Pope or 
a Poulterer, would, of course, have the power of afflicting numbers 
of innocent people.  That nothing might be wanting to the miseries 
of King Stephen's time, the Pope threw in this contribution to the 
public store - not very like the widow's contribution, as I think, 
when Our Saviour sat in Jerusalem over-against the Treasury, 'and 
she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.'


HENRY PLANTAGENET, when he was but twenty-one years old, quietly 
succeeded to the throne of England, according to his agreement made 
with the late King at Winchester.  Six weeks after Stephen's death, 
he and his Queen, Eleanor, were crowned in that city; into which 
they rode on horseback in great state, side by side, amidst much 
shouting and rejoicing, and clashing of music, and strewing of 

The reign of King Henry the Second began well.  The King had great 
possessions, and (what with his own rights, and what with those of 
his wife) was lord of one-third part of France.  He was a young man 
of vigour, ability, and resolution, and immediately applied himself 
to remove some of the evils which had arisen in the last unhappy 
reign.  He revoked all the grants of land that had been hastily 
made, on either side, during the late struggles; he obliged numbers 
of disorderly soldiers to depart from England; he reclaimed all the 
castles belonging to the Crown; and he forced the wicked nobles to 
pull down their own castles, to the number of eleven hundred, in 
which such dismal cruelties had been inflicted on the people.  The 
King's brother, GEOFFREY, rose against him in France, while he was 
so well employed, and rendered it necessary for him to repair to 
that country; where, after he had subdued and made a friendly 
arrangement with his brother (who did not live long), his ambition 
to increase his possessions involved him in a war with the French 
King, Louis, with whom he had been on such friendly terms just 
before, that to the French King's infant daughter, then a baby in 
the cradle, he had promised one of his little sons in marriage, who 
was a child of five years old.  However, the war came to nothing at 
last, and the Pope made the two Kings friends again.

Now, the clergy, in the troubles of the last reign, had gone on 
very ill indeed.  There were all kinds of criminals among them - 
murderers, thieves, and vagabonds; and the worst of the matter was, 
that the good priests would not give up the bad priests to justice, 
when they committed crimes, but persisted in sheltering and 
defending them.  The King, well knowing that there could be no 
peace or rest in England while such things lasted, resolved to 
reduce the power of the clergy; and, when he had reigned seven 
years, found (as he considered) a good opportunity for doing so, in 
the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  'I will have for the 
new Archbishop,' thought the King, 'a friend in whom I can trust, 
who will help me to humble these rebellious priests, and to have 
them dealt with, when they do wrong, as other men who do wrong are 
dealt with.'  So, he resolved to make his favourite, the new 
Archbishop; and this favourite was so extraordinary a man, and his 
story is so curious, that I must tell you all about him.

Once upon a time, a worthy merchant of London, named GILBERT A 
BECKET, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and was taken prisoner 
by a Saracen lord.  This lord, who treated him kindly and not like 
a slave, had one fair daughter, who fell in love with the merchant; 
and who told him that she wanted to become a Christian, and was 
willing to marry him if they could fly to a Christian country.  The 
merchant returned her love, until he found an opportunity to 
escape, when he did not trouble himself about the Saracen lady, but 
escaped with his servant Richard, who had been taken prisoner along 
with him, and arrived in England and forgot her.  The Saracen lady, 
who was more loving than the merchant, left her father's house in 
disguise to follow him, and made her way, under many hardships, to 
the sea-shore.  The merchant had taught her only two English words 
(for I suppose he must have learnt the Saracen tongue himself, and 
made love in that language), of which LONDON was one, and his own 
name, GILBERT, the other.  She went among the ships, saying, 
'London! London!' over and over again, until the sailors understood 
that she wanted to find an English vessel that would carry her 
there; so they showed her such a ship, and she paid for her passage 
with some of her jewels, and sailed away.  Well!  The merchant was 
sitting in his counting-house in London one day, when he heard a 
great noise in the street; and presently Richard came running in 
from the warehouse, with his eyes wide open and his breath almost 
gone, saying, 'Master, master, here is the Saracen lady!'  The 
merchant thought Richard was mad; but Richard said, 'No, master!  
As I live, the Saracen lady is going up and down the city, calling 
Gilbert!  Gilbert!'  Then, he took the merchant by the sleeve, and 
pointed out of window; and there they saw her among the gables and 
water-spouts of the dark, dirty street, in her foreign dress, so 
forlorn, surrounded by a wondering crowd, and passing slowly along, 
calling Gilbert, Gilbert!  When the merchant saw her, and thought 
of the tenderness she had shown him in his captivity, and of her 
constancy, his heart was moved, and he ran down into the street; 
and she saw him coming, and with a great cry fainted in his arms.  
They were married without loss of time, and Richard (who was an 
excellent man) danced with joy the whole day of the wedding; and 
they all lived happy ever afterwards.

This merchant and this Saracen lady had one son, THOMAS A BECKET.  
He it was who became the Favourite of King Henry the Second.

He had become Chancellor, when the King thought of making him 
Archbishop.  He was clever, gay, well educated, brave; had fought 
in several battles in France; had defeated a French knight in 
single combat, and brought his horse away as a token of the 
victory.  He lived in a noble palace, he was the tutor of the young 
Prince Henry, he was served by one hundred and forty knights, his 
riches were immense.  The King once sent him as his ambassador to 
France; and the French people, beholding in what state he 
travelled, cried out in the streets, 'How splendid must the King of 
England be, when this is only the Chancellor!'  They had good 
reason to wonder at the magnificence of Thomas a Becket, for, when 
he entered a French town, his procession was headed by two hundred 
and fifty singing boys; then, came his hounds in couples; then, 
eight waggons, each drawn by five horses driven by five drivers:  
two of the waggons filled with strong ale to be given away to the 
people; four, with his gold and silver plate and stately clothes; 
two, with the dresses of his numerous servants.  Then, came twelve 
horses, each with a monkey on his back; then, a train of people 
bearing shields and leading fine war-horses splendidly equipped; 
then, falconers with hawks upon their wrists; then, a host of 
knights, and gentlemen and priests; then, the Chancellor with his 
brilliant garments flashing in the sun, and all the people capering 
and shouting with delight.

The King was well pleased with all this, thinking that it only made 
himself the more magnificent to have so magnificent a favourite; 
but he sometimes jested with the Chancellor upon his splendour too.  
Once, when they were riding together through the streets of London 
in hard winter weather, they saw a shivering old man in rags.  
'Look at the poor object!' said the King.  'Would it not be a 
charitable act to give that aged man a comfortable warm cloak?'  
'Undoubtedly it would,' said Thomas a Becket, 'and you do well, 
Sir, to think of such Christian duties.'  'Come!' cried the King, 
'then give him your cloak!'  It was made of rich crimson trimmed 
with ermine.  The King tried to pull it off, the Chancellor tried 
to keep it on, both were near rolling from their saddles in the 
mud, when the Chancellor submitted, and the King gave the cloak to 
the old beggar:  much to the beggar's astonishment, and much to the 
merriment of all the courtiers in attendance.  For, courtiers are 
not only eager to laugh when the King laughs, but they really do 
enjoy a laugh against a Favourite.

'I will make,' thought King Henry the second, 'this Chancellor of 
mine, Thomas a Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.  He will then be 
the head of the Church, and, being devoted to me, will help me to 
correct the Church.  He has always upheld my power against the 
power of the clergy, and once publicly told some bishops (I 
remember), that men of the Church were equally bound to me, with 
men of the sword.  Thomas a Becket is the man, of all other men in 
England, to help me in my great design.'  So the King, regardless 
of all objection, either that he was a fighting man, or a lavish 
man, or a courtly man, or a man of pleasure, or anything but a 
likely man for the office, made him Archbishop accordingly.

Now, Thomas a Becket was proud and loved to be famous.  He was 
already famous for the pomp of his life, for his riches, his gold 
and silver plate, his waggons, horses, and attendants.  He could do 
no more in that way than he had done; and being tired of that kind 
of fame (which is a very poor one), he longed to have his name 
celebrated for something else.  Nothing, he knew, would render him 
so famous in the world, as the setting of his utmost power and 
ability against the utmost power and ability of the King.  He 
resolved with the whole strength of his mind to do it.

He may have had some secret grudge against the King besides.  The 
King may have offended his proud humour at some time or other, for 
anything I know.  I think it likely, because it is a common thing 
for Kings, Princes, and other great people, to try the tempers of 
their favourites rather severely.  Even the little affair of the 
crimson cloak must have been anything but a pleasant one to a 
haughty man.  Thomas a Becket knew better than any one in England 
what the King expected of him.  In all his sumptuous life, he had 
never yet been in a position to disappoint the King.  He could take 
up that proud stand now, as head of the Church; and he determined 
that it should be written in history, either that he subdued the 
King, or that the King subdued him.

So, of a sudden, he completely altered the whole manner of his 
life.  He turned off all his brilliant followers, ate coarse food, 
drank bitter water, wore next his skin sackcloth covered with dirt 
and vermin (for it was then thought very religious to be very 
dirty), flogged his back to punish himself, lived chiefly in a 
little cell, washed the feet of thirteen poor people every day, and 
looked as miserable as he possibly could.  If he had put twelve 
hundred monkeys on horseback instead of twelve, and had gone in 
procession with eight thousand waggons instead of eight, he could 
not have half astonished the people so much as by this great 
change.  It soon caused him to be more talked about as an 
Archbishop than he had been as a Chancellor.

The King was very angry; and was made still more so, when the new 
Archbishop, claiming various estates from the nobles as being 
rightfully Church property, required the King himself, for the same 
reason, to give up Rochester Castle, and Rochester City too.  Not 
satisfied with this, he declared that no power but himself should 
appoint a priest to any Church in the part of England over which he 
was Archbishop; and when a certain gentleman of Kent made such an 
appointment, as he claimed to have the right to do, Thomas a Becket 
excommunicated him.

Excommunication was, next to the Interdict I told you of at the 
close of the last chapter, the great weapon of the clergy.  It 
consisted in declaring the person who was excommunicated, an 
outcast from the Church and from all religious offices; and in 
cursing him all over, from the top of his head to the sole of his 
foot, whether he was standing up, lying down, sitting, kneeling, 
walking, running, hopping, jumping, gaping, coughing, sneezing, or 
whatever else he was doing.  This unchristian nonsense would of 
course have made no sort of difference to the person cursed - who 
could say his prayers at home if he were shut out of church, and 
whom none but GOD could judge - but for the fears and superstitions 
of the people, who avoided excommunicated persons, and made their 
lives unhappy.  So, the King said to the New Archbishop, 'Take off 
this Excommunication from this gentleman of Kent.'  To which the 
Archbishop replied, 'I shall do no such thing.'

The quarrel went on.  A priest in Worcestershire committed a most 
dreadful murder, that aroused the horror of the whole nation.  The 
King demanded to have this wretch delivered up, to be tried in the 
same court and in the same way as any other murderer.  The 
Archbishop refused, and kept him in the Bishop's prison.  The King, 
holding a solemn assembly in Westminster Hall, demanded that in 
future all priests found guilty before their Bishops of crimes 
against the law of the land should be considered priests no longer, 
and should be delivered over to the law of the land for punishment.  
The Archbishop again refused.  The King required to know whether 
the clergy would obey the ancient customs of the country?  Every 
priest there, but one, said, after Thomas a Becket, 'Saving my 
order.'  This really meant that they would only obey those customs 
when they did not interfere with their own claims; and the King 
went out of the Hall in great wrath.

Some of the clergy began to be afraid, now, that they were going 
too far.  Though Thomas a Becket was otherwise as unmoved as 
Westminster Hall, they prevailed upon him, for the sake of their 
fears, to go to the King at Woodstock, and promise to observe the 
ancient customs of the country, without saying anything about his 
order.  The King received this submission favourably, and summoned 
a great council of the clergy to meet at the Castle of Clarendon, 
by Salisbury.  But when the council met, the Archbishop again 
insisted on the words 'saying my order;' and he still insisted, 
though lords entreated him, and priests wept before him and knelt 
to him, and an adjoining room was thrown open, filled with armed 
soldiers of the King, to threaten him.  At length he gave way, for 
that time, and the ancient customs (which included what the King 
had demanded in vain) were stated in writing, and were signed and 
sealed by the chief of the clergy, and were called the 
Constitutions of Clarendon.

The quarrel went on, for all that.  The Archbishop tried to see the 
King.  The King would not see him.  The Archbishop tried to escape 
from England.  The sailors on the coast would launch no boat to 
take him away.  Then, he again resolved to do his worst in 
opposition to the King, and began openly to set the ancient customs 
at defiance.

The King summoned him before a great council at Northampton, where 
he accused him of high treason, and made a claim against him, which 
was not a just one, for an enormous sum of money.  Thomas a Becket 
was alone against the whole assembly, and the very Bishops advised 
him to resign his office and abandon his contest with the King.  
His great anxiety and agitation stretched him on a sick-bed for two 
days, but he was still undaunted.  He went to the adjourned 
council, carrying a great cross in his right hand, and sat down 
holding it erect before him.  The King angrily retired into an 
inner room.  The whole assembly angrily retired and left him there.  
But there he sat.  The Bishops came out again in a body, and 
renounced him as a traitor.  He only said, 'I hear!' and sat there 
still.  They retired again into the inner room, and his trial 
proceeded without him.  By-and-by, the Earl of Leicester, heading 
the barons, came out to read his sentence.  He refused to hear it, 
denied the power of the court, and said he would refer his cause to 
the Pope.  As he walked out of the hall, with the cross in his 
hand, some of those present picked up rushes - rushes were strewn 
upon the floors in those days by way of carpet - and threw them at 
him.  He proudly turned his head, and said that were he not 
Archbishop, he would chastise those cowards with the sword he had 
known how to use in bygone days.  He then mounted his horse, and 
rode away, cheered and surrounded by the common people, to whom he 
threw open his house that night and gave a supper, supping with 
them himself.  That same night he secretly departed from the town; 
and so, travelling by night and hiding by day, and calling himself 
'Brother Dearman,' got away, not without difficulty, to Flanders.

The struggle still went on.  The angry King took possession of the 
revenues of the archbishopric, and banished all the relations and 
servants of Thomas a Becket, to the number of four hundred.  The 
Pope and the French King both protected him, and an abbey was 
assigned for his residence.  Stimulated by this support, Thomas a 
Becket, on a great festival day, formally proceeded to a great 
church crowded with people, and going up into the pulpit publicly 
cursed and excommunicated all who had supported the Constitutions 
of Clarendon:  mentioning many English noblemen by name, and not 
distantly hinting at the King of England himself.

When intelligence of this new affront was carried to the King in 
his chamber, his passion was so furious that he tore his clothes, 
and rolled like a madman on his bed of straw and rushes.  But he 
was soon up and doing.  He ordered all the ports and coasts of 
England to be narrowly watched, that no letters of Interdict might 
be brought into the kingdom; and sent messengers and bribes to the 
Pope's palace at Rome.  Meanwhile, Thomas a Becket, for his part, 
was not idle at Rome, but constantly employed his utmost arts in 
his own behalf.  Thus the contest stood, until there was peace 
between France and England (which had been for some time at war), 
and until the two children of the two Kings were married in 
celebration of it.  Then, the French King brought about a meeting 
between Henry and his old favourite, so long his enemy.

Even then, though Thomas a Becket knelt before the King, he was 
obstinate and immovable as to those words about his order.  King 
Louis of France was weak enough in his veneration for Thomas a 
Becket and such men, but this was a little too much for him.  He 
said that a Becket 'wanted to be greater than the saints and better 
than St. Peter,' and rode away from him with the King of England.  
His poor French Majesty asked a Becket's pardon for so doing, 
however, soon afterwards, and cut a very pitiful figure.

At last, and after a world of trouble, it came to this.  There was 
another meeting on French ground between King Henry and Thomas a 
Becket, and it was agreed that Thomas a Becket should be Archbishop 
of Canterbury, according to the customs of former Archbishops, and 
that the King should put him in possession of the revenues of that 
post.  And now, indeed, you might suppose the struggle at an end, 
and Thomas a Becket at rest.  NO, not even yet.  For Thomas a 
Becket hearing, by some means, that King Henry, when he was in 
dread of his kingdom being placed under an interdict, had had his 
eldest son Prince Henry secretly crowned, not only persuaded the 
Pope to suspend the Archbishop of York who had performed that 
ceremony, and to excommunicate the Bishops who had assisted at it, 
but sent a messenger of his own into England, in spite of all the 
King's precautions along the coast, who delivered the letters of 
excommunication into the Bishops' own hands.  Thomas a Becket then 
came over to England himself, after an absence of seven years.  He 
was privately warned that it was dangerous to come, and that an 
ireful knight, named RANULF DE BROC, had threatened that he should 
not live to eat a loaf of bread in England; but he came.

The common people received him well, and marched about with him in 
a soldierly way, armed with such rustic weapons as they could get.  
He tried to see the young prince who had once been his pupil, but 
was prevented.  He hoped for some little support among the nobles 
and priests, but found none.  He made the most of the peasants who 
attended him, and feasted them, and went from Canterbury to Harrow-
on-the-Hill, and from Harrow-on-the-Hill back to Canterbury, and on 
Christmas Day preached in the Cathedral there, and told the people 
in his sermon that he had come to die among them, and that it was 
likely he would be murdered.  He had no fear, however - or, if he 
had any, he had much more obstinacy - for he, then and there, 
excommunicated three of his enemies, of whom Ranulf de Broc, the 
ireful knight, was one.

As men in general had no fancy for being cursed, in their sitting 
and walking, and gaping and sneezing, and all the rest of it, it 
was very natural in the persons so freely excommunicated to 
complain to the King.  It was equally natural in the King, who had 
hoped that this troublesome opponent was at last quieted, to fall 
into a mighty rage when he heard of these new affronts; and, on the 
Archbishop of York telling him that he never could hope for rest 
while Thomas a Becket lived, to cry out hastily before his court, 
'Have I no one here who will deliver me from this man?'  There were 
four knights present, who, hearing the King's words, looked at one 
another, and went out.

The names of these knights were REGINALD FITZURSE, WILLIAM TRACY, 
HUGH DE MORVILLE, and RICHARD BRITO; three of whom had been in the 
train of Thomas a Becket in the old days of his splendour.  They 
rode away on horseback, in a very secret manner, and on the third 
day after Christmas Day arrived at Saltwood House, not far from 
Canterbury, which belonged to the family of Ranulf de Broc.  They 
quietly collected some followers here, in case they should need 
any; and proceeding to Canterbury, suddenly appeared (the four 
knights and twelve men) before the Archbishop, in his own house, at 
two o'clock in the afternoon.  They neither bowed nor spoke, but 
sat down on the floor in silence, staring at the Archbishop.

Thomas a Becket said, at length, 'What do you want?'

'We want,' said Reginald Fitzurse, 'the excommunication taken from 
the Bishops, and you to answer for your offences to the King.'  
Thomas a Becket defiantly replied, that the power of the clergy was 
above the power of the King.  That it was not for such men as they 
were, to threaten him.  That if he were threatened by all the 
swords in England, he would never yield.

'Then we will do more than threaten!' said the knights.  And they 
went out with the twelve men, and put on their armour, and drew 
their shining swords, and came back.

His servants, in the meantime, had shut up and barred the great 
gate of the palace.  At first, the knights tried to shatter it with 
their battle-axes; but, being shown a window by which they could 
enter, they let the gate alone, and climbed in that way.  While 
they were battering at the door, the attendants of Thomas a Becket 
had implored him to take refuge in the Cathedral; in which, as a 
sanctuary or sacred place, they thought the knights would dare to 
do no violent deed.  He told them, again and again, that he would 
not stir.  Hearing the distant voices of the monks singing the 
evening service, however, he said it was now his duty to attend, 
and therefore, and for no other reason, he would go.

There was a near way between his Palace and the Cathedral, by some 
beautiful old cloisters which you may yet see.  He went into the 
Cathedral, without any hurry, and having the Cross carried before 
him as usual.  When he was safely there, his servants would have 
fastened the door, but he said NO! it was the house of God and not 
a fortress.

As he spoke, the shadow of Reginald Fitzurse appeared in the 
Cathedral doorway, darkening the little light there was outside, on 
the dark winter evening.  This knight said, in a strong voice, 
'Follow me, loyal servants of the King!'  The rattle of the armour 
of the other knights echoed through the Cathedral, as they came 
clashing in.

It was so dark, in the lofty aisles and among the stately pillars 
of the church, and there were so many hiding-places in the crypt 
below and in the narrow passages above, that Thomas a Becket might 
even at that pass have saved himself if he would.  But he would 
not.  He told the monks resolutely that he would not.  And though 
they all dispersed and left him there with no other follower than 
EDWARD GRYME, his faithful cross-bearer, he was as firm then, as 
ever he had been in his life.

The knights came on, through the darkness, making a terrible noise 
with their armed tread upon the stone pavement of the church.  
'Where is the traitor?' they cried out.  He made no answer.  But 
when they cried, 'Where is the Archbishop?' he said proudly, 'I am 
here!' and came out of the shade and stood before them.

The knights had no desire to kill him, if they could rid the King 
and themselves of him by any other means.  They told him he must 
either fly or go with them.  He said he would do neither; and he 
threw William Tracy off with such force when he took hold of his 
sleeve, that Tracy reeled again.  By his reproaches and his 
steadiness, he so incensed them, and exasperated their fierce 
humour, that Reginald Fitzurse, whom he called by an ill name, 
said, 'Then die!' and struck at his head.  But the faithful Edward 
Gryme put out his arm, and there received the main force of the 
blow, so that it only made his master bleed.  Another voice from 
among the knights again called to Thomas a Becket to fly; but, with 
his blood running down his face, and his hands clasped, and his 
head bent, he commanded himself to God, and stood firm.  Then they 
cruelly killed him close to the altar of St. Bennet; and his body 
fell upon the pavement, which was dirtied with his blood and 

It is an awful thing to think of the murdered mortal, who had so 
showered his curses about, lying, all disfigured, in the church, 
where a few lamps here and there were but red specks on a pall of 
darkness; and to think of the guilty knights riding away on 
horseback, looking over their shoulders at the dim Cathedral, and 
remembering what they had left inside.


WHEN the King heard how Thomas a Becket had lost his life in 
Canterbury Cathedral, through the ferocity of the four Knights, he 
was filled with dismay.  Some have supposed that when the King 
spoke those hasty words, 'Have I no one here who will deliver me 
from this man?' he wished, and meant a Becket to be slain.  But few 
things are more unlikely; for, besides that the King was not 
naturally cruel (though very passionate), he was wise, and must 
have known full well what any stupid man in his dominions must have 
known, namely, that such a murder would rouse the Pope and the 
whole Church against him.

He sent respectful messengers to the Pope, to represent his 
innocence (except in having uttered the hasty words); and he swore 
solemnly and publicly to his innocence, and contrived in time to 
make his peace.  As to the four guilty Knights, who fled into 
Yorkshire, and never again dared to show themselves at Court, the 
Pope excommunicated them; and they lived miserably for some time, 
shunned by all their countrymen.  At last, they went humbly to 
Jerusalem as a penance, and there died and were buried.

It happened, fortunately for the pacifying of the Pope, that an 
opportunity arose very soon after the murder of a Becket, for the 
King to declare his power in Ireland - which was an acceptable 
undertaking to the Pope, as the Irish, who had been converted to 
Christianity by one Patricius (otherwise Saint Patrick) long ago, 
before any Pope existed, considered that the Pope had nothing at 
all to do with them, or they with the Pope, and accordingly refused 
to pay him Peter's Pence, or that tax of a penny a house which I 
have elsewhere mentioned.  The King's opportunity arose in this 

The Irish were, at that time, as barbarous a people as you can well 
imagine.  They were continually quarrelling and fighting, cutting 
one another's throats, slicing one another's noses, burning one 
another's houses, carrying away one another's wives, and committing 
all sorts of violence.  The country was divided into five kingdoms 
by a separate King, of whom one claimed to be the chief of the 
rest.  Now, one of these Kings, named DERMOND MAC MURROUGH (a wild 
kind of name, spelt in more than one wild kind of way), had carried 
off the wife of a friend of his, and concealed her on an island in 
a bog.  The friend resenting this (though it was quite the custom 
of the country), complained to the chief King, and, with the chief 
King's help, drove Dermond Mac Murrough out of his dominions.  
Dermond came over to England for revenge; and offered to hold his 
realm as a vassal of King Henry, if King Henry would help him to 
regain it.  The King consented to these terms; but only assisted 
him, then, with what were called Letters Patent, authorising any 
English subjects who were so disposed, to enter into his service, 
and aid his cause.

There was, at Bristol, a certain EARL RICHARD DE CLARE, called 
STRONGBOW; of no very good character; needy and desperate, and 
ready for anything that offered him a chance of improving his 
fortunes.  There were, in South Wales, two other broken knights of 
the same good-for-nothing sort, called ROBERT FITZ-STEPHEN, and 
MAURICE FITZ-GERALD.  These three, each with a small band of 
followers, took up Dermond's cause; and it was agreed that if it 
proved successful, Strongbow should marry Dermond's daughter EVA, 
and be declared his heir.

The trained English followers of these knights were so superior in 
all the discipline of battle to the Irish, that they beat them 
against immense superiority of numbers.  In one fight, early in the 
war, they cut off three hundred heads, and laid them before Mac 
Murrough; who turned them every one up with his hands, rejoicing, 
and, coming to one which was the head of a man whom he had much 
disliked, grasped it by the hair and ears, and tore off the nose 
and lips with his teeth.  You may judge from this, what kind of a 
gentleman an Irish King in those times was.  The captives, all 
through this war, were horribly treated; the victorious party 
making nothing of breaking their limbs, and casting them into the 
sea from the tops of high rocks.  It was in the midst of the 
miseries and cruelties attendant on the taking of Waterford, where 
the dead lay piled in the streets, and the filthy gutters ran with 
blood, that Strongbow married Eva.  An odious marriage-company 
those mounds of corpse's must have made, I think, and one quite 
worthy of the young lady's father.

He died, after Waterford and Dublin had been taken, and various 
successes achieved; and Strongbow became King of Leinster.  Now 
came King Henry's opportunity.  To restrain the growing power of 
Strongbow, he himself repaired to Dublin, as Strongbow's Royal 
Master, and deprived him of his kingdom, but confirmed him in the 
enjoyment of great possessions.  The King, then, holding state in 
Dublin, received the homage of nearly all the Irish Kings and 
Chiefs, and so came home again with a great addition to his 
reputation as Lord of Ireland, and with a new claim on the favour 
of the Pope.  And now, their reconciliation was completed - more 
easily and mildly by the Pope, than the King might have expected, I 

At this period of his reign, when his troubles seemed so few and 
his prospects so bright, those domestic miseries began which 
gradually made the King the most unhappy of men, reduced his great 
spirit, wore away his health, and broke his heart.

He had four sons.  HENRY, now aged eighteen - his secret crowning 
of whom had given such offence to Thomas a Becket.  RICHARD, aged 
sixteen; GEOFFREY, fifteen; and JOHN, his favourite, a young boy 
whom the courtiers named LACKLAND, because he had no inheritance, 
but to whom the King meant to give the Lordship of Ireland.  All 
these misguided boys, in their turn, were unnatural sons to him, 
and unnatural brothers to each other.  Prince Henry, stimulated by 
the French King, and by his bad mother, Queen Eleanor, began the 
undutiful history,

First, he demanded that his young wife, MARGARET, the French King's 
daughter, should be crowned as well as he.  His father, the King, 
consented, and it was done.  It was no sooner done, than he 
demanded to have a part of his father's dominions, during his 
father's life.  This being refused, he made off from his father in 
the night, with his bad heart full of bitterness, and took refuge 
at the French King's Court.  Within a day or two, his brothers 
Richard and Geoffrey followed.  Their mother tried to join them - 
escaping in man's clothes - but she was seized by King Henry's men, 
and immured in prison, where she lay, deservedly, for sixteen 
years.  Every day, however, some grasping English noblemen, to whom 
the King's protection of his people from their avarice and 
oppression had given offence, deserted him and joined the Princes.  
Every day he heard some fresh intelligence of the Princes levying 
armies against him; of Prince Henry's wearing a crown before his 
own ambassadors at the French Court, and being called the Junior 
King of England; of all the Princes swearing never to make peace 
with him, their father, without the consent and approval of the 
Barons of France.  But, with his fortitude and energy unshaken, 
King Henry met the shock of these disasters with a resolved and 
cheerful face.  He called upon all Royal fathers who had sons, to 
help him, for his cause was theirs; he hired, out of his riches, 
twenty thousand men to fight the false French King, who stirred his 
own blood against him; and he carried on the war with such vigour, 
that Louis soon proposed a conference to treat for peace.

The conference was held beneath an old wide-spreading green elm-
tree, upon a plain in France.  It led to nothing.  The war 
recommenced.  Prince Richard began his fighting career, by leading 
an army against his father; but his father beat him and his army 
back; and thousands of his men would have rued the day in which 
they fought in such a wicked cause, had not the King received news 
of an invasion of England by the Scots, and promptly come home 
through a great storm to repress it.  And whether he really began 
to fear that he suffered these troubles because a Becket had been 
murdered; or whether he wished to rise in the favour of the Pope, 
who had now declared a Becket to be a saint, or in the favour of 
his own people, of whom many believed that even a Becket's 
senseless tomb could work miracles, I don't know:  but the King no 
sooner landed in England than he went straight to Canterbury; and 
when he came within sight of the distant Cathedral, he dismounted 
from his horse, took off his shoes, and walked with bare and 
bleeding feet to a Becket's grave.  There, he lay down on the 
ground, lamenting, in the presence of many people; and by-and-by he 
went into the Chapter House, and, removing his clothes from his 
back and shoulders, submitted himself to be beaten with knotted 
cords (not beaten very hard, I dare say though) by eighty Priests, 
one after another.  It chanced that on the very day when the King 
made this curious exhibition of himself, a complete victory was 
obtained over the Scots; which very much delighted the Priests, who 
said that it was won because of his great example of repentance.  
For the Priests in general had found out, since a Becket's death, 
that they admired him of all things - though they had hated him 
very cordially when he was alive.

The Earl of Flanders, who was at the head of the base conspiracy of 
the King's undutiful sons and their foreign friends, took the 
opportunity of the King being thus employed at home, to lay siege 
to Rouen, the capital of Normandy.  But the King, who was 
extraordinarily quick and active in all his movements, was at 
Rouen, too, before it was supposed possible that he could have left 
England; and there he so defeated the said Earl of Flanders, that 
the conspirators proposed peace, and his bad sons Henry and 
Geoffrey submitted.  Richard resisted for six weeks; but, being 
beaten out of castle after castle, he at last submitted too, and 
his father forgave him.

To forgive these unworthy princes was only to afford them 
breathing-time for new faithlessness.  They were so false, 
disloyal, and dishonourable, that they were no more to be trusted 
than common thieves.  In the very next year, Prince Henry rebelled 
again, and was again forgiven.  In eight years more, Prince Richard 
rebelled against his elder brother; and Prince Geoffrey infamously 
said that the brothers could never agree well together, unless they 
were united against their father.  In the very next year after 
their reconciliation by the King, Prince Henry again rebelled 
against his father; and again submitted, swearing to be true; and 
was again forgiven; and again rebelled with Geoffrey.

But the end of this perfidious Prince was come.  He fell sick at a 
French town; and his conscience terribly reproaching him with his 
baseness, he sent messengers to the King his father, imploring him 
to come and see him, and to forgive him for the last time on his 
bed of death.  The generous King, who had a royal and forgiving 
mind towards his children always, would have gone; but this Prince 
had been so unnatural, that the noblemen about the King suspected 
treachery, and represented to him that he could not safely trust 
his life with such a traitor, though his own eldest son.  Therefore 
the King sent him a ring from off his finger as a token of 
forgiveness; and when the Prince had kissed it, with much grief and 
many tears, and had confessed to those around him how bad, and 
wicked, and undutiful a son he had been; he said to the attendant 
Priests:  'O, tie a rope about my body, and draw me out of bed, and 
lay me down upon a bed of ashes, that I may die with prayers to God 
in a repentant manner!'  And so he died, at twenty-seven years old.

Three years afterwards, Prince Geoffrey, being unhorsed at a 
tournament, had his brains trampled out by a crowd of horses 
passing over him.  So, there only remained Prince Richard, and 
Prince John - who had grown to be a young man now, and had solemnly 
sworn to be faithful to his father.  Richard soon rebelled again, 
encouraged by his friend the French King, PHILIP THE SECOND (son of 
Louis, who was dead); and soon submitted and was again forgiven, 
swearing on the New Testament never to rebel again; and in another 
year or so, rebelled again; and, in the presence of his father, 
knelt down on his knee before the King of France; and did the 
French King homage:  and declared that with his aid he would 
possess himself, by force, of all his father's French dominions.

And yet this Richard called himself a soldier of Our Saviour!  And 
yet this Richard wore the Cross, which the Kings of France and 
England had both taken, in the previous year, at a brotherly 
meeting underneath the old wide-spreading elm-tree on the plain, 
when they had sworn (like him) to devote themselves to a new 
Crusade, for the love and honour of the Truth!

Sick at heart, wearied out by the falsehood of his sons, and almost 
ready to lie down and die, the unhappy King who had so long stood 
firm, began to fail.  But the Pope, to his honour, supported him; 
and obliged the French King and Richard, though successful in 
fight, to treat for peace.  Richard wanted to be Crowned King of 
England, and pretended that he wanted to be married (which he 
really did not) to the French King's sister, his promised wife, 
whom King Henry detained in England.  King Henry wanted, on the 
other hand, that the French King's sister should be married to his 
favourite son, John:  the only one of his sons (he said) who had 
never rebelled against him.  At last King Henry, deserted by his 
nobles one by one, distressed, exhausted, broken-hearted, consented 
to establish peace.

One final heavy sorrow was reserved for him, even yet.  When they 
brought him the proposed treaty of peace, in writing, as he lay 
very ill in bed, they brought him also the list of the deserters 
from their allegiance, whom he was required to pardon.  The first 
name upon this list was John, his favourite son, in whom he had 
trusted to the last.

'O John! child of my heart!' exclaimed the King, in a great agony 
of mind.  'O John, whom I have loved the best!  O John, for whom I 
have contended through these many troubles!  Have you betrayed me 
too!'  And then he lay down with a heavy groan, and said, 'Now let 
the world go as it will.  I care for nothing more!'

After a time, he told his attendants to take him to the French town 
of Chinon - a town he had been fond of, during many years.  But he 
was fond of no place now; it was too true that he could care for 
nothing more upon this earth.  He wildly cursed the hour when he 
was born, and cursed the children whom he left behind him; and 

As, one hundred years before, the servile followers of the Court 
had abandoned the Conqueror in the hour of his death, so they now 
abandoned his descendant.  The very body was stripped, in the 
plunder of the Royal chamber; and it was not easy to find the means 
of carrying it for burial to the abbey church of Fontevraud.

Richard was said in after years, by way of flattery, to have the 
heart of a Lion.  It would have been far better, I think, to have 
had the heart of a Man.  His heart, whatever it was, had cause to 
beat remorsefully within his breast, when he came - as he did - 
into the solemn abbey, and looked on his dead father's uncovered 
face.  His heart, whatever it was, had been a black and perjured 
heart, in all its dealings with the deceased King, and more 
deficient in a single touch of tenderness than any wild beast's in 
the forest.

There is a pretty story told of this Reign, called the story of 
FAIR ROSAMOND.  It relates how the King doted on Fair Rosamond, who 
was the loveliest girl in all the world; and how he had a beautiful 
Bower built for her in a Park at Woodstock; and how it was erected 
in a labyrinth, and could only be found by a clue of silk.  How the 
bad Queen Eleanor, becoming jealous of Fair Rosamond, found out the 
secret of the clue, and one day, appeared before her, with a dagger 
and a cup of poison, and left her to the choice between those 
deaths.  How Fair Rosamond, after shedding many piteous tears and 
offering many useless prayers to the cruel Queen, took the poison, 
and fell dead in the midst of the beautiful bower, while the 
unconscious birds sang gaily all around her.

Now, there WAS a fair Rosamond, and she was (I dare say) the 
loveliest girl in all the world, and the King was certainly very 
fond of her, and the bad Queen Eleanor was certainly made jealous.  
But I am afraid - I say afraid, because I like the story so much - 
that there was no bower, no labyrinth, no silken clue, no dagger, 
no poison.  I am afraid fair Rosamond retired to a nunnery near 
Oxford, and died there, peaceably; her sister-nuns hanging a silken 
drapery over her tomb, and often dressing it with flowers, in 
remembrance of the youth and beauty that had enchanted the King 
when he too was young, and when his life lay fair before him.

It was dark and ended now; faded and gone.  Henry Plantagenet lay 
quiet in the abbey church of Fontevraud, in the fifty-seventh year 
of his age - never to be completed - after governing England well, 
for nearly thirty-five years.


IN the year of our Lord one thousand one hundred and eighty-nine, 
Richard of the Lion Heart succeeded to the throne of King Henry the 
Second, whose paternal heart he had done so much to break.  He had 
been, as we have seen, a rebel from his boyhood; but, the moment he 
became a king against whom others might rebel, he found out that 
rebellion was a great wickedness.  In the heat of this pious 
discovery, he punished all the leading people who had befriended 
him against his father.  He could scarcely have done anything that 
would have been a better instance of his real nature, or a better 
warning to fawners and parasites not to trust in lion-hearted 

He likewise put his late father's treasurer in chains, and locked 
him up in a dungeon from which he was not set free until he had 
relinquished, not only all the Crown treasure, but all his own 
money too.  So, Richard certainly got the Lion's share of the 
wealth of this wretched treasurer, whether he had a Lion's heart or 

He was crowned King of England, with great pomp, at Westminster:  
walking to the Cathedral under a silken canopy stretched on the 
tops of four lances, each carried by a great lord.  On the day of 
his coronation, a dreadful murdering of the Jews took place, which 
seems to have given great delight to numbers of savage persons 
calling themselves Christians.  The King had issued a proclamation 
forbidding the Jews (who were generally hated, though they were the 
most useful merchants in England) to appear at the ceremony; but as 
they had assembled in London from all parts, bringing presents to 
show their respect for the new Sovereign, some of them ventured 
down to Westminster Hall with their gifts; which were very readily 
accepted.  It is supposed, now, that some noisy fellow in the 
crowd, pretending to be a very delicate Christian, set up a howl at 
this, and struck a Jew who was trying to get in at the Hall door 
with his present.  A riot arose.  The Jews who had got into the 
Hall, were driven forth; and some of the rabble cried out that the 
new King had commanded the unbelieving race to be put to death.  
Thereupon the crowd rushed through the narrow streets of the city, 
slaughtering all the Jews they met; and when they could find no 
more out of doors (on account of their having fled to their houses, 
and fastened themselves in), they ran madly about, breaking open 
all the houses where the Jews lived, rushing in and stabbing or 
spearing them, sometimes even flinging old people and children out 
of window into blazing fires they had lighted up below.  This great 
cruelty lasted four-and-twenty hours, and only three men were 
punished for it.  Even they forfeited their lives not for murdering 
and robbing the Jews, but for burning the houses of some 

King Richard, who was a strong, restless, burly man, with one idea 
always in his head, and that the very troublesome idea of breaking 
the heads of other men, was mightily impatient to go on a Crusade 
to the Holy Land, with a great army.  As great armies could not be 
raised to go, even to the Holy Land, without a great deal of money, 
he sold the Crown domains, and even the high offices of State; 
recklessly appointing noblemen to rule over his English subjects, 
not because they were fit to govern, but because they could pay 
high for the privilege.  In this way, and by selling pardons at a 
dear rate and by varieties of avarice and oppression, he scraped 
together a large treasure.  He then appointed two Bishops to take 
care of his kingdom in his absence, and gave great powers and 
possessions to his brother John, to secure his friendship.  John 
would rather have been made Regent of England; but he was a sly 
man, and friendly to the expedition; saying to himself, no doubt, 
'The more fighting, the more chance of my brother being killed; and 
when he IS killed, then I become King John!'

Before the newly levied army departed from England, the recruits 
and the general populace distinguished themselves by astonishing 
cruelties on the unfortunate Jews:  whom, in many large towns, they 
murdered by hundreds in the most horrible manner.

At York, a large body of Jews took refuge in the Castle, in the 
absence of its Governor, after the wives and children of many of 
them had been slain before their eyes.  Presently came the 
Governor, and demanded admission.  'How can we give it thee, O 
Governor!' said the Jews upon the walls, 'when, if we open the gate 
by so much as the width of a foot, the roaring crowd behind thee 
will press in and kill us?'

Upon this, the unjust Governor became angry, and told the people 
that he approved of their killing those Jews; and a mischievous 
maniac of a friar, dressed all in white, put himself at the head of 
the assault, and they assaulted the Castle for three days.

Then said JOCEN, the head-Jew (who was a Rabbi or Priest), to the 
rest, 'Brethren, there is no hope for us with the Christians who 
are hammering at the gates and walls, and who must soon break in.  
As we and our wives and children must die, either by Christian 
hands, or by our own, let it be by our own.  Let us destroy by fire 
what jewels and other treasure we have here, then fire the castle, 
and then perish!'

A few could not resolve to do this, but the greater part complied.  
They made a blazing heap of all their valuables, and, when those 
were consumed, set the castle in flames.  While the flames roared 
and crackled around them, and shooting up into the sky, turned it 
blood-red, Jocen cut the throat of his beloved wife, and stabbed 
himself.  All the others who had wives or children, did the like 
dreadful deed.  When the populace broke in, they found (except the 
trembling few, cowering in corners, whom they soon killed) only 
heaps of greasy cinders, with here and there something like part of 
the blackened trunk of a burnt tree, but which had lately been a 
human creature, formed by the beneficent hand of the Creator as 
they were.

After this bad beginning, Richard and his troops went on, in no 
very good manner, with the Holy Crusade.  It was undertaken jointly 
by the King of England and his old friend Philip of France.  They 
commenced the business by reviewing their forces, to the number of 
one hundred thousand men.  Afterwards, they severally embarked 
their troops for Messina, in Sicily, which was appointed as the 
next place of meeting.

King Richard's sister had married the King of this place, but he 
was dead:  and his uncle TANCRED had usurped the crown, cast the 
Royal Widow into prison, and possessed himself of her estates.  
Richard fiercely demanded his sister's release, the restoration of 
her lands, and (according to the Royal custom of the Island) that 
she should have a golden chair, a golden table, four-and-twenty 
silver cups, and four-and-twenty silver dishes.  As he was too 
powerful to be successfully resisted, Tancred yielded to his 
demands; and then the French King grew jealous, and complained that 
the English King wanted to be absolute in the Island of Messina and 
everywhere else.  Richard, however, cared little or nothing for 
this complaint; and in consideration of a present of twenty 
thousand pieces of gold, promised his pretty little nephew ARTHUR, 
then a child of two years old, in marriage to Tancred's daughter.  
We shall hear again of pretty little Arthur by-and-by.

This Sicilian affair arranged without anybody's brains being 
knocked out (which must have rather disappointed him), King Richard 
took his sister away, and also a fair lady named BERENGARIA, with 
whom he had fallen in love in France, and whom his mother, Queen 
Eleanor (so long in prison, you remember, but released by Richard 
on his coming to the Throne), had brought out there to be his wife; 
and sailed with them for Cyprus.

He soon had the pleasure of fighting the King of the Island of 
Cyprus, for allowing his subjects to pillage some of the English 
troops who were shipwrecked on the shore; and easily conquering 
this poor monarch, he seized his only daughter, to be a companion 
to the lady Berengaria, and put the King himself into silver 
fetters.  He then sailed away again with his mother, sister, wife, 
and the captive princess; and soon arrived before the town of Acre, 
which the French King with his fleet was besieging from the sea.  
But the French King was in no triumphant condition, for his army 
had been thinned by the swords of the Saracens, and wasted by the 
plague; and SALADIN, the brave Sultan of the Turks, at the head of 
a numerous army, was at that time gallantly defending the place 
from the hills that rise above it.

Wherever the united army of Crusaders went, they agreed in few 
points except in gaming, drinking, and quarrelling, in a most 
unholy manner; in debauching the people among whom they tarried, 
whether they were friends or foes; and in carrying disturbance and 
ruin into quiet places.  The French King was jealous of the English 
King, and the English King was jealous of the French King, and the 
disorderly and violent soldiers of the two nations were jealous of 
one another; consequently, the two Kings could not at first agree, 
even upon a joint assault on Acre; but when they did make up their 
quarrel for that purpose, the Saracens promised to yield the town, 
to give up to the Christians the wood of the Holy Cross, to set at 
liberty all their Christian captives, and to pay two hundred 
thousand pieces of gold.  All this was to be done within forty 
days; but, not being done, King Richard ordered some three thousand 
Saracen prisoners to be brought out in the front of his camp, and 
there, in full view of their own countrymen, to be butchered.

The French King had no part in this crime; for he was by that time 
travelling homeward with the greater part of his men; being 
offended by the overbearing conduct of the English King; being 
anxious to look after his own dominions; and being ill, besides, 
from the unwholesome air of that hot and sandy country.  King 
Richard carried on the war without him; and remained in the East, 
meeting with a variety of adventures, nearly a year and a half.  
Every night when his army was on the march, and came to a halt, the 
heralds cried out three times, to remind all the soldiers of the 
cause in which they were engaged, 'Save the Holy Sepulchre!' and 
then all the soldiers knelt and said 'Amen!'  Marching or 
encamping, the army had continually to strive with the hot air of 
the glaring desert, or with the Saracen soldiers animated and 
directed by the brave Saladin, or with both together.  Sickness and 
death, battle and wounds, were always among them; but through every 
difficulty King Richard fought like a giant, and worked like a 
common labourer.  Long and long after he was quiet in his grave, 
his terrible battle-axe, with twenty English pounds of English 
steel in its mighty head, was a legend among the Saracens; and when 
all the Saracen and Christian hosts had been dust for many a year, 
if a Saracen horse started at any object by the wayside, his rider 
would exclaim, 'What dost thou fear, Fool?  Dost thou think King 
Richard is behind it?'

No one admired this King's renown for bravery more than Saladin 
himself, who was a generous and gallant enemy.  When Richard lay 
ill of a fever, Saladin sent him fresh fruits from Damascus, and 
snow from the mountain-tops.  Courtly messages and compliments were 
frequently exchanged between them - and then King Richard would 
mount his horse and kill as many Saracens as he could; and Saladin 
would mount his, and kill as many Christians as he could.  In this 
way King Richard fought to his heart's content at Arsoof and at 
Jaffa; and finding himself with nothing exciting to do at Ascalon, 
except to rebuild, for his own defence, some fortifications there 
which the Saracens had destroyed, he kicked his ally the Duke of 
Austria, for being too proud to work at them.

The army at last came within sight of the Holy City of Jerusalem; 
but, being then a mere nest of jealousy, and quarrelling and 
fighting, soon retired, and agreed with the Saracens upon a truce 
for three years, three months, three days, and three hours.  Then, 
the English Christians, protected by the noble Saladin from Saracen 
revenge, visited Our Saviour's tomb; and then King Richard embarked 
with a small force at Acre to return home.

But he was shipwrecked in the Adriatic Sea, and was fain to pass 
through Germany, under an assumed name.  Now, there were many 
people in Germany who had served in the Holy Land under that proud 
Duke of Austria who had been kicked; and some of them, easily 
recognising a man so remarkable as King Richard, carried their 
intelligence to the kicked Duke, who straightway took him prisoner 
at a little inn near Vienna.

The Duke's master the Emperor of Germany, and the King of France, 
were equally delighted to have so troublesome a monarch in safe 
keeping.  Friendships which are founded on a partnership in doing 
wrong, are never true; and the King of France was now quite as 
heartily King Richard's foe, as he had ever been his friend in his 
unnatural conduct to his father.  He monstrously pretended that 
King Richard had designed to poison him in the East; he charged him 
with having murdered, there, a man whom he had in truth befriended; 
he bribed the Emperor of Germany to keep him close prisoner; and, 
finally, through the plotting of these two princes, Richard was 
brought before the German legislature, charged with the foregoing 
crimes, and many others.  But he defended himself so well, that 
many of the assembly were moved to tears by his eloquence and 
earnestness.  It was decided that he should be treated, during the 
rest of his captivity, in a manner more becoming his dignity than 
he had been, and that he should be set free on the payment of a 
heavy ransom.  This ransom the English people willingly raised.  
When Queen Eleanor took it over to Germany, it was at first evaded 
and refused.  But she appealed to the honour of all the princes of 
the German Empire in behalf of her son, and appealed so well that 
it was accepted, and the King released.  Thereupon, the King of 
France wrote to Prince John - 'Take care of thyself.  The devil is 

Prince John had reason to fear his brother, for he had been a 
traitor to him in his captivity.  He had secretly joined the French 
King; had vowed to the English nobles and people that his brother 
was dead; and had vainly tried to seize the crown.  He was now in 
France, at a place called Evreux.  Being the meanest and basest of 
men, he contrived a mean and base expedient for making himself 
acceptable to his brother.  He invited the French officers of the 
garrison in that town to dinner, murdered them all, and then took 
the fortress.  With this recommendation to the good will of a lion-
hearted monarch, he hastened to King Richard, fell on his knees 
before him, and obtained the intercession of Queen Eleanor.  'I 
forgive him,' said the King, 'and I hope I may forget the injury he 
has done me, as easily as I know he will forget my pardon.'

While King Richard was in Sicily, there had been trouble in his 
dominions at home:  one of the bishops whom he had left in charge 
thereof, arresting the other; and making, in his pride and 
ambition, as great a show as if he were King himself.  But the King 
hearing of it at Messina, and appointing a new Regency, this 
LONGCHAMP (for that was his name) had fled to France in a woman's 
dress, and had there been encouraged and supported by the French 
King.  With all these causes of offence against Philip in his mind, 
King Richard had no sooner been welcomed home by his enthusiastic 
subjects with great display and splendour, and had no sooner been 
crowned afresh at Winchester, than he resolved to show the French 
King that the Devil was unchained indeed, and made war against him 
with great fury.

There was fresh trouble at home about this time, arising out of the 
discontents of the poor people, who complained that they were far 
more heavily taxed than the rich, and who found a spirited champion 
in WILLIAM FITZ-OSBERT, called LONGBEARD.  He became the leader of 
a secret society, comprising fifty thousand men; he was seized by 
surprise; he stabbed the citizen who first laid hands upon him; and 
retreated, bravely fighting, to a church, which he maintained four 
days, until he was dislodged by fire, and run through the body as 
he came out.  He was not killed, though; for he was dragged, half 
dead, at the tail of a horse to Smithfield, and there hanged.  
Death was long a favourite remedy for silencing the people's 
advocates; but as we go on with this history, I fancy we shall find 
them difficult to make an end of, for all that.

The French war, delayed occasionally by a truce, was still in 
progress when a certain Lord named VIDOMAR, Viscount of Limoges, 
chanced to find in his ground a treasure of ancient coins.  As the 
King's vassal, he sent the King half of it; but the King claimed 
the whole.  The lord refused to yield the whole.  The King besieged 
the lord in his castle, swore that he would take the castle by 
storm, and hang every man of its defenders on the battlements.

There was a strange old song in that part of the country, to the 
effect that in Limoges an arrow would be made by which King Richard 
would die.  It may be that BERTRAND DE GOURDON, a young man who was 
one of the defenders of the castle, had often sung it or heard it 
sung of a winter night, and remembered it when he saw, from his 
post upon the ramparts, the King attended only by his chief officer 
riding below the walls surveying the place.  He drew an arrow to 
the head, took steady aim, said between his teeth, 'Now I pray God 
speed thee well, arrow!' discharged it, and struck the King in the 
left shoulder.

Although the wound was not at first considered dangerous, it was 
severe enough to cause the King to retire to his tent, and direct 
the assault to be made without him.  The castle was taken; and 
every man of its defenders was hanged, as the King had sworn all 
should be, except Bertrand de Gourdon, who was reserved until the 
royal pleasure respecting him should be known.

By that time unskilful treatment had made the wound mortal and the 
King knew that he was dying.  He directed Bertrand to be brought 
into his tent.  The young man was brought there, heavily chained, 
King Richard looked at him steadily.  He looked, as steadily, at 
the King.

'Knave!' said King Richard.  'What have I done to thee that thou 
shouldest take my life?'

'What hast thou done to me?' replied the young man.  'With thine 
own hands thou hast killed my father and my two brothers.  Myself 
thou wouldest have hanged.  Let me die now, by any torture that 
thou wilt.  My comfort is, that no torture can save Thee.  Thou too 
must die; and, through me, the world is quit of thee!'

Again the King looked at the young man steadily.  Again the young 
man looked steadily at him.  Perhaps some remembrance of his 
generous enemy Saladin, who was not a Christian, came into the mind 
of the dying King.

'Youth!' he said, 'I forgive thee.  Go unhurt!'  Then, turning to 
the chief officer who had been riding in his company when he 
received the wound, King Richard said:

'Take off his chains, give him a hundred shillings, and let him 

He sunk down on his couch, and a dark mist seemed in his weakened 
eyes to fill the tent wherein he had so often rested, and he died.  
His age was forty-two; he had reigned ten years.  His last command 
was not obeyed; for the chief officer flayed Bertrand de Gourdon 
alive, and hanged him.

There is an old tune yet known - a sorrowful air will sometimes 
outlive many generations of strong men, and even last longer than 
battle-axes with twenty pounds of steel in the head - by which this 
King is said to have been discovered in his captivity.  BLONDEL, a 
favourite Minstrel of King Richard, as the story relates, 
faithfully seeking his Royal master, went singing it outside the 
gloomy walls of many foreign fortresses and prisons; until at last 
he heard it echoed from within a dungeon, and knew the voice, and 
cried out in ecstasy, 'O Richard, O my King!'  You may believe it, 
if you like; it would be easy to believe worse things.  Richard was 
himself a Minstrel and a Poet.  If he had not been a Prince too, he 
might have been a better man perhaps, and might have gone out of 
the world with less bloodshed and waste of life to answer for.


AT two-and-thirty years of age, JOHN became King of England.  His 
pretty little nephew ARTHUR had the best claim to the throne; but 
John seized the treasure, and made fine promises to the nobility, 
and got himself crowned at Westminster within a few weeks after his 
brother Richard's death.  I doubt whether the crown could possibly 
have been put upon the head of a meaner coward, or a more 
detestable villain, if England had been searched from end to end to 
find him out.

The French King, Philip, refused to acknowledge the right of John 
to his new dignity, and declared in favour of Arthur.  You must not 
suppose that he had any generosity of feeling for the fatherless 
boy; it merely suited his ambitious schemes to oppose the King of 
England.  So John and the French King went to war about Arthur.

He was a handsome boy, at that time only twelve years old.  He was 
not born when his father, Geoffrey, had his brains trampled out at 
the tournament; and, besides the misfortune of never having known a 
father's guidance and protection, he had the additional misfortune 
to have a foolish mother (CONSTANCE by name), lately married to her 
third husband.  She took Arthur, upon John's accession, to the 
French King, who pretended to be very much his friend, and who made 
him a Knight, and promised him his daughter in marriage; but, who 
cared so little about him in reality, that finding it his interest 
to make peace with King John for a time, he did so without the 
least consideration for the poor little Prince, and heartlessly 
sacrificed all his interests.

Young Arthur, for two years afterwards, lived quietly; and in the 
course of that time his mother died.  But, the French King then 
finding it his interest to quarrel with King John again, again made 
Arthur his pretence, and invited the orphan boy to court.  'You 
know your rights, Prince,' said the French King, 'and you would 
like to be a King.  Is it not so?'  'Truly,' said Prince Arthur, 'I 
should greatly like to be a King!'  'Then,' said Philip, 'you shall 
have two hundred gentlemen who are Knights of mine, and with them 
you shall go to win back the provinces belonging to you, of which 
your uncle, the usurping King of England, has taken possession.  I 
myself, meanwhile, will head a force against him in Normandy.'  
Poor Arthur was so flattered and so grateful that he signed a 
treaty with the crafty French King, agreeing to consider him his 
superior Lord, and that the French King should keep for himself 
whatever he could take from King John.

Now, King John was so bad in all ways, and King Philip was so 
perfidious, that Arthur, between the two, might as well have been a 
lamb between a fox and a wolf.  But, being so young, he was ardent 
and flushed with hope; and, when the people of Brittany (which was 
his inheritance) sent him five hundred more knights and five 
thousand foot soldiers, he believed his fortune was made.  The 
people of Brittany had been fond of him from his birth, and had 
requested that he might be called Arthur, in remembrance of that 
dimly-famous English Arthur, of whom I told you early in this book, 
whom they believed to have been the brave friend and companion of 
an old King of their own.  They had tales among them about a 
prophet called MERLIN (of the same old time), who had foretold that 
their own King should be restored to them after hundreds of years; 
and they believed that the prophecy would be fulfilled in Arthur; 
that the time would come when he would rule them with a crown of 
Brittany upon his head; and when neither King of France nor King of 
England would have any power over them.  When Arthur found himself 
riding in a glittering suit of armour on a richly caparisoned 
horse, at the head of his train of knights and soldiers, he began 
to believe this too, and to consider old Merlin a very superior 

He did not know - how could he, being so innocent and 
inexperienced? - that his little army was a mere nothing against 
the power of the King of England.  The French King knew it; but the 
poor boy's fate was little to him, so that the King of England was 
worried and distressed.  Therefore, King Philip went his way into 
Normandy and Prince Arthur went his way towards Mirebeau, a French 
town near Poictiers, both very well pleased.

Prince Arthur went to attack the town of Mirebeau, because his 
grandmother Eleanor, who has so often made her appearance in this 
history (and who had always been his mother's enemy), was living 
there, and because his Knights said, 'Prince, if you can take her 
prisoner, you will be able to bring the King your uncle to terms!'  
But she was not to be easily taken.  She was old enough by this 
time - eighty - but she was as full of stratagem as she was full of 
years and wickedness.  Receiving intelligence of young Arthur's 
approach, she shut herself up in a high tower, and encouraged her 
soldiers to defend it like men.  Prince Arthur with his little army 
besieged the high tower.  King John, hearing how matters stood, 
came up to the rescue, with HIS army.  So here was a strange 
family-party!  The boy-Prince besieging his grandmother, and his 
uncle besieging him!

This position of affairs did not last long.  One summer night King 
John, by treachery, got his men into the town, surprised Prince 
Arthur's force, took two hundred of his knights, and seized the 
Prince himself in his bed.  The Knights were put in heavy irons, 
and driven away in open carts drawn by bullocks, to various 
dungeons where they were most inhumanly treated, and where some of 
them were starved to death.  Prince Arthur was sent to the castle 
of Falaise.

One day, while he was in prison at that castle, mournfully thinking 
it strange that one so young should be in so much trouble, and 
looking out of the small window in the deep dark wall, at the 
summer sky and the birds, the door was softly opened, and he saw 
his uncle the King standing in the shadow of the archway, looking 
very grim.

'Arthur,' said the King, with his wicked eyes more on the stone 
floor than on his nephew, 'will you not trust to the gentleness, 
the friendship, and the truthfulness of your loving uncle?'

'I will tell my loving uncle that,' replied the boy, 'when he does 
me right.  Let him restore to me my kingdom of England, and then 
come to me and ask the question.'

The King looked at him and went out.  'Keep that boy close 
prisoner,' said he to the warden of the castle.

Then, the King took secret counsel with the worst of his nobles how 
the Prince was to be got rid of.  Some said, 'Put out his eyes and 
keep him in prison, as Robort of Normandy was kept.'  Others said, 
'Have him stabbed.'  Others, 'Have him hanged.'  Others, 'Have him 

King John, feeling that in any case, whatever was done afterwards, 
it would be a satisfaction to his mind to have those handsome eyes 
burnt out that had looked at him so proudly while his own royal 
eyes were blinking at the stone floor, sent certain ruffians to 
Falaise to blind the boy with red-hot irons.  But Arthur so 
pathetically entreated them, and shed such piteous tears, and so 
appealed to HUBERT DE BOURG (or BURGH), the warden of the castle, 
who had a love for him, and was an honourable, tender man, that 
Hubert could not bear it.  To his eternal honour he prevented the 
torture from being performed, and, at his own risk, sent the 
savages away.

The chafed and disappointed King bethought himself of the stabbing 
suggestion next, and, with his shuffling manner and his cruel face, 
proposed it to one William de Bray.  'I am a gentleman and not an 
executioner,' said William de Bray, and left the presence with 

But it was not difficult for a King to hire a murderer in those 
days.  King John found one for his money, and sent him down to the 
castle of Falaise.  'On what errand dost thou come?' said Hubert to 
this fellow.  'To despatch young Arthur,' he returned.  'Go back to 
him who sent thee,' answered Hubert, 'and say that I will do it!'

King John very well knowing that Hubert would never do it, but that 
he courageously sent this reply to save the Prince or gain time, 
despatched messengers to convey the young prisoner to the castle of 

Arthur was soon forced from the good Hubert - of whom he had never 
stood in greater need than then - carried away by night, and lodged 
in his new prison:  where, through his grated window, he could hear 
the deep waters of the river Seine, rippling against the stone wall 

One dark night, as he lay sleeping, dreaming perhaps of rescue by 
those unfortunate gentlemen who were obscurely suffering and dying 
in his cause, he was roused, and bidden by his jailer to come down 
the staircase to the foot of the tower.  He hurriedly dressed 
himself and obeyed.  When they came to the bottom of the winding 
stairs, and the night air from the river blew upon their faces, the 
jailer trod upon his torch and put it out.  Then, Arthur, in the 
darkness, was hurriedly drawn into a solitary boat.  And in that 
boat, he found his uncle and one other man.

He knelt to them, and prayed them not to murder him.  Deaf to his 
entreaties, they stabbed him and sunk his body in the river with 
heavy stones.  When the spring-morning broke, the tower-door was 
closed, the boat was gone, the river sparkled on its way, and never 
more was any trace of the poor boy beheld by mortal eyes.

The news of this atrocious murder being spread in England, awakened 
a hatred of the King (already odious for his many vices, and for 
his having stolen away and married a noble lady while his own wife 
was living) that never slept again through his whole reign.  In 
Brittany, the indignation was intense.  Arthur's own sister ELEANOR 
was in the power of John and shut up in a convent at Bristol, but 
his half-sister ALICE was in Brittany.  The people chose her, and 
the murdered prince's father-in-law, the last husband of Constance, 
to represent them; and carried their fiery complaints to King 
Philip.  King Philip summoned King John (as the holder of territory 
in France) to come before him and defend himself.  King John 
refusing to appear, King Philip declared him false, perjured, and 
guilty; and again made war.  In a little time, by conquering the 
greater part of his French territory, King Philip deprived him of 
one-third of his dominions.  And, through all the fighting that 
took place, King John was always found, either to be eating and 
drinking, like a gluttonous fool, when the danger was at a 
distance, or to be running away, like a beaten cur, when it was 

You might suppose that when he was losing his dominions at this 
rate, and when his own nobles cared so little for him or his cause 
that they plainly refused to follow his banner out of England, he 
had enemies enough.  But he made another enemy of the Pope, which 
he did in this way.

The Archbishop of Canterbury dying, and the junior monks of that 
place wishing to get the start of the senior monks in the 
appointment of his successor, met together at midnight, secretly 
elected a certain REGINALD, and sent him off to Rome to get the 
Pope's approval.  The senior monks and the King soon finding this 
out, and being very angry about it, the junior monks gave way, and 
all the monks together elected the Bishop of Norwich, who was the 
King's favourite.  The Pope, hearing the whole story, declared that 
neither election would do for him, and that HE elected STEPHEN 
LANGTON.  The monks submitting to the Pope, the King turned them 
all out bodily, and banished them as traitors.  The Pope sent three 
bishops to the King, to threaten him with an Interdict.  The King 
told the bishops that if any Interdict were laid upon his kingdom, 
he would tear out the eyes and cut off the noses of all the monks 
he could lay hold of, and send them over to Rome in that 
undecorated state as a present for their master.  The bishops, 
nevertheless, soon published the Interdict, and fled.

After it had lasted a year, the Pope proceeded to his next step; 
which was Excommunication.  King John was declared excommunicated, 
with all the usual ceremonies.  The King was so incensed at this, 
and was made so desperate by the disaffection of his Barons and the 
hatred of his people, that it is said he even privately sent 
ambassadors to the Turks in Spain, offering to renounce his 
religion and hold his kingdom of them if they would help him.  It 
is related that the ambassadors were admitted to the presence of 
the Turkish Emir through long lines of Moorish guards, and that 
they found the Emir with his eyes seriously fixed on the pages of a 
large book, from which he never once looked up.  That they gave him 
a letter from the King containing his proposals, and were gravely 
dismissed.  That presently the Emir sent for one of them, and 
conjured him, by his faith in his religion, to say what kind of man 
the King of England truly was?  That the ambassador, thus pressed, 
replied that the King of England was a false tyrant, against whom 
his own subjects would soon rise.  And that this was quite enough 
for the Emir.

Money being, in his position, the next best thing to men, King John 
spared no means of getting it.  He set on foot another oppressing 
and torturing of the unhappy Jews (which was quite in his way), and 
invented a new punishment for one wealthy Jew of Bristol.  Until 
such time as that Jew should produce a certain large sum of money, 
the King sentenced him to be imprisoned, and, every day, to have 
one tooth violently wrenched out of his head - beginning with the 
double teeth.  For seven days, the oppressed man bore the daily 
pain and lost the daily tooth; but, on the eighth, he paid the 
money.  With the treasure raised in such ways, the King made an 
expedition into Ireland, where some English nobles had revolted.  
It was one of the very few places from which he did not run away; 
because no resistance was shown.  He made another expedition into 
Wales - whence he DID run away in the end:  but not before he had 
got from the Welsh people, as hostages, twenty-seven young men of 
the best families; every one of whom he caused to be slain in the 
following year.

To Interdict and Excommunication, the Pope now added his last 
sentence; Deposition.  He proclaimed John no longer King, absolved 
all his subjects from their allegiance, and sent Stephen Langton 
and others to the King of France to tell him that, if he would 
invade England, he should be forgiven all his sins - at least, 
should be forgiven them by the Pope, if that would do.

As there was nothing that King Philip desired more than to invade 
England, he collected a great army at Rouen, and a fleet of 
seventeen hundred ships to bring them over.  But the English 
people, however bitterly they hated the King, were not a people to 
suffer invasion quietly.  They flocked to Dover, where the English 
standard was, in such great numbers to enrol themselves as 
defenders of their native land, that there were not provisions for 
them, and the King could only select and retain sixty thousand.  
But, at this crisis, the Pope, who had his own reasons for 
objecting to either King John or King Philip being too powerful, 
interfered.  He entrusted a legate, whose name was PANDOLF, with 
the easy task of frightening King John.  He sent him to the English 
Camp, from France, to terrify him with exaggerations of King 
Philip's power, and his own weakness in the discontent of the 
English Barons and people.  Pandolf discharged his commission so 
well, that King John, in a wretched panic, consented to acknowledge 
Stephen Langton; to resign his kingdom 'to God, Saint Peter, and 
Saint Paul' - which meant the Pope; and to hold it, ever 
afterwards, by the Pope's leave, on payment of an annual sum of 
money.  To this shameful contract he publicly bound himself in the 
church of the Knights Templars at Dover:  where he laid at the 
legate's feet a part of the tribute, which the legate haughtily 
trampled upon.  But they DO say, that this was merely a genteel 
flourish, and that he was afterwards seen to pick it up and pocket 

There was an unfortunate prophet, the name of Peter, who had 
greatly increased King John's terrors by predicting that he would 
be unknighted (which the King supposed to signify that he would 
die) before the Feast of the Ascension should be past.  That was 
the day after this humiliation.  When the next morning came, and 
the King, who had been trembling all night, found himself alive and 
safe, he ordered the prophet - and his son too - to be dragged 
through the streets at the tails of horses, and then hanged, for 
having frightened him.

As King John had now submitted, the Pope, to King Philip's great 
astonishment, took him under his protection, and informed King 
Philip that he found he could not give him leave to invade England.  
The angry Philip resolved to do it without his leave but he gained 
nothing and lost much; for, the English, commanded by the Earl of 
Salisbury, went over, in five hundred ships, to the French coast, 
before the French fleet had sailed away from it, and utterly 
defeated the whole.

The Pope then took off his three sentences, one after another, and 
empowered Stephen Langton publicly to receive King John into the 
favour of the Church again, and to ask him to dinner.  The King, 
who hated Langton with all his might and main - and with reason 
too, for he was a great and a good man, with whom such a King could 
have no sympathy - pretended to cry and to be VERY grateful.  There 
was a little difficulty about settling how much the King should pay 
as a recompense to the clergy for the losses he had caused them; 
but, the end of it was, that the superior clergy got a good deal, 
and the inferior clergy got little or nothing - which has also 
happened since King John's time, I believe.

When all these matters were arranged, the King in his triumph 
became more fierce, and false, and insolent to all around him than 
he had ever been.  An alliance of sovereigns against King Philip, 
gave him an opportunity of landing an army in France; with which he 
even took a town!  But, on the French King's gaining a great 
victory, he ran away, of course, and made a truce for five years.

And now the time approached when he was to be still further 
humbled, and made to feel, if he could feel anything, what a 
wretched creature he was.  Of all men in the world, Stephen Langton 
seemed raised up by Heaven to oppose and subdue him.  When he 
ruthlessly burnt and destroyed the property of his own subjects, 
because their Lords, the Barons, would not serve him abroad, 
Stephen Langton fearlessly reproved and threatened him.  When he 
swore to restore the laws of King Edward, or the laws of King Henry 
the First, Stephen Langton knew his falsehood, and pursued him 
through all his evasions.  When the Barons met at the abbey of 
Saint Edmund's-Bury, to consider their wrongs and the King's 
oppressions, Stephen Langton roused them by his fervid words to 
demand a solemn charter of rights and liberties from their perjured 
master, and to swear, one by one, on the High Altar, that they 
would have it, or would wage war against him to the death.  When 
the King hid himself in London from the Barons, and was at last 
obliged to receive them, they told him roundly they would not 
believe him unless Stephen Langton became a surety that he would 
keep his word.  When he took the Cross to invest himself with some 
interest, and belong to something that was received with favour, 
Stephen Langton was still immovable.  When he appealed to the Pope, 
and the Pope wrote to Stephen Langton in behalf of his new 
favourite, Stephen Langton was deaf, even to the Pope himself, and 
saw before him nothing but the welfare of England and the crimes of 
the English King.

At Easter-time, the Barons assembled at Stamford, in Lincolnshire, 
in proud array, and, marching near to Oxford where the King was, 
delivered into the hands of Stephen Langton and two others, a list 
of grievances.  'And these,' they said, 'he must redress, or we 
will do it for ourselves!'  When Stephen Langton told the King as 
much, and read the list to him, he went half mad with rage.  But 
that did him no more good than his afterwards trying to pacify the 
Barons with lies.  They called themselves and their followers, 'The 
army of God and the Holy Church.'  Marching through the country, 
with the people thronging to them everywhere (except at 
Northampton, where they failed in an attack upon the castle), they 
at last triumphantly set up their banner in London itself, whither 
the whole land, tired of the tyrant, seemed to flock to join them.  
Seven knights alone, of all the knights in England, remained with 
the King; who, reduced to this strait, at last sent the Earl of 
Pembroke to the Barons to say that he approved of everything, and 
would meet them to sign their charter when they would.  'Then,' 
said the Barons, 'let the day be the fifteenth of June, and the 
place, Runny-Mead.'

On Monday, the fifteenth of June, one thousand two hundred and 
fourteen, the King came from Windsor Castle, and the Barons came 
from the town of Staines, and they met on Runny-Mead, which is 
still a pleasant meadow by the Thames, where rushes grow in the 
clear water of the winding river, and its banks are green with 
grass and trees.  On the side of the Barons, came the General of 
their army, ROBERT FITZ-WALTER, and a great concourse of the 
nobility of England.  With the King, came, in all, some four-and-
twenty persons of any note, most of whom despised him, and were 
merely his advisers in form.  On that great day, and in that great 
company, the King signed MAGNA CHARTA - the great charter of 
England - by which he pledged himself to maintain the Church in its 
rights; to relieve the Barons of oppressive obligations as vassals 
of the Crown - of which the Barons, in their turn, pledged 
themselves to relieve THEIR vassals, the people; to respect the 
liberties of London and all other cities and boroughs; to protect 
foreign merchants who came to England; to imprison no man without a 
fair trial; and to sell, delay, or deny justice to none.  As the 
Barons knew his falsehood well, they further required, as their 
securities, that he should send out of his kingdom all his foreign 
troops; that for two months they should hold possession of the city 
of London, and Stephen Langton of the Tower; and that five-and-
twenty of their body, chosen by themselves, should be a lawful 
committee to watch the keeping of the charter, and to make war upon 
him if he broke it.

All this he was obliged to yield.  He signed the charter with a 
smile, and, if he could have looked agreeable, would have done so, 
as he departed from the splendid assembly.  When he got home to 
Windsor Castle, he was quite a madman in his helpless fury.  And he 
broke the charter immediately afterwards.

He sent abroad for foreign soldiers, and sent to the Pope for help, 
and plotted to take London by surprise, while the Barons should be 
holding a great tournament at Stamford, which they had agreed to 
hold there as a celebration of the charter.  The Barons, however, 
found him out and put it off.  Then, when the Barons desired to see 
him and tax him with his treachery, he made numbers of appointments 
with them, and kept none, and shifted from place to place, and was 
constantly sneaking and skulking about.  At last he appeared at 
Dover, to join his foreign soldiers, of whom numbers came into his 
pay; and with them he besieged and took Rochester Castle, which was 
occupied by knights and soldiers of the Barons.  He would have 
hanged them every one; but the leader of the foreign soldiers, 
fearful of what the English people might afterwards do to him, 
interfered to save the knights; therefore the King was fain to 
satisfy his vengeance with the death of all the common men.  Then, 
he sent the Earl of Salisbury, with one portion of his army, to 
ravage the eastern part of his own dominions, while he carried fire 
and slaughter into the northern part; torturing, plundering, 
killing, and inflicting every possible cruelty upon the people; 
and, every morning, setting a worthy example to his men by setting 
fire, with his own monster-hands, to the house where he had slept 
last night.  Nor was this all; for the Pope, coming to the aid of 
his precious friend, laid the kingdom under an Interdict again, 
because the people took part with the Barons.  It did not much 
matter, for the people had grown so used to it now, that they had 
begun to think nothing about it.  It occurred to them - perhaps to 
Stephen Langton too - that they could keep their churches open, and 
ring their bells, without the Pope's permission as well as with it.  
So, they tried the experiment - and found that it succeeded 

It being now impossible to bear the country, as a wilderness of 
cruelty, or longer to hold any terms with such a forsworn outlaw of 
a King, the Barons sent to Louis, son of the French monarch, to 
offer him the English crown.  Caring as little for the Pope's 
excommunication of him if he accepted the offer, as it is possible 
his father may have cared for the Pope's forgiveness of his sins, 
he landed at Sandwich (King John immediately running away from 
Dover, where he happened to be), and went on to London.  The 
Scottish King, with whom many of the Northern English Lords had 
taken refuge; numbers of the foreign soldiers, numbers of the 
Barons, and numbers of the people went over to him every day; - 
King John, the while, continually running away in all directions.

The career of Louis was checked however, by the suspicions of the 
Barons, founded on the dying declaration of a French Lord, that 
when the kingdom was conquered he was sworn to banish them as 
traitors, and to give their estates to some of his own Nobles.  
Rather than suffer this, some of the Barons hesitated:  others even 
went over to King John.

It seemed to be the turning-point of King John's fortunes, for, in 
his savage and murderous course, he had now taken some towns and 
met with some successes.  But, happily for England and humanity, 
his death was near.  Crossing a dangerous quicksand, called the 
Wash, not very far from Wisbeach, the tide came up and nearly 
drowned his army.  He and his soldiers escaped; but, looking back 
from the shore when he was safe, he saw the roaring water sweep 
down in a torrent, overturn the waggons, horses, and men, that 
carried his treasure, and engulf them in a raging whirlpool from 
which nothing could be delivered.

Cursing, and swearing, and gnawing his fingers, he went on to 
Swinestead Abbey, where the monks set before him quantities of 
pears, and peaches, and new cider - some say poison too, but there 
is very little reason to suppose so - of which he ate and drank in 
an immoderate and beastly way.  All night he lay ill of a burning 
fever, and haunted with horrible fears.  Next day, they put him in 
a horse-litter, and carried him to Sleaford Castle, where he passed 
another night of pain and horror.  Next day, they carried him, with 
greater difficulty than on the day before, to the castle of Newark 
upon Trent; and there, on the eighteenth of October, in the forty-
ninth year of his age, and the seventeenth of his vile reign, was 
an end of this miserable brute.


IF any of the English Barons remembered the murdered Arthur's 
sister, Eleanor the fair maid of Brittany, shut up in her convent 
at Bristol, none among them spoke of her now, or maintained her 
right to the Crown.  The dead Usurper's eldest boy, HENRY by name, 
was taken by the Earl of Pembroke, the Marshal of England, to the 
city of Gloucester, and there crowned in great haste when he was 
only ten years old.  As the Crown itself had been lost with the 
King's treasure in the raging water, and as there was no time to 
make another, they put a circle of plain gold upon his head 
instead.  'We have been the enemies of this child's father,' said 
Lord Pembroke, a good and true gentleman, to the few Lords who were 
present, 'and he merited our ill-will; but the child himself is 
innocent, and his youth demands our friendship and protection.'  
Those Lords felt tenderly towards the little boy, remembering their 
own young children; and they bowed their heads, and said, 'Long 
live King Henry the Third!'

Next, a great council met at Bristol, revised Magna Charta, and 
made Lord Pembroke Regent or Protector of England, as the King was 
too young to reign alone.  The next thing to be done, was to get 
rid of Prince Louis of France, and to win over those English Barons 
who were still ranged under his banner.  He was strong in many 
parts of England, and in London itself; and he held, among other 
places, a certain Castle called the Castle of Mount Sorel, in 
Leicestershire.  To this fortress, after some skirmishing and 
truce-making, Lord Pembroke laid siege.  Louis despatched an army 
of six hundred knights and twenty thousand soldiers to relieve it.  
Lord Pembroke, who was not strong enough for such a force, retired 
with all his men.  The army of the French Prince, which had marched 
there with fire and plunder, marched away with fire and plunder, 
and came, in a boastful swaggering manner, to Lincoln.  The town 
submitted; but the Castle in the town, held by a brave widow lady, 
named NICHOLA DE CAMVILLE (whose property it was), made such a 
sturdy resistance, that the French Count in command of the army of 
the French Prince found it necessary to besiege this Castle.  While 
he was thus engaged, word was brought to him that Lord Pembroke, 
with four hundred knights, two hundred and fifty men with cross-
bows, and a stout force both of horse and foot, was marching 
towards him.  'What care I?' said the French Count.  'The 
Englishman is not so mad as to attack me and my great army in a 
walled town!'  But the Englishman did it for all that, and did it - 
not so madly but so wisely, that he decoyed the great army into the 
narrow, ill-paved lanes and byways of Lincoln, where its horse-
soldiers could not ride in any strong body; and there he made such 
havoc with them, that the whole force surrendered themselves 
prisoners, except the Count; who said that he would never yield to 
any English traitor alive, and accordingly got killed.  The end of 
this victory, which the English called, for a joke, the Fair of 
Lincoln, was the usual one in those times - the common men were 
slain without any mercy, and the knights and gentlemen paid ransom 
and went home.

