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A Short History of England, Ireland and Scotland, by Mary Platt Parmele

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Title: A Short History of England, Ireland and Scotland

Author: Mary Platt Parmele

Release Date: September 18, 2010 [EBook #33755]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Al Haines

Magna Charta, 1215: King John submits to the Barons, and signs the Great Charter of British Liberties.

Magna Charta, 1215: King John submits to the Barons,
and signs the Great Charter of British Liberties.








COPYRIGHT, 1898, 1900, 1906, BY


Will the readers of this little work please bear in mind the difficulties which must attend the painting of a very large picture, with multitudinous characters and details, upon a very small canvas! This book is mainly an attempt to trace to their sources some of the currents which enter into the life of Great Britain to-day, and to indicate the starting-points of some among the various threads—legislative, judicial, social, etc.—which are gathered into the imposing strand of English civilization in this closing nineteenth century.

The reader will please observe that there seem to have been two things most closely interwoven with the life of England—RELIGION and MONEY have been the great evolutionary factors in her development.

It has been, first, the resistance of the people to the extortions of money by the ruling class, and second, the violating of their religious instincts, which has made nearly all that is vital in English history.

The lines upon which the government has developed to its present constitutional form are chiefly lines of resistance to oppressive enactments in these two matters. The dynastic and military history of England, although picturesque and interesting, is really only a narrative of the external causes which have impeded the nation's growth toward its ideal of "the greatest possible good to the greatest possible number."

The historic development of Ireland and Scotland, and the events which have brought these two countries into organic union with England are, of necessity, very briefly related.

M. P. P.



Ancient Britain—Cæsar's Invasion—Britain a Roman Province—Boadicea—Lyndin or London—Roman Legions Withdrawn—Angles and Saxons—Cerdic—Teutonic Invasion—English Kingdoms Consolidated 9

Augustine—Edwin—Cædmon—Bæda—Alfred—Canute—Edward the Confessor—Harold—William the Conqueror 25

"Gilds" and Boroughs—William II.—Crusades—Henry I.—Henry II.—Becket's Death—Richard I.—John—Magna Charta 40

Henry III.—Roger Bacon—First True Parliament—Edward I.—Conquest of Wales—of Scotland—Edward II.—Edward III.—Battle of Crécy—Richard II.—Wickliffe 51

House of Lancaster—Henry IV.—Henry V.—Agincourt—Battle of Orleans—Wars of the Roses—House of York—Edward IV.—Richard III.—Henry VII.—Printing Introduced 62

Henry VIII.—Wolsey—Reformation—Edward VI.—Mary 73

Elizabeth—East India Company Chartered—Colonization of Virginia—Flodden Field—Birth of Mary Stuart—Mary Stuart's Death—Spanish Armada—Francis Bacon 82

James I.—First New England Colony—Gunpowder Plot—Translation of Bible—Charles I.—Archbishop Laud—John Hampden—Petition of Right—Massachusetts Chartered—Earl Strafford—Star Chamber 97

Long Parliament—Death of Strafford and Laud—Oliver Cromwell—Death of Charles I.—Long Parliament Dispersed—Charles II 114

Act of Habeas Corpus—Death of Charles II.—Milton—Bunyan—James II.—William and Mary—Battle of the Boyne 122

Anne—Marlborough—Battle of Blenheim—House of Hanover—George I.—George II.—Walpole—British Dominion in India—Battle of Quebec—John Wesley 131

George III.—Stamp Act—Tax on Tea—American Independence Acknowledged—Impeachment of Hastings—War of 1812—First English Railway—George IV.—William IV.—Reform Bill—Emancipation of the Slaves 143

Victoria—Famine in Ireland—War with Russia—Sepoy Rebellion—Massacre at Cawnpore 159

Atlantic Cable—Daguerre's Discovery—First World's Fair—Death of Albert—Suez Canal—Victoria Empress of India—Disestablishment of Irish Branch of Church of England—Present Conditions 169

Death of Queen Victoria—Russo-Japanese War 191

Pre-Christian Ireland—From Augustine to English Conquest—From Henry II. to Elizabeth—From Elizabeth to William III. and Mary—From William III. to Act of Union—From Act of Union to death of Parnell—New Land Acts 199

Early Celtic Period—Period from Malcolm III. to Robert Bruce—From Bruce to James I.—From James I. to Union of Crowns—From Union of Crowns to Treaty of Union—Brief Summary of Period Since the Treaty of Union 249


Magna Charta, 1215: King John submits to the Barons, and signs the Great Charter of British Liberties Frontispiece
Queen Elizabeth going on board the "Golden Hind" 80
Cromwell dissolving the Long Parliament, 1653 116
Nelson's Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805 144
The British Squares at Quatre-Bras, 1815 150
The British in India: A native prince receiving the decoration of the order of the Star of India from Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales 170




The remotest fact in the history of England is written in her rocks. Geology tells us of a time when no sea flowed between Dover and Calais, while an unbroken continent extended from the Mediterranean to the Orkneys.

Huge mounds of rough stones called Cromlechs, have yielded up still another secret. Before the coming of the Keltic-Aryans, there dwelt there two successive races, whose story is briefly told in a few human fragments found in these "Cromlechs." These remains do not bear the royal marks of Aryan origin. The men were small in stature, with inferior skulls; and it is surmised that they belonged to the same mysterious branch of the human {10} family as the Basques and Iberians, whose presence in Southern Europe has never been explained.

When the Aryan came and blotted out these races will perhaps always remain an unanswered question. But while Greece was clothing herself with a mantle of beauty, which the world for two thousand years has striven in vain to imitate, there was lying off the North and West coasts of the European Continent a group of mist-enshrouded islands of which she had never heard.

Obscured by fogs, and beyond the horizon of Civilization, a branch of the Aryan race known as Britons were there leading lives as primitive as the American Indians, dwelling in huts shaped like beehives, which they covered with branches and plastered with mud. While Phidias was carving immortal statues for the Parthenon, this early Britisher was decorating his abode with the heads of his enemies; and could those shapeless blocks at Stonehenge speak, they would, perhaps, tell of cruel and hideous Druidical rites witnessed on Salisbury Plain, ages ago.


Rumors of the existence of this people reached the Mediterranean three or four hundred years before Christ, but not until Cæsar's invasion of the Island (55 B.C.) was there any positive knowledge of them.

The actual conquest of Britain was not one of Caesar's achievements. But from the moment when his covetous eagle-eye viewed the chalk-cliffs of Dover from the coast of Northern Gaul, its fate was sealed. The Roman octopus from that moment had fastened its tentacles upon the hapless land; and in 45 A.D., under the Emperor Claudius, it became a Roman province. In vain did the Britons struggle for forty years. In vain did the heroic Boadicea (during the reign of Nero, 61 A.D.), like Hermann in Germany, and Vercingetorix in France, resist the destruction of her nation by the Romans. In vain did this woman herself lead the Britons, in a frenzy of patriotism; and when the inevitable defeat came, and London was lost, with the desperate courage of the barbarian she destroyed herself rather than witness the humiliation of her race.

The stately Westminster and St. Paul's {12} did not look down upon this heroic daughter of Britain. London at that time was a collection of miserable huts and entrenched cattle-pens, which were in Keltic speech called the "Fort-on-the-Lake"—or "Llyndin," an uncouth name in Latin ears, which gave little promise of the future London, the Romans helping it to its final form by calling it Londinium.

But the octopus had firmly closed about its victim, whose struggles, before the year 100 A.D., had practically ceased. A civilization which made no effort to civilize was forcibly planted upon the island. Where had been the humble village, protected by a ditch and felled trees, there arose the walled city, with temples and baths and forum, and stately villas with frescoed walls and tessellated floors, and hot-air currents converting winter into summer.

So Chester, Colchester, Lincoln, York, London, and a score of other cities were set like jewels in a surface of rough clay, the Britons filling in the intervening spaces with their own rude customs, habits, and manners. Dwelling in wretched cabins {13} thatched with straw and chinked with mud, they still stubbornly maintained their own uncouth speech and nationality, while they helplessly saw all they could earn swallowed up in taxes and tributes by their insatiate conquerors. The Keltic-Gauls might, if they would, assimilate this Roman civilization, but not so the Keltic-Britons.

The two races dwelt side by side, but separate (except to some extent in the cities), or, if possible, the vanquished retreated before the vanquisher into Wales and Cornwall; and there to-day are found the only remains of the aboriginal Briton race in England.

The Roman General Agricola had built in 78 A.D. a massive wall across the North of England, extending from sea to sea, to protect the Roman territory from the Picts and Scots, those wild dwellers in the Northern Highlands. It seems to us a frail barrier to a people accustomed to leaping the rocky wall set by nature between the North and the South; and unless it were maintained by a line of legions extending its entire length, they must have laughed at such a defence; {14} even when duplicated later, as it was, by the Emperor Hadrian, in 120 A.D.; and still twice again, first by Emperor Antoninus, and then by Severus. For the swift transportation of troops in the defensive warfare always carried on with the Picts and Scots, magnificent roads were built, which linked the Romanized cities together in a network of splendid highways.

There were more than three centuries of peace. Agriculture, commerce, and industries came into existence. "Wealth accumulated," but the Briton "decayed" beneath the weight of a splendid system, which had not benefited, but had simply crushed out of him his original vigor. Together with Roman villas, and vice, and luxury, had also come Christianity. But the Briton, if he had learned to pray, had forgotten how to fight,—and how to govern; and now the Roman Empire was perishing. She needed all her legions to keep Alaric and his Goths out of Rome.

In 410 A.D. the fair cities and roads were deserted. The tramp of Roman soldiers was heard no more in the land, and the {15} enfeebled native race were left helpless and alone to fight their battles with the Picts and Scots;—that fierce Briton offshoot which had for centuries dwelt in the fastnesses of the Highlands, and which swarmed down upon them like vultures as soon as their protectors were gone.

In 446 A.D. the unhappy Britons invited their fate. Like their cousins, the Gauls, they invited the Teutons from across the sea to come to their rescue, and with result far more disastrous.

When the Frank became the champion and conqueror of Gaul, he had for centuries been in conflict or in contact with Rome, and had learned much of the old Southern civilizations, and to some extent adopted their ideals. Not so the Angles and Saxons, who came pouring into Britain from Schleswig-Holstein. They were uncontaminated pagans. In scorn of Roman luxury, they set the torch to the villas, and temples and baths. They came, exterminating, not assimilating. The more complaisant Frank had taken Romanized, Latinized Gaul just as he found her, and had even speedily {16} adopted her religion. It was for Gaul a change of rulers, but not of civilization.

But the Angles and Saxons were Teutons of a different sort. They brought across the sea in those "keels" their religion, their manners, habits, nature, and speech; and they brought them for use (just as the Englishman to-day carries with him a little England wherever he goes). Their religion, habits, and manners they stamped upon the helpless Britons. In spite of King Arthur, and his knights, and his sword "Excalibur," they swiftly paganized the land which had been for three centuries Christianized; and their nature and speech were so ground into the land of their adoption that they exist to-day wherever the Anglo-Saxon abides.

From Windsor Palace to the humblest abode in England (and in America) are to be found the descendants of these dominating barbarians who flooded the British Isles in the 5th Century. What sort of a race were they? Would we understand England to-day, we must understand them. It is not sufficient to know that they were bearded {17} and stalwart, fair and ruddy, flaxen-haired and with cold blue eyes. We should know what sort of souls looked out of those clear cold eyes. What sort of impulses and hearts dwelt within those brawny breasts.

Their hearts were barbarous, but loving and loyal, and nature had placed them in strong, vehement, ravenous bodies. They were untamed brutes, with noble instincts.

They had ideals too; and these are revealed in the rude songs and epics in which they delighted. Monstrous barbarities are committed, but always to accomplish some stern purpose of duty. They are cruel in order to be just. This sluggish, ravenous, drinking brute, with no gleam of tenderness, no light-hearted rhythm in his soul, has yet chaotic glimpses of the sublime in his earnest, gloomy nature. He gives little promise of culture, but much of heroism. There is, too, a reaching after something grand and invisible, which is a deep religious instinct. All these qualities had the future English nation slumbering within them. Marriage was sacred, woman honored. All the members of a family were responsible for the {18} acts of one member. The sense of obligation and of responsibility was strong and binding.

Is not every type of English manhood explained by such an inheritance? From the drunken brawler in his hovel to the English gentleman "taking his pleasures sadly," all are accounted for; and Hampden, Milton, Cromwell, John Bright, and Gladstone existed potentially in those fighting, drinking savages in the 5th Century.

Their religion, after 150 years, was exchanged for Christianity. Time softened their manners and habits, and mingled new elements with their speech. But the Anglo-Saxon nature has defied the centuries and change. A strong sense of justice, and a resolute resistance to encroachments upon personal liberty, are the warp and woof of Anglo-Saxon character yesterday, to-day and forever. The steady insistence of these traits has been making English History for precisely 1,400 years, (from 495 to 1895,) and the history of the Anglo-Saxon race in America for 200 years as well.

Our ancestors brought with them from {19} their native land a simple, just, Teutonic structure of society and government, the base of which was the individual free-man. The family was considered the social unit. Several families near together made a township, the affairs of the township being settled by the male freeholders, who met together to determine by conference what should be done.

This was the germ of the "town-meeting" and of popular government. In the "witan," or "wise men," who were chosen as advisers and adjusters of difficult questions, exist the future legislature and judiciary, while in the king, or "alder-mann" ("Ealdorman") we see not an oppressor, but one who by superior age and experience is fitted to lead. Cerdic, first Saxon king, was simply Cerdic the "Ealdorman" or "Alder-mann."

They were a free people from the beginning. They had never bowed the neck to yoke, their heads had never bent to tyranny. Better far was it that Roman civilization, built upon Keltic-Briton foundation, should have been effaced utterly, and that this {20} strong untamed humanity, even cruel and terrible as it was, should replace it. Roman laws, language, literature, faith, manners, were all swept away. A few mosaics, coins, and ruined fragments of walls and roads are all the record that remains of 300 years of occupation.

And the Briton himself—what became of him? In Ireland and Scotland he lingers still; but, except in Wales and Cornwall, England knows him no more. Like the American Indian, he was swept into the remote, inaccessible corners of his own land. It seemed cruel, but it had to be. Would we build strong and high, it must not be upon sand. We distrust the Kelt as a foundation for nations as we do sand for our temples. France was never cohesive until a mixture of Teuton had toughened it. Genius makes a splendid spire, but a poor corner-stone. It would seem that the Keltic race, brilliant and richly endowed, was still unsuited to the world in its higher stages of development. In Britain, Gaul, and Spain they were displaced and absorbed by the Germanic races. And now for long {21} centuries no Keltic people of importance has maintained its independence; the Gaelic of the Scotch Highlands, and of Ireland, the native dialect of the Welsh and of Brittany, being the scanty remains of that great family of related tongues which once occupied more territory than German, Latin, and Greek combined. The solution of the Irish question may lie in the fact that the Irish are fighting against the inevitable; that they belong to a race which is on its way to extinction, and which is intended to survive only as a brilliant thread, wrought into the texture of more commonplace but more enduring peoples.

It was written in the book of fate that a great nation should arise upon that green island by the North Sea. A foundation of Roman cement, made by a mingling of Keltic-Briton, and a corrupt, decayed civilization, would have altered not alone the fate of a nation, but the History of the World. Our barbarian ancestors brought from Schleswig-Holstein a rough, clean, strong foundation for what was to become a new type of humanity on the face of the earth. {22} A Humanity which was not to be Persian nor Greek, nor yet Roman, but to be nourished on the best results of all, and to become the standard-bearer for the Civilization of the future.

The Jutes came first as an advance-guard of the great Teuton invasion. It was but the prologue to the play when Hengist and Horsa, in 449 A.D., occupied what is now Kent, in the Southeast extremity of England. It was only when Cerdic and his Saxons placed foot on British soil (495 A.D.) that the real drama began. And when the Angles shortly afterward followed and occupied all that the Saxons had not appropriated (the north and east coast), the actors were all present and the play began. The Angles were destined to bestow their name upon the land (Angle-land), and the Saxons a line of kings extending from Cerdic to Victoria.

Covetous of each other's possessions, these Teutons fought as brothers will. Exterminating the Britons was diversified with efforts to exterminate one another. Seven kingdoms, four Anglian and three Saxon, {23} for 300 years tried to annihilate each other; then, finally submitting to the strongest, united completely,—as only children of one household of nations can do. The Saxons had been for two centuries dominating more and more until the long struggle ended—behold, Anglo-Saxon England consolidated under one Saxon king! The other kingdoms—Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Kent, Sussex, and Essex—surviving as shires and counties.

In 802 A.D., while Charlemagne was welding together his vast and composite empire, the Saxon Egbert (Ecgberht), descendant of Cerdic (the "Alder-mann"), was consolidating a less imposing, but, as it has proved, more permanent kingdom; and the History of a United England had begun.

While Christianity had been effaced by the Teuton invasion in England, it had survived among the Irish-Britons. Ireland was never paganized. With fiery zeal, her people not alone maintained the religion of the Cross at home, but even drove back the heathen flood by sending missionaries among the Picts in the Highlands, and into {24} other outlying territory about the North Sea.

Pope Gregory the Great saw this Keltic branch of Christendom, actually outrunning Latin Christianity in activity, and he was spurred to an act which was to be fraught with tremendous consequences.



The same spot in Kent (the isle of Thanet), which had witnessed the landing of Hengist and Horsa in 449, saw in 597 a band of men, calling themselves "Strangers from Rome," arriving under the leadership of Augustine.

They moved in solemn procession toward Canterbury, bearing before them a silver cross, with a picture of Christ, chanting in concert, as they went, the litany of their Church, Christianity had entered by the same door through which paganism had come 150 years before.

The religion of Wodin and Thor had ceased to satisfy the expanding soul of the Anglo-Saxon; and the new faith rapidly spread; its charm consisting in the light it seemed to throw upon the darkness encompassing man's past and future.


An aged chief said to Edwin, king of Northumbria, (after whom "Edwins-borough" was named,) "Oh, King, as a bird flies through this hall on a winter night, coming out of the darkness, and vanishing into the darkness again, even so is our life! If these strangers can tell us aught of what is beyond, let us hear them."

King Edwin was among the first to espouse the new religion, and in less than one hundred years the entire land was Christianized.

With the adoption of Christianity a new life began to course in the veins of the people.

Cædmon, an unlettered Northumbrian peasant, was inspired by an Angel who came to him in his sleep and told him to "Sing." "He was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision." He wrote epics upon all the sacred themes, from the creation of the World to the Ascension of Christ and the final judgment of man, and English literature was born.

"Paradise Lost," one thousand years later, was but the echo of this poet-peasant, who was the Milton of the 7th Century.


In the 8th Century, Bæda (the venerable Beda), another Northumbrian, who was monk, scholar, and writer, wrote the first History of his people and his country, and discoursed upon astronomy, physics, meteorology, medicine, and philosophy. These were but the early lispings of Science; but they held the germs of the "British Association" and of the "Royal Society;" for as English poetry has its roots in Cædmon, so is English intellectual life rooted in Bæda.

The culmination of this new era was in Alfred, who came to the throne of his grandfather, Egbert, in 871.

He brought the highest ideals of the duties of a King, a broad, statesmanlike grasp of conditions, an unsullied heart, and a clear, strong intelligence, with unusual inclination toward an intellectual life.

Few Kings have better deserved the title of "great." With him began the first conception of National law. He prepared a code for the administration of justice in his Kingdom, which was prefaced by the Ten Commandments, and ended with the Golden Rule; while in his leisure hours he gave {28} coherence and form to the literature of the time. Taking the writings of Cædmon, Bæda, Pope Gregory, and Boethius; translating, editing, commentating, and adding his own to the views of others upon a wide range of subjects.

He was indeed the father not alone of a legal system in England, but of her culture and literature besides. The people of Wantage, his native town, did well, in 1849, to celebrate the one-thousandth anniversary of the birth of the great King Alfred.

But a condition of decadence was in progress in England, which Alfred's wise reign was powerless to arrest, and which his greatness may even have tended to hasten. The distance between the king and the people had widened from a mere step to a gulf. When the Saxon kings began to be clothed with a mysterious dignity as "the Lord's anointed," the people were correspondingly degraded; and the degradation of this class, in which the true strength of England consisted, bore unhappy but natural fruits.

A slave or "unfree" class had come with {29} the Teutons from their native land. This small element had for centuries now been swelled by captives taken in war, and by accessions through misery, poverty, and debt, which drove men to sell themselves and families and wear the collar of servitude. The slave was not under the lash; but he was a mere chattel, having no more part than cattle (from whom this title is derived) in the real life of the state.

In addition to this, political and social changes had been long modifying the structure of society in a way tending to degrade the general condition. As the lesser Kingdoms were merged into one large one, the wider dominion of the king removed him further from the people; every succeeding reign raising him higher, depressing them lower, until the old English freedom was lost.

The "folk-moot" and "Witenagemot"* were heard of no more. The life of the early English State had been in its "folk-moot," and hence rested upon the individual English freeman, who knew no superior but {30} God, and the law. Now, he had sunk into the mere "villein," bound to follow his lord to the field, to give him his personal service, and to look to him alone for justice. With the decline of the freeman (or of popular government) came Anglo-Saxon degeneracy, which made him an easy prey to the Danes.

*Witenagemot—a Council composed of "Witan" or "Wise Men."

The Northmen were a perpetual menace and scourge to England and Scotland. There never could be any feeling of permanent security while that hostile flood was always ready to press in through an unguarded spot on the coast. The sea wolves and robbers from Norway came devouring, pillaging, and ravaging, and then away again to their own homes or lairs. Their boast was that they "scorned to earn by sweat what they might win by blood." But the Northmen from Denmark were of a different sort. They were looking for permanent conquest, and had dreams of Empire, and, in fact, had had more or less of a grasp upon English soil for centuries before Alfred; and one of his greatest achievements was driving these {31} hated invaders out of England. In 1013, under the leadership of Sweyn, they once more poured in upon the land, and after a brief but fierce struggle a degenerate England was gathered into the iron hand of the Dane.