The wife of Louis, the fair BLANCHE OF CASTILE, dutifully equipped 
a fleet of eighty good ships, and sent it over from France to her 
husband's aid.  An English fleet of forty ships, some good and some 
bad, gallantly met them near the mouth of the Thames, and took or 
sunk sixty-five in one fight.  This great loss put an end to the 
French Prince's hopes.  A treaty was made at Lambeth, in virtue of 
which the English Barons who had remained attached to his cause 
returned to their allegiance, and it was engaged on both sides that 
the Prince and all his troops should retire peacefully to France.  
It was time to go; for war had made him so poor that he was obliged 
to borrow money from the citizens of London to pay his expenses 

Lord Pembroke afterwards applied himself to governing the country 
justly, and to healing the quarrels and disturbances that had 
arisen among men in the days of the bad King John.  He caused Magna 
Charta to be still more improved, and so amended the Forest Laws 
that a Peasant was no longer put to death for killing a stag in a 
Royal Forest, but was only imprisoned.  It would have been well for 
England if it could have had so good a Protector many years longer, 
but that was not to be.  Within three years after the young King's 
Coronation, Lord Pembroke died; and you may see his tomb, at this 
day, in the old Temple Church in London.

The Protectorship was now divided.  PETER DE ROCHES, whom King John 
had made Bishop of Winchester, was entrusted with the care of the 
person of the young sovereign; and the exercise of the Royal 
authority was confided to EARL HUBERT DE BURGH.  These two 
personages had from the first no liking for each other, and soon 
became enemies.  When the young King was declared of age, Peter de 
Roches, finding that Hubert increased in power and favour, retired 
discontentedly, and went abroad.  For nearly ten years afterwards 
Hubert had full sway alone.

But ten years is a long time to hold the favour of a King.  This 
King, too, as he grew up, showed a strong resemblance to his 
father, in feebleness, inconsistency, and irresolution.  The best 
that can be said of him is that he was not cruel.  De Roches coming 
home again, after ten years, and being a novelty, the King began to 
favour him and to look coldly on Hubert.  Wanting money besides, 
and having made Hubert rich, he began to dislike Hubert.  At last 
he was made to believe, or pretended to believe, that Hubert had 
misappropriated some of the Royal treasure; and ordered him to 
furnish an account of all he had done in his administration.  
Besides which, the foolish charge was brought against Hubert that 
he had made himself the King's favourite by magic.  Hubert very 
well knowing that he could never defend himself against such 
nonsense, and that his old enemy must be determined on his ruin, 
instead of answering the charges fled to Merton Abbey.  Then the 
King, in a violent passion, sent for the Mayor of London, and said 
to the Mayor, 'Take twenty thousand citizens, and drag me Hubert de 
Burgh out of that abbey, and bring him here.'  The Mayor posted off 
to do it, but the Archbishop of Dublin (who was a friend of 
Hubert's) warning the King that an abbey was a sacred place, and 
that if he committed any violence there, he must answer for it to 
the Church, the King changed his mind and called the Mayor back, 
and declared that Hubert should have four months to prepare his 
defence, and should be safe and free during that time.

Hubert, who relied upon the King's word, though I think he was old 
enough to have known better, came out of Merton Abbey upon these 
conditions, and journeyed away to see his wife:  a Scottish 
Princess who was then at St. Edmund's-Bury.

Almost as soon as he had departed from the Sanctuary, his enemies 
persuaded the weak King to send out one SIR GODFREY DE CRANCUMB, 
who commanded three hundred vagabonds called the Black Band, with 
orders to seize him.  They came up with him at a little town in 
Essex, called Brentwood, when he was in bed.  He leaped out of bed, 
got out of the house, fled to the church, ran up to the altar, and 
laid his hand upon the cross.  Sir Godfrey and the Black Band, 
caring neither for church, altar, nor cross, dragged him forth to 
the church door, with their drawn swords flashing round his head, 
and sent for a Smith to rivet a set of chains upon him.  When the 
Smith (I wish I knew his name!) was brought, all dark and swarthy 
with the smoke of his forge, and panting with the speed he had 
made; and the Black Band, falling aside to show him the Prisoner, 
cried with a loud uproar, 'Make the fetters heavy! make them 
strong!' the Smith dropped upon his knee - but not to the Black 
Band - and said, 'This is the brave Earl Hubert de Burgh, who 
fought at Dover Castle, and destroyed the French fleet, and has 
done his country much good service.  You may kill me, if you like, 
but I will never make a chain for Earl Hubert de Burgh!'

The Black Band never blushed, or they might have blushed at this.  
They knocked the Smith about from one to another, and swore at him, 
and tied the Earl on horseback, undressed as he was, and carried 
him off to the Tower of London.  The Bishops, however, were so 
indignant at the violation of the Sanctuary of the Church, that the 
frightened King soon ordered the Black Band to take him back again; 
at the same time commanding the Sheriff of Essex to prevent his 
escaping out of Brentwood Church.  Well! the Sheriff dug a deep 
trench all round the church, and erected a high fence, and watched 
the church night and day; the Black Band and their Captain watched 
it too, like three hundred and one black wolves.  For thirty-nine 
days, Hubert de Burgh remained within.  At length, upon the 
fortieth day, cold and hunger were too much for him, and he gave 
himself up to the Black Band, who carried him off, for the second 
time, to the Tower.  When his trial came on, he refused to plead; 
but at last it was arranged that he should give up all the royal 
lands which had been bestowed upon him, and should be kept at the 
Castle of Devizes, in what was called 'free prison,' in charge of 
four knights appointed by four lords.  There, he remained almost a 
year, until, learning that a follower of his old enemy the Bishop 
was made Keeper of the Castle, and fearing that he might be killed 
by treachery, he climbed the ramparts one dark night, dropped from 
the top of the high Castle wall into the moat, and coming safely to 
the ground, took refuge in another church.  From this place he was 
delivered by a party of horse despatched to his help by some 
nobles, who were by this time in revolt against the King, and 
assembled in Wales.  He was finally pardoned and restored to his 
estates, but he lived privately, and never more aspired to a high 
post in the realm, or to a high place in the King's favour.  And 
thus end - more happily than the stories of many favourites of 
Kings - the adventures of Earl Hubert de Burgh.

The nobles, who had risen in revolt, were stirred up to rebellion 
by the overbearing conduct of the Bishop of Winchester, who, 
finding that the King secretly hated the Great Charter which had 
been forced from his father, did his utmost to confirm him in that 
dislike, and in the preference he showed to foreigners over the 
English.  Of this, and of his even publicly declaring that the 
Barons of England were inferior to those of France, the English 
Lords complained with such bitterness, that the King, finding them 
well supported by the clergy, became frightened for his throne, and 
sent away the Bishop and all his foreign associates.  On his 
marriage, however, with ELEANOR, a French lady, the daughter of the 
Count of Provence, he openly favoured the foreigners again; and so 
many of his wife's relations came over, and made such an immense 
family-party at court, and got so many good things, and pocketed so 
much money, and were so high with the English whose money they 
pocketed, that the bolder English Barons murmured openly about a 
clause there was in the Great Charter, which provided for the 
banishment of unreasonable favourites.  But, the foreigners only 
laughed disdainfully, and said, 'What are your English laws to us?'

King Philip of France had died, and had been succeeded by Prince 
Louis, who had also died after a short reign of three years, and 
had been succeeded by his son of the same name - so moderate and 
just a man that he was not the least in the world like a King, as 
Kings went.  ISABELLA, King Henry's mother, wished very much (for a 
certain spite she had) that England should make war against this 
King; and, as King Henry was a mere puppet in anybody's hands who 
knew how to manage his feebleness, she easily carried her point 
with him.  But, the Parliament were determined to give him no money 
for such a war.  So, to defy the Parliament, he packed up thirty 
large casks of silver - I don't know how he got so much; I dare say 
he screwed it out of the miserable Jews - and put them aboard ship, 
and went away himself to carry war into France:  accompanied by his 
mother and his brother Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who was rich and 
clever.  But he only got well beaten, and came home.

The good-humour of the Parliament was not restored by this.  They 
reproached the King with wasting the public money to make greedy 
foreigners rich, and were so stern with him, and so determined not 
to let him have more of it to waste if they could help it, that he 
was at his wit's end for some, and tried so shamelessly to get all 
he could from his subjects, by excuses or by force, that the people 
used to say the King was the sturdiest beggar in England.  He took 
the Cross, thinking to get some money by that means; but, as it was 
very well known that he never meant to go on a crusade, he got 
none.  In all this contention, the Londoners were particularly keen 
against the King, and the King hated them warmly in return.  Hating 
or loving, however, made no difference; he continued in the same 
condition for nine or ten years, when at last the Barons said that 
if he would solemnly confirm their liberties afresh, the Parliament 
would vote him a large sum.

As he readily consented, there was a great meeting held in 
Westminster Hall, one pleasant day in May, when all the clergy, 
dressed in their robes and holding every one of them a burning 
candle in his hand, stood up (the Barons being also there) while 
the Archbishop of Canterbury read the sentence of excommunication 
against any man, and all men, who should henceforth, in any way, 
infringe the Great Charter of the Kingdom.  When he had done, they 
all put out their burning candles with a curse upon the soul of any 
one, and every one, who should merit that sentence.  The King 
concluded with an oath to keep the Charter, 'As I am a man, as I am 
a Christian, as I am a Knight, as I am a King!'

It was easy to make oaths, and easy to break them; and the King did 
both, as his father had done before him.  He took to his old 
courses again when he was supplied with money, and soon cured of 
their weakness the few who had ever really trusted him.  When his 
money was gone, and he was once more borrowing and begging 
everywhere with a meanness worthy of his nature, he got into a 
difficulty with the Pope respecting the Crown of Sicily, which the 
Pope said he had a right to give away, and which he offered to King 
Henry for his second son, PRINCE EDMUND.  But, if you or I give 
away what we have not got, and what belongs to somebody else, it is 
likely that the person to whom we give it, will have some trouble 
in taking it.  It was exactly so in this case.  It was necessary to 
conquer the Sicilian Crown before it could be put upon young 
Edmund's head.  It could not be conquered without money.  The Pope 
ordered the clergy to raise money.  The clergy, however, were not 
so obedient to him as usual; they had been disputing with him for 
some time about his unjust preference of Italian Priests in 
England; and they had begun to doubt whether the King's chaplain, 
whom he allowed to be paid for preaching in seven hundred churches, 
could possibly be, even by the Pope's favour, in seven hundred 
places at once.  'The Pope and the King together,' said the Bishop 
of London, 'may take the mitre off my head; but, if they do, they 
will find that I shall put on a soldier's helmet.  I pay nothing.'  
The Bishop of Worcester was as bold as the Bishop of London, and 
would pay nothing either.  Such sums as the more timid or more 
helpless of the clergy did raise were squandered away, without 
doing any good to the King, or bringing the Sicilian Crown an inch 
nearer to Prince Edmund's head.  The end of the business was, that 
the Pope gave the Crown to the brother of the King of France (who 
conquered it for himself), and sent the King of England in, a bill 
of one hundred thousand pounds for the expenses of not having won 

The King was now so much distressed that we might almost pity him, 
if it were possible to pity a King so shabby and ridiculous.  His 
clever brother, Richard, had bought the title of King of the Romans 
from the German people, and was no longer near him, to help him 
with advice.  The clergy, resisting the very Pope, were in alliance 
with the Barons.  The Barons were headed by SIMON DE MONTFORT, Earl 
of Leicester, married to King Henry's sister, and, though a 
foreigner himself, the most popular man in England against the 
foreign favourites.  When the King next met his Parliament, the 
Barons, led by this Earl, came before him, armed from head to foot, 
and cased in armour.  When the Parliament again assembled, in a 
month's time, at Oxford, this Earl was at their head, and the King 
was obliged to consent, on oath, to what was called a Committee of 
Government:  consisting of twenty-four members:  twelve chosen by 
the Barons, and twelve chosen by himself.

But, at a good time for him, his brother Richard came back.  
Richard's first act (the Barons would not admit him into England on 
other terms) was to swear to be faithful to the Committee of 
Government - which he immediately began to oppose with all his 
might.  Then, the Barons began to quarrel among themselves; 
especially the proud Earl of Gloucester with the Earl of Leicester, 
who went abroad in disgust.  Then, the people began to be 
dissatisfied with the Barons, because they did not do enough for 
them.  The King's chances seemed so good again at length, that he 
took heart enough - or caught it from his brother - to tell the 
Committee of Government that he abolished them - as to his oath, 
never mind that, the Pope said! - and to seize all the money in the 
Mint, and to shut himself up in the Tower of London.  Here he was 
joined by his eldest son, Prince Edward; and, from the Tower, he 
made public a letter of the Pope's to the world in general, 
informing all men that he had been an excellent and just King for 
five-and-forty years.

As everybody knew he had been nothing of the sort, nobody cared 
much for this document.  It so chanced that the proud Earl of 
Gloucester dying, was succeeded by his son; and that his son, 
instead of being the enemy of the Earl of Leicester, was (for the 
time) his friend.  It fell out, therefore, that these two Earls 
joined their forces, took several of the Royal Castles in the 
country, and advanced as hard as they could on London.  The London 
people, always opposed to the King, declared for them with great 
joy.  The King himself remained shut up, not at all gloriously, in 
the Tower.  Prince Edward made the best of his way to Windsor 
Castle.  His mother, the Queen, attempted to follow him by water; 
but, the people seeing her barge rowing up the river, and hating 
her with all their hearts, ran to London Bridge, got together a 
quantity of stones and mud, and pelted the barge as it came 
through, crying furiously, 'Drown the Witch!  Drown her!'  They 
were so near doing it, that the Mayor took the old lady under his 
protection, and shut her up in St. Paul's until the danger was 

It would require a great deal of writing on my part, and a great 
deal of reading on yours, to follow the King through his disputes 
with the Barons, and to follow the Barons through their disputes 
with one another - so I will make short work of it for both of us, 
and only relate the chief events that arose out of these quarrels.  
The good King of France was asked to decide between them.  He gave 
it as his opinion that the King must maintain the Great Charter, 
and that the Barons must give up the Committee of Government, and 
all the rest that had been done by the Parliament at Oxford:  which 
the Royalists, or King's party, scornfully called the Mad 
Parliament.  The Barons declared that these were not fair terms, 
and they would not accept them.  Then they caused the great bell of 
St. Paul's to be tolled, for the purpose of rousing up the London 
people, who armed themselves at the dismal sound and formed quite 
an army in the streets.  I am sorry to say, however, that instead 
of falling upon the King's party with whom their quarrel was, they 
fell upon the miserable Jews, and killed at least five hundred of 
them.  They pretended that some of these Jews were on the King's 
side, and that they kept hidden in their houses, for the 
destruction of the people, a certain terrible composition called 
Greek Fire, which could not be put out with water, but only burnt 
the fiercer for it.  What they really did keep in their houses was 
money; and this their cruel enemies wanted, and this their cruel 
enemies took, like robbers and murderers.

The Earl of Leicester put himself at the head of these Londoners 
and other forces, and followed the King to Lewes in Sussex, where 
he lay encamped with his army.  Before giving the King's forces 
battle here, the Earl addressed his soldiers, and said that King 
Henry the Third had broken so many oaths, that he had become the 
enemy of God, and therefore they would wear white crosses on their 
breasts, as if they were arrayed, not against a fellow-Christian, 
but against a Turk.  White-crossed accordingly, they rushed into 
the fight.  They would have lost the day - the King having on his 
side all the foreigners in England:  and, from Scotland, JOHN 
COMYN, JOHN BALIOL, and ROBERT BRUCE, with all their men - but for 
the impatience of PRINCE EDWARD, who, in his hot desire to have 
vengeance on the people of London, threw the whole of his father's 
army into confusion.  He was taken Prisoner; so was the King; so 
was the King's brother the King of the Romans; and five thousand 
Englishmen were left dead upon the bloody grass.

For this success, the Pope excommunicated the Earl of Leicester:  
which neither the Earl nor the people cared at all about.  The 
people loved him and supported him, and he became the real King; 
having all the power of the government in his own hands, though he 
was outwardly respectful to King Henry the Third, whom he took with 
him wherever he went, like a poor old limp court-card.  He summoned 
a Parliament (in the year one thousand two hundred and sixty-five) 
which was the first Parliament in England that the people had any 
real share in electing; and he grew more and more in favour with 
the people every day, and they stood by him in whatever he did.

Many of the other Barons, and particularly the Earl of Gloucester, 
who had become by this time as proud as his father, grew jealous of 
this powerful and popular Earl, who was proud too, and began to 
conspire against him.  Since the battle of Lewes, Prince Edward had 
been kept as a hostage, and, though he was otherwise treated like a 
Prince, had never been allowed to go out without attendants 
appointed by the Earl of Leicester, who watched him.  The 
conspiring Lords found means to propose to him, in secret, that 
they should assist him to escape, and should make him their leader; 
to which he very heartily consented.

So, on a day that was agreed upon, he said to his attendants after 
dinner (being then at Hereford), 'I should like to ride on 
horseback, this fine afternoon, a little way into the country.'  As 
they, too, thought it would be very pleasant to have a canter in 
the sunshine, they all rode out of the town together in a gay 
little troop.  When they came to a fine level piece of turf, the 
Prince fell to comparing their horses one with another, and 
offering bets that one was faster than another; and the attendants, 
suspecting no harm, rode galloping matches until their horses were 
quite tired.  The Prince rode no matches himself, but looked on 
from his saddle, and staked his money.  Thus they passed the whole 
merry afternoon.  Now, the sun was setting, and they were all going 
slowly up a hill, the Prince's horse very fresh and all the other 
horses very weary, when a strange rider mounted on a grey steed 
appeared at the top of the hill, and waved his hat.  'What does the 
fellow mean?' said the attendants one to another.  The Prince 
answered on the instant by setting spurs to his horse, dashing away 
at his utmost speed, joining the man, riding into the midst of a 
little crowd of horsemen who were then seen waiting under some 
trees, and who closed around him; and so he departed in a cloud of 
dust, leaving the road empty of all but the baffled attendants, who 
sat looking at one another, while their horses drooped their ears 
and panted.

The Prince joined the Earl of Gloucester at Ludlow.  The Earl of 
Leicester, with a part of the army and the stupid old King, was at 
Hereford.  One of the Earl of Leicester's sons, Simon de Montfort, 
with another part of the army, was in Sussex.  To prevent these two 
parts from uniting was the Prince's first object.  He attacked 
Simon de Montfort by night, defeated him, seized his banners and 
treasure, and forced him into Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire, 
which belonged to his family.

His father, the Earl of Leicester, in the meanwhile, not knowing 
what had happened, marched out of Hereford, with his part of the 
army and the King, to meet him.  He came, on a bright morning in 
August, to Evesham, which is watered by the pleasant river Avon.  
Looking rather anxiously across the prospect towards Kenilworth, he 
saw his own banners advancing; and his face brightened with joy.  
But, it clouded darkly when he presently perceived that the banners 
were captured, and in the enemy's hands; and he said, 'It is over.  
The Lord have mercy on our souls, for our bodies are Prince 

He fought like a true Knight, nevertheless.  When his horse was 
killed under him, he fought on foot.  It was a fierce battle, and 
the dead lay in heaps everywhere.  The old King, stuck up in a suit 
of armour on a big war-horse, which didn't mind him at all, and 
which carried him into all sorts of places where he didn't want to 
go, got into everybody's way, and very nearly got knocked on the 
head by one of his son's men.  But he managed to pipe out, 'I am 
Harry of Winchester!' and the Prince, who heard him, seized his 
bridle, and took him out of peril.  The Earl of Leicester still 
fought bravely, until his best son Henry was killed, and the bodies 
of his best friends choked his path; and then he fell, still 
fighting, sword in hand.  They mangled his body, and sent it as a 
present to a noble lady - but a very unpleasant lady, I should 
think - who was the wife of his worst enemy.  They could not mangle 
his memory in the minds of the faithful people, though.  Many years 
afterwards, they loved him more than ever, and regarded him as a 
Saint, and always spoke of him as 'Sir Simon the Righteous.'

And even though he was dead, the cause for which he had fought 
still lived, and was strong, and forced itself upon the King in the 
very hour of victory.  Henry found himself obliged to respect the 
Great Charter, however much he hated it, and to make laws similar 
to the laws of the Great Earl of Leicester, and to be moderate and 
forgiving towards the people at last - even towards the people of 
London, who had so long opposed him.  There were more risings 
before all this was done, but they were set at rest by these means, 
and Prince Edward did his best in all things to restore peace.  One 
Sir Adam de Gourdon was the last dissatisfied knight in arms; but, 
the Prince vanquished him in single combat, in a wood, and nobly 
gave him his life, and became his friend, instead of slaying him.  
Sir Adam was not ungrateful.  He ever afterwards remained devoted 
to his generous conqueror.

When the troubles of the Kingdom were thus calmed, Prince Edward 
and his cousin Henry took the Cross, and went away to the Holy 
Land, with many English Lords and Knights.  Four years afterwards 
the King of the Romans died, and, next year (one thousand two 
hundred and seventy-two), his brother the weak King of England 
died.  He was sixty-eight years old then, and had reigned fifty-six 
years.  He was as much of a King in death, as he had ever been in 
life.  He was the mere pale shadow of a King at all times.


IT was now the year of our Lord one thousand two hundred and 
seventy-two; and Prince Edward, the heir to the throne, being away 
in the Holy Land, knew nothing of his father's death.  The Barons, 
however, proclaimed him King, immediately after the Royal funeral; 
and the people very willingly consented, since most men knew too 
well by this time what the horrors of a contest for the crown were.  
So King Edward the First, called, in a not very complimentary 
manner, LONGSHANKS, because of the slenderness of his legs, was 
peacefully accepted by the English Nation.

His legs had need to be strong, however long and thin they were; 
for they had to support him through many difficulties on the fiery 
sands of Asia, where his small force of soldiers fainted, died, 
deserted, and seemed to melt away.  But his prowess made light of 
it, and he said, 'I will go on, if I go on with no other follower 
than my groom!'

A Prince of this spirit gave the Turks a deal of trouble.  He 
stormed Nazareth, at which place, of all places on earth, I am 
sorry to relate, he made a frightful slaughter of innocent people; 
and then he went to Acre, where he got a truce of ten years from 
the Sultan.  He had very nearly lost his life in Acre, through the 
treachery of a Saracen Noble, called the Emir of Jaffa, who, making 
the pretence that he had some idea of turning Christian and wanted 
to know all about that religion, sent a trusty messenger to Edward 
very often - with a dagger in his sleeve.  At last, one Friday in 
Whitsun week, when it was very hot, and all the sandy prospect lay 
beneath the blazing sun, burnt up like a great overdone biscuit, 
and Edward was lying on a couch, dressed for coolness in only a 
loose robe, the messenger, with his chocolate-coloured face and his 
bright dark eyes and white teeth, came creeping in with a letter, 
and kneeled down like a tame tiger.  But, the moment Edward 
stretched out his hand to take the letter, the tiger made a spring 
at his heart.  He was quick, but Edward was quick too.  He seized 
the traitor by his chocolate throat, threw him to the ground, and 
slew him with the very dagger he had drawn.  The weapon had struck 
Edward in the arm, and although the wound itself was slight, it 
threatened to be mortal, for the blade of the dagger had been 
smeared with poison.  Thanks, however, to a better surgeon than was 
often to be found in those times, and to some wholesome herbs, and 
above all, to his faithful wife, ELEANOR, who devotedly nursed him, 
and is said by some to have sucked the poison from the wound with 
her own red lips (which I am very willing to believe), Edward soon 
recovered and was sound again.

As the King his father had sent entreaties to him to return home, 
he now began the journey.  He had got as far as Italy, when he met 
messengers who brought him intelligence of the King's death.  
Hearing that all was quiet at home, he made no haste to return to 
his own dominions, but paid a visit to the Pope, and went in state 
through various Italian Towns, where he was welcomed with 
acclamations as a mighty champion of the Cross from the Holy Land, 
and where he received presents of purple mantles and prancing 
horses, and went along in great triumph.  The shouting people 
little knew that he was the last English monarch who would ever 
embark in a crusade, or that within twenty years every conquest 
which the Christians had made in the Holy Land at the cost of so 
much blood, would be won back by the Turks.  But all this came to 

There was, and there is, an old town standing in a plain in France, 
called Châlons.  When the King was coming towards this place on his 
way to England, a wily French Lord, called the Count of Châlons, 
sent him a polite challenge to come with his knights and hold a 
fair tournament with the Count and HIS knights, and make a day of 
it with sword and lance.  It was represented to the King that the 
Count of Châlons was not to be trusted, and that, instead of a 
holiday fight for mere show and in good humour, he secretly meant a 
real battle, in which the English should be defeated by superior 

The King, however, nothing afraid, went to the appointed place on 
the appointed day with a thousand followers.  When the Count came 
with two thousand and attacked the English in earnest, the English 
rushed at them with such valour that the Count's men and the 
Count's horses soon began to be tumbled down all over the field.  
The Count himself seized the King round the neck, but the King 
tumbled HIM out of his saddle in return for the compliment, and, 
jumping from his own horse, and standing over him, beat away at his 
iron armour like a blacksmith hammering on his anvil.  Even when 
the Count owned himself defeated and offered his sword, the King 
would not do him the honour to take it, but made him yield it up to 
a common soldier.  There had been such fury shown in this fight, 
that it was afterwards called the little Battle of Châlons.

The English were very well disposed to be proud of their King after 
these adventures; so, when he landed at Dover in the year one 
thousand two hundred and seventy-four (being then thirty-six years 
old), and went on to Westminster where he and his good Queen were 
crowned with great magnificence, splendid rejoicings took place.  
For the coronation-feast there were provided, among other eatables, 
four hundred oxen, four hundred sheep, four hundred and fifty pigs, 
eighteen wild boars, three hundred flitches of bacon, and twenty 
thousand fowls.  The fountains and conduits in the street flowed 
with red and white wine instead of water; the rich citizens hung 
silks and cloths of the brightest colours out of their windows to 
increase the beauty of the show, and threw out gold and silver by 
whole handfuls to make scrambles for the crowd.  In short, there 
was such eating and drinking, such music and capering, such a 
ringing of bells and tossing of caps, such a shouting, and singing, 
and revelling, as the narrow overhanging streets of old London City 
had not witnessed for many a long day.  All the people were merry 
except the poor Jews, who, trembling within their houses, and 
scarcely daring to peep out, began to foresee that they would have 
to find the money for this joviality sooner or later.

To dismiss this sad subject of the Jews for the present, I am sorry 
to add that in this reign they were most unmercifully pillaged.  
They were hanged in great numbers, on accusations of having clipped 
the King's coin - which all kinds of people had done.  They were 
heavily taxed; they were disgracefully badged; they were, on one 
day, thirteen years after the coronation, taken up with their wives 
and children and thrown into beastly prisons, until they purchased 
their release by paying to the King twelve thousand pounds.  
Finally, every kind of property belonging to them was seized by the 
King, except so little as would defray the charge of their taking 
themselves away into foreign countries.  Many years elapsed before 
the hope of gain induced any of their race to return to England, 
where they had been treated so heartlessly and had suffered so 

If King Edward the First had been as bad a king to Christians as he 
was to Jews, he would have been bad indeed.  But he was, in 
general, a wise and great monarch, under whom the country much 
improved.  He had no love for the Great Charter - few Kings had, 
through many, many years - but he had high qualities.  The first 
bold object which he conceived when he came home, was, to unite 
under one Sovereign England, Scotland, and Wales; the two last of 
which countries had each a little king of its own, about whom the 
people were always quarrelling and fighting, and making a 
prodigious disturbance - a great deal more than he was worth.  In 
the course of King Edward's reign he was engaged, besides, in a war 
with France.  To make these quarrels clearer, we will separate 
their histories and take them thus.  Wales, first.  France, second.  
Scotland, third.

LLEWELLYN was the Prince of Wales.  He had been on the side of the 
Barons in the reign of the stupid old King, but had afterwards 
sworn allegiance to him.  When King Edward came to the throne, 
Llewellyn was required to swear allegiance to him also; which he 
refused to do.  The King, being crowned and in his own dominions, 
three times more required Llewellyn to come and do homage; and 
three times more Llewellyn said he would rather not.  He was going 
to be married to ELEANOR DE MONTFORT, a young lady of the family 
mentioned in the last reign; and it chanced that this young lady, 
coming from France with her youngest brother, EMERIC, was taken by 
an English ship, and was ordered by the English King to be 
detained.  Upon this, the quarrel came to a head.  The King went, 
with his fleet, to the coast of Wales, where, so encompassing 
Llewellyn, that he could only take refuge in the bleak mountain 
region of Snowdon in which no provisions could reach him, he was 
soon starved into an apology, and into a treaty of peace, and into 
paying the expenses of the war.  The King, however, forgave him 
some of the hardest conditions of the treaty, and consented to his 
marriage.  And he now thought he had reduced Wales to obedience.

But the Welsh, although they were naturally a gentle, quiet, 
pleasant people, who liked to receive strangers in their cottages 
among the mountains, and to set before them with free hospitality 
whatever they had to eat and drink, and to play to them on their 
harps, and sing their native ballads to them, were a people of 
great spirit when their blood was up.  Englishmen, after this 
affair, began to be insolent in Wales, and to assume the air of 
masters; and the Welsh pride could not bear it.  Moreover, they 
believed in that unlucky old Merlin, some of whose unlucky old 
prophecies somebody always seemed doomed to remember when there was 
a chance of its doing harm; and just at this time some blind old 
gentleman with a harp and a long white beard, who was an excellent 
person, but had become of an unknown age and tedious, burst out 
with a declaration that Merlin had predicted that when English 
money had become round, a Prince of Wales would be crowned in 
London.  Now, King Edward had recently forbidden the English penny 
to be cut into halves and quarters for halfpence and farthings, and 
had actually introduced a round coin; therefore, the Welsh people 
said this was the time Merlin meant, and rose accordingly.

King Edward had bought over PRINCE DAVID, Llewellyn's brother, by 
heaping favours upon him; but he was the first to revolt, being 
perhaps troubled in his conscience.  One stormy night, he surprised 
the Castle of Hawarden, in possession of which an English nobleman 
had been left; killed the whole garrison, and carried off the 
nobleman a prisoner to Snowdon.  Upon this, the Welsh people rose 
like one man.  King Edward, with his army, marching from Worcester 
to the Menai Strait, crossed it - near to where the wonderful 
tubular iron bridge now, in days so different, makes a passage for 
railway trains - by a bridge of boats that enabled forty men to 
march abreast.  He subdued the Island of Anglesea, and sent his men 
forward to observe the enemy.  The sudden appearance of the Welsh 
created a panic among them, and they fell back to the bridge.  The 
tide had in the meantime risen and separated the boats; the Welsh 
pursuing them, they were driven into the sea, and there they sunk, 
in their heavy iron armour, by thousands.  After this victory 
Llewellyn, helped by the severe winter-weather of Wales, gained 
another battle; but the King ordering a portion of his English army 
to advance through South Wales, and catch him between two foes, and 
Llewellyn bravely turning to meet this new enemy, he was surprised 
and killed - very meanly, for he was unarmed and defenceless.  His 
head was struck off and sent to London, where it was fixed upon the 
Tower, encircled with a wreath, some say of ivy, some say of 
willow, some say of silver, to make it look like a ghastly coin in 
ridicule of the prediction.

David, however, still held out for six months, though eagerly 
sought after by the King, and hunted by his own countrymen.  One of 
them finally betrayed him with his wife and children.  He was 
sentenced to be hanged, drawn, and quartered; and from that time 
this became the established punishment of Traitors in England - a 
punishment wholly without excuse, as being revolting, vile, and 
cruel, after its object is dead; and which has no sense in it, as 
its only real degradation (and that nothing can blot out) is to the 
country that permits on any consideration such abominable 

Wales was now subdued.  The Queen giving birth to a young prince in 
the Castle of Carnarvon, the King showed him to the Welsh people as 
their countryman, and called him Prince of Wales; a title that has 
ever since been borne by the heir-apparent to the English throne - 
which that little Prince soon became, by the death of his elder 
brother.  The King did better things for the Welsh than that, by 
improving their laws and encouraging their trade.  Disturbances 
still took place, chiefly occasioned by the avarice and pride of 
the English Lords, on whom Welsh lands and castles had been 
bestowed; but they were subdued, and the country never rose again.  
There is a legend that to prevent the people from being incited to 
rebellion by the songs of their bards and harpers, Edward had them 
all put to death.  Some of them may have fallen among other men who 
held out against the King; but this general slaughter is, I think, 
a fancy of the harpers themselves, who, I dare say, made a song 
about it many years afterwards, and sang it by the Welsh firesides 
until it came to be believed.

The foreign war of the reign of Edward the First arose in this way.  
The crews of two vessels, one a Norman ship, and the other an 
English ship, happened to go to the same place in their boats to 
fill their casks with fresh water.  Being rough angry fellows, they 
began to quarrel, and then to fight - the English with their fists; 
the Normans with their knives - and, in the fight, a Norman was 
killed.  The Norman crew, instead of revenging themselves upon 
those English sailors with whom they had quarrelled (who were too 
strong for them, I suspect), took to their ship again in a great 
rage, attacked the first English ship they met, laid hold of an 
unoffending merchant who happened to be on board, and brutally 
hanged him in the rigging of their own vessel with a dog at his 
feet.  This so enraged the English sailors that there was no 
restraining them; and whenever, and wherever, English sailors met 
Norman sailors, they fell upon each other tooth and nail.  The 
Irish and Dutch sailors took part with the English; the French and 
Genoese sailors helped the Normans; and thus the greater part of 
the mariners sailing over the sea became, in their way, as violent 
and raging as the sea itself when it is disturbed.

King Edward's fame had been so high abroad that he had been chosen 
to decide a difference between France and another foreign power, 
and had lived upon the Continent three years.  At first, neither he 
nor the French King PHILIP (the good Louis had been dead some time) 
interfered in these quarrels; but when a fleet of eighty English 
ships engaged and utterly defeated a Norman fleet of two hundred, 
in a pitched battle fought round a ship at anchor, in which no 
quarter was given, the matter became too serious to be passed over.  
King Edward, as Duke of Guienne, was summoned to present himself 
before the King of France, at Paris, and answer for the damage done 
by his sailor subjects.  At first, he sent the Bishop of London as 
his representative, and then his brother EDMUND, who was married to 
the French Queen's mother.  I am afraid Edmund was an easy man, and 
allowed himself to be talked over by his charming relations, the 
French court ladies; at all events, he was induced to give up his 
brother's dukedom for forty days - as a mere form, the French King 
said, to satisfy his honour - and he was so very much astonished, 
when the time was out, to find that the French King had no idea of 
giving it up again, that I should not wonder if it hastened his 
death:  which soon took place.

King Edward was a King to win his foreign dukedom back again, if it 
could be won by energy and valour.  He raised a large army, 
renounced his allegiance as Duke of Guienne, and crossed the sea to 
carry war into France.  Before any important battle was fought, 
however, a truce was agreed upon for two years; and in the course 
of that time, the Pope effected a reconciliation.  King Edward, who 
was now a widower, having lost his affectionate and good wife, 
Eleanor, married the French King's sister, MARGARET; and the Prince 
of Wales was contracted to the French King's daughter ISABELLA.

Out of bad things, good things sometimes arise.  Out of this 
hanging of the innocent merchant, and the bloodshed and strife it 
caused, there came to be established one of the greatest powers 
that the English people now possess.  The preparations for the war 
being very expensive, and King Edward greatly wanting money, and 
being very arbitrary in his ways of raising it, some of the Barons 
began firmly to oppose him.  Two of them, in particular, HUMPHREY 
BOHUN, Earl of Hereford, and ROGER BIGOD, Earl of Norfolk, were so 
stout against him, that they maintained he had no right to command 
them to head his forces in Guienne, and flatly refused to go there.  
'By Heaven, Sir Earl,' said the King to the Earl of Hereford, in a 
great passion, 'you shall either go or be hanged!'  'By Heaven, Sir 
King,' replied the Earl, 'I will neither go nor yet will I be 
hanged!' and both he and the other Earl sturdily left the court, 
attended by many Lords.  The King tried every means of raising 
money.  He taxed the clergy, in spite of all the Pope said to the 
contrary; and when they refused to pay, reduced them to submission, 
by saying Very well, then they had no claim upon the government for 
protection, and any man might plunder them who would - which a good 
many men were very ready to do, and very readily did, and which the 
clergy found too losing a game to be played at long.  He seized all 
the wool and leather in the hands of the merchants, promising to 
pay for it some fine day; and he set a tax upon the exportation of 
wool, which was so unpopular among the traders that it was called 
'The evil toll.'  But all would not do.  The Barons, led by those 
two great Earls, declared any taxes imposed without the consent of 
Parliament, unlawful; and the Parliament refused to impose taxes, 
until the King should confirm afresh the two Great Charters, and 
should solemnly declare in writing, that there was no power in the 
country to raise money from the people, evermore, but the power of 
Parliament representing all ranks of the people.  The King was very 
unwilling to diminish his own power by allowing this great 
privilege in the Parliament; but there was no help for it, and he 
at last complied.  We shall come to another King by-and-by, who 
might have saved his head from rolling off, if he had profited by 
this example.

The people gained other benefits in Parliament from the good sense 
and wisdom of this King.  Many of the laws were much improved; 
provision was made for the greater safety of travellers, and the 
apprehension of thieves and murderers; the priests were prevented 
from holding too much land, and so becoming too powerful; and 
Justices of the Peace were first appointed (though not at first 
under that name) in various parts of the country.

And now we come to Scotland, which was the great and lasting 
trouble of the reign of King Edward the First.

About thirteen years after King Edward's coronation, Alexander the 
Third, the King of Scotland, died of a fall from his horse.  He had 
been married to Margaret, King Edward's sister.  All their children 
being dead, the Scottish crown became the right of a young Princess 
only eight years old, the daughter of ERIC, King of Norway, who had 
married a daughter of the deceased sovereign.  King Edward 
proposed, that the Maiden of Norway, as this Princess was called, 
should be engaged to be married to his eldest son; but, 
unfortunately, as she was coming over to England she fell sick, and 
landing on one of the Orkney Islands, died there.  A great 
commotion immediately began in Scotland, where as many as thirteen 
noisy claimants to the vacant throne started up and made a general 

King Edward being much renowned for his sagacity and justice, it 
seems to have been agreed to refer the dispute to him.  He accepted 
the trust, and went, with an army, to the Border-land where England 
and Scotland joined.  There, he called upon the Scottish gentlemen 
to meet him at the Castle of Norham, on the English side of the 
river Tweed; and to that Castle they came.  But, before he would 
take any step in the business, he required those Scottish 
gentlemen, one and all, to do homage to him as their superior Lord; 
and when they hesitated, he said, 'By holy Edward, whose crown I 
wear, I will have my rights, or I will die in maintaining them!'  
The Scottish gentlemen, who had not expected this, were 
disconcerted, and asked for three weeks to think about it.

At the end of the three weeks, another meeting took place, on a 
green plain on the Scottish side of the river.  Of all the 
competitors for the Scottish throne, there were only two who had 
any real claim, in right of their near kindred to the Royal Family.  
These were JOHN BALIOL and ROBERT BRUCE:  and the right was, I have 
no doubt, on the side of John Baliol.  At this particular meeting 
John Baliol was not present, but Robert Bruce was; and on Robert 
Bruce being formally asked whether he acknowledged the King of 
England for his superior lord, he answered, plainly and distinctly, 
Yes, he did.  Next day, John Baliol appeared, and said the same.  
This point settled, some arrangements were made for inquiring into 
their titles.

The inquiry occupied a pretty long time - more than a year.  While 
it was going on, King Edward took the opportunity of making a 
journey through Scotland, and calling upon the Scottish people of 
all degrees to acknowledge themselves his vassals, or be imprisoned 
until they did.  In the meanwhile, Commissioners were appointed to 
conduct the inquiry, a Parliament was held at Berwick about it, the 
two claimants were heard at full length, and there was a vast 
amount of talking.  At last, in the great hall of the Castle of 
Berwick, the King gave judgment in favour of John Baliol:  who, 
consenting to receive his crown by the King of England's favour and 
permission, was crowned at Scone, in an old stone chair which had 
been used for ages in the abbey there, at the coronations of 
Scottish Kings.  Then, King Edward caused the great seal of 
Scotland, used since the late King's death, to be broken in four 
pieces, and placed in the English Treasury; and considered that he 
now had Scotland (according to the common saying) under his thumb.

Scotland had a strong will of its own yet, however.  King Edward, 
determined that the Scottish King should not forget he was his 
vassal, summoned him repeatedly to come and defend himself and his 
judges before the English Parliament when appeals from the 
decisions of Scottish courts of justice were being heard.  At 
length, John Baliol, who had no great heart of his own, had so much 
heart put into him by the brave spirit of the Scottish people, who 
took this as a national insult, that he refused to come any more.  
Thereupon, the King further required him to help him in his war 
abroad (which was then in progress), and to give up, as security 
for his good behaviour in future, the three strong Scottish Castles 
of Jedburgh, Roxburgh, and Berwick.  Nothing of this being done; on 
the contrary, the Scottish people concealing their King among their 
mountains in the Highlands and showing a determination to resist; 
Edward marched to Berwick with an army of thirty thousand foot, and 
four thousand horse; took the Castle, and slew its whole garrison, 
and the inhabitants of the town as well - men, women, and children.  
LORD WARRENNE, Earl of Surrey, then went on to the Castle of 
Dunbar, before which a battle was fought, and the whole Scottish 
army defeated with great slaughter.  The victory being complete, 
the Earl of Surrey was left as guardian of Scotland; the principal 
offices in that kingdom were given to Englishmen; the more powerful 
Scottish Nobles were obliged to come and live in England; the 
Scottish crown and sceptre were brought away; and even the old 
stone chair was carried off and placed in Westminster Abbey, where 
you may see it now.  Baliol had the Tower of London lent him for a 
residence, with permission to range about within a circle of twenty 
miles.  Three years afterwards he was allowed to go to Normandy, 
where he had estates, and where he passed the remaining six years 
of his life:  far more happily, I dare say, than he had lived for a 
long while in angry Scotland.

Now, there was, in the West of Scotland, a gentleman of small 
fortune, named WILLIAM WALLACE, the second son of a Scottish 
knight.  He was a man of great size and great strength; he was very 
brave and daring; when he spoke to a body of his countrymen, he 
could rouse them in a wonderful manner by the power of his burning 
words; he loved Scotland dearly, and he hated England with his 
utmost might.  The domineering conduct of the English who now held 
the places of trust in Scotland made them as intolerable to the 
proud Scottish people as they had been, under similar 
circumstances, to the Welsh; and no man in all Scotland regarded 
them with so much smothered rage as William Wallace.  One day, an 
Englishman in office, little knowing what he was, affronted HIM.  
Wallace instantly struck him dead, and taking refuge among the 
rocks and hills, and there joining with his countryman, SIR WILLIAM 
DOUGLAS, who was also in arms against King Edward, became the most 
resolute and undaunted champion of a people struggling for their 
independence that ever lived upon the earth.

The English Guardian of the Kingdom fled before him, and, thus 
encouraged, the Scottish people revolted everywhere, and fell upon 
the English without mercy.  The Earl of Surrey, by the King's 
commands, raised all the power of the Border-counties, and two 
English armies poured into Scotland.  Only one Chief, in the face 
of those armies, stood by Wallace, who, with a force of forty 
thousand men, awaited the invaders at a place on the river Forth, 
within two miles of Stirling.  Across the river there was only one 
poor wooden bridge, called the bridge of Kildean - so narrow, that 
but two men could cross it abreast.  With his eyes upon this 
bridge, Wallace posted the greater part of his men among some 
rising grounds, and waited calmly.  When the English army came up 
on the opposite bank of the river, messengers were sent forward to 
offer terms.  Wallace sent them back with a defiance, in the name 
of the freedom of Scotland.  Some of the officers of the Earl of 
Surrey in command of the English, with THEIR eyes also on the 
bridge, advised him to be discreet and not hasty.  He, however, 
urged to immediate battle by some other officers, and particularly 
by CRESSINGHAM, King Edward's treasurer, and a rash man, gave the 
word of command to advance.  One thousand English crossed the 
bridge, two abreast; the Scottish troops were as motionless as 
stone images.  Two thousand English crossed; three thousand, four 
thousand, five.  Not a feather, all this time, had been seen to 
stir among the Scottish bonnets.  Now, they all fluttered.  
'Forward, one party, to the foot of the Bridge!' cried Wallace, 
'and let no more English cross!  The rest, down with me on the five 
thousand who have come over, and cut them all to pieces!'  It was 
done, in the sight of the whole remainder of the English army, who 
could give no help.  Cressingham himself was killed, and the Scotch 
made whips for their horses of his skin.

King Edward was abroad at this time, and during the successes on 
the Scottish side which followed, and which enabled bold Wallace to 
win the whole country back again, and even to ravage the English 
borders.  But, after a few winter months, the King returned, and 
took the field with more than his usual energy.  One night, when a 
kick from his horse as they both lay on the ground together broke 
two of his ribs, and a cry arose that he was killed, he leaped into 
his saddle, regardless of the pain he suffered, and rode through 
the camp.  Day then appearing, he gave the word (still, of course, 
in that bruised and aching state) Forward! and led his army on to 
near Falkirk, where the Scottish forces were seen drawn up on some 
stony ground, behind a morass.  Here, he defeated Wallace, and 
killed fifteen thousand of his men.  With the shattered remainder, 
Wallace drew back to Stirling; but, being pursued, set fire to the 
town that it might give no help to the English, and escaped.  The 
inhabitants of Perth afterwards set fire to their houses for the 
same reason, and the King, unable to find provisions, was forced to 
withdraw his army.

Another ROBERT BRUCE, the grandson of him who had disputed the 
Scottish crown with Baliol, was now in arms against the King (that 
elder Bruce being dead), and also JOHN COMYN, Baliol's nephew.  
These two young men might agree in opposing Edward, but could agree 
in nothing else, as they were rivals for the throne of Scotland.  
Probably it was because they knew this, and knew what troubles must 
arise even if they could hope to get the better of the great 
English King, that the principal Scottish people applied to the 
Pope for his interference.  The Pope, on the principle of losing 
nothing for want of trying to get it, very coolly claimed that 
Scotland belonged to him; but this was a little too much, and the 
Parliament in a friendly manner told him so.

In the spring time of the year one thousand three hundred and 
three, the King sent SIR JOHN SEGRAVE, whom he made Governor of 
Scotland, with twenty thousand men, to reduce the rebels.  Sir John 
was not as careful as he should have been, but encamped at Rosslyn, 
near Edinburgh, with his army divided into three parts.  The 
Scottish forces saw their advantage; fell on each part separately; 
defeated each; and killed all the prisoners.  Then, came the King 
himself once more, as soon as a great army could be raised; he 
passed through the whole north of Scotland, laying waste whatsoever 
came in his way; and he took up his winter quarters at Dunfermline.  
The Scottish cause now looked so hopeless, that Comyn and the other 
nobles made submission and received their pardons.  Wallace alone 
stood out.  He was invited to surrender, though on no distinct 
pledge that his life should be spared; but he still defied the 
ireful King, and lived among the steep crags of the Highland glens, 
where the eagles made their nests, and where the mountain torrents 
roared, and the white snow was deep, and the bitter winds blew 
round his unsheltered head, as he lay through many a pitch-dark 
night wrapped up in his plaid.  Nothing could break his spirit; 
nothing could lower his courage; nothing could induce him to forget 
or to forgive his country's wrongs.  Even when the Castle of 
Stirling, which had long held out, was besieged by the King with 
every kind of military engine then in use; even when the lead upon 
cathedral roofs was taken down to help to make them; even when the 
King, though an old man, commanded in the siege as if he were a 
youth, being so resolved to conquer; even when the brave garrison 
(then found with amazement to be not two hundred people, including 
several ladies) were starved and beaten out and were made to submit 
on their knees, and with every form of disgrace that could 
aggravate their sufferings; even then, when there was not a ray of 
hope in Scotland, William Wallace was as proud and firm as if he 
had beheld the powerful and relentless Edward lying dead at his 

Who betrayed William Wallace in the end, is not quite certain.  
That he was betrayed - probably by an attendant - is too true.  He 
was taken to the Castle of Dumbarton, under SIR JOHN MENTEITH, and 
thence to London, where the great fame of his bravery and 
resolution attracted immense concourses of people to behold him.  
He was tried in Westminster Hall, with a crown of laurel on his 
head - it is supposed because he was reported to have said that he 
ought to wear, or that he would wear, a crown there and was found 
guilty as a robber, a murderer, and a traitor.  What they called a 
robber (he said to those who tried him) he was, because he had 
taken spoil from the King's men.  What they called a murderer, he 
was, because he had slain an insolent Englishman.  What they called 
a traitor, he was not, for he had never sworn allegiance to the 
King, and had ever scorned to do it.  He was dragged at the tails 
of horses to West Smithfield, and there hanged on a high gallows, 
torn open before he was dead, beheaded, and quartered.  His head 
was set upon a pole on London Bridge, his right arm was sent to 
Newcastle, his left arm to Berwick, his legs to Perth and Aberdeen.  
But, if King Edward had had his body cut into inches, and had sent 
every separate inch into a separate town, he could not have 
dispersed it half so far and wide as his fame.  Wallace will be 
remembered in songs and stories, while there are songs and stories 
in the English tongue, and Scotland will hold him dear while her 
lakes and mountains last.

Released from this dreaded enemy, the King made a fairer plan of 
Government for Scotland, divided the offices of honour among 
Scottish gentlemen and English gentlemen, forgave past offences, 
and thought, in his old age, that his work was done.

But he deceived himself.  Comyn and Bruce conspired, and made an 
appointment to meet at Dumfries, in the church of the Minorites.  
There is a story that Comyn was false to Bruce, and had informed 
against him to the King; that Bruce was warned of his danger and 
the necessity of flight, by receiving, one night as he sat at 
supper, from his friend the Earl of Gloucester, twelve pennies and 
a pair of spurs; that as he was riding angrily to keep his 
appointment (through a snow-storm, with his horse's shoes reversed 
that he might not be tracked), he met an evil-looking serving man, 
a messenger of Comyn, whom he killed, and concealed in whose dress 
he found letters that proved Comyn's treachery.  However this may 
be, they were likely enough to quarrel in any case, being hot-
headed rivals; and, whatever they quarrelled about, they certainly 
did quarrel in the church where they met, and Bruce drew his dagger 
and stabbed Comyn, who fell upon the pavement.  When Bruce came 
out, pale and disturbed, the friends who were waiting for him asked 
what was the matter?  'I think I have killed Comyn,' said he.  'You 
only think so?' returned one of them; 'I will make sure!' and going 
into the church, and finding him alive, stabbed him again and 
again.  Knowing that the King would never forgive this new deed of 
violence, the party then declared Bruce King of Scotland:  got him 
crowned at Scone - without the chair; and set up the rebellious 
standard once again.

When the King heard of it he kindled with fiercer anger than he had 
ever shown yet.  He caused the Prince of Wales and two hundred and 
seventy of the young nobility to be knighted - the trees in the 
Temple Gardens were cut down to make room for their tents, and they 
watched their armour all night, according to the old usage:  some 
in the Temple Church:  some in Westminster Abbey - and at the 
public Feast which then took place, he swore, by Heaven, and by two 
swans covered with gold network which his minstrels placed upon the 
table, that he would avenge the death of Comyn, and would punish 
the false Bruce.  And before all the company, he charged the Prince 
his son, in case that he should die before accomplishing his vow, 
not to bury him until it was fulfilled.  Next morning the Prince 
and the rest of the young Knights rode away to the Border-country 
to join the English army; and the King, now weak and sick, followed 
in a horse-litter.

Bruce, after losing a battle and undergoing many dangers and much 
misery, fled to Ireland, where he lay concealed through the winter.  
That winter, Edward passed in hunting down and executing Bruce's 
relations and adherents, sparing neither youth nor age, and showing 
no touch of pity or sign of mercy.  In the following spring, Bruce 
reappeared and gained some victories.  In these frays, both sides 
were grievously cruel.  For instance - Bruce's two brothers, being 
taken captives desperately wounded, were ordered by the King to 
instant execution.  Bruce's friend Sir John Douglas, taking his own 
Castle of Douglas out of the hands of an English Lord, roasted the 
dead bodies of the slaughtered garrison in a great fire made of 
every movable within it; which dreadful cookery his men called the 
Douglas Larder.  Bruce, still successful, however, drove the Earl 
of Pembroke and the Earl of Gloucester into the Castle of Ayr and 
laid siege to it.

The King, who had been laid up all the winter, but had directed the 
army from his sick-bed, now advanced to Carlisle, and there, 
causing the litter in which he had travelled to be placed in the 
Cathedral as an offering to Heaven, mounted his horse once more, 
and for the last time.  He was now sixty-nine years old, and had 
reigned thirty-five years.  He was so ill, that in four days he 
could go no more than six miles; still, even at that pace, he went 
on and resolutely kept his face towards the Border.  At length, he 
lay down at the village of Burgh-upon-Sands; and there, telling 
those around him to impress upon the Prince that he was to remember 
his father's vow, and was never to rest until he had thoroughly 
subdued Scotland, he yielded up his last breath.


KING Edward the Second, the first Prince of Wales, was twenty-three 
years old when his father died.  There was a certain favourite of 
his, a young man from Gascony, named PIERS GAVESTON, of whom his 
father had so much disapproved that he had ordered him out of 
England, and had made his son swear by the side of his sick-bed, 
never to bring him back.  But, the Prince no sooner found himself 
King, than he broke his oath, as so many other Princes and Kings 
did (they were far too ready to take oaths), and sent for his dear 
friend immediately.

Now, this same Gaveston was handsome enough, but was a reckless, 
insolent, audacious fellow.  He was detested by the proud English 
Lords:  not only because he had such power over the King, and made 
the Court such a dissipated place, but, also, because he could ride 
better than they at tournaments, and was used, in his impudence, to 
cut very bad jokes on them; calling one, the old hog; another, the 
stage-player; another, the Jew; another, the black dog of Ardenne.  
This was as poor wit as need be, but it made those Lords very 
wroth; and the surly Earl of Warwick, who was the black dog, swore 
that the time should come when Piers Gaveston should feel the black 
dog's teeth.

It was not come yet, however, nor did it seem to be coming.  The 
King made him Earl of Cornwall, and gave him vast riches; and, when 
the King went over to France to marry the French Princess, 
ISABELLA, daughter of PHILIP LE BEL:  who was said to be the most 
beautiful woman in the world:  he made Gaveston, Regent of the 
Kingdom.  His splendid marriage-ceremony in the Church of Our Lady 
at Boulogne, where there were four Kings and three Queens present 
(quite a pack of Court Cards, for I dare say the Knaves were not 
wanting), being over, he seemed to care little or nothing for his 
beautiful wife; but was wild with impatience to meet Gaveston 

When he landed at home, he paid no attention to anybody else, but 
ran into the favourite's arms before a great concourse of people, 
and hugged him, and kissed him, and called him his brother.  At the 
coronation which soon followed, Gaveston was the richest and 
brightest of all the glittering company there, and had the honour 
of carrying the crown.  This made the proud Lords fiercer than 
ever; the people, too, despised the favourite, and would never call 
him Earl of Cornwall, however much he complained to the King and 
asked him to punish them for not doing so, but persisted in styling 
him plain Piers Gaveston.

The Barons were so unceremonious with the King in giving him to 
understand that they would not bear this favourite, that the King 
was obliged to send him out of the country.  The favourite himself 
was made to take an oath (more oaths!) that he would never come 
back, and the Barons supposed him to be banished in disgrace, until 
they heard that he was appointed Governor of Ireland.  Even this 
was not enough for the besotted King, who brought him home again in 
a year's time, and not only disgusted the Court and the people by 
his doting folly, but offended his beautiful wife too, who never 
liked him afterwards.

He had now the old Royal want - of money - and the Barons had the 
new power of positively refusing to let him raise any.  He summoned 
a Parliament at York; the Barons refused to make one, while the 
favourite was near him.  He summoned another Parliament at 
Westminster, and sent Gaveston away.  Then, the Barons came, 
completely armed, and appointed a committee of themselves to 
correct abuses in the state and in the King's household.  He got 
some money on these conditions, and directly set off with Gaveston 
to the Border-country, where they spent it in idling away the time, 
and feasting, while Bruce made ready to drive the English out of 
Scotland.  For, though the old King had even made this poor weak 
son of his swear (as some say) that he would not bury his bones, 
but would have them boiled clean in a caldron, and carried before 
the English army until Scotland was entirely subdued, the second 
Edward was so unlike the first that Bruce gained strength and power 
every day.

The committee of Nobles, after some months of deliberation, 
ordained that the King should henceforth call a Parliament 
together, once every year, and even twice if necessary, instead of 
summoning it only when he chose.  Further, that Gaveston should 
once more be banished, and, this time, on pain of death if he ever 
came back.  The King's tears were of no avail; he was obliged to 
send his favourite to Flanders.  As soon as he had done so, 
however, he dissolved the Parliament, with the low cunning of a 
mere fool, and set off to the North of England, thinking to get an 
army about him to oppose the Nobles.  And once again he brought 
Gaveston home, and heaped upon him all the riches and titles of 
which the Barons had deprived him.

The Lords saw, now, that there was nothing for it but to put the 
favourite to death.  They could have done so, legally, according to 
the terms of his banishment; but they did so, I am sorry to say, in 
a shabby manner.  Led by the Earl of Lancaster, the King's cousin, 
they first of all attacked the King and Gaveston at Newcastle.  
They had time to escape by sea, and the mean King, having his 
precious Gaveston with him, was quite content to leave his lovely 
wife behind.  When they were comparatively safe, they separated; 
the King went to York to collect a force of soldiers; and the 
favourite shut himself up, in the meantime, in Scarborough Castle 
overlooking the sea.  This was what the Barons wanted.  They knew 
that the Castle could not hold out; they attacked it, and made 
Gaveston surrender.  He delivered himself up to the Earl of 
Pembroke - that Lord whom he had called the Jew - on the Earl's 
pledging his faith and knightly word, that no harm should happen to 
him and no violence be done him.

Now, it was agreed with Gaveston that he should be taken to the 
Castle of Wallingford, and there kept in honourable custody.  They 
travelled as far as Dedington, near Banbury, where, in the Castle 
of that place, they stopped for a night to rest.  Whether the Earl 
of Pembroke left his prisoner there, knowing what would happen, or 
really left him thinking no harm, and only going (as he pretended) 
to visit his wife, the Countess, who was in the neighbourhood, is 
no great matter now; in any case, he was bound as an honourable 
gentleman to protect his prisoner, and he did not do it.  In the 
morning, while the favourite was yet in bed, he was required to 
dress himself and come down into the court-yard.  He did so without 
any mistrust, but started and turned pale when he found it full of 
strange armed men.  'I think you know me?' said their leader, also 
armed from head to foot.  'I am the black dog of Ardenne!'  The 
time was come when Piers Gaveston was to feel the black dog's teeth 
indeed.  They set him on a mule, and carried him, in mock state and 
with military music, to the black dog's kennel - Warwick Castle - 
where a hasty council, composed of some great noblemen, considered 
what should be done with him.  Some were for sparing him, but one 
loud voice - it was the black dog's bark, I dare say - sounded 
through the Castle Hall, uttering these words:  'You have the fox 
in your power.  Let him go now, and you must hunt him again.'

They sentenced him to death.  He threw himself at the feet of the 
Earl of Lancaster - the old hog - but the old hog was as savage as 
the dog.  He was taken out upon the pleasant road, leading from 
Warwick to Coventry, where the beautiful river Avon, by which, long 
afterwards, WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born and now lies buried, 
sparkled in the bright landscape of the beautiful May-day; and 
there they struck off his wretched head, and stained the dust with 
his blood.

When the King heard of this black deed, in his grief and rage he 
denounced relentless war against his Barons, and both sides were in 
arms for half a year.  But, it then became necessary for them to 
join their forces against Bruce, who had used the time well while 
they were divided, and had now a great power in Scotland.

Intelligence was brought that Bruce was then besieging Stirling 
Castle, and that the Governor had been obliged to pledge himself to 
surrender it, unless he should be relieved before a certain day.  
Hereupon, the King ordered the nobles and their fighting-men to 
meet him at Berwick; but, the nobles cared so little for the King, 
and so neglected the summons, and lost time, that only on the day 
before that appointed for the surrender, did the King find himself 
at Stirling, and even then with a smaller force than he had 
expected.  However, he had, altogether, a hundred thousand men, and 
Bruce had not more than forty thousand; but, Bruce's army was 
strongly posted in three square columns, on the ground lying 
between the Burn or Brook of Bannock and the walls of Stirling 

On the very evening, when the King came up, Bruce did a brave act 
that encouraged his men.  He was seen by a certain HENRY DE BOHUN, 
an English Knight, riding about before his army on a little horse, 
with a light battle-axe in his hand, and a crown of gold on his 
head.  This English Knight, who was mounted on a strong war-horse, 
cased in steel, strongly armed, and able (as he thought) to 
overthrow Bruce by crushing him with his mere weight, set spurs to 
his great charger, rode on him, and made a thrust at him with his 
heavy spear.  Bruce parried the thrust, and with one blow of his 
battle-axe split his skull.

The Scottish men did not forget this, next day when the battle 
raged.  RANDOLPH, Bruce's valiant Nephew, rode, with the small body 
of men he commanded, into such a host of the English, all shining 
in polished armour in the sunlight, that they seemed to be 
swallowed up and lost, as if they had plunged into the sea.  But, 
they fought so well, and did such dreadful execution, that the 
English staggered.  Then came Bruce himself upon them, with all the 
rest of his army.  While they were thus hard pressed and amazed, 
there appeared upon the hills what they supposed to be a new 
Scottish army, but what were really only the camp followers, in 
number fifteen thousand:  whom Bruce had taught to show themselves 
at that place and time.  The Earl of Gloucester, commanding the 
English horse, made a last rush to change the fortune of the day; 
but Bruce (like Jack the Giant-killer in the story) had had pits 
dug in the ground, and covered over with turfs and stakes.  Into 
these, as they gave way beneath the weight of the horses, riders 
and horses rolled by hundreds.  The English were completely routed; 
all their treasure, stores, and engines, were taken by the Scottish 
men; so many waggons and other wheeled vehicles were seized, that 
it is related that they would have reached, if they had been drawn 
out in a line, one hundred and eighty miles.  The fortunes of 
Scotland were, for the time, completely changed; and never was a 
battle won, more famous upon Scottish ground, than this great 
battle of BANNOCKBURN.

Plague and famine succeeded in England; and still the powerless 
King and his disdainful Lords were always in contention.  Some of 
the turbulent chiefs of Ireland made proposals to Bruce, to accept 
the rule of that country.  He sent his brother Edward to them, who 
was crowned King of Ireland.  He afterwards went himself to help 
his brother in his Irish wars, but his brother was defeated in the 
end and killed.  Robert Bruce, returning to Scotland, still 
increased his strength there.

As the King's ruin had begun in a favourite, so it seemed likely to 
end in one.  He was too poor a creature to rely at all upon 
himself; and his new favourite was one HUGH LE DESPENSER, the son 
of a gentleman of ancient family.  Hugh was handsome and brave, but 
he was the favourite of a weak King, whom no man cared a rush for, 
and that was a dangerous place to hold.  The Nobles leagued against 
him, because the King liked him; and they lay in wait, both for his 
ruin and his father's.  Now, the King had married him to the 
daughter of the late Earl of Gloucester, and had given both him and 
his father great possessions in Wales.  In their endeavours to 
extend these, they gave violent offence to an angry Welsh 
gentleman, named JOHN DE MOWBRAY, and to divers other angry Welsh 
gentlemen, who resorted to arms, took their castles, and seized 
their estates.  The Earl of Lancaster had first placed the 
favourite (who was a poor relation of his own) at Court, and he 
considered his own dignity offended by the preference he received 
and the honours he acquired; so he, and the Barons who were his 
friends, joined the Welshmen, marched on London, and sent a message 
to the King demanding to have the favourite and his father 
banished.  At first, the King unaccountably took it into his head 
to be spirited, and to send them a bold reply; but when they 
quartered themselves around Holborn and Clerkenwell, and went down, 
armed, to the Parliament at Westminster, he gave way, and complied 
with their demands.

His turn of triumph came sooner than he expected.  It arose out of 
an accidental circumstance.  The beautiful Queen happening to be 
travelling, came one night to one of the royal castles, and 
demanded to be lodged and entertained there until morning.  The 
governor of this castle, who was one of the enraged lords, was 
away, and in his absence, his wife refused admission to the Queen; 
a scuffle took place among the common men on either side, and some 
of the royal attendants were killed.  The people, who cared nothing 
for the King, were very angry that their beautiful Queen should be 
thus rudely treated in her own dominions; and the King, taking 
advantage of this feeling, besieged the castle, took it, and then 
called the two Despensers home.  Upon this, the confederate lords 
and the Welshmen went over to Bruce.  The King encountered them at 
Boroughbridge, gained the victory, and took a number of 
distinguished prisoners; among them, the Earl of Lancaster, now an 
old man, upon whose destruction he was resolved.  This Earl was 
taken to his own castle of Pontefract, and there tried and found 
guilty by an unfair court appointed for the purpose; he was not 
even allowed to speak in his own defence.  He was insulted, pelted, 
mounted on a starved pony without saddle or bridle, carried out, 
and beheaded.  Eight-and-twenty knights were hanged, drawn, and 
quartered.  When the King had despatched this bloody work, and had 
made a fresh and a long truce with Bruce, he took the Despensers 
into greater favour than ever, and made the father Earl of 

One prisoner, and an important one, who was taken at Boroughbridge, 
made his escape, however, and turned the tide against the King.  
This was ROGER MORTIMER, always resolutely opposed to him, who was 
sentenced to death, and placed for safe custody in the Tower of 
London.  He treated his guards to a quantity of wine into which he 
had put a sleeping potion; and, when they were insensible, broke 
out of his dungeon, got into a kitchen, climbed up the chimney, let 
himself down from the roof of the building with a rope-ladder, 
passed the sentries, got down to the river, and made away in a boat 
to where servants and horses were waiting for him.  He finally 
escaped to France, where CHARLES LE BEL, the brother of the 
beautiful Queen, was King.  Charles sought to quarrel with the King 
of England, on pretence of his not having come to do him homage at 
his coronation.  It was proposed that the beautiful Queen should go 
over to arrange the dispute; she went, and wrote home to the King, 
that as he was sick and could not come to France himself, perhaps 
it would be better to send over the young Prince, their son, who 
was only twelve years old, who could do homage to her brother in 
his stead, and in whose company she would immediately return.  The 
King sent him:  but, both he and the Queen remained at the French 
Court, and Roger Mortimer became the Queen's lover.

When the King wrote, again and again, to the Queen to come home, 
she did not reply that she despised him too much to live with him 
any more (which was the truth), but said she was afraid of the two 
Despensers.  In short, her design was to overthrow the favourites' 
power, and the King's power, such as it was, and invade England.  
Having obtained a French force of two thousand men, and being 
joined by all the English exiles then in France, she landed, within 
a year, at Orewell, in Suffolk, where she was immediately joined by 
the Earls of Kent and Norfolk, the King's two brothers; by other 
powerful noblemen; and lastly, by the first English general who was 
despatched to check her:  who went over to her with all his men.  
The people of London, receiving these tidings, would do nothing for 
the King, but broke open the Tower, let out all his prisoners, and 
threw up their caps and hurrahed for the beautiful Queen.

The King, with his two favourites, fled to Bristol, where he left 
old Despenser in charge of the town and castle, while he went on 
with the son to Wales.  The Bristol men being opposed to the King, 
and it being impossible to hold the town with enemies everywhere 
within the walls, Despenser yielded it up on the third day, and was 
instantly brought to trial for having traitorously influenced what 
was called 'the King's mind' - though I doubt if the King ever had 
any.  He was a venerable old man, upwards of ninety years of age, 
but his age gained no respect or mercy.  He was hanged, torn open 
while he was yet alive, cut up into pieces, and thrown to the dogs.  
His son was soon taken, tried at Hereford before the same judge on 
a long series of foolish charges, found guilty, and hanged upon a 
gallows fifty feet high, with a chaplet of nettles round his head.  
His poor old father and he were innocent enough of any worse crimes 
than the crime of having been friends of a King, on whom, as a mere 
man, they would never have deigned to cast a favourable look.  It 
is a bad crime, I know, and leads to worse; but, many lords and 
gentlemen - I even think some ladies, too, if I recollect right - 
have committed it in England, who have neither been given to the 
dogs, nor hanged up fifty feet high.

The wretched King was running here and there, all this time, and 
never getting anywhere in particular, until he gave himself up, and 
was taken off to Kenilworth Castle.  When he was safely lodged 
there, the Queen went to London and met the Parliament.  And the 
Bishop of Hereford, who was the most skilful of her friends, said, 
What was to be done now?  Here was an imbecile, indolent, miserable 
King upon the throne; wouldn't it be better to take him off, and 
put his son there instead?  I don't know whether the Queen really 
pitied him at this pass, but she began to cry; so, the Bishop said, 
Well, my Lords and Gentlemen, what do you think, upon the whole, of 
sending down to Kenilworth, and seeing if His Majesty (God bless 
him, and forbid we should depose him!) won't resign?

My Lords and Gentlemen thought it a good notion, so a deputation of 
them went down to Kenilworth; and there the King came into the 
great hall of the Castle, commonly dressed in a poor black gown; 
and when he saw a certain bishop among them, fell down, poor 
feeble-headed man, and made a wretched spectacle of himself.  
Somebody lifted him up, and then SIR WILLIAM TRUSSEL, the Speaker 
of the House of Commons, almost frightened him to death by making 
him a tremendous speech to the effect that he was no longer a King, 
and that everybody renounced allegiance to him.  After which, SIR 
THOMAS BLOUNT, the Steward of the Household, nearly finished him, 
by coming forward and breaking his white wand - which was a 
ceremony only performed at a King's death.  Being asked in this 
pressing manner what he thought of resigning, the King said he 
thought it was the best thing he could do.  So, he did it, and they 
proclaimed his son next day.

I wish I could close his history by saying that he lived a harmless 
life in the Castle and the Castle gardens at Kenilworth, many years 
- that he had a favourite, and plenty to eat and drink - and, 
having that, wanted nothing.  But he was shamefully humiliated.  He 
was outraged, and slighted, and had dirty water from ditches given 
him to shave with, and wept and said he would have clean warm 
water, and was altogether very miserable.  He was moved from this 
castle to that castle, and from that castle to the other castle, 
because this lord or that lord, or the other lord, was too kind to 
him:  until at last he came to Berkeley Castle, near the River 
Severn, where (the Lord Berkeley being then ill and absent) he fell 
into the hands of two black ruffians, called THOMAS GOURNAY and 

One night - it was the night of September the twenty-first, one 
thousand three hundred and twenty-seven - dreadful screams were 
heard, by the startled people in the neighbouring town, ringing 
through the thick walls of the Castle, and the dark, deep night; 
and they said, as they were thus horribly awakened from their 
sleep, 'May Heaven be merciful to the King; for those cries forbode 
that no good is being done to him in his dismal prison!'  Next 
morning he was dead - not bruised, or stabbed, or marked upon the 
body, but much distorted in the face; and it was whispered 
afterwards, that those two villains, Gournay and Ogle, had burnt up 
his inside with a red-hot iron.

If you ever come near Gloucester, and see the centre tower of its 
beautiful Cathedral, with its four rich pinnacles, rising lightly 
in the air; you may remember that the wretched Edward the Second 
was buried in the old abbey of that ancient city, at forty-three 
years old, after being for nineteen years and a half a perfectly 
incapable King.


ROGER MORTIMER, the Queen's lover (who escaped to France in the 
last chapter), was far from profiting by the examples he had had of 
the fate of favourites.  Having, through the Queen's influence, 
come into possession of the estates of the two Despensers, he 
became extremely proud and ambitious, and sought to be the real 
ruler of England.  The young King, who was crowned at fourteen 
years of age with all the usual solemnities, resolved not to bear 
this, and soon pursued Mortimer to his ruin.

The people themselves were not fond of Mortimer - first, because he 
was a Royal favourite; secondly, because he was supposed to have 
helped to make a peace with Scotland which now took place, and in 
virtue of which the young King's sister Joan, only seven years old, 
was promised in marriage to David, the son and heir of Robert 
Bruce, who was only five years old.  The nobles hated Mortimer 
because of his pride, riches, and power.  They went so far as to 
take up arms against him; but were obliged to submit.  The Earl of 
Kent, one of those who did so, but who afterwards went over to 
Mortimer and the Queen, was made an example of in the following 
cruel manner:

He seems to have been anything but a wise old earl; and he was 
persuaded by the agents of the favourite and the Queen, that poor 
King Edward the Second was not really dead; and thus was betrayed 
into writing letters favouring his rightful claim to the throne.  
This was made out to be high treason, and he was tried, found 
guilty, and sentenced to be executed.  They took the poor old lord 
outside the town of Winchester, and there kept him waiting some 
three or four hours until they could find somebody to cut off his 
head.  At last, a convict said he would do it, if the government 
would pardon him in return; and they gave him the pardon; and at 
one blow he put the Earl of Kent out of his last suspense.

While the Queen was in France, she had found a lovely and good 
young lady, named Philippa, who she thought would make an excellent 
wife for her son.  The young King married this lady, soon after he 
came to the throne; and her first child, Edward, Prince of Wales, 
afterwards became celebrated, as we shall presently see, under the 
famous title of EDWARD THE BLACK PRINCE.

The young King, thinking the time ripe for the downfall of 
Mortimer, took counsel with Lord Montacute how he should proceed.  
A Parliament was going to be held at Nottingham, and that lord 
recommended that the favourite should be seized by night in 
Nottingham Castle, where he was sure to be.  Now, this, like many 
other things, was more easily said than done; because, to guard 
against treachery, the great gates of the Castle were locked every 
night, and the great keys were carried up-stairs to the Queen, who 
laid them under her own pillow.  But the Castle had a governor, and 
the governor being Lord Montacute's friend, confided to him how he 
knew of a secret passage underground, hidden from observation by 
the weeds and brambles with which it was overgrown; and how, 
through that passage, the conspirators might enter in the dead of 
the night, and go straight to Mortimer's room.  Accordingly, upon a 
certain dark night, at midnight, they made their way through this 
dismal place:  startling the rats, and frightening the owls and 
bats:  and came safely to the bottom of the main tower of the 
Castle, where the King met them, and took them up a profoundly-dark 
staircase in a deep silence.  They soon heard the voice of Mortimer 
in council with some friends; and bursting into the room with a 
sudden noise, took him prisoner.  The Queen cried out from her bed-
chamber, 'Oh, my sweet son, my dear son, spare my gentle Mortimer!'  
They carried him off, however; and, before the next Parliament, 
accused him of having made differences between the young King and 
his mother, and of having brought about the death of the Earl of 
Kent, and even of the late King; for, as you know by this time, 
when they wanted to get rid of a man in those old days, they were 
not very particular of what they accused him.  Mortimer was found 
guilty of all this, and was sentenced to be hanged at Tyburn.  The 
King shut his mother up in genteel confinement, where she passed 
the rest of her life; and now he became King in earnest.

The first effort he made was to conquer Scotland.  The English 
lords who had lands in Scotland, finding that their rights were not 
respected under the late peace, made war on their own account:  
choosing for their general, Edward, the son of John Baliol, who 
made such a vigorous fight, that in less than two months he won the 
whole Scottish Kingdom.  He was joined, when thus triumphant, by 
the King and Parliament; and he and the King in person besieged the 
Scottish forces in Berwick.  The whole Scottish army coming to the 
assistance of their countrymen, such a furious battle ensued, that 
thirty thousand men are said to have been killed in it.  Baliol was 
then crowned King of Scotland, doing homage to the King of England; 
but little came of his successes after all, for the Scottish men 
rose against him, within no very long time, and David Bruce came 
back within ten years and took his kingdom.

France was a far richer country than Scotland, and the King had a 
much greater mind to conquer it.  So, he let Scotland alone, and 
pretended that he had a claim to the French throne in right of his 
mother.  He had, in reality, no claim at all; but that mattered 
little in those times.  He brought over to his cause many little 
princes and sovereigns, and even courted the alliance of the people 
of Flanders - a busy, working community, who had very small respect 
for kings, and whose head man was a brewer.  With such forces as he 
raised by these means, Edward invaded France; but he did little by 
that, except run into debt in carrying on the war to the extent of 
three hundred thousand pounds.  The next year he did better; 
gaining a great sea-fight in the harbour of Sluys.  This success, 
however, was very shortlived, for the Flemings took fright at the 
siege of Saint Omer and ran away, leaving their weapons and baggage 
behind them.  Philip, the French King, coming up with his army, and 
Edward being very anxious to decide the war, proposed to settle the 
difference by single combat with him, or by a fight of one hundred 
knights on each side.  The French King said, he thanked him; but 
being very well as he was, he would rather not.  So, after some 
skirmishing and talking, a short peace was made.

It was soon broken by King Edward's favouring the cause of John, 
Earl of Montford; a French nobleman, who asserted a claim of his 
own against the French King, and offered to do homage to England 
for the Crown of France, if he could obtain it through England's 
help.  This French lord, himself, was soon defeated by the French 
King's son, and shut up in a tower in Paris; but his wife, a 
courageous and beautiful woman, who is said to have had the courage 
of a man, and the heart of a lion, assembled the people of 
Brittany, where she then was; and, showing them her infant son, 
made many pathetic entreaties to them not to desert her and their 
young Lord.  They took fire at this appeal, and rallied round her 
in the strong castle of Hennebon.  Here she was not only besieged 
without by the French under Charles de Blois, but was endangered 
within by a dreary old bishop, who was always representing to the 
people what horrors they must undergo if they were faithful - first 
from famine, and afterwards from fire and sword.  But this noble 
lady, whose heart never failed her, encouraged her soldiers by her 
own example; went from post to post like a great general; even 
mounted on horseback fully armed, and, issuing from the castle by a 
by-path, fell upon the French camp, set fire to the tents, and 
threw the whole force into disorder.  This done, she got safely 
back to Hennebon again, and was received with loud shouts of joy by 
the defenders of the castle, who had given her up for lost.  As 
they were now very short of provisions, however, and as they could 
not dine off enthusiasm, and as the old bishop was always saying, 
'I told you what it would come to!' they began to lose heart, and 
to talk of yielding the castle up.  The brave Countess retiring to 
an upper room and looking with great grief out to sea, where she 
expected relief from England, saw, at this very time, the English 
ships in the distance, and was relieved and rescued!  Sir Walter 
Manning, the English commander, so admired her courage, that, being 
come into the castle with the English knights, and having made a 
feast there, he assaulted the French by way of dessert, and beat 
them off triumphantly.  Then he and the knights came back to the 
castle with great joy; and the Countess who had watched them from a 
high tower, thanked them with all her heart, and kissed them every 

This noble lady distinguished herself afterwards in a sea-fight 
with the French off Guernsey, when she was on her way to England to 
ask for more troops.  Her great spirit roused another lady, the 
wife of another French lord (whom the French King very barbarously 
murdered), to distinguish herself scarcely less.  The time was fast 
coming, however, when Edward, Prince of Wales, was to be the great 
star of this French and English war.

It was in the month of July, in the year one thousand three hundred 
and forty-six, when the King embarked at Southampton for France, 
with an army of about thirty thousand men in all, attended by the 
Prince of Wales and by several of the chief nobles.  He landed at 
La Hogue in Normandy; and, burning and destroying as he went, 
according to custom, advanced up the left bank of the River Seine, 
and fired the small towns even close to Paris; but, being watched 
from the right bank of the river by the French King and all his 
army, it came to this at last, that Edward found himself, on 
Saturday the twenty-sixth of August, one thousand three hundred and 
forty-six, on a rising ground behind the little French village of 
Crecy, face to face with the French King's force.  And, although 
the French King had an enormous army - in number more than eight 
times his - he there resolved to beat him or be beaten.

The young Prince, assisted by the Earl of Oxford and the Earl of 
Warwick, led the first division of the English army; two other 
great Earls led the second; and the King, the third.  When the 
morning dawned, the King received the sacrament, and heard prayers, 
and then, mounted on horseback with a white wand in his hand, rode 
from company to company, and rank to rank, cheering and encouraging 
both officers and men.  Then the whole army breakfasted, each man 
sitting on the ground where he had stood; and then they remained 
quietly on the ground with their weapons ready.

Up came the French King with all his great force.  It was dark and 
angry weather; there was an eclipse of the sun; there was a 
thunder-storm, accompanied with tremendous rain; the frightened 
birds flew screaming above the soldiers' heads.  A certain captain 
in the French army advised the French King, who was by no means 
cheerful, not to begin the battle until the morrow.  The King, 
taking this advice, gave the word to halt.  But, those behind not 
understanding it, or desiring to be foremost with the rest, came 
pressing on.  The roads for a great distance were covered with this 
immense army, and with the common people from the villages, who 
were flourishing their rude weapons, and making a great noise.  
Owing to these circumstances, the French army advanced in the 
greatest confusion; every French lord doing what he liked with his 
own men, and putting out the men of every other French lord.

Now, their King relied strongly upon a great body of cross-bowmen 
from Genoa; and these he ordered to the front to begin the battle, 
on finding that he could not stop it.  They shouted once, they 
shouted twice, they shouted three times, to alarm the English 
archers; but, the English would have heard them shout three 
thousand times and would have never moved.  At last the cross-
bowmen went forward a little, and began to discharge their bolts; 
upon which, the English let fly such a hail of arrows, that the 
Genoese speedily made off - for their cross-bows, besides being 
heavy to carry, required to be wound up with a handle, and 
consequently took time to re-load; the English, on the other hand, 
could discharge their arrows almost as fast as the arrows could 

When the French King saw the Genoese turning, he cried out to his 
men to kill those scoundrels, who were doing harm instead of 
service.  This increased the confusion.  Meanwhile the English 
archers, continuing to shoot as fast as ever, shot down great 
numbers of the French soldiers and knights; whom certain sly 
Cornish-men and Welshmen, from the English army, creeping along the 
ground, despatched with great knives.

The Prince and his division were at this time so hard-pressed, that 
the Earl of Warwick sent a message to the King, who was overlooking 
the battle from a windmill, beseeching him to send more aid.

'Is my son killed?' said the King.

'No, sire, please God,' returned the messenger.

'Is he wounded?' said the King.

'No, sire.'

'Is he thrown to the ground?' said the King.

'No, sire, not so; but, he is very hard-pressed.'

'Then,' said the King, 'go back to those who sent you, and tell 
them I shall send no aid; because I set my heart upon my son 
proving himself this day a brave knight, and because I am resolved, 
please God, that the honour of a great victory shall be his!'

These bold words, being reported to the Prince and his division, so 
raised their spirits, that they fought better than ever.  The King 
of France charged gallantly with his men many times; but it was of 
no use.  Night closing in, his horse was killed under him by an 
English arrow, and the knights and nobles who had clustered thick 
about him early in the day, were now completely scattered.  At 
last, some of his few remaining followers led him off the field by 
force since he would not retire of himself, and they journeyed away 
to Amiens.  The victorious English, lighting their watch-fires, 
made merry on the field, and the King, riding to meet his gallant 
son, took him in his arms, kissed him, and told him that he had 
acted nobly, and proved himself worthy of the day and of the crown.  
While it was yet night, King Edward was hardly aware of the great 
victory he had gained; but, next day, it was discovered that eleven 
princes, twelve hundred knights, and thirty thousand common men lay 
dead upon the French side.  Among these was the King of Bohemia, an 
old blind man; who, having been told that his son was wounded in 
the battle, and that no force could stand against the Black Prince, 
called to him two knights, put himself on horse-back between them, 
fastened the three bridles together, and dashed in among the 
English, where he was presently slain.  He bore as his crest three 
white ostrich feathers, with the motto ICH DIEN, signifying in 
English 'I serve.'  This crest and motto were taken by the Prince 
of Wales in remembrance of that famous day, and have been borne by 
the Prince of Wales ever since.

Five days after this great battle, the King laid siege to Calais.  
This siege - ever afterwards memorable - lasted nearly a year.  In 
order to starve the inhabitants out, King Edward built so many 
wooden houses for the lodgings of his troops, that it is said their 
quarters looked like a second Calais suddenly sprung around the 
first.  Early in the siege, the governor of the town drove out what 
he called the useless mouths, to the number of seventeen hundred 
persons, men and women, young and old.  King Edward allowed them to 
pass through his lines, and even fed them, and dismissed them with 
money; but, later in the siege, he was not so merciful - five 
hundred more, who were afterwards driven out, dying of starvation 
and misery.  The garrison were so hard-pressed at last, that they 
sent a letter to King Philip, telling him that they had eaten all 
the horses, all the dogs, and all the rats and mice that could be 
found in the place; and, that if he did not relieve them, they must 
either surrender to the English, or eat one another.  Philip made 
one effort to give them relief; but they were so hemmed in by the 
English power, that he could not succeed, and was fain to leave the 
place.  Upon this they hoisted the English flag, and surrendered to 
King Edward.  'Tell your general,' said he to the humble messengers 
who came out of the town, 'that I require to have sent here, six of 
the most distinguished citizens, bare-legged, and in their shirts, 
with ropes about their necks; and let those six men bring with them 
the keys of the castle and the town.'

When the Governor of Calais related this to the people in the 
Market-place, there was great weeping and distress; in the midst of 
which, one worthy citizen, named Eustace de Saint Pierre, rose up 
and said, that if the six men required were not sacrificed, the 
whole population would be; therefore, he offered himself as the 
first.  Encouraged by this bright example, five other worthy 
citizens rose up one after another, and offered themselves to save 
the rest.  The Governor, who was too badly wounded to be able to 
walk, mounted a poor old horse that had not been eaten, and 
conducted these good men to the gate, while all the people cried 
and mourned.

Edward received them wrathfully, and ordered the heads of the whole 
six to be struck off.  However, the good Queen fell upon her knees, 
and besought the King to give them up to her.  The King replied, 'I 
wish you had been somewhere else; but I cannot refuse you.'  So she 
had them properly dressed, made a feast for them, and sent them 
back with a handsome present, to the great rejoicing of the whole 
camp.  I hope the people of Calais loved the daughter to whom she 
gave birth soon afterwards, for her gentle mother's sake.

Now came that terrible disease, the Plague, into Europe, hurrying 
from the heart of China; and killed the wretched people - 
especially the poor - in such enormous numbers, that one-half of 
the inhabitants of England are related to have died of it.  It 
killed the cattle, in great numbers, too; and so few working men 
remained alive, that there were not enough left to till the ground.

After eight years of differing and quarrelling, the Prince of Wales 
again invaded France with an army of sixty thousand men.  He went 
through the south of the country, burning and plundering 
wheresoever he went; while his father, who had still the Scottish 
war upon his hands, did the like in Scotland, but was harassed and 
worried in his retreat from that country by the Scottish men, who 
repaid his cruelties with interest.

The French King, Philip, was now dead, and was succeeded by his son 
John.  The Black Prince, called by that name from the colour of the 
armour he wore to set off his fair complexion, continuing to burn 
and destroy in France, roused John into determined opposition; and 
so cruel had the Black Prince been in his campaign, and so severely 
had the French peasants suffered, that he could not find one who, 
for love, or money, or the fear of death, would tell him what the 
French King was doing, or where he was.  Thus it happened that he 
came upon the French King's forces, all of a sudden, near the town 
of Poitiers, and found that the whole neighbouring country was 
occupied by a vast French army.  'God help us!' said the Black 
Prince, 'we must make the best of it.'

So, on a Sunday morning, the eighteenth of September, the Prince 
whose army was now reduced to ten thousand men in all - prepared to 
give battle to the French King, who had sixty thousand horse alone.  
While he was so engaged, there came riding from the French camp, a 
Cardinal, who had persuaded John to let him offer terms, and try to 
save the shedding of Christian blood.  'Save my honour,' said the 
Prince to this good priest, 'and save the honour of my army, and I 
will make any reasonable terms.'  He offered to give up all the 
towns, castles, and prisoners, he had taken, and to swear to make 
no war in France for seven years; but, as John would hear of 
nothing but his surrender, with a hundred of his chief knights, the 
treaty was broken off, and the Prince said quietly - 'God defend 
the right; we shall fight to-morrow.'

Therefore, on the Monday morning, at break of day, the two armies 
prepared for battle.  The English were posted in a strong place, 
which could only be approached by one narrow lane, skirted by 
hedges on both sides.  The French attacked them by this lane; but 
were so galled and slain by English arrows from behind the hedges, 
that they were forced to retreat.  Then went six hundred English 
bowmen round about, and, coming upon the rear of the French army, 
rained arrows on them thick and fast.  The French knights, thrown 
into confusion, quitted their banners and dispersed in all 
directions.  Said Sir John Chandos to the Prince, 'Ride forward, 
noble Prince, and the day is yours.  The King of France is so 
valiant a gentleman, that I know he will never fly, and may be 
taken prisoner.'  Said the Prince to this, 'Advance, English 
banners, in the name of God and St. George!' and on they pressed 
until they came up with the French King, fighting fiercely with his 
battle-axe, and, when all his nobles had forsaken him, attended 
faithfully to the last by his youngest son Philip, only sixteen 
years of age.  Father and son fought well, and the King had already 
two wounds in his face, and had been beaten down, when he at last 
delivered himself to a banished French knight, and gave him his 
right-hand glove in token that he had done so.

The Black Prince was generous as well as brave, and he invited his 
royal prisoner to supper in his tent, and waited upon him at table, 
and, when they afterwards rode into London in a gorgeous 
procession, mounted the French King on a fine cream-coloured horse, 
and rode at his side on a little pony.  This was all very kind, but 
I think it was, perhaps, a little theatrical too, and has been made 
more meritorious than it deserved to be; especially as I am 
inclined to think that the greatest kindness to the King of France 
would have been not to have shown him to the people at all.  
However, it must be said, for these acts of politeness, that, in 
course of time, they did much to soften the horrors of war and the 
passions of conquerors.  It was a long, long time before the common 
soldiers began to have the benefit of such courtly deeds; but they 
did at last; and thus it is possible that a poor soldier who asked 
for quarter at the battle of Waterloo, or any other such great 
fight, may have owed his life indirectly to Edward the Black 

At this time there stood in the Strand, in London, a palace called 
the Savoy, which was given up to the captive King of France and his 
son for their residence.  As the King of Scotland had now been King 
Edward's captive for eleven years too, his success was, at this 
time, tolerably complete.  The Scottish business was settled by the 
prisoner being released under the title of Sir David, King of 
Scotland, and by his engaging to pay a large ransom.  The state of 
France encouraged England to propose harder terms to that country, 
where the people rose against the unspeakable cruelty and barbarity 
of its nobles; where the nobles rose in turn against the people; 
where the most frightful outrages were committed on all sides; and 
where the insurrection of the peasants, called the insurrection of 
the Jacquerie, from Jacques, a common Christian name among the 
country people of France, awakened terrors and hatreds that have 
scarcely yet passed away.  A treaty called the Great Peace, was at 
last signed, under which King Edward agreed to give up the greater 
part of his conquests, and King John to pay, within six years, a 
ransom of three million crowns of gold.  He was so beset by his own 
nobles and courtiers for having yielded to these conditions - 
though they could help him to no better - that he came back of his 
own will to his old palace-prison of the Savoy, and there died.

There was a Sovereign of Castile at that time, called PEDRO THE 
CRUEL, who deserved the name remarkably well:  having committed, 
among other cruelties, a variety of murders.  This amiable monarch 
being driven from his throne for his crimes, went to the province 
of Bordeaux, where the Black Prince - now married to his cousin 
JOAN, a pretty widow - was residing, and besought his help.  The 
Prince, who took to him much more kindly than a prince of such fame 
ought to have taken to such a ruffian, readily listened to his fair 
promises, and agreeing to help him, sent secret orders to some 
troublesome disbanded soldiers of his and his father's, who called 
themselves the Free Companions, and who had been a pest to the 
French people, for some time, to aid this Pedro.  The Prince, 
himself, going into Spain to head the army of relief, soon set 
Pedro on his throne again - where he no sooner found himself, than, 
of course, he behaved like the villain he was, broke his word 
without the least shame, and abandoned all the promises he had made 
to the Black Prince.

Now, it had cost the Prince a good deal of money to pay soldiers to 
support this murderous King; and finding himself, when he came back 
disgusted to Bordeaux, not only in bad health, but deeply in debt, 
he began to tax his French subjects to pay his creditors.  They 
appealed to the French King, CHARLES; war again broke out; and the 
French town of Limoges, which the Prince had greatly benefited, 
went over to the French King.  Upon this he ravaged the province of 
which it was the capital; burnt, and plundered, and killed in the 
old sickening way; and refused mercy to the prisoners, men, women, 
and children taken in the offending town, though he was so ill and 
so much in need of pity himself from Heaven, that he was carried in 
a litter.  He lived to come home and make himself popular with the 
people and Parliament, and he died on Trinity Sunday, the eighth of 
June, one thousand three hundred and seventy-six, at forty-six 
years old.

The whole nation mourned for him as one of the most renowned and 
beloved princes it had ever had; and he was buried with great 
lamentations in Canterbury Cathedral.  Near to the tomb of Edward 
the Confessor, his monument, with his figure, carved in stone, and 
represented in the old black armour, lying on its back, may be seen 
at this day, with an ancient coat of mail, a helmet, and a pair of 
gauntlets hanging from a beam above it, which most people like to 
believe were once worn by the Black Prince.

King Edward did not outlive his renowned son, long.  He was old, 
and one Alice Perrers, a beautiful lady, had contrived to make him 
so fond of her in his old age, that he could refuse her nothing, 
and made himself ridiculous.  She little deserved his love, or - 
what I dare say she valued a great deal more - the jewels of the 
late Queen, which he gave her among other rich presents.  She took 
the very ring from his finger on the morning of the day when he 
died, and left him to be pillaged by his faithless servants.  Only 
one good priest was true to him, and attended him to the last.

Besides being famous for the great victories I have related, the 
reign of King Edward the Third was rendered memorable in better 
ways, by the growth of architecture and the erection of Windsor 
Castle.  In better ways still, by the rising up of WICKLIFFE, 
originally a poor parish priest:  who devoted himself to exposing, 
with wonderful power and success, the ambition and corruption of 
the Pope, and of the whole church of which he was the head.

Some of those Flemings were induced to come to England in this 
reign too, and to settle in Norfolk, where they made better woollen 
cloths than the English had ever had before.  The Order of the 
Garter (a very fine thing in its way, but hardly so important as 
good clothes for the nation) also dates from this period.  The King 
is said to have picked 'up a lady's garter at a ball, and to have 
said, HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE - in English, 'Evil be to him who 
evil thinks of it.'  The courtiers were usually glad to imitate 
what the King said or did, and hence from a slight incident the 
Order of the Garter was instituted, and became a great dignity.  So 
the story goes.


RICHARD, son of the Black Prince, a boy eleven years of age, 
succeeded to the Crown under the title of King Richard the Second.  
The whole English nation were ready to admire him for the sake of 
his brave father.  As to the lords and ladies about the Court, they 
declared him to be the most beautiful, the wisest, and the best - 
even of princes - whom the lords and ladies about the Court, 
generally declare to be the most beautiful, the wisest, and the 
best of mankind.  To flatter a poor boy in this base manner was not 
a very likely way to develop whatever good was in him; and it 
brought him to anything but a good or happy end.

The Duke of Lancaster, the young King's uncle - commonly called 
John of Gaunt, from having been born at Ghent, which the common 
people so pronounced - was supposed to have some thoughts of the 
throne himself; but, as he was not popular, and the memory of the 
Black Prince was, he submitted to his nephew.

The war with France being still unsettled, the Government of 
England wanted money to provide for the expenses that might arise 
out of it; accordingly a certain tax, called the Poll-tax, which 
had originated in the last reign, was ordered to be levied on the 
people.  This was a tax on every person in the kingdom, male and 
female, above the age of fourteen, of three groats (or three four-
penny pieces) a year; clergymen were charged more, and only beggars 
were exempt.

I have no need to repeat that the common people of England had long 
been suffering under great oppression.  They were still the mere 
slaves of the lords of the land on which they lived, and were on 
most occasions harshly and unjustly treated.  But, they had begun 
by this time to think very seriously of not bearing quite so much; 
and, probably, were emboldened by that French insurrection I 
mentioned in the last chapter.

The people of Essex rose against the Poll-tax, and being severely 
handled by the government officers, killed some of them.  At this 
very time one of the tax-collectors, going his rounds from house to 
house, at Dartford in Kent came to the cottage of one WAT, a tiler 
by trade, and claimed the tax upon his daughter.  Her mother, who 
was at home, declared that she was under the age of fourteen; upon 
that, the collector (as other collectors had already done in 
different parts of England) behaved in a savage way, and brutally 
insulted Wat Tyler's daughter.  The daughter screamed, the mother 
screamed.  Wat the Tiler, who was at work not far off, ran to the 
spot, and did what any honest father under such provocation might 
have done - struck the collector dead at a blow.

Instantly the people of that town uprose as one man.  They made Wat 
Tyler their leader; they joined with the people of Essex, who were 
in arms under a priest called JACK STRAW; they took out of prison 
another priest named JOHN BALL; and gathering in numbers as they 
went along, advanced, in a great confused army of poor men, to 
Blackheath.  It is said that they wanted to abolish all property, 
and to declare all men equal.  I do not think this very likely; 
because they stopped the travellers on the roads and made them 
swear to be true to King Richard and the people.  Nor were they at 
all disposed to injure those who had done them no harm, merely 
because they were of high station; for, the King's mother, who had 
to pass through their camp at Blackheath, on her way to her young 
son, lying for safety in the Tower of London, had merely to kiss a 
few dirty-faced rough-bearded men who were noisily fond of royalty, 
and so got away in perfect safety.  Next day the whole mass marched 
on to London Bridge.

There was a drawbridge in the middle, which WILLIAM WALWORTH the 
Mayor caused to be raised to prevent their coming into the city; 
but they soon terrified the citizens into lowering it again, and 
spread themselves, with great uproar, over the streets.  They broke 
open the prisons; they burned the papers in Lambeth Palace; they 
destroyed the DUKE OF LANCASTER'S Palace, the Savoy, in the Strand, 
said to be the most beautiful and splendid in England; they set 
fire to the books and documents in the Temple; and made a great 
riot.  Many of these outrages were committed in drunkenness; since 
those citizens, who had well-filled cellars, were only too glad to 
throw them open to save the rest of their property; but even the 
drunken rioters were very careful to steal nothing.  They were so 
angry with one man, who was seen to take a silver cup at the Savoy 
Palace, and put it in his breast, that they drowned him in the 
river, cup and all.

The young King had been taken out to treat with them before they 
committed these excesses; but, he and the people about him were so 
frightened by the riotous shouts, that they got back to the Tower 
in the best way they could.  This made the insurgents bolder; so 
they went on rioting away, striking off the heads of those who did 
not, at a moment's notice, declare for King Richard and the people; 
and killing as many of the unpopular persons whom they supposed to 
be their enemies as they could by any means lay hold of.  In this 
manner they passed one very violent day, and then proclamation was 
made that the King would meet them at Mile-end, and grant their 

The rioters went to Mile-end to the number of sixty thousand, and 
the King met them there, and to the King the rioters peaceably 
proposed four conditions.  First, that neither they, nor their 
children, nor any coming after them, should be made slaves any 
more.  Secondly, that the rent of land should be fixed at a certain 
price in money, instead of being paid in service.  Thirdly, that 
they should have liberty to buy and sell in all markets and public 
places, like other free men.  Fourthly, that they should be 
pardoned for past offences.  Heaven knows, there was nothing very 
unreasonable in these proposals!  The young King deceitfully 
pretended to think so, and kept thirty clerks up, all night, 
writing out a charter accordingly.

Now, Wat Tyler himself wanted more than this.  He wanted the entire 
abolition of the forest laws.  He was not at Mile-end with the 
rest, but, while that meeting was being held, broke into the Tower 
of London and slew the archbishop and the treasurer, for whose 
heads the people had cried out loudly the day before.  He and his 
men even thrust their swords into the bed of the Princess of Wales 
while the Princess was in it, to make certain that none of their 
enemies were concealed there.

So, Wat and his men still continued armed, and rode about the city.  
Next morning, the King with a small train of some sixty gentlemen - 
among whom was WALWORTH the Mayor - rode into Smithfield, and saw 
Wat and his people at a little distance.  Says Wat to his men, 
'There is the King.  I will go speak with him, and tell him what we 

Straightway Wat rode up to him, and began to talk.  'King,' says 
Wat, 'dost thou see all my men there?'

'Ah,' says the King.  'Why?'

'Because,' says Wat, 'they are all at my command, and have sworn to 
do whatever I bid them.'

Some declared afterwards that as Wat said this, he laid his hand on 
the King's bridle.  Others declared that he was seen to play with 
his own dagger.  I think, myself, that he just spoke to the King 
like a rough, angry man as he was, and did nothing more.  At any 
rate he was expecting no attack, and preparing for no resistance, 
when Walworth the Mayor did the not very valiant deed of drawing a 
short sword and stabbing him in the throat.  He dropped from his 
horse, and one of the King's people speedily finished him.  So fell 
Wat Tyler.  Fawners and flatterers made a mighty triumph of it, and 
set up a cry which will occasionally find an echo to this day.  But 
Wat was a hard-working man, who had suffered much, and had been 
foully outraged; and it is probable that he was a man of a much 
higher nature and a much braver spirit than any of the parasites 
who exulted then, or have exulted since, over his defeat.

Seeing Wat down, his men immediately bent their bows to avenge his 
fall.  If the young King had not had presence of mind at that 
dangerous moment, both he and the Mayor to boot, might have 
followed Tyler pretty fast.  But the King riding up to the crowd, 
cried out that Tyler was a traitor, and that he would be their 
leader.  They were so taken by surprise, that they set up a great 
shouting, and followed the boy until he was met at Islington by a 
large body of soldiers.

The end of this rising was the then usual end.  As soon as the King 
found himself safe, he unsaid all he had said, and undid all he had 
done; some fifteen hundred of the rioters were tried (mostly in 
Essex) with great rigour, and executed with great cruelty.  Many of 
them were hanged on gibbets, and left there as a terror to the 
country people; and, because their miserable friends took some of 
the bodies down to bury, the King ordered the rest to be chained up 
- which was the beginning of the barbarous custom of hanging in 
chains.  The King's falsehood in this business makes such a pitiful 
figure, that I think Wat Tyler appears in history as beyond 
comparison the truer and more respectable man of the two.

Richard was now sixteen years of age, and married Anne of Bohemia, 
an excellent princess, who was called 'the good Queen Anne.'  She 
deserved a better husband; for the King had been fawned and 
flattered into a treacherous, wasteful, dissolute, bad young man.

There were two Popes at this time (as if one were not enough!), and 
their quarrels involved Europe in a great deal of trouble.  
Scotland was still troublesome too; and at home there was much 
jealousy and distrust, and plotting and counter-plotting, because 
the King feared the ambition of his relations, and particularly of 
his uncle, the Duke of Lancaster, and the duke had his party 
against the King, and the King had his party against the duke.  Nor 
were these home troubles lessened when the duke went to Castile to 
urge his claim to the crown of that kingdom; for then the Duke of 
Gloucester, another of Richard's uncles, opposed him, and 
influenced the Parliament to demand the dismissal of the King's 
favourite ministers.  The King said in reply, that he would not for 
such men dismiss the meanest servant in his kitchen.  But, it had 
begun to signify little what a King said when a Parliament was 
determined; so Richard was at last obliged to give way, and to 
agree to another Government of the kingdom, under a commission of 
fourteen nobles, for a year.  His uncle of Gloucester was at the 
head of this commission, and, in fact, appointed everybody 
composing it.

Having done all this, the King declared as soon as he saw an 
opportunity that he had never meant to do it, and that it was all 
illegal; and he got the judges secretly to sign a declaration to 
that effect.  The secret oozed out directly, and was carried to the 
Duke of Gloucester.  The Duke of Gloucester, at the head of forty 
thousand men, met the King on his entering into London to enforce 
his authority; the King was helpless against him; his favourites 
and ministers were impeached and were mercilessly executed.  Among 
them were two men whom the people regarded with very different 
feelings; one, Robert Tresilian, Chief Justice, who was hated for 
having made what was called 'the bloody circuit' to try the 
rioters; the other, Sir Simon Burley, an honourable knight, who had 
been the dear friend of the Black Prince, and the governor and 
guardian of the King.  For this gentleman's life the good Queen 
even begged of Gloucester on her knees; but Gloucester (with or 
without reason) feared and hated him, and replied, that if she 
valued her husband's crown, she had better beg no more.  All this 
was done under what was called by some the wonderful - and by 
others, with better reason, the merciless - Parliament.

But Gloucester's power was not to last for ever.  He held it for 
only a year longer; in which year the famous battle of Otterbourne, 
sung in the old ballad of Chevy Chase, was fought.  When the year 
was out, the King, turning suddenly to Gloucester, in the midst of 
a great council said, 'Uncle, how old am I?'  'Your highness,' 
returned the Duke, 'is in your twenty-second year.'  'Am I so 
much?' said the King; 'then I will manage my own affairs!  I am 
much obliged to you, my good lords, for your past services, but I 
need them no more.'  He followed this up, by appointing a new 
Chancellor and a new Treasurer, and announced to the people that he 
had resumed the Government.  He held it for eight years without 
opposition.  Through all that time, he kept his determination to 
revenge himself some day upon his uncle Gloucester, in his own 

At last the good Queen died, and then the King, desiring to take a 
second wife, proposed to his council that he should marry Isabella, 
of France, the daughter of Charles the Sixth:  who, the French 
courtiers said (as the English courtiers had said of Richard), was 
a marvel of beauty and wit, and quite a phenomenon - of seven years 
old.  The council were divided about this marriage, but it took 
place.  It secured peace between England and France for a quarter 
of a century; but it was strongly opposed to the prejudices of the 
English people.  The Duke of Gloucester, who was anxious to take 
the occasion of making himself popular, declaimed against it 
loudly, and this at length decided the King to execute the 
vengeance he had been nursing so long.

He went with a gay company to the Duke of Gloucester's house, 
Pleshey Castle, in Essex, where the Duke, suspecting nothing, came 
out into the court-yard to receive his royal visitor.  While the 
King conversed in a friendly manner with the Duchess, the Duke was 
quietly seized, hurried away, shipped for Calais, and lodged in the 
castle there.  His friends, the Earls of Arundel and Warwick, were 
taken in the same treacherous manner, and confined to their 
castles.  A few days after, at Nottingham, they were impeached of 
high treason.  The Earl of Arundel was condemned and beheaded, and 
the Earl of Warwick was banished.  Then, a writ was sent by a 
messenger to the Governor of Calais, requiring him to send the Duke 
of Gloucester over to be tried.  In three days he returned an 
answer that he could not do that, because the Duke of Gloucester 
had died in prison.  The Duke was declared a traitor, his property 
was confiscated to the King, a real or pretended confession he had 
made in prison to one of the Justices of the Common Pleas was 
produced against him, and there was an end of the matter.  How the 
unfortunate duke died, very few cared to know.  Whether he really 
died naturally; whether he killed himself; whether, by the King's 
order, he was strangled, or smothered between two beds (as a 
serving-man of the Governor's named Hall, did afterwards declare), 
cannot be discovered.  There is not much doubt that he was killed, 
somehow or other, by his nephew's orders.  Among the most active 
nobles in these proceedings were the King's cousin, Henry 
Bolingbroke, whom the King had made Duke of Hereford to smooth down 
the old family quarrels, and some others:  who had in the family-
plotting times done just such acts themselves as they now condemned 
in the duke.  They seem to have been a corrupt set of men; but such 
men were easily found about the court in such days.

The people murmured at all this, and were still very sore about the 
French marriage.  The nobles saw how little the King cared for law, 
and how crafty he was, and began to be somewhat afraid for 
themselves.  The King's life was a life of continued feasting and 
excess; his retinue, down to the meanest servants, were dressed in 
the most costly manner, and caroused at his tables, it is related, 
to the number of ten thousand persons every day.  He himself, 
surrounded by a body of ten thousand archers, and enriched by a 
duty on wool which the Commons had granted him for life, saw no 
danger of ever being otherwise than powerful and absolute, and was 
as fierce and haughty as a King could be.

He had two of his old enemies left, in the persons of the Dukes of 
Hereford and Norfolk.  Sparing these no more than the others, he 
tampered with the Duke of Hereford until he got him to declare 
before the Council that the Duke of Norfolk had lately held some 
treasonable talk with him, as he was riding near Brentford; and 
that he had told him, among other things, that he could not believe 
the King's oath - which nobody could, I should think.  For this 
treachery he obtained a pardon, and the Duke of Norfolk was 
summoned to appear and defend himself.  As he denied the charge and 
said his accuser was a liar and a traitor, both noblemen, according 
to the manner of those times, were held in custody, and the truth 
was ordered to be decided by wager of battle at Coventry.  This 
wager of battle meant that whosoever won the combat was to be 
considered in the right; which nonsense meant in effect, that no 
strong man could ever be wrong.  A great holiday was made; a great 
crowd assembled, with much parade and show; and the two combatants 
were about to rush at each other with their lances, when the King, 
sitting in a pavilion to see fair, threw down the truncheon he 
carried in his hand, and forbade the battle.  The Duke of Hereford 
was to be banished for ten years, and the Duke of Norfolk was to be 
banished for life.  So said the King.  The Duke of Hereford went to 
France, and went no farther.  The Duke of Norfolk made a pilgrimage 
to the Holy Land, and afterwards died at Venice of a broken heart.

Faster and fiercer, after this, the King went on in his career.  
The Duke of Lancaster, who was the father of the Duke of Hereford, 
died soon after the departure of his son; and, the King, although 
he had solemnly granted to that son leave to inherit his father's 
property, if it should come to him during his banishment, 
immediately seized it all, like a robber.  The judges were so 
afraid of him, that they disgraced themselves by declaring this 
theft to be just and lawful.  His avarice knew no bounds.  He 
outlawed seventeen counties at once, on a frivolous pretence, 
merely to raise money by way of fines for misconduct.  In short, he 
did as many dishonest things as he could; and cared so little for 
the discontent of his subjects - though even the spaniel favourites 
began to whisper to him that there was such a thing as discontent 
afloat - that he took that time, of all others, for leaving England 
and making an expedition against the Irish.

He was scarcely gone, leaving the DUKE OF YORK Regent in his 
absence, when his cousin, Henry of Hereford, came over from France 
to claim the rights of which he had been so monstrously deprived.  
He was immediately joined by the two great Earls of Northumberland 
and Westmoreland; and his uncle, the Regent, finding the King's 
cause unpopular, and the disinclination of the army to act against 
Henry, very strong, withdrew with the Royal forces towards Bristol.  
Henry, at the head of an army, came from Yorkshire (where he had 
landed) to London and followed him.  They joined their forces - how 
they brought that about, is not distinctly understood - and 
proceeded to Bristol Castle, whither three noblemen had taken the 
young Queen.  The castle surrendering, they presently put those 
three noblemen to death.  The Regent then remained there, and Henry 
went on to Chester.

All this time, the boisterous weather had prevented the King from 
receiving intelligence of what had occurred.  At length it was 
conveyed to him in Ireland, and he sent over the EARL OF SALISBURY, 
who, landing at Conway, rallied the Welshmen, and waited for the 
King a whole fortnight; at the end of that time the Welshmen, who 
were perhaps not very warm for him in the beginning, quite cooled 
down and went home.  When the King did land on the coast at last, 
he came with a pretty good power, but his men cared nothing for 
him, and quickly deserted.  Supposing the Welshmen to be still at 
Conway, he disguised himself as a priest, and made for that place 
in company with his two brothers and some few of their adherents.  
But, there were no Welshmen left - only Salisbury and a hundred 
soldiers.  In this distress, the King's two brothers, Exeter and 
Surrey, offered to go to Henry to learn what his intentions were.  
Surrey, who was true to Richard, was put into prison.  Exeter, who 
was false, took the royal badge, which was a hart, off his shield, 
and assumed the rose, the badge of Henry.  After this, it was 
pretty plain to the King what Henry's intentions were, without 
sending any more messengers to ask.

The fallen King, thus deserted - hemmed in on all sides, and 
pressed with hunger - rode here and rode there, and went to this 
castle, and went to that castle, endeavouring to obtain some 
provisions, but could find none.  He rode wretchedly back to 
Conway, and there surrendered himself to the Earl of 
Northumberland, who came from Henry, in reality to take him 
prisoner, but in appearance to offer terms; and whose men were 
hidden not far off.  By this earl he was conducted to the castle of 
Flint, where his cousin Henry met him, and dropped on his knee as 
if he were still respectful to his sovereign.

'Fair cousin of Lancaster,' said the King, 'you are very welcome' 
(very welcome, no doubt; but he would have been more so, in chains 
or without a head).

'My lord,' replied Henry, 'I am come a little before my time; but, 
with your good pleasure, I will show you the reason.  Your people 
complain with some bitterness, that you have ruled them rigorously 
for two-and-twenty years.  Now, if it please God, I will help you 
to govern them better in future.'

'Fair cousin,' replied the abject King, 'since it pleaseth you, it 
pleaseth me mightily.'

After this, the trumpets sounded, and the King was stuck on a 
wretched horse, and carried prisoner to Chester, where he was made 
to issue a proclamation, calling a Parliament.  From Chester he was 
taken on towards London.  At Lichfield he tried to escape by 
getting out of a window and letting himself down into a garden; it 
was all in vain, however, and he was carried on and shut up in the 
Tower, where no one pitied him, and where the whole people, whose 
patience he had quite tired out, reproached him without mercy.  
Before he got there, it is related, that his very dog left him and 
departed from his side to lick the hand of Henry.

The day before the Parliament met, a deputation went to this 
wrecked King, and told him that he had promised the Earl of 
Northumberland at Conway Castle to resign the crown.  He said he 
was quite ready to do it, and signed a paper in which he renounced 
his authority and absolved his people from their allegiance to him.  
He had so little spirit left that he gave his royal ring to his 
triumphant cousin Henry with his own hand, and said, that if he 
could have had leave to appoint a successor, that same Henry was 
the man of all others whom he would have named.  Next day, the 
Parliament assembled in Westminster Hall, where Henry sat at the 
side of the throne, which was empty and covered with a cloth of 
gold.  The paper just signed by the King was read to the multitude 
amid shouts of joy, which were echoed through all the streets; when 
some of the noise had died away, the King was formally deposed.  
Then Henry arose, and, making the sign of the cross on his forehead 
and breast, challenged the realm of England as his right; the 
archbishops of Canterbury and York seated him on the throne.

The multitude shouted again, and the shouts re-echoed throughout 
all the streets.  No one remembered, now, that Richard the Second 
had ever been the most beautiful, the wisest, and the best of 
princes; and he now made living (to my thinking) a far more sorry 
spectacle in the Tower of London, than Wat Tyler had made, lying 
dead, among the hoofs of the royal horses in Smithfield.

The Poll-tax died with Wat.  The Smiths to the King and Royal 
Family, could make no chains in which the King could hang the 
people's recollection of him; so the Poll-tax was never collected.


DURING the last reign, the preaching of Wickliffe against the pride 
and cunning of the Pope and all his men, had made a great noise in 
England.  Whether the new King wished to be in favour with the 
priests, or whether he hoped, by pretending to be very religious, 
to cheat Heaven itself into the belief that he was not a usurper, I 
don't know.  Both suppositions are likely enough.  It is certain 
that he began his reign by making a strong show against the 
followers of Wickliffe, who were called Lollards, or heretics - 
although his father, John of Gaunt, had been of that way of 
thinking, as he himself had been more than suspected of being.  It 
is no less certain that he first established in England the 
detestable and atrocious custom, brought from abroad, of burning 
those people as a punishment for their opinions.  It was the 
importation into England of one of the practices of what was called 
the Holy Inquisition:  which was the most UNholy and the most 
infamous tribunal that ever disgraced mankind, and made men more 
like demons than followers of Our Saviour.

No real right to the crown, as you know, was in this King.  Edward 
Mortimer, the young Earl of March - who was only eight or nine 
years old, and who was descended from the Duke of Clarence, the 
elder brother of Henry's father - was, by succession, the real heir 
to the throne.  However, the King got his son declared Prince of 
Wales; and, obtaining possession of the young Earl of March and his 
little brother, kept them in confinement (but not severely) in 
Windsor Castle.  He then required the Parliament to decide what was 
to be done with the deposed King, who was quiet enough, and who 
only said that he hoped his cousin Henry would be 'a good lord' to 
him.  The Parliament replied that they would recommend his being 
kept in some secret place where the people could not resort, and 
where his friends could not be admitted to see him.  Henry 
accordingly passed this sentence upon him, and it now began to be 
pretty clear to the nation that Richard the Second would not live 
very long.

It was a noisy Parliament, as it was an unprincipled one, and the 
Lords quarrelled so violently among themselves as to which of them 
had been loyal and which disloyal, and which consistent and which 
inconsistent, that forty gauntlets are said to have been thrown 
upon the floor at one time as challenges to as many battles:  the 
truth being that they were all false and base together, and had 
been, at one time with the old King, and at another time with the 
new one, and seldom true for any length of time to any one.  They 
soon began to plot again.  A conspiracy was formed to invite the 
King to a tournament at Oxford, and then to take him by surprise 
and kill him.  This murderous enterprise, which was agreed upon at 
secret meetings in the house of the Abbot of Westminster, was 
betrayed by the Earl of Rutland - one of the conspirators.  The 
King, instead of going to the tournament or staying at Windsor 
(where the conspirators suddenly went, on finding themselves 
discovered, with the hope of seizing him), retired to London, 
proclaimed them all traitors, and advanced upon them with a great 
force.  They retired into the west of England, proclaiming Richard 
King; but, the people rose against them, and they were all slain.  
Their treason hastened the death of the deposed monarch.  Whether 
he was killed by hired assassins, or whether he was starved to 
death, or whether he refused food on hearing of his brothers being 
killed (who were in that plot), is very doubtful.  He met his death 
somehow; and his body was publicly shown at St. Paul's Cathedral 
with only the lower part of the face uncovered.  I can scarcely 
doubt that he was killed by the King's orders.

The French wife of the miserable Richard was now only ten years 
old; and, when her father, Charles of France, heard of her 
misfortunes and of her lonely condition in England, he went mad:  
as he had several times done before, during the last five or six 
years.  The French Dukes of Burgundy and Bourbon took up the poor 
girl's cause, without caring much about it, but on the chance of 
getting something out of England.  The people of Bordeaux, who had 
a sort of superstitious attachment to the memory of Richard, 
because he was born there, swore by the Lord that he had been the 
best man in all his kingdom - which was going rather far - and 
promised to do great things against the English.  Nevertheless, 
when they came to consider that they, and the whole people of 
France, were ruined by their own nobles, and that the English rule 
was much the better of the two, they cooled down again; and the two 
dukes, although they were very great men, could do nothing without 
them.  Then, began negotiations between France and England for the 
sending home to Paris of the poor little Queen with all her jewels 
and her fortune of two hundred thousand francs in gold.  The King 
was quite willing to restore the young lady, and even the jewels; 
but he said he really could not part with the money.  So, at last 
she was safely deposited at Paris without her fortune, and then the 
Duke of Burgundy (who was cousin to the French King) began to 
quarrel with the Duke of Orleans (who was brother to the French 
King) about the whole matter; and those two dukes made France even 
more wretched than ever.

As the idea of conquering Scotland was still popular at home, the 
King marched to the river Tyne and demanded homage of the King of 
that country.  This being refused, he advanced to Edinburgh, but 
did little there; for, his army being in want of provisions, and 
the Scotch being very careful to hold him in check without giving 
battle, he was obliged to retire.  It is to his immortal honour 
that in this sally he burnt no villages and slaughtered no people, 
but was particularly careful that his army should be merciful and 
harmless.  It was a great example in those ruthless times.

A war among the border people of England and Scotland went on for 
twelve months, and then the Earl of Northumberland, the nobleman 
who had helped Henry to the crown, began to rebel against him - 
probably because nothing that Henry could do for him would satisfy 
his extravagant expectations.  There was a certain Welsh gentleman, 
named OWEN GLENDOWER, who had been a student in one of the Inns of 
Court, and had afterwards been in the service of the late King, 
whose Welsh property was taken from him by a powerful lord related 
to the present King, who was his neighbour.  Appealing for redress, 
and getting none, he took up arms, was made an outlaw, and declared 
himself sovereign of Wales.  He pretended to be a magician; and not 
only were the Welsh people stupid enough to believe him, but, even 
Henry believed him too; for, making three expeditions into Wales, 
and being three times driven back by the wildness of the country, 
the bad weather, and the skill of Glendower, he thought he was 
defeated by the Welshman's magic arts.  However, he took Lord Grey 
and Sir Edmund Mortimer, prisoners, and allowed the relatives of 
Lord Grey to ransom him, but would not extend such favour to Sir 
Edmund Mortimer.  Now, Henry Percy, called HOTSPUR, son of the Earl 
of Northumberland, who was married to Mortimer's sister, is 
supposed to have taken offence at this; and, therefore, in 
conjunction with his father and some others, to have joined Owen 
Glendower, and risen against Henry.  It is by no means clear that 
this was the real cause of the conspiracy; but perhaps it was made 
the pretext.  It was formed, and was very powerful; including 
SCROOP, Archbishop of York, and the EARL OF DOUGLAS, a powerful and 
brave Scottish nobleman.  The King was prompt and active, and the 
two armies met at Shrewsbury.

There were about fourteen thousand men in each.  The old Earl of 
Northumberland being sick, the rebel forces were led by his son.  
The King wore plain armour to deceive the enemy; and four noblemen, 
with the same object, wore the royal arms.  The rebel charge was so 
furious, that every one of those gentlemen was killed, the royal 
standard was beaten down, and the young Prince of Wales was 
severely wounded in the face.  But he was one of the bravest and 
best soldiers that ever lived, and he fought so well, and the 
King's troops were so encouraged by his bold example, that they 
rallied immediately, and cut the enemy's forces all to pieces.  
Hotspur was killed by an arrow in the brain, and the rout was so 
complete that the whole rebellion was struck down by this one blow.  
The Earl of Northumberland surrendered himself soon after hearing 
of the death of his son, and received a pardon for all his 

There were some lingerings of rebellion yet:  Owen Glendower being 
retired to Wales, and a preposterous story being spread among the 
ignorant people that King Richard was still alive.  How they could 
have believed such nonsense it is difficult to imagine; but they 
certainly did suppose that the Court fool of the late King, who was 
something like him, was he, himself; so that it seemed as if, after 
giving so much trouble to the country in his life, he was still to 
trouble it after his death.  This was not the worst.  The young 
Earl of March and his brother were stolen out of Windsor Castle.  
Being retaken, and being found to have been spirited away by one 
Lady Spencer, she accused her own brother, that Earl of Rutland who 
was in the former conspiracy and was now Duke of York, of being in 
the plot.  For this he was ruined in fortune, though not put to 
death; and then another plot arose among the old Earl of 
Northumberland, some other lords, and that same Scroop, Archbishop 
of York, who was with the rebels before.  These conspirators caused 
a writing to be posted on the church doors, accusing the King of a 
variety of crimes; but, the King being eager and vigilant to oppose 
them, they were all taken, and the Archbishop was executed.  This 
was the first time that a great churchman had been slain by the law 
in England; but the King was resolved that it should be done, and 
done it was.

The next most remarkable event of this time was the seizure, by 
Henry, of the heir to the Scottish throne - James, a boy of nine 
years old.  He had been put aboard-ship by his father, the Scottish 
King Robert, to save him from the designs of his uncle, when, on 
his way to France, he was accidentally taken by some English 
cruisers.  He remained a prisoner in England for nineteen years, 
and became in his prison a student and a famous poet.

With the exception of occasional troubles with the Welsh and with 
the French, the rest of King Henry's reign was quiet enough.  But, 
the King was far from happy, and probably was troubled in his 
conscience by knowing that he had usurped the crown, and had 
occasioned the death of his miserable cousin.  The Prince of Wales, 
though brave and generous, is said to have been wild and 
dissipated, and even to have drawn his sword on GASCOIGNE, the 
Chief Justice of the King's Bench, because he was firm in dealing 
impartially with one of his dissolute companions.  Upon this the 
Chief Justice is said to have ordered him immediately to prison; 
the Prince of Wales is said to have submitted with a good grace; 
and the King is said to have exclaimed, 'Happy is the monarch who 
has so just a judge, and a son so willing to obey the laws.'  This 
is all very doubtful, and so is another story (of which Shakespeare 
has made beautiful use), that the Prince once took the crown out of 
his father's chamber as he was sleeping, and tried it on his own 

The King's health sank more and more, and he became subject to 
violent eruptions on the face and to bad epileptic fits, and his 
spirits sank every day.  At last, as he was praying before the 
shrine of St. Edward at Westminster Abbey, he was seized with a 
terrible fit, and was carried into the Abbot's chamber, where he 
presently died.  It had been foretold that he would die at 
Jerusalem, which certainly is not, and never was, Westminster.  
But, as the Abbot's room had long been called the Jerusalem 
chamber, people said it was all the same thing, and were quite 
satisfied with the prediction.

The King died on the 20th of March, 1413, in the forty-seventh year 
of his age, and the fourteenth of his reign.  He was buried in 
Canterbury Cathedral.  He had been twice married, and had, by his 
first wife, a family of four sons and two daughters.  Considering 
his duplicity before he came to the throne, his unjust seizure of 
it, and above all, his making that monstrous law for the burning of 
what the priests called heretics, he was a reasonably good king, as 
kings went.



THE Prince of Wales began his reign like a generous and honest man.  
He set the young Earl of March free; he restored their estates and 
their honours to the Percy family, who had lost them by their 
rebellion against his father; he ordered the imbecile and 
unfortunate Richard to be honourably buried among the Kings of 
England; and he dismissed all his wild companions, with assurances 
that they should not want, if they would resolve to be steady, 
faithful, and true.

It is much easier to burn men than to burn their opinions; and 
those of the Lollards were spreading every day.  The Lollards were 
represented by the priests - probably falsely for the most part - 
to entertain treasonable designs against the new King; and Henry, 
suffering himself to be worked upon by these representations, 
sacrificed his friend Sir John Oldcastle, the Lord Cobham, to them, 
after trying in vain to convert him by arguments.  He was declared 
guilty, as the head of the sect, and sentenced to the flames; but 
he escaped from the Tower before the day of execution (postponed 
for fifty days by the King himself), and summoned the Lollards to 
meet him near London on a certain day.  So the priests told the 
King, at least.  I doubt whether there was any conspiracy beyond 
such as was got up by their agents.  On the day appointed, instead 
of five-and-twenty thousand men, under the command of Sir John 
Oldcastle, in the meadows of St. Giles, the King found only eighty 
men, and no Sir John at all.  There was, in another place, an 
addle-headed brewer, who had gold trappings to his horses, and a 
pair of gilt spurs in his breast - expecting to be made a knight 
next day by Sir John, and so to gain the right to wear them - but 
there was no Sir John, nor did anybody give information respecting 
him, though the King offered great rewards for such intelligence.  
Thirty of these unfortunate Lollards were hanged and drawn 
immediately, and were then burnt, gallows and all; and the various 
prisons in and around London were crammed full of others.  Some of 
these unfortunate men made various confessions of treasonable 
designs; but, such confessions were easily got, under torture and 
the fear of fire, and are very little to be trusted.  To finish the 
sad story of Sir John Oldcastle at once, I may mention that he 
escaped into Wales, and remained there safely, for four years.  
When discovered by Lord Powis, it is very doubtful if he would have 
been taken alive - so great was the old soldier's bravery - if a 
miserable old woman had not come behind him and broken his legs 
with a stool.  He was carried to London in a horse-litter, was 
fastened by an iron chain to a gibbet, and so roasted to death.

To make the state of France as plain as I can in a few words, I 
should tell you that the Duke of Orleans, and the Duke of Burgundy, 
commonly called 'John without fear,' had had a grand reconciliation 
of their quarrel in the last reign, and had appeared to be quite in 
a heavenly state of mind.  Immediately after which, on a Sunday, in 
the public streets of Paris, the Duke of Orleans was murdered by a 
party of twenty men, set on by the Duke of Burgundy - according to 
his own deliberate confession.  The widow of King Richard had been 
married in France to the eldest son of the Duke of Orleans.  The 
poor mad King was quite powerless to help her, and the Duke of 
Burgundy became the real master of France.  Isabella dying, her 
husband (Duke of Orleans since the death of his father) married the 
daughter of the Count of Armagnac, who, being a much abler man than 
his young son-in-law, headed his party; thence called after him 
Armagnacs.  Thus, France was now in this terrible condition, that 
it had in it the party of the King's son, the Dauphin Louis; the 
party of the Duke of Burgundy, who was the father of the Dauphin's 
ill-used wife; and the party of the Armagnacs; all hating each 
other; all fighting together; all composed of the most depraved 
nobles that the earth has ever known; and all tearing unhappy 
France to pieces.

The late King had watched these dissensions from England, sensible 
(like the French people) that no enemy of France could injure her 
more than her own nobility.  The present King now advanced a claim 
to the French throne.  His demand being, of course, refused, he 
reduced his proposal to a certain large amount of French territory, 
and to demanding the French princess, Catherine, in marriage, with 
a fortune of two millions of golden crowns.  He was offered less 
territory and fewer crowns, and no princess; but he called his 
ambassadors home and prepared for war.  Then, he proposed to take 
the princess with one million of crowns.  The French Court replied 
that he should have the princess with two hundred thousand crowns 
less; he said this would not do (he had never seen the princess in 
his life), and assembled his army at Southampton.  There was a 
short plot at home just at that time, for deposing him, and making 
the Earl of March king; but the conspirators were all speedily 
condemned and executed, and the King embarked for France.

It is dreadful to observe how long a bad example will be followed; 
but, it is encouraging to know that a good example is never thrown 
away.  The King's first act on disembarking at the mouth of the 
river Seine, three miles from Harfleur, was to imitate his father, 
and to proclaim his solemn orders that the lives and property of 
the peaceable inhabitants should be respected on pain of death.  It 
is agreed by French writers, to his lasting renown, that even while 
his soldiers were suffering the greatest distress from want of 
food, these commands were rigidly obeyed.

With an army in all of thirty thousand men, he besieged the town of 
Harfleur both by sea and land for five weeks; at the end of which 
time the town surrendered, and the inhabitants were allowed to 
depart with only fivepence each, and a part of their clothes.  All 
the rest of their possessions was divided amongst the English army.  
But, that army suffered so much, in spite of its successes, from 
disease and privation, that it was already reduced one half.  
Still, the King was determined not to retire until he had struck a 
greater blow.  Therefore, against the advice of all his 
counsellors, he moved on with his little force towards Calais.  
When he came up to the river Somme he was unable to cross, in 
consequence of the fort being fortified; and, as the English moved 
up the left bank of the river looking for a crossing, the French, 
who had broken all the bridges, moved up the right bank, watching 
them, and waiting to attack them when they should try to pass it.  
At last the English found a crossing and got safely over.  The 
French held a council of war at Rouen, resolved to give the English 
battle, and sent heralds to King Henry to know by which road he was 
going.  'By the road that will take me straight to Calais!' said 
the King, and sent them away with a present of a hundred crowns.

The English moved on, until they beheld the French, and then the 
King gave orders to form in line of battle.  The French not coming 
on, the army broke up after remaining in battle array till night, 
and got good rest and refreshment at a neighbouring village.  The 
French were now all lying in another village, through which they 
knew the English must pass.  They were resolved that the English 
should begin the battle.  The English had no means of retreat, if 
their King had any such intention; and so the two armies passed the 
night, close together.

To understand these armies well, you must bear in mind that the 
immense French army had, among its notable persons, almost the 
whole of that wicked nobility, whose debauchery had made France a 
desert; and so besotted were they by pride, and by contempt for the 
common people, that they had scarcely any bowmen (if indeed they 
had any at all) in their whole enormous number:  which, compared 
with the English army, was at least as six to one.  For these proud 
fools had said that the bow was not a fit weapon for knightly 
hands, and that France must be defended by gentlemen only.  We 
shall see, presently, what hand the gentlemen made of it.

Now, on the English side, among the little force, there was a good 
proportion of men who were not gentlemen by any means, but who were 
good stout archers for all that.  Among them, in the morning - 
having slept little at night, while the French were carousing and 
making sure of victory - the King rode, on a grey horse; wearing on 
his head a helmet of shining steel, surmounted by a crown of gold, 
sparkling with precious stones; and bearing over his armour, 
embroidered together, the arms of England and the arms of France.  
The archers looked at the shining helmet and the crown of gold and 
the sparkling jewels, and admired them all; but, what they admired 
most was the King's cheerful face, and his bright blue eye, as he 
told them that, for himself, he had made up his mind to conquer 
there or to die there, and that England should never have a ransom 
to pay for HIM.  There was one brave knight who chanced to say that 
he wished some of the many gallant gentlemen and good soldiers, who 
were then idle at home in England, were there to increase their 
numbers.  But the King told him that, for his part, he did not wish 
for one more man.  'The fewer we have,' said he, 'the greater will 
be the honour we shall win!'  His men, being now all in good heart, 
were refreshed with bread and wine, and heard prayers, and waited 
quietly for the French.  The King waited for the French, because 
they were drawn up thirty deep (the little English force was only 
three deep), on very difficult and heavy ground; and he knew that 
when they moved, there must be confusion among them.

As they did not move, he sent off two parties:- one to lie 
concealed in a wood on the left of the French:  the other, to set 
fire to some houses behind the French after the battle should be 
begun.  This was scarcely done, when three of the proud French 
gentlemen, who were to defend their country without any help from 
the base peasants, came riding out, calling upon the English to 
surrender.  The King warned those gentlemen himself to retire with 
all speed if they cared for their lives, and ordered the English 
banners to advance.  Upon that, Sir Thomas Erpingham, a great 
English general, who commanded the archers, threw his truncheon 
into the air, joyfully, and all the English men, kneeling down upon 
the ground and biting it as if they took possession of the country, 
rose up with a great shout and fell upon the French.

Every archer was furnished with a great stake tipped with iron; and 
his orders were, to thrust this stake into the ground, to discharge 
his arrow, and then to fall back, when the French horsemen came on.  
As the haughty French gentlemen, who were to break the English 
archers and utterly destroy them with their knightly lances, came 
riding up, they were received with such a blinding storm of arrows, 
that they broke and turned.  Horses and men rolled over one 
another, and the confusion was terrific.  Those who rallied and 
charged the archers got among the stakes on slippery and boggy 
ground, and were so bewildered that the English archers - who wore 
no armour, and even took off their leathern coats to be more active 
- cut them to pieces, root and branch.  Only three French horsemen 
got within the stakes, and those were instantly despatched.  All 
this time the dense French army, being in armour, were sinking 
knee-deep into the mire; while the light English archers, half-
naked, were as fresh and active as if they were fighting on a 
marble floor.

But now, the second division of the French coming to the relief of 
the first, closed up in a firm mass; the English, headed by the 
King, attacked them; and the deadliest part of the battle began.  
The King's brother, the Duke of Clarence, was struck down, and 
numbers of the French surrounded him; but, King Henry, standing 
over the body, fought like a lion until they were beaten off.

Presently, came up a band of eighteen French knights, bearing the 
banner of a certain French lord, who had sworn to kill or take the 
English King.  One of them struck him such a blow with a battle-axe 
that he reeled and fell upon his knees; but, his faithful men, 
immediately closing round him, killed every one of those eighteen 
knights, and so that French lord never kept his oath.

The French Duke of Alençon, seeing this, made a desperate charge, 
and cut his way close up to the Royal Standard of England.  He beat 
down the Duke of York, who was standing near it; and, when the King 
came to his rescue, struck off a piece of the crown he wore.  But, 
he never struck another blow in this world; for, even as he was in 
the act of saying who he was, and that he surrendered to the King; 
and even as the King stretched out his hand to give him a safe and 
honourable acceptance of the offer; he fell dead, pierced by 
innumerable wounds.

The death of this nobleman decided the battle.  The third division 
of the French army, which had never struck a blow yet, and which 
was, in itself, more than double the whole English power, broke and 
fled.  At this time of the fight, the English, who as yet had made 
no prisoners, began to take them in immense numbers, and were still 
occupied in doing so, or in killing those who would not surrender, 
when a great noise arose in the rear of the French - their flying 
banners were seen to stop - and King Henry, supposing a great 
reinforcement to have arrived, gave orders that all the prisoners 
should be put to death.  As soon, however, as it was found that the 
noise was only occasioned by a body of plundering peasants, the 
terrible massacre was stopped.

Then King Henry called to him the French herald, and asked him to 
whom the victory belonged.

The herald replied, 'To the King of England.'

'WE have not made this havoc and slaughter,' said the King.  'It is 
the wrath of Heaven on the sins of France.  What is the name of 
that castle yonder?'

The herald answered him, 'My lord, it is the castle of Azincourt.'  
Said the King, 'From henceforth this battle shall be known to 
posterity, by the name of the battle of Azincourt.'

Our English historians have made it Agincourt; but, under that 
name, it will ever be famous in English annals.

The loss upon the French side was enormous.  Three Dukes were 
killed, two more were taken prisoners, seven Counts were killed, 
three more were taken prisoners, and ten thousand knights and 
gentlemen were slain upon the field.  The English loss amounted to 
sixteen hundred men, among whom were the Duke of York and the Earl 
of Suffolk.

War is a dreadful thing; and it is appalling to know how the 
English were obliged, next morning, to kill those prisoners 
mortally wounded, who yet writhed in agony upon the ground; how the 
dead upon the French side were stripped by their own countrymen and 
countrywomen, and afterwards buried in great pits; how the dead 
upon the English side were piled up in a great barn, and how their 
bodies and the barn were all burned together.  It is in such 
things, and in many more much too horrible to relate, that the real 
desolation and wickedness of war consist.  Nothing can make war 
otherwise than horrible.  But the dark side of it was little 
thought of and soon forgotten; and it cast no shade of trouble on 
the English people, except on those who had lost friends or 
relations in the fight.  They welcomed their King home with shouts 
of rejoicing, and plunged into the water to bear him ashore on 
their shoulders, and flocked out in crowds to welcome him in every 
town through which he passed, and hung rich carpets and tapestries 
out of the windows, and strewed the streets with flowers, and made 
the fountains run with wine, as the great field of Agincourt had 
run with blood.


THAT proud and wicked French nobility who dragged their country to 
destruction, and who were every day and every year regarded with 
deeper hatred and detestation in the hearts of the French people, 
learnt nothing, even from the defeat of Agincourt.  So far from 
uniting against the common enemy, they became, among themselves, 
more violent, more bloody, and more false - if that were possible - 
than they had been before.  The Count of Armagnac persuaded the 
French king to plunder of her treasures Queen Isabella of Bavaria, 
and to make her a prisoner.  She, who had hitherto been the bitter 
enemy of the Duke of Burgundy, proposed to join him, in revenge.  
He carried her off to Troyes, where she proclaimed herself Regent 
of France, and made him her lieutenant.  The Armagnac party were at 
that time possessed of Paris; but, one of the gates of the city 
being secretly opened on a certain night to a party of the duke's 
men, they got into Paris, threw into the prisons all the Armagnacs 
upon whom they could lay their hands, and, a few nights afterwards, 
with the aid of a furious mob of sixty thousand people, broke the 
prisons open, and killed them all.  The former Dauphin was now 
dead, and the King's third son bore the title.  Him, in the height 
of this murderous scene, a French knight hurried out of bed, 
wrapped in a sheet, and bore away to Poitiers.  So, when the 
revengeful Isabella and the Duke of Burgundy entered Paris in 
triumph after the slaughter of their enemies, the Dauphin was 
proclaimed at Poitiers as the real Regent.

King Henry had not been idle since his victory of Agincourt, but 
had repulsed a brave attempt of the French to recover Harfleur; had 
gradually conquered a great part of Normandy; and, at this crisis 
of affairs, took the important town of Rouen, after a siege of half 
a year.  This great loss so alarmed the French, that the Duke of 
Burgundy proposed that a meeting to treat of peace should be held 
between the French and the English kings in a plain by the river 
Seine.  On the appointed day, King Henry appeared there, with his 
two brothers, Clarence and Gloucester, and a thousand men.  The 
unfortunate French King, being more mad than usual that day, could 
not come; but the Queen came, and with her the Princess Catherine:  
who was a very lovely creature, and who made a real impression on 
King Henry, now that he saw her for the first time.  This was the 
most important circumstance that arose out of the meeting.

As if it were impossible for a French nobleman of that time to be 
true to his word of honour in anything, Henry discovered that the 
Duke of Burgundy was, at that very moment, in secret treaty with 
the Dauphin; and he therefore abandoned the negotiation.

The Duke of Burgundy and the Dauphin, each of whom with the best 
reason distrusted the other as a noble ruffian surrounded by a 
party of noble ruffians, were rather at a loss how to proceed after 
this; but, at length they agreed to meet, on a bridge over the 
river Yonne, where it was arranged that there should be two strong 
gates put up, with an empty space between them; and that the Duke 
of Burgundy should come into that space by one gate, with ten men 
only; and that the Dauphin should come into that space by the other 
gate, also with ten men, and no more.

So far the Dauphin kept his word, but no farther.  When the Duke of 
Burgundy was on his knee before him in the act of speaking, one of 
the Dauphin's noble ruffians cut the said duke down with a small 
axe, and others speedily finished him.

It was in vain for the Dauphin to pretend that this base murder was 
not done with his consent; it was too bad, even for France, and 
caused a general horror.  The duke's heir hastened to make a treaty 
with King Henry, and the French Queen engaged that her husband 
should consent to it, whatever it was.  Henry made peace, on 
condition of receiving the Princess Catherine in marriage, and 
being made Regent of France during the rest of the King's lifetime, 
and succeeding to the French crown at his death.  He was soon 
married to the beautiful Princess, and took her proudly home to 
England, where she was crowned with great honour and glory.

This peace was called the Perpetual Peace; we shall soon see how 
long it lasted.  It gave great satisfaction to the French people, 
although they were so poor and miserable, that, at the time of the 
celebration of the Royal marriage, numbers of them were dying with 
starvation, on the dunghills in the streets of Paris.  There was 
some resistance on the part of the Dauphin in some few parts of 
France, but King Henry beat it all down.

And now, with his great possessions in France secured, and his 
beautiful wife to cheer him, and a son born to give him greater 
happiness, all appeared bright before him.  But, in the fulness of 
his triumph and the height of his power, Death came upon him, and 
his day was done.  When he fell ill at Vincennes, and found that he 
could not recover, he was very calm and quiet, and spoke serenely 
to those who wept around his bed.  His wife and child, he said, he 
left to the loving care of his brother the Duke of Bedford, and his 
other faithful nobles.  He gave them his advice that England should 
establish a friendship with the new Duke of Burgundy, and offer him 
the regency of France; that it should not set free the royal 
princes who had been taken at Agincourt; and that, whatever quarrel 
might arise with France, England should never make peace without 
holding Normandy.  Then, he laid down his head, and asked the 
attendant priests to chant the penitential psalms.  Amid which 
solemn sounds, on the thirty-first of August, one thousand four 
hundred and twenty-two, in only the thirty-fourth year of his age 
and the tenth of his reign, King Henry the Fifth passed away.

Slowly and mournfully they carried his embalmed body in a 
procession of great state to Paris, and thence to Rouen where his 
Queen was:  from whom the sad intelligence of his death was 
concealed until he had been dead some days.  Thence, lying on a bed 
of crimson and gold, with a golden crown upon the head, and a 
golden ball and sceptre lying in the nerveless hands, they carried 
it to Calais, with such a great retinue as seemed to dye the road 
black.  The King of Scotland acted as chief mourner, all the Royal 
Household followed, the knights wore black armour and black plumes 
of feathers, crowds of men bore torches, making the night as light 
as day; and the widowed Princess followed last of all.  At Calais 
there was a fleet of ships to bring the funeral host to Dover.  And 
so, by way of London Bridge, where the service for the dead was 
chanted as it passed along, they brought the body to Westminster 
Abbey, and there buried it with great respect.



IT had been the wish of the late King, that while his infant son 
KING HENRY THE SIXTH, at this time only nine months old, was under 
age, the Duke of Gloucester should be appointed Regent.  The 
English Parliament, however, preferred to appoint a Council of 
Regency, with the Duke of Bedford at its head:  to be represented, 
in his absence only, by the Duke of Gloucester.  The Parliament 
would seem to have been wise in this, for Gloucester soon showed 
himself to be ambitious and troublesome, and, in the gratification 
of his own personal schemes, gave dangerous offence to the Duke of 
Burgundy, which was with difficulty adjusted.

As that duke declined the Regency of France, it was bestowed by the 
poor French King upon the Duke of Bedford.  But, the French King 
dying within two months, the Dauphin instantly asserted his claim 
to the French throne, and was actually crowned under the title of 
CHARLES THE SEVENTH.  The Duke of Bedford, to be a match for him, 
entered into a friendly league with the Dukes of Burgundy and 
Brittany, and gave them his two sisters in marriage.  War with 
France was immediately renewed, and the Perpetual Peace came to an 
untimely end.

In the first campaign, the English, aided by this alliance, were 
speedily successful.  As Scotland, however, had sent the French 
five thousand men, and might send more, or attack the North of 
England while England was busy with France, it was considered that 
it would be a good thing to offer the Scottish King, James, who had 
been so long imprisoned, his liberty, on his paying forty thousand 
pounds for his board and lodging during nineteen years, and 
engaging to forbid his subjects from serving under the flag of 
France.  It is pleasant to know, not only that the amiable captive 
at last regained his freedom upon these terms, but, that he married 
a noble English lady, with whom he had been long in love, and 
became an excellent King.  I am afraid we have met with some Kings 
in this history, and shall meet with some more, who would have been 
very much the better, and would have left the world much happier, 
if they had been imprisoned nineteen years too.

In the second campaign, the English gained a considerable victory 
at Verneuil, in a battle which was chiefly remarkable, otherwise, 
for their resorting to the odd expedient of tying their baggage-
horses together by the heads and tails, and jumbling them up with 
the baggage, so as to convert them into a sort of live 
fortification - which was found useful to the troops, but which I 
should think was not agreeable to the horses.  For three years 
afterwards very little was done, owing to both sides being too poor 
for war, which is a very expensive entertainment; but, a council 
was then held in Paris, in which it was decided to lay siege to the 
town of Orleans, which was a place of great importance to the 
Dauphin's cause.  An English army of ten thousand men was 
despatched on this service, under the command of the Earl of 
Salisbury, a general of fame.  He being unfortunately killed early 
in the siege, the Earl of Suffolk took his place; under whom 
(reinforced by SIR JOHN FALSTAFF, who brought up four hundred 
waggons laden with salt herrings and other provisions for the 
troops, and, beating off the French who tried to intercept him, 
came victorious out of a hot skirmish, which was afterwards called 
in jest the Battle of the Herrings) the town of Orleans was so 
completely hemmed in, that the besieged proposed to yield it up to 
their countryman the Duke of Burgundy.  The English general, 
however, replied that his English men had won it, so far, by their 
blood and valour, and that his English men must have it.  There 
seemed to be no hope for the town, or for the Dauphin, who was so 
dismayed that he even thought of flying to Scotland or to Spain - 
when a peasant girl rose up and changed the whole state of affairs.

The story of this peasant girl I have now to tell.


IN a remote village among some wild hills in the province of 
Lorraine, there lived a countryman whose name was JACQUES D'ARC.  
He had a daughter, JOAN OF ARC, who was at this time in her 
twentieth year.  She had been a solitary girl from her childhood; 
she had often tended sheep and cattle for whole days where no human 
figure was seen or human voice heard; and she had often knelt, for 
hours together, in the gloomy, empty, little village chapel, 
looking up at the altar and at the dim lamp burning before it, 
until she fancied that she saw shadowy figures standing there, and 
even that she heard them speak to her.  The people in that part of 
France were very ignorant and superstitious, and they had many 
ghostly tales to tell about what they had dreamed, and what they 
saw among the lonely hills when the clouds and the mists were 
resting on them.  So, they easily believed that Joan saw strange 
sights, and they whispered among themselves that angels and spirits 
talked to her.

At last, Joan told her father that she had one day been surprised 
by a great unearthly light, and had afterwards heard a solemn 
voice, which said it was Saint Michael's voice, telling her that 
she was to go and help the Dauphin.  Soon after this (she said), 
Saint Catherine and Saint Margaret had appeared to her with 
sparkling crowns upon their heads, and had encouraged her to be 
virtuous and resolute.  These visions had returned sometimes; but 
the Voices very often; and the voices always said, 'Joan, thou art 
appointed by Heaven to go and help the Dauphin!'  She almost always 
heard them while the chapel bells were ringing.

There is no doubt, now, that Joan believed she saw and heard these 
things.  It is very well known that such delusions are a disease 
which is not by any means uncommon.  It is probable enough that 
there were figures of Saint Michael, and Saint Catherine, and Saint 
Margaret, in the little chapel (where they would be very likely to 
have shining crowns upon their heads), and that they first gave 
Joan the idea of those three personages.  She had long been a 
moping, fanciful girl, and, though she was a very good girl, I dare 
say she was a little vain, and wishful for notoriety.

Her father, something wiser than his neighbours, said, 'I tell 
thee, Joan, it is thy fancy.  Thou hadst better have a kind husband 
to take care of thee, girl, and work to employ thy mind!'  But Joan 
told him in reply, that she had taken a vow never to have a 
husband, and that she must go as Heaven directed her, to help the 

It happened, unfortunately for her father's persuasions, and most 
unfortunately for the poor girl, too, that a party of the Dauphin's 
enemies found their way into the village while Joan's disorder was 
at this point, and burnt the chapel, and drove out the inhabitants.  
The cruelties she saw committed, touched Joan's heart and made her 
worse.  She said that the voices and the figures were now 
continually with her; that they told her she was the girl who, 
according to an old prophecy, was to deliver France; and she must 
go and help the Dauphin, and must remain with him until he should 
be crowned at Rheims:  and that she must travel a long way to a 
certain lord named BAUDRICOURT, who could and would, bring her into 
the Dauphin's presence.

As her father still said, 'I tell thee, Joan, it is thy fancy,' she 
set off to find out this lord, accompanied by an uncle, a poor 
village wheelwright and cart-maker, who believed in the reality of 
her visions.  They travelled a long way and went on and on, over a 
rough country, full of the Duke of Burgundy's men, and of all kinds 
of robbers and marauders, until they came to where this lord was.

When his servants told him that there was a poor peasant girl named 
Joan of Arc, accompanied by nobody but an old village wheelwright 
and cart-maker, who wished to see him because she was commanded to 
help the Dauphin and save France, Baudricourt burst out a-laughing, 
and bade them send the girl away.  But, he soon heard so much about 
her lingering in the town, and praying in the churches, and seeing 
visions, and doing harm to no one, that he sent for her, and 
questioned her.  As she said the same things after she had been 
well sprinkled with holy water as she had said before the 
sprinkling, Baudricourt began to think there might be something in 
it.  At all events, he thought it worth while to send her on to the 
town of Chinon, where the Dauphin was.  So, he bought her a horse, 
and a sword, and gave her two squires to conduct her.  As the 
Voices had told Joan that she was to wear a man's dress, now, she 
put one on, and girded her sword to her side, and bound spurs to 
her heels, and mounted her horse and rode away with her two 
squires.  As to her uncle the wheelwright, he stood staring at his 
niece in wonder until she was out of sight - as well he might - and 
then went home again.  The best place, too.

Joan and her two squires rode on and on, until they came to Chinon, 
where she was, after some doubt, admitted into the Dauphin's 
presence.  Picking him out immediately from all his court, she told 
him that she came commanded by Heaven to subdue his enemies and 
conduct him to his coronation at Rheims.  She also told him (or he 
pretended so afterwards, to make the greater impression upon his 
soldiers) a number of his secrets known only to himself, and, 
furthermore, she said there was an old, old sword in the cathedral 
of Saint Catherine at Fierbois, marked with five old crosses on the 
blade, which Saint Catherine had ordered her to wear.

Now, nobody knew anything about this old, old sword, but when the 
cathedral came to be examined - which was immediately done - there, 
sure enough, the sword was found!  The Dauphin then required a 
number of grave priests and bishops to give him their opinion 
whether the girl derived her power from good spirits or from evil 
spirits, which they held prodigiously long debates about, in the 
course of which several learned men fell fast asleep and snored 
loudly.  At last, when one gruff old gentleman had said to Joan, 
'What language do your Voices speak?' and when Joan had replied to 
the gruff old gentleman, 'A pleasanter language than yours,' they 
agreed that it was all correct, and that Joan of Arc was inspired 
from Heaven.  This wonderful circumstance put new heart into the 
Dauphin's soldiers when they heard of it, and dispirited the 
English army, who took Joan for a witch.

So Joan mounted horse again, and again rode on and on, until she 
came to Orleans.  But she rode now, as never peasant girl had 
ridden yet.  She rode upon a white war-horse, in a suit of 
glittering armour; with the old, old sword from the cathedral, 
newly burnished, in her belt; with a white flag carried before her, 
upon which were a picture of God, and the words JESUS MARIA.  In 
this splendid state, at the head of a great body of troops 
escorting provisions of all kinds for the starving inhabitants of 
Orleans, she appeared before that beleaguered city.

When the people on the walls beheld her, they cried out 'The Maid 
is come!  The Maid of the Prophecy is come to deliver us!'  And 
this, and the sight of the Maid fighting at the head of their men, 
made the French so bold, and made the English so fearful, that the 
English line of forts was soon broken, the troops and provisions 
were got into the town, and Orleans was saved.

Joan, henceforth called THE MAID OF ORLEANS, remained within the 
walls for a few days, and caused letters to be thrown over, 
ordering Lord Suffolk and his Englishmen to depart from before the 
town according to the will of Heaven.  As the English general very 
positively declined to believe that Joan knew anything about the 
will of Heaven (which did not mend the matter with his soldiers, 
for they stupidly said if she were not inspired she was a witch, 
and it was of no use to fight against a witch), she mounted her 
white war-horse again, and ordered her white banner to advance.

The besiegers held the bridge, and some strong towers upon the 
bridge; and here the Maid of Orleans attacked them.  The fight was 
fourteen hours long.  She planted a scaling ladder with her own 
hands, and mounted a tower wall, but was struck by an English arrow 
in the neck, and fell into the trench.  She was carried away and 
the arrow was taken out, during which operation she screamed and 
cried with the pain, as any other girl might have done; but 
presently she said that the Voices were speaking to her and 
soothing her to rest.  After a while, she got up, and was again 
foremost in the fight.  When the English who had seen her fall and 
supposed her dead, saw this, they were troubled with the strangest 
fears, and some of them cried out that they beheld Saint Michael on 
a white horse (probably Joan herself) fighting for the French.  
They lost the bridge, and lost the towers, and next day set their 
chain of forts on fire, and left the place.

But as Lord Suffolk himself retired no farther than the town of 
Jargeau, which was only a few miles off, the Maid of Orleans 
besieged him there, and he was taken prisoner.  As the white banner 
scaled the wall, she was struck upon the head with a stone, and was 
again tumbled down into the ditch; but, she only cried all the 
more, as she lay there, 'On, on, my countrymen!  And fear nothing, 
for the Lord hath delivered them into our hands!'  After this new 
success of the Maid's, several other fortresses and places which 
had previously held out against the Dauphin were delivered up 
without a battle; and at Patay she defeated the remainder of the 
English army, and set up her victorious white banner on a field 
where twelve hundred Englishmen lay dead.

She now urged the Dauphin (who always kept out of the way when 
there was any fighting) to proceed to Rheims, as the first part of 
her mission was accomplished; and to complete the whole by being 
crowned there.  The Dauphin was in no particular hurry to do this, 
as Rheims was a long way off, and the English and the Duke of 
Burgundy were still strong in the country through which the road 
lay.  However, they set forth, with ten thousand men, and again the 
Maid of Orleans rode on and on, upon her white war-horse, and in 
her shining armour.  Whenever they came to a town which yielded 
readily, the soldiers believed in her; but, whenever they came to a 
town which gave them any trouble, they began to murmur that she was 
an impostor.  The latter was particularly the case at Troyes, which 
finally yielded, however, through the persuasion of one Richard, a 
friar of the place.  Friar Richard was in the old doubt about the 
Maid of Orleans, until he had sprinkled her well with holy water, 
and had also well sprinkled the threshold of the gate by which she 
came into the city.  Finding that it made no change in her or the 
gate, he said, as the other grave old gentlemen had said, that it 
was all right, and became her great ally.