Canute, the son of Sweyn, continued the successes of his father, conquering in Scotland Duncan (slain later by Macbeth), and proceeded to realize his dream of a great Scandinavian empire, which should include Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and England. He was one of those monumental men who mark the periods in the pages of History, and yet child enough to command the tides to cease, and when disobeyed, was so humiliated, it is said, he never again placed a crown upon his head, acknowledging the presence of a King greater than himself.

Conqueror though he was, the Dane was not exactly a foreigner in England. The languages of the two nations were almost the same, and a race affinity took away much of the bitterness of the subjugation, while Canute ruled more as a wise native King than as a Conqueror.


But the span of life, even of a founder of Empire, is short. Canute's sons were degenerate, cruel, and in forty years after the Conquest had so exasperated the Anglo-Saxons that enough of the primitive spirit returned, to throw off the foreign yoke, and the old Saxon line was restored in Edward, known as "the Confessor."

Edward had qualities more fitted to adorn the cloister than the throne. He was more of a Saint than King, and was glad to leave the affairs of his realm in the hands of Earl Godwin. This man was the first great English statesman who had been neither Priest nor King. Astute, powerful, dexterous, he was virtual ruler of the Kingdom until the death of the childless King Edward in 1066, when Godwin's son Harold was called to the empty throne.

Foreign royal alliances have caused no end of trouble in the life of Kingdoms. A marriage between a Saxon King and a Norman Princess, in about the year 1000 A.D., has made a vast deal of history. This Princess of Normandy, was the grandmother of the man, who was to be known as "William {33} the Conqueror." In the absence of a direct heir to the English throne, made vacant by Edward's death, this descent gave a shadowy claim to the ambitious Duke across the Channel, which he was not slow to use for his own purposes.

He asserted that Edward had promised that he should succeed him, and that Harold, the son of Godwin, had assured him of his assistance in securing his rights upon the death of Edward the Confessor. A tremendous indignation stirred his righteous soul when he heard of the crowning of Harold; not so much at the loss of the throne, as at the treachery of his friend.

In the face of tremendous opposition and difficulties, he got together his reluctant Barons and a motley host, actually cutting down the trees with which to create a fleet, and then, depending upon pillage for subsistence, rushed to face victory or ruin.

The Battle of Senlac (or Hastings) has been best told by a woman's hand in the famous Bayeux Tapestry. An arrow pierced the unhappy Harold in the eye, entering the brain, and the head which had worn the {34} crown of England ten short months lay in the dust, William, with wrath unappeased, refusing him burial.

William, Duke of Normandy, was King of England. Not alone that. He claimed that he had been rightful King ever since the death of his cousin Edward the Confessor; and that those who had supported Harold were traitors, and their lands confiscated to the crown. As nearly all had been loyal to Harold, the result was that most of the wealth of the Nation was emptied into William's lap, not by right of conquest, but by English law.

Feudalism had been gradually stifling old English freedom, and the King saw himself confronted with a feudal baronage, nobles claiming hereditary, military, and judicial power independent of the King, such as degraded the Monarchy and riveted down the people in France for centuries. With the genius of the born ruler and conqueror, William discerned the danger and its remedy. Availing himself of the early legal constitution of England, he placed justice in the old local courts of the {35} "hundred" and "shire," to which every freeman had access, and these courts he placed under the jurisdiction of the King alone. In Germany and France the vassal owned supreme fealty to his lord, against all foes, even the King himself. In England, the tenant from this time swore direct fealty to none save his King.

With the unbounded wealth at his disposal, William granted enormous estates to his followers upon condition of military service at his call. In other words, he seized the entire landed property of the State, and then used it to buy the allegiance of the people. By this means the whole Nation was at his command as an army subject to his will; and there was at the same time a breaking up of old feudal tyrannies by a redistribution of the soil under a new form of land tenure.

The City of London was rewarded for instant submission by a Charter, signed,—not by his name—but his mark, for the Conqueror of England (from whom Victoria is twenty-fifth remove in descent), could not write his name.


He built the Tower of London, to hold the City in restraint. Fortress, palace, prison, it stands to-day the grim progenitor of the Castles and Strongholds which soon frowned from every height in England.

He took the outlawed, despised Jew under his protection; not as a philanthropist, but seeing in him a being who was always accumulating wealth, which could in any emergency be wrung from him by torture, if milder measures failed. Their hoarded treasure flowed into the land. They built the first stone houses, and domestic architecture was created. Jewish gold built Castles and Cathedrals, and awoke the slumbering sense of beauty. Through their connection with the Jews in Spain and the East, knowledge of the physical sciences also streamed into the land, and an intellectual life was created, which bore fruit a century and a half later in Roger Bacon.

All these things were not done in a day. It was twenty years after the Conquest that William ordered a survey and valuation of all the land, which was recorded in what was known as "Domesday Book," that he {37} might know the precise financial resources of his kingdom, and what was due him on the confiscated estates. Then he summoned all the nobles and large landholders to meet him at Salisbury Plain, and those shapeless blocks at "Stonehenge" witnessed a strange scene when 60,000 men there took solemn oath to support William as King even against their own lords. With this splendid consummation his work was practically finished. He had, with supreme dexterity and wisdom, blended two Civilizations, had at the right moment curbed the destructive element in feudalism, and had secured to the Englishman free access to the surface for all time. Thus the old English freedom was in fact restored by the Norman Conquest, by direct act of the Conqueror.

William typified in his person a transitional time, the old Norse world, mingling strangely in him with the new. He was the last outcome of his race. Norse daring and cruelty were side by side with gentleness and aspiration. No human pity tempered his vengeance. When hides were hung on the City Walls at Alençon, in insult {38} to his mother (the daughter of a tanner), he tore out the eyes, cut off the hands and feet of the prisoners, and threw them over the walls. When he did this, and when he refused Harold's body a grave, it was the spirit of the sea-wolves within him. But it was the man of the coming Civilization, who could not endure death by process of law in his Kingdom, and who delighted to discourse with the gentle and pious Anselm, upon the mysteries of life and death.

The indirect benefits of the Conquest, came in enriching streams from the older civilizations. As Rome had been heir to the accumulations of experience in the ancient Nations, so England, through France became the heir to Latin institutions, and was joined to the great continuous stream of the World's highest development. Fresh intellectual stimulus renovated the Church. Roman law was planted upon the simple Teuton system of rights. Every department in State and in Society shared the advance, while language became refined, flexible, and enriched.

This engrafting with the results of {39} antiquity, was an enormous saving of time, in the development of a nation; but it did not change the essential character of the Anglo-Saxon, nor of his speech. The ravenous Teuton could devour and assimilate all these new elements and remain essentially unchanged. The language of Bunyan and of the Bible is Saxon; and it is the language of the Englishman to-day in childhood and in extremity. A man who is thoroughly in earnest—who is drowning—speaks Saxon. Character, as much as speech, remains unaltered. There is small trace of the Norman in the House of Commons, or in the meetings at Exeter Hall, or in the home, or life of the people anywhere.

The qualities which have made England great were brought across the North Sea in those "keels" in the 5th Century. The Anglo-Saxon put on the new civilization and institutions brought him by the Conquest, as he would an embroidered garment; but the man within the garment, though modified by civilization, has never essentially changed.



It is not in the exploits of its Kings but in the aspirations and struggles of its people, that the true history of a nation is to be sought. During the rule and misrule of the two sons, and grandson, of the Conqueror, England was steadily growing toward its ultimate form.

As Society outgrew the simple ties of blood which bound it together in old Saxon England, the people had sought a larger protection in combinations among fellow freemen, based upon identity of occupation.

The "Frith-Gilds," or peace Clubs, came into existence in Europe during the 9th and 10th Centuries. They were harshly repressed in Germany and Gaul, but found kindly welcome from Alfred in England. In their mutual responsibility, in their motto, "if any misdo, let all bear it," Alfred saw simply {41} an enlarged conception of the "family," which was the basis of the Saxon social structure; and the adoption of this idea of a larger unity, in combination, was one of the first phases of an expanding national life. So, after the conquest, while ambitious kings were absorbing French and Irish territory or fighting with recalcitrant barons, the merchant, craft, and church "gilds" were creating a great popular force, which was to accomplish more enduring conquests.

It was in the "boroughs" and in these "gilds" that the true life of the nation consisted. It was the shopkeepers and artisans which brought the right of free speech, and free meeting, and of equal justice across the ages of tyranny. One freedom after another was being won, and the battle with oppression was being fought, not by Knights and Barons, but by the sturdy burghers and craftsmen. Silently as the coral insect, the Anglo-Saxon was building an indestructible foundation for English liberties.

The Conqueror had bequeathed England to his second son, William Rufus, and {42} Normandy to his eldest son, Robert. In 1095 (eight years after his death) commenced those extraordinary wars carried on by the chivalry of Europe against the Saracens in the East. Robert, in order to raise money to join the first crusade, mortgaged Normandy to his brother, and an absorption of Western France had begun, which, by means of conquest by arms and the more peaceful conquest by marriage, would in fifty years extend English dominion from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees.

William's son Henry (I.), who succeeded his older brother, William Rufus, inherited enough of his father's administrative genius to complete the details of government which he had outlined. He organized the beginning of a judicial system, creating out of his secretaries and Royal Ministers a Supreme Court, whose head bore the title of Chancellor. He created also another tribunal, which represented the body of royal vassals who had all hitherto been summoned together three times a year. This "King's Court," as it was called, considered everything relating to the revenues of the state. Its {43} meetings were about a table with a top like a chessboard, which led to calling the members who sat, "Barons of the Exchequer." He also wisely created a class of lesser nobles, upon whom the old barons looked down with scorn, but who served as a counterbalancing force against the arrogance of an old nobility, and bridged the distance between them and the people.

So, while the thirty-five years of Henry's reign advanced, and developed the purposes of his father, his marriage with a Saxon Princess did much to efface the memory of foreign conquest, in restoring the old Saxon blood to the royal line. But the young Prince who embodied this hope, went down with 140 young nobles in the "White Ship," while returning from Normandy. It is said that his father never smiled again, and upon his death, his nephew Stephen was king during twenty unfruitful years.

But the succession returned through Matilda, daughter of Henry I. and the Saxon princess. She married Geoffrey, Count of Anjou. This Geoffrey, called "the handsome," always wore in his helmet a sprig of {44} the broom-plant of Anjou (Planta genista), hence their son, Henry II. of England, was known as Henry Plante-à-genêt.

This first Plantagenet was a strong, coarse-fibred man; a practical reformer, without sentiment, but really having good government profoundly at heart.

He took the reins into his great, rough hands with a determination first of all to curb the growing power of the clergy, by bringing it under the jurisdiction of the civil courts. To this end he created his friend and chancellor, Thomas à Becket, a primate of the Church to aid the accomplishment of his purpose. But from the moment Becket became Archbishop of Canterbury, he was transformed into the defender of the organization he was intended to subdue. Henry was furious when he found himself resisted and confronted by the very man he had created as an instrument of his will. These were years of conflict. At last, in a moment of exasperation, the king exclaimed, "Is there none brave enough to rid me of this low-born priest!" This was construed into a command. Four knights sped swiftly {45} to Canterbury Cathedral, and murdered the Archbishop at the altar. Henry was stricken with remorse, and caused himself to be beaten with rods like the vilest criminal, kneeling upon the spot stained with the blood of his friend. It was a brutal murder, which caused a thrill of horror throughout Christendom. Becket was canonized; miracles were performed at his tomb, and for hundreds of years a stream of bruised humanity flowed into Canterbury, seeking surcease of sorrow, and cure for sickness and disease, by contact with the bones of the murdered saint.

But Henry had accomplished his end. The clergy was under the jurisdiction of the King's Court during his reign. He also continued the judicial reorganization commenced by Henry I. He divided the kingdom into judicial districts. This completely effaced the legal jurisdiction of the nobles. The Circuits thus defined correspond roughly with those existing to-day; and from the Court of Appeals, which was also his creation, came into existence tribunal after tribunal in the future, including the "Star Chamber" and "Privy Council."


But of all the blows aimed at the barons none told more effectually than the restoration of a national militia, which freed the crown from dependence upon feudal retainers for military service.

In a fierce quarrel between two Irish chieftains, Henry was called upon to interfere; and when the quarrel was adjusted, Ireland found herself annexed to the English crown, and ruled by a viceroy appointed by the king. The drama of the Saxons defending the Britons from the Picts and Scots, was repeated.

This first Plantagenet, with fiery face, bull-neck, bowed legs, keen, rough, obstinate, passionate, left England greater and freer, and yet with more of a personal despotism than he had found her. The trouble with such triumphs is that they presuppose the wisdom and goodness of succeeding tyrants.

Henry's heart broke when he learned that his favorite son, John, was conspiring against him. He turned his face to the wall and died (1189), the practical hard-headed old king leaving his throne to a romantic {47} dreamer, who could not even speak the language of his country.

Richard (Coeur de Lion) was a hero of romance, but not of history. The practical concerns of his kingdom had no charm for him. His eye was fixed upon Jerusalem, not England, and he spent almost the entire ten years of his reign in the Holy Land.

The Crusades, had fired the old spirit of Norse adventure left by the Danes, and England shared the general madness of the time. As a result for the treasure spent and blood spilled in Palestine, she received a few architectural devices and the science of Heraldry. But to Europe, the benefits were incalculable. The barons were impoverished, their great estates mortgaged to thrifty burghers, who extorted from their poverty charters of freedom, which unlocked the fetters and broke the spell of the dark ages.

Richard the Lion-Hearted died as he had lived, not as a king, but as a romantic adventurer. He was shot by an arrow while trying to secure fabulous hidden treasure in France, with which to continue his wars in Palestine.


His brother John, in 1199, ascended the throne. His name has come down as a type of baseness, cruelty, and treachery. His brother Geoffrey had married Constance of Brittany, and their son Arthur, named after the Keltic hero, had been urged as a rival claimant for the English throne. Shakespeare has not exaggerated the cruel fate of this boy, whose monstrous uncle really purposed having his eyes burnt out, being sure that if he were blind he would no longer be eligible for king. But death is surer even than blindness, and Hubert, his merciful protector from one fate, was powerless to avert the other. Some one was found with "heart as hard as hammered iron," who put an end to the young life (1203) at the Castle of Rouen.

But the King of England, was vassal to the King of France, and Philip summoned John to account to him for this deed. When John refused to appear, the French provinces were torn from him. In 1204 he saw an Empire stretching from the English Channel to the Pyrenees vanish from his grasp, and was at one blow reduced to the realm of England.


When we see on the map, England as she was in that day, sprawling in unwieldy fashion over the western half of France, we realize how much stronger she has been on "that snug little island, that right little, tight little island," and we can see that John's wickedness helped her to be invincible.

The destinies of England in fact rested with her worst king. His tyranny, brutality, and disregard of his subjects' rights, induced a crisis which laid the corner-stone of England's future, and buttressed her liberties for all time.

At a similar crisis in France, two centuries later, the king (Charles VII.) made common cause with the people against the barons or dukes. In England, in the 13th Century, the barons and people were drawn together against the King. They framed a Charter, its provisions securing protection and justice to every freeman in England. On Easter Day, 1215, the barons, attended by two thousand armed knights, met the King near Oxford, and demanded his signature to the paper. John was awed, and asked them to {50} name a day and place. "Let the day be the 15th of June, and the place Runnymede," was the reply.

A brown, shrivelled piece of parchment in the British Museum to-day, attests to the keeping of this appointment. That old Oak at Runnymede, under whose spreading branches the name of John was affixed to the Magna Charta, was for centuries held the most sacred spot in England.

It is an impressive picture we get of John, "the Lord's Anointed," when this scene was over, in a burst of rage rolling on the floor, biting straw, and gnawing a stick! "They have placed twenty-five kings over me," he shouted in a fury; meaning the twenty-five barons who were entrusted with the duty of seeing that the provisions of the Charter were fulfilled.

Whether his death, one year later (1216), was the result of vexation of spirit or surfeit of peaches and cider, or poison, history does not positively say. But England shed no tears for the King to whom she owes her liberties in the Magna Charta.



For the succeeding 56 years John's son, Henry III., was King of England. While this vain, irresolute, ostentatious king was extorting money for his ambitious designs and extravagant pleasures, and struggling to get back the pledges given in the Great Charter, new and higher forces, to which he gave no heed, were at work in his kingdom.

Paris at this time was the centre of a great intellectual revival, brought about by the Crusades. We have seen that through the despised Jew, at the time of the Conquest, a higher civilization was brought into England. Along with his hoarded gold came knowledge and culture, which he had obtained from the Saracen. Now, these germs had been revived by direct contact with the sources of ancient knowledge in {52} the East during the Crusades; and while the long mental torpor of Europe was rolling away like mist before the rising sun, England felt the warmth of the same quickening rays, and Oxford took on a new life.

It was not the stately Oxford of to-day, but a rabble of roystering, revelling youths, English, Welsh, and Scotch, who fiercely fought out their fathers' feuds.

They were a turbulent mob, who gave advance opinion, as it were, upon every ecclesiastical or political measure, by fighting it out on the streets of their town, so that an outbreak at Oxford became a sort of prelude to every great political movement.

Impossible as it seems, intellectual life grew and expanded in this tumultuous atmosphere; and while the democratic spirit of the University threatened the king, its spirit of free intellectual inquiry shook the Church.

The revival of classical learning, bringing streams of thought from old Greek and Latin fountains, caused a sudden expansion. It was like the discovery of an unsuspected and greater world, with a body of new truth, {53} which threw the old into contemptuous disuse. A spirit of doubt, scepticism, and denial, was engendered. They comprehended now why Abelard had claimed the "supremacy of reason over faith," and why Italian poets smiled at dreams of "immortality." Then, too, the new culture compelled respect for infidel and for Jew. Was it not from their impious hands, that this new knowledge of the physical universe had been received?

Roger Bacon drank deeply from these fountains, new and old, and struggled like a giant to illumine the darkness of his time, by systematizing all existing knowledge. His "Opus Majus" was intended to bring these riches to the unlearned. But he died uncomprehended, and it was reserved for later ages to give recognition to his stupendous work, wrought in the twilight out of dimly comprehended truth.

Pursued by the dream of recovering the French Empire, lost by his father, and of retracting the promises given in the Charter, Henry III. spent his entire reign in conflict with the barons and the people, who were {54} closely drawn together by the common danger and rallied to the defence of their liberties under the leadership of Simon de Montfort.

It was at the town of Oxford that the great council of barons and bishops held its meetings. This council, which had long been called "Parliament" (from parler), in the year 1265 became for the first time a representative body, when Simon de Montfort summoned not alone the lords and bishops—but two citizens from every city, and two burghers from every borough. A Rubicon was passed when the merchant, and the shopkeeper, sat for the first time with the noble and the bishops in the great council. It was thirty years before the change was fully effected, it being in the year 1295, a little more than 600 years ago, that the first true Parliament met. But the "House of Lords" and the germ of the "House of Commons," existed in this assembly at Oxford in 1265, and a government "of the people, for the people, by the people," had commenced.

Edward I., the son and successor of Henry III., not only graciously confirmed {55} the Great Charter, but added to its privileges. His expulsion of the Jews, is the one dark blot on his reign.

He conquered North Wales, the stronghold where those Keltic Britons, the Welsh, had always maintained a separate existence; and as a recompense for their wounded feelings bestowed upon the heir to the throne, the title "Prince of Wales."

Westminster Abbey was completed at this time and began to be the resting-place for England's illustrious dead. The invention of gunpowder, which was to make iron-clad knights a romantic tradition, also belongs to this period, which saw too, the conquest of Scotland; and the magic stone supposed to have been Jacob's pillow at Bethel, and which was the Scottish talisman, was carried to Westminster Abbey and built into a coronation-chair, which has been used at the crowning of every English sovereign since that time.

Scottish liberties were not so sacrificed by this conquest as had been the Irish. The Scots would not be slaves, nor would they stay conquered without many a struggle.


Robert Bruce led a great rebellion, which extended into the succeeding reign, and Bruce's name was covered with glory by his great victory at Bannockburn (1314).

We need not linger over the twenty years during which Edward II., by his private infamies, so exasperated his wife and son that they brought about his deposition, which was followed soon after by his murder; and then by a disgraceful regency, during which the Queen's favorite, Mortimer, was virtually king. But King Edward III. commenced to rule with a strong hand. As soon as he was eighteen years old he summoned the Parliament. Mortimer was hanged at Tyburn, and his queen-mother was immured for life.

We have turned our backs upon Old England. The England of a representative Parliament and a House of Commons, of ideals derived from a wider knowledge, the England of a Westminster Abbey, and gunpowder, and cloth-weaving, is the England we all know to-day. Vicious kings and greed of territory, and lust of power, will keep the road from being a smooth one, {57} but it leads direct to the England of Edward VII.; and 1906 was roughly outlined in 1327, when Edward III. grasped the helm with the decision of a master.

After completing the subjection of Scotland he invaded France,—the pretext of resisting her designs upon the Netherlands, being merely a cover for his own thirst for territory and conquest. The victory over the French at Crécy, 1346, (and later of Poitiers,) covered the warlike king and his son, Edward the "Black Prince," with imperishable renown. Small cannon were first used at that battle. The knights and the archers laughed at the little toy, but found it useful in frightening the enemies' horses.

Edward III. covered England with a mantle of military glory, for which she had to pay dearly later. He elevated the kingship to a more dazzling height, for which there have also been some expensive reckonings since. He introduced a new and higher dignity into nobility by the title of Duke, which he bestowed upon his sons; the great landholders or barons, having until that time constituted a body in which all were peers. {58} He has been the idol of heroic England. But he awoke the dream of French conquest, and bequeathed to his successors a fatal war, which lasted for 100 years.

The "Black Prince" died, and the "Black Death," a fearful pestilence, desolated a land already decimated by protracted wars. The valiant old King, after a life of brilliant triumphs, carried a sad and broken heart to the grave, and Richard II., son of the heroic Prince Edward, was king.