So, at last, by dint of riding on and on, the Maid of Orleans, and 
the Dauphin, and the ten thousand sometimes believing and sometimes 
unbelieving men, came to Rheims.  And in the great cathedral of 
Rheims, the Dauphin actually was crowned Charles the Seventh in a 
great assembly of the people.  Then, the Maid, who with her white 
banner stood beside the King in that hour of his triumph, kneeled 
down upon the pavement at his feet, and said, with tears, that what 
she had been inspired to do, was done, and that the only recompense 
she asked for, was, that she should now have leave to go back to 
her distant home, and her sturdily incredulous father, and her 
first simple escort the village wheelwright and cart-maker.  But 
the King said 'No!' and made her and her family as noble as a King 
could, and settled upon her the income of a Count.

Ah! happy had it been for the Maid of Orleans, if she had resumed 
her rustic dress that day, and had gone home to the little chapel 
and the wild hills, and had forgotten all these things, and had 
been a good man's wife, and had heard no stranger voices than the 
voices of little children!

It was not to be, and she continued helping the King (she did a 
world for him, in alliance with Friar Richard), and trying to 
improve the lives of the coarse soldiers, and leading a religious, 
an unselfish, and a modest life, herself, beyond any doubt.  Still, 
many times she prayed the King to let her go home; and once she 
even took off her bright armour and hung it up in a church, meaning 
never to wear it more.  But, the King always won her back again - 
while she was of any use to him - and so she went on and on and on, 
to her doom.

When the Duke of Bedford, who was a very able man, began to be 
active for England, and, by bringing the war back into France and 
by holding the Duke of Burgundy to his faith, to distress and 
disturb Charles very much, Charles sometimes asked the Maid of 
Orleans what the Voices said about it?  But, the Voices had become 
(very like ordinary voices in perplexed times) contradictory and 
confused, so that now they said one thing, and now said another, 
and the Maid lost credit every day.  Charles marched on Paris, 
which was opposed to him, and attacked the suburb of Saint Honore.  
In this fight, being again struck down into the ditch, she was 
abandoned by the whole army.  She lay unaided among a heap of dead, 
and crawled out how she could.  Then, some of her believers went 
over to an opposition Maid, Catherine of La Rochelle, who said she 
was inspired to tell where there were treasures of buried money - 
though she never did - and then Joan accidentally broke the old, 
old sword, and others said that her power was broken with it.  
Finally, at the siege of Compiègne, held by the Duke of Burgundy, 
where she did valiant service, she was basely left alone in a 
retreat, though facing about and fighting to the last; and an 
archer pulled her off her horse.

O the uproar that was made, and the thanksgivings that were sung, 
about the capture of this one poor country-girl!  O the way in 
which she was demanded to be tried for sorcery and heresy, and 
anything else you like, by the Inquisitor-General of France, and by 
this great man, and by that great man, until it is wearisome to 
think of! She was bought at last by the Bishop of Beauvais for ten 
thousand francs, and was shut up in her narrow prison:  plain Joan 
of Arc again, and Maid of Orleans no more.

I should never have done if I were to tell you how they had Joan 
out to examine her, and cross-examine her, and re-examine her, and 
worry her into saying anything and everything; and how all sorts of 
scholars and doctors bestowed their utmost tediousness upon her.  
Sixteen times she was brought out and shut up again, and worried, 
and entrapped, and argued with, until she was heart-sick of the 
dreary business.  On the last occasion of this kind she was brought 
into a burial-place at Rouen, dismally decorated with a scaffold, 
and a stake and faggots, and the executioner, and a pulpit with a 
friar therein, and an awful sermon ready.  It is very affecting to 
know that even at that pass the poor girl honoured the mean vermin 
of a King, who had so used her for his purposes and so abandoned 
her; and, that while she had been regardless of reproaches heaped 
upon herself, she spoke out courageously for him.

It was natural in one so young to hold to life.  To save her life, 
she signed a declaration prepared for her - signed it with a cross, 
for she couldn't write - that all her visions and Voices had come 
from the Devil.  Upon her recanting the past, and protesting that 
she would never wear a man's dress in future, she was condemned to 
imprisonment for life, 'on the bread of sorrow and the water of 

But, on the bread of sorrow and the water of affliction, the 
visions and the Voices soon returned.  It was quite natural that 
they should do so, for that kind of disease is much aggravated by 
fasting, loneliness, and anxiety of mind.  It was not only got out 
of Joan that she considered herself inspired again, but, she was 
taken in a man's dress, which had been left - to entrap her - in 
her prison, and which she put on, in her solitude; perhaps, in 
remembrance of her past glories, perhaps, because the imaginary 
Voices told her.  For this relapse into the sorcery and heresy and 
anything else you like, she was sentenced to be burnt to death.  
And, in the market-place of Rouen, in the hideous dress which the 
monks had invented for such spectacles; with priests and bishops 
sitting in a gallery looking on, though some had the Christian 
grace to go away, unable to endure the infamous scene; this 
shrieking girl - last seen amidst the smoke and fire, holding a 
crucifix between her hands; last heard, calling upon Christ - was 
burnt to ashes.  They threw her ashes into the river Seine; but 
they will rise against her murderers on the last day.

From the moment of her capture, neither the French King nor one 
single man in all his court raised a finger to save her.  It is no 
defence of them that they may have never really believed in her, or 
that they may have won her victories by their skill and bravery.  
The more they pretended to believe in her, the more they had caused 
her to believe in herself; and she had ever been true to them, ever 
brave, ever nobly devoted.  But, it is no wonder, that they, who 
were in all things false to themselves, false to one another, false 
to their country, false to Heaven, false to Earth, should be 
monsters of ingratitude and treachery to a helpless peasant girl.

In the picturesque old town of Rouen, where weeds and grass grow 
high on the cathedral towers, and the venerable Norman streets are 
still warm in the blessed sunlight though the monkish fires that 
once gleamed horribly upon them have long grown cold, there is a 
statue of Joan of Arc, in the scene of her last agony, the square 
to which she has given its present name.  I know some statues of 
modern times - even in the World's metropolis, I think - which 
commemorate less constancy, less earnestness, smaller claims upon 
the world's attention, and much greater impostors.


BAD deeds seldom prosper, happily for mankind; and the English 
cause gained no advantage from the cruel death of Joan of Arc.  For 
a long time, the war went heavily on.  The Duke of Bedford died; 
the alliance with the Duke of Burgundy was broken; and Lord Talbot 
became a great general on the English side in France.  But, two of 
the consequences of wars are, Famine - because the people cannot 
peacefully cultivate the ground - and Pestilence, which comes of 
want, misery, and suffering.  Both these horrors broke out in both 
countries, and lasted for two wretched years.  Then, the war went 
on again, and came by slow degrees to be so badly conducted by the 
English government, that, within twenty years from the execution of 
the Maid of Orleans, of all the great French conquests, the town of 
Calais alone remained in English hands.

While these victories and defeats were taking place in the course 
of time, many strange things happened at home.  The young King, as 
he grew up, proved to be very unlike his great father, and showed 
himself a miserable puny creature.  There was no harm in him - he 
had a great aversion to shedding blood:  which was something - but, 
he was a weak, silly, helpless young man, and a mere shuttlecock to 
the great lordly battledores about the Court.

Of these battledores, Cardinal Beaufort, a relation of the King, 
and the Duke of Gloucester, were at first the most powerful.  The 
Duke of Gloucester had a wife, who was nonsensically accused of 
practising witchcraft to cause the King's death and lead to her 
husband's coming to the throne, he being the next heir.  She was 
charged with having, by the help of a ridiculous old woman named 
Margery (who was called a witch), made a little waxen doll in the 
King's likeness, and put it before a slow fire that it might 
gradually melt away.  It was supposed, in such cases, that the 
death of the person whom the doll was made to represent, was sure 
to happen.  Whether the duchess was as ignorant as the rest of 
them, and really did make such a doll with such an intention, I 
don't know; but, you and I know very well that she might have made 
a thousand dolls, if she had been stupid enough, and might have 
melted them all, without hurting the King or anybody else.  
However, she was tried for it, and so was old Margery, and so was 
one of the duke's chaplains, who was charged with having assisted 
them.  Both he and Margery were put to death, and the duchess, 
after being taken on foot and bearing a lighted candle, three times 
round the City, as a penance, was imprisoned for life.  The duke, 
himself, took all this pretty quietly, and made as little stir 
about the matter as if he were rather glad to be rid of the 

But, he was not destined to keep himself out of trouble long.  The 
royal shuttlecock being three-and-twenty, the battledores were very 
anxious to get him married.  The Duke of Gloucester wanted him to 
marry a daughter of the Count of Armagnac; but, the Cardinal and 
the Earl of Suffolk were all for MARGARET, the daughter of the King 
of Sicily, who they knew was a resolute, ambitious woman and would 
govern the King as she chose.  To make friends with this lady, the 
Earl of Suffolk, who went over to arrange the match, consented to 
accept her for the King's wife without any fortune, and even to 
give up the two most valuable possessions England then had in 
France.  So, the marriage was arranged, on terms very advantageous 
to the lady; and Lord Suffolk brought her to England, and she was 
married at Westminster.  On what pretence this queen and her party 
charged the Duke of Gloucester with high treason within a couple of 
years, it is impossible to make out, the matter is so confused; 
but, they pretended that the King's life was in danger, and they 
took the duke prisoner.  A fortnight afterwards, he was found dead 
in bed (they said), and his body was shown to the people, and Lord 
Suffolk came in for the best part of his estates.  You know by this 
time how strangely liable state prisoners were to sudden death.

If Cardinal Beaufort had any hand in this matter, it did him no 
good, for he died within six weeks; thinking it very hard and 
curious - at eighty years old! - that he could not live to be Pope.

This was the time when England had completed her loss of all her 
great French conquests.  The people charged the loss principally 
upon the Earl of Suffolk, now a duke, who had made those easy terms 
about the Royal Marriage, and who, they believed, had even been 
bought by France.  So he was impeached as a traitor, on a great 
number of charges, but chiefly on accusations of having aided the 
French King, and of designing to make his own son King of England.  
The Commons and the people being violent against him, the King was 
made (by his friends) to interpose to save him, by banishing him 
for five years, and proroguing the Parliament.  The duke had much 
ado to escape from a London mob, two thousand strong, who lay in 
wait for him in St. Giles's fields; but, he got down to his own 
estates in Suffolk, and sailed away from Ipswich.  Sailing across 
the Channel, he sent into Calais to know if he might land there; 
but, they kept his boat and men in the harbour, until an English 
ship, carrying a hundred and fifty men and called the Nicholas of 
the Tower, came alongside his little vessel, and ordered him on 
board.  'Welcome, traitor, as men say,' was the captain's grim and 
not very respectful salutation.  He was kept on board, a prisoner, 
for eight-and-forty hours, and then a small boat appeared rowing 
toward the ship.  As this boat came nearer, it was seen to have in 
it a block, a rusty sword, and an executioner in a black mask.  The 
duke was handed down into it, and there his head was cut off with 
six strokes of the rusty sword.  Then, the little boat rowed away 
to Dover beach, where the body was cast out, and left until the 
duchess claimed it.  By whom, high in authority, this murder was 
committed, has never appeared.  No one was ever punished for it.

There now arose in Kent an Irishman, who gave himself the name of 
Mortimer, but whose real name was JACK CADE.  Jack, in imitation of 
Wat Tyler, though he was a very different and inferior sort of man, 
addressed the Kentish men upon their wrongs, occasioned by the bad 
government of England, among so many battledores and such a poor 
shuttlecock; and the Kentish men rose up to the number of twenty 
thousand.  Their place of assembly was Blackheath, where, headed by 
Jack, they put forth two papers, which they called 'The Complaint 
of the Commons of Kent,' and 'The Requests of the Captain of the 
Great Assembly in Kent.'  They then retired to Sevenoaks.  The 
royal army coming up with them here, they beat it and killed their 
general.  Then, Jack dressed himself in the dead general's armour, 
and led his men to London.

Jack passed into the City from Southwark, over the bridge, and 
entered it in triumph, giving the strictest orders to his men not 
to plunder.  Having made a show of his forces there, while the 
citizens looked on quietly, he went back into Southwark in good 
order, and passed the night.  Next day, he came back again, having 
got hold in the meantime of Lord Say, an unpopular nobleman.  Says 
Jack to the Lord Mayor and judges:  'Will you be so good as to make 
a tribunal in Guildhall, and try me this nobleman?'  The court 
being hastily made, he was found guilty, and Jack and his men cut 
his head off on Cornhill.  They also cut off the head of his son-
in-law, and then went back in good order to Southwark again.

But, although the citizens could bear the beheading of an unpopular 
lord, they could not bear to have their houses pillaged.  And it 
did so happen that Jack, after dinner - perhaps he had drunk a 
little too much - began to plunder the house where he lodged; upon 
which, of course, his men began to imitate him.  Wherefore, the 
Londoners took counsel with Lord Scales, who had a thousand 
soldiers in the Tower; and defended London Bridge, and kept Jack 
and his people out.  This advantage gained, it was resolved by 
divers great men to divide Jack's army in the old way, by making a 
great many promises on behalf of the state, that were never 
intended to be performed.  This DID divide them; some of Jack's men 
saying that they ought to take the conditions which were offered, 
and others saying that they ought not, for they were only a snare; 
some going home at once; others staying where they were; and all 
doubting and quarrelling among themselves.

Jack, who was in two minds about fighting or accepting a pardon, 
and who indeed did both, saw at last that there was nothing to 
expect from his men, and that it was very likely some of them would 
deliver him up and get a reward of a thousand marks, which was 
offered for his apprehension.  So, after they had travelled and 
quarrelled all the way from Southwark to Blackheath, and from 
Blackheath to Rochester, he mounted a good horse and galloped away 
into Sussex.  But, there galloped after him, on a better horse, one 
Alexander Iden, who came up with him, had a hard fight with him, 
and killed him.  Jack's head was set aloft on London Bridge, with 
the face looking towards Blackheath, where he had raised his flag; 
and Alexander Iden got the thousand marks.

It is supposed by some, that the Duke of York, who had been removed 
from a high post abroad through the Queen's influence, and sent out 
of the way, to govern Ireland, was at the bottom of this rising of 
Jack and his men, because he wanted to trouble the government.  He 
claimed (though not yet publicly) to have a better right to the 
throne than Henry of Lancaster, as one of the family of the Earl of 
March, whom Henry the Fourth had set aside.  Touching this claim, 
which, being through female relationship, was not according to the 
usual descent, it is enough to say that Henry the Fourth was the 
free choice of the people and the Parliament, and that his family 
had now reigned undisputed for sixty years.  The memory of Henry 
the Fifth was so famous, and the English people loved it so much, 
that the Duke of York's claim would, perhaps, never have been 
thought of (it would have been so hopeless) but for the unfortunate 
circumstance of the present King's being by this time quite an 
idiot, and the country very ill governed.  These two circumstances 
gave the Duke of York a power he could not otherwise have had.

Whether the Duke knew anything of Jack Cade, or not, he came over 
from Ireland while Jack's head was on London Bridge; being secretly 
advised that the Queen was setting up his enemy, the Duke of 
Somerset, against him.  He went to Westminster, at the head of four 
thousand men, and on his knees before the King, represented to him 
the bad state of the country, and petitioned him to summon a 
Parliament to consider it.  This the King promised.  When the 
Parliament was summoned, the Duke of York accused the Duke of 
Somerset, and the Duke of Somerset accused the Duke of York; and, 
both in and out of Parliament, the followers of each party were 
full of violence and hatred towards the other.  At length the Duke 
of York put himself at the head of a large force of his tenants, 
and, in arms, demanded the reformation of the Government.  Being 
shut out of London, he encamped at Dartford, and the royal army 
encamped at Blackheath.  According as either side triumphed, the 
Duke of York was arrested, or the Duke of Somerset was arrested.  
The trouble ended, for the moment, in the Duke of York renewing his 
oath of allegiance, and going in peace to one of his own castles.

Half a year afterwards the Queen gave birth to a son, who was very 
ill received by the people, and not believed to be the son of the 
King.  It shows the Duke of York to have been a moderate man, 
unwilling to involve England in new troubles, that he did not take 
advantage of the general discontent at this time, but really acted 
for the public good.  He was made a member of the cabinet, and the 
King being now so much worse that he could not be carried about and 
shown to the people with any decency, the duke was made Lord 
Protector of the kingdom, until the King should recover, or the 
Prince should come of age.  At the same time the Duke of Somerset 
was committed to the Tower.  So, now the Duke of Somerset was down, 
and the Duke of York was up.  By the end of the year, however, the 
King recovered his memory and some spark of sense; upon which the 
Queen used her power - which recovered with him - to get the 
Protector disgraced, and her favourite released.  So now the Duke 
of York was down, and the Duke of Somerset was up.

These ducal ups and downs gradually separated the whole nation into 
the two parties of York and Lancaster, and led to those terrible 
civil wars long known as the Wars of the Red and White Roses, 
because the red rose was the badge of the House of Lancaster, and 
the white rose was the badge of the House of York.

The Duke of York, joined by some other powerful noblemen of the 
White Rose party, and leading a small army, met the King with 
another small army at St. Alban's, and demanded that the Duke of 
Somerset should be given up.  The poor King, being made to say in 
answer that he would sooner die, was instantly attacked.  The Duke 
of Somerset was killed, and the King himself was wounded in the 
neck, and took refuge in the house of a poor tanner.  Whereupon, 
the Duke of York went to him, led him with great submission to the 
Abbey, and said he was very sorry for what had happened.  Having 
now the King in his possession, he got a Parliament summoned and 
himself once more made Protector, but, only for a few months; for, 
on the King getting a little better again, the Queen and her party 
got him into their possession, and disgraced the Duke once more.  
So, now the Duke of York was down again.

Some of the best men in power, seeing the danger of these constant 
changes, tried even then to prevent the Red and the White Rose 
Wars.  They brought about a great council in London between the two 
parties.  The White Roses assembled in Blackfriars, the Red Roses 
in Whitefriars; and some good priests communicated between them, 
and made the proceedings known at evening to the King and the 
judges.  They ended in a peaceful agreement that there should be no 
more quarrelling; and there was a great royal procession to St. 
Paul's, in which the Queen walked arm-in-arm with her old enemy, 
the Duke of York, to show the people how comfortable they all were.  
This state of peace lasted half a year, when a dispute between the 
Earl of Warwick (one of the Duke's powerful friends) and some of 
the King's servants at Court, led to an attack upon that Earl - who 
was a White Rose - and to a sudden breaking out of all old 
animosities.  So, here were greater ups and downs than ever.

There were even greater ups and downs than these, soon after.  
After various battles, the Duke of York fled to Ireland, and his 
son the Earl of March to Calais, with their friends the Earls of 
Salisbury and Warwick; and a Parliament was held declaring them all 
traitors.  Little the worse for this, the Earl of Warwick presently 
came back, landed in Kent, was joined by the Archbishop of 
Canterbury and other powerful noblemen and gentlemen, engaged the 
King's forces at Northampton, signally defeated them, and took the 
King himself prisoner, who was found in his tent.  Warwick would 
have been glad, I dare say, to have taken the Queen and Prince too, 
but they escaped into Wales and thence into Scotland.

The King was carried by the victorious force straight to London, 
and made to call a new Parliament, which immediately declared that 
the Duke of York and those other noblemen were not traitors, but 
excellent subjects.  Then, back comes the Duke from Ireland at the 
head of five hundred horsemen, rides from London to Westminster, 
and enters the House of Lords.  There, he laid his hand upon the 
cloth of gold which covered the empty throne, as if he had half a 
mind to sit down in it - but he did not.  On the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, asking him if he would visit the King, who was in his 
palace close by, he replied, 'I know no one in this country, my 
lord, who ought not to visit ME.'  None of the lords present spoke 
a single word; so, the duke went out as he had come in, established 
himself royally in the King's palace, and, six days afterwards, 
sent in to the Lords a formal statement of his claim to the throne.  
The lords went to the King on this momentous subject, and after a 
great deal of discussion, in which the judges and the other law 
officers were afraid to give an opinion on either side, the 
question was compromised.  It was agreed that the present King 
should retain the crown for his life, and that it should then pass 
to the Duke of York and his heirs.

But, the resolute Queen, determined on asserting her son's right, 
would hear of no such thing.  She came from Scotland to the north 
of England, where several powerful lords armed in her cause.  The 
Duke of York, for his part, set off with some five thousand men, a 
little time before Christmas Day, one thousand four hundred and 
sixty, to give her battle.  He lodged at Sandal Castle, near 
Wakefield, and the Red Roses defied him to come out on Wakefield 
Green, and fight them then and there.  His generals said, he had 
best wait until his gallant son, the Earl of March, came up with 
his power; but, he was determined to accept the challenge.  He did 
so, in an evil hour.  He was hotly pressed on all sides, two 
thousand of his men lay dead on Wakefield Green, and he himself was 
taken prisoner.  They set him down in mock state on an ant-hill, 
and twisted grass about his head, and pretended to pay court to him 
on their knees, saying, 'O King, without a kingdom, and Prince 
without a people, we hope your gracious Majesty is very well and 
happy!'  They did worse than this; they cut his head off, and 
handed it on a pole to the Queen, who laughed with delight when she 
saw it (you recollect their walking so religiously and comfortably 
to St. Paul's!), and had it fixed, with a paper crown upon its 
head, on the walls of York.  The Earl of Salisbury lost his head, 
too; and the Duke of York's second son, a handsome boy who was 
flying with his tutor over Wakefield Bridge, was stabbed in the 
heart by a murderous, lord - Lord Clifford by name - whose father 
had been killed by the White Roses in the fight at St. Alban's.  
There was awful sacrifice of life in this battle, for no quarter 
was given, and the Queen was wild for revenge.  When men 
unnaturally fight against their own countrymen, they are always 
observed to be more unnaturally cruel and filled with rage than 
they are against any other enemy.

But, Lord Clifford had stabbed the second son of the Duke of York - 
not the first.  The eldest son, Edward Earl of March, was at 
Gloucester; and, vowing vengeance for the death of his father, his 
brother, and their faithful friends, he began to march against the 
Queen.  He had to turn and fight a great body of Welsh and Irish 
first, who worried his advance.  These he defeated in a great fight 
at Mortimer's Cross, near Hereford, where he beheaded a number of 
the Red Roses taken in battle, in retaliation for the beheading of 
the White Roses at Wakefield.  The Queen had the next turn of 
beheading.  Having moved towards London, and falling in, between 
St. Alban's and Barnet, with the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of 
Norfolk, White Roses both, who were there with an army to oppose 
her, and had got the King with them; she defeated them with great 
loss, and struck off the heads of two prisoners of note, who were 
in the King's tent with him, and to whom the King had promised his 
protection.  Her triumph, however, was very short.  She had no 
treasure, and her army subsisted by plunder.  This caused them to 
be hated and dreaded by the people, and particularly by the London 
people, who were wealthy.  As soon as the Londoners heard that 
Edward, Earl of March, united with the Earl of Warwick, was 
advancing towards the city, they refused to send the Queen 
supplies, and made a great rejoicing.

The Queen and her men retreated with all speed, and Edward and 
Warwick came on, greeted with loud acclamations on every side.  The 
courage, beauty, and virtues of young Edward could not be 
sufficiently praised by the whole people.  He rode into London like 
a conqueror, and met with an enthusiastic welcome.  A few days 
afterwards, Lord Falconbridge and the Bishop of Exeter assembled 
the citizens in St. John's Field, Clerkenwell, and asked them if 
they would have Henry of Lancaster for their King?  To this they 
all roared, 'No, no, no!' and 'King Edward!  King Edward!'  Then, 
said those noblemen, would they love and serve young Edward?  To 
this they all cried, 'Yes, yes!' and threw up their caps and 
clapped their hands, and cheered tremendously.

Therefore, it was declared that by joining the Queen and not 
protecting those two prisoners of note, Henry of Lancaster had 
forfeited the crown; and Edward of York was proclaimed King.  He 
made a great speech to the applauding people at Westminster, and 
sat down as sovereign of England on that throne, on the golden 
covering of which his father - worthy of a better fate than the 
bloody axe which cut the thread of so many lives in England, 
through so many years - had laid his hand.


KING EDWARD THE FOURTH was not quite twenty-one years of age when 
he took that unquiet seat upon the throne of England.  The 
Lancaster party, the Red Roses, were then assembling in great 
numbers near York, and it was necessary to give them battle 
instantly.  But, the stout Earl of Warwick leading for the young 
King, and the young King himself closely following him, and the 
English people crowding round the Royal standard, the White and the 
Red Roses met, on a wild March day when the snow was falling 
heavily, at Towton; and there such a furious battle raged between 
them, that the total loss amounted to forty thousand men - all 
Englishmen, fighting, upon English ground, against one another.  
The young King gained the day, took down the heads of his father 
and brother from the walls of York, and put up the heads of some of 
the most famous noblemen engaged in the battle on the other side.  
Then, he went to London and was crowned with great splendour.

A new Parliament met.  No fewer than one hundred and fifty of the 
principal noblemen and gentlemen on the Lancaster side were 
declared traitors, and the King - who had very little humanity, 
though he was handsome in person and agreeable in manners - 
resolved to do all he could, to pluck up the Red Rose root and 

Queen Margaret, however, was still active for her young son.  She 
obtained help from Scotland and from Normandy, and took several 
important English castles.  But, Warwick soon retook them; the 
Queen lost all her treasure on board ship in a great storm; and 
both she and her son suffered great misfortunes.  Once, in the 
winter weather, as they were riding through a forest, they were 
attacked and plundered by a party of robbers; and, when they had 
escaped from these men and were passing alone and on foot through a 
thick dark part of the wood, they came, all at once, upon another 
robber.  So the Queen, with a stout heart, took the little Prince 
by the hand, and going straight up to that robber, said to him, 'My 
friend, this is the young son of your lawful King!  I confide him 
to your care.'  The robber was surprised, but took the boy in his 
arms, and faithfully restored him and his mother to their friends.  
In the end, the Queen's soldiers being beaten and dispersed, she 
went abroad again, and kept quiet for the present.

Now, all this time, the deposed King Henry was concealed by a Welsh 
knight, who kept him close in his castle.  But, next year, the 
Lancaster party recovering their spirits, raised a large body of 
men, and called him out of his retirement, to put him at their 
head.  They were joined by some powerful noblemen who had sworn 
fidelity to the new King, but who were ready, as usual, to break 
their oaths, whenever they thought there was anything to be got by 
it.  One of the worst things in the history of the war of the Red 
and White Roses, is the ease with which these noblemen, who should 
have set an example of honour to the people, left either side as 
they took slight offence, or were disappointed in their greedy 
expectations, and joined the other.  Well! Warwick's brother soon 
beat the Lancastrians, and the false noblemen, being taken, were 
beheaded without a moment's loss of time.  The deposed King had a 
narrow escape; three of his servants were taken, and one of them 
bore his cap of estate, which was set with pearls and embroidered 
with two golden crowns.  However, the head to which the cap 
belonged, got safely into Lancashire, and lay pretty quietly there 
(the people in the secret being very true) for more than a year.  
At length, an old monk gave such intelligence as led to Henry's 
being taken while he was sitting at dinner in a place called 
Waddington Hall.  He was immediately sent to London, and met at 
Islington by the Earl of Warwick, by whose directions he was put 
upon a horse, with his legs tied under it, and paraded three times 
round the pillory.  Then, he was carried off to the Tower, where 
they treated him well enough.

The White Rose being so triumphant, the young King abandoned 
himself entirely to pleasure, and led a jovial life.  But, thorns 
were springing up under his bed of roses, as he soon found out.  
For, having been privately married to ELIZABETH WOODVILLE, a young 
widow lady, very beautiful and very captivating; and at last 
resolving to make his secret known, and to declare her his Queen; 
he gave some offence to the Earl of Warwick, who was usually called 
the King-Maker, because of his power and influence, and because of 
his having lent such great help to placing Edward on the throne.  
This offence was not lessened by the jealousy with which the Nevil 
family (the Earl of Warwick's) regarded the promotion of the 
Woodville family.  For, the young Queen was so bent on providing 
for her relations, that she made her father an earl and a great 
officer of state; married her five sisters to young noblemen of the 
highest rank; and provided for her younger brother, a young man of 
twenty, by marrying him to an immensely rich old duchess of eighty.  
The Earl of Warwick took all this pretty graciously for a man of 
his proud temper, until the question arose to whom the King's 
sister, MARGARET, should be married.  The Earl of Warwick said, 'To 
one of the French King's sons,' and was allowed to go over to the 
French King to make friendly proposals for that purpose, and to 
hold all manner of friendly interviews with him.  But, while he was 
so engaged, the Woodville party married the young lady to the Duke 
of Burgundy!  Upon this he came back in great rage and scorn, and 
shut himself up discontented, in his Castle of Middleham.

A reconciliation, though not a very sincere one, was patched up 
between the Earl of Warwick and the King, and lasted until the Earl 
married his daughter, against the King's wishes, to the Duke of 
Clarence.  While the marriage was being celebrated at Calais, the 
people in the north of England, where the influence of the Nevil 
family was strongest, broke out into rebellion; their complaint 
was, that England was oppressed and plundered by the Woodville 
family, whom they demanded to have removed from power.  As they 
were joined by great numbers of people, and as they openly declared 
that they were supported by the Earl of Warwick, the King did not 
know what to do.  At last, as he wrote to the earl beseeching his 
aid, he and his new son-in-law came over to England, and began to 
arrange the business by shutting the King up in Middleham Castle in 
the safe keeping of the Archbishop of York; so England was not only 
in the strange position of having two kings at once, but they were 
both prisoners at the same time.

Even as yet, however, the King-Maker was so far true to the King, 
that he dispersed a new rising of the Lancastrians, took their 
leader prisoner, and brought him to the King, who ordered him to be 
immediately executed.  He presently allowed the King to return to 
London, and there innumerable pledges of forgiveness and friendship 
were exchanged between them, and between the Nevils and the 
Woodvilles; the King's eldest daughter was promised in marriage to 
the heir of the Nevil family; and more friendly oaths were sworn, 
and more friendly promises made, than this book would hold.

They lasted about three months.  At the end of that time, the 
Archbishop of York made a feast for the King, the Earl of Warwick, 
and the Duke of Clarence, at his house, the Moor, in Hertfordshire.  
The King was washing his hands before supper, when some one 
whispered him that a body of a hundred men were lying in ambush 
outside the house.  Whether this were true or untrue, the King took 
fright, mounted his horse, and rode through the dark night to 
Windsor Castle.  Another reconciliation was patched up between him 
and the King-Maker, but it was a short one, and it was the last.  A 
new rising took place in Lincolnshire, and the King marched to 
repress it.  Having done so, he proclaimed that both the Earl of 
Warwick and the Duke of Clarence were traitors, who had secretly 
assisted it, and who had been prepared publicly to join it on the 
following day.  In these dangerous circumstances they both took 
ship and sailed away to the French court.

And here a meeting took place between the Earl of Warwick and his 
old enemy, the Dowager Queen Margaret, through whom his father had 
had his head struck off, and to whom he had been a bitter foe.  
But, now, when he said that he had done with the ungrateful and 
perfidious Edward of York, and that henceforth he devoted himself 
to the restoration of the House of Lancaster, either in the person 
of her husband or of her little son, she embraced him as if he had 
ever been her dearest friend.  She did more than that; she married 
her son to his second daughter, the Lady Anne.  However agreeable 
this marriage was to the new friends, it was very disagreeable to 
the Duke of Clarence, who perceived that his father-in-law, the 
King-Maker, would never make HIM King, now.  So, being but a weak-
minded young traitor, possessed of very little worth or sense, he 
readily listened to an artful court lady sent over for the purpose, 
and promised to turn traitor once more, and go over to his brother, 
King Edward, when a fitting opportunity should come.

The Earl of Warwick, knowing nothing of this, soon redeemed his 
promise to the Dowager Queen Margaret, by invading England and 
landing at Plymouth, where he instantly proclaimed King Henry, and 
summoned all Englishmen between the ages of sixteen and sixty, to 
join his banner.  Then, with his army increasing as he marched 
along, he went northward, and came so near King Edward, who was in 
that part of the country, that Edward had to ride hard for it to 
the coast of Norfolk, and thence to get away in such ships as he 
could find, to Holland.  Thereupon, the triumphant King-Maker and 
his false son-in-law, the Duke of Clarence, went to London, took 
the old King out of the Tower, and walked him in a great procession 
to Saint Paul's Cathedral with the crown upon his head.  This did 
not improve the temper of the Duke of Clarence, who saw himself 
farther off from being King than ever; but he kept his secret, and 
said nothing.  The Nevil family were restored to all their honours 
and glories, and the Woodvilles and the rest were disgraced.  The 
King-Maker, less sanguinary than the King, shed no blood except 
that of the Earl of Worcester, who had been so cruel to the people 
as to have gained the title of the Butcher.  Him they caught hidden 
in a tree, and him they tried and executed.  No other death stained 
the King-Maker's triumph.

To dispute this triumph, back came King Edward again, next year, 
landing at Ravenspur, coming on to York, causing all his men to cry 
'Long live King Henry!' and swearing on the altar, without a blush, 
that he came to lay no claim to the crown.  Now was the time for 
the Duke of Clarence, who ordered his men to assume the White Rose, 
and declare for his brother.  The Marquis of Montague, though the 
Earl of Warwick's brother, also declining to fight against King 
Edward, he went on successfully to London, where the Archbishop of 
York let him into the City, and where the people made great 
demonstrations in his favour.  For this they had four reasons.  
Firstly, there were great numbers of the King's adherents hiding in 
the City and ready to break out; secondly, the King owed them a 
great deal of money, which they could never hope to get if he were 
unsuccessful; thirdly, there was a young prince to inherit the 
crown; and fourthly, the King was gay and handsome, and more 
popular than a better man might have been with the City ladies.  
After a stay of only two days with these worthy supporters, the 
King marched out to Barnet Common, to give the Earl of Warwick 
battle.  And now it was to be seen, for the last time, whether the 
King or the King-Maker was to carry the day.

While the battle was yet pending, the fainthearted Duke of Clarence 
began to repent, and sent over secret messages to his father-in-
law, offering his services in mediation with the King.  But, the 
Earl of Warwick disdainfully rejected them, and replied that 
Clarence was false and perjured, and that he would settle the 
quarrel by the sword.  The battle began at four o'clock in the 
morning and lasted until ten, and during the greater part of the 
time it was fought in a thick mist - absurdly supposed to be raised 
by a magician.  The loss of life was very great, for the hatred was 
strong on both sides.  The King-Maker was defeated, and the King 
triumphed.  Both the Earl of Warwick and his brother were slain, 
and their bodies lay in St. Paul's, for some days, as a spectacle 
to the people.

Margaret's spirit was not broken even by this great blow.  Within 
five days she was in arms again, and raised her standard in Bath, 
whence she set off with her army, to try and join Lord Pembroke, 
who had a force in Wales.  But, the King, coming up with her 
outside the town of Tewkesbury, and ordering his brother, the DUKE 
OF GLOUCESTER, who was a brave soldier, to attack her men, she 
sustained an entire defeat, and was taken prisoner, together with 
her son, now only eighteen years of age.  The conduct of the King 
to this poor youth was worthy of his cruel character.  He ordered 
him to be led into his tent.  'And what,' said he, 'brought YOU to 
England?'  'I came to England,' replied the prisoner, with a spirit 
which a man of spirit might have admired in a captive, 'to recover 
my father's kingdom, which descended to him as his right, and from 
him descends to me, as mine.'  The King, drawing off his iron 
gauntlet, struck him with it in the face; and the Duke of Clarence 
and some other lords, who were there, drew their noble swords, and 
killed him.

His mother survived him, a prisoner, for five years; after her 
ransom by the King of France, she survived for six years more.  
Within three weeks of this murder, Henry died one of those 
convenient sudden deaths which were so common in the Tower; in 
plainer words, he was murdered by the King's order.

Having no particular excitement on his hands after this great 
defeat of the Lancaster party, and being perhaps desirous to get 
rid of some of his fat (for he was now getting too corpulent to be 
handsome), the King thought of making war on France.  As he wanted 
more money for this purpose than the Parliament could give him, 
though they were usually ready enough for war, he invented a new 
way of raising it, by sending for the principal citizens of London, 
and telling them, with a grave face, that he was very much in want 
of cash, and would take it very kind in them if they would lend him 
some.  It being impossible for them safely to refuse, they 
complied, and the moneys thus forced from them were called - no 
doubt to the great amusement of the King and the Court - as if they 
were free gifts, 'Benevolences.'  What with grants from Parliament, 
and what with Benevolences, the King raised an army and passed over 
to Calais.  As nobody wanted war, however, the French King made 
proposals of peace, which were accepted, and a truce was concluded 
for seven long years.  The proceedings between the Kings of France 
and England on this occasion, were very friendly, very splendid, 
and very distrustful.  They finished with a meeting between the two 
Kings, on a temporary bridge over the river Somme, where they 
embraced through two holes in a strong wooden grating like a lion's 
cage, and made several bows and fine speeches to one another.

It was time, now, that the Duke of Clarence should be punished for 
his treacheries; and Fate had his punishment in store.  He was, 
probably, not trusted by the King - for who could trust him who 
knew him! - and he had certainly a powerful opponent in his brother 
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who, being avaricious and ambitious, 
wanted to marry that widowed daughter of the Earl of Warwick's who 
had been espoused to the deceased young Prince, at Calais.  
Clarence, who wanted all the family wealth for himself, secreted 
this lady, whom Richard found disguised as a servant in the City of 
London, and whom he married; arbitrators appointed by the King, 
then divided the property between the brothers.  This led to ill-
will and mistrust between them.  Clarence's wife dying, and he 
wishing to make another marriage, which was obnoxious to the King, 
his ruin was hurried by that means, too.  At first, the Court 
struck at his retainers and dependents, and accused some of them of 
magic and witchcraft, and similar nonsense.  Successful against 
this small game, it then mounted to the Duke himself, who was 
impeached by his brother the King, in person, on a variety of such 
charges.  He was found guilty, and sentenced to be publicly 
executed.  He never was publicly executed, but he met his death 
somehow, in the Tower, and, no doubt, through some agency of the 
King or his brother Gloucester, or both.  It was supposed at the 
time that he was told to choose the manner of his death, and that 
he chose to be drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine.  I hope the story 
may be true, for it would have been a becoming death for such a 
miserable creature.

The King survived him some five years.  He died in the forty-second 
year of his life, and the twenty-third of his reign.  He had a very 
good capacity and some good points, but he was selfish, careless, 
sensual, and cruel.  He was a favourite with the people for his 
showy manners; and the people were a good example to him in the 
constancy of their attachment.  He was penitent on his death-bed 
for his 'benevolences,' and other extortions, and ordered 
restitution to be made to the people who had suffered from them.  
He also called about his bed the enriched members of the Woodville 
family, and the proud lords whose honours were of older date, and 
endeavoured to reconcile them, for the sake of the peaceful 
succession of his son and the tranquillity of England.


THE late King's eldest son, the Prince of Wales, called EDWARD 
after him, was only thirteen years of age at his father's death.  
He was at Ludlow Castle with his uncle, the Earl of Rivers.  The 
prince's brother, the Duke of York, only eleven years of age, was 
in London with his mother.  The boldest, most crafty, and most 
dreaded nobleman in England at that time was their uncle RICHARD, 
Duke of Gloucester, and everybody wondered how the two poor boys 
would fare with such an uncle for a friend or a foe.

The Queen, their mother, being exceedingly uneasy about this, was 
anxious that instructions should be sent to Lord Rivers to raise an 
army to escort the young King safely to London.  But, Lord 
Hastings, who was of the Court party opposed to the Woodvilles, and 
who disliked the thought of giving them that power, argued against 
the proposal, and obliged the Queen to be satisfied with an escort 
of two thousand horse.  The Duke of Gloucester did nothing, at 
first, to justify suspicion.  He came from Scotland (where he was 
commanding an army) to York, and was there the first to swear 
allegiance to his nephew.  He then wrote a condoling letter to the 
Queen-Mother, and set off to be present at the coronation in 

Now, the young King, journeying towards London too, with Lord 
Rivers and Lord Gray, came to Stony Stratford, as his uncle came to 
Northampton, about ten miles distant; and when those two lords 
heard that the Duke of Gloucester was so near, they proposed to the 
young King that they should go back and greet him in his name.  The 
boy being very willing that they should do so, they rode off and 
were received with great friendliness, and asked by the Duke of 
Gloucester to stay and dine with him.  In the evening, while they 
were merry together, up came the Duke of Buckingham with three 
hundred horsemen; and next morning the two lords and the two dukes, 
and the three hundred horsemen, rode away together to rejoin the 
King.  Just as they were entering Stony Stratford, the Duke of 
Gloucester, checking his horse, turned suddenly on the two lords, 
charged them with alienating from him the affections of his sweet 
nephew, and caused them to be arrested by the three hundred 
horsemen and taken back.  Then, he and the Duke of Buckingham went 
straight to the King (whom they had now in their power), to whom 
they made a show of kneeling down, and offering great love and 
submission; and then they ordered his attendants to disperse, and 
took him, alone with them, to Northampton.

A few days afterwards they conducted him to London, and lodged him 
in the Bishop's Palace.  But, he did not remain there long; for, 
the Duke of Buckingham with a tender face made a speech expressing 
how anxious he was for the Royal boy's safety, and how much safer 
he would be in the Tower until his coronation, than he could be 
anywhere else.  So, to the Tower he was taken, very carefully, and 
the Duke of Gloucester was named Protector of the State.

Although Gloucester had proceeded thus far with a very smooth 
countenance - and although he was a clever man, fair of speech, and 
not ill-looking, in spite of one of his shoulders being something 
higher than the other - and although he had come into the City 
riding bare-headed at the King's side, and looking very fond of him 
- he had made the King's mother more uneasy yet; and when the Royal 
boy was taken to the Tower, she became so alarmed that she took 
sanctuary in Westminster with her five daughters.

Nor did she do this without reason, for, the Duke of Gloucester, 
finding that the lords who were opposed to the Woodville family 
were faithful to the young King nevertheless, quickly resolved to 
strike a blow for himself.  Accordingly, while those lords met in 
council at the Tower, he and those who were in his interest met in 
separate council at his own residence, Crosby Palace, in 
Bishopsgate Street.  Being at last quite prepared, he one day 
appeared unexpectedly at the council in the Tower, and appeared to 
be very jocular and merry.  He was particularly gay with the Bishop 
of Ely:  praising the strawberries that grew in his garden on 
Holborn Hill, and asking him to have some gathered that he might 
eat them at dinner.  The Bishop, quite proud of the honour, sent 
one of his men to fetch some; and the Duke, still very jocular and 
gay, went out; and the council all said what a very agreeable duke 
he was!  In a little time, however, he came back quite altered - 
not at all jocular - frowning and fierce - and suddenly said, -

'What do those persons deserve who have compassed my destruction; I 
being the King's lawful, as well as natural, protector?'

To this strange question, Lord Hastings replied, that they deserved 
death, whosoever they were.

'Then,' said the Duke, 'I tell you that they are that sorceress my 
brother's wife;' meaning the Queen:  'and that other sorceress, 
Jane Shore.  Who, by witchcraft, have withered my body, and caused 
my arm to shrink as I now show you.'

He then pulled up his sleeve and showed them his arm, which was 
shrunken, it is true, but which had been so, as they all very well 
knew, from the hour of his birth.

Jane Shore, being then the lover of Lord Hastings, as she had 
formerly been of the late King, that lord knew that he himself was 
attacked.  So, he said, in some confusion, 'Certainly, my Lord, if 
they have done this, they be worthy of punishment.'

'If?' said the Duke of Gloucester; 'do you talk to me of ifs?  I 
tell you that they HAVE so done, and I will make it good upon thy 
body, thou traitor!'

With that, he struck the table a great blow with his fist.  This 
was a signal to some of his people outside to cry 'Treason!'  They 
immediately did so, and there was a rush into the chamber of so 
many armed men that it was filled in a moment.

'First,' said the Duke of Gloucester to Lord Hastings, 'I arrest 
thee, traitor!  And let him,' he added to the armed men who took 
him, 'have a priest at once, for by St. Paul I will not dine until 
I have seen his head of!'

Lord Hastings was hurried to the green by the Tower chapel, and 
there beheaded on a log of wood that happened to be lying on the 
ground.  Then, the Duke dined with a good appetite, and after 
dinner summoning the principal citizens to attend him, told them 
that Lord Hastings and the rest had designed to murder both himself 
and the Duke if Buckingham, who stood by his side, if he had not 
providentially discovered their design.  He requested them to be so 
obliging as to inform their fellow-citizens of the truth of what he 
said, and issued a proclamation (prepared and neatly copied out 
beforehand) to the same effect.

On the same day that the Duke did these things in the Tower, Sir 
Richard Ratcliffe, the boldest and most undaunted of his men, went 
down to Pontefract; arrested Lord Rivers, Lord Gray, and two other 
gentlemen; and publicly executed them on the scaffold, without any 
trial, for having intended the Duke's death.  Three days afterwards 
the Duke, not to lose time, went down the river to Westminster in 
his barge, attended by divers bishops, lords, and soldiers, and 
demanded that the Queen should deliver her second son, the Duke of 
York, into his safe keeping.  The Queen, being obliged to comply, 
resigned the child after she had wept over him; and Richard of 
Gloucester placed him with his brother in the Tower.  Then, he 
seized Jane Shore, and, because she had been the lover of the late 
King, confiscated her property, and got her sentenced to do public 
penance in the streets by walking in a scanty dress, with bare 
feet, and carrying a lighted candle, to St. Paul's Cathedral, 
through the most crowded part of the City.

Having now all things ready for his own advancement, he caused a 
friar to preach a sermon at the cross which stood in front of St. 
Paul's Cathedral, in which he dwelt upon the profligate manners of 
the late King, and upon the late shame of Jane Shore, and hinted 
that the princes were not his children.  'Whereas, good people,' 
said the friar, whose name was SHAW, 'my Lord the Protector, the 
noble Duke of Gloucester, that sweet prince, the pattern of all the 
noblest virtues, is the perfect image and express likeness of his 
father.'  There had been a little plot between the Duke and the 
friar, that the Duke should appear in the crowd at this moment, 
when it was expected that the people would cry 'Long live King 
Richard!'  But, either through the friar saying the words too soon, 
or through the Duke's coming too late, the Duke and the words did 
not come together, and the people only laughed, and the friar 
sneaked off ashamed.

The Duke of Buckingham was a better hand at such business than the 
friar, so he went to the Guildhall the next day, and addressed the 
citizens in the Lord Protector's behalf.  A few dirty men, who had 
been hired and stationed there for the purpose, crying when he had 
done, 'God save King Richard!' he made them a great bow, and 
thanked them with all his heart.  Next day, to make an end of it, 
he went with the mayor and some lords and citizens to Bayard 
Castle, by the river, where Richard then was, and read an address, 
humbly entreating him to accept the Crown of England.  Richard, who 
looked down upon them out of a window and pretended to be in great 
uneasiness and alarm, assured them there was nothing he desired 
less, and that his deep affection for his nephews forbade him to 
think of it.  To this the Duke of Buckingham replied, with 
pretended warmth, that the free people of England would never 
submit to his nephew's rule, and that if Richard, who was the 
lawful heir, refused the Crown, why then they must find some one 
else to wear it.  The Duke of Gloucester returned, that since he 
used that strong language, it became his painful duty to think no 
more of himself, and to accept the Crown.

Upon that, the people cheered and dispersed; and the Duke of 
Gloucester and the Duke of Buckingham passed a pleasant evening, 
talking over the play they had just acted with so much success, and 
every word of which they had prepared together.


KING RICHARD THE THIRD was up betimes in the morning, and went to 
Westminster Hall.  In the Hall was a marble seat, upon which he sat 
himself down between two great noblemen, and told the people that 
he began the new reign in that place, because the first duty of a 
sovereign was to administer the laws equally to all, and to 
maintain justice.  He then mounted his horse and rode back to the 
City, where he was received by the clergy and the crowd as if he 
really had a right to the throne, and really were a just man.  The 
clergy and the crowd must have been rather ashamed of themselves in 
secret, I think, for being such poor-spirited knaves.

The new King and his Queen were soon crowned with a great deal of 
show and noise, which the people liked very much; and then the King 
set forth on a royal progress through his dominions.  He was 
crowned a second time at York, in order that the people might have 
show and noise enough; and wherever he went was received with 
shouts of rejoicing - from a good many people of strong lungs, who 
were paid to strain their throats in crying, 'God save King 
Richard!'  The plan was so successful that I am told it has been 
imitated since, by other usurpers, in other progresses through 
other dominions.

While he was on this journey, King Richard stayed a week at 
Warwick.  And from Warwick he sent instructions home for one of the 
wickedest murders that ever was done - the murder of the two young 
princes, his nephews, who were shut up in the Tower of London.

Sir Robert Brackenbury was at that time Governor of the Tower.  To 
him, by the hands of a messenger named JOHN GREEN, did King Richard 
send a letter, ordering him by some means to put the two young 
princes to death.  But Sir Robert - I hope because he had children 
of his own, and loved them - sent John Green back again, riding and 
spurring along the dusty roads, with the answer that he could not 
do so horrible a piece of work.  The King, having frowningly 
considered a little, called to him SIR JAMES TYRREL, his master of 
the horse, and to him gave authority to take command of the Tower, 
whenever he would, for twenty-four hours, and to keep all the keys 
of the Tower during that space of time.  Tyrrel, well knowing what 
was wanted, looked about him for two hardened ruffians, and chose 
JOHN DIGHTON, one of his own grooms, and MILES FOREST, who was a 
murderer by trade.  Having secured these two assistants, he went, 
upon a day in August, to the Tower, showed his authority from the 
King, took the command for four-and-twenty hours, and obtained 
possession of the keys.  And when the black night came he went 
creeping, creeping, like a guilty villain as he was, up the dark, 
stone winding stairs, and along the dark stone passages, until he 
came to the door of the room where the two young princes, having 
said their prayers, lay fast asleep, clasped in each other's arms.  
And while he watched and listened at the door, he sent in those 
evil demons, John Dighton and Miles Forest, who smothered the two 
princes with the bed and pillows, and carried their bodies down the 
stairs, and buried them under a great heap of stones at the 
staircase foot.  And when the day came, he gave up the command of 
the Tower, and restored the keys, and hurried away without once 
looking behind him; and Sir Robert Brackenbury went with fear and 
sadness to the princes' room, and found the princes gone for ever.

You know, through all this history, how true it is that traitors 
are never true, and you will not be surprised to learn that the 
Duke of Buckingham soon turned against King Richard, and joined a 
great conspiracy that was formed to dethrone him, and to place the 
crown upon its rightful owner's head.  Richard had meant to keep 
the murder secret; but when he heard through his spies that this 
conspiracy existed, and that many lords and gentlemen drank in 
secret to the healths of the two young princes in the Tower, he 
made it known that they were dead.  The conspirators, though 
thwarted for a moment, soon resolved to set up for the crown 
against the murderous Richard, HENRY Earl of Richmond, grandson of 
Catherine:  that widow of Henry the Fifth who married Owen Tudor.  
And as Henry was of the house of Lancaster, they proposed that he 
should marry the Princess Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of the 
late King, now the heiress of the house of York, and thus by 
uniting the rival families put an end to the fatal wars of the Red 
and White Roses.  All being settled, a time was appointed for Henry 
to come over from Brittany, and for a great rising against Richard 
to take place in several parts of England at the same hour.  On a 
certain day, therefore, in October, the revolt took place; but 
unsuccessfully.  Richard was prepared, Henry was driven back at sea 
by a storm, his followers in England were dispersed, and the Duke 
of Buckingham was taken, and at once beheaded in the market-place 
at Salisbury.

The time of his success was a good time, Richard thought, for 
summoning a Parliament and getting some money.  So, a Parliament 
was called, and it flattered and fawned upon him as much as he 
could possibly desire, and declared him to be the rightful King of 
England, and his only son Edward, then eleven years of age, the 
next heir to the throne.

Richard knew full well that, let the Parliament say what it would, 
the Princess Elizabeth was remembered by people as the heiress of 
the house of York; and having accurate information besides, of its 
being designed by the conspirators to marry her to Henry of 
Richmond, he felt that it would much strengthen him and weaken 
them, to be beforehand with them, and marry her to his son.  With 
this view he went to the Sanctuary at Westminster, where the late 
King's widow and her daughter still were, and besought them to come 
to Court:  where (he swore by anything and everything) they should 
be safely and honourably entertained.  They came, accordingly, but 
had scarcely been at Court a month when his son died suddenly - or 
was poisoned - and his plan was crushed to pieces.

In this extremity, King Richard, always active, thought, 'I must 
make another plan.'  And he made the plan of marrying the Princess 
Elizabeth himself, although she was his niece.  There was one 
difficulty in the way:  his wife, the Queen Anne, was alive.  But, 
he knew (remembering his nephews) how to remove that obstacle, and 
he made love to the Princess Elizabeth, telling her he felt 
perfectly confident that the Queen would die in February.  The 
Princess was not a very scrupulous young lady, for, instead of 
rejecting the murderer of her brothers with scorn and hatred, she 
openly declared she loved him dearly; and, when February came and 
the Queen did not die, she expressed her impatient opinion that she 
was too long about it.  However, King Richard was not so far out in 
his prediction, but, that she died in March - he took good care of 
that - and then this precious pair hoped to be married.  But they 
were disappointed, for the idea of such a marriage was so unpopular 
in the country, that the King's chief counsellors, RATCLIFFE and 
CATESBY, would by no means undertake to propose it, and the King 
was even obliged to declare in public that he had never thought of 
such a thing.

He was, by this time, dreaded and hated by all classes of his 
subjects.  His nobles deserted every day to Henry's side; he dared 
not call another Parliament, lest his crimes should be denounced 
there; and for want of money, he was obliged to get Benevolences 
from the citizens, which exasperated them all against him.  It was 
said too, that, being stricken by his conscience, he dreamed 
frightful dreams, and started up in the night-time, wild with 
terror and remorse.  Active to the last, through all this, he 
issued vigorous proclamations against Henry of Richmond and all his 
followers, when he heard that they were coming against him with a 
Fleet from France; and took the field as fierce and savage as a 
wild boar - the animal represented on his shield.

Henry of Richmond landed with six thousand men at Milford Haven, 
and came on against King Richard, then encamped at Leicester with 
an army twice as great, through North Wales.  On Bosworth Field the 
two armies met; and Richard, looking along Henry's ranks, and 
seeing them crowded with the English nobles who had abandoned him, 
turned pale when he beheld the powerful Lord Stanley and his son 
(whom he had tried hard to retain) among them.  But, he was as 
brave as he was wicked, and plunged into the thickest of the fight.  
He was riding hither and thither, laying about him in all 
directions, when he observed the Earl of Northumberland - one of 
his few great allies - to stand inactive, and the main body of his 
troops to hesitate.  At the same moment, his desperate glance 
caught Henry of Richmond among a little group of his knights.  
Riding hard at him, and crying 'Treason!' he killed his standard-
bearer, fiercely unhorsed another gentleman, and aimed a powerful 
stroke at Henry himself, to cut him down.  But, Sir William Stanley 
parried it as it fell, and before Richard could raise his arm 
again, he was borne down in a press of numbers, unhorsed, and 
killed.  Lord Stanley picked up the crown, all bruised and 
trampled, and stained with blood, and put it upon Richmond's head, 
amid loud and rejoicing cries of 'Long live King Henry!'

That night, a horse was led up to the church of the Grey Friars at 
Leicester; across whose back was tied, like some worthless sack, a 
naked body brought there for burial.  It was the body of the last 
of the Plantagenet line, King Richard the Third, usurper and 
murderer, slain at the battle of Bosworth Field in the thirty-
second year of his age, after a reign of two years.


KING HENRY THE SEVENTH did not turn out to be as fine a fellow as 
the nobility and people hoped, in the first joy of their 
deliverance from Richard the Third.  He was very cold, crafty, and 
calculating, and would do almost anything for money.  He possessed 
considerable ability, but his chief merit appears to have been that 
he was not cruel when there was nothing to be got by it.

The new King had promised the nobles who had espoused his cause 
that he would marry the Princess Elizabeth.  The first thing he 
did, was, to direct her to be removed from the castle of Sheriff 
Hutton in Yorkshire, where Richard had placed her, and restored to 
the care of her mother in London.  The young Earl of Warwick, 
Edward Plantagenet, son and heir of the late Duke of Clarence, had 
been kept a prisoner in the same old Yorkshire Castle with her.  
This boy, who was now fifteen, the new King placed in the Tower for 
safety.  Then he came to London in great state, and gratified the 
people with a fine procession; on which kind of show he often very 
much relied for keeping them in good humour.  The sports and feasts 
which took place were followed by a terrible fever, called the 
Sweating Sickness; of which great numbers of people died.  Lord 
Mayors and Aldermen are thought to have suffered most from it; 
whether, because they were in the habit of over-eating themselves, 
or because they were very jealous of preserving filth and nuisances 
in the City (as they have been since), I don't know.

The King's coronation was postponed on account of the general ill-
health, and he afterwards deferred his marriage, as if he were not 
very anxious that it should take place:  and, even after that, 
deferred the Queen's coronation so long that he gave offence to the 
York party.  However, he set these things right in the end, by 
hanging some men and seizing on the rich possessions of others; by 
granting more popular pardons to the followers of the late King 
than could, at first, be got from him; and, by employing about his 
Court, some very scrupulous persons who had been employed in the 
previous reign.

As this reign was principally remarkable for two very curious 
impostures which have become famous in history, we will make those 
two stories its principal feature.

There was a priest at Oxford of the name of Simons, who had for a 
pupil a handsome boy named Lambert Simnel, the son of a baker.  
Partly to gratify his own ambitious ends, and partly to carry out 
the designs of a secret party formed against the King, this priest 
declared that his pupil, the boy, was no other than the young Earl 
of Warwick; who (as everybody might have known) was safely locked 
up in the Tower of London.  The priest and the boy went over to 
Ireland; and, at Dublin, enlisted in their cause all ranks of the 
people:  who seem to have been generous enough, but exceedingly 
irrational.  The Earl of Kildare, the governor of Ireland, declared 
that he believed the boy to be what the priest represented; and the 
boy, who had been well tutored by the priest, told them such things 
of his childhood, and gave them so many descriptions of the Royal 
Family, that they were perpetually shouting and hurrahing, and 
drinking his health, and making all kinds of noisy and thirsty 
demonstrations, to express their belief in him.  Nor was this 
feeling confined to Ireland alone, for the Earl of Lincoln - whom 
the late usurper had named as his successor - went over to the 
young Pretender; and, after holding a secret correspondence with 
the Dowager Duchess of Burgundy - the sister of Edward the Fourth, 
who detested the present King and all his race - sailed to Dublin 
with two thousand German soldiers of her providing.  In this 
promising state of the boy's fortunes, he was crowned there, with a 
crown taken off the head of a statue of the Virgin Mary; and was 
then, according to the Irish custom of those days, carried home on 
the shoulders of a big chieftain possessing a great deal more 
strength than sense.  Father Simons, you may be sure, was mighty 
busy at the coronation.

Ten days afterwards, the Germans, and the Irish, and the priest, 
and the boy, and the Earl of Lincoln, all landed in Lancashire to 
invade England.  The King, who had good intelligence of their 
movements, set up his standard at Nottingham, where vast numbers 
resorted to him every day; while the Earl of Lincoln could gain but 
very few.  With his small force he tried to make for the town of 
Newark; but the King's army getting between him and that place, he 
had no choice but to risk a battle at Stoke.  It soon ended in the 
complete destruction of the Pretender's forces, one half of whom 
were killed; among them, the Earl himself.  The priest and the 
baker's boy were taken prisoners.  The priest, after confessing the 
trick, was shut up in prison, where he afterwards died - suddenly 
perhaps.  The boy was taken into the King's kitchen and made a 
turnspit.  He was afterwards raised to the station of one of the 
King's falconers; and so ended this strange imposition.

There seems reason to suspect that the Dowager Queen - always a 
restless and busy woman - had had some share in tutoring the 
baker's son.  The King was very angry with her, whether or no.  He 
seized upon her property, and shut her up in a convent at 

One might suppose that the end of this story would have put the 
Irish people on their guard; but they were quite ready to receive a 
second impostor, as they had received the first, and that same 
troublesome Duchess of Burgundy soon gave them the opportunity.  
All of a sudden there appeared at Cork, in a vessel arriving from 
Portugal, a young man of excellent abilities, of very handsome 
appearance and most winning manners, who declared himself to be 
Richard, Duke of York, the second son of King Edward the Fourth.  
'O,' said some, even of those ready Irish believers, 'but surely 
that young Prince was murdered by his uncle in the Tower!' - 'It IS 
supposed so,' said the engaging young man; 'and my brother WAS 
killed in that gloomy prison; but I escaped - it don't matter how, 
at present - and have been wandering about the world for seven long 
years.'  This explanation being quite satisfactory to numbers of 
the Irish people, they began again to shout and to hurrah, and to 
drink his health, and to make the noisy and thirsty demonstrations 
all over again.  And the big chieftain in Dublin began to look out 
for another coronation, and another young King to be carried home 
on his back.

Now, King Henry being then on bad terms with France, the French 
King, Charles the Eighth, saw that, by pretending to believe in the 
handsome young man, he could trouble his enemy sorely.  So, he 
invited him over to the French Court, and appointed him a body-
guard, and treated him in all respects as if he really were the 
Duke of York.  Peace, however, being soon concluded between the two 
Kings, the pretended Duke was turned adrift, and wandered for 
protection to the Duchess of Burgundy.  She, after feigning to 
inquire into the reality of his claims, declared him to be the very 
picture of her dear departed brother; gave him a body-guard at her 
Court, of thirty halberdiers; and called him by the sounding name 
of the White Rose of England.

The leading members of the White Rose party in England sent over an 
agent, named Sir Robert Clifford, to ascertain whether the White 
Rose's claims were good:  the King also sent over his agents to 
inquire into the Rose's history.  The White Roses declared the 
young man to be really the Duke of York; the King declared him to 
be PERKIN WARBECK, the son of a merchant of the city of Tournay, 
who had acquired his knowledge of England, its language and 
manners, from the English merchants who traded in Flanders; it was 
also stated by the Royal agents that he had been in the service of 
Lady Brompton, the wife of an exiled English nobleman, and that the 
Duchess of Burgundy had caused him to be trained and taught, 
expressly for this deception.  The King then required the Archduke 
Philip - who was the sovereign of Burgundy - to banish this new 
Pretender, or to deliver him up; but, as the Archduke replied that 
he could not control the Duchess in her own land, the King, in 
revenge, took the market of English cloth away from Antwerp, and 
prevented all commercial intercourse between the two countries.

He also, by arts and bribes, prevailed on Sir Robert Clifford to 
betray his employers; and he denouncing several famous English 
noblemen as being secretly the friends of Perkin Warbeck, the King 
had three of the foremost executed at once.  Whether he pardoned 
the remainder because they were poor, I do not know; but it is only 
too probable that he refused to pardon one famous nobleman against 
whom the same Clifford soon afterwards informed separately, because 
he was rich.  This was no other than Sir William Stanley, who had 
saved the King's life at the battle of Bosworth Field.  It is very 
doubtful whether his treason amounted to much more than his having 
said, that if he were sure the young man was the Duke of York, he 
would not take arms against him.  Whatever he had done he admitted, 
like an honourable spirit; and he lost his head for it, and the 
covetous King gained all his wealth.

Perkin Warbeck kept quiet for three years; but, as the Flemings 
began to complain heavily of the loss of their trade by the 
stoppage of the Antwerp market on his account, and as it was not 
unlikely that they might even go so far as to take his life, or 
give him up, he found it necessary to do something.  Accordingly he 
made a desperate sally, and landed, with only a few hundred men, on 
the coast of Deal.  But he was soon glad to get back to the place 
from whence he came; for the country people rose against his 
followers, killed a great many, and took a hundred and fifty 
prisoners:  who were all driven to London, tied together with 
ropes, like a team of cattle.  Every one of them was hanged on some 
part or other of the sea-shore; in order, that if any more men 
should come over with Perkin Warbeck, they might see the bodies as 
a warning before they landed.

Then the wary King, by making a treaty of commerce with the 
Flemings, drove Perkin Warbeck out of that country; and, by 
completely gaining over the Irish to his side, deprived him of that 
asylum too.  He wandered away to Scotland, and told his story at 
that Court.  King James the Fourth of Scotland, who was no friend 
to King Henry, and had no reason to be (for King Henry had bribed 
his Scotch lords to betray him more than once; but had never 
succeeded in his plots), gave him a great reception, called him his 
cousin, and gave him in marriage the Lady Catherine Gordon, a 
beautiful and charming creature related to the royal house of 

Alarmed by this successful reappearance of the Pretender, the King 
still undermined, and bought, and bribed, and kept his doings and 
Perkin Warbeck's story in the dark, when he might, one would 
imagine, have rendered the matter clear to all England.  But, for 
all this bribing of the Scotch lords at the Scotch King's Court, he 
could not procure the Pretender to be delivered up to him.  James, 
though not very particular in many respects, would not betray him; 
and the ever-busy Duchess of Burgundy so provided him with arms, 
and good soldiers, and with money besides, that he had soon a 
little army of fifteen hundred men of various nations.  With these, 
and aided by the Scottish King in person, he crossed the border 
into England, and made a proclamation to the people, in which he 
called the King 'Henry Tudor;' offered large rewards to any who 
should take or distress him; and announced himself as King Richard 
the Fourth come to receive the homage of his faithful subjects.  
His faithful subjects, however, cared nothing for him, and hated 
his faithful troops:  who, being of different nations, quarrelled 
also among themselves.  Worse than this, if worse were possible, 
they began to plunder the country; upon which the White Rose said, 
that he would rather lose his rights, than gain them through the 
miseries of the English people.  The Scottish King made a jest of 
his scruples; but they and their whole force went back again 
without fighting a battle.

The worst consequence of this attempt was, that a rising took place 
among the people of Cornwall, who considered themselves too heavily 
taxed to meet the charges of the expected war.  Stimulated by 
Flammock, a lawyer, and Joseph, a blacksmith, and joined by Lord 
Audley and some other country gentlemen, they marched on all the 
way to Deptford Bridge, where they fought a battle with the King's 
army.  They were defeated - though the Cornish men fought with 
great bravery - and the lord was beheaded, and the lawyer and the 
blacksmith were hanged, drawn, and quartered.  The rest were 
pardoned.  The King, who believed every man to be as avaricious as 
himself, and thought that money could settle anything, allowed them 
to make bargains for their liberty with the soldiers who had taken 

Perkin Warbeck, doomed to wander up and down, and never to find 
rest anywhere - a sad fate:  almost a sufficient punishment for an 
imposture, which he seems in time to have half believed himself - 
lost his Scottish refuge through a truce being made between the two 
Kings; and found himself, once more, without a country before him 
in which he could lay his head.  But James (always honourable and 
true to him, alike when he melted down his plate, and even the 
great gold chain he had been used to wear, to pay soldiers in his 
cause; and now, when that cause was lost and hopeless) did not 
conclude the treaty, until he had safely departed out of the 
Scottish dominions.  He, and his beautiful wife, who was faithful 
to him under all reverses, and left her state and home to follow 
his poor fortunes, were put aboard ship with everything necessary 
for their comfort and protection, and sailed for Ireland.

But, the Irish people had had enough of counterfeit Earls of 
Warwick and Dukes of York, for one while; and would give the White 
Rose no aid.  So, the White Rose - encircled by thorns indeed - 
resolved to go with his beautiful wife to Cornwall as a forlorn 
resource, and see what might be made of the Cornish men, who had 
risen so valiantly a little while before, and who had fought so 
bravely at Deptford Bridge.

To Whitsand Bay, in Cornwall, accordingly, came Perkin Warbeck and 
his wife; and the lovely lady he shut up for safety in the Castle 
of St. Michael's Mount, and then marched into Devonshire at the 
head of three thousand Cornishmen.  These were increased to six 
thousand by the time of his arrival in Exeter; but, there the 
people made a stout resistance, and he went on to Taunton, where he 
came in sight of the King's army.  The stout Cornish men, although 
they were few in number, and badly armed, were so bold, that they 
never thought of retreating; but bravely looked forward to a battle 
on the morrow.  Unhappily for them, the man who was possessed of so 
many engaging qualities, and who attracted so many people to his 
side when he had nothing else with which to tempt them, was not as 
brave as they.  In the night, when the two armies lay opposite to 
each other, he mounted a swift horse and fled.  When morning 
dawned, the poor confiding Cornish men, discovering that they had 
no leader, surrendered to the King's power.  Some of them were 
hanged, and the rest were pardoned and went miserably home.

Before the King pursued Perkin Warbeck to the sanctuary of Beaulieu 
in the New Forest, where it was soon known that he had taken 
refuge, he sent a body of horsemen to St. Michael's Mount, to seize 
his wife.  She was soon taken and brought as a captive before the 
King.  But she was so beautiful, and so good, and so devoted to the 
man in whom she believed, that the King regarded her with 
compassion, treated her with great respect, and placed her at 
Court, near the Queen's person.  And many years after Perkin 
Warbeck was no more, and when his strange story had become like a 
nursery tale, SHE was called the White Rose, by the people, in 
remembrance of her beauty.

The sanctuary at Beaulieu was soon surrounded by the King's men; 
and the King, pursuing his usual dark, artful ways, sent pretended 
friends to Perkin Warbeck to persuade him to come out and surrender 
himself.  This he soon did; the King having taken a good look at 
the man of whom he had heard so much - from behind a screen - 
directed him to be well mounted, and to ride behind him at a little 
distance, guarded, but not bound in any way.  So they entered 
London with the King's favourite show - a procession; and some of 
the people hooted as the Pretender rode slowly through the streets 
to the Tower; but the greater part were quiet, and very curious to 
see him.  From the Tower, he was taken to the Palace at 
Westminster, and there lodged like a gentleman, though closely 
watched.  He was examined every now and then as to his imposture; 
but the King was so secret in all he did, that even then he gave it 
a consequence, which it cannot be supposed to have in itself 

At last Perkin Warbeck ran away, and took refuge in another 
sanctuary near Richmond in Surrey.  From this he was again 
persuaded to deliver himself up; and, being conveyed to London, he 
stood in the stocks for a whole day, outside Westminster Hall, and 
there read a paper purporting to be his full confession, and 
relating his history as the King's agents had originally described 
it.  He was then shut up in the Tower again, in the company of the 
Earl of Warwick, who had now been there for fourteen years:  ever 
since his removal out of Yorkshire, except when the King had had 
him at Court, and had shown him to the people, to prove the 
imposture of the Baker's boy.  It is but too probable, when we 
consider the crafty character of Henry the Seventh, that these two 
were brought together for a cruel purpose.  A plot was soon 
discovered between them and the keepers, to murder the Governor, 
get possession of the keys, and proclaim Perkin Warbeck as King 
Richard the Fourth.  That there was some such plot, is likely; that 
they were tempted into it, is at least as likely; that the 
unfortunate Earl of Warwick - last male of the Plantagenet line - 
was too unused to the world, and too ignorant and simple to know 
much about it, whatever it was, is perfectly certain; and that it 
was the King's interest to get rid of him, is no less so.  He was 
beheaded on Tower Hill, and Perkin Warbeck was hanged at Tyburn.

Such was the end of the pretended Duke of York, whose shadowy 
history was made more shadowy - and ever will be - by the mystery 
and craft of the King.  If he had turned his great natural 
advantages to a more honest account, he might have lived a happy 
and respected life, even in those days.  But he died upon a gallows 
at Tyburn, leaving the Scottish lady, who had loved him so well, 
kindly protected at the Queen's Court.  After some time she forgot 
her old loves and troubles, as many people do with Time's merciful 
assistance, and married a Welsh gentleman.  Her second husband, SIR 
MATTHEW CRADOC, more honest and more happy than her first, lies 
beside her in a tomb in the old church of Swansea.

The ill-blood between France and England in this reign, arose out 
of the continued plotting of the Duchess of Burgundy, and disputes 
respecting the affairs of Brittany.  The King feigned to be very 
patriotic, indignant, and warlike; but he always contrived so as 
never to make war in reality, and always to make money.  His 
taxation of the people, on pretence of war with France, involved, 
at one time, a very dangerous insurrection, headed by Sir John 
Egremont, and a common man called John a Chambre.  But it was 
subdued by the royal forces, under the command of the Earl of 
Surrey.  The knighted John escaped to the Duchess of Burgundy, who 
was ever ready to receive any one who gave the King trouble; and 
the plain John was hanged at York, in the midst of a number of his 
men, but on a much higher gibbet, as being a greater traitor.  Hung 
high or hung low, however, hanging is much the same to the person 

Within a year after her marriage, the Queen had given birth to a 
son, who was called Prince Arthur, in remembrance of the old 
British prince of romance and story; and who, when all these events 
had happened, being then in his fifteenth year, was married to 
CATHERINE, the daughter of the Spanish monarch, with great 
rejoicings and bright prospects; but in a very few months he 
sickened and died.  As soon as the King had recovered from his 
grief, he thought it a pity that the fortune of the Spanish 
Princess, amounting to two hundred thousand crowns, should go out 
of the family; and therefore arranged that the young widow should 
marry his second son HENRY, then twelve years of age, when he too 
should be fifteen.  There were objections to this marriage on the 
part of the clergy; but, as the infallible Pope was gained over, 
and, as he MUST be right, that settled the business for the time.  
The King's eldest daughter was provided for, and a long course of 
disturbance was considered to be set at rest, by her being married 
to the Scottish King.

And now the Queen died.  When the King had got over that grief too, 
his mind once more reverted to his darling money for consolation, 
and he thought of marrying the Dowager Queen of Naples, who was 
immensely rich:  but, as it turned out not to be practicable to 
gain the money however practicable it might have been to gain the 
lady, he gave up the idea.  He was not so fond of her but that he 
soon proposed to marry the Dowager Duchess of Savoy; and, soon 
afterwards, the widow of the King of Castile, who was raving mad.  
But he made a money-bargain instead, and married neither.

The Duchess of Burgundy, among the other discontented people to 
whom she had given refuge, had sheltered EDMUND DE LA POLE (younger 
brother of that Earl of Lincoln who was killed at Stoke), now Earl 
of Suffolk.  The King had prevailed upon him to return to the 
marriage of Prince Arthur; but, he soon afterwards went away again; 
and then the King, suspecting a conspiracy, resorted to his 
favourite plan of sending him some treacherous friends, and buying 
of those scoundrels the secrets they disclosed or invented.  Some 
arrests and executions took place in consequence.  In the end, the 
King, on a promise of not taking his life, obtained possession of 
the person of Edmund de la Pole, and shut him up in the Tower.

This was his last enemy.  If he had lived much longer he would have 
made many more among the people, by the grinding exaction to which 
he constantly exposed them, and by the tyrannical acts of his two 
prime favourites in all money-raising matters, EDMUND DUDLEY and 
RICHARD EMPSON.  But Death - the enemy who is not to be bought off 
or deceived, and on whom no money, and no treachery has any effect 
- presented himself at this juncture, and ended the King's reign.  
He died of the gout, on the twenty-second of April, one thousand 
five hundred and nine, and in the fifty-third year of his age, 
after reigning twenty-four years; he was buried in the beautiful 
Chapel of Westminster Abbey, which he had himself founded, and 
which still bears his name.

It was in this reign that the great CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS, on behalf 
of Spain, discovered what was then called The New World.  Great 
wonder, interest, and hope of wealth being awakened in England 
thereby, the King and the merchants of London and Bristol fitted 
out an English expedition for further discoveries in the New World, 
and entrusted it to SEBASTIAN CABOT, of Bristol, the son of a 
Venetian pilot there.  He was very successful in his voyage, and 
gained high reputation, both for himself and England.



WE now come to King Henry the Eighth, whom it has been too much the 
fashion to call 'Bluff King Hal,' and 'Burly King Harry,' and other 
fine names; but whom I shall take the liberty to call, plainly, one 
of the most detestable villains that ever drew breath.  You will be 
able to judge, long before we come to the end of his life, whether 
he deserves the character.

He was just eighteen years of age when he came to the throne.  
People said he was handsome then; but I don't believe it.  He was a 
big, burly, noisy, small-eyed, large-faced, double-chinned, 
swinish-looking fellow in later life (as we know from the 
likenesses of him, painted by the famous HANS HOLBEIN), and it is 
not easy to believe that so bad a character can ever have been 
veiled under a prepossessing appearance.

He was anxious to make himself popular; and the people, who had 
long disliked the late King, were very willing to believe that he 
deserved to be so.  He was extremely fond of show and display, and 
so were they.  Therefore there was great rejoicing when he married 
the Princess Catherine, and when they were both crowned.  And the 
King fought at tournaments and always came off victorious - for the 
courtiers took care of that - and there was a general outcry that 
he was a wonderful man.  Empson, Dudley, and their supporters were 
accused of a variety of crimes they had never committed, instead of 
the offences of which they really had been guilty; and they were 
pilloried, and set upon horses with their faces to the tails, and 
knocked about and beheaded, to the satisfaction of the people, and 
the enrichment of the King.

The Pope, so indefatigable in getting the world into trouble, had 
mixed himself up in a war on the continent of Europe, occasioned by 
the reigning Princes of little quarrelling states in Italy having 
at various times married into other Royal families, and so led to 
THEIR claiming a share in those petty Governments.  The King, who 
discovered that he was very fond of the Pope, sent a herald to the 
King of France, to say that he must not make war upon that holy 
personage, because he was the father of all Christians.  As the 
French King did not mind this relationship in the least, and also 
refused to admit a claim King Henry made to certain lands in 
France, war was declared between the two countries.  Not to perplex 
this story with an account of the tricks and designs of all the 
sovereigns who were engaged in it, it is enough to say that England 
made a blundering alliance with Spain, and got stupidly taken in by 
that country; which made its own terms with France when it could 
and left England in the lurch.  SIR EDWARD HOWARD, a bold admiral, 
son of the Earl of Surrey, distinguished himself by his bravery 
against the French in this business; but, unfortunately, he was 
more brave than wise, for, skimming into the French harbour of 
Brest with only a few row-boats, he attempted (in revenge for the 
defeat and death of SIR THOMAS KNYVETT, another bold English 
admiral) to take some strong French ships, well defended with 
batteries of cannon.  The upshot was, that he was left on board of 
one of them (in consequence of its shooting away from his own 
boat), with not more than about a dozen men, and was thrown into 
the sea and drowned:  though not until he had taken from his breast 
his gold chain and gold whistle, which were the signs of his 
office, and had cast them into the sea to prevent their being made 
a boast of by the enemy.  After this defeat - which was a great 
one, for Sir Edward Howard was a man of valour and fame - the King 
took it into his head to invade France in person; first executing 
that dangerous Earl of Suffolk whom his father had left in the 
Tower, and appointing Queen Catherine to the charge of his kingdom 
in his absence.  He sailed to Calais, where he was joined by 
MAXIMILIAN, Emperor of Germany, who pretended to be his soldier, 
and who took pay in his service:  with a good deal of nonsense of 
that sort, flattering enough to the vanity of a vain blusterer.  
The King might be successful enough in sham fights; but his idea of 
real battles chiefly consisted in pitching silken tents of bright 
colours that were ignominiously blown down by the wind, and in 
making a vast display of gaudy flags and golden curtains.  Fortune, 
however, favoured him better than he deserved; for, after much 
waste of time in tent pitching, flag flying, gold curtaining, and 
other such masquerading, he gave the French battle at a place 
called Guinegate:  where they took such an unaccountable panic, and 
fled with such swiftness, that it was ever afterwards called by the 
English the Battle of Spurs.  Instead of following up his 
advantage, the King, finding that he had had enough of real 
fighting, came home again.