This last of the Plantagenets had need of great strength and wisdom to cope with the forces stirring at that time in his kingdom, and was singularly deficient in both. The costly conquests of his grandfather, were a troublesome legacy to his feeble grandson. Enormous taxes unjustly levied to pay for past glories, do not improve the temper of a people. A shifting of the burden from one class to another arrayed all in antagonisms against each other, and finally, when the burden fell upon the lowest order, as it is apt to do, it rose in fierce rebellion under the leadership of Wat Tyler, a blacksmith (1381).

Concessions were granted and quiet {59} restored, but the people had learned a new way of throwing off injustice. There began to be a new sentiment in the air. Men were asking why the few should dress in velvet and the many in rags. It was the first English revolt against the tyranny of wealth, when people were heard on the streets singing the couplet—

"When Adam delved and Eve span,
Who was then the gentleman?"

As in the times of the early Saxon kings, the cause breeding destruction was the widening distance between the king and the people. In those earlier times the people unresistingly lapsed into decadence, but the Anglo-Saxon had learned much since then, and it was not so safe to degrade him and trample on his rights.

Then, too, John Wickliffe had been telling some very plain truths to the people about the Church of Rome, and there was developing a sentiment which made Pope and Clergy tremble. There was a spirit of inquiry, having its centre at Oxford, looking into the title-deeds of the great ecclesiastical {60} despotism. Wickliffe heretically claimed that the Bible was the one ground of faith, and he added to his heresy by translating that Book into simple Saxon English, that men might learn for themselves what was Christ's message to man.

Luther's protest in the 16th Century was but the echo of Wickliffe's in the 14th,—against the tyranny of a Church from which all spiritual life had departed, and which in its decay tightened its grasp upon the very things which its founder put "behind Him" in the temptation on the mountain, and aimed at becoming a temporal despotism.

Closely intermingled with these struggles was going on another, unobserved at the time. Three languages held sway in England—Latin in the Church, French in polite society, and English among the people. Chaucer's genius selected the language of the people for its expression, as also of course, did Wickliffe in his translation of the Bible. French and Latin were dethroned, and the "King's English" became the language of the literature and speech of the English nation.


He would have been a wise and great King who could have comprehended and controlled all the various forces at work at this time. Richard II. was neither. This seething, tumbling mass of popular discontents was besides only the groundwork for the personal strifes and ambitions which raged about the throne. The wretched King, embroiled with every class and every party, was pronounced by Parliament unfit to reign, the same body which deposed him, giving the crown to his cousin Henry of Lancaster (1399), and the reign of the Plantagenets was ended.



The new king did not inherit the throne; he was elected to it. He was an arbitrary creation of Parliament. The Duke of Lancaster, Henry's father (John of Gaunt), was only a younger son of Edward III. According to the strict rules of hereditary succession, there were two others with claims superior to Henry's. Richard Duke of York, his cousin, claimed a double descent from the Duke Clarence and also from the Duke of York, both sons of Edward III.

This led later to the dreariest chapter in English history, "the Wars of the Roses."

It is an indication of the enormous increase in the strength of Parliament, that such an exercise of power, the creating of a king, was possible. Haughty, arrogant kings bowed submissively to its will. Henry could not make laws nor impose {63} taxes without first summoning Parliament and obtaining his subjects' consent. But corrupting influences were at work which were destined to cheat England out of her liberties for many a year.

The impoverishment of the country to pay for war and royal extravagances, had awakened a troublesome spirit in the House of Commons. Cruelty to heretics also, and oppressive enactments were fought and defeated in this body. The King, clergy, and nobles, were drawing closer together and farther away from the people, and were devising ways of stifling their will.

If the King might not resist the will of Parliament, he could fill it with men who would not resist his; so, by a system of bribery and force in the boroughs, the House of Commons had injected into it enough of the right sort to carry obnoxious measures. This was only one of the ways in which the dearly bought liberties were being defeated.

Henry IV., the first Lancastrian king, lighted the fires of persecution in England. The infamous "Statute of Heresy" was {64} passed 1401. Its first victim was a priest who was thrown to the flames for denying the doctrine of transubstantiation.

Wickliffe had left to the people not a party, but a sentiment. The "Lollards," as they were called, were not an organization, but rather a pervading atmosphere of revolt, which naturally combined with the social discontent of the time, and there came to be more of hate than love in the movement, which was at its foundation a revolt against inequality of condition. As in all such movements, much that was vicious and unwise in time mingled with it, tending to give some excuse for its repression. The discarding of an old faith, unless at once replaced by a new one, is a time fraught with many dangers to Society and State.

Such were some of the forces at work for fourteen brief years while Henry IV. wore the coveted crown, and while his son, the roystering "Prince Hal," in the new character of King (Henry V.) lived out his brief nine years of glory and conquest.

France, with an insane King, vicious Queen Regent, and torn by the dissensions {65} of ambitious Dukes, had reached her hour of greatest weakness, when Henry V. swept down upon her with his archers, and broke her spirit by his splendid victory at Agincourt; then married her Princess Katharine, and was proclaimed Regent of France, The rough wooing of his French bride, immortalized by Shakespeare, throws a glamour of romance over the time.

But an all-subduing King cut short Henry's triumphs. He was stricken and died (1422), leaving an infant son nine months old, who bore the weight of the new title, "King of England and France," while Henry's brother, the Duke of Bedford, reigned as Regent.

Then it was, that by a mysterious inspiration, Joan of Arc, a child and a peasant, led the French army to the besieged City of Orleans, and the crucial battle was won.

Charles VII. was King. The English were driven out of France, and the Hundred Years' War ended in defeat (1453). England had lost Aquitaine, which for two hundred years (since Henry II.) had been hers, {66} and had not a foot of ground on Norman soil.

The long shadow cast by Edward III. upon England was deepening. A ruinous war had drained her resources and arrested her liberties; and now the odium of defeat made the burdens it imposed intolerable. The temper of every class was strained to the danger point. The wretched government was held responsible, followed, as usual, by impeachments, murders, and impotent outbursts of fury.

While, owing to social processes long at work, feudalism was in fact a ruin, a mere empty shell, it still seemed powerful as ever; just as an oak, long after its roots are dead, will still carry aloft a waving mass of green leafage. The great Earl of Warwick when he went to Parliament was still followed by 600 liveried retainers. But when Jack Cade led 20,000 men in rebellion at the close of the French war, they were not the serfs and villeinage of other times, but farmers and laborers, who, when they demanded a more economical expenditure of royal revenue, freedom at elections, and the removal {67} of restrictions on their dress and living, knew their rights, and were not going to give them up without a struggle.

But the madness of personal ambition was going to work deeper ruin and more complete wreck of England's fortunes. We have seen that by the interposition of Parliament, the House of Lancaster had been placed on the throne contrary to the tradition which gave the succession to the oldest branch, which Richard, the Duke of York, claimed to represent; his claim strengthened by a double descent from Edward III. through his two sons, Lionel and Edward.

For twenty-one years, (1450-1471) these descendants of Edward III. were engaged in the most savage war, for purely selfish and personal ends, with not one noble or chivalric element to redeem the disgraceful exhibition of human nature at its worst. Murders, executions, treacheries, adorn a network of intrigue and villany, which was enough to have made the "White" and the "Red Rose" forever hateful to English eyes.

The great Earl of Warwick led the White Rose of York to victory, sending the {68} Lancastrian King to the tower, his wife and child fugitives from the Kingdom, and proclaimed Edward, (son of Richard Duke of York, the original claimant, who had been slain in the conflict), King of England.

Then, with an unscrupulousness worthy of the time and the cause, Warwick opened communication with the fugitive Queen, offering her his services, betrothed his daughter to the young Edward, Prince of Wales, took up the red Lancastrian rose from the dust of defeat,—brought the captive he had sent to the tower back to his throne—only to see him once more dragged down again by the Yorkists—and for the last time returned to captivity; leaving his wife a prisoner and his young son dead at Tewksbury, stabbed by Yorkist lords. Henry VI. died in the Tower, "mysteriously," as did all the deposed and imprisoned Kings; Warwick was slain in battle, and with Edward IV. the reign of the House of York commenced.

Such in brief is the story of the "Wars of the Roses" and of the Earl of Warwick, the "King Maker."

At the close of the Wars of the Roses, {69} feudalism was a ruin. The oak with its dead roots had been prostrated by the storm. The imposing system had wrought its own destruction. Eighty Princes of the blood royal had perished, and more than half of the Nobility had died on the field or the scaffold, or were fugitives in foreign lands. The great Duke of Exeter, brother-in-law to a King, was seen barefoot begging bread from door to door.

By the confiscation of one-fifth of the landed estate of the Kingdom, vast wealth poured into the King's treasury. He had no need now to summon Parliament to vote him supplies. The clergy, rendered feeble and lifeless from decline in spiritual enthusiasm, and by its blind hostility to the intellectual movement of the time, crept closer to the throne, while Parliament, with its partially disfranchised House of Commons, was so rarely summoned that it almost ceased to exist. In the midst of the general wreck, the Kingship towered in solitary greatness.

Edward IV. was absolute sovereign. He had no one to fear, unless it was his {70} intriguing brother Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who, during the twenty-three years of Edward's reign, was undoubtedly carefully planning the bloodstained steps by which he himself should reach the throne.

Acute in intelligence, distorted in form and in character, this Richard was a monster of iniquity. The hapless boy left heir to the throne upon the death of Edward IV., his father, was placed under the guardianship of his misshapen uncle, who until the majority of the young King, Edward V., was to reign under the title of Protector.

How this "Protector" protected his nephews all know. The two boys (Edward V. and Richard, Duke of York) were carried to the Tower. The world has been reluctant to believe that they were really smothered, as has been said; but the finding, nearly two hundred years later, of the skeletons of two children which had been buried or concealed at the foot of the stairs leading to their place of confinement, seems to confirm it beyond a doubt.

Retribution came swiftly. Two years {71} later Richard fell at the battle of Bosworth Field, and the crown won by numberless crimes, rolled under a hawthorn bush. It was picked up and placed upon a worthier head.

Henry Tudor, an offshoot of the House of Lancaster, was proclaimed King Henry VII., and his marriage with Princess Elizabeth of York (sister of the princes murdered in the Tower) forever blended the White and the Red Rose in peaceful union.

During all this time, while Kings came and Kings went, the people viewed these changes from afar. But if they had no longer any share in the government, a great expansion was going on in their inner life. Caxton had set up his printing press, and the "art preservative of all arts," was bringing streams of new knowledge into thousands of homes. Copernicus had discovered a new Heaven, and Columbus a new Earth. The sun no longer circled around the Earth, nor was the Earth a flat plain. There was a revival of classic learning at Oxford, and Erasmus, the great preacher, was founding schools and preparing the minds of the {72} people for the impending change, which was soon to be wrought by that Monk in Germany, whose soul was at this time beginning to be stirred to its mighty effort at reform.



When in the year 1509 a handsome youth of eighteen came to the throne, the hopes of England ran high. His intelligence, his frank, genial manners, his sympathy with the "new learning," won all classes. Erasmus in his hopes of purifying the Church, and Sir Thomas More in his "Utopian" dreams for politics and society, felt that a friend had come to the throne in the young Henry VIII.

Spain had become great through a union of the rival Kingdoms Castile and Aragon; so a marriage with the Princess Katharine, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, had been arranged for the young Prince Henry, who had quietly accepted for his Queen his brother's widow, six years his senior.

France under Francis I. had risen into a state no less imposing than Spain, and {74} Henry began to be stirred with an ambition, to take part in the drama of events going on upon the greater stage, across the Channel. The old dream of French conquest returned. Francis I. and Charles V. of Germany had commenced their struggle for supremacy in Europe. Henry's ambition was fostered by their vying with each other to secure his friendship. He was soon launched in a deep game of diplomacy, in which three intriguing Sovereigns were striving each to outwit the others.

What Henry lacked in experience and craft was supplied by his Chancellor Wolsey, whose private and personal ambition to reach the Papal Chair was dexterously mingled with the royal game. The game was dazzling and absorbing, but it was unexpectedly interrupted; and the golden dreams of Erasmus and More, of a slow and orderly development in England through an expanding intelligence, were rudely shaken.

Martin Luther audaciously nailed on the door of the Church at Wittenberg a protest against the selling of papal indulgences, and the pent-up hopes, griefs and despair of {75} centuries burst into a storm which shook Europe to its centre.

Since England had joined in the great game of European politics, she had advanced from being a third-rate power to the front rank among nations; so it was with great satisfaction that Catholic Europe heard Henry VIII. denounce the new Reformation, which had swiftly assumed alarming proportions.

But a woman's eyes were to change all this. As Henry looked into the fair face of Anne Boleyn, his conscience began to be stirred over his marriage with his brother's widow, Katharine. He confided his scruples to Wolsey, who promised to use his efforts with the Pope to secure a divorce from Katharine. But this lady was aunt to Charles V., the great Champion of the Church in its fight with Protestantism. It would never do to alienate him. So the divorce was refused.

Henry VIII. was not as flexible and amiable now as the youth of eighteen had been. He defied the Pope, married Anne (1533), and sent his Minister into disgrace {76} for not serving him more effectually. "There was the weight which pulled me down," said Wolsey of Anne, and death from a broken heart mercifully saved the old man from the scaffold he would certainly have reached.

The legion of demons which had been slumbering in the King were awakened. He would break no law, but he would bend the law to his will. He commanded a trembling Parliament to pass an act sustaining his marriage with Anne. Another permitting him to name his successor, and then another—making him supreme head of the Church in England. The Pope was forever dethroned in his Kingdom, and Protestantism had achieved a bloodstained victory.

Henry alone could judge what was orthodoxy and what heresy; but to disagree with him, was death. Traitor and heretic went to the scaffold in the same hurdle; the Catholic who denied the King's supremacy riding side by side with the Protestant who denied transubstantiation. The Protestantism of this great convert was political, not {77} religious; he despised the doctrines of Lutheranism, and it was dangerous to believe too much and equally dangerous to believe too little. Heads dropped like leaves in the forest, and in three years the Queen who had overturned England and almost Europe, was herself carried to the scaffold (1536).

It was in truth a "Reign of Terror" by an absolutism standing upon the ruin of every rival. The power of the Barons had gone; the Clergy were panic-stricken, and Parliament was a servant, which arose and bowed humbly to his vacant throne at mention of his name! A member for whom he had sent knelt trembling one day before him. "Get my bill passed to-morrow, my little man," said the King, "or to-morrow, this head of yours will be off." The next day the bill passed, and millions of Church property was confiscated, to be thrown away in gambling, or to enrich the adherents of the King.

Thomas Cromwell, who had succeeded to Wolsey's vacant place, was his efficient instrument. This student of Machiavelli's "Prince," without passion or hate, pity or {78} regret, marked men for destruction, as a woodman does tall trees, the highest and proudest names in the Kingdom being set down in his little notebook under the head of either "Heresy" or "Treason." Sir Thomas More, one of the wisest and best of men, would not say he thought the marriage with Katharine had been unlawful, and paid his head as the price of his fearless honesty.

Jane Seymour, whom Henry married the day after Anne Boleyn's execution, died within a year at the birth of a son (Edward VI.). In 1540 Cromwell arranged another union with the plainest woman in Europe, Anne of Cleves; which proved so distasteful to Henry that he speedily divorced her, and in resentment at Cromwell's having entrapped him, by a flattering portrait drawn by Holbein, the Minister came under his displeasure, which at that time meant death. He was beheaded in 1540, and in that same year occurred the King's marriage with Katharine Howard, who one year later met the same fate as Anne Boleyn.

Katharine Parr, the sixth and last wife, {79} and an ardent Protestant and reformer, also narrowly escaped, and would undoubtedly at last have gone to the block. But Henry, who at fifty-six was infirm and wrecked in health, died in the year 1547, the signing of death-warrants being his occupation to the very end.

Whatever his motive, Henry VIII. had in making her Protestant, placed England firmly in the line of the world's highest progress; and strange to say, that Kingdom is most indebted to two of her worst Kings.

The crown passed to the son of Jane Seymour, Edward VI., a feeble boy of ten. In view of the doubtful validity of his father's divorce, and the consequent doubt cast upon the legitimacy of Edward's two sisters, Mary and Elizabeth, the young king was persuaded to name his cousin Lady Jane Grey as his heir and successor. This gentle girl of seventeen, sensitive and thoughtful, a devout reformer, who read Greek and Hebrew and wrote Latin poetry, is a pathetic figure in history, where we see her, the unwilling wearer of a crown for ten days, and {80} then with her young husband hurried to that fatal Tower, and to death. Upon the death of Edward this unhappy child was proclaimed Queen of England. But the change in the succession produced an unexpected uprising, in which even Protestants joined. Lady Jane Grey was hurried to the block, and the Catholic Mary to the throne. Henry's divorce was declared void, and his first marriage valid. Elizabeth was thus set aside by Act of Parliament; and as she waited in the Tower, while her remorseless sister vainly sought for proofs of her complicity with the recent rebellion, she was seemingly nearer to a scaffold than to a throne.

Queen Elizabeth going on board the "Golden Hind."  From the painting by Frank Brangwyn.

Queen Elizabeth going on board the "Golden Hind."
From the painting by Frank Brangwyn.

When we remember that there coursed in the veins of Mary Tudor the blood of cruel Spanish kings, mingled with that of Henry VIII., can we wonder that she was cruel and remorseless? Her marriage with Philip II. of Spain quickly overthrew the work of her father. Unlike Henry VIII., Mary was impelled by deep convictions; and like her grandmother, Isabella I. of Spain, she persecuted to save from what she believed was death eternal; and her cruelty, although {81} untempered by one humane impulse, was still prompted by a sincere fanaticism, with which was mingled an intense desire to please the Catholic Philip. But Philip remained obdurately in Spain; and while she was lighting up all England with a blaze of martyrs, Calais,—over which the English standard planted by Edward III. had waved for more than 200 years,—Calais, the last English possession in France, was lost. Amid these crushing disappointments, public and personal, Mary died (1558), after a reign of only five years.

Elizabeth with her legitimacy questioned was still under the shadow of the scaffold upon which her mother had perished. There is reason to believe that Philip II. turned the delicately balanced scale. It better suited him to have Elizabeth occupy the throne of England, than that Mary Stuart, the next nearest heir, should do so. Mary had married the Dauphin of France; and France was Philip's enemy and rival. Better far that England should become Protestant, than that France should hold the balance of power in Europe!



Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII. and Anne Boleyn, a disgraced and decapitated Queen, wore the crown of England. If heredity had been as much talked of then as now, England might have feared the child of a faithless wife, and a remorseless, bloodthirsty King. But while Mary, daughter of Katharine, the most pious and best of mothers, had left only a great blood-spot upon the page of History, Elizabeth's reign was to be the most wise, prosperous and great, the Kingdom had ever known. In her complex character there was the imperiousness, audacity and unscrupulousness of her father, the voluptuous pleasure-loving nature of her mother, and mingled with both, qualities which came from neither. She was a tyrant, held in check by a singular caution, with an instinctive perception of the {83} presence of danger, to which her purposes always instantly bent.

The authority vested in her was as absolute as her father's, but while her imperious temper sacrificed individuals without mercy, she ardently desired the welfare of her Kingdom, which she ruled with extraordinary moderation and a political sagacity almost without parallel, softening, but not abandoning, one of her father's usurpations.

She was a Protestant without any enthusiasm for the religion she intended to restore in England, and prayed to the Virgin in her own private Chapel, while she was undoing the work of her Catholic sister Mary. The obsequious apologies to the Pope were withdrawn, but the Reformation she was going to espouse, was not the fiery one being fought for in Germany and France. It was mild, moderate, and like her father's, more political than religious. The point she made was that there must be religious uniformity, and conformity to the Established Church of England—with its new "Articles," which as she often said, "left opinion free."

It was in fact a softened reproduction of {84} her terrible father's attitude. The Church, (called an "Episcopacy," on account of the jurisdiction of its Bishops,) was Protestant in doctrine, with gentle leaning toward Catholicism in externals, held still firmly by the "Act of Supremacy" in the controlling hand of the Sovereign. Above all else desiring peace and prosperity for England, the keynote of Elizabeth's policy in Church and in State was conciliation and compromise. So the Church of England was to a great extent a compromise, retaining as much as the people would bear of external form and ritual, for the sake of reconciling Catholic England.

The large element to whom this was offensive was reinforced by returning refugees who brought with them the stern doctrines of Calvin; and they finally separated themselves altogether from a Church in which so much of Papacy still lingered, to establish one upon simpler and purer foundation; hence they were called "Puritans," and "Nonconformists," and were persecuted for violation of the "Act of Supremacy."

The masculine side of Elizabeth's {85} character was fully balanced by her feminine foibles. Her vanity was inordinate. Her love of adulation and passion for display, her caprice, duplicity, and her reckless love-affairs, form a strange background for the calm, determined, masterly statesmanship under which her Kingdom expanded.

The subject of her marriage was a momentous one. There were plenty of aspirants for the honor. Her brother-in-law Philip, since the abdication of Charles V., his father, was a mighty King, ruler over Spain and the Netherlands, and was at the head of Catholic Europe. He saw in this vain, silly young Queen of England an easy prey. By marrying her he could bring England back to the fold, as he had done with her sister Mary, and the Catholic cause would be invincible.

Elizabeth was a coquette, without the personal charm supposed to belong to that dangerous part of humanity. She toyed with an offer of marriage as does a cat with a mouse. She had never intended to marry Philip, but she kept him waiting so long for her decision, and so exasperated him with {86} her caprice, that he exclaimed at last, "That girl has ten thousand devils in her." He little thought, that beneath that surface of folly there was a nature hard as steel, and a calm, clear, cool intelligence, for which his own would be no match, and which would one day hold in check the diplomacy of the "Escurial" and outwit that of Europe. She adored the culture brought by the "new learning;" delighted in the society of Sir Philip Sidney, who reflected all that was best in England of that day; talked of poetry with Spenser; discussed philosophy with Bruno; read Greek tragedies and Latin orations in the original; could converse in French and Italian, and was besides proficient in another language,—the language of the fishwife,—which she used with startling effect with her lords and ministers when her temper was aroused, and swore like a trooper if occasion required.

But whatever else she was doing she never ceased to study the new England she was ruling. She felt, though did not understand, the expansion which was going {87} on in the spirit of the people; but instinctively realized the necessity for changes and modifications in her Government, when the temper of the nation seemed to require it.

It was enormous common-sense and tact which converted Elizabeth into a liberal Sovereign. Her instincts were despotic. When she bowed instantly to the will of the Commons, almost apologizing for seeming to resist it, it was not because she sympathized with liberal sentiments, but because of her profound political instincts, which taught her the danger of alienating that class upon which the greatness of her Kingdom rested. She realized the truth forgotten by some of her successors, that the Sovereign and the middle class must be friends. She might resist and insult her lords and ministers, send great Earls and favorites ruthlessly to the block, but no slightest cloud must come between her and her "dear Commons" and people. This it was which made Spenser's adulation in the "Faerie Queen" but an expression of the intense loyalty of her meanest subject.

Perhaps it was because she remembered {88} that the whole fabric of the Church rested upon Parliamentary enactment, and that she herself was Queen of England by Parliamentary sanction, that she viewed so complacently the growing power of that body in dealing more and more with matters supposed to belong exclusively to the Crown, as for instance in the struggle made by the Commons to suppress monopolies in trade, granted by royal prerogative. At the first she angrily resisted the measure. But finding the strength of the popular sentiment, she gracefully retreated, declaring, with royal scorn for truth, that "she had not before known of the existence of such an evil."

In fact, lying, in her independent code of morals, was a virtue, and one to which she owed some of her most brilliant triumphs in diplomacy. And when the bald, unmitigated lie was at last found out, she felt not the slightest shame, but only amusement at the simplicity of those who had believed she was speaking the truth.

Her natural instincts, her thrift, and her love of peace inclined her to keep aloof {89} from the struggle going on in Europe between Protestants and Catholics. But while the news of St. Bartholomew's Eve seemed to give her no thrill of horror, she still sent armies and money to aid the Huguenots in France, and to stem the persecutions of Philip in the Netherlands, and committed England fully to a cause for which she felt no enthusiasm. She encouraged every branch of industry, commerce, trade, fostered everything which would lead to prosperity. Listened to Raleigh's plans for colonization in America, permitting the New Colony to be called "Virginia" in her honor (the Virgin Queen). She chartered the "Merchant Company," intended to absorb the new trade with the Indies (1600), and which has expanded into a British Empire in India.

But amid all this triumph, a sad and solitary woman sat on the throne of England. The only relation she had in the world was her cousin, Mary Stuart, who was plotting to undermine and supplant her.

The question of Elizabeth's legitimacy was an ever recurring one, and afforded a {90} rallying point for malcontents, who asserted that her mother's marriage with Henry VIII. was invalidated by the refusal of the Pope to sanction the divorce. Mary Stuart, who stood next to Elizabeth in the succession, formed a centre from which a network of intrigue and conspiracy was always menacing the Queen's peace, if not her life, and her crown.

Scotland, since the extinction of the line of Bruce, had been ruled by the Stuart Kings. Torn by internal feuds between her clans, and by the incessant struggle against English encroachments, she had drawn into close friendship with France, which country used her for its own ends, in harassing England, so that the Scottish border was always a point of danger in every quarrel between French and English Kings.

In 1502 Henry VIII. had bestowed the hand of his sister Margaret upon James IV. of Scotland, and it seemed as if a peaceful union was at last secured with his Northern neighbor. But in the war with France which soon followed, James, the Scottish King, turned to his old ally. He was killed at {91} "Flodden Field," after suffering a crushing defeat. His successor, James V., had married Mary Guise. Her family was the head and front of the ultra Catholic party in France, and her counsels probably influenced James to a continual hostility to the Protestant Henry, even though he was his uncle. The death of James in consequence of his defeat at "Solway Moss" occurred immediately after the birth of his daughter, Mary Stuart (1542).

This unhappy child at once became the centre of intriguing designs; Henry VIII. wishing to betroth the little Queen to his son, afterwards Edward VI., and thus forever unite the rival kingdoms. But the Guises made no compromises with Protestants! Mary Guise, who was now Regent of the realm, had no desire for a closer union with Protestant England, and very much desired a nearer alliance with her own France. Mary Stuart was betrothed to the Dauphin, grandson of Francis I., and was sent to the French Court to be prepared by Catharine de Medici (the Italian daughter-in-law of Francis I.) for her future exalted position.


In 1561, Mary returned to England. Her boy-husband had died after a reign of two years. She was nineteen years old, had wonderful beauty, rare intelligence, and power to charm like a siren. Her short life had been spent in the most corrupt and profligate of Courts, under the combined influence of Catharine de Medici, the worst woman in Europe,—and her two uncles of the House of Guise, who were little better. Political intrigues, plottings and crimes were in the very air she breathed from infancy. But she was an ardent and devout Catholic, and as such became the centre and the hope of what still remained of Catholic England.

Elizabeth would have bartered half her possessions for the one possession of beauty. That she was jealous of her fascinating rival there is little doubt, but that she was exasperated at her pretensions and at the audacious plottings against her life and throne is not strange. In fact we wonder that, with her imperious temper, she so long hesitated to strike the fatal blow.

Whether Mary committed the dark crimes {93} attributed to her or not, we do not know. But we do know, that after the murder of her wretched husband, Lord Darnley, (her cousin, Henry Stuart), she quickly married the man to whom the deed was directly traced. Her marriage with Bothwell was her undoing. Scotland was so indignant at the act, that she took refuge in England, only to fall into Elizabeth's hands.

Mary Stuart had once audaciously said, "the reason her cousin did not marry was because she would not lose the power of compelling men to make love to her." Perhaps the memory of this jest made it easier to sign the fatal paper in 1587.

When we read of Mary's irresistible charm, of her audacity, her cunning, her genius for diplomacy and statecraft, far exceeding Elizabeth's—when we read of all this and think of the blood of the Guises in her veins, and the precepts of Catharine de Medici in her heart, we realize what her usurpation would have meant for England, and feel that she was a menace to the State, and justly incurred her fate. Then again, when we hear of her gentle patience in her {94} long captivity, her prayers and piety, and her sublime courage when she walked through the Hall at Fotheringay Castle, and laid her beautiful head on the block as on a pillow, we are melted to pity, and almost revolted at the act. It is difficult to be just, with such a lovely criminal, unless one is made of such stern stuff as was John Knox. The son of Mary by Henry Stuart (Lord Darnley) was James VI. of Scotland. His pretensions to the English throne were now seemingly forever at rest. But Philip of Spain thought the time propitious for his own ambitious purposes, and sent an Armada (fleet) which approached the Coast in the form of a great Crescent, one mile across. The little English "seadogs," not much larger than small pleasure yachts, were led by Sir Francis Drake. They worried the ponderous Spanish ships, and then, sending burning boats in amongst them, soon spoiled the pretty crescent. The fleet scattered along the Northern Coast, where it was overtaken by a frightful storm, and the winds and the waves completed the victory, almost annihilating the entire "Armada."


England was great and glorious. The revolution, religious, social and political, had ploughed and harrowed the surface which had been fertilized with the "New Learning," and the harvest was rich. While all Europe was devastated by religious wars there arose in Protestant England such an era of peace and prosperity, with all the conditions of living so improved that the dreams of Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" seemed almost realized. The new culture was everywhere. England was garlanded with poetry, and lighted by genius, such as the world has not seen since, and may never see again. The name of Francis Bacon was sufficient to adorn an age, and that of Shakespeare alone, enough to illumine a century. Elizabeth did not create the glory of the "Elizabethan Age," but she did create the peace and social order from which it sprang.

If this Queen ever loved any one it was the Earl of Leicester, the man who sent his lovely wife, Amy Robsart, to a cruel death in the delusive hope of marrying a Queen. We are unwilling to harbor the suspicion {96} that she was accessory to this deed; and yet we cannot forget that she was the daughter of Henry VIII.!—and sometimes wonder if the memory of a crime as black as Mary's haunted her sad old age, when sated with pleasures and triumphs, lovers no more whispering adulation in her ears, and mirrors banished from her presence, she silently waited for the end.

She died in the year 1603, and succumbing to the irony of fate,—and possibly as an act of reparation for the fatal paper signed in 1587,—she named the son of Mary Stuart, James VI. of Scotland, her successor.—James I. of England.



The House of Stuart had peacefully reached the long coveted throne of England in the person of a most unkingly King. Gross in appearance and vulgar in manners, James had none of the royal attributes of his mother. A great deal of knowledge had been crammed into a very small mind. Conceited, vain, pedantic, headstrong, he set to work with the confidence of ignorance to carry out his undigested views upon all subjects, reversing at almost every point the policy of his great predecessor. Where she with supreme tact had loosened the screws so that the great authority vested in her might not press too heavily upon the nation, he tightened them. Where she bowed her imperious will to that of the Commons, this puny tyrant insolently defied it, and swelling with sense of his own {98} greatness, claimed "Divine right" for Kingship and demanded that his people should say "the King can do no wrong," "to question his authority is to question that of God." If he ardently supported the Church of England, it was because he was its head. The Catholic who would have turned the Church authority over again to the Pope, and the "Puritans" who resisted the "Popish practices" of the Reformed Church of England, were equally hateful to him, for one and the same reason; they were each aiming to diminish his authority.

When the Puritans brought to him a petition signed by 800 clergymen, praying that they be not compelled to wear the surplice, nor make the sign of the cross at baptism—he said they were "vipers," and if they did not submit to the authority of the Bishops in such matters "they should be harried out of the land." In the persecution implied by this threat, a large body of Puritans escaped to Holland with their families, and thence came that band of heroic men and women on the "Mayflower," landing at a point on the American Coast which they {99} called "Plymouth" (1620). A few Englishmen had in 1607 settled in Jamestown, Virginia. These two colonies contained the germ of the future "United States of America."

The persecution of the Catholics led to a plot to blow up Parliament House at a time when the King was present, thinking thus at one stroke to get rid of a usurping tyrant, and of a House of Commons which was daily becoming more and more infected with Puritanism. The discovery of this "Guy Fawkes gunpowder plot," prevented its consummation, and immensely strengthened Puritan sentiment.

The keynote of Elizabeth's foreign policy had been hostility to Spain, that Catholic stronghold, and an unwavering adherence to Protestant Europe. James saw in that great and despotic government the most suitable friend for such a great King as himself. He proposed a marriage between his son Charles and the Infanta, daughter of the King of Spain, making abject promises of legislation in his Kingdom favorable to the Catholics; and when an indignant House {100} of Commons protested against the marriage, they were insolently reprimanded for meddling with things which did not concern them, and were sent home, not to be recalled again until the King's necessities for money compelled him to summon them.

During the early part of his reign the people seem to have been paralyzed and speechless before his audacious pretensions. Great courtiers were fawning at his feet listening to his pedantic wisdom, and humoring his theory of the "Divine right" of hereditary Kingship. And alas!—that we have to say it—Francis Bacon (his Chancellor), with intellect towering above his century,—was his obsequious servant and tool, uttering not one protest as one after another the liberties of the people were trampled upon!

But this Spanish marriage had aroused a spirit before which a wiser man than James would have trembled. He was standing midway between two scaffolds, that of his mother (1587), and his son (1649). Every blow he struck at the liberties of England cut deep into the foundation of his throne. {101} And when he violated the law of the land by the imposition of taxes, without the sanction of his Parliament, he had "sowed the wind" and the "whirlwind," which was to break on his son's head was inevitable. Popular indignation began to be manifest, and Puritan members of the Commons began to use language the import of which could not be mistaken. Bacon was disgraced; his crime,—while ostensibly the "taking of bribes,"—was in reality his being the servile tool of the King.

In reviewing the acts of this reign we see a foolish Sovereign ruled by an intriguing adventurer whom he created Duke of Buckingham. We see him foiled in his attempt to link the fate of England with that of Catholic Europe;—sacrificing Sir Walter Raleigh because he had given offense to Spain, the country whose friendship he most desired. We see numberless acts of folly, and but three which we can commend. James did authorize and promote the translation of the Bible which has been in use until to-day. He named his double Kingdom of England and Scotland "Great Britain." {102} These two acts, together with his death in 1625, meet with our entire approval.

Charles I., son of James, was at least one thing which his father was not. He was a gentleman. Had it not been his misfortune to inherit a crown, his scholarly refinements and exquisite tastes, his irreproachable morals, and his rectitude in the personal relations of life, might have won him only esteem and honor. But these qualities belonged to Charles Stuart the gentleman. Charles the King was imperious, false, obstinate, blind to the conditions of his time, and ignorant of the nature of his people. Every step taken during his reign led him nearer to its fatal consummation.

No family in Europe ever grasped at power more unscrupulously than the Guises in France. They were cruel and remorseless in its pursuit. It was the warm southern blood of her mother which was Mary Stuart's ruin. She was a Guise,—and so was her son James I.—and so was Charles I., her grandson. There was despotism and tyranny in their blood. Their very natures made it impossible that they should {103} comprehend the Anglo-Saxon ideal of civil liberty.

Who can tell what might have been the course of History, if England had been ruled by English Kings, which it has not been since the Conquest. With every royal marriage there is a fresh infusion of foreign blood drawn from fountains not always the purest,—until after centuries of such dilutions, the royal line has less of the Anglo-Saxon in it than any ancestral line in the Kingdom.

The odious Spanish marriage had been abandoned and Charles had married Henrietta, sister of Louis XIII. of France.

The subject of religion was the burning one at that time. It soon became apparent that the new King's personal sympathies leaned as far as his position permitted toward Catholicism. The Church of England under its new Primate, Archbishop Laud, was being drawn farther away from Protestantism and closer to Papacy; while Laud in order to secure Royal protection advocated the absolutism of the King, saying that James in his theory of "Divine right" had {104} been inspired by the Holy Ghost, thus turning religion into an engine of attack upon English liberties. Laud's ideal was a purified Catholicism—retaining auricular confession, prayers for the dead, the Real Presence in the Sacrament, genuflexions and crucifixes, all of which were odious to Puritans and Presbyterians. He had a bold, narrow mind, and recklessly threw himself against the religious instincts of the time. The same pulpit from which was read a proclamation ordering that the Sabbath be treated as a holiday, and not a Holy-day, was also used to tell the people that resistance to the King's will was "Eternal damnation."

This made the Puritans seem the defenders of the liberties of the country, and drew hosts of conservative Churchmen, such as Pym, to their side, although not at all in sympathy with a religious fanaticism which condemned innocent pleasures, and all the things which adorn life, as mere devices of the devil. Such were the means by which the line was at last sharply drawn. The Church of England and tyranny on one {105} side, and Puritanism and liberty on the other.

But there was one thing which at this moment was of deeper interest to the King than religion. He wanted,—he must have,—money. Religion and money are the two things upon which the fate of nations has oftenest hung. These two dangerous factors were both present now, and they were going to make history very fast.

On account of a troublesome custom prevailing in his Kingdom, Charles must first summon his Parliament, and they must grant the needed supplies. His father had by the discovery of the theory of "Divine right," prepared the way to throw off these Parliamentary trammels. But that could only be reached by degrees. So Parliament was summoned. It had no objection to voting the needed subsidies, but,—the King must first promise certain reforms, political and religious, and—dismiss his odious Minister Buckingham.

Charles, indignant at this outrage, dissolved the body, and appealed to the country for a loan. The same reply came from {106} every quarter. "We will gladly lend the money, but it must be done through Parliament." The King was thoroughly aroused. If the loan will not be voluntary, it must be forced. A tax was levied, fines and penalties for its resistance meted out by subservient judges.

John Hampden was one of the earliest victims. His means were ample, the sum was small, but his manhood was great. "Not one farthing, if it cost me my life," was his reply as he sat in the prison at Gate House.

The supply did not meet the King's demand. Overwhelmed with debt and shame and rage, he was obliged again to resort to the hated means. Parliament was summoned. The Commons, with memory of recent outrages in their hearts, were more determined than before. The members drew up a "Petition of Right," which was simply a reaffirmation of the inviolability of the rights of person, of property and of speech—a sort of second "Magna Charta."

They resolutely and calmly faced their King, the "Petition" in one hand, the {107} granted subsidies in the other. For a while he defied them; but the judges were whispering in his ear that the "Petition" would not be binding upon him, and Buckingham was urging him to yield. Perhaps it was Charles Stuart the gentleman who hesitated to receive money in return for solemn promises which he did not intend to keep! But Charles the King signed the paper, which seven judges out of twelve, in the highest court of the realm, were going to pronounce invalid because the King's power was beyond the reach of Parliament. It was inherent in him as King, and bestowed by God. Any infringement upon his prerogative by Act of Parliament was void!

With king so false, and with justice so polluted at its fountain, what hope was there for the people but in Revolution?

From the tyranny of the Church under Laud, a way was opened when, in 1629, Charles granted a Charter to the Colony of Massachusetts. With a quiet, stern enthusiasm the hearts of men turned toward that refuge in America. Not men of broken fortunes, adventurers, and criminals, but {108} owners of large landed estates, professional men, some of the best in the land, who abandoned home and comfort to face intolerable hardships. One wrote, "We are weaned from the delicate milk of our Mother England and do not mind these trials." As the pressure increased under Laud, the stream toward the West increased in volume; so that in ten years 20,000 Englishmen had sought religious freedom across the sea, and had founded a Colony which, strange to say,—under the influence of an intense religious sentiment,—became itself a Theocracy and a new tyranny, although one sternly just and pure.

The dissolute, worthless Buckingham had been assassinated, and Charles had wept passionate tears over his dead body. But his place had been filled by one far better suited to the King's needs at a time when he had determined not again to recall Parliament, but to rule without it until resistance to his measures had ceased.

It was with no sinister purpose of establishing a despotism such as a stronger man might have harbored, that he made this {109} resolve. What Charles wanted was simply the means of filling his exchequer; and if Parliament would not give him that except by a dicker for reforms, and humiliating pledges which he could not keep, why then he would find new ways of raising money without them. His father had done it before him, he had done it himself. With no Commons there to rate and insult him, it could be done without hindrance.

He was not grand enough, nor base enough, nor was he rich enough, to carry out any organized design upon the country. He simply wanted money, and had such blind confidence in Kingship, that any very serious resistance to his authority did not enter his dreams. It was the limitations of his intelligence which proved his ruin, his inability to comprehend a new condition in the spirit of his people. Elizabeth would have felt it, though she did not understand it, and would have loosened the screws, without regard for her personal preferences, and by doing it, so bound the people to her, that her policy would have been their policy. Charles was as wise as the {110} engineer who would rivet down the safety-valves!

Sir Thomas Wentworth (Earl Strafford), who had taken the place of Buckingham, was an apostate from the party of liberty. Disappointed in becoming a leader in the Commons he had drawn gradually closer to the King, who now leaned upon him as the vine upon the oak.

This man's ideal was to build up in England just such a despotism as Richelieu was building in France. The same imperious temper, the same invincible will and administrative genius, marked him as fitted for the work. While Charles was feebly scheming for revenue, he was laying large and comprehensive plans for a system of oppression, which should yield the revenue,—and for Arsenals and Forts—and a standing Army, and a rule of terror which should hold the nation in subjection while these things were preparing. He was clear-sighted enough to see that "absolutism" was not to be accomplished by a system of reasoning. He would not urge it as a dogma, but as a fact.

The "Star Chamber," a tribunal for the {111} trying of a certain class of offences, was brought to a state of fresh efficiency. Its punishments could be anything this side of death. A clergyman accused of speaking disrespectfully of Laud, is condemned to pay £5,000 to the King, £300 to the aggrieved Archbishop himself, one side of his nose is to be slit, one ear cut off, and one cheek branded. The next week this to be repeated on the other side, and then followed by imprisonment subject to pleasure of the Court. Another who has written a book considered seditious, has the same sentence carried out, only varied by imprisonment for life.

These were some of the embellishments of the system called "Thorough," which was carried on by the two friends and confederates, Laud and Strafford, who were in their pleasant letters to each other all the time lamenting that the power of the "Star Chamber" was so limited, and judges so timid! Is it strange that the plantation in Massachusetts had fresh recruits?

But the more serious work was going on under Strafford's vigorous management. {112} "Monopolies" were sold once more, with a fixed duty on profits added to the price of the original concession. Every article in use by the people was at last bought up by Monopolists, who were compelled to add to the price of these commodities, to compensate for the tax they must pay into the King's Treasury.

"Ship Money" was a tax supposably for the building of a Navy, for which there was no accounting to the people, the amount and frequency of the levy being discretionary with the King. It was always possible and imminent, and was the most odious of all the methods adopted for wringing money from the nation, while resistance to it, as to all other such measures, was punished by the Star Chamber in such pleasant fashion as would please Strafford and Laud, whose creatures the judges were.

Hampden, as before, championed the rights of the people in his own person, going to prison and facing death, if it were necessary, rather than pay the amount of 20 shillings. But that the taxes were paid by the people is evident, for so {113} successful was this scheme of revenue that many predicted the King would never again call a Parliament. What would be the need of a Parliament, if he did not require money? The Royalists were pleased, and the people were wisely patient, knowing that such a financial fabric must fall at the first breath of a storm, and then their time would come.



The storm came in the form of a war upon Scotland, to enforce the established Church, which it had cast out "root and branch" for the Presbyterianism which pleased it. The Loyalists were alarmed by rumors that Scotland was holding treasonable communication with her old ally, France; and after an interval of eleven years, a Parliament was summoned, which was destined to outlive the King.

The Commons came together in stern temper, Pym standing promptly at the Bar of the House of Lords with Strafford's impeachment for High Treason. The great Earl's apologists among the Lords, his own ingenious and powerful pleadings, the King's entreaties and worthless promises, all were in vain.

The King saw the whole fabric of tyranny {115} crumbling before his eyes. He was over-awed and dared not refuse his signature to the fatal paper. It is said that as Strafford passed to the block, Laud, who was at the window of the room where he too was a prisoner, fainted as his old companion in cruelty stopped to say farewell to him.