The Scottish King, though nearly related to Henry by marriage, had 
taken part against him in this war.  The Earl of Surrey, as the 
English general, advanced to meet him when he came out of his own 
dominions and crossed the river Tweed.  The two armies came up with 
one another when the Scottish King had also crossed the river Till, 
and was encamped upon the last of the Cheviot Hills, called the 
Hill of Flodden.  Along the plain below it, the English, when the 
hour of battle came, advanced.  The Scottish army, which had been 
drawn up in five great bodies, then came steadily down in perfect 
silence.  So they, in their turn, advanced to meet the English 
army, which came on in one long line; and they attacked it with a 
body of spearmen, under LORD HOME.  At first they had the best of 
it; but the English recovered themselves so bravely, and fought 
with such valour, that, when the Scottish King had almost made his 
way up to the Royal Standard, he was slain, and the whole Scottish 
power routed.  Ten thousand Scottish men lay dead that day on 
Flodden Field; and among them, numbers of the nobility and gentry.  
For a long time afterwards, the Scottish peasantry used to believe 
that their King had not been really killed in this battle, because 
no Englishman had found an iron belt he wore about his body as a 
penance for having been an unnatural and undutiful son.  But, 
whatever became of his belt, the English had his sword and dagger, 
and the ring from his finger, and his body too, covered with 
wounds.  There is no doubt of it; for it was seen and recognised by 
English gentlemen who had known the Scottish King well.

When King Henry was making ready to renew the war in France, the 
French King was contemplating peace.  His queen, dying at this 
time, he proposed, though he was upwards of fifty years old, to 
marry King Henry's sister, the Princess Mary, who, besides being 
only sixteen, was betrothed to the Duke of Suffolk.  As the 
inclinations of young Princesses were not much considered in such 
matters, the marriage was concluded, and the poor girl was escorted 
to France, where she was immediately left as the French King's 
bride, with only one of all her English attendants.  That one was a 
pretty young girl named ANNE BOLEYN, niece of the Earl of Surrey, 
who had been made Duke of Norfolk, after the victory of Flodden 
Field.  Anne Boleyn's is a name to be remembered, as you will 
presently find.

And now the French King, who was very proud of his young wife, was 
preparing for many years of happiness, and she was looking forward, 
I dare say, to many years of misery, when he died within three 
months, and left her a young widow.  The new French monarch, 
FRANCIS THE FIRST, seeing how important it was to his interests 
that she should take for her second husband no one but an 
Englishman, advised her first lover, the Duke of Suffolk, when King 
Henry sent him over to France to fetch her home, to marry her.  The 
Princess being herself so fond of that Duke, as to tell him that he 
must either do so then, or for ever lose her, they were wedded; and 
Henry afterwards forgave them.  In making interest with the King, 
the Duke of Suffolk had addressed his most powerful favourite and 
adviser, THOMAS WOLSEY - a name very famous in history for its rise 
and downfall.

Wolsey was the son of a respectable butcher at Ipswich, in Suffolk 
and received so excellent an education that he became a tutor to 
the family of the Marquis of Dorset, who afterwards got him 
appointed one of the late King's chaplains.  On the accession of 
Henry the Eighth, he was promoted and taken into great favour.  He 
was now Archbishop of York; the Pope had made him a Cardinal 
besides; and whoever wanted influence in England or favour with the 
King - whether he were a foreign monarch or an English nobleman - 
was obliged to make a friend of the great Cardinal Wolsey.

He was a gay man, who could dance and jest, and sing and drink; and 
those were the roads to so much, or rather so little, of a heart as 
King Henry had.  He was wonderfully fond of pomp and glitter, and 
so was the King.  He knew a good deal of the Church learning of 
that time; much of which consisted in finding artful excuses and 
pretences for almost any wrong thing, and in arguing that black was 
white, or any other colour.  This kind of learning pleased the King 
too.  For many such reasons, the Cardinal was high in estimation 
with the King; and, being a man of far greater ability, knew as 
well how to manage him, as a clever keeper may know how to manage a 
wolf or a tiger, or any other cruel and uncertain beast, that may 
turn upon him and tear him any day.  Never had there been seen in 
England such state as my Lord Cardinal kept.  His wealth was 
enormous; equal, it was reckoned, to the riches of the Crown.  His 
palaces were as splendid as the King's, and his retinue was eight 
hundred strong.  He held his Court, dressed out from top to toe in 
flaming scarlet; and his very shoes were golden, set with precious 
stones.  His followers rode on blood horses; while he, with a 
wonderful affectation of humility in the midst of his great 
splendour, ambled on a mule with a red velvet saddle and bridle and 
golden stirrups.

Through the influence of this stately priest, a grand meeting was 
arranged to take place between the French and English Kings in 
France; but on ground belonging to England.  A prodigious show of 
friendship and rejoicing was to be made on the occasion; and 
heralds were sent to proclaim with brazen trumpets through all the 
principal cities of Europe, that, on a certain day, the Kings of 
France and England, as companions and brothers in arms, each 
attended by eighteen followers, would hold a tournament against all 
knights who might choose to come.

CHARLES, the new Emperor of Germany (the old one being dead), 
wanted to prevent too cordial an alliance between these sovereigns, 
and came over to England before the King could repair to the place 
of meeting; and, besides making an agreeable impression upon him, 
secured Wolsey's interest by promising that his influence should 
make him Pope when the next vacancy occurred.  On the day when the 
Emperor left England, the King and all the Court went over to 
Calais, and thence to the place of meeting, between Ardres and 
Guisnes, commonly called the Field of the Cloth of Gold.  Here, all 
manner of expense and prodigality was lavished on the decorations 
of the show; many of the knights and gentlemen being so superbly 
dressed that it was said they carried their whole estates upon 
their shoulders.

There were sham castles, temporary chapels, fountains running wine, 
great cellars full of wine free as water to all comers, silk tents, 
gold lace and foil, gilt lions, and such things without end; and, 
in the midst of all, the rich Cardinal out-shone and out-glittered 
all the noblemen and gentlemen assembled.  After a treaty made 
between the two Kings with as much solemnity as if they had 
intended to keep it, the lists - nine hundred feet long, and three 
hundred and twenty broad - were opened for the tournament; the 
Queens of France and England looking on with great array of lords 
and ladies.  Then, for ten days, the two sovereigns fought five 
combats every day, and always beat their polite adversaries; though 
they DO write that the King of England, being thrown in a wrestle 
one day by the King of France, lost his kingly temper with his 
brother-in-arms, and wanted to make a quarrel of it.  Then, there 
is a great story belonging to this Field of the Cloth of Gold, 
showing how the English were distrustful of the French, and the 
French of the English, until Francis rode alone one morning to 
Henry's tent; and, going in before he was out of bed, told him in 
joke that he was his prisoner; and how Henry jumped out of bed and 
embraced Francis; and how Francis helped Henry to dress, and warmed 
his linen for him; and how Henry gave Francis a splendid jewelled 
collar, and how Francis gave Henry, in return, a costly bracelet.  
All this and a great deal more was so written about, and sung 
about, and talked about at that time (and, indeed, since that time 
too), that the world has had good cause to be sick of it, for ever.

Of course, nothing came of all these fine doings but a speedy 
renewal of the war between England and France, in which the two 
Royal companions and brothers in arms longed very earnestly to 
damage one another.  But, before it broke out again, the Duke of 
Buckingham was shamefully executed on Tower Hill, on the evidence 
of a discharged servant - really for nothing, except the folly of 
having believed in a friar of the name of HOPKINS, who had 
pretended to be a prophet, and who had mumbled and jumbled out some 
nonsense about the Duke's son being destined to be very great in 
the land.  It was believed that the unfortunate Duke had given 
offence to the great Cardinal by expressing his mind freely about 
the expense and absurdity of the whole business of the Field of the 
Cloth of Gold.  At any rate, he was beheaded, as I have said, for 
nothing.  And the people who saw it done were very angry, and cried 
out that it was the work of 'the butcher's son!'

The new war was a short one, though the Earl of Surrey invaded 
France again, and did some injury to that country.  It ended in 
another treaty of peace between the two kingdoms, and in the 
discovery that the Emperor of Germany was not such a good friend to 
England in reality, as he pretended to be.  Neither did he keep his 
promise to Wolsey to make him Pope, though the King urged him.  Two 
Popes died in pretty quick succession; but the foreign priests were 
too much for the Cardinal, and kept him out of the post.  So the 
Cardinal and King together found out that the Emperor of Germany 
was not a man to keep faith with; broke off a projected marriage 
between the King's daughter MARY, Princess of Wales, and that 
sovereign; and began to consider whether it might not be well to 
marry the young lady, either to Francis himself, or to his eldest 

There now arose at Wittemberg, in Germany, the great leader of the 
mighty change in England which is called The Reformation, and which 
set the people free from their slavery to the priests.  This was a 
learned Doctor, named MARTIN LUTHER, who knew all about them, for 
he had been a priest, and even a monk, himself.  The preaching and 
writing of Wickliffe had set a number of men thinking on this 
subject; and Luther, finding one day to his great surprise, that 
there really was a book called the New Testament which the priests 
did not allow to be read, and which contained truths that they 
suppressed, began to be very vigorous against the whole body, from 
the Pope downward.  It happened, while he was yet only beginning 
his vast work of awakening the nation, that an impudent fellow 
named TETZEL, a friar of very bad character, came into his 
neighbourhood selling what were called Indulgences, by wholesale, 
to raise money for beautifying the great Cathedral of St. Peter's, 
at Rome.  Whoever bought an Indulgence of the Pope was supposed to 
buy himself off from the punishment of Heaven for his offences.  
Luther told the people that these Indulgences were worthless bits 
of paper, before God, and that Tetzel and his masters were a crew 
of impostors in selling them.

The King and the Cardinal were mightily indignant at this 
presumption; and the King (with the help of SIR THOMAS MORE, a wise 
man, whom he afterwards repaid by striking off his head) even wrote 
a book about it, with which the Pope was so well pleased that he 
gave the King the title of Defender of the Faith.  The King and the 
Cardinal also issued flaming warnings to the people not to read 
Luther's books, on pain of excommunication.  But they did read them 
for all that; and the rumour of what was in them spread far and 

When this great change was thus going on, the King began to show 
himself in his truest and worst colours.  Anne Boleyn, the pretty 
little girl who had gone abroad to France with his sister, was by 
this time grown up to be very beautiful, and was one of the ladies 
in attendance on Queen Catherine.  Now, Queen Catherine was no 
longer young or handsome, and it is likely that she was not 
particularly good-tempered; having been always rather melancholy, 
and having been made more so by the deaths of four of her children 
when they were very young.  So, the King fell in love with the fair 
Anne Boleyn, and said to himself, 'How can I be best rid of my own 
troublesome wife whom I am tired of, and marry Anne?'

You recollect that Queen Catherine had been the wife of Henry's 
brother.  What does the King do, after thinking it over, but calls 
his favourite priests about him, and says, O! his mind is in such a 
dreadful state, and he is so frightfully uneasy, because he is 
afraid it was not lawful for him to marry the Queen!  Not one of 
those priests had the courage to hint that it was rather curious he 
had never thought of that before, and that his mind seemed to have 
been in a tolerably jolly condition during a great many years, in 
which he certainly had not fretted himself thin; but, they all 
said, Ah! that was very true, and it was a serious business; and 
perhaps the best way to make it right, would be for his Majesty to 
be divorced!  The King replied, Yes, he thought that would be the 
best way, certainly; so they all went to work.

If I were to relate to you the intrigues and plots that took place 
in the endeavour to get this divorce, you would think the History 
of England the most tiresome book in the world.  So I shall say no 
more, than that after a vast deal of negotiation and evasion, the 
Pope issued a commission to Cardinal Wolsey and CARDINAL CAMPEGGIO 
(whom he sent over from Italy for the purpose), to try the whole 
case in England.  It is supposed - and I think with reason - that 
Wolsey was the Queen's enemy, because she had reproved him for his 
proud and gorgeous manner of life.  But, he did not at first know 
that the King wanted to marry Anne Boleyn; and when he did know it, 
he even went down on his knees, in the endeavour to dissuade him.

The Cardinals opened their court in the Convent of the Black 
Friars, near to where the bridge of that name in London now stands; 
and the King and Queen, that they might be near it, took up their 
lodgings at the adjoining palace of Bridewell, of which nothing now 
remains but a bad prison.  On the opening of the court, when the 
King and Queen were called on to appear, that poor ill-used lady, 
with a dignity and firmness and yet with a womanly affection worthy 
to be always admired, went and kneeled at the King's feet, and said 
that she had come, a stranger, to his dominions; that she had been 
a good and true wife to him for twenty years; and that she could 
acknowledge no power in those Cardinals to try whether she should 
be considered his wife after all that time, or should be put away.  
With that, she got up and left the court, and would never 
afterwards come back to it.

The King pretended to be very much overcome, and said, O! my lords 
and gentlemen, what a good woman she was to be sure, and how 
delighted he would be to live with her unto death, but for that 
terrible uneasiness in his mind which was quite wearing him away!  
So, the case went on, and there was nothing but talk for two 
months.  Then Cardinal Campeggio, who, on behalf of the Pope, 
wanted nothing so much as delay, adjourned it for two more months; 
and before that time was elapsed, the Pope himself adjourned it 
indefinitely, by requiring the King and Queen to come to Rome and 
have it tried there.  But by good luck for the King, word was 
brought to him by some of his people, that they had happened to 
meet at supper, THOMAS CRANMER, a learned Doctor of Cambridge, who 
had proposed to urge the Pope on, by referring the case to all the 
learned doctors and bishops, here and there and everywhere, and 
getting their opinions that the King's marriage was unlawful.  The 
King, who was now in a hurry to marry Anne Boleyn, thought this 
such a good idea, that he sent for Cranmer, post haste, and said to 
LORD ROCHFORT, Anne Boleyn's father, 'Take this learned Doctor down 
to your country-house, and there let him have a good room for a 
study, and no end of books out of which to prove that I may marry 
your daughter.'  Lord Rochfort, not at all reluctant, made the 
learned Doctor as comfortable as he could; and the learned Doctor 
went to work to prove his case.  All this time, the King and Anne 
Boleyn were writing letters to one another almost daily, full of 
impatience to have the case settled; and Anne Boleyn was showing 
herself (as I think) very worthy of the fate which afterwards befel 

It was bad for Cardinal Wolsey that he had left Cranmer to render 
this help.  It was worse for him that he had tried to dissuade the 
King from marrying Anne Boleyn.  Such a servant as he, to such a 
master as Henry, would probably have fallen in any case; but, 
between the hatred of the party of the Queen that was, and the 
hatred of the party of the Queen that was to be, he fell suddenly 
and heavily.  Going down one day to the Court of Chancery, where he 
now presided, he was waited upon by the Dukes of Norfolk and 
Suffolk, who told him that they brought an order to him to resign 
that office, and to withdraw quietly to a house he had at Esher, in 
Surrey.  The Cardinal refusing, they rode off to the King; and next 
day came back with a letter from him, on reading which, the 
Cardinal submitted.  An inventory was made out of all the riches in 
his palace at York Place (now Whitehall), and he went sorrowfully 
up the river, in his barge, to Putney.  An abject man he was, in 
spite of his pride; for being overtaken, riding out of that place 
towards Esher, by one of the King's chamberlains who brought him a 
kind message and a ring, he alighted from his mule, took off his 
cap, and kneeled down in the dirt.  His poor Fool, whom in his 
prosperous days he had always kept in his palace to entertain him, 
cut a far better figure than he; for, when the Cardinal said to the 
chamberlain that he had nothing to send to his lord the King as a 
present, but that jester who was a most excellent one, it took six 
strong yeomen to remove the faithful fool from his master.

The once proud Cardinal was soon further disgraced, and wrote the 
most abject letters to his vile sovereign; who humbled him one day 
and encouraged him the next, according to his humour, until he was 
at last ordered to go and reside in his diocese of York.  He said 
he was too poor; but I don't know how he made that out, for he took 
a hundred and sixty servants with him, and seventy-two cart-loads 
of furniture, food, and wine.  He remained in that part of the 
country for the best part of a year, and showed himself so improved 
by his misfortunes, and was so mild and so conciliating, that he 
won all hearts.  And indeed, even in his proud days, he had done 
some magnificent things for learning and education.  At last, he 
was arrested for high treason; and, coming slowly on his journey 
towards London, got as far as Leicester.  Arriving at Leicester 
Abbey after dark, and very ill, he said - when the monks came out 
at the gate with lighted torches to receive him - that he had come 
to lay his bones among them.  He had indeed; for he was taken to a 
bed, from which he never rose again.  His last words were, 'Had I 
but served God as diligently as I have served the King, He would 
not have given me over, in my grey hairs.  Howbeit, this is my just 
reward for my pains and diligence, not regarding my service to God, 
but only my duty to my prince.'  The news of his death was quickly 
carried to the King, who was amusing himself with archery in the 
garden of the magnificent Palace at Hampton Court, which that very 
Wolsey had presented to him.  The greatest emotion his royal mind 
displayed at the loss of a servant so faithful and so ruined, was a 
particular desire to lay hold of fifteen hundred pounds which the 
Cardinal was reported to have hidden somewhere.

The opinions concerning the divorce, of the learned doctors and 
bishops and others, being at last collected, and being generally in 
the King's favour, were forwarded to the Pope, with an entreaty 
that he would now grant it.  The unfortunate Pope, who was a timid 
man, was half distracted between his fear of his authority being 
set aside in England if he did not do as he was asked, and his 
dread of offending the Emperor of Germany, who was Queen 
Catherine's nephew.  In this state of mind he still evaded and did 
nothing.  Then, THOMAS CROMWELL, who had been one of Wolsey's 
faithful attendants, and had remained so even in his decline, 
advised the King to take the matter into his own hands, and make 
himself the head of the whole Church.  This, the King by various 
artful means, began to do; but he recompensed the clergy by 
allowing them to burn as many people as they pleased, for holding 
Luther's opinions.  You must understand that Sir Thomas More, the 
wise man who had helped the King with his book, had been made 
Chancellor in Wolsey's place.  But, as he was truly attached to the 
Church as it was even in its abuses, he, in this state of things, 

Being now quite resolved to get rid of Queen Catherine, and to 
marry Anne Boleyn without more ado, the King made Cranmer 
Archbishop of Canterbury, and directed Queen Catherine to leave the 
Court.  She obeyed; but replied that wherever she went, she was 
Queen of England still, and would remain so, to the last.  The King 
then married Anne Boleyn privately; and the new Archbishop of 
Canterbury, within half a year, declared his marriage with Queen 
Catherine void, and crowned Anne Boleyn Queen.

She might have known that no good could ever come from such wrong, 
and that the corpulent brute who had been so faithless and so cruel 
to his first wife, could be more faithless and more cruel to his 
second.  She might have known that, even when he was in love with 
her, he had been a mean and selfish coward, running away, like a 
frightened cur, from her society and her house, when a dangerous 
sickness broke out in it, and when she might easily have taken it 
and died, as several of the household did.  But, Anne Boleyn 
arrived at all this knowledge too late, and bought it at a dear 
price.  Her bad marriage with a worse man came to its natural end.  
Its natural end was not, as we shall too soon see, a natural death 
for her.



THE Pope was thrown into a very angry state of mind when he heard 
of the King's marriage, and fumed exceedingly.  Many of the English 
monks and friars, seeing that their order was in danger, did the 
same; some even declaimed against the King in church before his 
face, and were not to be stopped until he himself roared out 
'Silence!'  The King, not much the worse for this, took it pretty 
quietly; and was very glad when his Queen gave birth to a daughter, 
who was christened ELIZABETH, and declared Princess of Wales as her 
sister Mary had already been.

One of the most atrocious features of this reign was that Henry the 
Eighth was always trimming between the reformed religion and the 
unreformed one; so that the more he quarrelled with the Pope, the 
more of his own subjects he roasted alive for not holding the 
Pope's opinions.  Thus, an unfortunate student named John Frith, 
and a poor simple tailor named Andrew Hewet who loved him very 
much, and said that whatever John Frith believed HE believed, were 
burnt in Smithfield - to show what a capital Christian the King 

But, these were speedily followed by two much greater victims, Sir 
Thomas More, and John Fisher, the Bishop of Rochester.  The latter, 
who was a good and amiable old man, had committed no greater 
offence than believing in Elizabeth Barton, called the Maid of Kent 
- another of those ridiculous women who pretended to be inspired, 
and to make all sorts of heavenly revelations, though they indeed 
uttered nothing but evil nonsense.  For this offence - as it was 
pretended, but really for denying the King to be the supreme Head 
of the Church - he got into trouble, and was put in prison; but, 
even then, he might have been suffered to die naturally (short work 
having been made of executing the Kentish Maid and her principal 
followers), but that the Pope, to spite the King, resolved to make 
him a cardinal.  Upon that the King made a ferocious joke to the 
effect that the Pope might send Fisher a red hat - which is the way 
they make a cardinal - but he should have no head on which to wear 
it; and he was tried with all unfairness and injustice, and 
sentenced to death.  He died like a noble and virtuous old man, and 
left a worthy name behind him.  The King supposed, I dare say, that 
Sir Thomas More would be frightened by this example; but, as he was 
not to be easily terrified, and, thoroughly believing in the Pope, 
had made up his mind that the King was not the rightful Head of the 
Church, he positively refused to say that he was.  For this crime 
he too was tried and sentenced, after having been in prison a whole 
year.  When he was doomed to death, and came away from his trial 
with the edge of the executioner's axe turned towards him - as was 
always done in those times when a state prisoner came to that 
hopeless pass - he bore it quite serenely, and gave his blessing to 
his son, who pressed through the crowd in Westminster Hall and 
kneeled down to receive it.  But, when he got to the Tower Wharf on 
his way back to his prison, and his favourite daughter, MARGARET 
ROPER, a very good woman, rushed through the guards again and 
again, to kiss him and to weep upon his neck, he was overcome at 
last.  He soon recovered, and never more showed any feeling but 
cheerfulness and courage.  When he was going up the steps of the 
scaffold to his death, he said jokingly to the Lieutenant of the 
Tower, observing that they were weak and shook beneath his tread, 
'I pray you, master Lieutenant, see me safe up; and, for my coming 
down, I can shift for myself.'  Also he said to the executioner, 
after he had laid his head upon the block, 'Let me put my beard out 
of the way; for that, at least, has never committed any treason.'  
Then his head was struck off at a blow.  These two executions were 
worthy of King Henry the Eighth.  Sir Thomas More was one of the 
most virtuous men in his dominions, and the Bishop was one of his 
oldest and truest friends.  But to be a friend of that fellow was 
almost as dangerous as to be his wife.

When the news of these two murders got to Rome, the Pope raged 
against the murderer more than ever Pope raged since the world 
began, and prepared a Bull, ordering his subjects to take arms 
against him and dethrone him.  The King took all possible 
precautions to keep that document out of his dominions, and set to 
work in return to suppress a great number of the English 
monasteries and abbeys.

This destruction was begun by a body of commissioners, of whom 
Cromwell (whom the King had taken into great favour) was the head; 
and was carried on through some few years to its entire completion.  
There is no doubt that many of these religious establishments were 
religious in nothing but in name, and were crammed with lazy, 
indolent, and sensual monks.  There is no doubt that they imposed 
upon the people in every possible way; that they had images moved 
by wires, which they pretended were miraculously moved by Heaven; 
that they had among them a whole tun measure full of teeth, all 
purporting to have come out of the head of one saint, who must 
indeed have been a very extraordinary person with that enormous 
allowance of grinders; that they had bits of coal which they said 
had fried Saint Lawrence, and bits of toe-nails which they said 
belonged to other famous saints; penknives, and boots, and girdles, 
which they said belonged to others; and that all these bits of 
rubbish were called Relics, and adored by the ignorant people.  
But, on the other hand, there is no doubt either, that the King's 
officers and men punished the good monks with the bad; did great 
injustice; demolished many beautiful things and many valuable 
libraries; destroyed numbers of paintings, stained glass windows, 
fine pavements, and carvings; and that the whole court were 
ravenously greedy and rapacious for the division of this great 
spoil among them.  The King seems to have grown almost mad in the 
ardour of this pursuit; for he declared Thomas a Becket a traitor, 
though he had been dead so many years, and had his body dug up out 
of his grave.  He must have been as miraculous as the monks 
pretended, if they had told the truth, for he was found with one 
head on his shoulders, and they had shown another as his undoubted 
and genuine head ever since his death; it had brought them vast 
sums of money, too.  The gold and jewels on his shrine filled two 
great chests, and eight men tottered as they carried them away.  
How rich the monasteries were you may infer from the fact that, 
when they were all suppressed, one hundred and thirty thousand 
pounds a year - in those days an immense sum - came to the Crown.

These things were not done without causing great discontent among 
the people.  The monks had been good landlords and hospitable 
entertainers of all travellers, and had been accustomed to give 
away a great deal of corn, and fruit, and meat, and other things.  
In those days it was difficult to change goods into money, in 
consequence of the roads being very few and very bad, and the 
carts, and waggons of the worst description; and they must either 
have given away some of the good things they possessed in enormous 
quantities, or have suffered them to spoil and moulder.  So, many 
of the people missed what it was more agreeable to get idly than to 
work for; and the monks who were driven out of their homes and 
wandered about encouraged their discontent; and there were, 
consequently, great risings in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire.  These 
were put down by terrific executions, from which the monks 
themselves did not escape, and the King went on grunting and 
growling in his own fat way, like a Royal pig.

I have told all this story of the religious houses at one time, to 
make it plainer, and to get back to the King's domestic affairs.

The unfortunate Queen Catherine was by this time dead; and the King 
was by this time as tired of his second Queen as he had been of his 
first.  As he had fallen in love with Anne when she was in the 
service of Catherine, so he now fell in love with another lady in 
the service of Anne.  See how wicked deeds are punished, and how 
bitterly and self-reproachfully the Queen must now have thought of 
her own rise to the throne!  The new fancy was a LADY JANE SEYMOUR; 
and the King no sooner set his mind on her, than he resolved to 
have Anne Boleyn's head.  So, he brought a number of charges 
against Anne, accusing her of dreadful crimes which she had never 
committed, and implicating in them her own brother and certain 
gentlemen in her service:  among whom one Norris, and Mark Smeaton 
a musician, are best remembered.  As the lords and councillors were 
as afraid of the King and as subservient to him as the meanest 
peasant in England was, they brought in Anne Boleyn guilty, and the 
other unfortunate persons accused with her, guilty too.  Those 
gentlemen died like men, with the exception of Smeaton, who had 
been tempted by the King into telling lies, which he called 
confessions, and who had expected to be pardoned; but who, I am 
very glad to say, was not.  There was then only the Queen to 
dispose of.  She had been surrounded in the Tower with women spies; 
had been monstrously persecuted and foully slandered; and had 
received no justice.  But her spirit rose with her afflictions; 
and, after having in vain tried to soften the King by writing an 
affecting letter to him which still exists, 'from her doleful 
prison in the Tower,' she resigned herself to death.  She said to 
those about her, very cheerfully, that she had heard say the 
executioner was a good one, and that she had a little neck (she 
laughed and clasped it with her hands as she said that), and would 
soon be out of her pain.  And she WAS soon out of her pain, poor 
creature, on the Green inside the Tower, and her body was flung 
into an old box and put away in the ground under the chapel.

There is a story that the King sat in his palace listening very 
anxiously for the sound of the cannon which was to announce this 
new murder; and that, when he heard it come booming on the air, he 
rose up in great spirits and ordered out his dogs to go a-hunting.  
He was bad enough to do it; but whether he did it or not, it is 
certain that he married Jane Seymour the very next day.

I have not much pleasure in recording that she lived just long 
enough to give birth to a son who was christened EDWARD, and then 
to die of a fever:  for, I cannot but think that any woman who 
married such a ruffian, and knew what innocent blood was on his 
hands, deserved the axe that would assuredly have fallen on the 
neck of Jane Seymour, if she had lived much longer.

Cranmer had done what he could to save some of the Church property 
for purposes of religion and education; but, the great families had 
been so hungry to get hold of it, that very little could be rescued 
for such objects.  Even MILES COVERDALE, who did the people the 
inestimable service of translating the Bible into English (which 
the unreformed religion never permitted to be done), was left in 
poverty while the great families clutched the Church lands and 
money.  The people had been told that when the Crown came into 
possession of these funds, it would not be necessary to tax them; 
but they were taxed afresh directly afterwards.  It was fortunate 
for them, indeed, that so many nobles were so greedy for this 
wealth; since, if it had remained with the Crown, there might have 
been no end to tyranny for hundreds of years.  One of the most 
active writers on the Church's side against the King was a member 
of his own family - a sort of distant cousin, REGINALD POLE by name 
- who attacked him in the most violent manner (though he received a 
pension from him all the time), and fought for the Church with his 
pen, day and night.  As he was beyond the King's reach - being in 
Italy - the King politely invited him over to discuss the subject; 
but he, knowing better than to come, and wisely staying where he 
was, the King's rage fell upon his brother Lord Montague, the 
Marquis of Exeter, and some other gentlemen:  who were tried for 
high treason in corresponding with him and aiding him - which they 
probably did - and were all executed.  The Pope made Reginald Pole 
a cardinal; but, so much against his will, that it is thought he 
even aspired in his own mind to the vacant throne of England, and 
had hopes of marrying the Princess Mary.  His being made a high 
priest, however, put an end to all that.  His mother, the venerable 
Countess of Salisbury - who was, unfortunately for herself, within 
the tyrant's reach - was the last of his relatives on whom his 
wrath fell.  When she was told to lay her grey head upon the block, 
she answered the executioner, 'No!  My head never committed 
treason, and if you want it, you shall seize it.'  So, she ran 
round and round the scaffold with the executioner striking at her, 
and her grey hair bedabbled with blood; and even when they held her 
down upon the block she moved her head about to the last, resolved 
to be no party to her own barbarous murder.  All this the people 
bore, as they had borne everything else.

Indeed they bore much more; for the slow fires of Smithfield were 
continually burning, and people were constantly being roasted to 
death - still to show what a good Christian the King was.  He 
defied the Pope and his Bull, which was now issued, and had come 
into England; but he burned innumerable people whose only offence 
was that they differed from the Pope's religious opinions.  There 
was a wretched man named LAMBERT, among others, who was tried for 
this before the King, and with whom six bishops argued one after 
another.  When he was quite exhausted (as well he might be, after 
six bishops), he threw himself on the King's mercy; but the King 
blustered out that he had no mercy for heretics.  So, HE too fed 
the fire.

All this the people bore, and more than all this yet.  The national 
spirit seems to have been banished from the kingdom at this time.  
The very people who were executed for treason, the very wives and 
friends of the 'bluff' King, spoke of him on the scaffold as a good 
prince, and a gentle prince - just as serfs in similar 
circumstances have been known to do, under the Sultan and Bashaws 
of the East, or under the fierce old tyrants of Russia, who poured 
boiling and freezing water on them alternately, until they died.  
The Parliament were as bad as the rest, and gave the King whatever 
he wanted; among other vile accommodations, they gave him new 
powers of murdering, at his will and pleasure, any one whom he 
might choose to call a traitor.  But the worst measure they passed 
was an Act of Six Articles, commonly called at the time 'the whip 
with six strings;' which punished offences against the Pope's 
opinions, without mercy, and enforced the very worst parts of the 
monkish religion.  Cranmer would have modified it, if he could; 
but, being overborne by the Romish party, had not the power.  As 
one of the articles declared that priests should not marry, and as 
he was married himself, he sent his wife and children into Germany, 
and began to tremble at his danger; none the less because he was, 
and had long been, the King's friend.  This whip of six strings was 
made under the King's own eye.  It should never be forgotten of him 
how cruelly he supported the worst of the Popish doctrines when 
there was nothing to be got by opposing them.

This amiable monarch now thought of taking another wife.  He 
proposed to the French King to have some of the ladies of the 
French Court exhibited before him, that he might make his Royal 
choice; but the French King answered that he would rather not have 
his ladies trotted out to be shown like horses at a fair.  He 
proposed to the Dowager Duchess of Milan, who replied that she 
might have thought of such a match if she had had two heads; but, 
that only owning one, she must beg to keep it safe.  At last 
Cromwell represented that there was a Protestant Princess in 
Germany - those who held the reformed religion were called 
Protestants, because their leaders had Protested against the abuses 
and impositions of the unreformed Church - named ANNE OF CLEVES, 
who was beautiful, and would answer the purpose admirably.  The 
King said was she a large woman, because he must have a fat wife?  
'O yes,' said Cromwell; 'she was very large, just the thing.'  On 
hearing this the King sent over his famous painter, Hans Holbein, 
to take her portrait.  Hans made her out to be so good-looking that 
the King was satisfied, and the marriage was arranged.  But, 
whether anybody had paid Hans to touch up the picture; or whether 
Hans, like one or two other painters, flattered a princess in the 
ordinary way of business, I cannot say:  all I know is, that when 
Anne came over and the King went to Rochester to meet her, and 
first saw her without her seeing him, he swore she was 'a great 
Flanders mare,' and said he would never marry her.  Being obliged 
to do it now matters had gone so far, he would not give her the 
presents he had prepared, and would never notice her.  He never 
forgave Cromwell his part in the affair.  His downfall dates from 
that time.

It was quickened by his enemies, in the interests of the unreformed 
religion, putting in the King's way, at a state dinner, a niece of 
the Duke of Norfolk, CATHERINE HOWARD, a young lady of fascinating 
manners, though small in stature and not particularly beautiful.  
Falling in love with her on the spot, the King soon divorced Anne 
of Cleves after making her the subject of much brutal talk, on 
pretence that she had been previously betrothed to some one else - 
which would never do for one of his dignity - and married 
Catherine.  It is probable that on his wedding day, of all days in 
the year, he sent his faithful Cromwell to the scaffold, and had 
his head struck off.  He further celebrated the occasion by burning 
at one time, and causing to be drawn to the fire on the same 
hurdles, some Protestant prisoners for denying the Pope's 
doctrines, and some Roman Catholic prisoners for denying his own 
supremacy.  Still the people bore it, and not a gentleman in 
England raised his hand.

But, by a just retribution, it soon came out that Catherine Howard, 
before her marriage, had been really guilty of such crimes as the 
King had falsely attributed to his second wife Anne Boleyn; so, 
again the dreadful axe made the King a widower, and this Queen 
passed away as so many in that reign had passed away before her.  
As an appropriate pursuit under the circumstances, Henry then 
applied himself to superintending the composition of a religious 
book called 'A necessary doctrine for any Christian Man.'  He must 
have been a little confused in his mind, I think, at about this 
period; for he was so false to himself as to be true to some one:  
that some one being Cranmer, whom the Duke of Norfolk and others of 
his enemies tried to ruin; but to whom the King was steadfast, and 
to whom he one night gave his ring, charging him when he should 
find himself, next day, accused of treason, to show it to the 
council board.  This Cranmer did to the confusion of his enemies.  
I suppose the King thought he might want him a little longer.

He married yet once more.  Yes, strange to say, he found in England 
another woman who would become his wife, and she was CATHERINE 
PARR, widow of Lord Latimer.  She leaned towards the reformed 
religion; and it is some comfort to know, that she tormented the 
King considerably by arguing a variety of doctrinal points with him 
on all possible occasions.  She had very nearly done this to her 
own destruction.  After one of these conversations the King in a 
very black mood actually instructed GARDINER, one of his Bishops 
who favoured the Popish opinions, to draw a bill of accusation 
against her, which would have inevitably brought her to the 
scaffold where her predecessors had died, but that one of her 
friends picked up the paper of instructions which had been dropped 
in the palace, and gave her timely notice.  She fell ill with 
terror; but managed the King so well when he came to entrap her 
into further statements - by saying that she had only spoken on 
such points to divert his mind and to get some information from his 
extraordinary wisdom - that he gave her a kiss and called her his 
sweetheart.  And, when the Chancellor came next day actually to 
take her to the Tower, the King sent him about his business, and 
honoured him with the epithets of a beast, a knave, and a fool.  So 
near was Catherine Parr to the block, and so narrow was her escape!

There was war with Scotland in this reign, and a short clumsy war 
with France for favouring Scotland; but, the events at home were so 
dreadful, and leave such an enduring stain on the country, that I 
need say no more of what happened abroad.

A few more horrors, and this reign is over.  There was a lady, ANNE 
ASKEW, in Lincolnshire, who inclined to the Protestant opinions, 
and whose husband being a fierce Catholic, turned her out of his 
house.  She came to London, and was considered as offending against 
the six articles, and was taken to the Tower, and put upon the rack 
- probably because it was hoped that she might, in her agony, 
criminate some obnoxious persons; if falsely, so much the better.  
She was tortured without uttering a cry, until the Lieutenant of 
the Tower would suffer his men to torture her no more; and then two 
priests who were present actually pulled off their robes, and 
turned the wheels of the rack with their own hands, so rending and 
twisting and breaking her that she was afterwards carried to the 
fire in a chair.  She was burned with three others, a gentleman, a 
clergyman, and a tailor; and so the world went on.

Either the King became afraid of the power of the Duke of Norfolk, 
and his son the Earl of Surrey, or they gave him some offence, but 
he resolved to pull THEM down, to follow all the rest who were 
gone.  The son was tried first - of course for nothing - and 
defended himself bravely; but of course he was found guilty, and of 
course he was executed.  Then his father was laid hold of, and left 
for death too.

But the King himself was left for death by a Greater King, and the 
earth was to be rid of him at last.  He was now a swollen, hideous 
spectacle, with a great hole in his leg, and so odious to every 
sense that it was dreadful to approach him.  When he was found to 
be dying, Cranmer was sent for from his palace at Croydon, and came 
with all speed, but found him speechless.  Happily, in that hour he 
perished.  He was in the fifty-sixth year of his age, and the 
thirty-eighth of his reign.

Henry the Eighth has been favoured by some Protestant writers, 
because the Reformation was achieved in his time.  But the mighty 
merit of it lies with other men and not with him; and it can be 
rendered none the worse by this monster's crimes, and none the 
better by any defence of them.  The plain truth is, that he was a 
most intolerable ruffian, a disgrace to human nature, and a blot of 
blood and grease upon the History of England.


HENRY THE EIGHTH had made a will, appointing a council of sixteen 
to govern the kingdom for his son while he was under age (he was 
now only ten years old), and another council of twelve to help 
them.  The most powerful of the first council was the EARL OF 
HERTFORD, the young King's uncle, who lost no time in bringing his 
nephew with great state up to Enfield, and thence to the Tower.  It 
was considered at the time a striking proof of virtue in the young 
King that he was sorry for his father's death; but, as common 
subjects have that virtue too, sometimes, we will say no more about 

There was a curious part of the late King's will, requiring his 
executors to fulfil whatever promises he had made.  Some of the 
court wondering what these might be, the Earl of Hertford and the 
other noblemen interested, said that they were promises to advance 
and enrich THEM.  So, the Earl of Hertford made himself DUKE OF 
SOMERSET, and made his brother EDWARD SEYMOUR a baron; and there 
were various similar promotions, all very agreeable to the parties 
concerned, and very dutiful, no doubt, to the late King's memory.  
To be more dutiful still, they made themselves rich out of the 
Church lands, and were very comfortable.  The new Duke of Somerset 
caused himself to be declared PROTECTOR of the kingdom, and was, 
indeed, the King.

As young Edward the Sixth had been brought up in the principles of 
the Protestant religion, everybody knew that they would be 
maintained.  But Cranmer, to whom they were chiefly entrusted, 
advanced them steadily and temperately.  Many superstitious and 
ridiculous practices were stopped; but practices which were 
harmless were not interfered with.

The Duke of Somerset, the Protector, was anxious to have the young 
King engaged in marriage to the young Queen of Scotland, in order 
to prevent that princess from making an alliance with any foreign 
power; but, as a large party in Scotland were unfavourable to this 
plan, he invaded that country.  His excuse for doing so was, that 
the Border men - that is, the Scotch who lived in that part of the 
country where England and Scotland joined - troubled the English 
very much.  But there were two sides to this question; for the 
English Border men troubled the Scotch too; and, through many long 
years, there were perpetual border quarrels which gave rise to 
numbers of old tales and songs.  However, the Protector invaded 
Scotland; and ARRAN, the Scottish Regent, with an army twice as 
large as his, advanced to meet him.  They encountered on the banks 
of the river Esk, within a few miles of Edinburgh; and there, after 
a little skirmish, the Protector made such moderate proposals, in 
offering to retire if the Scotch would only engage not to marry 
their princess to any foreign prince, that the Regent thought the 
English were afraid.  But in this he made a horrible mistake; for 
the English soldiers on land, and the English sailors on the water, 
so set upon the Scotch, that they broke and fled, and more than ten 
thousand of them were killed.  It was a dreadful battle, for the 
fugitives were slain without mercy.  The ground for four miles, all 
the way to Edinburgh, was strewn with dead men, and with arms, and 
legs, and heads.  Some hid themselves in streams and were drowned; 
some threw away their armour and were killed running, almost naked; 
but in this battle of Pinkey the English lost only two or three 
hundred men.  They were much better clothed than the Scotch; at the 
poverty of whose appearance and country they were exceedingly 

A Parliament was called when Somerset came back, and it repealed 
the whip with six strings, and did one or two other good things; 
though it unhappily retained the punishment of burning for those 
people who did not make believe to believe, in all religious 
matters, what the Government had declared that they must and should 
believe.  It also made a foolish law (meant to put down beggars), 
that any man who lived idly and loitered about for three days 
together, should be burned with a hot iron, made a slave, and wear 
an iron fetter.  But this savage absurdity soon came to an end, and 
went the way of a great many other foolish laws.

The Protector was now so proud that he sat in Parliament before all 
the nobles, on the right hand of the throne.  Many other noblemen, 
who only wanted to be as proud if they could get a chance, became 
his enemies of course; and it is supposed that he came back 
suddenly from Scotland because he had received news that his 
brother, LORD SEYMOUR, was becoming dangerous to him.  This lord 
was now High Admiral of England; a very handsome man, and a great 
favourite with the Court ladies - even with the young Princess 
Elizabeth, who romped with him a little more than young princesses 
in these times do with any one.  He had married Catherine Parr, the 
late King's widow, who was now dead; and, to strengthen his power, 
he secretly supplied the young King with money.  He may even have 
engaged with some of his brother's enemies in a plot to carry the 
boy off.  On these and other accusations, at any rate, he was 
confined in the Tower, impeached, and found guilty; his own 
brother's name being - unnatural and sad to tell - the first signed 
to the warrant of his execution.  He was executed on Tower Hill, 
and died denying his treason.  One of his last proceedings in this 
world was to write two letters, one to the Princess Elizabeth, and 
one to the Princess Mary, which a servant of his took charge of, 
and concealed in his shoe.  These letters are supposed to have 
urged them against his brother, and to revenge his death.  What 
they truly contained is not known; but there is no doubt that he 
had, at one time, obtained great influence over the Princess 

All this while, the Protestant religion was making progress.  The 
images which the people had gradually come to worship, were removed 
from the churches; the people were informed that they need not 
confess themselves to priests unless they chose; a common prayer-
book was drawn up in the English language, which all could 
understand, and many other improvements were made; still 
moderately.  For Cranmer was a very moderate man, and even 
restrained the Protestant clergy from violently abusing the 
unreformed religion - as they very often did, and which was not a 
good example.  But the people were at this time in great distress.  
The rapacious nobility who had come into possession of the Church 
lands, were very bad landlords.  They enclosed great quantities of 
ground for the feeding of sheep, which was then more profitable 
than the growing of crops; and this increased the general distress.  
So the people, who still understood little of what was going on 
about them, and still readily believed what the homeless monks told 
them - many of whom had been their good friends in their better 
days - took it into their heads that all this was owing to the 
reformed religion, and therefore rose, in many parts of the 

The most powerful risings were in Devonshire and Norfolk.  In 
Devonshire, the rebellion was so strong that ten thousand men 
united within a few days, and even laid siege to Exeter.  But LORD 
RUSSELL, coming to the assistance of the citizens who defended that 
town, defeated the rebels; and, not only hanged the Mayor of one 
place, but hanged the vicar of another from his own church steeple.  
What with hanging and killing by the sword, four thousand of the 
rebels are supposed to have fallen in that one county.  In Norfolk 
(where the rising was more against the enclosure of open lands than 
against the reformed religion), the popular leader was a man named 
ROBERT KET, a tanner of Wymondham.  The mob were, in the first 
instance, excited against the tanner by one JOHN FLOWERDEW, a 
gentleman who owed him a grudge:  but the tanner was more than a 
match for the gentleman, since he soon got the people on his side, 
and established himself near Norwich with quite an army.  There was 
a large oak-tree in that place, on a spot called Moushold Hill, 
which Ket named the Tree of Reformation; and under its green 
boughs, he and his men sat, in the midsummer weather, holding 
courts of justice, and debating affairs of state.  They were even 
impartial enough to allow some rather tiresome public speakers to 
get up into this Tree of Reformation, and point out their errors to 
them, in long discourses, while they lay listening (not always 
without some grumbling and growling) in the shade below.  At last, 
one sunny July day, a herald appeared below the tree, and 
proclaimed Ket and all his men traitors, unless from that moment 
they dispersed and went home:  in which case they were to receive a 
pardon.  But, Ket and his men made light of the herald and became 
stronger than ever, until the Earl of Warwick went after them with 
a sufficient force, and cut them all to pieces.  A few were hanged, 
drawn, and quartered, as traitors, and their limbs were sent into 
various country places to be a terror to the people.  Nine of them 
were hanged upon nine green branches of the Oak of Reformation; and 
so, for the time, that tree may be said to have withered away.

The Protector, though a haughty man, had compassion for the real 
distresses of the common people, and a sincere desire to help them.  
But he was too proud and too high in degree to hold even their 
favour steadily; and many of the nobles always envied and hated 
him, because they were as proud and not as high as he.  He was at 
this time building a great Palace in the Strand:  to get the stone 
for which he blew up church steeples with gunpowder, and pulled 
down bishops' houses:  thus making himself still more disliked.  At 
length, his principal enemy, the Earl of Warwick - Dudley by name, 
and the son of that Dudley who had made himself so odious with 
Empson, in the reign of Henry the Seventh - joined with seven other 
members of the Council against him, formed a separate Council; and, 
becoming stronger in a few days, sent him to the Tower under 
twenty-nine articles of accusation.  After being sentenced by the 
Council to the forfeiture of all his offices and lands, he was 
liberated and pardoned, on making a very humble submission.  He was 
even taken back into the Council again, after having suffered this 
fall, and married his daughter, LADY ANNE SEYMOUR, to Warwick's 
eldest son.  But such a reconciliation was little likely to last, 
and did not outlive a year.  Warwick, having got himself made Duke 
of Northumberland, and having advanced the more important of his 
friends, then finished the history by causing the Duke of Somerset 
and his friend LORD GREY, and others, to be arrested for treason, 
in having conspired to seize and dethrone the King.  They were also 
accused of having intended to seize the new Duke of Northumberland, 
with his friends LORD NORTHAMPTON and LORD PEMBROKE; to murder them 
if they found need; and to raise the City to revolt.  All this the 
fallen Protector positively denied; except that he confessed to 
having spoken of the murder of those three noblemen, but having 
never designed it.  He was acquitted of the charge of treason, and 
found guilty of the other charges; so when the people - who 
remembered his having been their friend, now that he was disgraced 
and in danger, saw him come out from his trial with the axe turned 
from him - they thought he was altogether acquitted, and sent up a 
loud shout of joy.

But the Duke of Somerset was ordered to be beheaded on Tower Hill, 
at eight o'clock in the morning, and proclamations were issued 
bidding the citizens keep at home until after ten.  They filled the 
streets, however, and crowded the place of execution as soon as it 
was light; and, with sad faces and sad hearts, saw the once 
powerful Protector ascend the scaffold to lay his head upon the 
dreadful block.  While he was yet saying his last words to them 
with manly courage, and telling them, in particular, how it 
comforted him, at that pass, to have assisted in reforming the 
national religion, a member of the Council was seen riding up on 
horseback.  They again thought that the Duke was saved by his 
bringing a reprieve, and again shouted for joy.  But the Duke 
himself told them they were mistaken, and laid down his head and 
had it struck off at a blow.

Many of the bystanders rushed forward and steeped their 
handkerchiefs in his blood, as a mark of their affection.  He had, 
indeed, been capable of many good acts, and one of them was 
discovered after he was no more.  The Bishop of Durham, a very good 
man, had been informed against to the Council, when the Duke was in 
power, as having answered a treacherous letter proposing a 
rebellion against the reformed religion.  As the answer could not 
be found, he could not be declared guilty; but it was now 
discovered, hidden by the Duke himself among some private papers, 
in his regard for that good man.  The Bishop lost his office, and 
was deprived of his possessions.

It is not very pleasant to know that while his uncle lay in prison 
under sentence of death, the young King was being vastly 
entertained by plays, and dances, and sham fights:  but there is no 
doubt of it, for he kept a journal himself.  It is pleasanter to 
know that not a single Roman Catholic was burnt in this reign for 
holding that religion; though two wretched victims suffered for 
heresy.  One, a woman named JOAN BOCHER, for professing some 
opinions that even she could only explain in unintelligible jargon.  
The other, a Dutchman, named VON PARIS, who practised as a surgeon 
in London.  Edward was, to his credit, exceedingly unwilling to 
sign the warrant for the woman's execution:  shedding tears before 
he did so, and telling Cranmer, who urged him to do it (though 
Cranmer really would have spared the woman at first, but for her 
own determined obstinacy), that the guilt was not his, but that of 
the man who so strongly urged the dreadful act.  We shall see, too 
soon, whether the time ever came when Cranmer is likely to have 
remembered this with sorrow and remorse.

Cranmer and RIDLEY (at first Bishop of Rochester, and afterwards 
Bishop of London) were the most powerful of the clergy of this 
reign.  Others were imprisoned and deprived of their property for 
still adhering to the unreformed religion; the most important among 
whom were GARDINER Bishop of Winchester, HEATH Bishop of Worcester, 
DAY Bishop of Chichester, and BONNER that Bishop of London who was 
superseded by Ridley.  The Princess Mary, who inherited her 
mother's gloomy temper, and hated the reformed religion as 
connected with her mother's wrongs and sorrows - she knew nothing 
else about it, always refusing to read a single book in which it 
was truly described - held by the unreformed religion too, and was 
the only person in the kingdom for whom the old Mass was allowed to 
be performed; nor would the young King have made that exception 
even in her favour, but for the strong persuasions of Cranmer and 
Ridley.  He always viewed it with horror; and when he fell into a 
sickly condition, after having been very ill, first of the measles 
and then of the small-pox, he was greatly troubled in mind to think 
that if he died, and she, the next heir to the throne, succeeded, 
the Roman Catholic religion would be set up again.

This uneasiness, the Duke of Northumberland was not slow to 
encourage:  for, if the Princess Mary came to the throne, he, who 
had taken part with the Protestants, was sure to be disgraced.  
Now, the Duchess of Suffolk was descended from King Henry the 
Seventh; and, if she resigned what little or no right she had, in 
favour of her daughter LADY JANE GREY, that would be the succession 
to promote the Duke's greatness; because LORD GUILFORD DUDLEY, one 
of his sons, was, at this very time, newly married to her.  So, he 
worked upon the King's fears, and persuaded him to set aside both 
the Princess Mary and the Princess Elizabeth, and assert his right 
to appoint his successor.  Accordingly the young King handed to the 
Crown lawyers a writing signed half a dozen times over by himself, 
appointing Lady Jane Grey to succeed to the Crown, and requiring 
them to have his will made out according to law.  They were much 
against it at first, and told the King so; but the Duke of 
Northumberland - being so violent about it that the lawyers even 
expected him to beat them, and hotly declaring that, stripped to 
his shirt, he would fight any man in such a quarrel - they yielded.  
Cranmer, also, at first hesitated; pleading that he had sworn to 
maintain the succession of the Crown to the Princess Mary; but, he 
was a weak man in his resolutions, and afterwards signed the 
document with the rest of the council.

It was completed none too soon; for Edward was now sinking in a 
rapid decline; and, by way of making him better, they handed him 
over to a woman-doctor who pretended to be able to cure it.  He 
speedily got worse.  On the sixth of July, in the year one thousand 
five hundred and fifty-three, he died, very peaceably and piously, 
praying God, with his last breath, to protect the reformed 

This King died in the sixteenth year of his age, and in the seventh 
of his reign.  It is difficult to judge what the character of one 
so young might afterwards have become among so many bad, ambitious, 
quarrelling nobles.  But, he was an amiable boy, of very good 
abilities, and had nothing coarse or cruel or brutal in his 
disposition - which in the son of such a father is rather 


THE Duke of Northumberland was very anxious to keep the young 
King's death a secret, in order that he might get the two 
Princesses into his power.  But, the Princess Mary, being informed 
of that event as she was on her way to London to see her sick 
brother, turned her horse's head, and rode away into Norfolk.  The 
Earl of Arundel was her friend, and it was he who sent her warning 
of what had happened.

As the secret could not be kept, the Duke of Northumberland and the 
council sent for the Lord Mayor of London and some of the aldermen, 
and made a merit of telling it to them.  Then, they made it known 
to the people, and set off to inform Lady Jane Grey that she was to 
be Queen.

She was a pretty girl of only sixteen, and was amiable, learned, 
and clever.  When the lords who came to her, fell on their knees 
before her, and told her what tidings they brought, she was so 
astonished that she fainted.  On recovering, she expressed her 
sorrow for the young King's death, and said that she knew she was 
unfit to govern the kingdom; but that if she must be Queen, she 
prayed God to direct her.  She was then at Sion House, near 
Brentford; and the lords took her down the river in state to the 
Tower, that she might remain there (as the custom was) until she 
was crowned.  But the people were not at all favourable to Lady 
Jane, considering that the right to be Queen was Mary's, and 
greatly disliking the Duke of Northumberland.  They were not put 
into a better humour by the Duke's causing a vintner's servant, one 
Gabriel Pot, to be taken up for expressing his dissatisfaction 
among the crowd, and to have his ears nailed to the pillory, and 
cut off.  Some powerful men among the nobility declared on Mary's 
side.  They raised troops to support her cause, had her proclaimed 
Queen at Norwich, and gathered around her at the castle of 
Framlingham, which belonged to the Duke of Norfolk.  For, she was 
not considered so safe as yet, but that it was best to keep her in 
a castle on the sea-coast, from whence she might be sent abroad, if 

The Council would have despatched Lady Jane's father, the Duke of 
Suffolk, as the general of the army against this force; but, as 
Lady Jane implored that her father might remain with her, and as he 
was known to be but a weak man, they told the Duke of 
Northumberland that he must take the command himself.  He was not 
very ready to do so, as he mistrusted the Council much; but there 
was no help for it, and he set forth with a heavy heart, observing 
to a lord who rode beside him through Shoreditch at the head of the 
troops, that, although the people pressed in great numbers to look 
at them, they were terribly silent.

And his fears for himself turned out to be well founded.  While he 
was waiting at Cambridge for further help from the Council, the 
Council took it into their heads to turn their backs on Lady Jane's 
cause, and to take up the Princess Mary's.  This was chiefly owing 
to the before-mentioned Earl of Arundel, who represented to the 
Lord Mayor and aldermen, in a second interview with those sagacious 
persons, that, as for himself, he did not perceive the Reformed 
religion to be in much danger - which Lord Pembroke backed by 
flourishing his sword as another kind of persuasion.  The Lord 
Mayor and aldermen, thus enlightened, said there could be no doubt 
that the Princess Mary ought to be Queen.  So, she was proclaimed 
at the Cross by St. Paul's, and barrels of wine were given to the 
people, and they got very drunk, and danced round blazing bonfires 
- little thinking, poor wretches, what other bonfires would soon be 
blazing in Queen Mary's name.

After a ten days' dream of royalty, Lady Jane Grey resigned the 
Crown with great willingness, saying that she had only accepted it 
in obedience to her father and mother; and went gladly back to her 
pleasant house by the river, and her books.  Mary then came on 
towards London; and at Wanstead in Essex, was joined by her half-
sister, the Princess Elizabeth.  They passed through the streets of 
London to the Tower, and there the new Queen met some eminent 
prisoners then confined in it, kissed them, and gave them their 
liberty.  Among these was that Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, who 
had been imprisoned in the last reign for holding to the unreformed 
religion.  Him she soon made chancellor.

The Duke of Northumberland had been taken prisoner, and, together 
with his son and five others, was quickly brought before the 
Council.  He, not unnaturally, asked that Council, in his defence, 
whether it was treason to obey orders that had been issued under 
the great seal; and, if it were, whether they, who had obeyed them 
too, ought to be his judges?  But they made light of these points; 
and, being resolved to have him out of the way, soon sentenced him 
to death.  He had risen into power upon the death of another man, 
and made but a poor show (as might be expected) when he himself lay 
low.  He entreated Gardiner to let him live, if it were only in a 
mouse's hole; and, when he ascended the scaffold to be beheaded on 
Tower Hill, addressed the people in a miserable way, saying that he 
had been incited by others, and exhorting them to return to the 
unreformed religion, which he told them was his faith.  There seems 
reason to suppose that he expected a pardon even then, in return 
for this confession; but it matters little whether he did or not.  
His head was struck off.

Mary was now crowned Queen.  She was thirty-seven years of age, 
short and thin, wrinkled in the face, and very unhealthy.  But she 
had a great liking for show and for bright colours, and all the 
ladies of her Court were magnificently dressed.  She had a great 
liking too for old customs, without much sense in them; and she was 
oiled in the oldest way, and blessed in the oldest way, and done 
all manner of things to in the oldest way, at her coronation.  I 
hope they did her good.

She soon began to show her desire to put down the Reformed 
religion, and put up the unreformed one:  though it was dangerous 
work as yet, the people being something wiser than they used to be.  
They even cast a shower of stones - and among them a dagger - at 
one of the royal chaplains who attacked the Reformed religion in a 
public sermon.  But the Queen and her priests went steadily on.  
Ridley, the powerful bishop of the last reign, was seized and sent 
to the Tower.  LATIMER, also celebrated among the Clergy of the 
last reign, was likewise sent to the Tower, and Cranmer speedily 
followed.  Latimer was an aged man; and, as his guards took him 
through Smithfield, he looked round it, and said, 'This is a place 
that hath long groaned for me.'  For he knew well, what kind of 
bonfires would soon be burning.  Nor was the knowledge confined to 
him.  The prisons were fast filled with the chief Protestants, who 
were there left rotting in darkness, hunger, dirt, and separation 
from their friends; many, who had time left them for escape, fled 
from the kingdom; and the dullest of the people began, now, to see 
what was coming.

It came on fast.  A Parliament was got together; not without strong 
suspicion of unfairness; and they annulled the divorce, formerly 
pronounced by Cranmer between the Queen's mother and King Henry the 
Eighth, and unmade all the laws on the subject of religion that had 
been made in the last King Edward's reign.  They began their 
proceedings, in violation of the law, by having the old mass said 
before them in Latin, and by turning out a bishop who would not 
kneel down.  They also declared guilty of treason, Lady Jane Grey 
for aspiring to the Crown; her husband, for being her husband; and 
Cranmer, for not believing in the mass aforesaid.  They then prayed 
the Queen graciously to choose a husband for herself, as soon as 
might be.

Now, the question who should be the Queen's husband had given rise 
to a great deal of discussion, and to several contending parties.  
Some said Cardinal Pole was the man - but the Queen was of opinion 
that he was NOT the man, he being too old and too much of a 
student.  Others said that the gallant young COURTENAY, whom the 
Queen had made Earl of Devonshire, was the man - and the Queen 
thought so too, for a while; but she changed her mind.  At last it 
appeared that PHILIP, PRINCE OF SPAIN, was certainly the man - 
though certainly not the people's man; for they detested the idea 
of such a marriage from the beginning to the end, and murmured that 
the Spaniard would establish in England, by the aid of foreign 
soldiers, the worst abuses of the Popish religion, and even the 
terrible Inquisition itself.

These discontents gave rise to a conspiracy for marrying young 
Courtenay to the Princess Elizabeth, and setting them up, with 
popular tumults all over the kingdom, against the Queen.  This was 
discovered in time by Gardiner; but in Kent, the old bold county, 
the people rose in their old bold way.  SIR THOMAS WYAT, a man of 
great daring, was their leader.  He raised his standard at 
Maidstone, marched on to Rochester, established himself in the old 
castle there, and prepared to hold out against the Duke of Norfolk, 
who came against him with a party of the Queen's guards, and a body 
of five hundred London men.  The London men, however, were all for 
Elizabeth, and not at all for Mary.  They declared, under the 
castle walls, for Wyat; the Duke retreated; and Wyat came on to 
Deptford, at the head of fifteen thousand men.

But these, in their turn, fell away.  When he came to Southwark, 
there were only two thousand left.  Not dismayed by finding the 
London citizens in arms, and the guns at the Tower ready to oppose 
his crossing the river there, Wyat led them off to Kingston-upon-
Thames, intending to cross the bridge that he knew to be in that 
place, and so to work his way round to Ludgate, one of the old 
gates of the City.  He found the bridge broken down, but mended it, 
came across, and bravely fought his way up Fleet Street to Ludgate 
Hill.  Finding the gate closed against him, he fought his way back 
again, sword in hand, to Temple Bar.  Here, being overpowered, he 
surrendered himself, and three or four hundred of his men were 
taken, besides a hundred killed.  Wyat, in a moment of weakness 
(and perhaps of torture) was afterwards made to accuse the Princess 
Elizabeth as his accomplice to some very small extent.  But his 
manhood soon returned to him, and he refused to save his life by 
making any more false confessions.  He was quartered and 
distributed in the usual brutal way, and from fifty to a hundred of 
his followers were hanged.  The rest were led out, with halters 
round their necks, to be pardoned, and to make a parade of crying 
out, 'God save Queen Mary!'

In the danger of this rebellion, the Queen showed herself to be a 
woman of courage and spirit.  She disdained to retreat to any place 
of safety, and went down to the Guildhall, sceptre in hand, and 
made a gallant speech to the Lord Mayor and citizens.  But on the 
day after Wyat's defeat, she did the most cruel act, even of her 
cruel reign, in signing the warrant for the execution of Lady Jane 

They tried to persuade Lady Jane to accept the unreformed religion; 
but she steadily refused.  On the morning when she was to die, she 
saw from her window the bleeding and headless body of her husband 
brought back in a cart from the scaffold on Tower Hill where he had 
laid down his life.  But, as she had declined to see him before his 
execution, lest she should be overpowered and not make a good end, 
so, she even now showed a constancy and calmness that will never be 
forgotten.  She came up to the scaffold with a firm step and a 
quiet face, and addressed the bystanders in a steady voice.  They 
were not numerous; for she was too young, too innocent and fair, to 
be murdered before the people on Tower Hill, as her husband had 
just been; so, the place of her execution was within the Tower 
itself.  She said that she had done an unlawful act in taking what 
was Queen Mary's right; but that she had done so with no bad 
intent, and that she died a humble Christian.  She begged the 
executioner to despatch her quickly, and she asked him, 'Will you 
take my head off before I lay me down?'  He answered, 'No, Madam,' 
and then she was very quiet while they bandaged her eyes.  Being 
blinded, and unable to see the block on which she was to lay her 
young head, she was seen to feel about for it with her hands, and 
was heard to say, confused, 'O what shall I do!  Where is it?'  
Then they guided her to the right place, and the executioner struck 
off her head.  You know too well, now, what dreadful deeds the 
executioner did in England, through many, many years, and how his 
axe descended on the hateful block through the necks of some of the 
bravest, wisest, and best in the land.  But it never struck so 
cruel and so vile a blow as this.

The father of Lady Jane soon followed, but was little pitied.  
Queen Mary's next object was to lay hold of Elizabeth, and this was 
pursued with great eagerness.  Five hundred men were sent to her 
retired house at Ashridge, by Berkhampstead, with orders to bring 
her up, alive or dead.  They got there at ten at night, when she 
was sick in bed.  But, their leaders followed her lady into her 
bedchamber, whence she was brought out betimes next morning, and 
put into a litter to be conveyed to London.  She was so weak and 
ill, that she was five days on the road; still, she was so resolved 
to be seen by the people that she had the curtains of the litter 
opened; and so, very pale and sickly, passed through the streets.  
She wrote to her sister, saying she was innocent of any crime, and 
asking why she was made a prisoner; but she got no answer, and was 
ordered to the Tower.  They took her in by the Traitor's Gate, to 
which she objected, but in vain.  One of the lords who conveyed her 
offered to cover her with his cloak, as it was raining, but she put 
it away from her, proudly and scornfully, and passed into the 
Tower, and sat down in a court-yard on a stone.  They besought her 
to come in out of the wet; but she answered that it was better 
sitting there, than in a worse place.  At length she went to her 
apartment, where she was kept a prisoner, though not so close a 
prisoner as at Woodstock, whither she was afterwards removed, and 
where she is said to have one day envied a milkmaid whom she heard 
singing in the sunshine as she went through the green fields.  
Gardiner, than whom there were not many worse men among the fierce 
and sullen priests, cared little to keep secret his stern desire 
for her death:  being used to say that it was of little service to 
shake off the leaves, and lop the branches of the tree of heresy, 
if its root, the hope of heretics, were left.  He failed, however, 
in his benevolent design.  Elizabeth was, at length, released; and 
Hatfield House was assigned to her as a residence, under the care 

It would seem that Philip, the Prince of Spain, was a main cause of 
this change in Elizabeth's fortunes.  He was not an amiable man, 
being, on the contrary, proud, overbearing, and gloomy; but he and 
the Spanish lords who came over with him, assuredly did 
discountenance the idea of doing any violence to the Princess.  It 
may have been mere prudence, but we will hope it was manhood and 
honour.  The Queen had been expecting her husband with great 
impatience, and at length he came, to her great joy, though he 
never cared much for her.  They were married by Gardiner, at 
Winchester, and there was more holiday-making among the people; but 
they had their old distrust of this Spanish marriage, in which even 
the Parliament shared.  Though the members of that Parliament were 
far from honest, and were strongly suspected to have been bought 
with Spanish money, they would pass no bill to enable the Queen to 
set aside the Princess Elizabeth and appoint her own successor.

Although Gardiner failed in this object, as well as in the darker 
one of bringing the Princess to the scaffold, he went on at a great 
pace in the revival of the unreformed religion.  A new Parliament 
was packed, in which there were no Protestants.  Preparations were 
made to receive Cardinal Pole in England as the Pope's messenger, 
bringing his holy declaration that all the nobility who had 
acquired Church property, should keep it - which was done to enlist 
their selfish interest on the Pope's side.  Then a great scene was 
enacted, which was the triumph of the Queen's plans.  Cardinal Pole 
arrived in great splendour and dignity, and was received with great 
pomp.  The Parliament joined in a petition expressive of their 
sorrow at the change in the national religion, and praying him to 
receive the country again into the Popish Church.  With the Queen 
sitting on her throne, and the King on one side of her, and the 
Cardinal on the other, and the Parliament present, Gardiner read 
the petition aloud.  The Cardinal then made a great speech, and was 
so obliging as to say that all was forgotten and forgiven, and that 
the kingdom was solemnly made Roman Catholic again.

Everything was now ready for the lighting of the terrible bonfires.  
The Queen having declared to the Council, in writing, that she 
would wish none of her subjects to be burnt without some of the 
Council being present, and that she would particularly wish there 
to be good sermons at all burnings, the Council knew pretty well 
what was to be done next.  So, after the Cardinal had blessed all 
the bishops as a preface to the burnings, the Chancellor Gardiner 
opened a High Court at Saint Mary Overy, on the Southwark side of 
London Bridge, for the trial of heretics.  Here, two of the late 
Protestant clergymen, HOOPER, Bishop of Gloucester, and ROGERS, a 
Prebendary of St. Paul's, were brought to be tried.  Hooper was 
tried first for being married, though a priest, and for not 
believing in the mass.  He admitted both of these accusations, and 
said that the mass was a wicked imposition.  Then they tried 
Rogers, who said the same.  Next morning the two were brought up to 
be sentenced; and then Rogers said that his poor wife, being a 
German woman and a stranger in the land, he hoped might be allowed 
to come to speak to him before he died.  To this the inhuman 
Gardiner replied, that she was not his wife.  'Yea, but she is, my 
lord,' said Rogers, 'and she hath been my wife these eighteen 
years.'  His request was still refused, and they were both sent to 
Newgate; all those who stood in the streets to sell things, being 
ordered to put out their lights that the people might not see them.  
But, the people stood at their doors with candles in their hands, 
and prayed for them as they went by.  Soon afterwards, Rogers was 
taken out of jail to be burnt in Smithfield; and, in the crowd as 
he went along, he saw his poor wife and his ten children, of whom 
the youngest was a little baby.  And so he was burnt to death.

The next day, Hooper, who was to be burnt at Gloucester, was 
brought out to take his last journey, and was made to wear a hood 
over his face that he might not be known by the people.  But, they 
did know him for all that, down in his own part of the country; 
and, when he came near Gloucester, they lined the road, making 
prayers and lamentations.  His guards took him to a lodging, where 
he slept soundly all night.  At nine o'clock next morning, he was 
brought forth leaning on a staff; for he had taken cold in prison, 
and was infirm.  The iron stake, and the iron chain which was to 
bind him to it, were fixed up near a great elm-tree in a pleasant 
open place before the cathedral, where, on peaceful Sundays, he had 
been accustomed to preach and to pray, when he was bishop of 
Gloucester.  This tree, which had no leaves then, it being 
February, was filled with people; and the priests of Gloucester 
College were looking complacently on from a window, and there was a 
great concourse of spectators in every spot from which a glimpse of 
the dreadful sight could be beheld.  When the old man kneeled down 
on the small platform at the foot of the stake, and prayed aloud, 
the nearest people were observed to be so attentive to his prayers 
that they were ordered to stand farther back; for it did not suit 
the Romish Church to have those Protestant words heard.  His 
prayers concluded, he went up to the stake and was stripped to his 
shirt, and chained ready for the fire.  One of his guards had such 
compassion on him that, to shorten his agonies, he tied some 
packets of gunpowder about him.  Then they heaped up wood and straw 
and reeds, and set them all alight.  But, unhappily, the wood was 
green and damp, and there was a wind blowing that blew what flame 
there was, away.  Thus, through three-quarters of an hour, the good 
old man was scorched and roasted and smoked, as the fire rose and 
sank; and all that time they saw him, as he burned, moving his lips 
in prayer, and beating his breast with one hand, even after the 
other was burnt away and had fallen off.

Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer, were taken to Oxford to dispute with 
a commission of priests and doctors about the mass.  They were 
shamefully treated; and it is recorded that the Oxford scholars 
hissed and howled and groaned, and misconducted themselves in an 
anything but a scholarly way.  The prisoners were taken back to 
jail, and afterwards tried in St. Mary's Church.  They were all 
found guilty.  On the sixteenth of the month of October, Ridley and 
Latimer were brought out, to make another of the dreadful bonfires.

The scene of the suffering of these two good Protestant men was in 
the City ditch, near Baliol College.  On coming to the dreadful 
spot, they kissed the stakes, and then embraced each other.  And 
then a learned doctor got up into a pulpit which was placed there, 
and preached a sermon from the text, 'Though I give my body to be 
burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.'  When you 
think of the charity of burning men alive, you may imagine that 
this learned doctor had a rather brazen face.  Ridley would have 
answered his sermon when it came to an end, but was not allowed.  
When Latimer was stripped, it appeared that he had dressed himself 
under his other clothes, in a new shroud; and, as he stood in it 
before all the people, it was noted of him, and long remembered, 
that, whereas he had been stooping and feeble but a few minutes 
before, he now stood upright and handsome, in the knowledge that he 
was dying for a just and a great cause.  Ridley's brother-in-law 
was there with bags of gunpowder; and when they were both chained 
up, he tied them round their bodies.  Then, a light was thrown upon 
the pile to fire it.  'Be of good comfort, Master Ridley,' said 
Latimer, at that awful moment, '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.'  And then he was seen to make motions with 
his hands as if he were washing them in the flames, and to stroke 
his aged face with them, and was heard to cry, 'Father of Heaven, 
receive my soul!'  He died quickly, but the fire, after having 
burned the legs of Ridley, sunk.  There he lingered, chained to the 
iron post, and crying, 'O!  I cannot burn!  O! for Christ's sake 
let the fire come unto me!'  And still, when his brother-in-law had 
heaped on more wood, he was heard through the blinding smoke, still 
dismally crying, 'O!  I cannot burn, I cannot burn!'  At last, the 
gunpowder caught fire, and ended his miseries.

Five days after this fearful scene, Gardiner went to his tremendous 
account before God, for the cruelties he had so much assisted in 

Cranmer remained still alive and in prison.  He was brought out 
again in February, for more examining and trying, by Bonner, Bishop 
of London:  another man of blood, who had succeeded to Gardiner's 
work, even in his lifetime, when Gardiner was tired of it.  Cranmer 
was now degraded as a priest, and left for death; but, if the Queen 
hated any one on earth, she hated him, and it was resolved that he 
should be ruined and disgraced to the utmost.  There is no doubt 
that the Queen and her husband personally urged on these deeds, 
because they wrote to the Council, urging them to be active in the 
kindling of the fearful fires.  As Cranmer was known not to be a 
firm man, a plan was laid for surrounding him with artful people, 
and inducing him to recant to the unreformed religion.  Deans and 
friars visited him, played at bowls with him, showed him various 
attentions, talked persuasively with him, gave him money for his 
prison comforts, and induced him to sign, I fear, as many as six 
recantations.  But when, after all, he was taken out to be burnt, 
he was nobly true to his better self, and made a glorious end.

After prayers and a sermon, Dr. Cole, the preacher of the day (who 
had been one of the artful priests about Cranmer in prison), 
required him to make a public confession of his faith before the 
people.  This, Cole did, expecting that he would declare himself a 
Roman Catholic.  'I will make a profession of my faith,' said 
Cranmer, 'and with a good will too.'

Then, he arose before them all, and took from the sleeve of his 
robe a written prayer and read it aloud.  That done, he kneeled and 
said the Lord's Prayer, all the people joining; and then he arose 
again and told them that he believed in the Bible, and that in what 
he had lately written, he had written what was not the truth, and 
that, because his right hand had signed those papers, he would burn 
his right hand first when he came to the fire.  As for the Pope, he 
did refuse him and denounce him as the enemy of Heaven.  Hereupon 
the pious Dr. Cole cried out to the guards to stop that heretic's 
mouth and take him away.

So they took him away, and chained him to the stake, where he 
hastily took off his own clothes to make ready for the flames.  And 
he stood before the people with a bald head and a white and flowing 
beard.  He was so firm now when the worst was come, that he again 
declared against his recantation, and was so impressive and so 
undismayed, that a certain lord, who was one of the directors of 
the execution, called out to the men to make haste!  When the fire 
was lighted, Cranmer, true to his latest word, stretched out his 
right hand, and crying out, 'This hand hath offended!' held it 
among the flames, until it blazed and burned away.  His heart was 
found entire among his ashes, and he left at last a memorable name 
in English history.  Cardinal Pole celebrated the day by saying his 
first mass, and next day he was made Archbishop of Canterbury in 
Cranmer's place.

The Queen's husband, who was now mostly abroad in his own 
dominions, and generally made a coarse jest of her to his more 
familiar courtiers, was at war with France, and came over to seek 
the assistance of England.  England was very unwilling to engage in 
a French war for his sake; but it happened that the King of France, 
at this very time, aided a descent upon the English coast.  Hence, 
war was declared, greatly to Philip's satisfaction; and the Queen 
raised a sum of money with which to carry it on, by every 
unjustifiable means in her power.  It met with no profitable 
return, for the French Duke of Guise surprised Calais, and the 
English sustained a complete defeat.  The losses they met with in 
France greatly mortified the national pride, and the Queen never 
recovered the blow.

There was a bad fever raging in England at this time, and I am glad 
to write that the Queen took it, and the hour of her death came.  
'When I am dead and my body is opened,' she said to those around 
those around her, 'ye shall find CALAIS written on my heart.'  I 
should have thought, if anything were written on it, they would 
have found the words - JANE GREY, HOOPER, ROGERS, RIDLEY, LATIMER, 
But it is enough that their deaths were written in Heaven.

The Queen died on the seventeenth of November, fifteen hundred and 
fifty-eight, after reigning not quite five years and a half, and in 
the forty-fourth year of her age.  Cardinal Pole died of the same 
fever next day.

As BLOODY QUEEN MARY, this woman has become famous, and as BLOODY 
QUEEN MARY, she will ever be justly remembered with horror and 
detestation in Great Britain.  Her memory has been held in such 
abhorrence that some writers have arisen in later years to take her 
part, and to show that she was, upon the whole, quite an amiable 
and cheerful sovereign!  'By their fruits ye shall know them,' said 
OUR SAVIOUR.  The stake and the fire were the fruits of this reign, 
and you will judge this Queen by nothing else.


THERE was great rejoicing all over the land when the Lords of the 
Council went down to Hatfield, to hail the Princess Elizabeth as 
the new Queen of England.  Weary of the barbarities of Mary's 
reign, the people looked with hope and gladness to the new 
Sovereign.  The nation seemed to wake from a horrible dream; and 
Heaven, so long hidden by the smoke of the fires that roasted men 
and women to death, appeared to brighten once more.