There were a few moments of silence, then,—a wild exultant shout. "His head is off—His head is off."

The execution of the Archbishop swiftly followed, then the abolition of the Star Chamber, and of the High Commission Court; then a bill was passed requiring that Parliament be summoned once in three years, and a law enacted forbidding its dissolution except by its own consent.

They were rapidly nearing the conception that Parliament does not exist by sanction of the King, but the King by sanction of Parliament.

What could be done with a King whom no promises could bind—who, while in the act of giving solemn pledges to Parliament in order to save Strafford, was perfidiously planning to overawe it by military force? {116} The attempted arrest of Hampden, Pym, and three other leaders was part of this "Army Plot," which made civil war inevitable. The trouble had resolved itself into a deadly conflict between King and Parliament. If he resorted to arms, so must they.

If Hampden stands out pre-eminent as the Champion who like a great Gladiator fought the battle of civil freedom, Pym is no less conspicuous in having grasped the principles on which it must be fought. He saw that if either Crown or Parliament must go down, better for England that it should be the crown. He saw also, that the vital principle in Parliament lay in the House of Commons. If the King refused to act with them, it should be treated as an abdication, and Parliament must act without him, and if the Lords obstructed reform, then they must be told that the Commons must act alone, rather than let the Kingdom perish.

This was the theory upon which the future action was based. Revolutionary and without precedent it has since been accepted {117} as the correct construction of English Constitutional principles.

Better would it have been for Charles had he let the ship sail, which was to have borne Hampden and Oliver Cromwell (cousin of the latter) toward the "Valley of the Connecticut." When he gave that order, he recalled the man who was to be his evil genius. Cromwell could not so accurately have defined the constitutional right of his cause as Pym had done, nor make himself its adored head as was Hampden; but he had a more compelling genius than either. His figure stands up colossal and grim away above all others from the time he raised his praying, psalm-singing army, until the defeat of the King's forces at Naseby (1645), the flight of the King and his subsequent surrender.

Cromwell dissolving the Long Parliament, 1653.  Having commanded the soldiers to clear the hall, he himself went out last, and ordered the doors to be locked.  From the drawing by Seymour Lucas.

Cromwell dissolving the Long Parliament, 1653.
Having commanded the soldiers to clear the hall, he himself went out last, and ordered the doors to be locked.
From the drawing by Seymour Lucas.

It was at this time that Cromwell began to manifest as much ability as a political as he had done as a military leader. Hampden had fallen on the battlefield, Pym was dead, he was virtual head of the cause. Perhaps it needed just such a terrible, uncompromising instrument, to carry {118} England over such a crisis as was before her. Not overscrupulous about means, no troublesome theories about Church or State—no reverence for anything but God and "the Gospel."

When Parliament halted and hesitated at the last about the trial of the King, it was the iron hand of Cromwell which strangled opposition, by placing a body of troops at the door, and excluding 140 doubtful members. A Parliament, with the House of Lords effaced, and with 140 obstructing members excluded, leaving only a small body of men of the same mind, sustained by the moral sentiment of a Cromwellian Army,—can scarcely be called a Representative body; nor can it be considered competent to create a Court for the trial of a King! It was only justifiable as a last and desperate measure of self-defence.

Charles wins back some of our sympathy and esteem by dying like a brave man and a gentleman. He conducted himself with marvellous dignity and self-possession throughout the trial, and at the end of {119} seven days, laid his head upon the block in front of his royal palace of Whitehall.

That small body of men, calling itself the "House of Commons," declared England a "Commonwealth," which was to be governed without any King or House of Lords. Cromwell was "Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland." He scorned to be called King, but no King was ever more absolute in authority. It was a righteous tyranny, replacing a vicious one.

There was no longer an eager hand dipping into the pockets of the people, compelling the poor to share his scanty earnings with the King. There was safety, and there was prosperity. But there was rage and detestation, as Cromwell's soldiers with gibes and jeers, hewed and hacked at venerable altars and pictures, and insulted the religious sentiment of one-half the people. Empty niches, mutilated carvings, and fragments of stained glass, from

"Windows richly dight,
Casting a dim religious light,"

show us to-day the track of those profane fanatics.


When the remnant of the House of Commons calling itself a Parliament was not alert enough in its obedience, Cromwell marched into the Hall with a company of musketeers, and calling them names neither choice nor flattering, ordered them to "get out," then locked the door, and put the key into his pocket. Such was the "dissolution" of a Parliament which had been strong enough to overthrow a Government, and to send a King to the Scaffold! This might be fittingly described as a personal Government!

He was loved by none but the Army. There was no strong current of popular sentiment to uphold him as he carried out his arbitrary purposes; no engines of cruelty to fortify his authority; no "Star Chamber" to enforce his order. Men were not being nailed by the ears to the pillory, nor mutilated and branded, for resisting his will. But the spectacle was for that reason all the more astonishing: a great nation, full of rage, hate and bitterness, but silent and submissive under the spell of one dominating personality.


He had no experience in diplomatic usages, no skilled ministers to counsel and warn, but by his foreign policy he made himself the terror of Europe; Spain, France, and the United Provinces courting his friendship, while Protestantism had protection at home and abroad.

That the man who did this had a commanding genius, all must be agreed. But whether he was the incarnation of evil, or of righteousness, must ever remain in dispute. We shall never know whether or not his death, in 1658, cut short a career which might have passed from a justifiable to an unjustifiable tyranny.

A fabric held up by one sustaining hand, must fall when that hand is withdrawn. Cromwell left none who could support his burden. Charles II., who had been more than once foiled in trying to get in by the back door of his father's kingdom, was now invited to enter by the front, and amid shouts of joy was placed on the throne.



Time brings its revenges. The instinct for beauty, and for joy and gladness, had been for twenty-one years repressed by harshly administered Puritanism. There was a thrill of delight in greeting a gracious, smiling king, who would lift the spell of gloom from the nation. Charles did this, more fully than was expected. Never was the law of reaction more fully demonstrated! The Court was profligate, and the age licentious. The reign of Charles was an orgy. When he needed more money for his pleasures, he bargained with Louis XIV. to join that king in a war upon Protestantism in Holland, for the consideration of £200,000!

We wonder how he dared thus to goad and prod the British Lion, which had devoured his Father. But that animal had {123} grown patient since the Protectorate. England treated Charles like a spoiled child whose follies entertained her, and whose misdemeanors she had not the heart to punish.

The "Roundheads," who had trampled upon the "Cavaliers," were now trampled upon in return. But even at such a time as this the liberties of the people were expanding. The Act of "Habeas Corpus" forever prevented imprisonment, without showing in Court just cause for the detention of the prisoner.

The House of Stuart, those children of the Guises, was always Catholic at heart, and Charles was at no pains to conceal his preferences. A wave of Catholicism alarmed the people, who tried to divert the succession from James, the brother of the King, who was extreme and fanatical in his devotion to the Church of Rome. But in 1685, the Masks and routs and revels were interrupted. The pleasure-loving Charles, who "had never said a foolish thing, and never done a wise one," lay dead in his palace at Whitehall, and James II. was King of England.


Three names have illumined this reign, in other respects so inglorious. In 1666 Newton discovered the law of gravitation and created a new theory of the Universe. In 1667 Milton published "Paradise Lost," and in 1672 Bunyan gave to the world his allegory, "Pilgrim's Progress." There was no inspiration to genius in the cause of King and Cavaliers. But the stern problems of Puritanism touched two souls with the divine afflatus. The sacred Epic of Milton, sublime in treatment as in conception, must ever stand unique and solitary in literature; while "Pilgrim's Progress," in plain homely dish served the same heavenly food. The theme of both was the problem of sin and redemption with which the Puritan soul was gloomily struggling.

The reign of James II. was the last effort of royal despotism to recover its own. He tried to recall the right of Habeas Corpus;—to efface Parliament—and to overawe the Clergy, while insidiously striving to establish Papacy as the religion of the Kingdom. Chief Justice Jeffries, that most brutal of men, was his efficient aid, and boasted that {125} he had in the service of James hanged more traitors than all his predecessors since the Conquest!

The names Whig and Tory had come into existence in this struggle. Whig standing for the opponents to Catholic domination, and Tory for the upholders of the King. But so flagrantly was the Catholic policy of James conducted, that his upholders were few. In three years from his accession, Whig and Tory alike were so alarmed, that they secretly sent an invitation to the King's son-in-law, William, Prince of Orange, to come and accept the Crown.

William responded at once, and when he landed with 14,000 men, James, paralyzed, powerless, unable to raise a force to meet him, abandoned his throne without a struggle and took refuge in France.

The throne was formally declared vacant and William and Mary his wife were invited to rule jointly the Kingdom of England, Ireland and Scotland (1689).

The House of Stuart, which seems to have brought not one single virtue to the throne, {126} was always secretly conspiring with Catholicism in Europe. Louis XIV., as the head of Catholic Europe at this time, was the natural protector of the dethroned King. His aim had long been, to bring England into the Catholic European alliance, and, of course, if possible, to make it a dependency of France. A conspiracy with Louis to accomplish this end occupied England's exiled King during the rest of his life.

But European Protestantism had for its leader the man who now sat upon the throne of England. In fact he had probably accepted that throne in order to further his larger plans for defeating the expanding power of Louis XIV. in Europe. Broad and comprehensive in his statesmanship, noble and just in character, an able military leader, England was safe in his strong hand. Conspiracies were put down, one French army after another, with the despicable James at its head, was driven back; the purpose at one time being to establish James at the head of an independent Kingdom in Catholic Ireland. But that would-be King of Ireland was humiliated and sent {127} back to France by the battle of Boyne (1690).

As important as was all this, things of even greater moment were going on in the life of England at this time. As a wise householder employs the hours of sunshine to repair the leaks revealed by the storm, just so Parliament now set about strengthening and riveting the weak spots revealed by the storms which had swept over England.

What the "Magna Charta" and "Petition of Right" had asserted in a general way, was now by the "Bill of Rights," established by specific enactments, which one after another declared what the King should and what he should not do. One of these Acts touched the very central nerve of English freedom.

If religion and money are the two important factors in the life of a nation, it is money upon which its life from day to day depends! A Government can exist without money about as long as a man without air! So the act which gave to the House of Commons exclusive power to grant supplies, {128} and also to determine to what use they shall be applied, transferred the real authority to the people, whose will the Commons express.

The struggle between the Crown and Parliament ends with this, and the theory of Pym is vindicated. The Sovereign and the House of Lords from that time could no more take money from the Treasury of England, than from that of France. Henceforth there can be no differences between King and people. They must be friends. A Ministry which forfeits the friendship of the Commons, cannot stand an hour, and supplies will stop until they are again in accord. In other words, the Government of England had become a Government of the people.

William regarded these enactments as evidence of a lack of confidence in him. Conscious of his own magnanimous aims, of his power and his purpose to serve England as she had not been served before, he felt hurt and wounded at fetters which had not been placed upon such Kings as Charles I. and his sons. We wonder that a man so exalted and so superior, did not {129} see that it was for future England that these laws were framed, for a time when perhaps a Prince not generous, and noble, and pure should be upon the throne.

William was silent, grave, cold, reserved almost to sternness. He had none of the qualities which awaken personal enthusiasm. He was one of those great leaders who are worshipped from afar. Besides, it is not an easy task to rule another's household. Benefits however great, reforms however wise, are sure to be considered an impertinence by some. Then—there might be another "Restoration," and wary ambitious nobles were cautiously making a record which would not unfit them for its benefits when it came. He lived in an atmosphere of conspiracy, suspicion, and loyalty grudgingly bestowed. But these were only the surface currents. Anglo-Saxon England recognized in this foreign King, a man with the same race instincts, the same ideals of integrity, honor, justice and personal liberty, as her own; qualities possessed by few of her native sovereigns since the good King Alfred.


The expensive wars carried on against James and his confederate, Louis XIV., compelled loans which were the beginning of the National Debt. That and the establishing of the Bank of England, form part of the history of this reign.

In 1702 William died, and Mary having also died a few years earlier, the succession passed to her sister Anne, who was to be the last Sovereign of the House of Stuart.



William's policy had not been bounded by his Island Kingdom. It included the cause of Protestant Europe. An apparently invincible King sat on the throne of France, gradually drawing all adjacent Kingdoms into his dominion. When in defiance of past pledges he placed his grandson upon the vacant throne of Spain, and declared that the Pyrenees should exist no more, even Catholic Austria revolted, and beginning to fear Louis more than Protestantism, new combinations were formed, England still holding aloof, and striving to keep out of the Alliance. But that all-absorbing King had long ago fixed his eye upon England as his future prey, and when he refused to recognize Anne as lawful Queen and declared his intention of placing the "Pretender," son of King James, {132} upon the throne, there could be no more hesitation. This Jupiter who had removed the Pyrenees, might wipe out the English Channel too! Hitherto the name Whig had stood for the adherents to the war policy, and Tory for its opponents. Now, all was changed. Even the stupid Anne and her Tory friends saw that William's policy must be her policy if she would keep her Kingdom.

Fortunate was it for England, and for Europe at this time that a "Marlborough" had climbed to distinction by a slender, and not too reputable ladder. This man, John Churchill, who a few years ago had been unknown, without training, almost without education, was by pure genius fitted to become, upon the death of William, the guiding spirit of the Grand Alliance.

He had none of the qualities possessed by William, and all the qualities that leader had not. He had no moral grandeur, no stern adherence to principles. Whig and Tory were alike to him, and he followed whichever seemed to lead to success, and to the richest rewards. He was perfectly sordid in his aims, invincible in his good {133} nature, with a careless, easy bonhomie which captured the hearts of Europeans, who called him "the handsome Englishman." As adroit in managing men as armies, as wise in planning political moves as campaigns, using tact and diplomacy as effectually as artillery, he assumed the whole direction of the European war; managed every negotiation, planned every battle, and achieved its great and overwhelming success.

"Blenheim" turned the tide of French victory, and broke the spell of Louis' invincibility. The loss at that battle was something more than men and fortresses. It was prestige, and that self-confidence which had made the great King believe that nothing could resist his purposes. It was a new sensation for him to bend his neck, and to say that he acknowledged Anne Queen of England.

Marlborough received as his reward the splendid estate upon which was built the palace of "Blenheim." Then, when in the sunshine of peace England needed him no more, Anne quarrelled with his wife, her {134} adored friend, and cast him aside as a rusty sword no longer of use. But for years Europe heard the song "Malbrook s'en va-t-en guerre," and his awe-inspiring name was used to frighten children in France and in England.

His passionate love for his wife, Sarah Churchill, ran like a golden thread of romance through Marlborough's stormy career. On the eve of battle, and in the first flush of victory, he must first and last write her; and he would more willingly meet 20,000 Frenchmen than his wife's displeasure! Indeed Sarah seems to have waged her own battles very successfully with her tongue, and also to have had her own diplomatic triumphs. Through Anne's infatuation for her, she was virtually ruler while the friendship lasted. But to acquire ascendancy over Anne was not much of an achievement.

It is said that there was but one duller person than the Queen in her Kingdom, and that was the royal Consort, George, Prince of Denmark. Happy was it for England that of the seventeen children born into this royal household, not one survived. {135} The succession, in the absence of direct heirs, was pledged to George, Elector of Hanover, a remote descendant of James I.

It was during Anne's reign that English literature assumed a new character. The stately and classic form being set aside for a style more familiar, and which concerned itself with the affairs of everyday life. Letters shone with a mild splendor, while Steele, Sterne, Swift, Defoe and Fielding were writing, and Addison's "Spectator" was on every breakfast-table.

In the year 1714 Anne died, and George I., of the House of Hanover, was King of England,—an England which, thanks to the great soldier and Duke, would never more be molested by the intriguing designs of a French King, and which held in her hand Gibraltar, the key to the Mediterranean.

King George I. was a German grandson of Elizabeth, sister of Charles I. Deeply attached to his own Hanover, this stupid old man came slowly and reluctantly to assume his new honors. He could not speak English; and as he smoked his long pipe, his homesick soul was soothed by the ladies {136} of his Court, who cut caricature figures out of paper for his amusement, while Robert Walpole relieved him of affairs of State. As ignorant of the politics of England as of its language, Walpole selected the King's Ministers and determined the policy of his Government; establishing a precedent which has always been followed. Since that time it has been the duty of the Prime Minister to form the Ministry; and no sovereign since Anne has ever appeared at a Cabinet Council, nor has refused assent to a single Act of Parliament.

Such a King was merely a symbol of Protestantism and of Constitutional Government. But this stream of royal dulness which set in from Hanover in 1714, came as a great blessing at the time. It enabled England to be ruled for thirty years by the party which had since the usurpation of James I. stood for the rights of the people. Walpole created a Whig Government. The Whigs had never wavered from certain principles upon which they had risen to power. There must be no tampering with justice, nor with the freedom of the press, {137} nor any attempt to rule independently of Parliament. Thirty years of rule under these principles converted them into an integral part of the national life. The habit of loyalty to them was so established by this long ascendancy of the Whig party, that Englishmen forgot that such things could be;—forgot that it was possible to infringe upon the sacred liberties of the people.

However much "Whig" and "Tory" have seemed to change since we first hear of them in the time of James I., they have in fact remained essentially the same; the Whigs always tending to limit the power of the crown, and the Tories to limit that of the people. At the time of Walpole the Tories had been the supporters of the Pretender and of the High Church party, the Whigs of the policy of William and Protestantism. Their predecessors were the "Roundheads" and "Cavaliers," and their successors to-day are found in the "Liberals" and "Conservatives."

There was at last peace abroad and prosperity at home. The latter was interrupted for a time in 1720 by the speculative {138} madness created by the "South-Sea Bubble." Men were almost crazed by the rise in the value of shares from £100 to £1,000; and then plunged into despair and ruin when they suddenly dropped to nothing. The suffering caused by this wreck of fortunes was great. But industries revived, and prosperity and wealth returned with little to disturb them again until the death of George I. in 1727; when another George came over from Hanover to occupy the English throne.

George II. had one advantage over his father. He did speak the English language. Nor was he content to smoke his pipe and entrust his Kingdom to his Ministers, which was a doubtful advantage for the nation. But his clever wife, Queen Caroline, believed thoroughly in Walpole, and when she was controlled by the Minister, and then in turn herself controlled the policy of the King, that simple gentleman supposed that he,—George II.,—was ruling his own Kingdom. His small, narrow mind was incapable of statesmanship; but he was a good soldier. Methodical, stubborn and passionate, {139} he was a King who needed to be carefully watched, and adroitly managed, to keep him from doing harm.

There was a young "Pretender" in these days (Charles Edward Stuart), who was conspiring with Louis XV., as his father had done with Louis XIV., to get to the English throne. We see him flitting about Europe from time to time, landing here and there on the British Coast—until when finally defeated at "Culloden Moor," 1746, this wraith of the House of Stuart disappears—dying obscurely in Rome; and "Wha'll be King but Charlie," and "Over the Water to Charlie," linger only as the echo of a lost cause.

There was a time of despondency when England seemed to be annexed to Hanover, following her fortunes, and sharing her misfortunes in the "seven years' war" over the Austrian succession, as if the Great Kingdom were a mere dependency to the little Electorate; and all to please the stubborn King. Desiring peace above all things England was no sooner freed from one entanglement, than she was plunged into another.


In India, the English "Merchant Company," chartered by Elizabeth in 1600, had expanded to a power. One of the native Princes, jealous of these foreign intruders in Bengal, and roused, it was said, by the French to expel them, committed that deed at which the world has shuddered ever since. One hundred and fifty settlers and traders, were thrust into an air-tight dungeon—in an Indian midsummer. Maddened with heat and with thirst, most of them died before morning, trampling upon each other in frantic efforts to get air and water. This is the story of the "Black Hole of Calcutta;" which led to the victories of Clive, and the establishment of English Empire in India, 1767.

Two years later a quarrel over the boundaries of their American Colonies brought the French and English into direct conflict. Gen. Wolfe, the English Commander, was killed at the moment of victory in scaling the walls of Quebec. Montcalm, the French commander, being saved the humiliation of seeing the loss of Canada (1760), by sharing the same fate.


The dream of French Empire in America was at an end; and with the cession of Florida by Spain, England was mistress of the eastern half of the Continent from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, and from the Atlantic to the Mississippi. So since the days of Elizabeth, and from seed dropped by her hand, an Eastern and a Western Empire had been added to that island Kingdom, whose highest dream had been to get back some of her lost provinces in France. Instead of that it was to be her destiny to girdle the Earth, so that the Sun in its entire course should never cease to shine upon British Dominions.

Side by side with the aspiration which uplifts a nation, there is always a tendency toward degradation, which can only be arrested by the infusion of a higher spiritual life. Strong alcoholic liquors had taken the place of beer in England (to avoid the excessive tax imposed upon it) and the grossest intemperance prevailed in the early part of this reign. John Wesley introduced a regenerative force when he went about among the people preaching "Methodism," a pure {142} and simple religion. Not since Augustine had the hearts of men been so touched, and a new life and new spirit came into being, better than all the prosperity and territorial expansion of the time.

Walpole had passed from view long before the stirring changes we have alluded to. A new hand was guiding the affairs of State; the hand of William Pitt.



At the close of the Seven Years' War, England had driven the French out of Canada,—her ships which had traversed the Pacific from one end to the other, (Capt. Cook) had wherever they touched, claimed islands for the Crown; she had projected into the heart of India English institutions and civilization.

Mistress of North America, and of the Pacific Isles, and future mistress of India, she had left in comparative insignificance those European States whose power was bounded by a single Continent. And all this,—in the reign of the puniest King who had ever sat upon her throne! As if to show that England was great not through—but in spite of, her Kings.

When in 1760, George III. came to the throne, thirteen prosperous American Colonies were a source of handsome revenue to {144} the mother country, by whom they were regarded as receptacles for surplus population, and a good field for unsuccessful men and adventurers. These children were frequently reminded that they owed England a great debt of gratitude. They had cost her expensive Indian and French wars for which she should expect them to reimburse her as their prosperity grew. They were to make nothing themselves, not so much as a horseshoe; but to send their raw material to English mills and factories, and when it was returned to them in wares and manufactured articles, they were to pay such taxes as were imposed, with grateful hearts to the kind Government which was so good as to rule them.