Queen Elizabeth was five-and-twenty years of age when she rode 
through the streets of London, from the Tower to Westminster Abbey, 
to be crowned.  Her countenance was strongly marked, but on the 
whole, commanding and dignified; her hair was red, and her nose 
something too long and sharp for a woman's.  She was not the 
beautiful creature her courtiers made out; but she was well enough, 
and no doubt looked all the better for coming after the dark and 
gloomy Mary.  She was well educated, but a roundabout writer, and 
rather a hard swearer and coarse talker.  She was clever, but 
cunning and deceitful, and inherited much of her father's violent 
temper.  I mention this now, because she has been so over-praised 
by one party, and so over-abused by another, that it is hardly 
possible to understand the greater part of her reign without first 
understanding what kind of woman she really was.

She began her reign with the great advantage of having a very wise 
and careful Minister, SIR WILLIAM CECIL, whom she afterwards made 
LORD BURLEIGH.  Altogether, the people had greater reason for 
rejoicing than they usually had, when there were processions in the 
streets; and they were happy with some reason.  All kinds of shows 
and images were set up; GOG and MAGOG were hoisted to the top of 
Temple Bar, and (which was more to the purpose) the Corporation 
dutifully presented the young Queen with the sum of a thousand 
marks in gold - so heavy a present, that she was obliged to take it 
into her carriage with both hands.  The coronation was a great 
success; and, on the next day, one of the courtiers presented a 
petition to the new Queen, praying that as it was the custom to 
release some prisoners on such occasions, she would have the 
goodness to release the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and 
John, and also the Apostle Saint Paul, who had been for some time 
shut up in a strange language so that the people could not get at 

To this, the Queen replied that it would be better first to inquire 
of themselves whether they desired to be released or not; and, as a 
means of finding out, a great public discussion - a sort of 
religious tournament - was appointed to take place between certain 
champions of the two religions, in Westminster Abbey.  You may 
suppose that it was soon made pretty clear to common sense, that 
for people to benefit by what they repeat or read, it is rather 
necessary they should understand something about it.  Accordingly, 
a Church Service in plain English was settled, and other laws and 
regulations were made, completely establishing the great work of 
the Reformation.  The Romish bishops and champions were not harshly 
dealt with, all things considered; and the Queen's Ministers were 
both prudent and merciful.

The one great trouble of this reign, and the unfortunate cause of 
the greater part of such turmoil and bloodshed as occurred in it, 
was MARY STUART, QUEEN OF SCOTS.  We will try to understand, in as 
few words as possible, who Mary was, what she was, and how she came 
to be a thorn in the royal pillow of Elizabeth.

She was the daughter of the Queen Regent of Scotland, MARY OF 
GUISE.  She had been married, when a mere child, to the Dauphin, 
the son and heir of the King of France.  The Pope, who pretended 
that no one could rightfully wear the crown of England without his 
gracious permission, was strongly opposed to Elizabeth, who had not 
asked for the said gracious permission.  And as Mary Queen of Scots 
would have inherited the English crown in right of her birth, 
supposing the English Parliament not to have altered the 
succession, the Pope himself, and most of the discontented who were 
followers of his, maintained that Mary was the rightful Queen of 
England, and Elizabeth the wrongful Queen.  Mary being so closely 
connected with France, and France being jealous of England, there 
was far greater danger in this than there would have been if she 
had had no alliance with that great power.  And when her young 
husband, on the death of his father, became FRANCIS THE SECOND, 
King of France, the matter grew very serious.  For, the young 
couple styled themselves King and Queen of England, and the Pope 
was disposed to help them by doing all the mischief he could.

Now, the reformed religion, under the guidance of a stern and 
powerful preacher, named JOHN KNOX, and other such men, had been 
making fierce progress in Scotland.  It was still a half savage 
country, where there was a great deal of murdering and rioting 
continually going on; and the Reformers, instead of reforming those 
evils as they should have done, went to work in the ferocious old 
Scottish spirit, laying churches and chapels waste, pulling down 
pictures and altars, and knocking about the Grey Friars, and the 
Black Friars, and the White Friars, and the friars of all sorts of 
colours, in all directions.  This obdurate and harsh spirit of the 
Scottish Reformers (the Scotch have always been rather a sullen and 
frowning people in religious matters) put up the blood of the 
Romish French court, and caused France to send troops over to 
Scotland, with the hope of setting the friars of all sorts of 
colours on their legs again; of conquering that country first, and 
England afterwards; and so crushing the Reformation all to pieces.  
The Scottish Reformers, who had formed a great league which they 
called The Congregation of the Lord, secretly represented to 
Elizabeth that, if the reformed religion got the worst of it with 
them, it would be likely to get the worst of it in England too; and 
thus, Elizabeth, though she had a high notion of the rights of 
Kings and Queens to do anything they liked, sent an army to 
Scotland to support the Reformers, who were in arms against their 
sovereign.  All these proceedings led to a treaty of peace at 
Edinburgh, under which the French consented to depart from the 
kingdom.  By a separate treaty, Mary and her young husband engaged 
to renounce their assumed title of King and Queen of England.  But 
this treaty they never fulfilled.

It happened, soon after matters had got to this state, that the 
young French King died, leaving Mary a young widow.  She was then 
invited by her Scottish subjects to return home and reign over 
them; and as she was not now happy where she was, she, after a 
little time, complied.

Elizabeth had been Queen three years, when Mary Queen of Scots 
embarked at Calais for her own rough, quarrelling country.  As she 
came out of the harbour, a vessel was lost before her eyes, and she 
said, 'O! good God! what an omen this is for such a voyage!'  She 
was very fond of France, and sat on the deck, looking back at it 
and weeping, until it was quite dark.  When she went to bed, she 
directed to be called at daybreak, if the French coast were still 
visible, that she might behold it for the last time.  As it proved 
to be a clear morning, this was done, and she again wept for the 
country she was leaving, and said many times, ' Farewell, France!  
Farewell, France!  I shall never see thee again!'  All this was 
long remembered afterwards, as sorrowful and interesting in a fair 
young princess of nineteen.  Indeed, I am afraid it gradually came, 
together with her other distresses, to surround her with greater 
sympathy than she deserved.

When she came to Scotland, and took up her abode at the palace of 
Holyrood in Edinburgh, she found herself among uncouth strangers 
and wild uncomfortable customs very different from her experiences 
in the court of France.  The very people who were disposed to love 
her, made her head ache when she was tired out by her voyage, with 
a serenade of discordant music - a fearful concert of bagpipes, I 
suppose - and brought her and her train home to her palace on 
miserable little Scotch horses that appeared to be half starved.  
Among the people who were not disposed to love her, she found the 
powerful leaders of the Reformed Church, who were bitter upon her 
amusements, however innocent, and denounced music and dancing as 
works of the devil.  John Knox himself often lectured her, 
violently and angrily, and did much to make her life unhappy.  All 
these reasons confirmed her old attachment to the Romish religion, 
and caused her, there is no doubt, most imprudently and dangerously 
both for herself and for England too, to give a solemn pledge to 
the heads of the Romish Church that if she ever succeeded to the 
English crown, she would set up that religion again.  In reading 
her unhappy history, you must always remember this; and also that 
during her whole life she was constantly put forward against the 
Queen, in some form or other, by the Romish party.

That Elizabeth, on the other hand, was not inclined to like her, is 
pretty certain.  Elizabeth was very vain and jealous, and had an 
extraordinary dislike to people being married.  She treated Lady 
Catherine Grey, sister of the beheaded Lady Jane, with such 
shameful severity, for no other reason than her being secretly 
married, that she died and her husband was ruined; so, when a 
second marriage for Mary began to be talked about, probably 
Elizabeth disliked her more.  Not that Elizabeth wanted suitors of 
her own, for they started up from Spain, Austria, Sweden, and 
England.  Her English lover at this time, and one whom she much 
favoured too, was LORD ROBERT DUDLEY, Earl of Leicester - himself 
secretly married to AMY ROBSART, the daughter of an English 
gentleman, whom he was strongly suspected of causing to be 
murdered, down at his country seat, Cumnor Hall in Berkshire, that 
he might be free to marry the Queen.  Upon this story, the great 
writer, SIR WALTER SCOTT, has founded one of his best romances.  
But if Elizabeth knew how to lead her handsome favourite on, for 
her own vanity and pleasure, she knew how to stop him for her own 
pride; and his love, and all the other proposals, came to nothing.  
The Queen always declared in good set speeches, that she would 
never be married at all, but would live and die a Maiden Queen.  It 
was a very pleasant and meritorious declaration, I suppose; but it 
has been puffed and trumpeted so much, that I am rather tired of it 

Divers princes proposed to marry Mary, but the English court had 
reasons for being jealous of them all, and even proposed as a 
matter of policy that she should marry that very Earl of Leicester 
who had aspired to be the husband of Elizabeth.  At last, LORD 
DARNLEY, son of the Earl of Lennox, and himself descended from the 
Royal Family of Scotland, went over with Elizabeth's consent to try 
his fortune at Holyrood.  He was a tall simpleton; and could dance 
and play the guitar; but I know of nothing else he could do, unless 
it were to get very drunk, and eat gluttonously, and make a 
contemptible spectacle of himself in many mean and vain ways.  
However, he gained Mary's heart, not disdaining in the pursuit of 
his object to ally himself with one of her secretaries, DAVID 
RIZZIO, who had great influence with her.  He soon married the 
Queen.  This marriage does not say much for her, but what followed 
will presently say less.

Mary's brother, the EARL OF MURRAY, and head of the Protestant 
party in Scotland, had opposed this marriage, partly on religious 
grounds, and partly perhaps from personal dislike of the very 
contemptible bridegroom.  When it had taken place, through Mary's 
gaining over to it the more powerful of the lords about her, she 
banished Murray for his pains; and, when he and some other nobles 
rose in arms to support the reformed religion, she herself, within 
a month of her wedding day, rode against them in armour with loaded 
pistols in her saddle.  Driven out of Scotland, they presented 
themselves before Elizabeth - who called them traitors in public, 
and assisted them in private, according to her crafty nature.

Mary had been married but a little while, when she began to hate 
her husband, who, in his turn, began to hate that David Rizzio, 
with whom he had leagued to gain her favour, and whom he now 
believed to be her lover.  He hated Rizzio to that extent, that he 
made a compact with LORD RUTHVEN and three other lords to get rid 
of him by murder.  This wicked agreement they made in solemn 
secrecy upon the first of March, fifteen hundred and sixty-six, and 
on the night of Saturday the ninth, the conspirators were brought 
by Darnley up a private staircase, dark and steep, into a range of 
rooms where they knew that Mary was sitting at supper with her 
sister, Lady Argyle, and this doomed man.  When they went into the 
room, Darnley took the Queen round the waist, and Lord Ruthven, who 
had risen from a bed of sickness to do this murder, came in, gaunt 
and ghastly, leaning on two men.  Rizzio ran behind the Queen for 
shelter and protection.  'Let him come out of the room,' said 
Ruthven.  'He shall not leave the room,' replied the Queen; 'I read 
his danger in your face, and it is my will that he remain here.'  
They then set upon him, struggled with him, overturned the table, 
dragged him out, and killed him with fifty-six stabs.  When the 
Queen heard that he was dead, she said, 'No more tears.  I will 
think now of revenge!'

Within a day or two, she gained her husband over, and prevailed on 
the tall idiot to abandon the conspirators and fly with her to 
Dunbar.  There, he issued a proclamation, audaciously and falsely 
denying that he had any knowledge of the late bloody business; and 
there they were joined by the EARL BOTHWELL and some other nobles.  
With their help, they raised eight thousand men; returned to 
Edinburgh, and drove the assassins into England.  Mary soon 
afterwards gave birth to a son - still thinking of revenge.

That she should have had a greater scorn for her husband after his 
late cowardice and treachery than she had had before, was natural 
enough.  There is little doubt that she now began to love Bothwell 
instead, and to plan with him means of getting rid of Darnley.  
Bothwell had such power over her that he induced her even to pardon 
the assassins of Rizzio.  The arrangements for the Christening of 
the young Prince were entrusted to him, and he was one of the most 
important people at the ceremony, where the child was named JAMES:  
Elizabeth being his godmother, though not present on the occasion.  
A week afterwards, Darnley, who had left Mary and gone to his 
father's house at Glasgow, being taken ill with the small-pox, she 
sent her own physician to attend him.  But there is reason to 
apprehend that this was merely a show and a pretence, and that she 
knew what was doing, when Bothwell within another month proposed to 
one of the late conspirators against Rizzio, to murder Darnley, 
'for that it was the Queen's mind that he should be taken away.'  
It is certain that on that very day she wrote to her ambassador in 
France, complaining of him, and yet went immediately to Glasgow, 
feigning to be very anxious about him, and to love him very much.  
If she wanted to get him in her power, she succeeded to her heart's 
content; for she induced him to go back with her to Edinburgh, and 
to occupy, instead of the palace, a lone house outside the city 
called the Kirk of Field.  Here, he lived for about a week.  One 
Sunday night, she remained with him until ten o'clock, and then 
left him, to go to Holyrood to be present at an entertainment given 
in celebration of the marriage of one of her favourite servants.  
At two o'clock in the morning the city was shaken by a great 
explosion, and the Kirk of Field was blown to atoms.

Darnley's body was found next day lying under a tree at some 
distance.  How it came there, undisfigured and unscorched by 
gunpowder, and how this crime came to be so clumsily and strangely 
committed, it is impossible to discover.  The deceitful character 
of Mary, and the deceitful character of Elizabeth, have rendered 
almost every part of their joint history uncertain and obscure.  
But, I fear that Mary was unquestionably a party to her husband's 
murder, and that this was the revenge she had threatened.  The 
Scotch people universally believed it.  Voices cried out in the 
streets of Edinburgh in the dead of the night, for justice on the 
murderess.  Placards were posted by unknown hands in the public 
places denouncing Bothwell as the murderer, and the Queen as his 
accomplice; and, when he afterwards married her (though himself 
already married), previously making a show of taking her prisoner 
by force, the indignation of the people knew no bounds.  The women 
particularly are described as having been quite frantic against the 
Queen, and to have hooted and cried after her in the streets with 
terrific vehemence.

Such guilty unions seldom prosper.  This husband and wife had lived 
together but a month, when they were separated for ever by the 
successes of a band of Scotch nobles who associated against them 
for the protection of the young Prince:  whom Bothwell had vainly 
endeavoured to lay hold of, and whom he would certainly have 
murdered, if the EARL OF MAR, in whose hands the boy was, had not 
been firmly and honourably faithful to his trust.  Before this 
angry power, Bothwell fled abroad, where he died, a prisoner and 
mad, nine miserable years afterwards.  Mary being found by the 
associated lords to deceive them at every turn, was sent a prisoner 
to Lochleven Castle; which, as it stood in the midst of a lake, 
could only be approached by boat.  Here, one LORD LINDSAY, who was 
so much of a brute that the nobles would have done better if they 
had chosen a mere gentleman for their messenger, made her sign her 
abdication, and appoint Murray, Regent of Scotland.  Here, too, 
Murray saw her in a sorrowing and humbled state.

She had better have remained in the castle of Lochleven, dull 
prison as it was, with the rippling of the lake against it, and the 
moving shadows of the water on the room walls; but she could not 
rest there, and more than once tried to escape.  The first time she 
had nearly succeeded, dressed in the clothes of her own washer-
woman, but, putting up her hand to prevent one of the boatmen from 
lifting her veil, the men suspected her, seeing how white it was, 
and rowed her back again.  A short time afterwards, her fascinating 
manners enlisted in her cause a boy in the Castle, called the 
little DOUGLAS, who, while the family were at supper, stole the 
keys of the great gate, went softly out with the Queen, locked the 
gate on the outside, and rowed her away across the lake, sinking 
the keys as they went along.  On the opposite shore she was met by 
another Douglas, and some few lords; and, so accompanied, rode away 
on horseback to Hamilton, where they raised three thousand men.  
Here, she issued a proclamation declaring that the abdication she 
had signed in her prison was illegal, and requiring the Regent to 
yield to his lawful Queen.  Being a steady soldier, and in no way 
discomposed although he was without an army, Murray pretended to 
treat with her, until he had collected a force about half equal to 
her own, and then he gave her battle.  In one quarter of an hour he 
cut down all her hopes.  She had another weary ride on horse-back 
of sixty long Scotch miles, and took shelter at Dundrennan Abbey, 
whence she fled for safety to Elizabeth's dominions.

Mary Queen of Scots came to England - to her own ruin, the trouble 
of the kingdom, and the misery and death of many - in the year one 
thousand five hundred and sixty-eight.  How she left it and the 
world, nineteen years afterwards, we have now to see.


WHEN Mary Queen of Scots arrived in England, without money and even 
without any other clothes than those she wore, she wrote to 
Elizabeth, representing herself as an innocent and injured piece of 
Royalty, and entreating her assistance to oblige her Scottish 
subjects to take her back again and obey her.  But, as her 
character was already known in England to be a very different one 
from what she made it out to be, she was told in answer that she 
must first clear herself.  Made uneasy by this condition, Mary, 
rather than stay in England, would have gone to Spain, or to 
France, or would even have gone back to Scotland.  But, as her 
doing either would have been likely to trouble England afresh, it 
was decided that she should be detained here.  She first came to 
Carlisle, and, after that, was moved about from castle to castle, 
as was considered necessary; but England she never left again.

After trying very hard to get rid of the necessity of clearing 
herself, Mary, advised by LORD HERRIES, her best friend in England, 
agreed to answer the charges against her, if the Scottish noblemen 
who made them would attend to maintain them before such English 
noblemen as Elizabeth might appoint for that purpose.  Accordingly, 
such an assembly, under the name of a conference, met, first at 
York, and afterwards at Hampton Court.  In its presence Lord 
Lennox, Darnley's father, openly charged Mary with the murder of 
his son; and whatever Mary's friends may now say or write in her 
behalf, there is no doubt that, when her brother Murray produced 
against her a casket containing certain guilty letters and verses 
which he stated to have passed between her and Bothwell, she 
withdrew from the inquiry.  Consequently, it is to be supposed that 
she was then considered guilty by those who had the best 
opportunities of judging of the truth, and that the feeling which 
afterwards arose in her behalf was a very generous but not a very 
reasonable one.

However, the DUKE OF NORFOLK, an honourable but rather weak 
nobleman, partly because Mary was captivating, partly because he 
was ambitious, partly because he was over-persuaded by artful 
plotters against Elizabeth, conceived a strong idea that he would 
like to marry the Queen of Scots - though he was a little 
frightened, too, by the letters in the casket.  This idea being 
secretly encouraged by some of the noblemen of Elizabeth's court, 
and even by the favourite Earl of Leicester (because it was 
objected to by other favourites who were his rivals), Mary 
expressed her approval of it, and the King of France and the King 
of Spain are supposed to have done the same.  It was not so quietly 
planned, though, but that it came to Elizabeth's ears, who warned 
the Duke 'to be careful what sort of pillow he was going to lay his 
head upon.'  He made a humble reply at the time; but turned sulky 
soon afterwards, and, being considered dangerous, was sent to the 

Thus, from the moment of Mary's coming to England she began to be 
the centre of plots and miseries.

A rise of the Catholics in the north was the next of these, and it 
was only checked by many executions and much bloodshed.  It was 
followed by a great conspiracy of the Pope and some of the Catholic 
sovereigns of Europe to depose Elizabeth, place Mary on the throne, 
and restore the unreformed religion.  It is almost impossible to 
doubt that Mary knew and approved of this; and the Pope himself was 
so hot in the matter that he issued a bull, in which he openly 
called Elizabeth the 'pretended Queen' of England, excommunicated 
her, and excommunicated all her subjects who should continue to 
obey her.  A copy of this miserable paper got into London, and was 
found one morning publicly posted on the Bishop of London's gate.  
A great hue and cry being raised, another copy was found in the 
chamber of a student of Lincoln's Inn, who confessed, being put 
upon the rack, that he had received it from one JOHN FELTON, a rich 
gentleman who lived across the Thames, near Southwark.  This John 
Felton, being put upon the rack too, confessed that he had posted 
the placard on the Bishop's gate.  For this offence he was, within 
four days, taken to St. Paul's Churchyard, and there hanged and 
quartered.  As to the Pope's bull, the people by the reformation 
having thrown off the Pope, did not care much, you may suppose, for 
the Pope's throwing off them.  It was a mere dirty piece of paper, 
and not half so powerful as a street ballad.

On the very day when Felton was brought to his trial, the poor Duke 
of Norfolk was released.  It would have been well for him if he had 
kept away from the Tower evermore, and from the snares that had 
taken him there.  But, even while he was in that dismal place he 
corresponded with Mary, and as soon as he was out of it, he began 
to plot again.  Being discovered in correspondence with the Pope, 
with a view to a rising in England which should force Elizabeth to 
consent to his marriage with Mary and to repeal the laws against 
the Catholics, he was re-committed to the Tower and brought to 
trial.  He was found guilty by the unanimous verdict of the Lords 
who tried him, and was sentenced to the block.

It is very difficult to make out, at this distance of time, and 
between opposite accounts, whether Elizabeth really was a humane 
woman, or desired to appear so, or was fearful of shedding the 
blood of people of great name who were popular in the country.  
Twice she commanded and countermanded the execution of this Duke, 
and it did not take place until five months after his trial.  The 
scaffold was erected on Tower Hill, and there he died like a brave 
man.  He refused to have his eyes bandaged, saying that he was not 
at all afraid of death; and he admitted the justice of his 
sentence, and was much regretted by the people.

Although Mary had shrunk at the most important time from disproving 
her guilt, she was very careful never to do anything that would 
admit it.  All such proposals as were made to her by Elizabeth for 
her release, required that admission in some form or other, and 
therefore came to nothing.  Moreover, both women being artful and 
treacherous, and neither ever trusting the other, it was not likely 
that they could ever make an agreement.  So, the Parliament, 
aggravated by what the Pope had done, made new and strong laws 
against the spreading of the Catholic religion in England, and 
declared it treason in any one to say that the Queen and her 
successors were not the lawful sovereigns of England.  It would 
have done more than this, but for Elizabeth's moderation.

Since the Reformation, there had come to be three great sects of 
religious people - or people who called themselves so - in England; 
that is to say, those who belonged to the Reformed Church, those 
who belonged to the Unreformed Church, and those who were called 
the Puritans, because they said that they wanted to have everything 
very pure and plain in all the Church service.  These last were for 
the most part an uncomfortable people, who thought it highly 
meritorious to dress in a hideous manner, talk through their noses, 
and oppose all harmless enjoyments.  But they were powerful too, 
and very much in earnest, and they were one and all the determined 
enemies of the Queen of Scots.  The Protestant feeling in England 
was further strengthened by the tremendous cruelties to which 
Protestants were exposed in France and in the Netherlands.  Scores 
of thousands of them were put to death in those countries with 
every cruelty that can be imagined, and at last, in the autumn of 
the year one thousand five hundred and seventy-two, one of the 
greatest barbarities ever committed in the world took place at 

It is called in history, THE MASSACRE OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW, because 
it took place on Saint Bartholomew's Eve.  The day fell on Saturday 
the twenty-third of August.  On that day all the great leaders of 
the Protestants (who were there called HUGUENOTS) were assembled 
together, for the purpose, as was represented to them, of doing 
honour to the marriage of their chief, the young King of Navarre, 
with the sister of CHARLES THE NINTH:  a miserable young King who 
then occupied the French throne.  This dull creature was made to 
believe by his mother and other fierce Catholics about him that the 
Huguenots meant to take his life; and he was persuaded to give 
secret orders that, on the tolling of a great bell, they should be 
fallen upon by an overpowering force of armed men, and slaughtered 
wherever they could be found.  When the appointed hour was close at 
hand, the stupid wretch, trembling from head to foot, was taken 
into a balcony by his mother to see the atrocious work begun.  The 
moment the bell tolled, the murderers broke forth.  During all that 
night and the two next days, they broke into the houses, fired the 
houses, shot and stabbed the Protestants, men, women, and children, 
and flung their bodies into the streets.  They were shot at in the 
streets as they passed along, and their blood ran down the gutters.  
Upwards of ten thousand Protestants were killed in Paris alone; in 
all France four or five times that number.  To return thanks to 
Heaven for these diabolical murders, the Pope and his train 
actually went in public procession at Rome, and as if this were not 
shame enough for them, they had a medal struck to commemorate the 
event.  But, however comfortable the wholesale murders were to 
these high authorities, they had not that soothing effect upon the 
doll-King.  I am happy to state that he never knew a moment's peace 
afterwards; that he was continually crying out that he saw the 
Huguenots covered with blood and wounds falling dead before him; 
and that he died within a year, shrieking and yelling and raving to 
that degree, that if all the Popes who had ever lived had been 
rolled into one, they would not have afforded His guilty Majesty 
the slightest consolation.

When the terrible news of the massacre arrived in England, it made 
a powerful impression indeed upon the people.  If they began to run 
a little wild against the Catholics at about this time, this 
fearful reason for it, coming so soon after the days of bloody 
Queen Mary, must be remembered in their excuse.  The Court was not 
quite so honest as the people - but perhaps it sometimes is not.  
It received the French ambassador, with all the lords and ladies 
dressed in deep mourning, and keeping a profound silence.  
Nevertheless, a proposal of marriage which he had made to Elizabeth 
only two days before the eve of Saint Bartholomew, on behalf of the 
Duke of Alençon, the French King's brother, a boy of seventeen, 
still went on; while on the other hand, in her usual crafty way, 
the Queen secretly supplied the Huguenots with money and weapons.

I must say that for a Queen who made all those fine speeches, of 
which I have confessed myself to be rather tired, about living and 
dying a Maiden Queen, Elizabeth was 'going' to be married pretty 
often.  Besides always having some English favourite or other whom 
she by turns encouraged and swore at and knocked about - for the 
maiden Queen was very free with her fists - she held this French 
Duke off and on through several years.  When he at last came over 
to England, the marriage articles were actually drawn up, and it 
was settled that the wedding should take place in six weeks.  The 
Queen was then so bent upon it, that she prosecuted a poor Puritan 
named STUBBS, and a poor bookseller named PAGE, for writing and 
publishing a pamphlet against it.  Their right hands were chopped 
off for this crime; and poor Stubbs - more loyal than I should have 
been myself under the circumstances - immediately pulled off his 
hat with his left hand, and cried, 'God save the Queen!'  Stubbs 
was cruelly treated; for the marriage never took place after all, 
though the Queen pledged herself to the Duke with a ring from her 
own finger.  He went away, no better than he came, when the 
courtship had lasted some ten years altogether; and he died a 
couple of years afterwards, mourned by Elizabeth, who appears to 
have been really fond of him.  It is not much to her credit, for he 
was a bad enough member of a bad family.

To return to the Catholics.  There arose two orders of priests, who 
were very busy in England, and who were much dreaded.  These were 
the JESUITS (who were everywhere in all sorts of disguises), and 
the SEMINARY PRIESTS.  The people had a great horror of the first, 
because they were known to have taught that murder was lawful if it 
were done with an object of which they approved; and they had a 
great horror of the second, because they came to teach the old 
religion, and to be the successors of 'Queen Mary's priests,' as 
those yet lingering in England were called, when they should die 
out.  The severest laws were made against them, and were most 
unmercifully executed.  Those who sheltered them in their houses 
often suffered heavily for what was an act of humanity; and the 
rack, that cruel torture which tore men's limbs asunder, was 
constantly kept going.  What these unhappy men confessed, or what 
was ever confessed by any one under that agony, must always be 
received with great doubt, as it is certain that people have 
frequently owned to the most absurd and impossible crimes to escape 
such dreadful suffering.  But I cannot doubt it to have been proved 
by papers, that there were many plots, both among the Jesuits, and 
with France, and with Scotland, and with Spain, for the destruction 
of Queen Elizabeth, for the placing of Mary on the throne, and for 
the revival of the old religion.

If the English people were too ready to believe in plots, there 
were, as I have said, good reasons for it.  When the massacre of 
Saint Bartholomew was yet fresh in their recollection, a great 
Protestant Dutch hero, the PRINCE OF ORANGE, was shot by an 
assassin, who confessed that he had been kept and trained for the 
purpose in a college of Jesuits.  The Dutch, in this surprise and 
distress, offered to make Elizabeth their sovereign, but she 
declined the honour, and sent them a small army instead, under the 
command of the Earl of Leicester, who, although a capital Court 
favourite, was not much of a general.  He did so little in Holland, 
that his campaign there would probably have been forgotten, but for 
its occasioning the death of one of the best writers, the best 
knights, and the best gentlemen, of that or any age.  This was SIR 
PHILIP SIDNEY, who was wounded by a musket ball in the thigh as he 
mounted a fresh horse, after having had his own killed under him.  
He had to ride back wounded, a long distance, and was very faint 
with fatigue and loss of blood, when some water, for which he had 
eagerly asked, was handed to him.  But he was so good and gentle 
even then, that seeing a poor badly wounded common soldier lying on 
the ground, looking at the water with longing eyes, he said, 'Thy 
necessity is greater than mine,' and gave it up to him.  This 
touching action of a noble heart is perhaps as well known as any 
incident in history - is as famous far and wide as the blood-
stained Tower of London, with its axe, and block, and murders out 
of number.  So delightful is an act of true humanity, and so glad 
are mankind to remember it.

At home, intelligence of plots began to thicken every day.  I 
suppose the people never did live under such continual terrors as 
those by which they were possessed now, of Catholic risings, and 
burnings, and poisonings, and I don't know what.  Still, we must 
always remember that they lived near and close to awful realities 
of that kind, and that with their experience it was not difficult 
to believe in any enormity.  The government had the same fear, and 
did not take the best means of discovering the truth - for, besides 
torturing the suspected, it employed paid spies, who will always 
lie for their own profit.  It even made some of the conspiracies it 
brought to light, by sending false letters to disaffected people, 
inviting them to join in pretended plots, which they too readily 

But, one great real plot was at length discovered, and it ended the 
career of Mary, Queen of Scots.  A seminary priest named BALLARD, 
and a Spanish soldier named SAVAGE, set on and encouraged by 
certain French priests, imparted a design to one ANTONY BABINGTON - 
a gentleman of fortune in Derbyshire, who had been for some time a 
secret agent of Mary's - for murdering the Queen.  Babington then 
confided the scheme to some other Catholic gentlemen who were his 
friends, and they joined in it heartily.  They were vain, weak-
headed young men, ridiculously confident, and preposterously proud 
of their plan; for they got a gimcrack painting made, of the six 
choice spirits who were to murder Elizabeth, with Babington in an 
attitude for the centre figure.  Two of their number, however, one 
of whom was a priest, kept Elizabeth's wisest minister, SIR FRANCIS 
WALSINGHAM, acquainted with the whole project from the first.  The 
conspirators were completely deceived to the final point, when 
Babington gave Savage, because he was shabby, a ring from his 
finger, and some money from his purse, wherewith to buy himself new 
clothes in which to kill the Queen.  Walsingham, having then full 
evidence against the whole band, and two letters of Mary's besides, 
resolved to seize them.  Suspecting something wrong, they stole out 
of the city, one by one, and hid themselves in St. John's Wood, and 
other places which really were hiding places then; but they were 
all taken, and all executed.  When they were seized, a gentleman 
was sent from Court to inform Mary of the fact, and of her being 
involved in the discovery.  Her friends have complained that she 
was kept in very hard and severe custody.  It does not appear very 
likely, for she was going out a hunting that very morning.

Queen Elizabeth had been warned long ago, by one in France who had 
good information of what was secretly doing, that in holding Mary 
alive, she held 'the wolf who would devour her.'  The Bishop of 
London had, more lately, given the Queen's favourite minister the 
advice in writing, 'forthwith to cut off the Scottish Queen's 
head.'  The question now was, what to do with her?  The Earl of 
Leicester wrote a little note home from Holland, recommending that 
she should be quietly poisoned; that noble favourite having 
accustomed his mind, it is possible, to remedies of that nature.  
His black advice, however, was disregarded, and she was brought to 
trial at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire, before a tribunal 
of forty, composed of both religions.  There, and in the Star 
Chamber at Westminster, the trial lasted a fortnight.  She defended 
herself with great ability, but could only deny the confessions 
that had been made by Babington and others; could only call her own 
letters, produced against her by her own secretaries, forgeries; 
and, in short, could only deny everything.  She was found guilty, 
and declared to have incurred the penalty of death.  The Parliament 
met, approved the sentence, and prayed the Queen to have it 
executed.  The Queen replied that she requested them to consider 
whether no means could be found of saving Mary's life without 
endangering her own.  The Parliament rejoined, No; and the citizens 
illuminated their houses and lighted bonfires, in token of their 
joy that all these plots and troubles were to be ended by the death 
of the Queen of Scots.

She, feeling sure that her time was now come, wrote a letter to the 
Queen of England, making three entreaties; first, that she might be 
buried in France; secondly, that she might not be executed in 
secret, but before her servants and some others; thirdly, that 
after her death, her servants should not be molested, but should be 
suffered to go home with the legacies she left them.  It was an 
affecting letter, and Elizabeth shed tears over it, but sent no 
answer.  Then came a special ambassador from France, and another 
from Scotland, to intercede for Mary's life; and then the nation 
began to clamour, more and more, for her death.

What the real feelings or intentions of Elizabeth were, can never 
be known now; but I strongly suspect her of only wishing one thing 
more than Mary's death, and that was to keep free of the blame of 
it.  On the first of February, one thousand five hundred and 
eighty-seven, Lord Burleigh having drawn out the warrant for the 
execution, the Queen sent to the secretary DAVISON to bring it to 
her, that she might sign it:  which she did.  Next day, when 
Davison told her it was sealed, she angrily asked him why such 
haste was necessary?  Next day but one, she joked about it, and 
swore a little.  Again, next day but one, she seemed to complain 
that it was not yet done, but still she would not be plain with 
those about her.  So, on the seventh, the Earls of Kent and 
Shrewsbury, with the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, came with the 
warrant to Fotheringay, to tell the Queen of Scots to prepare for 

When those messengers of ill omen were gone, Mary made a frugal 
supper, drank to her servants, read over her will, went to bed, 
slept for some hours, and then arose and passed the remainder of 
the night saying prayers.  In the morning she dressed herself in 
her best clothes; and, at eight o'clock when the sheriff came for 
her to her chapel, took leave of her servants who were there 
assembled praying with her, and went down-stairs, carrying a Bible 
in one hand and a crucifix in the other.  Two of her women and four 
of her men were allowed to be present in the hall; where a low 
scaffold, only two feet from the ground, was erected and covered 
with black; and where the executioner from the Tower, and his 
assistant, stood, dressed in black velvet.  The hall was full of 
people.  While the sentence was being read she sat upon a stool; 
and, when it was finished, she again denied her guilt, as she had 
done before.  The Earl of Kent and the Dean of Peterborough, in 
their Protestant zeal, made some very unnecessary speeches to her; 
to which she replied that she died in the Catholic religion, and 
they need not trouble themselves about that matter.  When her head 
and neck were uncovered by the executioners, she said that she had 
not been used to be undressed by such hands, or before so much 
company.  Finally, one of her women fastened a cloth over her face, 
and she laid her neck upon the block, and repeated more than once 
in Latin, 'Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!'  Some say 
her head was struck off in two blows, some say in three.  However 
that be, when it was held up, streaming with blood, the real hair 
beneath the false hair she had long worn was seen to be as grey as 
that of a woman of seventy, though she was at that time only in her 
forty-sixth year.  All her beauty was gone.

But she was beautiful enough to her little dog, who cowered under 
her dress, frightened, when she went upon the scaffold, and who lay 
down beside her headless body when all her earthly sorrows were 


ON its being formally made known to Elizabeth that the sentence had 
been executed on the Queen of Scots, she showed the utmost grief 
and rage, drove her favourites from her with violent indignation, 
and sent Davison to the Tower; from which place he was only 
released in the end by paying an immense fine which completely 
ruined him.  Elizabeth not only over-acted her part in making these 
pretences, but most basely reduced to poverty one of her faithful 
servants for no other fault than obeying her commands.

James, King of Scotland, Mary's son, made a show likewise of being 
very angry on the occasion; but he was a pensioner of England to 
the amount of five thousand pounds a year, and he had known very 
little of his mother, and he possibly regarded her as the murderer 
of his father, and he soon took it quietly.

Philip, King of Spain, however, threatened to do greater things 
than ever had been done yet, to set up the Catholic religion and 
punish Protestant England.  Elizabeth, hearing that he and the 
Prince of Parma were making great preparations for this purpose, in 
order to be beforehand with them sent out ADMIRAL DRAKE (a famous 
navigator, who had sailed about the world, and had already brought 
great plunder from Spain) to the port of Cadiz, where he burnt a 
hundred vessels full of stores.  This great loss obliged the 
Spaniards to put off the invasion for a year; but it was none the 
less formidable for that, amounting to one hundred and thirty 
ships, nineteen thousand soldiers, eight thousand sailors, two 
thousand slaves, and between two and three thousand great guns.  
England was not idle in making ready to resist this great force.  
All the men between sixteen years old and sixty, were trained and 
drilled; the national fleet of ships (in number only thirty-four at 
first) was enlarged by public contributions and by private ships, 
fitted out by noblemen; the city of London, of its own accord, 
furnished double the number of ships and men that it was required 
to provide; and, if ever the national spirit was up in England, it 
was up all through the country to resist the Spaniards.  Some of 
the Queen's advisers were for seizing the principal English 
Catholics, and putting them to death; but the Queen - who, to her 
honour, used to say, that she would never believe any ill of her 
subjects, which a parent would not believe of her own children - 
rejected the advice, and only confined a few of those who were the 
most suspected, in the fens in Lincolnshire.  The great body of 
Catholics deserved this confidence; for they behaved most loyally, 
nobly, and bravely.

So, with all England firing up like one strong, angry man, and with 
both sides of the Thames fortified, and with the soldiers under 
arms, and with the sailors in their ships, the country waited for 
the coming of the proud Spanish fleet, which was called THE 
INVINCIBLE ARMADA.  The Queen herself, riding in armour on a white 
horse, and the Earl of Essex and the Earl of Leicester holding her 
bridal rein, made a brave speech to the troops at Tilbury Fort 
opposite Gravesend, which was received with such enthusiasm as is 
seldom known.  Then came the Spanish Armada into the English 
Channel, sailing along in the form of a half moon, of such great 
size that it was seven miles broad.  But the English were quickly 
upon it, and woe then to all the Spanish ships that dropped a 
little out of the half moon, for the English took them instantly!  
And it soon appeared that the great Armada was anything but 
invincible, for on a summer night, bold Drake sent eight blazing 
fire-ships right into the midst of it.  In terrible consternation 
the Spaniards tried to get out to sea, and so became dispersed; the 
English pursued them at a great advantage; a storm came on, and 
drove the Spaniards among rocks and shoals; and the swift end of 
the Invincible fleet was, that it lost thirty great ships and ten 
thousand men, and, defeated and disgraced, sailed home again.  
Being afraid to go by the English Channel, it sailed all round 
Scotland and Ireland; some of the ships getting cast away on the 
latter coast in bad weather, the Irish, who were a kind of savages, 
plundered those vessels and killed their crews.  So ended this 
great attempt to invade and conquer England.  And I think it will 
be a long time before any other invincible fleet coming to England 
with the same object, will fare much better than the Spanish 

Though the Spanish king had had this bitter taste of English 
bravery, he was so little the wiser for it, as still to entertain 
his old designs, and even to conceive the absurd idea of placing 
his daughter on the English throne.  But the Earl of Essex, SIR 
WALTER RALEIGH, SIR THOMAS HOWARD, and some other distinguished 
leaders, put to sea from Plymouth, entered the port of Cadiz once 
more, obtained a complete victory over the shipping assembled 
there, and got possession of the town.  In obedience to the Queen's 
express instructions, they behaved with great humanity; and the 
principal loss of the Spaniards was a vast sum of money which they 
had to pay for ransom.  This was one of many gallant achievements 
on the sea, effected in this reign.  Sir Walter Raleigh himself, 
after marrying a maid of honour and giving offence to the Maiden 
Queen thereby, had already sailed to South America in search of 

The Earl of Leicester was now dead, and so was Sir Thomas 
Walsingham, whom Lord Burleigh was soon to follow.  The principal 
favourite was the EARL OF ESSEX, a spirited and handsome man, a 
favourite with the people too as well as with the Queen, and 
possessed of many admirable qualities.  It was much debated at 
Court whether there should be peace with Spain or no, and he was 
very urgent for war.  He also tried hard to have his own way in the 
appointment of a deputy to govern in Ireland.  One day, while this 
question was in dispute, he hastily took offence, and turned his 
back upon the Queen; as a gentle reminder of which impropriety, the 
Queen gave him a tremendous box on the ear, and told him to go to 
the devil.  He went home instead, and did not reappear at Court for 
half a year or so, when he and the Queen were reconciled, though 
never (as some suppose) thoroughly.

From this time the fate of the Earl of Essex and that of the Queen 
seemed to be blended together.  The Irish were still perpetually 
quarrelling and fighting among themselves, and he went over to 
Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, to the great joy of his enemies (Sir 
Walter Raleigh among the rest), who were glad to have so dangerous 
a rival far off.  Not being by any means successful there, and 
knowing that his enemies would take advantage of that circumstance 
to injure him with the Queen, he came home again, though against 
her orders.  The Queen being taken by surprise when he appeared 
before her, gave him her hand to kiss, and he was overjoyed - 
though it was not a very lovely hand by this time - but in the 
course of the same day she ordered him to confine himself to his 
room, and two or three days afterwards had him taken into custody.  
With the same sort of caprice - and as capricious an old woman she 
now was, as ever wore a crown or a head either - she sent him broth 
from her own table on his falling ill from anxiety, and cried about 

He was a man who could find comfort and occupation in his books, 
and he did so for a time; not the least happy time, I dare say, of 
his life.  But it happened unfortunately for him, that he held a 
monopoly in sweet wines:  which means that nobody could sell them 
without purchasing his permission.  This right, which was only for 
a term, expiring, he applied to have it renewed.  The Queen 
refused, with the rather strong observation - but she DID make 
strong observations - that an unruly beast must be stinted in his 
food.  Upon this, the angry Earl, who had been already deprived of 
many offices, thought himself in danger of complete ruin, and 
turned against the Queen, whom he called a vain old woman who had 
grown as crooked in her mind as she had in her figure.  These 
uncomplimentary expressions the ladies of the Court immediately 
snapped up and carried to the Queen, whom they did not put in a 
better tempter, you may believe.  The same Court ladies, when they 
had beautiful dark hair of their own, used to wear false red hair, 
to be like the Queen.  So they were not very high-spirited ladies, 
however high in rank.

The worst object of the Earl of Essex, and some friends of his who 
used to meet at LORD SOUTHAMPTON'S house, was to obtain possession 
of the Queen, and oblige her by force to dismiss her ministers and 
change her favourites.  On Saturday the seventh of February, one 
thousand six hundred and one, the council suspecting this, summoned 
the Earl to come before them.  He, pretending to be ill, declined; 
it was then settled among his friends, that as the next day would 
be Sunday, when many of the citizens usually assembled at the Cross 
by St. Paul's Cathedral, he should make one bold effort to induce 
them to rise and follow him to the Palace.

So, on the Sunday morning, he and a small body of adherents started 
out of his house - Essex House by the Strand, with steps to the 
river - having first shut up in it, as prisoners, some members of 
the council who came to examine him - and hurried into the City 
with the Earl at their head crying out 'For the Queen!  For the 
Queen!  A plot is laid for my life!'  No one heeded them, however, 
and when they came to St. Paul's there were no citizens there.  In 
the meantime the prisoners at Essex House had been released by one 
of the Earl's own friends; he had been promptly proclaimed a 
traitor in the City itself; and the streets were barricaded with 
carts and guarded by soldiers.  The Earl got back to his house by 
water, with difficulty, and after an attempt to defend his house 
against the troops and cannon by which it was soon surrounded, gave 
himself up that night.  He was brought to trial on the nineteenth, 
and found guilty; on the twenty-fifth, he was executed on Tower 
Hill, where he died, at thirty-four years old, both courageously 
and penitently.  His step-father suffered with him.  His enemy, Sir 
Walter Raleigh, stood near the scaffold all the time - but not so 
near it as we shall see him stand, before we finish his history.

In this case, as in the cases of the Duke of Norfolk and Mary Queen 
of Scots, the Queen had commanded, and countermanded, and again 
commanded, the execution.  It is probable that the death of her 
young and gallant favourite in the prime of his good qualities, was 
never off her mind afterwards, but she held out, the same vain, 
obstinate and capricious woman, for another year.  Then she danced 
before her Court on a state occasion - and cut, I should think, a 
mighty ridiculous figure, doing so in an immense ruff, stomacher 
and wig, at seventy years old.  For another year still, she held 
out, but, without any more dancing, and as a moody, sorrowful, 
broken creature.  At last, on the tenth of March, one thousand six 
hundred and three, having been ill of a very bad cold, and made 
worse by the death of the Countess of Nottingham who was her 
intimate friend, she fell into a stupor and was supposed to be 
dead.  She recovered her consciousness, however, and then nothing 
would induce her to go to bed; for she said that she knew that if 
she did, she should never get up again.  There she lay for ten 
days, on cushions on the floor, without any food, until the Lord 
Admiral got her into bed at last, partly by persuasions and partly 
by main force.  When they asked her who should succeed her, she 
replied that her seat had been the seat of Kings, and that she 
would have for her successor, 'No rascal's son, but a King's.'  
Upon this, the lords present stared at one another, and took the 
liberty of asking whom she meant; to which she replied, 'Whom 
should I mean, but our cousin of Scotland!'  This was on the 
twenty-third of March.  They asked her once again that day, after 
she was speechless, whether she was still in the same mind?  She 
struggled up in bed, and joined her hands over her head in the form 
of a crown, as the only reply she could make.  At three o'clock 
next morning, she very quietly died, in the forty-fifth year of her 

That reign had been a glorious one, and is made for ever memorable 
by the distinguished men who flourished in it.  Apart from the 
great voyagers, statesmen, and scholars, whom it produced, the 
names of BACON, SPENSER, and SHAKESPEARE, will always be remembered 
with pride and veneration by the civilised world, and will always 
impart (though with no great reason, perhaps) some portion of their 
lustre to the name of Elizabeth herself.  It was a great reign for 
discovery, for commerce, and for English enterprise and spirit in 
general.  It was a great reign for the Protestant religion and for 
the Reformation which made England free.  The Queen was very 
popular, and in her progresses, or journeys about her dominions, 
was everywhere received with the liveliest joy.  I think the truth 
is, that she was not half so good as she has been made out, and not 
half so bad as she has been made out.  She had her fine qualities, 
but she was coarse, capricious, and treacherous, and had all the 
faults of an excessively vain young woman long after she was an old 
one.  On the whole, she had a great deal too much of her father in 
her, to please me.

Many improvements and luxuries were introduced in the course of 
these five-and-forty years in the general manner of living; but 
cock-fighting, bull-baiting, and bear-baiting, were still the 
national amusements; and a coach was so rarely seen, and was such 
an ugly and cumbersome affair when it was seen, that even the Queen 
herself, on many high occasions, rode on horseback on a pillion 
behind the Lord Chancellor.


'OUR cousin of Scotland' was ugly, awkward, and shuffling both in 
mind and person.  His tongue was much too large for his mouth, his 
legs were much too weak for his body, and his dull goggle-eyes 
stared and rolled like an idiot's.  He was cunning, covetous, 
wasteful, idle, drunken, greedy, dirty, cowardly, a great swearer, 
and the most conceited man on earth.  His figure - what is commonly 
called rickety from his birth - presented a most ridiculous 
appearance, dressed in thick padded clothes, as a safeguard against 
being stabbed (of which he lived in continual fear), of a grass-
green colour from head to foot, with a hunting-horn dangling at his 
side instead of a sword, and his hat and feather sticking over one 
eye, or hanging on the back of his head, as he happened to toss it 
on.  He used to loll on the necks of his favourite courtiers, and 
slobber their faces, and kiss and pinch their cheeks; and the 
greatest favourite he ever had, used to sign himself in his letters 
to his royal master, His Majesty's 'dog and slave,' and used to 
address his majesty as 'his Sowship.'  His majesty was the worst 
rider ever seen, and thought himself the best.  He was one of the 
most impertinent talkers (in the broadest Scotch) ever heard, and 
boasted of being unanswerable in all manner of argument.  He wrote 
some of the most wearisome treatises ever read - among others, a 
book upon witchcraft, in which he was a devout believer - and 
thought himself a prodigy of authorship.  He thought, and wrote, 
and said, that a king had a right to make and unmake what laws he 
pleased, and ought to be accountable to nobody on earth.  This is 
the plain, true character of the personage whom the greatest men 
about the court praised and flattered to that degree, that I doubt 
if there be anything much more shameful in the annals of human 

He came to the English throne with great ease.  The miseries of a 
disputed succession had been felt so long, and so dreadfully, that 
he was proclaimed within a few hours of Elizabeth's death, and was 
accepted by the nation, even without being asked to give any pledge 
that he would govern well, or that he would redress crying 
grievances.  He took a month to come from Edinburgh to London; and, 
by way of exercising his new power, hanged a pickpocket on the 
journey without any trial, and knighted everybody he could lay hold 
of.  He made two hundred knights before he got to his palace in 
London, and seven hundred before he had been in it three months.  
He also shovelled sixty-two new peers into the House of Lords - and 
there was a pretty large sprinkling of Scotchmen among them, you 
may believe.

His Sowship's prime Minister, CECIL (for I cannot do better than 
call his majesty what his favourite called him), was the enemy of 
Sir Walter Raleigh, and also of Sir Walter's political friend, LORD 
COBHAM; and his Sowship's first trouble was a plot originated by 
these two, and entered into by some others, with the old object of 
seizing the King and keeping him in imprisonment until he should 
change his ministers.  There were Catholic priests in the plot, and 
there were Puritan noblemen too; for, although the Catholics and 
Puritans were strongly opposed to each other, they united at this 
time against his Sowship, because they knew that he had a design 
against both, after pretending to be friendly to each; this design 
being to have only one high and convenient form of the Protestant 
religion, which everybody should be bound to belong to, whether 
they liked it or not.  This plot was mixed up with another, which 
may or may not have had some reference to placing on the throne, at 
some time, the LADY ARABELLA STUART; whose misfortune it was, to be 
the daughter of the younger brother of his Sowship's father, but 
who was quite innocent of any part in the scheme.  Sir Walter 
Raleigh was accused on the confession of Lord Cobham - a miserable 
creature, who said one thing at one time, and another thing at 
another time, and could be relied upon in nothing.  The trial of 
Sir Walter Raleigh lasted from eight in the morning until nearly 
midnight; he defended himself with such eloquence, genius, and 
spirit against all accusations, and against the insults of COKE, 
the Attorney-General - who, according to the custom of the time, 
foully abused him - that those who went there detesting the 
prisoner, came away admiring him, and declaring that anything so 
wonderful and so captivating was never heard.  He was found guilty, 
nevertheless, and sentenced to death.  Execution was deferred, and 
he was taken to the Tower.  The two Catholic priests, less 
fortunate, were executed with the usual atrocity; and Lord Cobham 
and two others were pardoned on the scaffold.  His Sowship thought 
it wonderfully knowing in him to surprise the people by pardoning 
these three at the very block; but, blundering, and bungling, as 
usual, he had very nearly overreached himself.  For, the messenger 
on horseback who brought the pardon, came so late, that he was 
pushed to the outside of the crowd, and was obliged to shout and 
roar out what he came for.  The miserable Cobham did not gain much 
by being spared that day.  He lived, both as a prisoner and a 
beggar, utterly despised, and miserably poor, for thirteen years, 
and then died in an old outhouse belonging to one of his former 

This plot got rid of, and Sir Walter Raleigh safely shut up in the 
Tower, his Sowship held a great dispute with the Puritans on their 
presenting a petition to him, and had it all his own way - not so 
very wonderful, as he would talk continually, and would not hear 
anybody else - and filled the Bishops with admiration.  It was 
comfortably settled that there was to be only one form of religion, 
and that all men were to think exactly alike.  But, although this 
was arranged two centuries and a half ago, and although the 
arrangement was supported by much fining and imprisonment, I do not 
find that it is quite successful, even yet.

His Sowship, having that uncommonly high opinion of himself as a 
king, had a very low opinion of Parliament as a power that 
audaciously wanted to control him.  When he called his first 
Parliament after he had been king a year, he accordingly thought he 
would take pretty high ground with them, and told them that he 
commanded them 'as an absolute king.'  The Parliament thought those 
strong words, and saw the necessity of upholding their authority.  
His Sowship had three children:  Prince Henry, Prince Charles, and 
the Princess Elizabeth.  It would have been well for one of these, 
and we shall too soon see which, if he had learnt a little wisdom 
concerning Parliaments from his father's obstinacy.

Now, the people still labouring under their old dread of the 
Catholic religion, this Parliament revived and strengthened the 
severe laws against it.  And this so angered ROBERT CATESBY, a 
restless Catholic gentleman of an old family, that he formed one of 
the most desperate and terrible designs ever conceived in the mind 
of man; no less a scheme than the Gunpowder Plot.

His object was, when the King, lords, and commons, should be 
assembled at the next opening of Parliament, to blow them up, one 
and all, with a great mine of gunpowder.  The first person to whom 
he confided this horrible idea was THOMAS WINTER, a Worcestershire 
gentleman who had served in the army abroad, and had been secretly 
employed in Catholic projects.  While Winter was yet undecided, and 
when he had gone over to the Netherlands, to learn from the Spanish 
Ambassador there whether there was any hope of Catholics being 
relieved through the intercession of the King of Spain with his 
Sowship, he found at Ostend a tall, dark, daring man, whom he had 
known when they were both soldiers abroad, and whose name was GUIDO 
- or GUY - FAWKES.  Resolved to join the plot, he proposed it to 
this man, knowing him to be the man for any desperate deed, and 
they two came back to England together.  Here, they admitted two 
other conspirators; THOMAS PERCY, related to the Earl of 
Northumberland, and JOHN WRIGHT, his brother-in-law.  All these met 
together in a solitary house in the open fields which were then 
near Clement's Inn, now a closely blocked-up part of London; and 
when they had all taken a great oath of secrecy, Catesby told the 
rest what his plan was.  They then went up-stairs into a garret, 
and received the Sacrament from FATHER GERARD, a Jesuit, who is 
said not to have known actually of the Gunpowder Plot, but who, I 
think, must have had his suspicions that there was something 
desperate afoot.

Percy was a Gentleman Pensioner, and as he had occasional duties to 
perform about the Court, then kept at Whitehall, there would be 
nothing suspicious in his living at Westminster.  So, having looked 
well about him, and having found a house to let, the back of which 
joined the Parliament House, he hired it of a person named FERRIS, 
for the purpose of undermining the wall.  Having got possession of 
this house, the conspirators hired another on the Lambeth side of 
the Thames, which they used as a storehouse for wood, gunpowder, 
and other combustible matters.  These were to be removed at night 
(and afterwards were removed), bit by bit, to the house at 
Westminster; and, that there might be some trusty person to keep 
watch over the Lambeth stores, they admitted another conspirator, 
by name ROBERT KAY, a very poor Catholic gentleman.

All these arrangements had been made some months, and it was a 
dark, wintry, December night, when the conspirators, who had been 
in the meantime dispersed to avoid observation, met in the house at 
Westminster, and began to dig.  They had laid in a good stock of 
eatables, to avoid going in and out, and they dug and dug with 
great ardour.  But, the wall being tremendously thick, and the work 
very severe, they took into their plot CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT, a 
younger brother of John Wright, that they might have a new pair of 
hands to help.  And Christopher Wright fell to like a fresh man, 
and they dug and dug by night and by day, and Fawkes stood sentinel 
all the time.  And if any man's heart seemed to fail him at all, 
Fawkes said, 'Gentlemen, we have abundance of powder and shot here, 
and there is no fear of our being taken alive, even if discovered.'  
The same Fawkes, who, in the capacity of sentinel, was always 
prowling about, soon picked up the intelligence that the King had 
prorogued the Parliament again, from the seventh of February, the 
day first fixed upon, until the third of October.  When the 
conspirators knew this, they agreed to separate until after the 
Christmas holidays, and to take no notice of each other in the 
meanwhile, and never to write letters to one another on any 
account.  So, the house in Westminster was shut up again, and I 
suppose the neighbours thought that those strange-looking men who 
lived there so gloomily, and went out so seldom, were gone away to 
have a merry Christmas somewhere.

It was the beginning of February, sixteen hundred and five, when 
Catesby met his fellow-conspirators again at this Westminster 
house.  He had now admitted three more; JOHN GRANT, a Warwickshire 
gentleman of a melancholy temper, who lived in a doleful house near 
Stratford-upon-Avon, with a frowning wall all round it, and a deep 
moat; ROBERT WINTER, eldest brother of Thomas; and Catesby's own 
servant, THOMAS BATES, who, Catesby thought, had had some suspicion 
of what his master was about.  These three had all suffered more or 
less for their religion in Elizabeth's time.  And now, they all 
began to dig again, and they dug and dug by night and by day.

They found it dismal work alone there, underground, with such a 
fearful secret on their minds, and so many murders before them.  
They were filled with wild fancies.  Sometimes, they thought they 
heard a great bell tolling, deep down in the earth under the 
Parliament House; sometimes, they thought they heard low voices 
muttering about the Gunpowder Plot; once in the morning, they 
really did hear a great rumbling noise over their heads, as they 
dug and sweated in their mine.  Every man stopped and looked aghast 
at his neighbour, wondering what had happened, when that bold 
prowler, Fawkes, who had been out to look, came in and told them 
that it was only a dealer in coals who had occupied a cellar under 
the Parliament House, removing his stock in trade to some other 
place.  Upon this, the conspirators, who with all their digging and 
digging had not yet dug through the tremendously thick wall, 
changed their plan; hired that cellar, which was directly under the 
House of Lords; put six-and-thirty barrels of gunpowder in it, and 
covered them over with fagots and coals.  Then they all dispersed 
again till September, when the following new conspirators were 
admitted; SIR EDWARD BAYNHAM, of Gloucestershire; SIR EVERARD 
DIGBY, of Rutlandshire; AMBROSE ROOKWOOD, of Suffolk; FRANCIS 
TRESHAM, of Northamptonshire.  Most of these were rich, and were to 
assist the plot, some with money and some with horses on which the 
conspirators were to ride through the country and rouse the 
Catholics after the Parliament should be blown into air.

Parliament being again prorogued from the third of October to the 
fifth of November, and the conspirators being uneasy lest their 
design should have been found out, Thomas Winter said he would go 
up into the House of Lords on the day of the prorogation, and see 
how matters looked.  Nothing could be better.  The unconscious 
Commissioners were walking about and talking to one another, just 
over the six-and-thirty barrels of gunpowder.  He came back and 
told the rest so, and they went on with their preparations.  They 
hired a ship, and kept it ready in the Thames, in which Fawkes was 
to sail for Flanders after firing with a slow match the train that 
was to explode the powder.  A number of Catholic gentlemen not in 
the secret, were invited, on pretence of a hunting party, to meet 
Sir Everard Digby at Dunchurch on the fatal day, that they might be 
ready to act together.  And now all was ready.

But, now, the great wickedness and danger which had been all along 
at the bottom of this wicked plot, began to show itself.  As the 
fifth of November drew near, most of the conspirators, remembering 
that they had friends and relations who would be in the House of 
Lords that day, felt some natural relenting, and a wish to warn 
them to keep away.  They were not much comforted by Catesby's 
declaring that in such a cause he would blow up his own son.  LORD 
MOUNTEAGLE, Tresham's brother-in-law, was certain to be in the 
house; and when Tresham found that he could not prevail upon the 
rest to devise any means of sparing their friends, he wrote a 
mysterious letter to this lord and left it at his lodging in the 
dusk, urging him to keep away from the opening of Parliament, 
'since God and man had concurred to punish the wickedness of the 
times.'  It contained the words 'that the Parliament should receive 
a terrible blow, and yet should not see who hurt them.'  And it 
added, 'the danger is past, as soon as you have burnt the letter.'

The ministers and courtiers made out that his Sowship, by a direct 
miracle from Heaven, found out what this letter meant.  The truth 
is, that they were not long (as few men would be) in finding out 
for themselves; and it was decided to let the conspirators alone, 
until the very day before the opening of Parliament.  That the 
conspirators had their fears, is certain; for, Tresham himself said 
before them all, that they were every one dead men; and, although 
even he did not take flight, there is reason to suppose that he had 
warned other persons besides Lord Mounteagle.  However, they were 
all firm; and Fawkes, who was a man of iron, went down every day 
and night to keep watch in the cellar as usual.  He was there about 
two in the afternoon of the fourth, when the Lord Chamberlain and 
Lord Mounteagle threw open the door and looked in.  'Who are you, 
friend?' said they.  'Why,' said Fawkes, 'I am Mr. Percy's servant, 
and am looking after his store of fuel here.'  'Your master has 
laid in a pretty good store,' they returned, and shut the door, and 
went away.  Fawkes, upon this, posted off to the other conspirators 
to tell them all was quiet, and went back and shut himself up in 
the dark, black cellar again, where he heard the bell go twelve 
o'clock and usher in the fifth of November.  About two hours 
afterwards, he slowly opened the door, and came out to look about 
him, in his old prowling way.  He was instantly seized and bound, 
by a party of soldiers under SIR THOMAS KNEVETT.  He had a watch 
upon him, some touchwood, some tinder, some slow matches; and there 
was a dark lantern with a candle in it, lighted, behind the door.  
He had his boots and spurs on - to ride to the ship, I suppose - 
and it was well for the soldiers that they took him so suddenly.  
If they had left him but a moment's time to light a match, he 
certainly would have tossed it in among the powder, and blown up 
himself and them.

They took him to the King's bed-chamber first of all, and there the 
King (causing him to be held very tight, and keeping a good way 
off), asked him how he could have the heart to intend to destroy so 
many innocent people?  'Because,' said Guy Fawkes, 'desperate 
diseases need desperate remedies.'  To a little Scotch favourite, 
with a face like a terrier, who asked him (with no particular 
wisdom) why he had collected so much gunpowder, he replied, because 
he had meant to blow Scotchmen back to Scotland, and it would take 
a deal of powder to do that.  Next day he was carried to the Tower, 
but would make no confession.  Even after being horribly tortured, 
he confessed nothing that the Government did not already know; 
though he must have been in a fearful state - as his signature, 
still preserved, in contrast with his natural hand-writing before 
he was put upon the dreadful rack, most frightfully shows.  Bates, 
a very different man, soon said the Jesuits had had to do with the 
plot, and probably, under the torture, would as readily have said 
anything.  Tresham, taken and put in the Tower too, made 
confessions and unmade them, and died of an illness that was heavy 
upon him.  Rookwood, who had stationed relays of his own horses all 
the way to Dunchurch, did not mount to escape until the middle of 
the day, when the news of the plot was all over London.  On the 
road, he came up with the two Wrights, Catesby, and Percy; and they 
all galloped together into Northamptonshire.  Thence to Dunchurch, 
where they found the proposed party assembled.  Finding, however, 
that there had been a plot, and that it had been discovered, the 
party disappeared in the course of the night, and left them alone 
with Sir Everard Digby.  Away they all rode again, through 
Warwickshire and Worcestershire, to a house called Holbeach, on the 
borders of Staffordshire.  They tried to raise the Catholics on 
their way, but were indignantly driven off by them.  All this time 
they were hotly pursued by the sheriff of Worcester, and a fast 
increasing concourse of riders.  At last, resolving to defend 
themselves at Holbeach, they shut themselves up in the house, and 
put some wet powder before the fire to dry.  But it blew up, and 
Catesby was singed and blackened, and almost killed, and some of 
the others were sadly hurt.  Still, knowing that they must die, 
they resolved to die there, and with only their swords in their 
hands appeared at the windows to be shot at by the sheriff and his 
assistants.  Catesby said to Thomas Winter, after Thomas had been 
hit in the right arm which dropped powerless by his side, 'Stand by 
me, Tom, and we will die together!' - which they did, being shot 
through the body by two bullets from one gun.  John Wright, and 
Christopher Wright, and Percy, were also shot.  Rookwood and Digby 
were taken:  the former with a broken arm and a wound in his body 

It was the fifteenth of January, before the trial of Guy Fawkes, 
and such of the other conspirators as were left alive, came on.  
They were all found guilty, all hanged, drawn, and quartered:  
some, in St. Paul's Churchyard, on the top of Ludgate-hill; some, 
before the Parliament House.  A Jesuit priest, named HENRY GARNET, 
to whom the dreadful design was said to have been communicated, was 
taken and tried; and two of his servants, as well as a poor priest 
who was taken with him, were tortured without mercy.  He himself 
was not tortured, but was surrounded in the Tower by tamperers and 
traitors, and so was made unfairly to convict himself out of his 
own mouth.  He said, upon his trial, that he had done all he could 
to prevent the deed, and that he could not make public what had 
been told him in confession - though I am afraid he knew of the 
plot in other ways.  He was found guilty and executed, after a 
manful defence, and the Catholic Church made a saint of him; some 
rich and powerful persons, who had had nothing to do with the 
project, were fined and imprisoned for it by the Star Chamber; the 
Catholics, in general, who had recoiled with horror from the idea 
of the infernal contrivance, were unjustly put under more severe 
laws than before; and this was the end of the Gunpowder Plot.


His Sowship would pretty willingly, I think, have blown the House 
of Commons into the air himself; for, his dread and jealousy of it 
knew no bounds all through his reign.  When he was hard pressed for 
money he was obliged to order it to meet, as he could get no money 
without it; and when it asked him first to abolish some of the 
monopolies in necessaries of life which were a great grievance to 
the people, and to redress other public wrongs, he flew into a rage 
and got rid of it again.  At one time he wanted it to consent to 
the Union of England with Scotland, and quarrelled about that.  At 
another time it wanted him to put down a most infamous Church 
abuse, called the High Commission Court, and he quarrelled with it 
about that.  At another time it entreated him not to be quite so 
fond of his archbishops and bishops who made speeches in his praise 
too awful to be related, but to have some little consideration for 
the poor Puritan clergy who were persecuted for preaching in their 
own way, and not according to the archbishops and bishops; and they 
quarrelled about that.  In short, what with hating the House of 
Commons, and pretending not to hate it; and what with now sending 
some of its members who opposed him, to Newgate or to the Tower, 
and now telling the rest that they must not presume to make 
speeches about the public affairs which could not possibly concern 
them; and what with cajoling, and bullying, and fighting, and being 
frightened; the House of Commons was the plague of his Sowship's 
existence.  It was pretty firm, however, in maintaining its rights, 
and insisting that the Parliament should make the laws, and not the 
King by his own single proclamations (which he tried hard to do); 
and his Sowship was so often distressed for money, in consequence, 
that he sold every sort of title and public office as if they were 
merchandise, and even invented a new dignity called a Baronetcy, 
which anybody could buy for a thousand pounds.

These disputes with his Parliaments, and his hunting, and his 
drinking, and his lying in bed - for he was a great sluggard - 
occupied his Sowship pretty well.  The rest of his time he chiefly 
passed in hugging and slobbering his favourites.  The first of 
these was SIR PHILIP HERBERT, who had no knowledge whatever, except 
of dogs, and horses, and hunting, but whom he soon made EARL OF 
MONTGOMERY.  The next, and a much more famous one, was ROBERT CARR, 
or KER (for it is not certain which was his right name), who came 
from the Border country, and whom he soon made VISCOUNT ROCHESTER, 
and afterwards, EARL OF SOMERSET.  The way in which his Sowship 
doted on this handsome young man, is even more odious to think of, 
than the way in which the really great men of England condescended 
to bow down before him.  The favourite's great friend was a certain 
SIR THOMAS OVERBURY, who wrote his love-letters for him, and 
assisted him in the duties of his many high places, which his own 
ignorance prevented him from discharging.  But this same Sir Thomas 
having just manhood enough to dissuade the favourite from a wicked 
marriage with the beautiful Countess of Essex, who was to get a 
divorce from her husband for the purpose, the said Countess, in her 
rage, got Sir Thomas put into the Tower, and there poisoned him.  
Then the favourite and this bad woman were publicly married by the 
King's pet bishop, with as much to-do and rejoicing, as if he had 
been the best man, and she the best woman, upon the face of the 

But, after a longer sunshine than might have been expected - of 
seven years or so, that is to say - another handsome young man 
started up and eclipsed the EARL OF SOMERSET.  This was GEORGE 
VILLIERS, the youngest son of a Leicestershire gentleman:  who came 
to Court with all the Paris fashions on him, and could dance as 
well as the best mountebank that ever was seen.  He soon danced 
himself into the good graces of his Sowship, and danced the other 
favourite out of favour.  Then, it was all at once discovered that 
the Earl and Countess of Somerset had not deserved all those great 
promotions and mighty rejoicings, and they were separately tried 
for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, and for other crimes.  But, 
the King was so afraid of his late favourite's publicly telling 
some disgraceful things he knew of him - which he darkly threatened 
to do - that he was even examined with two men standing, one on 
either side of him, each with a cloak in his hand, ready to throw 
it over his head and stop his mouth if he should break out with 
what he had it in his power to tell.  So, a very lame affair was 
purposely made of the trial, and his punishment was an allowance of 
four thousand pounds a year in retirement, while the Countess was 
pardoned, and allowed to pass into retirement too.  They hated one 
another by this time, and lived to revile and torment each other 
some years.

While these events were in progress, and while his Sowship was 
making such an exhibition of himself, from day to day and from year 
to year, as is not often seen in any sty, three remarkable deaths 
took place in England.  The first was that of the Minister, Robert 
Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, who was past sixty, and had never been 
strong, being deformed from his birth.  He said at last that he had 
no wish to live; and no Minister need have had, with his experience 
of the meanness and wickedness of those disgraceful times.  The 
second was that of the Lady Arabella Stuart, who alarmed his 
Sowship mightily, by privately marrying WILLIAM SEYMOUR, son of 
LORD BEAUCHAMP, who was a descendant of King Henry the Seventh, and 
who, his Sowship thought, might consequently increase and 
strengthen any claim she might one day set up to the throne.  She 
was separated from her husband (who was put in the Tower) and 
thrust into a boat to be confined at Durham.  She escaped in a 
man's dress to get away in a French ship from Gravesend to France, 
but unhappily missed her husband, who had escaped too, and was soon 
taken.  She went raving mad in the miserable Tower, and died there 
after four years.  The last, and the most important of these three 
deaths, was that of Prince Henry, the heir to the throne, in the 
nineteenth year of his age.  He was a promising young prince, and 
greatly liked; a quiet, well-conducted youth, of whom two very good 
things are known:  first, that his father was jealous of him; 
secondly, that he was the friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, languishing 
through all those years in the Tower, and often said that no man 
but his father would keep such a bird in such a cage.  On the 
occasion of the preparations for the marriage of his sister the 
Princess Elizabeth with a foreign prince (and an unhappy marriage 
it turned out), he came from Richmond, where he had been very ill, 
to greet his new brother-in-law, at the palace at Whitehall.  There 
he played a great game at tennis, in his shirt, though it was very 
cold weather, and was seized with an alarming illness, and died 
within a fortnight of a putrid fever.  For this young prince Sir 
Walter Raleigh wrote, in his prison in the Tower, the beginning of 
a History of the World:  a wonderful instance how little his 
Sowship could do to confine a great man's mind, however long he 
might imprison his body.

And this mention of Sir Walter Raleigh, who had many faults, but 
who never showed so many merits as in trouble and adversity, may 
bring me at once to the end of his sad story.  After an 
imprisonment in the Tower of twelve long years, he proposed to 
resume those old sea voyages of his, and to go to South America in 
search of gold.  His Sowship, divided between his wish to be on 
good terms with the Spaniards through whose territory Sir Walter 
must pass (he had long had an idea of marrying Prince Henry to a 
Spanish Princess), and his avaricious eagerness to get hold of the 
gold, did not know what to do.  But, in the end, he set Sir Walter 
free, taking securities for his return; and Sir Walter fitted out 
an expedition at his own coast and, on the twenty-eighth of March, 
one thousand six hundred and seventeen, sailed away in command of 
one of its ships, which he ominously called the Destiny.  The 
expedition failed; the common men, not finding the gold they had 
expected, mutinied; a quarrel broke out between Sir Walter and the 
Spaniards, who hated him for old successes of his against them; and 
he took and burnt a little town called SAINT THOMAS.  For this he 
was denounced to his Sowship by the Spanish Ambassador as a pirate; 
and returning almost broken-hearted, with his hopes and fortunes 
shattered, his company of friends dispersed, and his brave son (who 
had been one of them) killed, he was taken - through the treachery 
of SIR LEWIS STUKELY, his near relation, a scoundrel and a Vice-
Admiral - and was once again immured in his prison-home of so many 

His Sowship being mightily disappointed in not getting any gold, 
Sir Walter Raleigh was tried as unfairly, and with as many lies and 
evasions as the judges and law officers and every other authority 
in Church and State habitually practised under such a King.  After 
a great deal of prevarication on all parts but his own, it was 
declared that he must die under his former sentence, now fifteen 
years old.  So, on the twenty-eighth of October, one thousand six 
hundred and eighteen, he was shut up in the Gate House at 
Westminster to pass his late night on earth, and there he took 
leave of his good and faithful lady who was worthy to have lived in 
better days.  At eight o'clock next morning, after a cheerful 
breakfast, and a pipe, and a cup of good wine, he was taken to Old 
Palace Yard in Westminster, where the scaffold was set up, and 
where so many people of high degree were assembled to see him die, 
that it was a matter of some difficulty to get him through the 
crowd.  He behaved most nobly, but if anything lay heavy on his 
mind, it was that Earl of Essex, whose head he had seen roll off; 
and he solemnly said that he had had no hand in bringing him to the 
block, and that he had shed tears for him when he died.  As the 
morning was very cold, the Sheriff said, would he come down to a 
fire for a little space, and warm himself?  But Sir Walter thanked 
him, and said no, he would rather it were done at once, for he was 
ill of fever and ague, and in another quarter of an hour his 
shaking fit would come upon him if he were still alive, and his 
enemies might then suppose that he trembled for fear.  With that, 
he kneeled and made a very beautiful and Christian prayer.  Before 
he laid his head upon the block he felt the edge of the axe, and 
said, with a smile upon his face, that it was a sharp medicine, but 
would cure the worst disease.  When he was bent down ready for 
death, he said to the executioner, finding that he hesitated, 'What 
dost thou fear?  Strike, man!'  So, the axe came down and struck 
his head off, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.

The new favourite got on fast.  He was made a viscount, he was made 
Duke of Buckingham, he was made a marquis, he was made Master of 
the Horse, he was made Lord High Admiral - and the Chief Commander 
of the gallant English forces that had dispersed the Spanish 
Armada, was displaced to make room for him.  He had the whole 
kingdom at his disposal, and his mother sold all the profits and 
honours of the State, as if she had kept a shop.  He blazed all 
over with diamonds and other precious stones, from his hatband and 
his earrings to his shoes.  Yet he was an ignorant presumptuous, 
swaggering compound of knave and fool, with nothing but his beauty 
and his dancing to recommend him.  This is the gentleman who called 
himself his Majesty's dog and slave, and called his Majesty Your 
Sowship.  His Sowship called him STEENIE; it is supposed, because 
that was a nickname for Stephen, and because St. Stephen was 
generally represented in pictures as a handsome saint.

His Sowship was driven sometimes to his wits'-end by his trimming 
between the general dislike of the Catholic religion at home, and 
his desire to wheedle and flatter it abroad, as his only means of 
getting a rich princess for his son's wife:  a part of whose 
fortune he might cram into his greasy pockets.  Prince Charles - or 
as his Sowship called him, Baby Charles - being now PRINCE OF 
WALES, the old project of a marriage with the Spanish King's 
daughter had been revived for him; and as she could not marry a 
Protestant without leave from the Pope, his Sowship himself 
secretly and meanly wrote to his Infallibility, asking for it.  The 
negotiation for this Spanish marriage takes up a larger space in 
great books, than you can imagine, but the upshot of it all is, 
that when it had been held off by the Spanish Court for a long 
time, Baby Charles and Steenie set off in disguise as Mr. Thomas 
Smith and Mr. John Smith, to see the Spanish Princess; that Baby 
Charles pretended to be desperately in love with her, and jumped 
off walls to look at her, and made a considerable fool of himself 
in a good many ways; that she was called Princess of Wales and that 
the whole Spanish Court believed Baby Charles to be all but dying 
for her sake, as he expressly told them he was; that Baby Charles 
and Steenie came back to England, and were received with as much 
rapture as if they had been a blessing to it; that Baby Charles had 
actually fallen in love with HENRIETTA MARIA, the French King's 
sister, whom he had seen in Paris; that he thought it a wonderfully 
fine and princely thing to have deceived the Spaniards, all 
through; and that he openly said, with a chuckle, as soon as he was 
safe and sound at home again, that the Spaniards were great fools 
to have believed him.

Like most dishonest men, the Prince and the favourite complained 
that the people whom they had deluded were dishonest.  They made 
such misrepresentations of the treachery of the Spaniards in this 
business of the Spanish match, that the English nation became eager 
for a war with them.  Although the gravest Spaniards laughed at the 
idea of his Sowship in a warlike attitude, the Parliament granted 
money for the beginning of hostilities, and the treaties with Spain 
were publicly declared to be at an end.  The Spanish ambassador in 
London - probably with the help of the fallen favourite, the Earl 
of Somerset - being unable to obtain speech with his Sowship, 
slipped a paper into his hand, declaring that he was a prisoner in 
his own house, and was entirely governed by Buckingham and his 
creatures.  The first effect of this letter was that his Sowship 
began to cry and whine, and took Baby Charles away from Steenie, 
and went down to Windsor, gabbling all sorts of nonsense.  The end 
of it was that his Sowship hugged his dog and slave, and said he 
was quite satisfied.

He had given the Prince and the favourite almost unlimited power to 
settle anything with the Pope as to the Spanish marriage; and he 
now, with a view to the French one, signed a treaty that all Roman 
Catholics in England should exercise their religion freely, and 
should never be required to take any oath contrary thereto.  In 
return for this, and for other concessions much less to be 
defended, Henrietta Maria was to become the Prince's wife, and was 
to bring him a fortune of eight hundred thousand crowns.

His Sowship's eyes were getting red with eagerly looking for the 
money, when the end of a gluttonous life came upon him; and, after 
a fortnight's illness, on Sunday the twenty-seventh of March, one 
thousand six hundred and twenty-five, he died.  He had reigned 
twenty-two years, and was fifty-nine years old.  I know of nothing 
more abominable in history than the adulation that was lavished on 
this King, and the vice and corruption that such a barefaced habit 
of lying produced in his court.  It is much to be doubted whether 
one man of honour, and not utterly self-disgraced, kept his place 
near James the First.  Lord Bacon, that able and wise philosopher, 
as the First Judge in the Kingdom in this reign, became a public 
spectacle of dishonesty and corruption; and in his base flattery of 
his Sowship, and in his crawling servility to his dog and slave, 
disgraced himself even more.  But, a creature like his Sowship set 
upon a throne is like the Plague, and everybody receives infection 
from him.


BABY CHARLES became KING CHARLES THE FIRST, in the twenty-fifth 
year of his age.  Unlike his father, he was usually amiable in his 
private character, and grave and dignified in his bearing; but, 
like his father, he had monstrously exaggerated notions of the 
rights of a king, and was evasive, and not to be trusted.  If his 
word could have been relied upon, his history might have had a 
different end.

His first care was to send over that insolent upstart, Buckingham, 
to bring Henrietta Maria from Paris to be his Queen; upon which 
occasion Buckingham - with his usual audacity - made love to the 
young Queen of Austria, and was very indignant indeed with CARDINAL 
RICHELIEU, the French Minister, for thwarting his intentions.  The 
English people were very well disposed to like their new Queen, and 
to receive her with great favour when she came among them as a 
stranger.  But, she held the Protestant religion in great dislike, 
and brought over a crowd of unpleasant priests, who made her do 
some very ridiculous things, and forced themselves upon the public 
notice in many disagreeable ways.  Hence, the people soon came to 
dislike her, and she soon came to dislike them; and she did so much 
all through this reign in setting the King (who was dotingly fond 
of her) against his subjects, that it would have been better for 
him if she had never been born.

Now, you are to understand that King Charles the First - of his own 
determination to be a high and mighty King not to be called to 
account by anybody, and urged on by his Queen besides - 
deliberately set himself to put his Parliament down and to put 
himself up. You are also to understand, that even in pursuit of 
this wrong idea (enough in itself to have ruined any king) he never 
took a straight course, but always took a crooked one.

He was bent upon war with Spain, though neither the House of 
Commons nor the people were quite clear as to the justice of that 
war, now that they began to think a little more about the story of 
the Spanish match.  But the King rushed into it hotly, raised money 
by illegal means to meet its expenses, and encountered a miserable 
failure at Cadiz, in the very first year of his reign.  An 
expedition to Cadiz had been made in the hope of plunder, but as it 
was not successful, it was necessary to get a grant of money from 
the Parliament; and when they met, in no very complying humour, 
the, King told them, 'to make haste to let him have it, or it would 
be the worse for themselves.'  Not put in a more complying humour 
by this, they impeached the King's favourite, the Duke of 
Buckingham, as the cause (which he undoubtedly was) of many great 
public grievances and wrongs.  The King, to save him, dissolved the 
Parliament without getting the money he wanted; and when the Lords 
implored him to consider and grant a little delay, he replied, 'No, 
not one minute.'  He then began to raise money for himself by the 
following means among others.

He levied certain duties called tonnage and poundage which had not 
been granted by the Parliament, and could lawfully be levied by no 
other power; he called upon the seaport towns to furnish, and to 
pay all the cost for three months of, a fleet of armed ships; and 
he required the people to unite in lending him large sums of money, 
the repayment of which was very doubtful.  If the poor people 
refused, they were pressed as soldiers or sailors; if the gentry 
refused, they were sent to prison.  Five gentlemen, named SIR 
EVERARD HAMPDEN, for refusing were taken up by a warrant of the 
King's privy council, and were sent to prison without any cause but 
the King's pleasure being stated for their imprisonment.  Then the 
question came to be solemnly tried, whether this was not a 
violation of Magna Charta, and an encroachment by the King on the 
highest rights of the English people.  His lawyers contended No, 
because to encroach upon the rights of the English people would be 
to do wrong, and the King could do no wrong.  The accommodating 
judges decided in favour of this wicked nonsense; and here was a 
fatal division between the King and the people.

For all this, it became necessary to call another Parliament.  The 
people, sensible of the danger in which their liberties were, chose 
for it those who were best known for their determined opposition to 
the King; but still the King, quite blinded by his determination to 
carry everything before him, addressed them when they met, in a 
contemptuous manner, and just told them in so many words that he 
had only called them together because he wanted money.  The 
Parliament, strong enough and resolute enough to know that they 
would lower his tone, cared little for what he said, and laid 
before him one of the great documents of history, which is called 
the PETITION OF RIGHT, requiring that the free men of England 
should no longer be called upon to lend the King money, and should 
no longer be pressed or imprisoned for refusing to do so; further, 
that the free men of England should no longer be seized by the 
King's special mandate or warrant, it being contrary to their 
rights and liberties and the laws of their country.  At first the 
King returned an answer to this petition, in which he tried to 
shirk it altogether; but, the House of Commons then showing their 
determination to go on with the impeachment of Buckingham, the King 
in alarm returned an answer, giving his consent to all that was 
required of him.  He not only afterwards departed from his word and 
honour on these points, over and over again, but, at this very 
time, he did the mean and dissembling act of publishing his first 
answer and not his second - merely that the people might suppose 
that the Parliament had not got the better of him.

That pestilent Buckingham, to gratify his own wounded vanity, had 
by this time involved the country in war with France, as well as 
with Spain.  For such miserable causes and such miserable creatures 
are wars sometimes made!  But he was destined to do little more 
mischief in this world.  One morning, as he was going out of his 
house to his carriage, he turned to speak to a certain Colonel 
FRYER who was with him; and he was violently stabbed with a knife, 
which the murderer left sticking in his heart.  This happened in 
his hall.  He had had angry words up-stairs, just before, with some 
French gentlemen, who were immediately suspected by his servants, 
and had a close escape from being set upon and killed.  In the 
midst of the noise, the real murderer, who had gone to the kitchen 
and might easily have got away, drew his sword and cried out, 'I am 
the man!'  His name was JOHN FELTON, a Protestant and a retired 
officer in the army.  He said he had had no personal ill-will to 
the Duke, but had killed him as a curse to the country.  He had 
aimed his blow well, for Buckingham had only had time to cry out, 
'Villain!' and then he drew out the knife, fell against a table, 
and died.

The council made a mighty business of examining John Felton about 
this murder, though it was a plain case enough, one would think.  
He had come seventy miles to do it, he told them, and he did it for 
the reason he had declared; if they put him upon the rack, as that 
noble MARQUIS OF DORSET whom he saw before him, had the goodness to 
threaten, he gave that marquis warning, that he would accuse HIM as 
his accomplice!  The King was unpleasantly anxious to have him 
racked, nevertheless; but as the judges now found out that torture 
was contrary to the law of England - it is a pity they did not make 
the discovery a little sooner - John Felton was simply executed for 
the murder he had done.  A murder it undoubtedly was, and not in 
the least to be defended:  though he had freed England from one of 
the most profligate, contemptible, and base court favourites to 
whom it has ever yielded.

A very different man now arose.  This was SIR THOMAS WENTWORTH, a 
Yorkshire gentleman, who had sat in Parliament for a long time, and 
who had favoured arbitrary and haughty principles, but who had gone 
over to the people's side on receiving offence from Buckingham.  
The King, much wanting such a man - for, besides being naturally 
favourable to the King's cause, he had great abilities - made him 
first a Baron, and then a Viscount, and gave him high employment, 
and won him most completely.

A Parliament, however, was still in existence, and was NOT to be 
won.  On the twentieth of January, one thousand six hundred and 
twenty-nine, SIR JOHN ELIOT, a great man who had been active in the 
Petition of Right, brought forward other strong resolutions against 
the King's chief instruments, and called upon the Speaker to put 
them to the vote.  To this the Speaker answered, 'he was commanded 
otherwise by the King,' and got up to leave the chair - which, 
according to the rules of the House of Commons would have obliged 
it to adjourn without doing anything more - when two members, named 
Mr. HOLLIS and Mr. VALENTINE, held him down.  A scene of great 
confusion arose among the members; and while many swords were drawn 
and flashing about, the King, who was kept informed of all that was 
going on, told the captain of his guard to go down to the House and 
force the doors.  The resolutions were by that time, however, 
voted, and the House adjourned.  Sir John Eliot and those two 
members who had held the Speaker down, were quickly summoned before 
the council.  As they claimed it to be their privilege not to 
answer out of Parliament for anything they had said in it, they 
were committed to the Tower.  The King then went down and dissolved 
the Parliament, in a speech wherein he made mention of these 
gentlemen as 'Vipers' - which did not do him much good that ever I 
have heard of.

As they refused to gain their liberty by saying they were sorry for 
what they had done, the King, always remarkably unforgiving, never 
overlooked their offence.  When they demanded to be brought up 
before the court of King's Bench, he even resorted to the meanness 
of having them moved about from prison to prison, so that the writs 
issued for that purpose should not legally find them.  At last they 
came before the court and were sentenced to heavy fines, and to be 
imprisoned during the King's pleasure.  When Sir John Eliot's 
health had quite given way, and he so longed for change of air and 
scene as to petition for his release, the King sent back the answer 
(worthy of his Sowship himself) that the petition was not humble 
enough.  When he sent another petition by his young son, in which 
he pathetically offered to go back to prison when his health was 
restored, if he might be released for its recovery, the King still 
disregarded it.  When he died in the Tower, and his children 
petitioned to be allowed to take his body down to Cornwall, there 
to lay it among the ashes of his forefathers, the King returned for 
answer, 'Let Sir John Eliot's body be buried in the church of that 
parish where he died.'  All this was like a very little King 
indeed, I think.

And now, for twelve long years, steadily pursuing his design of 
setting himself up and putting the people down, the King called no 
Parliament; but ruled without one.  If twelve thousand volumes were 
written in his praise (as a good many have been) it would still 
remain a fact, impossible to be denied, that for twelve years King 
Charles the First reigned in England unlawfully and despotically, 
seized upon his subjects' goods and money at his pleasure, and 
punished according to his unbridled will all who ventured to oppose 
him.  It is a fashion with some people to think that this King's 
career was cut short; but I must say myself that I think he ran a 
pretty long one.

WILLIAM LAUD, Archbishop of Canterbury, was the King's right-hand 
man in the religious part of the putting down of the people's 
liberties.  Laud, who was a sincere man, of large learning but 
small sense - for the two things sometimes go together in very 
different quantities - though a Protestant, held opinions so near 
those of the Catholics, that the Pope wanted to make a Cardinal of 
him, if he would have accepted that favour.  He looked upon vows, 
robes, lighted candles, images, and so forth, as amazingly 
important in religious ceremonies; and he brought in an immensity 
of bowing and candle-snuffing.  He also regarded archbishops and 
bishops as a sort of miraculous persons, and was inveterate in the 
last degree against any who thought otherwise.  Accordingly, he 
offered up thanks to Heaven, and was in a state of much pious 
pleasure, when a Scotch clergyman, named LEIGHTON, was pilloried, 
whipped, branded in the cheek, and had one of his ears cut off and 
one of his nostrils slit, for calling bishops trumpery and the 
inventions of men.  He originated on a Sunday morning the 
prosecution of WILLIAM PRYNNE, a barrister who was of similar 
opinions, and who was fined a thousand pounds; who was pilloried; 
who had his ears cut off on two occasions - one ear at a time - and 
who was imprisoned for life.  He highly approved of the punishment 
of DOCTOR BASTWICK, a physician; who was also fined a thousand 
pounds; and who afterwards had HIS ears cut off, and was imprisoned 
for life.  These were gentle methods of persuasion, some will tell 
you:  I think, they were rather calculated to be alarming to the 

In the money part of the putting down of the people's liberties, 
the King was equally gentle, as some will tell you:  as I think, 
equally alarming.  He levied those duties of tonnage and poundage, 
and increased them as he thought fit.  He granted monopolies to 
companies of merchants on their paying him for them, 
notwithstanding the great complaints that had, for years and years, 
been made on the subject of monopolies.  He fined the people for 
disobeying proclamations issued by his Sowship in direct violation 
of law.  He revived the detested Forest laws, and took private 
property to himself as his forest right.  Above all, he determined 
to have what was called Ship Money; that is to say, money for the 
support of the fleet - not only from the seaports, but from all the 
counties of England:  having found out that, in some ancient time 
or other, all the counties paid it.  The grievance of this ship 
money being somewhat too strong, JOHN CHAMBERS, a citizen of 
London, refused to pay his part of it.  For this the Lord Mayor 
ordered John Chambers to prison, and for that John Chambers brought 
a suit against the Lord Mayor.  LORD SAY, also, behaved like a real 
nobleman, and declared he would not pay.  But, the sturdiest and 
best opponent of the ship money was JOHN HAMPDEN, a gentleman of 
Buckinghamshire, who had sat among the 'vipers' in the House of 
Commons when there was such a thing, and who had been the bosom 
friend of Sir John Eliot.  This case was tried before the twelve 
judges in the Court of Exchequer, and again the King's lawyers said 
it was impossible that ship money could be wrong, because the King 
could do no wrong, however hard he tried - and he really did try 
very hard during these twelve years.  Seven of the judges said that 
was quite true, and Mr. Hampden was bound to pay:  five of the 
judges said that was quite false, and Mr. Hampden was not bound to 
pay.  So, the King triumphed (as he thought), by making Hampden the 
most popular man in England; where matters were getting to that 
height now, that many honest Englishmen could not endure their 
country, and sailed away across the seas to found a colony in 
Massachusetts Bay in America.  It is said that Hampden himself and 
his relation OLIVER CROMWELL were going with a company of such 
voyagers, and were actually on board ship, when they were stopped 
by a proclamation, prohibiting sea captains to carry out such 
passengers without the royal license.  But O! it would have been 
well for the King if he had let them go!  This was the state of 
England.  If Laud had been a madman just broke loose, he could not 
have done more mischief than he did in Scotland.  In his endeavours 
(in which he was seconded by the King, then in person in that part 
of his dominions) to force his own ideas of bishops, and his own 
religious forms and ceremonies upon the Scotch, he roused that 
nation to a perfect frenzy.  They formed a solemn league, which 
they called The Covenant, for the preservation of their own 
religious forms; they rose in arms throughout the whole country; 
they summoned all their men to prayers and sermons twice a day by 
beat of drum; they sang psalms, in which they compared their 
enemies to all the evil spirits that ever were heard of; and they 
solemnly vowed to smite them with the sword.  At first the King 
tried force, then treaty, then a Scottish Parliament which did not 
answer at all.  Then he tried the EARL OF STRAFFORD, formerly Sir 
Thomas Wentworth; who, as LORD WENTWORTH, had been governing 
Ireland.  He, too, had carried it with a very high hand there, 
though to the benefit and prosperity of that country.

Strafford and Laud were for conquering the Scottish people by force 
of arms.  Other lords who were taken into council, recommended that 
a Parliament should at last be called; to which the King 
unwillingly consented.  So, on the thirteenth of April, one 
thousand six hundred and forty, that then strange sight, a 
Parliament, was seen at Westminster.  It is called the Short 
Parliament, for it lasted a very little while.  While the members 
were all looking at one another, doubtful who would dare to speak, 
MR. PYM arose and set forth all that the King had done unlawfully 
during the past twelve years, and what was the position to which 
England was reduced.  This great example set, other members took 
courage and spoke the truth freely, though with great patience and 
moderation.  The King, a little frightened, sent to say that if 
they would grant him a certain sum on certain terms, no more ship 
money should be raised.  They debated the matter for two days; and 
then, as they would not give him all he asked without promise or 
inquiry, he dissolved them.

But they knew very well that he must have a Parliament now; and he 
began to make that discovery too, though rather late in the day.  
Wherefore, on the twenty-fourth of September, being then at York 
with an army collected against the Scottish people, but his own men 
sullen and discontented like the rest of the nation, the King told 
the great council of the Lords, whom he had called to meet him 
there, that he would summon another Parliament to assemble on the 
third of November.  The soldiers of the Covenant had now forced 
their way into England and had taken possession of the northern 
counties, where the coals are got.  As it would never do to be 
without coals, and as the King's troops could make no head against 
the Covenanters so full of gloomy zeal, a truce was made, and a 
treaty with Scotland was taken into consideration.  Meanwhile the 
northern counties paid the Covenanters to leave the coals alone, 
and keep quiet.

We have now disposed of the Short Parliament.  We have next to see 
what memorable things were done by the Long one.


THE Long Parliament assembled on the third of November, one 
thousand six hundred and forty-one.  That day week the Earl of 
Strafford arrived from York, very sensible that the spirited and 
determined men who formed that Parliament were no friends towards 
him, who had not only deserted the cause of the people, but who had 
on all occasions opposed himself to their liberties.  The King told 
him, for his comfort, that the Parliament 'should not hurt one hair 
of his head.'  But, on the very next day Mr. Pym, in the House of 
Commons, and with great solemnity, impeached the Earl of Strafford 
as a traitor.  He was immediately taken into custody and fell from 
his proud height.

It was the twenty-second of March before he was brought to trial in 
Westminster Hall; where, although he was very ill and suffered 
great pain, he defended himself with such ability and majesty, that 
it was doubtful whether he would not get the best of it.  But on 
the thirteenth day of the trial, Pym produced in the House of 
Commons a copy of some notes of a council, found by young SIR HARRY 
VANE in a red velvet cabinet belonging to his father (Secretary 
Vane, who sat at the council-table with the Earl), in which 
Strafford had distinctly told the King that he was free from all 
rules and obligations of government, and might do with his people 
whatever he liked; and in which he had added - 'You have an army in 
Ireland that you may employ to reduce this kingdom to obedience.'  
It was not clear whether by the words 'this kingdom,' he had really 
meant England or Scotland; but the Parliament contended that he 
meant England, and this was treason.  At the same sitting of the 
House of Commons it was resolved to bring in a bill of attainder 
declaring the treason to have been committed:  in preference to 
proceeding with the trial by impeachment, which would have required 
the treason to be proved.

So, a bill was brought in at once, was carried through the House of 
Commons by a large majority, and was sent up to the House of Lords.  
While it was still uncertain whether the House of Lords would pass 
it and the King consent to it, Pym disclosed to the House of 
Commons that the King and Queen had both been plotting with the 
officers of the army to bring up the soldiers and control the 
Parliament, and also to introduce two hundred soldiers into the 
Tower of London to effect the Earl's escape.  The plotting with the 
army was revealed by one GEORGE GORING, the son of a lord of that 
name:  a bad fellow who was one of the original plotters, and 
turned traitor.  The King had actually given his warrant for the 
admission of the two hundred men into the Tower, and they would 
have got in too, but for the refusal of the governor - a sturdy 
Scotchman of the name of BALFOUR - to admit them.  These matters 
being made public, great numbers of people began to riot outside 
the Houses of Parliament, and to cry out for the execution of the 
Earl of Strafford, as one of the King's chief instruments against 
them.  The bill passed the House of Lords while the people were in 
this state of agitation, and was laid before the King for his 
assent, together with another bill declaring that the Parliament 
then assembled should not be dissolved or adjourned without their 
own consent.  The King - not unwilling to save a faithful servant, 
though he had no great attachment for him - was in some doubt what 
to do; but he gave his consent to both bills, although he in his 
heart believed that the bill against the Earl of Strafford was 
unlawful and unjust.  The Earl had written to him, telling him that 
he was willing to die for his sake.  But he had not expected that 
his royal master would take him at his word quite so readily; for, 
when he heard his doom, he laid his hand upon his heart, and said, 
'Put not your trust in Princes!'

The King, who never could be straightforward and plain, through one 
single day or through one single sheet of paper, wrote a letter to 
the Lords, and sent it by the young Prince of Wales, entreating 
them to prevail with the Commons that 'that unfortunate man should 
fulfil the natural course of his life in a close imprisonment.'  In 
a postscript to the very same letter, he added, 'If he must die, it 
were charity to reprieve him till Saturday.'  If there had been any 
doubt of his fate, this weakness and meanness would have settled 
it.  The very next day, which was the twelfth of May, he was 
brought out to be beheaded on Tower Hill.

Archbishop Laud, who had been so fond of having people's ears 
cropped off and their noses slit, was now confined in the Tower 
too; and when the Earl went by his window to his death, he was 
there, at his request, to give him his blessing.  They had been 
great friends in the King's cause, and the Earl had written to him 
in the days of their power that he thought it would be an admirable 
thing to have Mr. Hampden publicly whipped for refusing to pay the 
ship money.  However, those high and mighty doings were over now, 
and the Earl went his way to death with dignity and heroism.  The 
governor wished him to get into a coach at the Tower gate, for fear 
the people should tear him to pieces; but he said it was all one to 
him whether he died by the axe or by the people's hands.  So, he 
walked, with a firm tread and a stately look, and sometimes pulled 
off his hat to them as he passed along.  They were profoundly 
quiet.  He made a speech on the scaffold from some notes he had 
prepared (the paper was found lying there after his head was struck 
off), and one blow of the axe killed him, in the forty-ninth year 
of his age.

This bold and daring act, the Parliament accompanied by other 
famous measures, all originating (as even this did) in the King's 
having so grossly and so long abused his power.  The name of 
DELINQUENTS was applied to all sheriffs and other officers who had 
been concerned in raising the ship money, or any other money, from 
the people, in an unlawful manner; the Hampden judgment was 
reversed; the judges who had decided against Hampden were called 
upon to give large securities that they would take such 
consequences as Parliament might impose upon them; and one was 
arrested as he sat in High Court, and carried off to prison.  Laud 
was impeached; the unfortunate victims whose ears had been cropped 
and whose noses had been slit, were brought out of prison in 
triumph; and a bill was passed declaring that a Parliament should 
be called every third year, and that if the King and the King's 
officers did not call it, the people should assemble of themselves 
and summon it, as of their own right and power.  Great 
illuminations and rejoicings took place over all these things, and 
the country was wildly excited.  That the Parliament took advantage 
of this excitement and stirred them up by every means, there is no 
doubt; but you are always to remember those twelve long years, 
during which the King had tried so hard whether he really could do 
any wrong or not.

All this time there was a great religious outcry against the right 
of the Bishops to sit in Parliament; to which the Scottish people 
particularly objected.  The English were divided on this subject, 
and, partly on this account and partly because they had had foolish 
expectations that the Parliament would be able to take off nearly 
all the taxes, numbers of them sometimes wavered and inclined 
towards the King.

I believe myself, that if, at this or almost any other period of 
his life, the King could have been trusted by any man not out of 
his senses, he might have saved himself and kept his throne.  But, 
on the English army being disbanded, he plotted with the officers 
again, as he had done before, and established the fact beyond all 
doubt by putting his signature of approval to a petition against 
the Parliamentary leaders, which was drawn up by certain officers.  
When the Scottish army was disbanded, he went to Edinburgh in four 
days - which was going very fast at that time - to plot again, and 
so darkly too, that it is difficult to decide what his whole object 
was.  Some suppose that he wanted to gain over the Scottish 
Parliament, as he did in fact gain over, by presents and favours, 
many Scottish lords and men of power.  Some think that he went to 
get proofs against the Parliamentary leaders in England of their 
having treasonably invited the Scottish people to come and help 
them.  With whatever object he went to Scotland, he did little good 
by going.  At the instigation of the EARL OF MONTROSE, a desperate 
man who was then in prison for plotting, he tried to kidnap three 
Scottish lords who escaped.  A committee of the Parliament at home, 
who had followed to watch him, writing an account of this INCIDENT, 
as it was called, to the Parliament, the Parliament made a fresh 
stir about it; were, or feigned to be, much alarmed for themselves; 
and wrote to the EARL OF ESSEX, the commander-in-chief, for a guard 
to protect them.

It is not absolutely proved that the King plotted in Ireland 
besides, but it is very probable that he did, and that the Queen 
did, and that he had some wild hope of gaining the Irish people 
over to his side by favouring a rise among them.  Whether or no, 
they did rise in a most brutal and savage rebellion; in which, 
encouraged by their priests, they committed such atrocities upon 
numbers of the English, of both sexes and of all ages, as nobody 
could believe, but for their being related on oath by eye-
witnesses.  Whether one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand 
Protestants were murdered in this outbreak, is uncertain; but, that 
it was as ruthless and barbarous an outbreak as ever was known 
among any savage people, is certain.

The King came home from Scotland, determined to make a great 
struggle for his lost power.  He believed that, through his 
presents and favours, Scotland would take no part against him; and 
the Lord Mayor of London received him with such a magnificent 
dinner that he thought he must have become popular again in 
England.  It would take a good many Lord Mayors, however, to make a 
people, and the King soon found himself mistaken.

Not so soon, though, but that there was a great opposition in the 
Parliament to a celebrated paper put forth by Pym and Hampden and 
the rest, called 'THE REMONSTRANCE,' which set forth all the 
illegal acts that the King had ever done, but politely laid the 
blame of them on his bad advisers.  Even when it was passed and 
presented to him, the King still thought himself strong enough to 
discharge Balfour from his command in the Tower, and to put in his 
place a man of bad character; to whom the Commons instantly 
objected, and whom he was obliged to abandon.  At this time, the 
old outcry about the Bishops became louder than ever, and the old 
Archbishop of York was so near being murdered as he went down to 
the House of Lords - being laid hold of by the mob and violently 
knocked about, in return for very foolishly scolding a shrill boy 
who was yelping out 'No Bishops!' - that he sent for all the 
Bishops who were in town, and proposed to them to sign a 
declaration that, as they could no longer without danger to their 
lives attend their duty in Parliament, they protested against the 
lawfulness of everything done in their absence.  This they asked 
the King to send to the House of Lords, which he did.  Then the 
House of Commons impeached the whole party of Bishops and sent them 
off to the Tower:

Taking no warning from this; but encouraged by there being a 
moderate party in the Parliament who objected to these strong 
measures, the King, on the third of January, one thousand six 
hundred and forty-two, took the rashest step that ever was taken by 
mortal man.

Of his own accord and without advice, he sent the Attorney-General 
to the House of Lords, to accuse of treason certain members of 
Parliament who as popular leaders were the most obnoxious to him; 
used to call him King Pym, he possessed such power and looked so 
big), JOHN HAMPDEN, and WILLIAM STRODE.  The houses of those 
members he caused to be entered, and their papers to be sealed up.  
At the same time, he sent a messenger to the House of Commons 
demanding to have the five gentlemen who were members of that House 
immediately produced.  To this the House replied that they should 
appear as soon as there was any legal charge against them, and 
immediately adjourned.

Next day, the House of Commons send into the City to let the Lord 
Mayor know that their privileges are invaded by the King, and that 
there is no safety for anybody or anything.  Then, when the five 
members are gone out of the way, down comes the King himself, with 
all his guard and from two to three hundred gentlemen and soldiers, 
of whom the greater part were armed.  These he leaves in the hall; 
and then, with his nephew at his side, goes into the House, takes 
off his hat, and walks up to the Speaker's chair.  The Speaker 
leaves it, the King stands in front of it, looks about him steadily 
for a little while, and says he has come for those five members.  
No one speaks, and then he calls John Pym by name.  No one speaks, 
and then he calls Denzil Hollis by name.  No one speaks, and then 
he asks the Speaker of the House where those five members are?  The 
Speaker, answering on his knee, nobly replies that he is the 
servant of that House, and that he has neither eyes to see, nor 
tongue to speak, anything but what the House commands him.  Upon 
this, the King, beaten from that time evermore, replies that he 
will seek them himself, for they have committed treason; and goes 
out, with his hat in his hand, amid some audible murmurs from the 

No words can describe the hurry that arose out of doors when all 
this was known.  The five members had gone for safety to a house in 
Coleman-street, in the City, where they were guarded all night; and 
indeed the whole city watched in arms like an army.  At ten o'clock 
in the morning, the King, already frightened at what he had done, 
came to the Guildhall, with only half a dozen lords, and made a 
speech to the people, hoping they would not shelter those whom he 
accused of treason.  Next day, he issued a proclamation for the 
apprehension of the five members; but the Parliament minded it so 
little that they made great arrangements for having them brought 
down to Westminster in great state, five days afterwards.  The King 
was so alarmed now at his own imprudence, if not for his own 
safety, that he left his palace at Whitehall, and went away with 
his Queen and children to Hampton Court.

It was the eleventh of May, when the five members were carried in 
state and triumph to Westminster.  They were taken by water.  The 
river could not be seen for the boats on it; and the five members 
were hemmed in by barges full of men and great guns, ready to 
protect them, at any cost.  Along the Strand a large body of the 
train-bands of London, under their commander, SKIPPON, marched to 
be ready to assist the little fleet.  Beyond them, came a crowd who 
choked the streets, roaring incessantly about the Bishops and the 
Papists, and crying out contemptuously as they passed Whitehall, 
'What has become of the King?'  With this great noise outside the 
House of Commons, and with great silence within, Mr. Pym rose and 
informed the House of the great kindness with which they had been 
received in the City.  Upon that, the House called the sheriffs in 
and thanked them, and requested the train-bands, under their 
commander Skippon, to guard the House of Commons every day.  Then, 
came four thousand men on horseback out of Buckinghamshire, 
offering their services as a guard too, and bearing a petition to 
the King, complaining of the injury that had been done to Mr. 
Hampden, who was their county man and much beloved and honoured.

When the King set off for Hampton Court, the gentlemen and soldiers 
who had been with him followed him out of town as far as Kingston-
upon-Thames; next day, Lord Digby came to them from the King at 
Hampton Court, in his coach and six, to inform them that the King 
accepted their protection.  This, the Parliament said, was making 
war against the kingdom, and Lord Digby fled abroad.  The 
Parliament then immediately applied themselves to getting hold of 
the military power of the country, well knowing that the King was 
already trying hard to use it against them, and that he had 
secretly sent the Earl of Newcastle to Hull, to secure a valuable 
magazine of arms and gunpowder that was there.  In those times, 
every county had its own magazines of arms and powder, for its own 
train-bands or militia; so, the Parliament brought in a bill 
claiming the right (which up to this time had belonged to the King) 
of appointing the Lord Lieutenants of counties, who commanded these 
train-bands; also, of having all the forts, castles, and garrisons 
in the kingdom, put into the hands of such governors as they, the 
Parliament, could confide in.  It also passed a law depriving the 
Bishops of their votes.  The King gave his assent to that bill, but 
would not abandon the right of appointing the Lord Lieutenants, 
though he said he was willing to appoint such as might be suggested 
to him by the Parliament.  When the Earl of Pembroke asked him 
whether he would not give way on that question for a time, he said, 
'By God! not for one hour!' and upon this he and the Parliament 
went to war.

His young daughter was betrothed to the Prince of Orange.  On 
pretence of taking her to the country of her future husband, the 
Queen was already got safely away to Holland, there to pawn the 
Crown jewels for money to raise an army on the King's side.  The 
Lord Admiral being sick, the House of Commons now named the Earl of 
Warwick to hold his place for a year.  The King named another 
gentleman; the House of Commons took its own way, and the Earl of 
Warwick became Lord Admiral without the King's consent.  The 
Parliament sent orders down to Hull to have that magazine removed 
to London; the King went down to Hull to take it himself.  The 
citizens would not admit him into the town, and the governor would 
not admit him into the castle.  The Parliament resolved that 
whatever the two Houses passed, and the King would not consent to, 
should be called an ORDINANCE, and should be as much a law as if he 
did consent to it.  The King protested against this, and gave 
notice that these ordinances were not to be obeyed.  The King, 
attended by the majority of the House of Peers, and by many members 
of the House of Commons, established himself at York.  The 
Chancellor went to him with the Great Seal, and the Parliament made 
a new Great Seal.  The Queen sent over a ship full of arms and 
ammunition, and the King issued letters to borrow money at high 
interest.  The Parliament raised twenty regiments of foot and 
seventy-five troops of horse; and the people willingly aided them 
with their money, plate, jewellery, and trinkets - the married 
women even with their wedding-rings.  Every member of Parliament 
who could raise a troop or a regiment in his own part of the 
country, dressed it according to his taste and in his own colours, 
and commanded it.  Foremost among them all, OLIVER CROMWELL raised 
a troop of horse - thoroughly in earnest and thoroughly well armed 
- who were, perhaps, the best soldiers that ever were seen.

In some of their proceedings, this famous Parliament passed the 
bounds of previous law and custom, yielded to and favoured riotous 
assemblages of the people, and acted tyrannically in imprisoning 
some who differed from the popular leaders.  But again, you are 
always to remember that the twelve years during which the King had 
had his own wilful way, had gone before; and that nothing could 
make the times what they might, could, would, or should have been, 
if those twelve years had never rolled away.


I SHALL not try to relate the particulars of the great civil war 
between King Charles the First and the Long Parliament, which 
lasted nearly four years, and a full account of which would fill 
many large books.  It was a sad thing that Englishmen should once 
more be fighting against Englishmen on English ground; but, it is 
some consolation to know that on both sides there was great 
humanity, forbearance, and honour.  The soldiers of the Parliament 
were far more remarkable for these good qualities than the soldiers 
of the King (many of whom fought for mere pay without much caring 
for the cause); but those of the nobility and gentry who were on 
the King's side were so brave, and so faithful to him, that their 
conduct cannot but command our highest admiration.  Among them were 
great numbers of Catholics, who took the royal side because the 
Queen was so strongly of their persuasion.

The King might have distinguished some of these gallant spirits, if 
he had been as generous a spirit himself, by giving them the 
command of his army.  Instead of that, however, true to his old 
high notions of royalty, he entrusted it to his two nephews, PRINCE 
RUPERT and PRINCE MAURICE, who were of royal blood and came over 
from abroad to help him.  It might have been better for him if they 
had stayed away; since Prince Rupert was an impetuous, hot-headed 
fellow, whose only idea was to dash into battle at all times and 
seasons, and lay about him.

The general-in-chief of the Parliamentary army was the Earl of 
Essex, a gentleman of honour and an excellent soldier.  A little 
while before the war broke out, there had been some rioting at 
Westminster between certain officious law students and noisy 
soldiers, and the shopkeepers and their apprentices, and the 
general people in the streets.  At that time the King's friends 
called the crowd, Roundheads, because the apprentices wore short 
hair; the crowd, in return, called their opponents Cavaliers, 
meaning that they were a blustering set, who pretended to be very 
military.  These two words now began to be used to distinguish the 
two sides in the civil war.  The Royalists also called the 
Parliamentary men Rebels and Rogues, while the Parliamentary men 
called THEM Malignants, and spoke of themselves as the Godly, the 
Honest, and so forth.

The war broke out at Portsmouth, where that double traitor Goring 
had again gone over to the King and was besieged by the 
Parliamentary troops.  Upon this, the King proclaimed the Earl of 
Essex and the officers serving under him, traitors, and called upon 
his loyal subjects to meet him in arms at Nottingham on the twenty-
fifth of August.  But his loyal subjects came about him in scanty 
numbers, and it was a windy, gloomy day, and the Royal Standard got 
blown down, and the whole affair was very melancholy.  The chief 
engagements after this, took place in the vale of the Red Horse 
near Banbury, at Brentford, at Devizes, at Chalgrave Field (where 
Mr. Hampden was so sorely wounded while fighting at the head of his 
men, that he died within a week), at Newbury (in which battle LORD 
FALKLAND, one of the best noblemen on the King's side, was killed), 
at Leicester, at Naseby, at Winchester, at Marston Moor near York, 
at Newcastle, and in many other parts of England and Scotland.  
These battles were attended with various successes.  At one time, 
the King was victorious; at another time, the Parliament.  But 
almost all the great and busy towns were against the King; and when 
it was considered necessary to fortify London, all ranks of people, 
from labouring men and women, up to lords and ladies, worked hard 
together with heartiness and good will.  The most distinguished 
leaders on the Parliamentary side were HAMPDEN, SIR THOMAS FAIRFAX, 
and, above all, OLIVER CROMWELL, and his son-in-law IRETON.

During the whole of this war, the people, to whom it was very 
expensive and irksome, and to whom it was made the more distressing 
by almost every family being divided - some of its members 
attaching themselves to one side and some to the other - were over 
and over again most anxious for peace.  So were some of the best 
men in each cause.  Accordingly, treaties of peace were discussed 
between commissioners from the Parliament and the King; at York, at 
Oxford (where the King held a little Parliament of his own), and at 
Uxbridge.  But they came to nothing.  In all these negotiations, 
and in all his difficulties, the King showed himself at his best.  
He was courageous, cool, self-possessed, and clever; but, the old 
taint of his character was always in him, and he was never for one 
single moment to be trusted.  Lord Clarendon, the historian, one of 
his highest admirers, supposes that he had unhappily promised the 
Queen never to make peace without her consent, and that this must 
often be taken as his excuse.  He never kept his word from night to 
morning.  He signed a cessation of hostilities with the blood-
stained Irish rebels for a sum of money, and invited the Irish 
regiments over, to help him against the Parliament.  In the battle 
of Naseby, his cabinet was seized and was found to contain a 
correspondence with the Queen, in which he expressly told her that 
he had deceived the Parliament - a mongrel Parliament, he called it 
now, as an improvement on his old term of vipers - in pretending to 
recognise it and to treat with it; and from which it further 
appeared that he had long been in secret treaty with the Duke of 
Lorraine for a foreign army of ten thousand men.  Disappointed in 
this, he sent a most devoted friend of his, the EARL OF GLAMORGAN, 
to Ireland, to conclude a secret treaty with the Catholic powers, 
to send him an Irish army of ten thousand men; in return for which 
he was to bestow great favours on the Catholic religion.  And, when 
this treaty was discovered in the carriage of a fighting Irish 
Archbishop who was killed in one of the many skirmishes of those 
days, he basely denied and deserted his attached friend, the Earl, 
on his being charged with high treason; and - even worse than this 
- had left blanks in the secret instructions he gave him with his 
own kingly hand, expressly that he might thus save himself.

At last, on the twenty-seventh day of April, one thousand six 
hundred and forty-six, the King found himself in the city of 
Oxford, so surrounded by the Parliamentary army who were closing in 
upon him on all sides that he felt that if he would escape he must 
delay no longer.  So, that night, having altered the cut of his 
hair and beard, he was dressed up as a servant and put upon a horse 
with a cloak strapped behind him, and rode out of the town behind 
one of his own faithful followers, with a clergyman of that country 
who knew the road well, for a guide.  He rode towards London as far 
as Harrow, and then altered his plans and resolved, it would seem, 
to go to the Scottish camp.  The Scottish men had been invited over 
to help the Parliamentary army, and had a large force then in 
England.  The King was so desperately intriguing in everything he 
did, that it is doubtful what he exactly meant by this step.  He 
took it, anyhow, and delivered himself up to the EARL OF LEVEN, the 
Scottish general-in-chief, who treated him as an honourable 
prisoner.  Negotiations between the Parliament on the one hand and 
the Scottish authorities on the other, as to what should be done 
with him, lasted until the following February.  Then, when the King 
had refused to the Parliament the concession of that old militia 
point for twenty years, and had refused to Scotland the recognition 
of its Solemn League and Covenant, Scotland got a handsome sum for 
its army and its help, and the King into the bargain.  He was 
taken, by certain Parliamentary commissioners appointed to receive 
him, to one of his own houses, called Holmby House, near Althorpe, 
in Northamptonshire.

While the Civil War was still in progress, John Pym died, and was 
buried with great honour in Westminster Abbey - not with greater 
honour than he deserved, for the liberties of Englishmen owe a 
mighty debt to Pym and Hampden.  The war was but newly over when 
the Earl of Essex died, of an illness brought on by his having 
overheated himself in a stag hunt in Windsor Forest.  He, too, was 
buried in Westminster Abbey, with great state.  I wish it were not 
necessary to add that Archbishop Laud died upon the scaffold when 
the war was not yet done.  His trial lasted in all nearly a year, 
and, it being doubtful even then whether the charges brought 
against him amounted to treason, the odious old contrivance of the 
worst kings was resorted to, and a bill of attainder was brought in 
against him.  He was a violently prejudiced and mischievous person; 
had had strong ear-cropping and nose-splitting propensities, as you 
know; and had done a world of harm.  But he died peaceably, and 
like a brave old man.


WHEN the Parliament had got the King into their hands, they became 
very anxious to get rid of their army, in which Oliver Cromwell had 
begun to acquire great power; not only because of his courage and 
high abilities, but because he professed to be very sincere in the 
Scottish sort of Puritan religion that was then exceedingly popular 
among the soldiers.  They were as much opposed to the Bishops as to 
the Pope himself; and the very privates, drummers, and trumpeters, 
had such an inconvenient habit of starting up and preaching long-
winded discourses, that I would not have belonged to that army on 
any account.

So, the Parliament, being far from sure but that the army might 
begin to preach and fight against them now it had nothing else to 
do, proposed to disband the greater part of it, to send another 
part to serve in Ireland against the rebels, and to keep only a 
small force in England.  But, the army would not consent to be 
broken up, except upon its own conditions; and, when the Parliament 
showed an intention of compelling it, it acted for itself in an 
unexpected manner.  A certain cornet, of the name of JOICE, arrived 
at Holmby House one night, attended by four hundred horsemen, went 
into the King's room with his hat in one hand and a pistol in the 
other, and told the King that he had come to take him away.  The 
King was willing enough to go, and only stipulated that he should 
be publicly required to do so next morning.  Next morning, 
accordingly, he appeared on the top of the steps of the house, and 
asked Comet Joice before his men and the guard set there by the 
Parliament, what authority he had for taking him away?  To this 
Cornet Joice replied, 'The authority of the army.'  'Have you a 
written commission?' said the King.  Joice, pointing to his four 
hundred men on horseback, replied, 'That is my commission.'  
'Well,' said the King, smiling, as if he were pleased, 'I never 
before read such a commission; but it is written in fair and 
legible characters.  This is a company of as handsome proper 
gentlemen as I have seen a long while.'  He was asked where he 
would like to live, and he said at Newmarket.  So, to Newmarket he 
and Cornet Joice and the four hundred horsemen rode; the King 
remarking, in the same smiling way, that he could ride as far at a 
spell as Cornet Joice, or any man there.

The King quite believed, I think, that the army were his friends.  
He said as much to Fairfax when that general, Oliver Cromwell, and 
Ireton, went to persuade him to return to the custody of the 
Parliament.  He preferred to remain as he was, and resolved to 
remain as he was.  And when the army moved nearer and nearer London 
to frighten the Parliament into yielding to their demands, they 
took the King with them.  It was a deplorable thing that England 
should be at the mercy of a great body of soldiers with arms in 
their hands; but the King certainly favoured them at this important 
time of his life, as compared with the more lawful power that tried 
to control him.  It must be added, however, that they treated him, 
as yet, more respectfully and kindly than the Parliament had done.  
They allowed him to be attended by his own servants, to be 
splendidly entertained at various houses, and to see his children - 
at Cavesham House, near Reading - for two days.  Whereas, the 
Parliament had been rather hard with him, and had only allowed him 
to ride out and play at bowls.

It is much to be believed that if the King could have been trusted, 
even at this time, he might have been saved.  Even Oliver Cromwell 
expressly said that he did believe that no man could enjoy his 
possessions in peace, unless the King had his rights.  He was not 
unfriendly towards the King; he had been present when he received 
his children, and had been much affected by the pitiable nature of 
the scene; he saw the King often; he frequently walked and talked 
with him in the long galleries and pleasant gardens of the Palace 
at Hampton Court, whither he was now removed; and in all this 
risked something of his influence with the army.  But, the King was 
in secret hopes of help from the Scottish people; and the moment he 
was encouraged to join them he began to be cool to his new friends, 
the army, and to tell the officers that they could not possibly do 
without him.  At the very time, too, when he was promising to make 
Cromwell and Ireton noblemen, if they would help him up to his old 
height, he was writing to the Queen that he meant to hang them.  
They both afterwards declared that they had been privately informed 
that such a letter would be found, on a certain evening, sewed up 
in a saddle which would be taken to the Blue Boar in Holborn to be 
sent to Dover; and that they went there, disguised as common 
soldiers, and sat drinking in the inn-yard until a man came with 
the saddle, which they ripped up with their knives, and therein 
found the letter.  I see little reason to doubt the story.  It is 
certain that Oliver Cromwell told one of the King's most faithful 
followers that the King could not be trusted, and that he would not 
be answerable if anything amiss were to happen to him.  Still, even 
after that, he kept a promise he had made to the King, by letting 
him know that there was a plot with a certain portion of the army 
to seize him.  I believe that, in fact, he sincerely wanted the 
King to escape abroad, and so to be got rid of without more trouble 
or danger.  That Oliver himself had work enough with the army is 
pretty plain; for some of the troops were so mutinous against him, 
and against those who acted with him at this time, that he found it 
necessary to have one man shot at the head of his regiment to 
overawe the rest.

The King, when he received Oliver's warning, made his escape from 
Hampton Court; after some indecision and uncertainty, he went to 
Carisbrooke Castle in the Isle of Wight.  At first, he was pretty 
free there; but, even there, he carried on a pretended treaty with 
the Parliament, while he was really treating with commissioners 
from Scotland to send an army into England to take his part.  When 
he broke off this treaty with the Parliament (having settled with 
Scotland) and was treated as a prisoner, his treatment was not 
changed too soon, for he had plotted to escape that very night to a 
ship sent by the Queen, which was lying off the island.

He was doomed to be disappointed in his hopes from Scotland.  The 
agreement he had made with the Scottish Commissioners was not 
favourable enough to the religion of that country to please the 
Scottish clergy; and they preached against it.  The consequence 
was, that the army raised in Scotland and sent over, was too small 
to do much; and that, although it was helped by a rising of the 
Royalists in England and by good soldiers from Ireland, it could 
make no head against the Parliamentary army under such men as 
Cromwell and Fairfax.  The King's eldest son, the Prince of Wales, 
came over from Holland with nineteen ships (a part of the English 
fleet having gone over to him) to help his father; but nothing came 
of his voyage, and he was fain to return.  The most remarkable 
event of this second civil war was the cruel execution by the 
Parliamentary General, of SIR CHARLES LUCAS and SIR GEORGE LISLE, 
two grand Royalist generals, who had bravely defended Colchester 
under every disadvantage of famine and distress for nearly three 
months.  When Sir Charles Lucas was shot, Sir George Lisle kissed 
his body, and said to the soldiers who were to shoot him, 'Come 
nearer, and make sure of me.'  'I warrant you, Sir George,' said 
one of the soldiers, 'we shall hit you.'  'AY?' he returned with a 
smile, 'but I have been nearer to you, my friends, many a time, and 
you have missed me.'

The Parliament, after being fearfully bullied by the army - who 
demanded to have seven members whom they disliked given up to them 
- had voted that they would have nothing more to do with the King.  
On the conclusion, however, of this second civil war (which did not 
last more than six months), they appointed commissioners to treat 
with him.  The King, then so far released again as to be allowed to 
live in a private house at Newport in the Isle of Wight, managed 
his own part of the negotiation with a sense that was admired by 
all who saw him, and gave up, in the end, all that was asked of him 
- even yielding (which he had steadily refused, so far) to the 
temporary abolition of the bishops, and the transfer of their 
church land to the Crown.  Still, with his old fatal vice upon him, 
when his best friends joined the commissioners in beseeching him to 
yield all those points as the only means of saving himself from the 
army, he was plotting to escape from the island; he was holding 
correspondence with his friends and the Catholics in Ireland, 
though declaring that he was not; and he was writing, with his own 
hand, that in what he yielded he meant nothing but to get time to 

Matters were at this pass when the army, resolved to defy the 
Parliament, marched up to London.  The Parliament, not afraid of 
them now, and boldly led by Hollis, voted that the King's 
concessions were sufficient ground for settling the peace of the 
kingdom.  Upon that, COLONEL RICH and COLONEL PRIDE went down to 
the House of Commons with a regiment of horse soldiers and a 
regiment of foot; and Colonel Pride, standing in the lobby with a 
list of the members who were obnoxious to the army in his hand, had 
them pointed out to him as they came through, and took them all 
into custody.  This proceeding was afterwards called by the people, 
for a joke, PRIDE'S PURGE.  Cromwell was in the North, at the head 
of his men, at the time, but when he came home, approved of what 
had been done.

What with imprisoning some members and causing others to stay away, 
the army had now reduced the House of Commons to some fifty or so.  
These soon voted that it was treason in a king to make war against 
his parliament and his people, and sent an ordinance up to the 
House of Lords for the King's being tried as a traitor.  The House 
of Lords, then sixteen in number, to a man rejected it.  Thereupon, 
the Commons made an ordinance of their own, that they were the 
supreme government of the country, and would bring the King to 

The King had been taken for security to a place called Hurst 
Castle:  a lonely house on a rock in the sea, connected with the 
coast of Hampshire by a rough road two miles long at low water.  
Thence, he was ordered to be removed to Windsor; thence, after 
being but rudely used there, and having none but soldiers to wait 
upon him at table, he was brought up to St. James's Palace in 
London, and told that his trial was appointed for next day.

On Saturday, the twentieth of January, one thousand six hundred and 
forty-nine, this memorable trial began.  The House of Commons had 
settled that one hundred and thirty-five persons should form the 
Court, and these were taken from the House itself, from among the 
officers of the army, and from among the lawyers and citizens.  
JOHN BRADSHAW, serjeant-at-law, was appointed president.  The place 
was Westminster Hall.  At the upper end, in a red velvet chair, sat 
the president, with his hat (lined with plates of iron for his 
protection) on his head.  The rest of the Court sat on side 
benches, also wearing their hats.  The King's seat was covered with 
velvet, like that of the president, and was opposite to it.  He was 
brought from St. James's to Whitehall, and from Whitehall he came 
by water to his trial.

When he came in, he looked round very steadily on the Court, and on 
the great number of spectators, and then sat down:  presently he 
got up and looked round again.  On the indictment 'against Charles 
Stuart, for high treason,' being read, he smiled several times, and 
he denied the authority of the Court, saying that there could be no 
parliament without a House of Lords, and that he saw no House of 
Lords there.  Also, that the King ought to be there, and that he 
saw no King in the King's right place.  Bradshaw replied, that the 
Court was satisfied with its authority, and that its authority was 
God's authority and the kingdom's.  He then adjourned the Court to 
the following Monday.  On that day, the trial was resumed, and went 
on all the week.  When the Saturday came, as the King passed 
forward to his place in the Hall, some soldiers and others cried 
for 'justice!' and execution on him.  That day, too, Bradshaw, like 
an angry Sultan, wore a red robe, instead of the black robe he had 
worn before.  The King was sentenced to death that day.  As he went 
out, one solitary soldier said, 'God bless you, Sir!'  For this, 
his officer struck him.  The King said he thought the punishment 
exceeded the offence.  The silver head of his walking-stick had 
fallen off while he leaned upon it, at one time of the trial.  The 
accident seemed to disturb him, as if he thought it ominous of the 
falling of his own head; and he admitted as much, now it was all 

Being taken back to Whitehall, he sent to the House of Commons, 
saying that as the time of his execution might be nigh, he wished 
he might be allowed to see his darling children.  It was granted.  
On the Monday he was taken back to St. James's; and his two 
children then in England, the PRINCESS ELIZABETH thirteen years 
old, and the DUKE OF GLOUCESTER nine years old, were brought to 
take leave of him, from Sion House, near Brentford.  It was a sad 
and touching scene, when he kissed and fondled those poor children, 
and made a little present of two diamond seals to the Princess, and 
gave them tender messages to their mother (who little deserved 
them, for she had a lover of her own whom she married soon 
afterwards), and told them that he died 'for the laws and liberties 
of the land.'  I am bound to say that I don't think he did, but I 
dare say he believed so.

There were ambassadors from Holland that day, to intercede for the 
unhappy King, whom you and I both wish the Parliament had spared; 
but they got no answer.  The Scottish Commissioners interceded too; 
so did the Prince of Wales, by a letter in which he offered as the 
next heir to the throne, to accept any conditions from the 
Parliament; so did the Queen, by letter likewise.

Notwithstanding all, the warrant for the execution was this day 
signed.  There is a story that as Oliver Cromwell went to the table 
with the pen in his hand to put his signature to it, he drew his 
pen across the face of one of the commissioners, who was standing 
near, and marked it with ink.  That commissioner had not signed his 
own name yet, and the story adds that when he came to do it he 
marked Cromwell's face with ink in the same way.

The King slept well, untroubled by the knowledge that it was his 
last night on earth, and rose on the thirtieth of January, two 
hours before day, and dressed himself carefully.  He put on two 
shirts lest he should tremble with the cold, and had his hair very 
carefully combed.  The warrant had been directed to three officers 
ten o'clock, the first of these came to the door and said it was 
time to go to Whitehall.  The King, who had always been a quick 
walker, walked at his usual speed through the Park, and called out 
to the guard, with his accustomed voice of command, 'March on 
apace!'  When he came to Whitehall, he was taken to his own 
bedroom, where a breakfast was set forth.  As he had taken the 
Sacrament, he would eat nothing more; but, at about the time when 
the church bells struck twelve at noon (for he had to wait, through 
the scaffold not being ready), he took the advice of the good 
BISHOP JUXON who was with him, and ate a little bread and drank a 
glass of claret.  Soon after he had taken this refreshment, Colonel 
Hacker came to the chamber with the warrant in his hand, and called 
for Charles Stuart.

And then, through the long gallery of Whitehall Palace, which he 
had often seen light and gay and merry and crowded, in very 
different times, the fallen King passed along, until he came to the 
centre window of the Banqueting House, through which he emerged 
upon the scaffold, which was hung with black.  He looked at the two 
executioners, who were dressed in black and masked; he looked at 
the troops of soldiers on horseback and on foot, and all looked up 
at him in silence; he looked at the vast array of spectators, 
filling up the view beyond, and turning all their faces upon him; 
he looked at his old Palace of St. James's; and he looked at the 
block.  He seemed a little troubled to find that it was so low, and 
asked, 'if there were no place higher?'  Then, to those upon the 
scaffold, he said, 'that it was the Parliament who had begun the 
war, and not he; but he hoped they might be guiltless too, as ill 
instruments had gone between them.  In one respect,' he said, 'he 
suffered justly; and that was because he had permitted an unjust 
sentence to be executed on another.'  In this he referred to the 
Earl of Strafford.

He was not at all afraid to die; but he was anxious to die easily.  
When some one touched the axe while he was speaking, he broke off 
and called out, 'Take heed of the axe! take heed of the axe!'  He 
also said to Colonel Hacker, 'Take care that they do not put me to 
pain.'  He told the executioner, 'I shall say but very short 
prayers, and then thrust out my hands' - as the sign to strike.

He put his hair up, under a white satin cap which the bishop had 
carried, and said, 'I have a good cause and a gracious God on my 
side.'  The bishop told him that he had but one stage more to 
travel in this weary world, and that, though it was a turbulent and 
troublesome stage, it was a short one, and would carry him a great 
way - all the way from earth to Heaven.  The King's last word, as 
he gave his cloak and the George - the decoration from his breast - 
to the bishop, was, 'Remember!'  He then kneeled down, laid his 
head on the block, spread out his hands, and was instantly killed.  
One universal groan broke from the crowd; and the soldiers, who had 
sat on their horses and stood in their ranks immovable as statues, 
were of a sudden all in motion, clearing the streets.

Thus, in the forty-ninth year of his age, falling at the same time 
of his career as Strafford had fallen in his, perished Charles the 
First.  With all my sorrow for him, I cannot agree with him that he 
died 'the martyr of the people;' for the people had been martyrs to 
him, and to his ideas of a King's rights, long before.  Indeed, I 
am afraid that he was but a bad judge of martyrs; for he had called 
that infamous Duke of Buckingham 'the Martyr of his Sovereign.'


BEFORE sunset on the memorable day on which King Charles the First 
was executed, the House of Commons passed an act declaring it 
treason in any one to proclaim the Prince of Wales - or anybody 
else - King of England.  Soon afterwards, it declared that the 
House of Lords was useless and dangerous, and ought to be 
abolished; and directed that the late King's statue should be taken 
down from the Royal Exchange in the City and other public places.  
Having laid hold of some famous Royalists who had escaped from 
prison, and having beheaded the DUKE OF HAMILTON, LORD HOLLAND, and 
LORD CAPEL, in Palace Yard (all of whom died very courageously), 
they then appointed a Council of State to govern the country.  It 
consisted of forty-one members, of whom five were peers.  Bradshaw 
was made president.  The House of Commons also re-admitted members 
who had opposed the King's death, and made up its numbers to about 
a hundred and fifty.

But, it still had an army of more than forty thousand men to deal 
with, and a very hard task it was to manage them.  Before the 
King's execution, the army had appointed some of its officers to 
remonstrate between them and the Parliament; and now the common 
soldiers began to take that office upon themselves.  The regiments 
under orders for Ireland mutinied; one troop of horse in the city 
of London seized their own flag, and refused to obey orders.  For 
this, the ringleader was shot:  which did not mend the matter, for, 
both his comrades and the people made a public funeral for him, and 
accompanied the body to the grave with sound of trumpets and with a 
gloomy procession of persons carrying bundles of rosemary steeped 
in blood.  Oliver was the only man to deal with such difficulties 
as these, and he soon cut them short by bursting at midnight into 
the town of Burford, near Salisbury, where the mutineers were 
sheltered, taking four hundred of them prisoners, and shooting a 
number of them by sentence of court-martial.  The soldiers soon 
found, as all men did, that Oliver was not a man to be trifled 
with.  And there was an end of the mutiny.

The Scottish Parliament did not know Oliver yet; so, on hearing of 
the King's execution, it proclaimed the Prince of Wales King 
Charles the Second, on condition of his respecting the Solemn 
League and Covenant.  Charles was abroad at that time, and so was 
Montrose, from whose help he had hopes enough to keep him holding 
on and off with commissioners from Scotland, just as his father 
might have done.  These hopes were soon at an end; for, Montrose, 
having raised a few hundred exiles in Germany, and landed with them 
in Scotland, found that the people there, instead of joining him, 
deserted the country at his approach.  He was soon taken prisoner 
and carried to Edinburgh.  There he was received with every 
possible insult, and carried to prison in a cart, his officers 
going two and two before him.  He was sentenced by the Parliament 
to be hanged on a gallows thirty feet high, to have his head set on 
a spike in Edinburgh, and his limbs distributed in other places, 
according to the old barbarous manner.  He said he had always acted 
under the Royal orders, and only wished he had limbs enough to be 
distributed through Christendom, that it might be the more widely 
known how loyal he had been.  He went to the scaffold in a bright 
and brilliant dress, and made a bold end at thirty-eight years of 
age.  The breath was scarcely out of his body when Charles 
abandoned his memory, and denied that he had ever given him orders 
to rise in his behalf.  O the family failing was strong in that 
Charles then!

Oliver had been appointed by the Parliament to command the army in 
Ireland, where he took a terrible vengeance for the sanguinary 
rebellion, and made tremendous havoc, particularly in the siege of 
Drogheda, where no quarter was given, and where he found at least a 
thousand of the inhabitants shut up together in the great church:  
every one of whom was killed by his soldiers, usually known as 
OLIVER'S IRONSIDES.  There were numbers of friars and priests among 
them, and Oliver gruffly wrote home in his despatch that these were 
'knocked on the head' like the rest.

But, Charles having got over to Scotland where the men of the 
Solemn League and Covenant led him a prodigiously dull life and 
made him very weary with long sermons and grim Sundays, the 
Parliament called the redoubtable Oliver home to knock the Scottish 
men on the head for setting up that Prince.  Oliver left his son-
in-law, Ireton, as general in Ireland in his stead (he died there 
afterwards), and he imitated the example of his father-in-law with 
such good will that he brought the country to subjection, and laid 
it at the feet of the Parliament.  In the end, they passed an act 
for the settlement of Ireland, generally pardoning all the common 
people, but exempting from this grace such of the wealthier sort as 
had been concerned in the rebellion, or in any killing of 
Protestants, or who refused to lay down their arms.  Great numbers 
of Irish were got out of the country to serve under Catholic powers 
abroad, and a quantity of land was declared to have been forfeited 
by past offences, and was given to people who had lent money to the 
Parliament early in the war.  These were sweeping measures; but, if 
Oliver Cromwell had had his own way fully, and had stayed in 
Ireland, he would have done more yet.

However, as I have said, the Parliament wanted Oliver for Scotland; 
so, home Oliver came, and was made Commander of all the Forces of 
the Commonwealth of England, and in three days away he went with 
sixteen thousand soldiers to fight the Scottish men.  Now, the 
Scottish men, being then - as you will generally find them now - 
mighty cautious, reflected that the troops they had were not used 
to war like the Ironsides, and would be beaten in an open fight.  
Therefore they said, 'If we live quiet in our trenches in Edinburgh 
here, and if all the farmers come into the town and desert the 
country, the Ironsides will be driven out by iron hunger and be 
forced to go away.'  This was, no doubt, the wisest plan; but as 
the Scottish clergy WOULD interfere with what they knew nothing 
about, and would perpetually preach long sermons exhorting the 
soldiers to come out and fight, the soldiers got it in their heads 
that they absolutely must come out and fight.  Accordingly, in an 
evil hour for themselves, they came out of their safe position.  
Oliver fell upon them instantly, and killed three thousand, and 
took ten thousand prisoners.

To gratify the Scottish Parliament, and preserve their favour, 
Charles had signed a declaration they laid before him, reproaching 
the memory of his father and mother, and representing himself as a 
most religious Prince, to whom the Solemn League and Covenant was 
as dear as life.  He meant no sort of truth in this, and soon 
afterwards galloped away on horseback to join some tiresome 
Highland friends, who were always flourishing dirks and 
broadswords.  He was overtaken and induced to return; but this 
attempt, which was called 'The Start,' did him just so much 
service, that they did not preach quite such long sermons at him 
afterwards as they had done before.

On the first of January, one thousand six hundred and fifty-one, 
the Scottish people crowned him at Scone.  He immediately took the 
chief command of an army of twenty thousand men, and marched to 
Stirling.  His hopes were heightened, I dare say, by the 
redoubtable Oliver being ill of an ague; but Oliver scrambled out 
of bed in no time, and went to work with such energy that he got 
behind the Royalist army and cut it off from all communication with 
Scotland.  There was nothing for it then, but to go on to England; 
so it went on as far as Worcester, where the mayor and some of the 
gentry proclaimed King Charles the Second straightway.  His 
proclamation, however, was of little use to him, for very few 
Royalists appeared; and, on the very same day, two people were 
publicly beheaded on Tower Hill for espousing his cause.  Up came 
Oliver to Worcester too, at double quick speed, and he and his 
Ironsides so laid about them in the great battle which was fought 
there, that they completely beat the Scottish men, and destroyed 
the Royalist army; though the Scottish men fought so gallantly that 
it took five hours to do.

The escape of Charles after this battle of Worcester did him good 
service long afterwards, for it induced many of the generous 
English people to take a romantic interest in him, and to think 
much better of him than he ever deserved.  He fled in the night, 
with not more than sixty followers, to the house of a Catholic lady 
in Staffordshire.  There, for his greater safety, the whole sixty 
left him.  He cropped his hair, stained his face and hands brown as 
if they were sunburnt, put on the clothes of a labouring 
countryman, and went out in the morning with his axe in his hand, 
accompanied by four wood-cutters who were brothers, and another man 
who was their brother-in-law.  These good fellows made a bed for 
him under a tree, as the weather was very bad; and the wife of one 
of them brought him food to eat; and the old mother of the four 
brothers came and fell down on her knees before him in the wood, 
and thanked God that her sons were engaged in saving his life.  At 
night, he came out of the forest and went on to another house which 
was near the river Severn, with the intention of passing into 
Wales; but the place swarmed with soldiers, and the bridges were 
guarded, and all the boats were made fast.  So, after lying in a 
hayloft covered over with hay, for some time, he came out of his 
place, attended by COLONEL CARELESS, a Catholic gentleman who had 
met him there, and with whom he lay hid, all next day, up in the 
shady branches of a fine old oak.  It was lucky for the King that 
it was September-time, and that the leaves had not begun to fall, 
since he and the Colonel, perched up in this tree, could catch 
glimpses of the soldiers riding about below, and could hear the 
crash in the wood as they went about beating the boughs.

After this, he walked and walked until his feet were all blistered; 
and, having been concealed all one day in a house which was 
searched by the troopers while he was there, went with LORD WILMOT, 
another of his good friends, to a place called Bentley, where one 
MISS LANE, a Protestant lady, had obtained a pass to be allowed to 
ride through the guards to see a relation of hers near Bristol.  
Disguised as a servant, he rode in the saddle before this young 
lady to the house of SIR JOHN WINTER, while Lord Wilmot rode there 
boldly, like a plain country gentleman, with dogs at his heels.  It 
happened that Sir John Winter's butler had been servant in Richmond 
Palace, and knew Charles the moment he set eyes upon him; but, the 
butler was faithful and kept the secret.  As no ship could be found 
to carry him abroad, it was planned that he should go - still 
travelling with Miss Lane as her servant - to another house, at 
Trent near Sherborne in Dorsetshire; and then Miss Lane and her 
cousin, MR. LASCELLES, who had gone on horseback beside her all the 
way, went home.  I hope Miss Lane was going to marry that cousin, 
for I am sure she must have been a brave, kind girl.  If I had been 
that cousin, I should certainly have loved Miss Lane.

When Charles, lonely for the loss of Miss Lane, was safe at Trent, 
a ship was hired at Lyme, the master of which engaged to take two 
gentlemen to France.  In the evening of the same day, the King - 
now riding as servant before another young lady - set off for a 
public-house at a place called Charmouth, where the captain of the 
vessel was to take him on board.  But, the captain's wife, being 
afraid of her husband getting into trouble, locked him up and would 
not let him sail.  Then they went away to Bridport; and, coming to 
the inn there, found the stable-yard full of soldiers who were on 
the look-out for Charles, and who talked about him while they 
drank.  He had such presence of mind, that he led the horses of his 
party through the yard as any other servant might have done, and 
said, 'Come out of the way, you soldiers; let us have room to pass 
here!'  As he went along, he met a half-tipsy ostler, who rubbed 
his eyes and said to him, 'Why, I was formerly servant to Mr. 
Potter at Exeter, and surely I have sometimes seen you there, young 
man?'  He certainly had, for Charles had lodged there.  His ready 
answer was, 'Ah, I did live with him once; but I have no time to 
talk now.  We'll have a pot of beer together when I come back.'

From this dangerous place he returned to Trent, and lay there 
concealed several days.  Then he escaped to Heale, near Salisbury; 
where, in the house of a widow lady, he was hidden five days, until 
the master of a collier lying off Shoreham in Sussex, undertook to 
convey a 'gentleman' to France.  On the night of the fifteenth of 
October, accompanied by two colonels and a merchant, the King rode 
to Brighton, then a little fishing village, to give the captain of 
the ship a supper before going on board; but, so many people knew 
him, that this captain knew him too, and not only he, but the 
landlord and landlady also.  Before he went away, the landlord came 
behind his chair, kissed his hand, and said he hoped to live to be 
a lord and to see his wife a lady; at which Charles laughed.  They 
had had a good supper by this time, and plenty of smoking and 
drinking, at which the King was a first-rate hand; so, the captain 
assured him that he would stand by him, and he did.  It was agreed 
that the captain should pretend to sail to Deal, and that Charles 
should address the sailors and say he was a gentleman in debt who 
was running away from his creditors, and that he hoped they would 
join him in persuading the captain to put him ashore in France.  As 
the King acted his part very well indeed, and gave the sailors 
twenty shillings to drink, they begged the captain to do what such 
a worthy gentleman asked.  He pretended to yield to their 
entreaties, and the King got safe to Normandy.

Ireland being now subdued, and Scotland kept quiet by plenty of 
forts and soldiers put there by Oliver, the Parliament would have 
gone on quietly enough, as far as fighting with any foreign enemy 
went, but for getting into trouble with the Dutch, who in the 
spring of the year one thousand six hundred and fifty-one sent a 
fleet into the Downs under their ADMIRAL VAN TROMP, to call upon 
the bold English ADMIRAL BLAKE (who was there with half as many 
ships as the Dutch) to strike his flag.  Blake fired a raging 
broadside instead, and beat off Van Tromp; who, in the autumn, came 
back again with seventy ships, and challenged the bold Blake - who 
still was only half as strong - to fight him.  Blake fought him all 
day; but, finding that the Dutch were too many for him, got quietly 
off at night.  What does Van Tromp upon this, but goes cruising and 
boasting about the Channel, between the North Foreland and the Isle 
of Wight, with a great Dutch broom tied to his masthead, as a sign 
that he could and would sweep the English of the sea!  Within three 
months, Blake lowered his tone though, and his broom too; for, he 
and two other bold commanders, DEAN and MONK, fought him three 
whole days, took twenty-three of his ships, shivered his broom to 
pieces, and settled his business.

Things were no sooner quiet again, than the army began to complain 
to the Parliament that they were not governing the nation properly, 
and to hint that they thought they could do it better themselves.  
Oliver, who had now made up his mind to be the head of the state, 
or nothing at all, supported them in this, and called a meeting of 
officers and his own Parliamentary friends, at his lodgings in 
Whitehall, to consider the best way of getting rid of the 
Parliament.  It had now lasted just as many years as the King's 
unbridled power had lasted, before it came into existence.  The end 
of the deliberation was, that Oliver went down to the House in his 
usual plain black dress, with his usual grey worsted stockings, but 
with an unusual party of soldiers behind him.  These last he left 
in the lobby, and then went in and sat down.  Presently he got up, 
made the Parliament a speech, told them that the Lord had done with 
them, stamped his foot and said, 'You are no Parliament.  Bring 
them in!  Bring them in!'  At this signal the door flew open, and 
the soldiers appeared.  'This is not honest,' said Sir Harry Vane, 
one of the members.  'Sir Harry Vane!' cried Cromwell; 'O, Sir 
Harry Vane!  The Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane!'  Then he 
pointed out members one by one, and said this man was a drunkard, 
and that man a dissipated fellow, and that man a liar, and so on.  
Then he caused the Speaker to be walked out of his chair, told the 
guard to clear the House, called the mace upon the table - which is 
a sign that the House is sitting - 'a fool's bauble,' and said, 
'here, carry it away!'  Being obeyed in all these orders, he 
quietly locked the door, put the key in his pocket, walked back to 
Whitehall again, and told his friends, who were still assembled 
there, what he had done.

They formed a new Council of State after this extraordinary 
proceeding, and got a new Parliament together in their own way:  
which Oliver himself opened in a sort of sermon, and which he said 
was the beginning of a perfect heaven upon earth.  In this 
Parliament there sat a well-known leather-seller, who had taken the 
singular name of Praise God Barebones, and from whom it was called, 
for a joke, Barebones's Parliament, though its general name was the 
Little Parliament.  As it soon appeared that it was not going to 
put Oliver in the first place, it turned out to be not at all like 
the beginning of heaven upon earth, and Oliver said it really was 
not to be borne with.  So he cleared off that Parliament in much 
the same way as he had disposed of the other; and then the council 
of officers decided that he must be made the supreme authority of 
the kingdom, under the title of the Lord Protector of the 

So, on the sixteenth of December, one thousand six hundred and 
fifty-three, a great procession was formed at Oliver's door, and he 
came out in a black velvet suit and a big pair of boots, and got 
into his coach and went down to Westminster, attended by the 
judges, and the lord mayor, and the aldermen, and all the other 
great and wonderful personages of the country.  There, in the Court 
of Chancery, he publicly accepted the office of Lord Protector.  
Then he was sworn, and the City sword was handed to him, and the 
seal was handed to him, and all the other things were handed to him 
which are usually handed to Kings and Queens on state occasions.  
When Oliver had handed them all back, he was quite made and 
completely finished off as Lord Protector; and several of the 
Ironsides preached about it at great length, all the evening.


OLIVER CROMWELL - whom the people long called OLD NOLL - in 
accepting the office of Protector, had bound himself by a certain 
paper which was handed to him, called 'the Instrument,' to summon a 
Parliament, consisting of between four and five hundred members, in 
the election of which neither the Royalists nor the Catholics were 
to have any share.  He had also pledged himself that this 
Parliament should not be dissolved without its own consent until it 
had sat five months.

When this Parliament met, Oliver made a speech to them of three 
hours long, very wisely advising them what to do for the credit and 
happiness of the country.  To keep down the more violent members, 
he required them to sign a recognition of what they were forbidden 
by 'the Instrument' to do; which was, chiefly, to take the power 
from one single person at the head of the state or to command the 
army.  Then he dismissed them to go to work.  With his usual vigour 
and resolution he went to work himself with some frantic preachers 
- who were rather overdoing their sermons in calling him a villain 
and a tyrant - by shutting up their chapels, and sending a few of 
them off to prison.

There was not at that time, in England or anywhere else, a man so 
able to govern the country as Oliver Cromwell.  Although he ruled 
with a strong hand, and levied a very heavy tax on the Royalists 
(but not until they had plotted against his life), he ruled wisely, 
and as the times required.  He caused England to be so respected 
abroad, that I wish some lords and gentlemen who have governed it 
under kings and queens in later days would have taken a leaf out of 
Oliver Cromwell's book.  He sent bold Admiral Blake to the 
Mediterranean Sea, to make the Duke of Tuscany pay sixty thousand 
pounds for injuries he had done to British subjects, and spoliation 
he had committed on English merchants.  He further despatched him 
and his fleet to Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, to have every English 
ship and every English man delivered up to him that had been taken 
by pirates in those parts.  All this was gloriously done; and it 
began to be thoroughly well known, all over the world, that England 
was governed by a man in earnest, who would not allow the English 
name to be insulted or slighted anywhere.

These were not all his foreign triumphs.  He sent a fleet to sea 
against the Dutch; and the two powers, each with one hundred ships 
upon its side, met in the English Channel off the North Foreland, 
where the fight lasted all day long.  Dean was killed in this 
fight; but Monk, who commanded in the same ship with him, threw his 
cloak over his body, that the sailors might not know of his death, 
and be disheartened.  Nor were they.  The English broadsides so 
exceedingly astonished the Dutch that they sheered off at last, 
though the redoubtable Van Tromp fired upon them with his own guns 
for deserting their flag.  Soon afterwards, the two fleets engaged 
again, off the coast of Holland.  There, the valiant Van Tromp was 
shot through the heart, and the Dutch gave in, and peace was made.

Further than this, Oliver resolved not to bear the domineering and 
bigoted conduct of Spain, which country not only claimed a right to 
all the gold and silver that could be found in South America, and 
treated the ships of all other countries who visited those regions, 
as pirates, but put English subjects into the horrible Spanish 
prisons of the Inquisition.  So, Oliver told the Spanish ambassador 
that English ships must be free to go wherever they would, and that 
English merchants must not be thrown into those same dungeons, no, 
not for the pleasure of all the priests in Spain.  To this, the 
Spanish ambassador replied that the gold and silver country, and 
the Holy Inquisition, were his King's two eyes, neither of which he 
could submit to have put out.  Very well, said Oliver, then he was 
afraid he (Oliver) must damage those two eyes directly.

So, another fleet was despatched under two commanders, PENN and 
VENABLES, for Hispaniola; where, however, the Spaniards got the 
better of the fight.  Consequently, the fleet came home again, 
after taking Jamaica on the way.  Oliver, indignant with the two 
commanders who had not done what bold Admiral Blake would have 
done, clapped them both into prison, declared war against Spain, 
and made a treaty with France, in virtue of which it was to shelter 
the King and his brother the Duke of York no longer.  Then, he sent 
a fleet abroad under bold Admiral Blake, which brought the King of 
Portugal to his senses - just to keep its hand in - and then 
engaged a Spanish fleet, sunk four great ships, and took two more, 
laden with silver to the value of two millions of pounds:  which 
dazzling prize was brought from Portsmouth to London in waggons, 
with the populace of all the towns and villages through which the 
waggons passed, shouting with all their might.  After this victory, 
bold Admiral Blake sailed away to the port of Santa Cruz to cut off 
the Spanish treasure-ships coming from Mexico.  There, he found 
them, ten in number, with seven others to take care of them, and a 
big castle, and seven batteries, all roaring and blazing away at 
him with great guns.  Blake cared no more for great guns than for 
pop-guns - no more for their hot iron balls than for snow-balls.  
He dashed into the harbour, captured and burnt every one of the 
ships, and came sailing out again triumphantly, with the victorious 
English flag flying at his masthead.  This was the last triumph of 
this great commander, who had sailed and fought until he was quite 
worn out.  He died, as his successful ship was coming into Plymouth 
Harbour amidst the joyful acclamations of the people, and was 
buried in state in Westminster Abbey.  Not to lie there, long.

Over and above all this, Oliver found that the VAUDOIS, or 
Protestant people of the valleys of Lucerne, were insolently 
treated by the Catholic powers, and were even put to death for 
their religion, in an audacious and bloody manner.  Instantly, he 
informed those powers that this was a thing which Protestant 
England would not allow; and he speedily carried his point, through 
the might of his great name, and established their right to worship 
God in peace after their own harmless manner.

Lastly, his English army won such admiration in fighting with the 
French against the Spaniards, that, after they had assaulted the 
town of Dunkirk together, the French King in person gave it up to 
the English, that it might be a token to them of their might and 

There were plots enough against Oliver among the frantic 
religionists (who called themselves Fifth Monarchy Men), and among 
the disappointed Republicans.  He had a difficult game to play, for 
the Royalists were always ready to side with either party against 
him.  The 'King over the water,' too, as Charles was called, had no 
scruples about plotting with any one against his life; although 
there is reason to suppose that he would willingly have married one 
of his daughters, if Oliver would have had such a son-in-law.  
There was a certain COLONEL SAXBY of the army, once a great 
supporter of Oliver's but now turned against him, who was a 
grievous trouble to him through all this part of his career; and 
who came and went between the discontented in England and Spain, 
and Charles who put himself in alliance with Spain on being thrown 
off by France.  This man died in prison at last; but not until 
there had been very serious plots between the Royalists and 
Republicans, and an actual rising of them in England, when they 
burst into the city of Salisbury, on a Sunday night, seized the 
judges who were going to hold the assizes there next day, and would 
have hanged them but for the merciful objections of the more 
temperate of their number.  Oliver was so vigorous and shrewd that 
he soon put this revolt down, as he did most other conspiracies; 
and it was well for one of its chief managers - that same Lord 
Wilmot who had assisted in Charles's flight, and was now EARL OF 
ROCHESTER - that he made his escape.  Oliver seemed to have eyes 
and ears everywhere, and secured such sources of information as his 
enemies little dreamed of.  There was a chosen body of six persons, 
called the Sealed Knot, who were in the closest and most secret 
confidence of Charles.  One of the foremost of these very men, a 
SIR RICHARD WILLIS, reported to Oliver everything that passed among 
them, and had two hundred a year for it.

MILES SYNDARCOMB, also of the old army, was another conspirator 
against the Protector.  He and a man named CECIL, bribed one of his 
Life Guards to let them have good notice when he was going out - 
intending to shoot him from a window.  But, owing either to his 
caution or his good fortune, they could never get an aim at him.  
Disappointed in this design, they got into the chapel in Whitehall, 
with a basketful of combustibles, which were to explode by means of 
a slow match in six hours; then, in the noise and confusion of the 
fire, they hoped to kill Oliver.  But, the Life Guardsman himself 
disclosed this plot; and they were seized, and Miles died (or 
killed himself in prison) a little while before he was ordered for 
execution.  A few such plotters Oliver caused to be beheaded, a few 
more to be hanged, and many more, including those who rose in arms 
against him, to be sent as slaves to the West Indies.  If he were 
rigid, he was impartial too, in asserting the laws of England.  
When a Portuguese nobleman, the brother of the Portuguese 
ambassador, killed a London citizen in mistake for another man with 
whom he had had a quarrel, Oliver caused him to be tried before a 
jury of Englishmen and foreigners, and had him executed in spite of 
the entreaties of all the ambassadors in London.