If the Colonies had still needed the protection of England from the French, they might never have questioned the propriety of their treatment. They were at heart intensely loyal, and the thought of severance from the Mother Country probably did not exist in a single breast. But they had since the fall of Quebec a feeling of security which was a good background for {145} independence, if their manhood required its assertion. They were Anglo-Saxons, and perfectly understood the long struggle for civil rights which lay behind them. So when in 1765 they were told that they must bear their share of the burden of National Debt which had been increased by wars in their behalf, and to that end a "Stamp Act" had been passed, they very carefully looked into the demand. This Act required that every legal document drawn in the Colonies, will, deed, note, draft, receipt, etc., be written upon paper bearing an expensive Government stamp.

Nelson's Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805.  From the painting by Stanfield in the National Gallery, London.

Nelson's Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805.
From the painting by Stanfield in the National Gallery, London.

The thirteen Colonies, utterly at variance upon most subjects, were upon this agreed: They would not submit to the tax. They had read the Magna Charta, they knew that the Stamp Act violated its most vital principle. This tax had been framed to extort money from men who had no representation in Parliament, hence without their consent.

Pitt vehemently declared that the Act was a tyranny, Burke and Fox protested against it, the brain and the heart of England compelled the repeal of the Act; Pitt {146} declaring that the spirit shown in America was the same that in England had withstood the Stuarts, and refused "Ship Money." There was rejoicing and ringing of bells over the repeal, but before the echoes had died away another plan was forming in the narrow recesses of the King's brain.

George III. had read English History. He remembered that if Parliaments grow obstructive, the way is not to fight them but to pack them with the right kind of material. Tampering with the boroughs, had so filled the House of Commons with Tories that it had almost ceased to be a representative body, and if Pitt would not bow to his wishes, he would find a Minister who would. Another tax was devised.

Threepence a pound upon tea, shipped direct to America from India, would save the impost to England, bring tea at a cheaper rate to the Colonies (even with the added tax), and at the same time yield a handsome revenue to the Government.

The Colonists were not at all moved by the idea of getting cheaper tea. They had {147} taken their stand in this matter of taxation without representation; they would never move from it one inch. When the cargo of tea arrived in Boston harbor, it was thrown overboard by men disguised as Indians.

George III. in a rage closed the port of Boston, cancelled the Charter of Massachusetts, withdrew the right of electing its own council and judges, investing the Governor with these rights, to whom he also gave the power to send rebellious and seditious prisoners to England for trial. Then to make all this sure of fulfilment, he sent troops to enforce the order, in command of General Gage, whom he also appointed Governor of Massachusetts.

Fox said, "How intolerable that it should be in the power of one blockhead to do so much mischief!" The obstinacy of George III. cost England her dearest and fairest possession. It is almost impossible to picture what would be her power to-day if she had continued to be mistress of North America!

All unconscious of his stupendous folly, the King was delighted at his own firmness. {148} He rubbed his hands in high glee as he said,—"The die is cast, the Colonies must submit or triumph," meaning of course that "triumph" was a thing impossible. Pitt (now Earl Chatham), Burke, Fox, even the Tory House of Lords, petitioned and implored in vain. The confident, stubborn King stood alone, and upon him lies the whole responsibility—Lord North simply acting as his compliant tool.

The colonies united as one, all local differences forgotten. As they fought at Lexington and at Bunker Hill, the idea of something more than resistance was born—the idea of independence.

A letter from the Government addressed to the Commander-in-Chief as "George Washington, Esq.," was sent back unopened. Battles were lost and won, the courage and resources of the Americans holding out for years as if by miracle, until when reinforced by France the end drew near; and was reached with the defeat of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.

It was a dreary morning in 1782 when a humiliated King stood before the House of {149} Lords and acknowledged the independence of the United States of America!

Thus ended a contest which the Earl of Chatham had said "was conceived in injustice, and nurtured in folly."

It was during the American war that the Press rose to be a great counterbalancing power. Popular sentiment no longer finding an outlet in the House of Commons, sought another mode of expression. Public opinion gathered in by the newspapers became a force before which Government dared not stand. The "Chronicle," "Post," "Herald" and "Times" came into existence, philosophers like Coleridge, and statesmen like Canning using their columns and compelling reforms.

The impeachment of Warren Hastings, conducted by Burke, Sheridan, and Fox, led to such an exposure of the cruelty and corruption of the East India Company, that the gigantic monopoly was broken up. A "Board of Control" was created for the administration of Indian affairs, thus absorbing it into the general system of English Government (1784).


James Watt had introduced (in 1769) steam into the life of England, with consequences dire at first, and fraught with such tremendous results later, changing all the industrial conditions of England and of the world.

In 1789 England witnessed that terrific outburst of human passions in France, which culminated in the death of a King and a Queen. An appalling sight which made Republicanism seem odious, even to so exalted and just a soul as Burke, who denounced it with words of thrilling eloquence. Then came Napoleon Bonaparte, and his swift ascent to imperial power, followed by his audacious conquest almost of Europe, until Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, led the allied army at Waterloo, and Napoleon's sun went down.

In 1812 the United States for a second time declared war against England. That country had claimed the right to search for British-born seamen upon American ships, in order to impress them into her own service and recruit her Navy. The "right of search" was denied, and the British {151} forces landed in Maryland, burned the Capitol and Congressional Library at Washington, but met their "Waterloo" at New Orleans, where they were defeated by General Andrew Jackson, and the "right of search" is heard of no more.

Long before this time George III. had been a prey to blindness, deafness, and insanity, and in 1820 his death came as a welcome event. Had he not been blind, deaf, and insane, in 1775, England might not have lost her fairest possession.

The weight of the enormous debt incurred by the long wars fell most heavily upon the poor. One-half of their earnings went to the Crown. The poor man lived under a taxed roof, wore taxed clothing, ate taxed food from taxed dishes, and looked at the light of day through taxed window-glass. Nothing was free but the ocean.

The British Squares at Quattre-Bras, 1815.  From the painting by Elizabeth Southerden Thompson.

The British Squares at Quattre-Bras, 1815.
From the painting by Elizabeth Southerden Thompson.

But there must not be cheap bread, for that meant reduced rents. The farmer was "protected" by having the price of corn kept artificially above a certain point, and further "protected" by a prohibitory tax upon foreign corn, all in order that the landlord {152} might collect undiminished rentals from his farm lands. But, alas! there was no "protection" from starvation. Is it strange that gaunt famine was a frequent visitor in the land?—But men must starve in silence.—To beg was a crime.

"Alas, that bread should be so dear,
And flesh and blood so cheap!"

Children six years old worked fourteen and fifteen hours daily in mines and factories, beaten by overseers to keep them awake over their tasks; while others five and six years old, driven by blows, crawled with their brooms into narrow soot-clogged chimneys, and sometimes getting wedged in narrow flues, were mercifully suffocated and translated to a kinder world.

A ruinous craving was created for stimulants, which took the place of insufficient food, and in these stunted, pallid, emaciated beings a foundation was laid for an enfeebled and debased population, which would sorely tax the wisdom of statesmanship in the future.

If such was the condition of the honest {153} working poor, what was that of the criminal? It is difficult now to comprehend the ferocity of laws which made 235 offenses—punishable with death,—most of which offenses we should now call misdemeanors. But perhaps death was better than the prisons, which were the abode of vermin, disease and filth unspeakable. Jailers asked for no pay, but depended upon the money they could wring from the wretched beings in their charge for food and small alleviations to their misery. In 1773 John Howard commenced his work in the prisons, and the idea was first conceived that the object of punishment should be not to degrade sin-sick humanity, but to reform it.

Far above this deep dark undercurrent, there was a bright, shining surface. Johnson had made his ponderous contribution to letters. Frances Burney had surprised the world with "Evelina;" Horace Walpole, (son of Sir Robert) was dropping witty epigrams from his pen; Sheridan, Goldsmith, Cowper, Burns, Southey, Coleridge, Wordsworth, in tones both grave and gay, were making sweet music; while Scott, {154} Byron, Shelley added strains rich and melodious.

As all this was passing, George Stephenson was pondering over a daring project. Fulton had completed his invention in 1807, and in 1819 the first steamship had crossed the Atlantic. If engines could be made to plough through the water, why might they not also be made to walk the earth? It was thought an audacious experiment when he put this fire-devouring iron monster on wheels, to draw loaded cars. Not until 1830 was his plan realized, when his new locomotive—"The Rocket"—drew the first railway train from Liverpool to Manchester, the Duke of Wellington venturing his life on the trial trip.

In the year 1782 Ireland was permitted to have its own Parliament; but owing to conditions which are explained in a later chapter, she was deprived of this legislative independence, and in 1801, after a prolonged struggle, was reunited to Great Britain, and thenceforth sent her representatives to the British Parliament.

The laws against Roman Catholics which {155} had been enacted as measures of self-defence from the Stuarts, now that there was no longer a necessity for them had become an oppression, which bore with special weight upon Catholic Ireland. By the oath of "Supremacy," and by the declarations against transubstantiation, intercession of Saints, etc., etc., the Catholics were shut out from all share in a Government which they were taxed to support. Such an obvious injustice should not have needed a powerful pleader; but it found one in Daniel O'Connell, who by constant agitation and fiery eloquence created such a public sentiment, that the Ministry, headed by the Duke of Wellington, aided by Sir Robert Peel in the House, carried through a measure in 1828 which opened Parliament to Catholics, and also gave them free access to all places of trust, Civil or Military,—excepting that of Regent,—Lord Chancellor—and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.

There is nothing to record of George IV. except the irregularities of his private life, over which we need not linger. He was a dissolute spendthrift. His illegal marriage {156} with Mrs. Fitzherbert, and his legal marriage with Caroline of Brunswick from whom he quickly freed himself, are the chief events in his history.

His charming young daughter, the Princess Charlotte, had died in 1817, soon after her marriage with Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. She had been adored as the future Queen, but upon the death of George IV. in 1830, the Crown passed to his sailor brother William.

William IV. was sixty-five when he came to the throne. He was not a courtier in his manners, nor much of a fine gentleman in his tastes. But his plain, rough sincerity was not unacceptable, and his immediate espousal of the Reform Act, then pending, won him popularity at once.

The efficiency and integrity of the House of Commons had long been impaired by an effete system of representation, which had been unchanged for 500 years. Boroughs were represented which had long disappeared from the face of the earth. One had for years been covered by the sea! Another existed as a fragment of a wall in a {157} gentleman's park, while towns like Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and nineteen other large and prosperous places, had no representation whatever. These "rotten boroughs" as they were called, were usually in the hands of wealthy landowners; one great Peer literally carrying eleven boroughs in his pocket, so that eleven members went to the House of Commons at his dictation.—It would seem that a reform so obviously needed should have been easy to accomplish. But the House of Lords clung to the old system as if the life of the Kingdom depended upon it. And when the measure was finally carried the good old Duke of Wellington said sadly, "We must hope for the best; but the most sanguine cannot believe we shall ever again be as prosperous."

By this Act 56 boroughs were disfranchised, and 43 new ones, with 30 county constituencies, were created.

It was in the contest over this Reform Bill that the Tories took the name of "Conservatives" and their opponents "Liberals." Its passage marks a most important transition in England. The workingman was {158} by it enfranchised, and the House of Commons, which had hitherto represented property, thenceforth represented manhood.

Nor were political reforms the only ones. Human pity awoke from its lethargy. The penalties for wrongdoing became less brutal, the prisons less terrible. No longer did gaping crowds watch shivering wretches brought out of the jails every Monday morning, in batches of twenty and thirty, to be hung for pilfering or something even less. Little children were lifted out of the mines and factories and chimneys and placed in schools, which also began to be created for the poor. Numberless ways were devised for making life less miserable for the unfortunate, and for improving the social conditions of toiling men and women.

While white slavery in the collieries and factories was thus mitigated, Wilberforce removed the stain of negro slavery from England in securing the passage of a Bill which, while compensating the owners (who received £20,000,000), set 800,000 human beings free (1833).



William IV. died at Windsor Castle, and at 5 o'clock on the morning of June 20th, 1837 (just 58 years from the day this is written), a young girl of eighteen was awakened to be told she was Queen of Great Britain and Ireland. Victoria was the only child of Edward, Duke of Kent, brother of William IV. Her marriage in 1840 with her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg, was one of deep affection, and secured for her a wise and prudent counsellor.

On account of the high price of corn, Ireland had for years subsisted entirely upon potatoes. The failure of this crop for several successive seasons, in 1846 produced a famine of such appalling dimensions that the old and the new world came to the rescue of the starving people. Parliament voted £10,000,000 for food. But before {160} relief could reach them, two millions, one-fourth of the population of Ireland, had perished. The anti-corn measures, championed by Richard Cobden and John Bright, which had been bitterly opposed by the Tories under the leadership of Disraeli, were thus reinforced by unexpected argument; foreign breadstuffs were permitted free access and free trade was accepted as the policy of England.

Nicholas, the Czar of Russia, was, after the fashion of his predecessors (and his successors), always waiting for the right moment to sweep down upon Constantinople. England had become only a land of shopkeepers, France was absorbed with her new Empire, and with trying on her fresh imperial trappings. The time seemed favorable for a move. The pious soul of Nicholas was suddenly stirred by certain restrictions laid by the Sultan upon the Christians in Palestine. He demanded that he be made the Protector of Christianity in the Turkish Empire, by an arrangement which would in fact transfer the Sovereignty from Constantinople to St. Petersburg.


That mass of Oriental corruption known as the Ottoman Empire, held together by no vital forces, was ready to fall into ruin at one vigorous touch. It was an anachronism in modern Europe, where its cruelty was only limited by its weakness. That such an odious, treacherous despotism should so strongly appeal to the sympathies of England that she was willing to enter upon a life-and-death struggle for its maintenance, let those believe who can.—Her rushing to the defence of Turkey, was about as sincere as Russia's interest in the Christians in Palestine.

The simple truth beneath all these diplomatic subterfuges was of course that Russia wanted Constantinople, and England would at any cost prevent her getting it. The keys to the East must, in any event, not belong to Russia, her only rival in Asia.

France had no Eastern Empire to protect, so her participation in the struggle is at first not so easy to comprehend, until we reflect that she had an ambitious and parvenu Emperor. To have Europe see him in confidential alliance with England, was alone {162} worth a war; while a vigorous foreign policy would help to divert attention from the recent treacheries by which he had reached a throne.

Such were some of the hidden springs of action which in 1854 brought about the Crimean War,—one of the most deadly and destructive of modern times. Two great Christian kingdoms had rushed to the defence of the worst Government ever known, and the best blood in England was being poured into Turkish soil.

It was soon discovered that the English were no less skilled as fighters, than as "shop-keepers." They were victorious from the very first, even when the numbers were ill-matched. But one immortal deed of valor must have made Russia tremble before the spirit it revealed.

Six hundred cavalrymen, in obedience to an order which all knew was a blunder, dashed into a valley lined with cannon, and charged an army of 30,000 men!

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Some one had blunder'd:


Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to do, and die;
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

The horrible blunder at Balaklava was not the only one. One incapable general was followed by another, and routine and red-tape were more deadly than Russian shot and shell.

Food and supplies beyond their utmost power of consumption, were hurried to the army by grateful England. Thousands of tons of wood for huts, shiploads of clothing and profuse provision for health and comfort, reached Balaklava.

While the tall masts of the ships bearing these treasures were visible from the heights of Sebastopol, men there were perishing for lack of food, fuel and clothing. In rags, almost barefoot, half-fed, often without fuel even to cook their food, in that terrible winter on the heights, whole regiments of heroes became extinct, because there was not sufficient administrative ability to convey the supplies to a perishing army!

So wretched was the hospital service, that {164} to be sent there meant death. Gangrene carried off four out of five. Men were dying at a rate which would have extinguished the entire army in a year and a half. It was Florence Nightingale who redeemed this national disgrace, and brought order, care and healing into the camps.

When England recalls with pride the valor and the victories in the Crimea, let her remember it was the manhood in the ranks which achieved it. When all was over, war had slain its thousands,—but official incapacity its tens of thousands!

It was a costly victory: Russia was humiliated, was even shut out from the waters of her own Black Sea, where she had hitherto been supreme. To two million Turks was preserved the privilege of oppressing eight million Christians; and for this,—twenty thousand British youth had perished. But—the way to India was unobstructed!

England's career of conquest in India was not altogether of her own seeking. As a neighboring province committed outrages upon its British neighbors, it became necessary in self-defence to punish it; and such {165} punishment, invariably led to its subjugation. In this way one province after another was subdued, until finally in the absorption of the Kingdom of Oude (1856) the natural boundary of the Himalaya Mountains had been reached, and the conquest was complete. The little trading company of British merchants had become an Empire, vast and rich beyond the wildest dreams of romance.

The British rule was upon the whole beneficent. The condition of the people was improved, and there was little dissatisfaction except among the deposed native princes, who were naturally filled with hate and bitterness. The large army required to hold such an amount of territory, was to a great extent recruited from the native population, the Sepoys, as they were called, making good soldiers.

In 1857 the King of the Oude and some of the native princes cunningly devised a plan of undermining the British by means of their Sepoys, and circumstances afforded a singular opportunity for carrying out their design.


A new rifle had been adopted, which required a greased cartridge, for which animal grease was used. The Sepoys were told this was a deep-laid plot to overthrow their native religions. The Mussulman was to be eternally lost by defiling his lips with the fat of swine, and the Hindu, by the indignity offered to the venerated Cow. These English had tried to ruin them not alone in this world, but in the next.

Thrilled with horror, terror-stricken, the dusky soldiers were converted into demons. Mutinies arose simultaneously at twenty-two stations; not only officers, but Europeans, were slaughtered without mercy. At Cawnpore was the crowning horror. After a siege of many days the garrison capitulated to Nana Sahib and his Sepoys. The officers were shot, and their wives, daughters, sisters and babes, 206 in number, were shut up in a large apartment which had been used by the ladies for a ballroom.

After eighteen days of captivity, the horrors of which will never be known, five men with sabres, in the twilight, were seen to enter the room and close the door. There {167} were wild cries and shrieks and groans. Three times a hacked and a blunted sabre was passed out of a window in exchange for a sharper one. Finally the groans and moans gradually ceased and all was still. The next morning a mass of mutilated remains was thrown into an empty well.

Two days later the avenger came in the person of General Havelock. The Sepoys were conquered and a policy of merciless retribution followed.

In that well at Cawnpore was forever buried sympathy for the mutinous Indian. When we recall that, we can even hear with calmness of Sepoys fired from the cannon's mouth. From that moment it was the cause of men in conflict with demons, civilization in deadly struggle with cruel, treacherous barbarism. We cannot advocate meeting atrocity with atrocity, nor can we forget that it was a Christian nation fighting with one debased and infidel. But terrible surgery is sometimes needed to extirpate disease.

Greed for territory, and wrong, and injustice may have mingled with the {168} acquisition of an Indian Empire, but posterity will see only a majestic uplifting of almost a quarter of the human family from debased barbarism, to a Christian civilization; and all through the instrumentality of a little band of trading settlers from a small far-off island in the northwest of Europe.

But there were other things besides famine and wars taking place in the Kingdom of the young Queen. A greater and a subtler force than steam had entered into the life of the people. A miracle had happened in 1858, when an electric wire threaded its way under the Atlantic, and two continents conversed as friends sitting hand in hand.

Another miracle had then just been achieved in the discovery of certain chemical conditions, by which scenes and objects would imprint themselves in minutest detail upon a prepared surface. A sort of magic seemed to have entered into life, quickening and intensifying all its processes. Enlarged knowledge opened up new theories of disease and created a new Art of healing. Surgery, with its unspeakable anguish, was {169} rendered painless by anæsthetics. Mechanical invention was so stimulated that all the processes of labor were quickened and improved.

In 1851 the Prince Consort conceived the idea of a great Exposition, which should under one roof gather all the fruits of this marvellous advance, and Sydenham Palace, a gigantic structure of glass and iron, was erected.

In literature, Tennyson was preserving English valor in immortal verse. Thackeray and Dickens, in prose as immortal, were picturing the social lights and shadows of the Victorian Age.

In 1861 a crushing blow fell upon the Queen in the death of the Prince Consort. America treasures kindly memory of Prince Albert, on account of his outspoken friendship in the hour of her need. During the war of the Rebellion, while the fate of our country seemed hanging in the balance, we had few friends in England, where people seemed to look with satisfaction upon our probable dismemberment.


We are not likely to forget the three shining exceptions:—Prince Albert—John Bright—and John Stuart Mill.

It was while that astute diplomatist, Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield) was Prime Minister, that French money, skill and labor opened up the waterway between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. It would never do to have France command such a strategic point on the way to the East. England was alert. She lost not a moment. The impecunious Khedive was offered by telegraph $20,000,000 for his interest in the Suez Canal, nearly one-half of the whole capital stock. The offer was accepted with no less alacrity than it was made. So with the Arabian Port of Aden, which she already possessed, and with a strong enough financial grasp upon impoverished Egypt to secure the right of way, should she need it, England had made the Canal which France had dug, practically her own.

The British in India: A native prince receiving the decoration of the order of the Star of India from Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales.  From the painting by Sydney Hall, P.M.A.

The British in India: A native prince receiving the decoration of the order
of the Star of India from Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales.
From the painting by Sydney Hall, P.M.A.

Lord Beaconsfield had crowned his dramatic and picturesque Ministerial career by placing a new diadem on the head of the {171} widowed Queen, who was now Empress of India. His successor, William Ewart Gladstone, the great leader of the Liberal party, was content with a less showy field. He had in 1869 relieved Ireland from the unjust burden of supporting a Church the tenets of which she considered blasphemous; and one which her own, the Roman Catholic, had for three centuries been trying to overthrow. We cannot wonder that the memory of a tyranny so odious is not easily effaced; nor that there is less gratitude for its removal, than bitterness that it should so long have been. It is certainly true that the disestablishment of the English Church in Ireland was one of the most righteous acts of this reign.

The Irish question is such a tangled web of wrong and injustice complicated by folly and outrage, that the wisest and best-intentioned statesmanship is baffled. Whether the conditions would be improved by giving them their own Parliament, could only be determined by experiment; and that experiment England is not yet willing to try.



A fitting companion to the Story of England's Empire in India, is that of her South African Colonial Possessions.

It was about the year 1652, while Oliver Cromwell's star was highest in the heavens, that the Dutch East India Company, needing a resting place on the way to the East, planted the germ of an Empire at the Cape of Good Hope. The Portuguese, those pioneers in exploration had only lightly touched this uninviting spot, and then were away chasing rumors of gold.

But the Hollanders were men of a different sort. They asked no indulgences from Nature; and when their roots had once grappled the soil, however disheartening the conditions, they were not to be lured away by glistening surfaces farther on. All they asked was a place on which to {173} grow. And so with stolid persistence they worked away in a field the least promising ever offered to human endeavor.

But the fates befriended them, and after the Revocation of the "Edict of Nantes," a touch of grace and charm was brought into their sterile life by the arrival of three hundred Huguenot refugees. And there, in that austere land, for more than a century these children from Holland and France patiently toiled, and with mild content watched their grazing cattle as they gradually spread over a huge expanse of territory; their only reward the feeling that this barren resting place on the way to India was all their own, and that they had a sense of independence which answered the deepest craving in their hearts; they were safe, forever safe from the Old-World tyrannies.

But there was another nation which also needed a resting place on the way to India. Great Britain, following closely in the footsteps of Holland, now had a Greater East India Company, and a larger empire {174} growing in the East. And clouds began to gather over the Dutch Colonists, as they saw their solitude invaded by Old-World currents. Perhaps the irritation from this made them quarrelsome; for temper and temperament have been two most important factors in the story of the Dutch in South Africa. At all events, there were various outbreaks and insurrections, becoming at last so serious that the English Government felt impelled to aid in their suppression. And this they did so effectually that after a battle with the local forces in 1806, they were virtual rulers of Cape Colony, which, in 1814, upon the payment of six million pounds to the Stadtholder, was formally ceded to Great Britain.

So, by right of conquest, and by right of purchase, England had come into possession (although at the time unaware of it) of the greatest diamond mines, and the richest gold mines in the world. And it had turned out that the Dutch Colonists for a century and a half had been subduing man and nature simply to enrich the {175} English; and in return they were expected to live contentedly and peaceably in the land they had made habitable for human occupation!

Thus two contrasting people had been carelessly and hastily tossed together. The most conservative and the most progressive of nationalities were expected to fuse their uncompromising traits into a harmonious whole. The result should have been easy to foresee. The Dutch, coerced into this union, with embittered hearts and deep sense of injury, after twenty unhappy, stormy years, determined to escape. They would cross the Orange River into the wilderness and there build up another State, which should be forever their own. And so, in the year 1835, there occurred what is known as "The Great Trek," when about thirty thousand men and women, like swarming bees, migrated in a body into the region north of the Orange River, later spreading east as far as the coast in what is now "Natal," the whole region then bearing the significant title: "The Orange Free State."


In the terms of the purchase, in 1814, not a word had been said about this Hinterland, the vast region stretching indefinitely towards the north; and here was the germ of all the trouble that was to come. Through an oversight there existed a serious flaw in the British title, which would severely tax statesmanship, diplomacy, and perhaps strain national morality to the breaking point. Had this people the right, or had they not the right to plant a State bearing a foreign flag, which should effectually bar the path to the north? Should the English Government allow a people fiercely antagonistic to itself to build up an unfriendly State on its border? Such were the questions which arose then, and which have been variously answered since, depending upon the point of view.

If the question had been what would happen, there would have been greater unanimity in the replies! And, it must be acknowledged, however uncertain the claim to this disputed region, that the interests of civilization were more to be subserved by {177} British than by Dutch Sovereignty in South Africa.

The policies of these two people were absolutely opposed; and it was upon the question of the emancipation of the slaves, at the time of the Emancipation Act, in 1835, that the final rupture and secession took place. These slaves constituted a large part of the property of the Boers; and great was their indignation when they were compelled to accept from the British Government a compensation for their property so far below their own appraisal of its value that it seemed to them a confiscation.

Then it was that they resolved to break away from their oppressors, and go where they could make their own laws, and follow their own ideals of right and wrong. And so they turned their backs upon the scene of their long toil.

In this strange exodus not the least important person, though unobserved then, was a sturdy little fellow ten years old, energetically doing his part in rounding up the cattle and flocks as he trudged along beside the {178} huge oxcarts. His name was Paul Stephanus Kruger. And this little man also took his first lesson in military exploits when one hundred and thirty-five Boer farmers, by ingenious use of horses and rifles, put to flight twelve thousand Metabeli spearsmen. But again the Boer was only clearing the way for British occupation, which, commencing at Natal in 1842, had, by 1848, extended over the entire Orange Free State. And then there was another trek. Again the Boers migrated, this time crossing the River Vaal, and founding a "Transvaal Republic."

In the history of the next thirty years we see not a vacillating, but rather a tentative policy, behind which was always an inflexible purpose to establish British rule in South Africa, peaceably, if possible, or by force, if compelled. The British Government was trying to bring to terms the most intractable race it had ever dealt with in all its colonizing experience. The thing which embarrassed the English was that flaw in their claim; and the trouble with {179} the Boers was that they were archaic in their ideals, and obstructive to all policies which belonged to a modern civilization. They had stopped growing when they left Holland. The emancipation and the philanthropies forced upon them by a people who were stealing their land, exasperated them, and outraged their sense of justice; and when the English punished them for cruelties to the native savages, by executing four Boers, vitriol was poured upon an open wound, and peace was forever impossible.

In 1852 England, in placating mood, yielded the local control of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic. But in less than five years the Boers had thrown away their opportunity by strife and discord among themselves, and had separated into four small hostile Republics, which Paul Stephanus Kruger, then President of the Transvaal, was vainly striving to bring together. The only time they were not at war with each other was when they were all fighting the natives, with whom they never established friendly relations. Perhaps it {180} is asking too much of a people so many times emptied from one region into another, to have established internal conditions, economic and political, such as belong to ordinary civilized states. But the condition of disorder had become such that the British Government believed, or at least claimed to believe, that as a measure of safety to their own Colonies, the Transvaal should be annexed to the Colony at the Cape.

The people were cautiously approached upon this subject, and even some of the leaders among the burghers advocated the measure as the best, and, indeed, only thing possible in the present state of demoralization.

So, in 1877, the annexation was effected. The Transvaal Republic was taken under the sovereignty of Queen Victoria.

By a treaty drawn up in 1881, it was declared to be a self-governing, although not an independent State. In all its foreign relations it was subject to the Suzerainty of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. In other words, it was a vassal State.


In that one word Suzerain there lurked the germ of a great war. In a revision of the terms of agreement made by the British, in 1884, this word, which was to play such an important part was omitted; whether by accident or design cannot be said. But the Executive Council of the Republic saw their opportunity, and claimed that the omission of the word was virtually a relinquishment of the claim, and an admission that the South African Republic was an independent and sovereign State.

Lord Derby, Minister of Foreign Affairs, replied that no such significance could be attached to the omission in the amended treaty; that the word Suzerain was not employed simply because it was vague and indefinite in its meaning; whereas, the rights claimed by the British were not vague, but precise and definite. These distinctly forbade the South African Republic from concluding any treaty with a foreign power. And as such power was vested in the Queen, as a matter of course it followed that the South African {182} Republic was not a sovereign and independent State.

While this diplomatic controversy was proceeding, other and less formal agencies were at work. The Transvaal, rich in resources beyond all expectation, was being developed by British capital, without which nothing could have been done. The Uitlanders, (or "Outlanders"), as these English-born men were called, complained that, instead of coöperating with them in this labor, which must result in the common good, everything possible was done to embarrass and paralyze their efforts. Chief among the long list of grievances was the claim that, while they were the principal taxpayers, they were denied representation, and that as they furnished the capital for all the financial enterprises, it was but fair that they should have the franchise which was stubbornly withheld from them.

Out of these conditions came the "Jameson Raid," the most discreditable incident in the whole South African story; an incident which cast a cloud of suspicion over {183} the entire British attitude, and enlisted wide-spread sympathy for the Boers. Under the leadership of Dr. Jameson, a gentleman closely associated with Cecil Rhodes in the South African Chartered Company, an attempt was made to overthrow the Kruger Government, and, to obtain by force the redress denied by peaceable means.

When a revolt rises to the plane of a revolution it becomes respectable. The "Jameson Raid" never reached that elevation. In less than four days the entire force had surrendered and the leaders were under arrest. The attempt upon Johannesburg, and the acts of violence attending it, were denounced in unmeasured terms by the British Government. Dr. Jameson and his chief abettors were tried in England, and sentenced to various terms of imprisonment; four other prominent leaders—one of them an American—had sentence of death passed upon them by a judge from the Orange Free State, which was finally remitted upon the payment of a large sum to the South African Republic. England {184} did her best to rehabilitate her name in the estimation of the world; and when the deplorable affair was over, it had done immense injury to the English cause, and benefited not a little that of the Republic.

Diplomatic negotiations were then resumed; Sir Alfred Milner presenting the British view, urged the propriety of granting to foreign-born residents the franchise; also the abolishment of certain monopolies which pressed heavily upon the miners, and last, but not least, that the sovereignty of Great Britain over the Transvaal, receive official recognition.

This latter President Kruger flatly rejected, upon the ground that the question of sovereignty had already been disposed of in 1884, when Great Britain virtually abandoned the claim by omitting the word Suzerain, or any reference to what it implied, from the amended agreement; offering at the same time to submit the other demands to arbitration.

On October 9, 1899, while Mr. Chamberlain was preparing new proposals, an {185} ultimatum was received from President Kruger, demanding an affirmative answer within forty-eight hours; failing in which, it would be considered a virtual declaration of war. Sir Alfred Milner replied: "You will inform your Government that the conditions demanded are such as Her Majesty's Government deem it impossible to discuss."

On the afternoon of October 11th, the war had commenced, with General Buller in command of the British forces, and General Joubert, aided by General Cronje, commanding the Boers.

Before November 2d three serious engagements had taken place, and the English had been compelled to fall back upon their base of supplies at Ladysmith, where, after an ineffectual sortie on October 30th, they were surrounded and their communications cut off.

The campaign continued to be a story of humiliating defeats until December, when Lord Roberts assumed supreme command, with Lord Kitchener as his chief of staff. {186} England thoroughly aroused was sending men and supplies in unstinted measure for the great emergency, and the world looked on in amazement as 200,000 British soldiers under the greatest British commanders were kept at bay for something less than three years by 30,000 untrained Boers. The British Government had forgotten that these South African colonists were the children of a French Huguenot ancestry which had defied Louis XIV., and of the men who cut the dykes when the Netherlands were invaded by that same tyrant. Some one had wittily said that no member of the Cabinet should be allowed to cast his vote for the war, until he had read Motley's "Rise of the Dutch Republic." And, indeed, it appeared to many that the view of the Government was focussed upon one single point, the establishing of British authority at any cost in South Africa. At the same time many eminent Englishmen believed it was not to be expected that a community so long established in a home of its own {187} choosing, should upon demand be ready to bestow upon foreigners all the rights of citizenship; and many also believed that the grievances of the "Outlanders" were not greater than ordinarily existed when a mass of foreign immigrants were pressing in upon a people who suspected and disliked them. The sympathy of foreign states was strongly with the Boers; and in England itself the cause evoked a languid enthusiasm, until aroused by disaster, and until the pride of the nation was touched by loss of prestige. The danger, the enormous difficulties to be overcome, the privations and suffering of their boys, these were the things which awoke the dormant enthusiasm in the heart of the nation. And when the only son of Lord Roberts had been offered as a sacrifice, and then a son of Lord Dufferin, and then, Prince Victor, October 29, 1900, grandson of the Queen herself, the cause had become sacred, and one for which any loyal Briton would be willing to die.

By September 1, 1900, the Orange Free {188} State and the Transvaal had been formally proclaimed by Lord Roberts, "Colonies of the British Empire."

This was the beginning of the end, and when the victorious commander (December 2, 1900) arrived in England amid the plaudits of a grateful nation, the victory was practically won, and the time was at hand when not far from twenty thousand British soldiers would be lying under the sod six thousand miles away, in a land, which no longer disputed the sovereignty of England!

We have yet to see whether the South African colonial possessions have been paid for too dearly, with nine fierce Kaffir wars (another threatening as this is written), and the blood of princes, peers, and commoners poured as if it were water into the African soil. Is England richer or poorer for this outpouring of blood and treasure? Has she risen or fallen in the estimation of the world, as she uncovers her stores of gold and diamonds among those valiant but defeated Boers, sullenly {189} brooding over the past, with no love in their hearts.

Not the least pitiful incident in the whole story was the voluntary exile of the man who had been the brain and soul of the South African Republics. Indeed, the life of Paul Kruger, from the day when he trudged beside the bullocks at the time of the great northward trek, until he died a disappointed, embittered old man, a fugitive and an exile, seems an epitome of the cause to which his life was devoted.

No story of this war, however brief, can omit the name of De Wet, the most distinguished of the Boer generals, and perhaps the one genius, certainly the most romantic figure in the whole drama. It was De Wet's faculty for disappearing and reappearing at unexpected place and moment which prolonged the war even after the end was inevitable, thus justifying the title "Three Years' War," which he gave to a subsequent history of the conflict.

The dedication to this book bears pathetic testimony to the character of the {190} man: "This work is dedicated to my fellow-subjects of the British Empire." When one reflects what these words meant for De Wet, one is inclined to believe that his highest heroism was not attained on the battle field!



In less than three weeks after the return of Lord Roberts, and the agitating interview for which she had been impatiently waiting, England's beloved Queen succumbed to a brief illness, and died January 22, 1901.

Her son Albert Edward was immediately proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland.

The change of Sovereigns has not materially altered the course of events in the Empire. The King, with much dignity and seriousness, assumed the responsibilities of his great inheritance, and England seems to be in safekeeping. The terms finally agreed upon at the Peace Conference, in May, 1902, bear the signature of Edward Rex, instead of Victoria Regina—a {192} signature that peace-loving Sovereign would so gladly have affixed.

In the year 1904 a British military force entered the hitherto sacred domain of Tibet with the avowed purpose of obtaining redress from Tibetan authorities for having violated a commercial agreement made between China and British India in 1893; which convention was binding upon Tibet as a vassal State to China. In addition to this, a letter from the Viceroy of India to the Grand Lama, had been returned unopened, which, it was claimed, was an insult to the King he represents.

The time selected for this hostile demonstration, when the Russo-Japanese War fully engaged the attention of the nations chiefly interested, was, to say the least, significant; and some were so unkind as to insinuate that the recently discovered mineral wealth of this lofty plateau—"this Roof of the World"—was, like that of the Transvaal in South Africa, a factor in this sudden romantic adventure.

Nature has guarded well this home of {193} mystery; a vast plateau, from 10,000 to 15,000 feet above the sea-level is held aloft upon the giant shoulders of the Himalaya, surrounded by deep valleys filled in with the detritus of an older world. This inaccessible spot is the home of the Grand Lama, the earthly representative of Buddha, and Lhassa is the Holy City where this sacred being resides, a city never profaned by infidel feet until the morning of August 4, 1904, when it fell, and was desecrated by the presence of red-coated soldiers, and the blare of military bands, and still worse the plundering of treasure-houses and monasteries.

It was a rude awakening from the slumber of centuries! The Western mind can scarcely realize how seriously this has wounded the sensibilities of millions of people throughout the East; and the question arises whether England may not some day have to pay more dearly than now appears for the concessions she has obtained.

The treaty in its early form throws light upon the results expected when the {194} expedition was planned. It bound the Tibetan authorities to establish British markets at certain designated points; and stipulated that, without the consent of Great Britain, no Tibetan territory could be leased to any foreign power. Of course many people could see in this the ultimate purpose of a British occupation of Tibet, and an open way to the Yangtse Valley!

But with the Russo-Japanese War over, and Russia free to exert her control over China, a stand was taken by the Chinese Government which has resulted in modifying the terms of the treaty, which has recently been signed at Pekin, by which Great Britain affirms that she does not seek for herself any privileges which are denied to any other state or the subjects thereof.

Two very important measures have been under consideration during the new reign; one of these seeming to have afforded a solution for the Land-problem in Ireland, which has for so long been the nightmare of British politics. Further details of this {195} will be found in the "History of Ireland," separately treated in this volume.

The other measure deals with the question of Education, and is an attempt to solve to the satisfaction of Nonconformists, Catholics, Church-of-England people, and people of no church at all, whether there shall be any religious instruction in the schools for which all are taxed, and if so what shall be its nature and restrictions.

The tendency since 1870 has been steadily toward the method adopted by the United States, i.e., a severance of the civil community from all responsibility for religious teaching. And such is the tendency of the Bill now before the House of Lords. But it is believed that that conservative body will hesitate long before giving up such a cherished and time-encrusted principle as is involved.

So many Parliamentary reforms have been accomplished since the time they commenced in 1832, the time seems not far distant when there will be little more for Liberals to urge, or for Conservatives and the {196} House of Lords to obstruct. Monarchy is absolutely shorn of its dangers. The House of Commons, which is the actual ruling power of the Kingdom, is only the expression of the popular will.

We are accustomed to regard American freedom as the one supreme type. But it is not. The popular will in England reaches the springs of Government more freely, more swiftly, and more imperiously, than it does in Republican America. It comes as a stern mandate, which must be obeyed on the instant. The King of England has less power than the President of the United States. The President can form a definite policy, select his own Ministry to carry it out, and to some extent have his own way for four years, whether the people like it or not. The King cannot do this for a day. His Ministry cannot stand an hour, with a policy disapproved by the Commons. Not since Anne has a sovereign refused signature to an Act of Parliament. The Georges, and William IV., continued to exercise the power of dismissing Ministers at their {197} pleasure. But since Victoria, an unwritten law forbids it, and with this vanishes the last remnant of a personal Government. The end long sought is attained.

The history of no other people affords such an illustration of a steadily progressive national development from seed to blossom, compelled by one persistent force. Freedom in England has not been wrought by cataclysm as in France, but has unfolded like a plant from a life within; impeded and arrested sometimes, but patiently biding its time, and then steadily and irresistibly pressing outward; one leaf after another freeing itself from the detaining force. Only a few more remain to be unclosed, and we shall behold the consummate flower of fourteen centuries;—centuries in which the most practical nation in the world has steadily pursued an ideal—the ideal of individual freedom subordinated only to the good of the whole!



The history of prehistoric Ireland as told in ancient chronicles, easily proves the Irish to be the oldest nation in Europe, mingling their story with those not alone of Egypt, Troy, Greece, and Rome, but with that of Noah and the antediluvian world. Who was the Lady Cæsair, who fled with her household to Ireland from the coming deluge after being refused shelter by Noah? and who Nemehd, the next colonist from the East, who heads the royal procession of one hundred and eighteen kings? and who, above all, is Milesius, who comes fresh from the lingual disaster at Shinar, the divinely appointed ruler, bringing with him his Egyptian wife Scota (Pharaoh's daughter) and her son Gael? and who that other son Heber, whose name was given to the original lingua humana (the Hebrew), in honor of his efforts to prevent the blasphemous building of {200} Babel? For what do these shadowy figures stand, looming out of formless mist and chaos, and bestowing their names as imperishable memorials?—Scotia, Scots, Gaelic,—the word Gaelic in its true significance including Ireland and Scotland. Even the name Fenian takes on a venerable dignity when we learn that Fenius, the Scythian King, and father of Milesius, established the first university—a sort of school of languages—for the study of the seventy-two new varieties of human speech, appointing seventy-two wise men to master this new and troublesome branch of human knowledge! We are told that Heber and Heremon, the sons of Milesius, finally divided the island between them, and then, after the fashion of Romulus, Heber drove the factious Heremon over the sea into the land of the Picts, and reigned alone over the Scots in Ireland.

The sober truth seems to be that Ireland, at a very early period, was known to the Greeks as Ierne (from which comes Erin), and later to the Romans as Hibernia. At a very remote time it seems to have been colonized by Greek and other Eastern peoples, who left a deep impress upon the Celtic race {201} already inhabiting the island; but an impress upon the mind, not the life, of the Celts, for no vestige of Greek or other civilization, except in language and in ideals, has ever been found in Ireland. The only archæological remains are cromlechs, which tell of a Druidical worship, and the round towers, belonging to a much later period, whose purpose is only conjectured.

Ireland's Aryan parentage is plainly indicated in its primitive social organization and system of laws. The family was the social unit, and the clan or sept was only a larger family. Pre-Christian Ireland was divided into five septs: Munster, Connaught, Ulster, Leinster, and Meath. Each of these tribal divisions was governed by a chief or king, who was the head of the clan (or family). Among these, the chief-king, or Ard Reagh, resided at Tara in Meath, and received allegiance from the other four, with no jurisdiction, however, over the internal affairs of the other kingdoms. There was a perpetual strife between the clans. Outside of one's own tribal limits was the enemy's country. The business of life was marauding and plundering, and the greatest hero {202} was he who could accomplish these things by deeds of the greatest daring.

All alike lived under a simple code of laws administered by a hereditary class of jurists called Brehons. All offences were punishable by a system of fines called erics. The land was owned by the clan. Primogeniture was unknown, and the succession to the office of chief was determined by the clan, which had power to select any one within the family lines as Tanist or successor. This in "Brehon Law" is known as the "law of Tanistry," and was closely interwoven with the later history of Ireland. But the class more exalted than kings or brehons was the Bards. These were inspired singers, before whom Brehons quailed and kings meekly bowed their heads.