One of Oliver's own friends, the DUKE OF OLDENBURGH, in sending him 
a present of six fine coach-horses, was very near doing more to 
please the Royalists than all the plotters put together.  One day, 
Oliver went with his coach, drawn by these six horses, into Hyde 
Park, to dine with his secretary and some of his other gentlemen 
under the trees there.  After dinner, being merry, he took it into 
his head to put his friends inside and to drive them home:  a 
postillion riding one of the foremost horses, as the custom was.  
On account of Oliver's being too free with the whip, the six fine 
horses went off at a gallop, the postillion got thrown, and Oliver 
fell upon the coach-pole and narrowly escaped being shot by his own 
pistol, which got entangled with his clothes in the harness, and 
went off.  He was dragged some distance by the foot, until his foot 
came out of the shoe, and then he came safely to the ground under 
the broad body of the coach, and was very little the worse.  The 
gentlemen inside were only bruised, and the discontented people of 
all parties were much disappointed.

The rest of the history of the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell is a 
history of his Parliaments.  His first one not pleasing him at all, 
he waited until the five months were out, and then dissolved it.  
The next was better suited to his views; and from that he desired 
to get - if he could with safety to himself - the title of King.  
He had had this in his mind some time:  whether because he thought 
that the English people, being more used to the title, were more 
likely to obey it; or whether because he really wished to be a king 
himself, and to leave the succession to that title in his family, 
is far from clear.  He was already as high, in England and in all 
the world, as he would ever be, and I doubt if he cared for the 
mere name.  However, a paper, called the 'Humble Petition and 
Advice,' was presented to him by the House of Commons, praying him 
to take a high title and to appoint his successor.  That he would 
have taken the title of King there is no doubt, but for the strong 
opposition of the army.  This induced him to forbear, and to assent 
only to the other points of the petition.  Upon which occasion 
there was another grand show in Westminster Hall, when the Speaker 
of the House of Commons formally invested him with a purple robe 
lined with ermine, and presented him with a splendidly bound Bible, 
and put a golden sceptre in his hand.  The next time the Parliament 
met, he called a House of Lords of sixty members, as the petition 
gave him power to do; but as that Parliament did not please him 
either, and would not proceed to the business of the country, he 
jumped into a coach one morning, took six Guards with him, and sent 
them to the right-about.  I wish this had been a warning to 
Parliaments to avoid long speeches, and do more work.

It was the month of August, one thousand six hundred and fifty-
eight, when Oliver Cromwell's favourite daughter, ELIZABETH 
CLAYPOLE (who had lately lost her youngest son), lay very ill, and 
his mind was greatly troubled, because he loved her dearly.  
Another of his daughters was married to LORD FALCONBERG, another to 
the grandson of the Earl of Warwick, and he had made his son 
RICHARD one of the Members of the Upper House.  He was very kind 
and loving to them all, being a good father and a good husband; but 
he loved this daughter the best of the family, and went down to 
Hampton Court to see her, and could hardly be induced to stir from 
her sick room until she died.  Although his religion had been of a 
gloomy kind, his disposition had been always cheerful.  He had been 
fond of music in his home, and had kept open table once a week for 
all officers of the army not below the rank of captain, and had 
always preserved in his house a quiet, sensible dignity.  He 
encouraged men of genius and learning, and loved to have them about 
him.  MILTON was one of his great friends.  He was good humoured 
too, with the nobility, whose dresses and manners were very 
different from his; and to show them what good information he had, 
he would sometimes jokingly tell them when they were his guests, 
where they had last drunk the health of the 'King over the water,' 
and would recommend them to be more private (if they could) another 
time.  But he had lived in busy times, had borne the weight of 
heavy State affairs, and had often gone in fear of his life.  He 
was ill of the gout and ague; and when the death of his beloved 
child came upon him in addition, he sank, never to raise his head 
again.  He told his physicians on the twenty-fourth of August that 
the Lord had assured him that he was not to die in that illness, 
and that he would certainly get better.  This was only his sick 
fancy, for on the third of September, which was the anniversary of 
the great battle of Worcester, and the day of the year which he 
called his fortunate day, he died, in the sixtieth year of his age.  
He had been delirious, and had lain insensible some hours, but he 
had been overheard to murmur a very good prayer the day before.  
The whole country lamented his death.  If you want to know the real 
worth of Oliver Cromwell, and his real services to his country, you 
can hardly do better than compare England under him, with England 

He had appointed his son Richard to succeed him, and after there 
had been, at Somerset House in the Strand, a lying in state more 
splendid than sensible - as all such vanities after death are, I 
think - Richard became Lord Protector.  He was an amiable country 
gentleman, but had none of his father's great genius, and was quite 
unfit for such a post in such a storm of parties.  Richard's 
Protectorate, which only lasted a year and a half, is a history of 
quarrels between the officers of the army and the Parliament, and 
between the officers among themselves; and of a growing discontent 
among the people, who had far too many long sermons and far too few 
amusements, and wanted a change.  At last, General Monk got the 
army well into his own hands, and then in pursuance of a secret 
plan he seems to have entertained from the time of Oliver's death, 
declared for the King's cause.  He did not do this openly; but, in 
his place in the House of Commons, as one of the members for 
Devonshire, strongly advocated the proposals of one SIR JOHN 
GREENVILLE, who came to the House with a letter from Charles, dated 
from Breda, and with whom he had previously been in secret 
communication.  There had been plots and counterplots, and a recall 
of the last members of the Long Parliament, and an end of the Long 
Parliament, and risings of the Royalists that were made too soon; 
and most men being tired out, and there being no one to head the 
country now great Oliver was dead, it was readily agreed to welcome 
Charles Stuart.  Some of the wiser and better members said - what 
was most true - that in the letter from Breda, he gave no real 
promise to govern well, and that it would be best to make him 
pledge himself beforehand as to what he should be bound to do for 
the benefit of the kingdom.  Monk said, however, it would be all 
right when he came, and he could not come too soon.

So, everybody found out all in a moment that the country MUST be 
prosperous and happy, having another Stuart to condescend to reign 
over it; and there was a prodigious firing off of guns, lighting of 
bonfires, ringing of bells, and throwing up of caps.  The people 
drank the King's health by thousands in the open streets, and 
everybody rejoiced.  Down came the Arms of the Commonwealth, up 
went the Royal Arms instead, and out came the public money.  Fifty 
thousand pounds for the King, ten thousand pounds for his brother 
the Duke of York, five thousand pounds for his brother the Duke of 
Gloucester.  Prayers for these gracious Stuarts were put up in all 
the churches; commissioners were sent to Holland (which suddenly 
found out that Charles was a great man, and that it loved him) to 
invite the King home; Monk and the Kentish grandees went to Dover, 
to kneel down before him as he landed.  He kissed and embraced 
Monk, made him ride in the coach with himself and his brothers, 
came on to London amid wonderful shoutings, and passed through the 
army at Blackheath on the twenty-ninth of May (his birthday), in 
the year one thousand six hundred and sixty.  Greeted by splendid 
dinners under tents, by flags and tapestry streaming from all the 
houses, by delighted crowds in all the streets, by troops of 
noblemen and gentlemen in rich dresses, by City companies, train-
bands, drummers, trumpeters, the great Lord Mayor, and the majestic 
Aldermen, the King went on to Whitehall.  On entering it, he 
commemorated his Restoration with the joke that it really would 
seem to have been his own fault that he had not come long ago, 
since everybody told him that he had always wished for him with all 
his heart.


THERE never were such profligate times in England as under Charles 
the Second.  Whenever you see his portrait, with his swarthy, ill-
looking face and great nose, you may fancy him in his Court at 
Whitehall, surrounded by some of the very worst vagabonds in the 
kingdom (though they were lords and ladies), drinking, gambling, 
indulging in vicious conversation, and committing every kind of 
profligate excess.  It has been a fashion to call Charles the 
Second 'The Merry Monarch.'  Let me try to give you a general idea 
of some of the merry things that were done, in the merry days when 
this merry gentleman sat upon his merry throne, in merry England.

The first merry proceeding was - of course - to declare that he was 
one of the greatest, the wisest, and the noblest kings that ever 
shone, like the blessed sun itself, on this benighted earth.  The 
next merry and pleasant piece of business was, for the Parliament, 
in the humblest manner, to give him one million two hundred 
thousand pounds a year, and to settle upon him for life that old 
disputed tonnage and poundage which had been so bravely fought for.  
Then, General Monk being made EARL OF ALBEMARLE, and a few other 
Royalists similarly rewarded, the law went to work to see what was 
to be done to those persons (they were called Regicides) who had 
been concerned in making a martyr of the late King.  Ten of these 
were merrily executed; that is to say, six of the judges, one of 
the council, Colonel Hacker and another officer who had commanded 
the Guards, and HUGH PETERS, a preacher who had preached against 
the martyr with all his heart.  These executions were so extremely 
merry, that every horrible circumstance which Cromwell had 
abandoned was revived with appalling cruelty.  The hearts of the 
sufferers were torn out of their living bodies; their bowels were 
burned before their faces; the executioner cut jokes to the next 
victim, as he rubbed his filthy hands together, that were reeking 
with the blood of the last; and the heads of the dead were drawn on 
sledges with the living to the place of suffering.  Still, even so 
merry a monarch could not force one of these dying men to say that 
he was sorry for what he had done.  Nay, the most memorable thing 
said among them was, that if the thing were to do again they would 
do it.

Sir Harry Vane, who had furnished the evidence against Strafford, 
and was one of the most staunch of the Republicans, was also tried, 
found guilty, and ordered for execution.  When he came upon the 
scaffold on Tower Hill, after conducting his own defence with great 
power, his notes of what he had meant to say to the people were 
torn away from him, and the drums and trumpets were ordered to 
sound lustily and drown his voice; for, the people had been so much 
impressed by what the Regicides had calmly said with their last 
breath, that it was the custom now, to have the drums and trumpets 
always under the scaffold, ready to strike up.  Vane said no more 
than this:  'It is a bad cause which cannot bear the words of a 
dying man:' and bravely died.

These merry scenes were succeeded by another, perhaps even merrier.  
On the anniversary of the late King's death, the bodies of Oliver 
Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw, were torn out of their graves in 
Westminster Abbey, dragged to Tyburn, hanged there on a gallows all 
day long, and then beheaded.  Imagine the head of Oliver Cromwell 
set upon a pole to be stared at by a brutal crowd, not one of whom 
would have dared to look the living Oliver in the face for half a 
moment!  Think, after you have read this reign, what England was 
under Oliver Cromwell who was torn out of his grave, and what it 
was under this merry monarch who sold it, like a merry Judas, over 
and over again.

Of course, the remains of Oliver's wife and daughter were not to be 
spared either, though they had been most excellent women.  The base 
clergy of that time gave up their bodies, which had been buried in 
the Abbey, and - to the eternal disgrace of England - they were 
thrown into a pit, together with the mouldering bones of Pym and of 
the brave and bold old Admiral Blake.

The clergy acted this disgraceful part because they hoped to get 
the nonconformists, or dissenters, thoroughly put down in this 
reign, and to have but one prayer-book and one service for all 
kinds of people, no matter what their private opinions were.  This 
was pretty well, I think, for a Protestant Church, which had 
displaced the Romish Church because people had a right to their own 
opinions in religious matters.  However, they carried it with a 
high hand, and a prayer-book was agreed upon, in which the 
extremest opinions of Archbishop Laud were not forgotten.  An Act 
was passed, too, preventing any dissenter from holding any office 
under any corporation.  So, the regular clergy in their triumph 
were soon as merry as the King.  The army being by this time 
disbanded, and the King crowned, everything was to go on easily for 

I must say a word here about the King's family.  He had not been 
long upon the throne when his brother the Duke of Gloucester, and 
his sister the PRINCESS OF ORANGE, died within a few months of each 
other, of small-pox.  His remaining sister, the PRINCESS HENRIETTA, 
married the DUKE OF ORLEANS, the brother of LOUIS THE FOURTEENTH, 
King of France.  His brother JAMES, DUKE OF YORK, was made High 
Admiral, and by-and-by became a Catholic.  He was a gloomy, sullen, 
bilious sort of man, with a remarkable partiality for the ugliest 
women in the country.  He married, under very discreditable 
circumstances, ANNE HYDE, the daughter of LORD CLARENDON, then the 
King's principal Minister - not at all a delicate minister either, 
but doing much of the dirty work of a very dirty palace.  It became 
important now that the King himself should be married; and divers 
foreign Monarchs, not very particular about the character of their 
son-in-law, proposed their daughters to him.  The KING OF PORTUGAL 
offered his daughter, CATHERINE OF BRAGANZA, and fifty thousand 
pounds:  in addition to which, the French King, who was favourable 
to that match, offered a loan of another fifty thousand.  The King 
of Spain, on the other hand, offered any one out of a dozen of 
Princesses, and other hopes of gain.  But the ready money carried 
the day, and Catherine came over in state to her merry marriage.

The whole Court was a great flaunting crowd of debauched men and 
shameless women; and Catherine's merry husband insulted and 
outraged her in every possible way, until she consented to receive 
those worthless creatures as her very good friends, and to degrade 
herself by their companionship.  A MRS. PALMER, whom the King made 
LADY CASTLEMAINE, and afterwards DUCHESS OF CLEVELAND, was one of 
the most powerful of the bad women about the Court, and had great 
influence with the King nearly all through his reign.  Another 
merry lady named MOLL DAVIES, a dancer at the theatre, was 
afterwards her rival.  So was NELL GWYN, first an orange girl and 
then an actress, who really had good in her, and of whom one of the 
worst things I know is, that actually she does seem to have been 
fond of the King.  The first DUKE OF ST. ALBANS was this orange 
girl's child.  In like manner the son of a merry waiting-lady, whom 
the King created DUCHESS OF PORTSMOUTH, became the DUKE OF 
RICHMOND.  Upon the whole it is not so bad a thing to be a 

The Merry Monarch was so exceedingly merry among these merry 
ladies, and some equally merry (and equally infamous) lords and 
gentlemen, that he soon got through his hundred thousand pounds, 
and then, by way of raising a little pocket-money, made a merry 
bargain.  He sold Dunkirk to the French King for five millions of 
livres.  When I think of the dignity to which Oliver Cromwell 
raised England in the eyes of foreign powers, and when I think of 
the manner in which he gained for England this very Dunkirk, I am 
much inclined to consider that if the Merry Monarch had been made 
to follow his father for this action, he would have received his 
just deserts.

Though he was like his father in none of that father's greater 
qualities, he was like him in being worthy of no trust.  When he 
sent that letter to the Parliament, from Breda, he did expressly 
promise that all sincere religious opinions should be respected.  
Yet he was no sooner firm in his power than he consented to one of 
the worst Acts of Parliament ever passed.  Under this law, every 
minister who should not give his solemn assent to the Prayer-Book 
by a certain day, was declared to be a minister no longer, and to 
be deprived of his church.  The consequence of this was that some 
two thousand honest men were taken from their congregations, and 
reduced to dire poverty and distress.  It was followed by another 
outrageous law, called the Conventicle Act, by which any person 
above the age of sixteen who was present at any religious service 
not according to the Prayer-Book, was to be imprisoned three months 
for the first offence, six for the second, and to be transported 
for the third.  This Act alone filled the prisons, which were then 
most dreadful dungeons, to overflowing.

The Covenanters in Scotland had already fared no better.  A base 
Parliament, usually known as the Drunken Parliament, in consequence 
of its principal members being seldom sober, had been got together 
to make laws against the Covenanters, and to force all men to be of 
one mind in religious matters.  The MARQUIS OF ARGYLE, relying on 
the King's honour, had given himself up to him; but, he was 
wealthy, and his enemies wanted his wealth.  He was tried for 
treason, on the evidence of some private letters in which he had 
expressed opinions - as well he might - more favourable to the 
government of the late Lord Protector than of the present merry and 
religious King.  He was executed, as were two men of mark among the 
Covenanters; and SHARP, a traitor who had once been the friend of 
the Presbyterians and betrayed them, was made Archbishop of St. 
Andrew's, to teach the Scotch how to like bishops.

Things being in this merry state at home, the Merry Monarch 
undertook a war with the Dutch; principally because they interfered 
with an African company, established with the two objects of buying 
gold-dust and slaves, of which the Duke of York was a leading 
member.  After some preliminary hostilities, the said Duke sailed 
to the coast of Holland with a fleet of ninety-eight vessels of 
war, and four fire-ships.  This engaged with the Dutch fleet, of no 
fewer than one hundred and thirteen ships.  In the great battle 
between the two forces, the Dutch lost eighteen ships, four 
admirals, and seven thousand men.  But, the English on shore were 
in no mood of exultation when they heard the news.

For, this was the year and the time of the Great Plague in London.  
During the winter of one thousand six hundred and sixty-four it had 
been whispered about, that some few people had died here and there 
of the disease called the Plague, in some of the unwholesome 
suburbs around London.  News was not published at that time as it 
is now, and some people believed these rumours, and some 
disbelieved them, and they were soon forgotten.  But, in the month 
of May, one thousand six hundred and sixty-five, it began to be 
said all over the town that the disease had burst out with great 
violence in St. Giles's, and that the people were dying in great 
numbers.  This soon turned out to be awfully true.  The roads out 
of London were choked up by people endeavouring to escape from the 
infected city, and large sums were paid for any kind of conveyance.  
The disease soon spread so fast, that it was necessary to shut up 
the houses in which sick people were, and to cut them off from 
communication with the living.  Every one of these houses was 
marked on the outside of the door with a red cross, and the words, 
Lord, have mercy upon us!  The streets were all deserted, grass 
grew in the public ways, and there was a dreadful silence in the 
air.  When night came on, dismal rumblings used to be heard, and 
these were the wheels of the death-carts, attended by men with 
veiled faces and holding cloths to their mouths, who rang doleful 
bells and cried in a loud and solemn voice, 'Bring out your dead!'  
The corpses put into these carts were buried by torchlight in great 
pits; no service being performed over them; all men being afraid to 
stay for a moment on the brink of the ghastly graves.  In the 
general fear, children ran away from their parents, and parents 
from their children.  Some who were taken ill, died alone, and 
without any help.  Some were stabbed or strangled by hired nurses 
who robbed them of all their money, and stole the very beds on 
which they lay.  Some went mad, dropped from the windows, ran 
through the streets, and in their pain and frenzy flung themselves 
into the river.

These were not all the horrors of the time.  The wicked and 
dissolute, in wild desperation, sat in the taverns singing roaring 
songs, and were stricken as they drank, and went out and died.  The 
fearful and superstitious persuaded themselves that they saw 
supernatural sights - burning swords in the sky, gigantic arms and 
darts.  Others pretended that at nights vast crowds of ghosts 
walked round and round the dismal pits.  One madman, naked, and 
carrying a brazier full of burning coals upon his head, stalked 
through the streets, crying out that he was a Prophet, commissioned 
to denounce the vengeance of the Lord on wicked London.  Another 
always went to and fro, exclaiming, 'Yet forty days, and London 
shall be destroyed!'  A third awoke the echoes in the dismal 
streets, by night and by day, and made the blood of the sick run 
cold, by calling out incessantly, in a deep hoarse voice, 'O, the 
great and dreadful God!'

Through the months of July and August and September, the Great 
Plague raged more and more.  Great fires were lighted in the 
streets, in the hope of stopping the infection; but there was a 
plague of rain too, and it beat the fires out.  At last, the winds 
which usually arise at that time of the year which is called the 
equinox, when day and night are of equal length all over the world, 
began to blow, and to purify the wretched town.  The deaths began 
to decrease, the red crosses slowly to disappear, the fugitives to 
return, the shops to open, pale frightened faces to be seen in the 
streets.  The Plague had been in every part of England, but in 
close and unwholesome London it had killed one hundred thousand 

All this time, the Merry Monarch was as merry as ever, and as 
worthless as ever.  All this time, the debauched lords and 
gentlemen and the shameless ladies danced and gamed and drank, and 
loved and hated one another, according to their merry ways.

So little humanity did the government learn from the late 
affliction, that one of the first things the Parliament did when it 
met at Oxford (being as yet afraid to come to London), was to make 
a law, called the Five Mile Act, expressly directed against those 
poor ministers who, in the time of the Plague, had manfully come 
back to comfort the unhappy people.  This infamous law, by 
forbidding them to teach in any school, or to come within five 
miles of any city, town, or village, doomed them to starvation and 

The fleet had been at sea, and healthy.  The King of France was now 
in alliance with the Dutch, though his navy was chiefly employed in 
looking on while the English and Dutch fought.  The Dutch gained 
one victory; and the English gained another and a greater; and 
Prince Rupert, one of the English admirals, was out in the Channel 
one windy night, looking for the French Admiral, with the intention 
of giving him something more to do than he had had yet, when the 
gale increased to a storm, and blew him into Saint Helen's.  That 
night was the third of September, one thousand six hundred and 
sixty-six, and that wind fanned the Great Fire of London.

It broke out at a baker's shop near London Bridge, on the spot on 
which the Monument now stands as a remembrance of those raging 
flames.  It spread and spread, and burned and burned, for three 
days.  The nights were lighter than the days; in the daytime there 
was an immense cloud of smoke, and in the night-time there was a 
great tower of fire mounting up into the sky, which lighted the 
whole country landscape for ten miles round.  Showers of hot ashes 
rose into the air and fell on distant places; flying sparks carried 
the conflagration to great distances, and kindled it in twenty new 
spots at a time; church steeples fell down with tremendous crashes; 
houses crumbled into cinders by the hundred and the thousand.  The 
summer had been intensely hot and dry, the streets were very 
narrow, and the houses mostly built of wood and plaster.  Nothing 
could stop the tremendous fire, but the want of more houses to 
burn; nor did it stop until the whole way from the Tower to Temple 
Bar was a desert, composed of the ashes of thirteen thousand houses 
and eighty-nine churches.

This was a terrible visitation at the time, and occasioned great 
loss and suffering to the two hundred thousand burnt-out people, 
who were obliged to lie in the fields under the open night sky, or 
in hastily-made huts of mud and straw, while the lanes and roads 
were rendered impassable by carts which had broken down as they 
tried to save their goods.  But the Fire was a great blessing to 
the City afterwards, for it arose from its ruins very much improved 
- built more regularly, more widely, more cleanly and carefully, 
and therefore much more healthily.  It might be far more healthy 
than it is, but there are some people in it still - even now, at 
this time, nearly two hundred years later - so selfish, so pig-
headed, and so ignorant, that I doubt if even another Great Fire 
would warm them up to do their duty.

The Catholics were accused of having wilfully set London in flames; 
one poor Frenchman, who had been mad for years, even accused 
himself of having with his own hand fired the first house.  There 
is no reasonable doubt, however, that the fire was accidental.  An 
inscription on the Monument long attributed it to the Catholics; 
but it is removed now, and was always a malicious and stupid 


THAT the Merry Monarch might be very merry indeed, in the merry 
times when his people were suffering under pestilence and fire, he 
drank and gambled and flung away among his favourites the money 
which the Parliament had voted for the war.  The consequence of 
this was that the stout-hearted English sailors were merrily 
starving of want, and dying in the streets; while the Dutch, under 
their admirals DE WITT and DE RUYTER, came into the River Thames, 
and up the River Medway as far as Upnor, burned the guard-ships, 
silenced the weak batteries, and did what they would to the English 
coast for six whole weeks.  Most of the English ships that could 
have prevented them had neither powder nor shot on board; in this 
merry reign, public officers made themselves as merry as the King 
did with the public money; and when it was entrusted to them to 
spend in national defences or preparations, they put it into their 
own pockets with the merriest grace in the world.

Lord Clarendon had, by this time, run as long a course as is 
usually allotted to the unscrupulous ministers of bad kings.  He 
was impeached by his political opponents, but unsuccessfully.  The 
King then commanded him to withdraw from England and retire to 
France, which he did, after defending himself in writing.  He was 
no great loss at home, and died abroad some seven years afterwards.

There then came into power a ministry called the Cabal Ministry, 
because it was composed of LORD CLIFFORD, the EARL OF ARLINGTON, 
the DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM (a great rascal, and the King's most 
powerful favourite), LORD ASHLEY, and the DUKE OF LAUDERDALE, C. A. 
B. A. L.  As the French were making conquests in Flanders, the 
first Cabal proceeding was to make a treaty with the Dutch, for 
uniting with Spain to oppose the French.  It was no sooner made 
than the Merry Monarch, who always wanted to get money without 
being accountable to a Parliament for his expenditure, apologised 
to the King of France for having had anything to do with it, and 
concluded a secret treaty with him, making himself his infamous 
pensioner to the amount of two millions of livres down, and three 
millions more a year; and engaging to desert that very Spain, to 
make war against those very Dutch, and to declare himself a 
Catholic when a convenient time should arrive.  This religious king 
had lately been crying to his Catholic brother on the subject of 
his strong desire to be a Catholic; and now he merrily concluded 
this treasonable conspiracy against the country he governed, by 
undertaking to become one as soon as he safely could.  For all of 
which, though he had had ten merry heads instead of one, he richly 
deserved to lose them by the headsman's axe.

As his one merry head might have been far from safe, if these 
things had been known, they were kept very quiet, and war was 
declared by France and England against the Dutch.  But, a very 
uncommon man, afterwards most important to English history and to 
the religion and liberty of this land, arose among them, and for 
many long years defeated the whole projects of France.  This was 
WILLIAM OF NASSAU, PRINCE OF ORANGE, son of the last Prince of 
Orange of the same name, who married the daughter of Charles the 
First of England.  He was a young man at this time, only just of 
age; but he was brave, cool, intrepid, and wise.  His father had 
been so detested that, upon his death, the Dutch had abolished the 
authority to which this son would have otherwise succeeded 
(Stadtholder it was called), and placed the chief power in the 
hands of JOHN DE WITT, who educated this young prince.  Now, the 
Prince became very popular, and John de Witt's brother CORNELIUS 
was sentenced to banishment on a false accusation of conspiring to 
kill him.  John went to the prison where he was, to take him away 
to exile, in his coach; and a great mob who collected on the 
occasion, then and there cruelly murdered both the brothers.  This 
left the government in the hands of the Prince, who was really the 
choice of the nation; and from this time he exercised it with the 
greatest vigour, against the whole power of France, under its 
famous generals CONDE and TURENNE, and in support of the Protestant 
religion.  It was full seven years before this war ended in a 
treaty of peace made at Nimeguen, and its details would occupy a 
very considerable space.  It is enough to say that William of 
Orange established a famous character with the whole world; and 
that the Merry Monarch, adding to and improving on his former 
baseness, bound himself to do everything the King of France liked, 
and nothing the King of France did not like, for a pension of one 
hundred thousand pounds a year, which was afterwards doubled.  
Besides this, the King of France, by means of his corrupt 
ambassador - who wrote accounts of his proceedings in England, 
which are not always to be believed, I think - bought our English 
members of Parliament, as he wanted them.  So, in point of fact, 
during a considerable portion of this merry reign, the King of 
France was the real King of this country.

But there was a better time to come, and it was to come (though his 
royal uncle little thought so) through that very William, Prince of 
Orange.  He came over to England, saw Mary, the elder daughter of 
the Duke of York, and married her.  We shall see by-and-by what 
came of that marriage, and why it is never to be forgotten.

This daughter was a Protestant, but her mother died a Catholic.  
She and her sister ANNE, also a Protestant, were the only survivors 
of eight children.  Anne afterwards married GEORGE, PRINCE OF 
DENMARK, brother to the King of that country.

Lest you should do the Merry Monarch the injustice of supposing 
that he was even good humoured (except when he had everything his 
own way), or that he was high spirited and honourable, I will 
mention here what was done to a member of the House of Commons, SIR 
JOHN COVENTRY.  He made a remark in a debate about taxing the 
theatres, which gave the King offence.  The King agreed with his 
illegitimate son, who had been born abroad, and whom he had made 
DUKE OF MONMOUTH, to take the following merry vengeance.  To waylay 
him at night, fifteen armed men to one, and to slit his nose with a 
penknife.  Like master, like man.  The King's favourite, the Duke 
of Buckingham, was strongly suspected of setting on an assassin to 
murder the DUKE OF ORMOND as he was returning home from a dinner; 
and that Duke's spirited son, LORD OSSORY, was so persuaded of his 
guilt, that he said to him at Court, even as he stood beside the 
King, 'My lord, I know very well that you are at the bottom of this 
late attempt upon my father.  But I give you warning, if he ever 
come to a violent end, his blood shall be upon you, and wherever I 
meet you I will pistol you!  I will do so, though I find you 
standing behind the King's chair; and I tell you this in his 
Majesty's presence, that you may be quite sure of my doing what I 
threaten.'  Those were merry times indeed.

There was a fellow named BLOOD, who was seized for making, with two 
companions, an audacious attempt to steal the crown, the globe, and 
sceptre, from the place where the jewels were kept in the Tower.  
This robber, who was a swaggering ruffian, being taken, declared 
that he was the man who had endeavoured to kill the Duke of Ormond, 
and that he had meant to kill the King too, but was overawed by the 
majesty of his appearance, when he might otherwise have done it, as 
he was bathing at Battersea.  The King being but an ill-looking 
fellow, I don't believe a word of this.  Whether he was flattered, 
or whether he knew that Buckingham had really set Blood on to 
murder the Duke, is uncertain.  But it is quite certain that he 
pardoned this thief, gave him an estate of five hundred a year in 
Ireland (which had had the honour of giving him birth), and 
presented him at Court to the debauched lords and the shameless 
ladies, who made a great deal of him - as I have no doubt they 
would have made of the Devil himself, if the King had introduced 

Infamously pensioned as he was, the King still wanted money, and 
consequently was obliged to call Parliaments.  In these, the great 
object of the Protestants was to thwart the Catholic Duke of York, 
who married a second time; his new wife being a young lady only 
fifteen years old, the Catholic sister of the DUKE OF MODENA.  In 
this they were seconded by the Protestant Dissenters, though to 
their own disadvantage:  since, to exclude Catholics from power, 
they were even willing to exclude themselves.  The King's object 
was to pretend to be a Protestant, while he was really a Catholic; 
to swear to the bishops that he was devoutly attached to the 
English Church, while he knew he had bargained it away to the King 
of France; and by cheating and deceiving them, and all who were 
attached to royalty, to become despotic and be powerful enough to 
confess what a rascal he was.  Meantime, the King of France, 
knowing his merry pensioner well, intrigued with the King's 
opponents in Parliament, as well as with the King and his friends.

The fears that the country had of the Catholic religion being 
restored, if the Duke of York should come to the throne, and the 
low cunning of the King in pretending to share their alarms, led to 
some very terrible results.  A certain DR. TONGE, a dull clergyman 
in the City, fell into the hands of a certain TITUS OATES, a most 
infamous character, who pretended to have acquired among the 
Jesuits abroad a knowledge of a great plot for the murder of the 
King, and the re-establishment if the Catholic religion.  Titus 
Oates, being produced by this unlucky Dr. Tonge and solemnly 
examined before the council, contradicted himself in a thousand 
ways, told the most ridiculous and improbable stories, and 
implicated COLEMAN, the Secretary of the Duchess of York.  Now, 
although what he charged against Coleman was not true, and although 
you and I know very well that the real dangerous Catholic plot was 
that one with the King of France of which the Merry Monarch was 
himself the head, there happened to be found among Coleman's 
papers, some letters, in which he did praise the days of Bloody 
Queen Mary, and abuse the Protestant religion.  This was great good 
fortune for Titus, as it seemed to confirm him; but better still 
was in store.  SIR EDMUNDBURY GODFREY, the magistrate who had first 
examined him, being unexpectedly found dead near Primrose Hill, was 
confidently believed to have been killed by the Catholics.  I think 
there is no doubt that he had been melancholy mad, and that he 
killed himself; but he had a great Protestant funeral, and Titus 
was called the Saver of the Nation, and received a pension of 
twelve hundred pounds a year.

As soon as Oates's wickedness had met with this success, up started 
another villain, named WILLIAM BEDLOE, who, attracted by a reward 
of five hundred pounds offered for the apprehension of the 
murderers of Godfrey, came forward and charged two Jesuits and some 
other persons with having committed it at the Queen's desire.  
Oates, going into partnership with this new informer, had the 
audacity to accuse the poor Queen herself of high treason.  Then 
appeared a third informer, as bad as either of the two, and accused 
a Catholic banker named STAYLEY of having said that the King was 
the greatest rogue in the world (which would not have been far from 
the truth), and that he would kill him with his own hand.  This 
banker, being at once tried and executed, Coleman and two others 
were tried and executed.  Then, a miserable wretch named PRANCE, a 
Catholic silversmith, being accused by Bedloe, was tortured into 
confessing that he had taken part in Godfrey's murder, and into 
accusing three other men of having committed it.  Then, five 
Jesuits were accused by Oates, Bedloe, and Prance together, and 
were all found guilty, and executed on the same kind of 
contradictory and absurd evidence.  The Queen's physician and three 
monks were next put on their trial; but Oates and Bedloe had for 
the time gone far enough and these four were acquitted.  The public 
mind, however, was so full of a Catholic plot, and so strong 
against the Duke of York, that James consented to obey a written 
order from his brother, and to go with his family to Brussels, 
provided that his rights should never be sacrificed in his absence 
to the Duke of Monmouth.  The House of Commons, not satisfied with 
this as the King hoped, passed a bill to exclude the Duke from ever 
succeeding to the throne.  In return, the King dissolved the 
Parliament.  He had deserted his old favourite, the Duke of 
Buckingham, who was now in the opposition.

To give any sufficient idea of the miseries of Scotland in this 
merry reign, would occupy a hundred pages.  Because the people 
would not have bishops, and were resolved to stand by their solemn 
League and Covenant, such cruelties were inflicted upon them as 
make the blood run cold.  Ferocious dragoons galloped through the 
country to punish the peasants for deserting the churches; sons 
were hanged up at their fathers' doors for refusing to disclose 
where their fathers were concealed; wives were tortured to death 
for not betraying their husbands; people were taken out of their 
fields and gardens, and shot on the public roads without trial; 
lighted matches were tied to the fingers of prisoners, and a most 
horrible torment called the Boot was invented, and constantly 
applied, which ground and mashed the victims' legs with iron 
wedges.  Witnesses were tortured as well as prisoners.  All the 
prisons were full; all the gibbets were heavy with bodies; murder 
and plunder devastated the whole country.  In spite of all, the 
Covenanters were by no means to be dragged into the churches, and 
persisted in worshipping God as they thought right.  A body of 
ferocious Highlanders, turned upon them from the mountains of their 
own country, had no greater effect than the English dragoons under 
GRAHAME OF CLAVERHOUSE, the most cruel and rapacious of all their 
enemies, whose name will ever be cursed through the length and 
breadth of Scotland.  Archbishop Sharp had ever aided and abetted 
all these outrages.  But he fell at last; for, when the injuries of 
the Scottish people were at their height, he was seen, in his 
coach-and-six coming across a moor, by a body of men, headed by one 
JOHN BALFOUR, who were waiting for another of their oppressors.  
Upon this they cried out that Heaven had delivered him into their 
hands, and killed him with many wounds.  If ever a man deserved 
such a death, I think Archbishop Sharp did.

It made a great noise directly, and the Merry Monarch - strongly 
suspected of having goaded the Scottish people on, that he might 
have an excuse for a greater army than the Parliament were willing 
to give him - sent down his son, the Duke of Monmouth, as 
commander-in-chief, with instructions to attack the Scottish 
rebels, or Whigs as they were called, whenever he came up with 
them.  Marching with ten thousand men from Edinburgh, he found 
them, in number four or five thousand, drawn up at Bothwell Bridge, 
by the Clyde.  They were soon dispersed; and Monmouth showed a more 
humane character towards them, than he had shown towards that 
Member of Parliament whose nose he had caused to be slit with a 
penknife.  But the Duke of Lauderdale was their bitter foe, and 
sent Claverhouse to finish them.

As the Duke of York became more and more unpopular, the Duke of 
Monmouth became more and more popular.  It would have been decent 
in the latter not to have voted in favour of the renewed bill for 
the exclusion of James from the throne; but he did so, much to the 
King's amusement, who used to sit in the House of Lords by the 
fire, hearing the debates, which he said were as good as a play.  
The House of Commons passed the bill by a large majority, and it 
was carried up to the House of Lords by LORD RUSSELL, one of the 
best of the leaders on the Protestant side.  It was rejected there, 
chiefly because the bishops helped the King to get rid of it; and 
the fear of Catholic plots revived again.  There had been another 
got up, by a fellow out of Newgate, named DANGERFIELD, which is 
more famous than it deserves to be, under the name of the MEAL-TUB 
PLOT.  This jail-bird having been got out of Newgate by a MRS. 
CELLIER, a Catholic nurse, had turned Catholic himself, and 
pretended that he knew of a plot among the Presbyterians against 
the King's life.  This was very pleasant to the Duke of York, who 
hated the Presbyterians, who returned the compliment.  He gave 
Dangerfield twenty guineas, and sent him to the King his brother.  
But Dangerfield, breaking down altogether in his charge, and being 
sent back to Newgate, almost astonished the Duke out of his five 
senses by suddenly swearing that the Catholic nurse had put that 
false design into his head, and that what he really knew about, 
was, a Catholic plot against the King; the evidence of which would 
be found in some papers, concealed in a meal-tub in Mrs. Cellier's 
house.  There they were, of course - for he had put them there 
himself - and so the tub gave the name to the plot.  But, the nurse 
was acquitted on her trial, and it came to nothing.

Lord Ashley, of the Cabal, was now Lord Shaftesbury, and was strong 
against the succession of the Duke of York.  The House of Commons, 
aggravated to the utmost extent, as we may well suppose, by 
suspicions of the King's conspiracy with the King of France, made a 
desperate point of the exclusion, still, and were bitter against 
the Catholics generally.  So unjustly bitter were they, I grieve to 
say, that they impeached the venerable Lord Stafford, a Catholic 
nobleman seventy years old, of a design to kill the King.  The 
witnesses were that atrocious Oates and two other birds of the same 
feather.  He was found guilty, on evidence quite as foolish as it 
was false, and was beheaded on Tower Hill.  The people were opposed 
to him when he first appeared upon the scaffold; but, when he had 
addressed them and shown them how innocent he was and how wickedly 
he was sent there, their better nature was aroused, and they said, 
'We believe you, my Lord.  God bless you, my Lord!'

The House of Commons refused to let the King have any money until 
he should consent to the Exclusion Bill; but, as he could get it 
and did get it from his master the King of France, he could afford 
to hold them very cheap.  He called a Parliament at Oxford, to 
which he went down with a great show of being armed and protected 
as if he were in danger of his life, and to which the opposition 
members also went armed and protected, alleging that they were in 
fear of the Papists, who were numerous among the King's guards.  
However, they went on with the Exclusion Bill, and were so earnest 
upon it that they would have carried it again, if the King had not 
popped his crown and state robes into a sedan-chair, bundled 
himself into it along with them, hurried down to the chamber where 
the House of Lords met, and dissolved the Parliament.  After which 
he scampered home, and the members of Parliament scampered home 
too, as fast as their legs could carry them.

The Duke of York, then residing in Scotland, had, under the law 
which excluded Catholics from public trust, no right whatever to 
public employment.  Nevertheless, he was openly employed as the 
King's representative in Scotland, and there gratified his sullen 
and cruel nature to his heart's content by directing the dreadful 
cruelties against the Covenanters.  There were two ministers named 
CARGILL and CAMERON who had escaped from the battle of Bothwell 
Bridge, and who returned to Scotland, and raised the miserable but 
still brave and unsubdued Covenanters afresh, under the name of 
Cameronians.  As Cameron publicly posted a declaration that the 
King was a forsworn tyrant, no mercy was shown to his unhappy 
followers after he was slain in battle.  The Duke of York, who was 
particularly fond of the Boot and derived great pleasure from 
having it applied, offered their lives to some of these people, if 
they would cry on the scaffold 'God save the King!'  But their 
relations, friends, and countrymen, had been so barbarously 
tortured and murdered in this merry reign, that they preferred to 
die, and did die.  The Duke then obtained his merry brother's 
permission to hold a Parliament in Scotland, which first, with most 
shameless deceit, confirmed the laws for securing the Protestant 
religion against Popery, and then declared that nothing must or 
should prevent the succession of the Popish Duke.  After this 
double-faced beginning, it established an oath which no human being 
could understand, but which everybody was to take, as a proof that 
his religion was the lawful religion.  The Earl of Argyle, taking 
it with the explanation that he did not consider it to prevent him 
from favouring any alteration either in the Church or State which 
was not inconsistent with the Protestant religion or with his 
loyalty, was tried for high treason before a Scottish jury of which 
the MARQUIS OF MONTROSE was foreman, and was found guilty.  He 
escaped the scaffold, for that time, by getting away, in the 
disguise of a page, in the train of his daughter, LADY SOPHIA 
LINDSAY.  It was absolutely proposed, by certain members of the 
Scottish Council, that this lady should be whipped through the 
streets of Edinburgh.  But this was too much even for the Duke, who 
had the manliness then (he had very little at most times) to remark 
that Englishmen were not accustomed to treat ladies in that manner.  
In those merry times nothing could equal the brutal servility of 
the Scottish fawners, but the conduct of similar degraded beings in 

After the settlement of these little affairs, the Duke returned to 
England, and soon resumed his place at the Council, and his office 
of High Admiral - all this by his brother's favour, and in open 
defiance of the law.  It would have been no loss to the country, if 
he had been drowned when his ship, in going to Scotland to fetch 
his family, struck on a sand-bank, and was lost with two hundred 
souls on board.  But he escaped in a boat with some friends; and 
the sailors were so brave and unselfish, that, when they saw him 
rowing away, they gave three cheers, while they themselves were 
going down for ever.

The Merry Monarch, having got rid of his Parliament, went to work 
to make himself despotic, with all speed.  Having had the villainy 
to order the execution of OLIVER PLUNKET, BISHOP OF ARMAGH, falsely 
accused of a plot to establish Popery in that country by means of a 
French army - the very thing this royal traitor was himself trying 
to do at home - and having tried to ruin Lord Shaftesbury, and 
failed - he turned his hand to controlling the corporations all 
over the country; because, if he could only do that, he could get 
what juries he chose, to bring in perjured verdicts, and could get 
what members he chose returned to Parliament.  These merry times 
produced, and made Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, a 
drunken ruffian of the name of JEFFREYS; a red-faced, swollen, 
bloated, horrible creature, with a bullying, roaring voice, and a 
more savage nature perhaps than was ever lodged in any human 
breast.  This monster was the Merry Monarch's especial favourite, 
and he testified his admiration of him by giving him a ring from 
his own finger, which the people used to call Judge Jeffreys's 
Bloodstone.  Him the King employed to go about and bully the 
corporations, beginning with London; or, as Jeffreys himself 
elegantly called it, 'to give them a lick with the rough side of 
his tongue.'  And he did it so thoroughly, that they soon became 
the basest and most sycophantic bodies in the kingdom - except the 
University of Oxford, which, in that respect, was quite pre-eminent 
and unapproachable.

Lord Shaftesbury (who died soon after the King's failure against 
him), LORD WILLIAM RUSSELL, the Duke of Monmouth, LORD HOWARD, LORD 
Hampden), and some others, used to hold a council together after 
the dissolution of the Parliament, arranging what it might be 
necessary to do, if the King carried his Popish plot to the utmost 
height.  Lord Shaftesbury having been much the most violent of this 
party, brought two violent men into their secrets - RUMSEY, who had 
been a soldier in the Republican army; and WEST, a lawyer.  These 
two knew an old officer of CROMWELL'S, called RUMBOLD, who had 
married a maltster's widow, and so had come into possession of a 
solitary dwelling called the Rye House, near Hoddesdon, in 
Hertfordshire.  Rumbold said to them what a capital place this 
house of his would be from which to shoot at the King, who often 
passed there going to and fro from Newmarket.  They liked the idea, 
and entertained it.  But, one of their body gave information; and 
they, together with SHEPHERD a wine merchant, Lord Russell, 
Algernon Sidney, LORD ESSEX, LORD HOWARD, and Hampden, were all 

Lord Russell might have easily escaped, but scorned to do so, being 
innocent of any wrong; Lord Essex might have easily escaped, but 
scorned to do so, lest his flight should prejudice Lord Russell.  
But it weighed upon his mind that he had brought into their 
council, Lord Howard - who now turned a miserable traitor - against 
a great dislike Lord Russell had always had of him.  He could not 
bear the reflection, and destroyed himself before Lord Russell was 
brought to trial at the Old Bailey.

He knew very well that he had nothing to hope, having always been 
manful in the Protestant cause against the two false brothers, the 
one on the throne, and the other standing next to it.  He had a 
wife, one of the noblest and best of women, who acted as his 
secretary on his trial, who comforted him in his prison, who supped 
with him on the night before he died, and whose love and virtue and 
devotion have made her name imperishable.  Of course, he was found 
guilty, and was sentenced to be beheaded in Lincoln's Inn-fields, 
not many yards from his own house.  When he had parted from his 
children on the evening before his death, his wife still stayed 
with him until ten o'clock at night; and when their final 
separation in this world was over, and he had kissed her many 
times, he still sat for a long while in his prison, talking of her 
goodness.  Hearing the rain fall fast at that time, he calmly said, 
'Such a rain to-morrow will spoil a great show, which is a dull 
thing on a rainy day.'  At midnight he went to bed, and slept till 
four; even when his servant called him, he fell asleep again while 
his clothes were being made ready.  He rode to the scaffold in his 
own carriage, attended by two famous clergymen, TILLOTSON and 
BURNET, and sang a psalm to himself very softly, as he went along.  
He was as quiet and as steady as if he had been going out for an 
ordinary ride.  After saying that he was surprised to see so great 
a crowd, he laid down his head upon the block, as if upon the 
pillow of his bed, and had it struck off at the second blow.  His 
noble wife was busy for him even then; for that true-hearted lady 
printed and widely circulated his last words, of which he had given 
her a copy.  They made the blood of all the honest men in England 

The University of Oxford distinguished itself on the very same day 
by pretending to believe that the accusation against Lord Russell 
was true, and by calling the King, in a written paper, the Breath 
of their Nostrils and the Anointed of the Lord.  This paper the 
Parliament afterwards caused to be burned by the common hangman; 
which I am sorry for, as I wish it had been framed and glazed and 
hung up in some public place, as a monument of baseness for the 
scorn of mankind.

Next, came the trial of Algernon Sidney, at which Jeffreys 
presided, like a great crimson toad, sweltering and swelling with 
rage.  'I pray God, Mr. Sidney,' said this Chief Justice of a merry 
reign, after passing sentence, 'to work in you a temper fit to go 
to the other world, for I see you are not fit for this.'  'My 
lord,' said the prisoner, composedly holding out his arm, 'feel my 
pulse, and see if I be disordered.  I thank Heaven I never was in 
better temper than I am now.'  Algernon Sidney was executed on 
Tower Hill, on the seventh of December, one thousand six hundred 
and eighty-three.  He died a hero, and died, in his own words, 'For 
that good old cause in which he had been engaged from his youth, 
and for which God had so often and so wonderfully declared 

The Duke of Monmouth had been making his uncle, the Duke of York, 
very jealous, by going about the country in a royal sort of way, 
playing at the people's games, becoming godfather to their 
children, and even touching for the King's evil, or stroking the 
faces of the sick to cure them - though, for the matter of that, I 
should say he did them about as much good as any crowned king could 
have done.  His father had got him to write a letter, confessing 
his having had a part in the conspiracy, for which Lord Russell had 
been beheaded; but he was ever a weak man, and as soon as he had 
written it, he was ashamed of it and got it back again.  For this, 
he was banished to the Netherlands; but he soon returned and had an 
interview with his father, unknown to his uncle.  It would seem 
that he was coming into the Merry Monarch's favour again, and that 
the Duke of York was sliding out of it, when Death appeared to the 
merry galleries at Whitehall, and astonished the debauched lords 
and gentlemen, and the shameless ladies, very considerably.

On Monday, the second of February, one thousand six hundred and 
eighty-five, the merry pensioner and servant of the King of France 
fell down in a fit of apoplexy.  By the Wednesday his case was 
hopeless, and on the Thursday he was told so.  As he made a 
difficulty about taking the sacrament from the Protestant Bishop of 
Bath, the Duke of York got all who were present away from the bed, 
and asked his brother, in a whisper, if he should send for a 
Catholic priest?   The King replied, 'For God's sake, brother, do!'  
The Duke smuggled in, up the back stairs, disguised in a wig and 
gown, a priest named HUDDLESTON, who had saved the King's life 
after the battle of Worcester:  telling him that this worthy man in 
the wig had once saved his body, and was now come to save his soul.

The Merry Monarch lived through that night, and died before noon on 
the next day, which was Friday, the sixth.  Two of the last things 
he said were of a human sort, and your remembrance will give him 
the full benefit of them.  When the Queen sent to say she was too 
unwell to attend him and to ask his pardon, he said, 'Alas! poor 
woman, SHE beg MY pardon!  I beg hers with all my heart.  Take back 
that answer to her.'  And he also said, in reference to Nell Gwyn, 
'Do not let poor Nelly starve.'

He died in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and the twenty-fifth of 
his reign.


KING JAMES THE SECOND was a man so very disagreeable, that even the 
best of historians has favoured his brother Charles, as becoming, 
by comparison, quite a pleasant character.  The one object of his 
short reign was to re-establish the Catholic religion in England; 
and this he doggedly pursued with such a stupid obstinacy, that his 
career very soon came to a close.

The first thing he did, was, to assure his council that he would 
make it his endeavour to preserve the Government, both in Church 
and State, as it was by law established; and that he would always 
take care to defend and support the Church.  Great public 
acclamations were raised over this fair speech, and a great deal 
was said, from the pulpits and elsewhere, about the word of a King 
which was never broken, by credulous people who little supposed 
that he had formed a secret council for Catholic affairs, of which 
a mischievous Jesuit, called FATHER PETRE, was one of the chief 
members.  With tears of joy in his eyes, he received, as the 
beginning of HIS pension from the King of France, five hundred 
thousand livres; yet, with a mixture of meanness and arrogance that 
belonged to his contemptible character, he was always jealous of 
making some show of being independent of the King of France, while 
he pocketed his money.  As - notwithstanding his publishing two 
papers in favour of Popery (and not likely to do it much service, I 
should think) written by the King, his brother, and found in his 
strong-box; and his open display of himself attending mass - the 
Parliament was very obsequious, and granted him a large sum of 
money, he began his reign with a belief that he could do what he 
pleased, and with a determination to do it.

Before we proceed to its principal events, let us dispose of Titus 
Oates.  He was tried for perjury, a fortnight after the coronation, 
and besides being very heavily fined, was sentenced to stand twice 
in the pillory, to be whipped from Aldgate to Newgate one day, and 
from Newgate to Tyburn two days afterwards, and to stand in the 
pillory five times a year as long as he lived.  This fearful 
sentence was actually inflicted on the rascal.  Being unable to 
stand after his first flogging, he was dragged on a sledge from 
Newgate to Tyburn, and flogged as he was drawn along.  He was so 
strong a villain that he did not die under the torture, but lived 
to be afterwards pardoned and rewarded, though not to be ever 
believed in any more.  Dangerfield, the only other one of that crew 
left alive, was not so fortunate.  He was almost killed by a 
whipping from Newgate to Tyburn, and, as if that were not 
punishment enough, a ferocious barrister of Gray's Inn gave him a 
poke in the eye with his cane, which caused his death; for which 
the ferocious barrister was deservedly tried and executed.

As soon as James was on the throne, Argyle and Monmouth went from 
Brussels to Rotterdam, and attended a meeting of Scottish exiles 
held there, to concert measures for a rising in England.  It was 
agreed that Argyle should effect a landing in Scotland, and 
Monmouth in England; and that two Englishmen should be sent with 
Argyle to be in his confidence, and two Scotchmen with the Duke of 

Argyle was the first to act upon this contract.  But, two of his 
men being taken prisoners at the Orkney Islands, the Government 
became aware of his intention, and was able to act against him with 
such vigour as to prevent his raising more than two or three 
thousand Highlanders, although he sent a fiery cross, by trusty 
messengers, from clan to clan and from glen to glen, as the custom 
then was when those wild people were to be excited by their chiefs.  
As he was moving towards Glasgow with his small force, he was 
betrayed by some of his followers, taken, and carried, with his 
hands tied behind his back, to his old prison in Edinburgh Castle.  
James ordered him to be executed, on his old shamefully unjust 
sentence, within three days; and he appears to have been anxious 
that his legs should have been pounded with his old favourite the 
boot.  However, the boot was not applied; he was simply beheaded, 
and his head was set upon the top of Edinburgh Jail.  One of those 
Englishmen who had been assigned to him was that old soldier 
Rumbold, the master of the Rye House.  He was sorely wounded, and 
within a week after Argyle had suffered with great courage, was 
brought up for trial, lest he should die and disappoint the King.  
He, too, was executed, after defending himself with great spirit, 
and saying that he did not believe that God had made the greater 
part of mankind to carry saddles on their backs and bridles in 
their mouths, and to be ridden by a few, booted and spurred for the 
purpose - in which I thoroughly agree with Rumbold.

The Duke of Monmouth, partly through being detained and partly 
through idling his time away, was five or six weeks behind his 
friend when he landed at Lyme, in Dorset:  having at his right hand 
an unlucky nobleman called LORD GREY OF WERK, who of himself would 
have ruined a far more promising expedition.  He immediately set up 
his standard in the market-place, and proclaimed the King a tyrant, 
and a Popish usurper, and I know not what else; charging him, not 
only with what he had done, which was bad enough, but with what 
neither he nor anybody else had done, such as setting fire to 
London, and poisoning the late King.  Raising some four thousand 
men by these means, he marched on to Taunton, where there were many 
Protestant dissenters who were strongly opposed to the Catholics.  
Here, both the rich and poor turned out to receive him, ladies 
waved a welcome to him from all the windows as he passed along the 
streets, flowers were strewn in his way, and every compliment and 
honour that could be devised was showered upon him.  Among the 
rest, twenty young ladies came forward, in their best clothes, and 
in their brightest beauty, and gave him a Bible ornamented with 
their own fair hands, together with other presents.

Encouraged by this homage, he proclaimed himself King, and went on 
to Bridgewater.  But, here the Government troops, under the EARL OF 
FEVERSHAM, were close at hand; and he was so dispirited at finding 
that he made but few powerful friends after all, that it was a 
question whether he should disband his army and endeavour to 
escape.  It was resolved, at the instance of that unlucky Lord 
Grey, to make a night attack on the King's army, as it lay encamped 
on the edge of a morass called Sedgemoor.  The horsemen were 
commanded by the same unlucky lord, who was not a brave man.  He 
gave up the battle almost at the first obstacle - which was a deep 
drain; and although the poor countrymen, who had turned out for 
Monmouth, fought bravely with scythes, poles, pitchforks, and such 
poor weapons as they had, they were soon dispersed by the trained 
soldiers, and fled in all directions.  When the Duke of Monmouth 
himself fled, was not known in the confusion; but the unlucky Lord 
Grey was taken early next day, and then another of the party was 
taken, who confessed that he had parted from the Duke only four 
hours before.  Strict search being made, he was found disguised as 
a peasant, hidden in a ditch under fern and nettles, with a few 
peas in his pocket which he had gathered in the fields to eat.  The 
only other articles he had upon him were a few papers and little 
books:  one of the latter being a strange jumble, in his own 
writing, of charms, songs, recipes, and prayers.  He was completely 
broken.  He wrote a miserable letter to the King, beseeching and 
entreating to be allowed to see him.  When he was taken to London, 
and conveyed bound into the King's presence, he crawled to him on 
his knees, and made a most degrading exhibition.  As James never 
forgave or relented towards anybody, he was not likely to soften 
towards the issuer of the Lyme proclamation, so he told the 
suppliant to prepare for death.

On the fifteenth of July, one thousand six hundred and eighty-five, 
this unfortunate favourite of the people was brought out to die on 
Tower Hill.  The crowd was immense, and the tops of all the houses 
were covered with gazers.  He had seen his wife, the daughter of 
the Duke of Buccleuch, in the Tower, and had talked much of a lady 
whom he loved far better - the LADY HARRIET WENTWORTH - who was one 
of the last persons he remembered in this life.  Before laying down 
his head upon the block he felt the edge of the axe, and told the 
executioner that he feared it was not sharp enough, and that the 
axe was not heavy enough.  On the executioner replying that it was 
of the proper kind, the Duke said, 'I pray you have a care, and do 
not use me so awkwardly as you used my Lord Russell.'  The 
executioner, made nervous by this, and trembling, struck once and 
merely gashed him in the neck.  Upon this, the Duke of Monmouth 
raised his head and looked the man reproachfully in the face.  Then 
he struck twice, and then thrice, and then threw down the axe, and 
cried out in a voice of horror that he could not finish that work.  
The sheriffs, however, threatening him with what should be done to 
himself if he did not, he took it up again and struck a fourth time 
and a fifth time.  Then the wretched head at last fell off, and 
James, Duke of Monmouth, was dead, in the thirty-sixth year of his 
age.  He was a showy, graceful man, with many popular qualities, 
and had found much favour in the open hearts of the English.

The atrocities, committed by the Government, which followed this 
Monmouth rebellion, form the blackest and most lamentable page in 
English history.  The poor peasants, having been dispersed with 
great loss, and their leaders having been taken, one would think 
that the implacable King might have been satisfied.  But no; he let 
loose upon them, among other intolerable monsters, a COLONEL KIRK, 
who had served against the Moors, and whose soldiers - called by 
the people Kirk's lambs, because they bore a lamb upon their flag, 
as the emblem of Christianity - were worthy of their leader.  The 
atrocities committed by these demons in human shape are far too 
horrible to be related here.  It is enough to say, that besides 
most ruthlessly murdering and robbing them, and ruining them by 
making them buy their pardons at the price of all they possessed, 
it was one of Kirk's favourite amusements, as he and his officers 
sat drinking after dinner, and toasting the King, to have batches 
of prisoners hanged outside the windows for the company's 
diversion; and that when their feet quivered in the convulsions of 
death, he used to swear that they should have music to their 
dancing, and would order the drums to beat and the trumpets to 
play.  The detestable King informed him, as an acknowledgment of 
these services, that he was 'very well satisfied with his 
proceedings.'  But the King's great delight was in the proceedings 
of Jeffreys, now a peer, who went down into the west, with four 
other judges, to try persons accused of having had any share in the 
rebellion.  The King pleasantly called this 'Jeffreys's campaign.'  
The people down in that part of the country remember it to this day 
as The Bloody Assize.

It began at Winchester, where a poor deaf old lady, MRS. ALICIA 
LISLE, the widow of one of the judges of Charles the First (who had 
been murdered abroad by some Royalist assassins), was charged with 
having given shelter in her house to two fugitives from Sedgemoor.  
Three times the jury refused to find her guilty, until Jeffreys 
bullied and frightened them into that false verdict.  When he had 
extorted it from them, he said, 'Gentlemen, if I had been one of 
you, and she had been my own mother, I would have found her 
guilty;' - as I dare say he would.  He sentenced her to be burned 
alive, that very afternoon.  The clergy of the cathedral and some 
others interfered in her favour, and she was beheaded within a 
week.  As a high mark of his approbation, the King made Jeffreys 
Lord Chancellor; and he then went on to Dorchester, to Exeter, to 
Taunton, and to Wells.  It is astonishing, when we read of the 
enormous injustice and barbarity of this beast, to know that no one 
struck him dead on the judgment-seat.  It was enough for any man or 
woman to be accused by an enemy, before Jeffreys, to be found 
guilty of high treason.  One man who pleaded not guilty, he ordered 
to be taken out of court upon the instant, and hanged; and this so 
terrified the prisoners in general that they mostly pleaded guilty 
at once.  At Dorchester alone, in the course of a few days, 
Jeffreys hanged eighty people; besides whipping, transporting, 
imprisoning, and selling as slaves, great numbers.  He executed, in 
all, two hundred and fifty, or three hundred.

These executions took place, among the neighbours and friends of 
the sentenced, in thirty-six towns and villages.  Their bodies were 
mangled, steeped in caldrons of boiling pitch and tar, and hung up 
by the roadsides, in the streets, over the very churches.  The 
sight and smell of heads and limbs, the hissing and bubbling of the 
infernal caldrons, and the tears and terrors of the people, were 
dreadful beyond all description.  One rustic, who was forced to 
steep the remains in the black pot, was ever afterwards called 'Tom 
Boilman.'  The hangman has ever since been called Jack Ketch, 
because a man of that name went hanging and hanging, all day long, 
in the train of Jeffreys.  You will hear much of the horrors of the 
great French Revolution.  Many and terrible they were, there is no 
doubt; but I know of nothing worse, done by the maddened people of 
France in that awful time, than was done by the highest judge in 
England, with the express approval of the King of England, in The 
Bloody Assize.

Nor was even this all.  Jeffreys was as fond of money for himself 
as of misery for others, and he sold pardons wholesale to fill his 
pockets.  The King ordered, at one time, a thousand prisoners to be 
given to certain of his favourites, in order that they might 
bargain with them for their pardons.  The young ladies of Taunton 
who had presented the Bible, were bestowed upon the maids of honour 
at court; and those precious ladies made very hard bargains with 
them indeed.  When The Bloody Assize was at its most dismal height, 
the King was diverting himself with horse-races in the very place 
where Mrs. Lisle had been executed.  When Jeffreys had done his 
worst, and came home again, he was particularly complimented in the 
Royal Gazette; and when the King heard that through drunkenness and 
raging he was very ill, his odious Majesty remarked that such 
another man could not easily be found in England.  Besides all 
this, a former sheriff of London, named CORNISH, was hanged within 
sight of his own house, after an abominably conducted trial, for 
having had a share in the Rye House Plot, on evidence given by 
Rumsey, which that villain was obliged to confess was directly 
opposed to the evidence he had given on the trial of Lord Russell.  
And on the very same day, a worthy widow, named ELIZABETH GAUNT, 
was burned alive at Tyburn, for having sheltered a wretch who 
himself gave evidence against her.  She settled the fuel about 
herself with her own hands, so that the flames should reach her 
quickly:  and nobly said, with her last breath, that she had obeyed 
the sacred command of God, to give refuge to the outcast, and not 
to betray the wanderer.

After all this hanging, beheading, burning, boiling, mutilating, 
exposing, robbing, transporting, and selling into slavery, of his 
unhappy subjects, the King not unnaturally thought that he could do 
whatever he would.  So, he went to work to change the religion of 
the country with all possible speed; and what he did was this.

He first of all tried to get rid of what was called the Test Act - 
which prevented the Catholics from holding public employments - by 
his own power of dispensing with the penalties.  He tried it in one 
case, and, eleven of the twelve judges deciding in his favour, he 
exercised it in three others, being those of three dignitaries of 
University College, Oxford, who had become Papists, and whom he 
kept in their places and sanctioned.  He revived the hated 
Ecclesiastical Commission, to get rid of COMPTON, Bishop of London, 
who manfully opposed him.  He solicited the Pope to favour England 
with an ambassador, which the Pope (who was a sensible man then) 
rather unwillingly did.  He flourished Father Petre before the eyes 
of the people on all possible occasions.  He favoured the 
establishment of convents in several parts of London.  He was 
delighted to have the streets, and even the court itself, filled 
with Monks and Friars in the habits of their orders.  He constantly 
endeavoured to make Catholics of the Protestants about him.  He 
held private interviews, which he called 'closetings,' with those 
Members of Parliament who held offices, to persuade them to consent 
to the design he had in view.  When they did not consent, they were 
removed, or resigned of themselves, and their places were given to 
Catholics.  He displaced Protestant officers from the army, by 
every means in his power, and got Catholics into their places too.  
He tried the same thing with the corporations, and also (though not 
so successfully) with the Lord Lieutenants of counties.  To terrify 
the people into the endurance of all these measures, he kept an 
army of fifteen thousand men encamped on Hounslow Heath, where mass 
was openly performed in the General's tent, and where priests went 
among the soldiers endeavouring to persuade them to become 
Catholics.  For circulating a paper among those men advising them 
to be true to their religion, a Protestant clergyman, named 
JOHNSON, the chaplain of the late Lord Russell, was actually 
sentenced to stand three times in the pillory, and was actually 
whipped from Newgate to Tyburn.  He dismissed his own brother-in-
law from his Council because he was a Protestant, and made a Privy 
Councillor of the before-mentioned Father Petre.  He handed Ireland 
over to RICHARD TALBOT, EARL OF TYRCONNELL, a worthless, dissolute 
knave, who played the same game there for his master, and who 
played the deeper game for himself of one day putting it under the 
protection of the French King.  In going to these extremities, 
every man of sense and judgment among the Catholics, from the Pope 
to a porter, knew that the King was a mere bigoted fool, who would 
undo himself and the cause he sought to advance; but he was deaf to 
all reason, and, happily for England ever afterwards, went tumbling 
off his throne in his own blind way.

A spirit began to arise in the country, which the besotted 
blunderer little expected.  He first found it out in the University 
of Cambridge.  Having made a Catholic a dean at Oxford without any 
opposition, he tried to make a monk a master of arts at Cambridge:  
which attempt the University resisted, and defeated him.  He then 
went back to his favourite Oxford.  On the death of the President 
of Magdalen College, he commanded that there should be elected to 
succeed him, one MR. ANTHONY FARMER, whose only recommendation was, 
that he was of the King's religion.  The University plucked up 
courage at last, and refused.  The King substituted another man, 
and it still refused, resolving to stand by its own election of a 
MR. HOUGH.  The dull tyrant, upon this, punished Mr. Hough, and 
five-and-twenty more, by causing them to be expelled and declared 
incapable of holding any church preferment; then he proceeded to 
what he supposed to be his highest step, but to what was, in fact, 
his last plunge head-foremost in his tumble off his throne.

He had issued a declaration that there should be no religious tests 
or penal laws, in order to let in the Catholics more easily; but 
the Protestant dissenters, unmindful of themselves, had gallantly 
joined the regular church in opposing it tooth and nail.  The King 
and Father Petre now resolved to have this read, on a certain 
Sunday, in all the churches, and to order it to be circulated for 
that purpose by the bishops.  The latter took counsel with the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, who was in disgrace; and they resolved 
that the declaration should not be read, and that they would 
petition the King against it.  The Archbishop himself wrote out the 
petition, and six bishops went into the King's bedchamber the same 
night to present it, to his infinite astonishment.  Next day was 
the Sunday fixed for the reading, and it was only read by two 
hundred clergymen out of ten thousand.  The King resolved against 
all advice to prosecute the bishops in the Court of King's Bench, 
and within three weeks they were summoned before the Privy Council, 
and committed to the Tower.  As the six bishops were taken to that 
dismal place, by water, the people who were assembled in immense 
numbers fell upon their knees, and wept for them, and prayed for 
them.  When they got to the Tower, the officers and soldiers on 
guard besought them for their blessing.  While they were confined 
there, the soldiers every day drank to their release with loud 
shouts.  When they were brought up to the Court of King's Bench for 
their trial, which the Attorney-General said was for the high 
offence of censuring the Government, and giving their opinion about 
affairs of state, they were attended by similar multitudes, and 
surrounded by a throng of noblemen and gentlemen.  When the jury 
went out at seven o'clock at night to consider of their verdict, 
everybody (except the King) knew that they would rather starve than 
yield to the King's brewer, who was one of them, and wanted a 
verdict for his customer.  When they came into court next morning, 
after resisting the brewer all night, and gave a verdict of not 
guilty, such a shout rose up in Westminster Hall as it had never 
heard before; and it was passed on among the people away to Temple 
Bar, and away again to the Tower.  It did not pass only to the 
east, but passed to the west too, until it reached the camp at 
Hounslow, where the fifteen thousand soldiers took it up and echoed 
it.  And still, when the dull King, who was then with Lord 
Feversham, heard the mighty roar, asked in alarm what it was, and 
was told that it was 'nothing but the acquittal of the bishops,' he 
said, in his dogged way, 'Call you that nothing?  It is so much the 
worse for them.'

Between the petition and the trial, the Queen had given birth to a 
son, which Father Petre rather thought was owing to Saint Winifred.  
But I doubt if Saint Winifred had much to do with it as the King's 
friend, inasmuch as the entirely new prospect of a Catholic 
successor (for both the King's daughters were Protestants) 
to invite the Prince of Orange over to England.  The Royal Mole, 
seeing his danger at last, made, in his fright, many great 
concessions, besides raising an army of forty thousand men; but the 
Prince of Orange was not a man for James the Second to cope with.  
His preparations were extraordinarily vigorous, and his mind was 

For a fortnight after the Prince was ready to sail for England, a 
great wind from the west prevented the departure of his fleet.  
Even when the wind lulled, and it did sail, it was dispersed by a 
storm, and was obliged to put back to refit.  At last, on the first 
of November, one thousand six hundred and eighty-eight, the 
Protestant east wind, as it was long called, began to blow; and on 
the third, the people of Dover and the people of Calais saw a fleet 
twenty miles long sailing gallantly by, between the two places.  On 
Monday, the fifth, it anchored at Torbay in Devonshire, and the 
Prince, with a splendid retinue of officers and men, marched into 
Exeter.  But the people in that western part of the country had 
suffered so much in The Bloody Assize, that they had lost heart.  
Few people joined him; and he began to think of returning, and 
publishing the invitation he had received from those lords, as his 
justification for having come at all.  At this crisis, some of the 
gentry joined him; the Royal army began to falter; an engagement 
was signed, by which all who set their hand to it declared that 
they would support one another in defence of the laws and liberties 
of the three Kingdoms, of the Protestant religion, and of the 
Prince of Orange.  From that time, the cause received no check; the 
greatest towns in England began, one after another, to declare for 
the Prince; and he knew that it was all safe with him when the 
University of Oxford offered to melt down its plate, if he wanted 
any money.

By this time the King was running about in a pitiable way, touching 
people for the King's evil in one place, reviewing his troops in 
another, and bleeding from the nose in a third.  The young Prince 
was sent to Portsmouth, Father Petre went off like a shot to 
France, and there was a general and swift dispersal of all the 
priests and friars.  One after another, the King's most important 
officers and friends deserted him and went over to the Prince.  In 
the night, his daughter Anne fled from Whitehall Palace; and the 
Bishop of London, who had once been a soldier, rode before her with 
a drawn sword in his hand, and pistols at his saddle.  'God help 
me,' cried the miserable King:  'my very children have forsaken 
me!'  In his wildness, after debating with such lords as were in 
London, whether he should or should not call a Parliament, and 
after naming three of them to negotiate with the Prince, he 
resolved to fly to France.  He had the little Prince of Wales 
brought back from Portsmouth; and the child and the Queen crossed 
the river to Lambeth in an open boat, on a miserable wet night, and 
got safely away.  This was on the night of the ninth of December.

At one o'clock on the morning of the eleventh, the King, who had, 
in the meantime, received a letter from the Prince of Orange, 
stating his objects, got out of bed, told LORD NORTHUMBERLAND who 
lay in his room not to open the door until the usual hour in the 
morning, and went down the back stairs (the same, I suppose, by 
which the priest in the wig and gown had come up to his brother) 
and crossed the river in a small boat:  sinking the great seal of 
England by the way.  Horses having been provided, he rode, 
accompanied by SIR EDWARD HALES, to Feversham, where he embarked in 
a Custom House Hoy.  The master of this Hoy, wanting more ballast, 
ran into the Isle of Sheppy to get it, where the fishermen and 
smugglers crowded about the boat, and informed the King of their 
suspicions that he was a 'hatchet-faced Jesuit.'  As they took his 
money and would not let him go, he told them who he was, and that 
the Prince of Orange wanted to take his life; and he began to 
scream for a boat - and then to cry, because he had lost a piece of 
wood on his ride which he called a fragment of Our Saviour's cross.  
He put himself into the hands of the Lord Lieutenant of the county, 
and his detention was made known to the Prince of Orange at Windsor 
- who, only wanting to get rid of him, and not caring where he 
went, so that he went away, was very much disconcerted that they 
did not let him go.  However, there was nothing for it but to have 
him brought back, with some state in the way of Life Guards, to 
Whitehall.  And as soon as he got there, in his infatuation, he 
heard mass, and set a Jesuit to say grace at his public dinner.

The people had been thrown into the strangest state of confusion by 
his flight, and had taken it into their heads that the Irish part 
of the army were going to murder the Protestants.  Therefore, they 
set the bells a ringing, and lighted watch-fires, and burned 
Catholic Chapels, and looked about in all directions for Father 
Petre and the Jesuits, while the Pope's ambassador was running away 
in the dress of a footman.  They found no Jesuits; but a man, who 
had once been a frightened witness before Jeffreys in court, saw a 
swollen, drunken face looking through a window down at Wapping, 
which he well remembered.  The face was in a sailor's dress, but he 
knew it to be the face of that accursed judge, and he seized him.  
The people, to their lasting honour, did not tear him to pieces.  
After knocking him about a little, they took him, in the basest 
agonies of terror, to the Lord Mayor, who sent him, at his own 
shrieking petition, to the Tower for safety.  There, he died.

Their bewilderment continuing, the people now lighted bonfires and 
made rejoicings, as if they had any reason to be glad to have the 
King back again.  But, his stay was very short, for the English 
guards were removed from Whitehall, Dutch guards were marched up to 
it, and he was told by one of his late ministers that the Prince 
would enter London, next day, and he had better go to Ham.  He 
said, Ham was a cold, damp place, and he would rather go to 
Rochester.  He thought himself very cunning in this, as he meant to 
escape from Rochester to France.  The Prince of Orange and his 
friends knew that, perfectly well, and desired nothing more.  So, 
he went to Gravesend, in his royal barge, attended by certain 
lords, and watched by Dutch troops, and pitied by the generous 
people, who were far more forgiving than he had ever been, when 
they saw him in his humiliation.  On the night of the twenty-third 
of December, not even then understanding that everybody wanted to 
get rid of him, he went out, absurdly, through his Rochester 
garden, down to the Medway, and got away to France, where he 
rejoined the Queen.

There had been a council in his absence, of the lords, and the 
authorities of London.  When the Prince came, on the day after the 
King's departure, he summoned the Lords to meet him, and soon 
afterwards, all those who had served in any of the Parliaments of 
King Charles the Second.  It was finally resolved by these 
authorities that the throne was vacant by the conduct of King James 
the Second; that it was inconsistent with the safety and welfare of 
this Protestant kingdom, to be governed by a Popish prince; that 
the Prince and Princess of Orange should be King and Queen during 
their lives and the life of the survivor of them; and that their 
children should succeed them, if they had any.  That if they had 
none, the Princess Anne and her children should succeed; that if 
she had none, the heirs of the Prince of Orange should succeed.

On the thirteenth of January, one thousand six hundred and eighty-
nine, the Prince and Princess, sitting on a throne in Whitehall, 
bound themselves to these conditions.  The Protestant religion was 
established in England, and England's great and glorious Revolution 
was complete.


I HAVE now arrived at the close of my little history.  The events 
which succeeded the famous Revolution of one thousand six hundred 
and eighty-eight, would neither be easily related nor easily 
understood in such a book as this.

William and Mary reigned together, five years.  After the death of 
his good wife, William occupied the throne, alone, for seven years 
longer.  During his reign, on the sixteenth of September, one 
thousand seven hundred and one, the poor weak creature who had once 
been James the Second of England, died in France.  In the meantime 
he had done his utmost (which was not much) to cause William to be 
assassinated, and to regain his lost dominions.  James's son was 
declared, by the French King, the rightful King of England; and was 
called in France THE CHEVALIER SAINT GEORGE, and in England THE 
PRETENDER.  Some infatuated people in England, and particularly in 
Scotland, took up the Pretender's cause from time to time - as if 
the country had not had Stuarts enough! - and many lives were 
sacrificed, and much misery was occasioned.  King William died on 
Sunday, the seventh of March, one thousand seven hundred and two, 
of the consequences of an accident occasioned by his horse 
stumbling with him.  He was always a brave, patriotic Prince, and a 
man of remarkable abilities.  His manner was cold, and he made but 
few friends; but he had truly loved his queen.  When he was dead, a 
lock of her hair, in a ring, was found tied with a black ribbon 
round his left arm.

He was succeeded by the PRINCESS ANNE, a popular Queen, who reigned 
twelve years.  In her reign, in the month of May, one thousand 
seven hundred and seven, the Union between England and Scotland was 
effected, and the two countries were incorporated under the name of 
GREAT BRITAIN.  Then, from the year one thousand seven hundred and 
fourteen to the year one thousand, eight hundred and thirty, 
reigned the four GEORGES.

It was in the reign of George the Second, one thousand seven 
hundred and forty-five, that the Pretender did his last mischief, 
and made his last appearance.  Being an old man by that time, he 
and the Jacobites - as his friends were called - put forward his 
son, CHARLES EDWARD, known as the young Chevalier.  The Highlanders 
of Scotland, an extremely troublesome and wrong-headed race on the 
subject of the Stuarts, espoused his cause, and he joined them, and 
there was a Scottish rebellion to make him king, in which many 
gallant and devoted gentlemen lost their lives.  It was a hard 
matter for Charles Edward to escape abroad again, with a high price 
on his head; but the Scottish people were extraordinarily faithful 
to him, and, after undergoing many romantic adventures, not unlike 
those of Charles the Second, he escaped to France.  A number of 
charming stories and delightful songs arose out of the Jacobite 
feelings, and belong to the Jacobite times.  Otherwise I think the 
Stuarts were a public nuisance altogether.

It was in the reign of George the Third that England lost North 
America, by persisting in taxing her without her own consent.  That 
immense country, made independent under WASHINGTON, and left to 
itself, became the United States; one of the greatest nations of 
the earth.  In these times in which I write, it is honourably 
remarkable for protecting its subjects, wherever they may travel, 
with a dignity and a determination which is a model for England.  
Between you and me, England has rather lost ground in this respect 
since the days of Oliver Cromwell.

The Union of Great Britain with Ireland - which had been getting on 
very ill by itself - took place in the reign of George the Third, 
on the second of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight.

WILLIAM THE FOURTH succeeded George the Fourth, in the year one 
thousand eight hundred and thirty, and reigned seven years.  QUEEN 
VICTORIA, his niece, the only child of the Duke of Kent, the fourth 
son of George the Third, came to the throne on the twentieth of 
June, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven.  She was married 
to PRINCE ALBERT of Saxe Gotha on the tenth of February, one 
thousand eight hundred and forty.  She is very good, and much 
beloved.  So I end, like the crier, with


End of the Project Gutenberg eText A Child's History of England


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