During the Roman occupation of Britain in which that country was Christianized, pagan Ireland heard nothing of the new evangel almost at her door. But in 432, after Britain had relapsed into paganism, St. Patrick came into the darkened isle. If ever Pentecostal fires descended upon a nation it was in those sixty years during which one saintly man transformed a people from {203} brutish paganism to Christianity, and converted Ireland into the torch-bearer and nourisher of intellectual and spiritual life, so that as the gothic night was settling upon Europe, the centre of illumination seemed to be passing from Rome to Ireland. Their missionaries were in Britain, Germany, Gaul; and students from Charlemagne's dominions, and the sons of kings from other lands, flocked to those stone monasteries, the remains of which are still to be seen upon the Irish coast, and which were then the acknowledged centres of learning in Europe. It was not until late in the ninth century that Ireland played a truly great part in European history. Rome became jealous of these fiery Christians; they had never worn her yoke, and concerned themselves little about the Pope. They had their own views about the shape of the tonsure, and also their own time for celebrating Easter, which was heretical and contumacious, and there began a struggle between Roman and Western Christianity. The passion for art and letters which accompanied this spiritual birth makes this, indeed, a Golden Age. But the painting of missals, and study of Greek poetry and philosophy, {204} brought no change in the life of the people. It was for the learned, and a subject for just pride in retrospect. But the Christianized septs fought each other as before, and life was no less wild and disordered than it had always been.

In the eighth century the first viking appeared. It was then that a master-spirit arose, a man of the clan of O'Brien—Brian Boru. He drove out the Danes, usurped the place of Chief-King, and reigned in the Halls of Tara for a few years, then left his land to lapse once more into a chaos of fighting clans. But it was Dermot, the King of Leinster, whose fatal quarrel led to the subjugation of the land to England. The Irish epic, like that of Troy, has its Paris and Helen. If that fierce old man had not fallen in love with the wife of the Lord of Brefny and carried her away, there might have been a different story to tell. The injured husband made war upon him, in which the Chief-King took part, and so hot was it made for the wife-stealer, that he offered to place Leinster at the feet of Henry II. in return for assistance. A party of adventurous barons, led by Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke, {205} rushed to Dermot's rescue, defeated the Chief-King, drove the Danes out of Dublin, which they had founded, and took possession of that city themselves. Henry II. followed up the unauthorized raid of his barons with a well-equipped army, which he himself led, landing upon the Irish coast in 1171.

The conquest was soon complete, and Henry proceeded to organize his new territory, dividing it into counties, and setting up law-courts at Dublin, which was chosen as the Seat of his Lord-Deputy. The system of English law was established for the use of the Norman barons and English settlers, the natives being allowed to live under their old system of Brehon laws. Henry gave huge grants of land with feudal rights to his barons, then returned to his own troubled kingdom, leaving them to establish their claims and settle accounts with the Irish chieftains as best they could. The sword was the argument used on both sides, and a conflict between the brehon and feudal systems had commenced which still continues in Ireland. If Henry had expected to convert Irishmen into Englishmen, he had {206} miscalculated; it was the reverse which happened—the Norman-English were slowly but surely converted into Irishmen, and two elements were thereafter side by side, the Old Irish and the Anglo-Irish, who, however antagonistic, had always a certain community of interest which drew them together in great emergencies.

It is an easy task to describe a storm which has one centre. But how is one to describe the confused play of forces in a cyclone which has centres within centres? Irish chieftains at war with Irish chieftains, jealous Norman barons with Norman barons, all at the same time in deadly struggle with O'Neills, O'Connells, and O'Briens, who would never cease to fight for the territory which had been torn from them; and yet each and all of these ready in a desperate crisis to combine for the preservation of Ireland. In this chaos the territorial barons were the framework of the structure. The grants bestowed by Henry II. had created, in fact, a group of small principalities. These were called Palatinates, and the power of the Lords Palatine was almost without limit. Each was a king in his own little {207} kingdom—could make war upon his neighbors, and recruit his army from his own vassals. It was the Geraldines who played the most historic part among these Palatines, the houses of Kildare and Desmond both being branches of this famous Norman family, which was always in high favor with the English sovereign, and always at war with the rival house of Ormond, the next most powerful Anglo-Norman family, descended from Thomas à Becket. These barons, or "Lords of the Pale," were, of course, supposed to be the intermediaries for the King's authority. But the Geraldines seem to have found plenty of time to build up their own fortunes, and as peace with their neighbors was sometimes more conducive to that pursuit, alliances with native chiefs and marriages with their daughters had in time made of them pretty good Irishmen.

But our main purpose is not to follow the fortunes of these picturesque and romantic robbers who considered all Ireland their legitimate prey, but rather those of the hapless native population, dispossessed of their homes, hiding in forests and morasses, and whom it was the policy of the English {208} Government to efface in their own country. These pages will tell of many efforts to compel loyalty, but not one effort to win the loyalty of the Irish people is recorded in history! No race in the world is more susceptible to kindness and more easily reached by personal influences, and there are none of whom a passionate loyalty is more characteristic. What might have been the effect of a policy of kindness instead of exasperation, we can only guess. But we can all see plainly enough the disastrous results which have come from pouring vitriol upon open wounds, and from treating a nation as if they were not only intruders but outlaws in their own land.

Listen to the Statutes of Kilkenny, passed by an obedient Parliament at a time when Edward III. was depending upon sinewy, clean-limbed young Irishmen to fight his battles in France and help him to win Crécy. (Which they did.) These are some of the provisions of the statute: Marriage between English and Irish is punishable by death in most terrible form. It is high treason to give horses, goods, or weapons of any sort to the Irish. War with the natives {209} is binding upon good colonists. To speak the language of the country is a penal offence, and the killing of an Irishman is not to be reckoned as a crime.

But in spite of the ferocity of her purpose, England grew lax. She had great wars on her hands, and more important interests to look after. Things were left to the Geraldines, and to the Irish Parliament, which was controlled by the Lords of the Pale. Intermarriages, against which horrible penalties had once been enforced, had become frequent, and many dispossessed chiefs, notably the O'Neills, had recovered their own lands. So, when Henry VII. came to the throne, although the Norman banners had for three centuries floated over Ireland, the English territory, "the Pale," was really reduced to a small area about Dublin.

Henry VII. determined to change all this. Sir Edward Poynings came charged with a mission, and Parliament passed an Act called Poynings Act, by which English laws were made operative in Ireland as in England. When Henry VIII. succeeded his father, the astute Wolsey soon doubted the fidelity of the Geraldines. Of what use {210} were the Statutes of Kilkenny and the Poynings Act, when the ruling Anglo-Irish house acted as if they did not exist! He planned their downfall. The great Earl of Kildare was summoned to London, and six of the doomed house were beheaded in the Tower. The Reformation had given a new aspect to the troubles in Ireland. Henry's attack upon the Church drew together the native Irish and the Anglo-Irish. The struggle had been hitherto only one over territory, between these naturally hostile classes; now they were drawn together by a common peril to their Church, and when, in 1560, Queen Elizabeth had passed the famous Act of Uniformity, making the Protestant liturgy compulsory, the exasperation had reached an acute stage, and the sense of former wrongs was intensified by this new oppression. Ireland was filled with hatred and burning with desire for vengeance, and there was one proud family in Ulster, the O'Neills, which was preparing to defy all England. They scornfully threw away the title "Earl of Tyrone," bestowed upon the head of their house by Henry VIII,, and declared that by virtue {211} of the old Irish law of Tanistry, Shane O'Neill was King of Ulster! It was a test case of the validity of Irish or English laws. "Shane the Proud," the King of Ulster, at the invitation of Elizabeth, appeared with his wild followers at her Court, wearing their saffron shirts and battle-axes. The tactful Queen patched up a peace with her rival, and then made sure that his head should in a few weeks adorn the walls of Dublin Castle. His forfeited kingdom was thickly planted with English and Scotch settlers, who, when they tried to settle, were usually killed by the O'Neills. The only thing to be done was to exterminate this troublesome tribe. This grew into the larger purpose of extirpating the whole of the obnoxious native population. The Geraldines were not all dead, and this atrocious plan led to the famous Geraldine League, and that to the Desmond Rebellion. The league which was to be the avenger of centuries of wrong, was a Catholic one. The Earl of Desmond had long been in communication with Rome and with Spain, enlisting their sympathies for their co-religionists in Ireland. A recent event {212} helped to steel the hearts of the natives against pity should they succeed. A rising in Connaught had, at the suggestion of Sir Francis Crosby, been put down in the following way. The chiefs and their kinsmen, four hundred in number, were invited to a banquet in the fort of Mullaghmast. But one man escaped alive from that feast of death! One hundred and eighty from the clan of O'Moore alone were slaughtered. It was "Rory O'Moore" who did not attend the banquet, who kept alive the memory of the awful event for many a year by his battle-cry, "Remember Mullaghmast!" Now the long-impending battle was on, with a Geraldine for a standard-bearer. But it was in vain. Another Earl of Kildare perished in the Tower, and another Desmond head was sent there as a warning against disloyalty! Those who escaped the slaughter fell by the executioner, and the remnant, hiding from both, perished by famine. But Munster was "pacified." The enormous Desmond estate, a hundred miles in territory, was confiscated and planted with settlers who would undertake the doubtful task of settling.


The smothered fires next broke out in Ulster—the brilliant Earl of Tyrone headed the rebellion bearing his name, with Spain as an ally. The Queen sent the Earl of Essex to crush Tyrone. His failure to crush or even to check the great leader, and his extraordinary conduct in consenting to an armistice at the moment when he might have compelled a surrender, brought such a reprimand from the furious Queen that he rushed back to England, and to his death. Another and more successful leader came—Mountjoy. The rebellion was put down, its leader exiled, and his estate, comprising six entire counties, was confiscated, planted with Scotch settlers, and Ulster, too, was "pacified."

The reign of Charles I. revived hope in Ireland. He wanted money, and when Strafford came bearing profuse promises of religious and civil liberty, and the righting of wrongs, a grateful Parliament at once voted the £100,000 demanded for the immediate use of the Crown, also 10,000 foot and 1,000 horse for his use in the impending revolution, which was soon precipitated by the attempt of Charles and Laud to force the liturgy of the Established Church upon {214} the people in Scotland. Between the Scotch Presbyterians and the Irish Catholics there was the bitterest hatred engendered during the long strife between the natives and the Scotch settlers. So the King's cause was Ireland's cause, his enemies were her enemies, and his triumph would also be hers. The day of liberation seemed at hand. The Lords of the Pale were in constant communication with the King and ready to co-operate with him in his designs upon Scotland. Such was the situation when Charles, under the pressure of his need of money, summoned the Parliament (1641)—the famous Long Parliament—which was destined to sit for twenty eventful years.

Well would it be for Ireland if it could blot out the memory of that year (1641) and the horrid event it recalls. The story briefly told is that a plot, having for its end a general forcible exodus of the hated settlers, was discovered and defeated, when a disappointed and infuriated horde of armed men spent their rage upon a community of Scotch settlers in Armagh and Tyrone, whom they massacred with horrible barbarities.

There is no reason to believe this deed was {215} premeditated; but it occurred, and was atrocious in details and appalling in magnitude. There can be no justification for massacre at any time; but if there were no background of cruelty for this particular one, it would stand out blacker even than it does upon the pages of history. There were many massacres behind it—massacres committed not to avenge wrongs, but to accomplish them! The massacre of Protestants by Irish Catholics is in itself no more hideous than the massacre of Irish Catholics by Protestants. And was it strange that in their first chance at retaliation, this half-civilized people treated their oppressors as their oppressors had many, many times treated them? Could anything else have been expected? especially when we learn that the Scotch Presbyterians in Tyrone and Armagh immediately retaliated by murdering thirty Irish Catholic families who were in no way implicated in the horror!

Strafford's head had fallen in the first days of the Long Parliament; then Archbishop Laud met the same fate, and finally the execution of Charles I. at Whitehall, in 1649, put an end to the dreams of liberation. {216} Almost the first thing to occupy the attention of Cromwell was the settling of accounts with the Catholic rebels in Ireland, who had for years been intriguing with the traitor King and were even now plotting with the Pope's nuncio, Rinucini, for the return of the exiled Prince Charles.

It required six years and 600,000 lives for Cromwell to inflict proper punishment upon Ireland for these offences and the massacre of 1641; or rather, to prepare for the punishment which was now to begin, and for which we shall search history in vain for a parallel! The heroic Cromwellian scheme—which was carried out to the letter—was this: The entire native population were, before May 1, 1654, to depart in a body for Connaught, there to inhabit a small reservation in a desolate tract between the Shannon and the sea, of which it was said by one of the commissioners engaged in this business, "there was not wood enough to burn, water enough to drown, nor earth enough to bury a man." They must not go within two miles of the river, nor four miles of the sea, a cordon of soldiers being permanently stationed with orders to shoot {217} anyone who overstepped such limits. Any Irish who after the date named were found east of the appointed line were to suffer death. Resistance was hopeless. We hear of wild pleas for time, for a brief delay to collect a few comforts, and make some provision for food and shelter. But at the beating of the drum and blast of the trumpet, and urged on by bayonets, the tide of wretched humanity flowed into Connaught, delicately nurtured ladies and children, the infirm, the sick, the high and the low, peer and peasant, sharing alike the vast sentence of banishment and starvation. The fate of others was even worse, many thousands, ladies, children, people of all ranks, had for various reasons been left behind. Wholesale executions of so great a number of helpless beings were impossible, so they were sold in batches and shipped, most of them to the West Indies and to the newly acquired island of Jamaica, to be heard of never more; while of the sturdier remnant left, a few fled into exile in other lands, and the rest to the woods, there to lead lives of wild brigandage, hiding like wolves in caves and clefts of rocks, with a price upon their heads!


Of the two crimes, the Cromwellian settlement and the massacre of 1641, it seems to the writer of this that Cromwell's is the heavier burden for the conscience of a nation to carry! Who can wonder that the Irish did not love England, and that the task of governing a people so estranged has been a difficult one for English statesmanship ever since?

But the extinction of a nation requires time, even when accomplished by measures so admirable as those employed in the Cromwellian settlement. In 1660 Charles II. was on his father's throne, and we hear of hopes revived, and the expectation that the awful suffering endured for the father would be rewarded by his son. The land of the exiles in Connaught had been bestowed by Cromwell upon his followers. But quick to discern the turn in the tide, these men had helped to bring the exiled Prince Charles back to his throne. They expected reward, not punishment! Like many another successful candidate, Charles was embarrassed by obligations to his friends; besides, he must not offend the anti-Catholic sentiment in England, which since the massacre of {219} 1641 had become a passion. The matter of the land was finally adjudicated; such Irish as could clear themselves of complicity with the Papal Nuncio and of certain other serious offences, of which almost all were guilty, might have their possessions restored to them. So a small portion of the land came back to its owners, and the Duke of Ormond, a stanch Protestant, was created Viceroy.

Although nominally a Protestant, to the pleasure-loving Charles the religion of his kingdom was the very smallest concern. So, more from indifference than indulgence, things became easier for the Irish Catholics, and exiles began to return. The Protestants, both English and Irish, were alarmed. With the massacre ever before them, they believed the only safety for Protestants was in keeping the Irish papists in a condition of absolute helplessness. There was a smouldering mass of apprehension which needed only a spark to convert it into a blaze. The murder of Sir Edward Bery Godfrey, a magistrate, afforded this spark. Titus Gates, the most worthless scoundrel in all England, had recently made a sworn statement before this gentleman to the effect {220} that a plot existed for the murder of the King in order to place his Catholic brother on the throne, to be followed by a general massacre of Protestants, the burning of London, and an invasion of Ireland by the French. When Sir Edward was found dead upon a hill-side, men's minds leaped to the conclusion that the carnival of blood had begun. An insane panic set in. Nothing short of death would satisfy the popular frenzy. The Roman Catholic Archbishop, Dr. Plunkett, a man revered and beloved even by Protestants, was dragged to London, and for complicity in a French plot which never existed, and for aiding a French invasion which had never been contemplated, was hanged, drawn, and quartered. Innocent victims were torn from their homes, fifteen sent to the gallows, and 2,000 languished in prisons, while a suite of apartments at Whitehall and £600 a year was bestowed upon Gates, who was greeted as the saviour of his country! In two years more Gates was driven from his apartment at Whitehall for calling the heir to the throne a traitor, was found guilty of perjury, and sentenced to be pilloried, flogged, and imprisoned for life. {221} And so ended the famous "Popish Plot" of 1678.

In 1685 Charles II. died, and was succeeded by his brother, James II. It was precisely because this ignominious reign was so disastrous to England, that it was a period of brief triumph for Ireland. That country was the corner-stone for the political structure which James had long contemplated. It was the stronghold for the Catholicism which he intended should become the religion of his kingdom. The Duke of Ormond was deposed, and a Catholic filled the office of Viceroy in Ireland. At last their turn had come, and no time was lost. An Irish Parliament was summoned, in which there were just six Protestants. All the things of which they had dreamed for years were accomplished. The Poynings Act was repealed. Irish disabilities were removed. The Irish proprietors dispossessed by the Act of Settlement had their lands restored to them. All Protestants, under terrible penalties, were ordered to give up their arms before a certain day. 'Men' only recently with a price upon their heads were now officers in the King's service, and were {222} quartering their soldiers upon the estates of the Protestants. There was a general exodus of the Protestants, some fleeing to England and others into the North, where they finally entrenched themselves in the cities of Enniskillen and Londonderry, winning for that last-named city imperishable fame by their heroic defence during a siege which lasted one hundred and five days.

In the meantime it had become evident in England that the safety of the kingdom demanded the expulsion of James. His son-in-law, William of Orange, accepted an invitation to come and share the English throne with his wife Mary. The fugitive King found a refuge with his friend and co-conspirator, Louis XIV., and from France continued to direct the revolutionary movements in Ireland, which he intended to use as a stepping-stone to his kingdom.

But for Catholic Ireland all these over-turnings meant only a realization of the long-prayed-for event, a separation from England, a kingdom of their own, with the Catholic James to reign over them. When he arrived with his fleet and his French officers and munitions of war, provided by Louis {223} XIV., he was embraced with tears of rapturous joy. Their "Deliverer" had come! He passed under triumphal arches and over flower-strewn roads on his way to Dublin Castle. But almost before these flowers had faded, James had met the army of William, the "Battle of the Boyne" had been fought and lost (1690), and as fast as the winds would carry him he had fled back to France.

As the city of Londonderry had been the last refuge for the Protestants in the North, it was in the city of Limerick that the Irish Catholics made their last stand in the South. And the two names stand for companion acts of valor and heroism. Saarsfield's magnificent defence of the latter city after the flight of the King and during the terrible siege by William's army under Ginkel, is the one luminous spot in the whole campaign of disaster and defeat. With the surrender of Limerick the end had come. Their "Deliverer" was again a fugitive in France, and Ireland was face to face with an austere Protestant King, once more to be called to account and to receive punishment for her crimes.

By the famous Articles of Limerick the terms of the surrender, wrung by Saarsfield's {224} valor from the English commander, were more favorable than could have been expected. These were a full pardon, and a restoration of the rights enjoyed by the Catholics under Charles II. The army, with its officers, was to go into exile, and they might choose either the service of William in England, or enroll themselves in the service of France, Spain, or other European countries. The latter was the choice of all except a very few; and when the heart-rending separation was over, wives and mothers clinging in despair to the retreating vessels, the last act in the Great Rebellion of 1690 was finished.

Of course the Poynings law was restored, the recent Acts repealed, and a new period had commenced for Ireland; a period of quiet, but a quiet not unlike that of the graveyard, the sort of quiet which makes the wounded and exhausted animal cease to struggle with his captors. For a whole century we are to hear of no more revolts, risings, or rebellions. There was nothing left to revolt. Nothing left to rise! The bone and sinew of the nation had gone to fight under strange banners upon foreign battle-fields, so there was left a nation of non-combatants, {225} with spirit broken and hope extinguished, and grown so pathetically patient, that we hear not a single remonstrance as William's cold-blooded decrees, known as the "Penal Code," are placed in operation. These enactments were not blood-thirsty, not sanguinary, like those of former reigns, but just a deliberate process apparently designed to convert the Irish into a nation of outcasts, by destroying every germ of ambition and drying up every spring which is the source of self-respecting manhood.

Here are a few of the provisions of the famous, or infamous, code: No Papist could acquire or dispose of property; nor could he own a horse of the value of more than £5; and any Protestant offering that sum for a horse he must accept it. He might not practise any learned profession, nor teach a school, nor send his children to school at home or abroad. Every barrister, clerk, and attorney must take a solemn oath not for any purpose to employ persons belonging to that religious faith. The discovery of any weapon rendered its Catholic owner liable to fines, whipping, the pillory, and imprisonment. He could not inherit, or {226} even receive property as a gift from Protestants. The oldest son of a Catholic, by embracing the Protestant faith, became the heir-at-law to the whole estate of his father, who was reduced to the position of life-tenant; and any child by the same Act might be taken away from its father and a portion of his property assigned to it; while it was the privilege of the wife who apostatized, to be freed from her husband, and to have assigned to her a proportion of his property.

The not unnatural result of these last-named enactments was that many were driven to feigned conversions in order to keep their families from starvation. It is said that when old Lady Thomond was reproached for having bartered her soul by professing the Protestant faith, her quick retort was, "Is it not better that one old woman should burn, than that all of the Thomonds should be beggars?"

More details are unnecessary after saying that by a decision of Lord Chancellor Bowes and Chief-Justice Robinson it was declared that "the law does not suppose any such person to exist as an Irish Roman {227} Catholic," while the English Bishop at Meath declared from his pulpit, "We are not bound to keep faith with papists." And it must be remembered that the people placed under this monstrous system of wrong and degradation were not a handful, whom the welfare of a community required should be dealt with severely, they were a large majority of the population, a nation dwelling in their own country, where, by a Parliament supposed to be their own, they were governed by a minority of aliens.

In this time of "Protestant ascendancy," as it is called, there were, of course, only Protestants in the Parliament. They had all the authority, they alone were competent to vote; they were the privileged and upper class; an Irish papist, whatever his rank, being the social inferior of his Protestant neighbor. But let it not be supposed that the Irish Protestants were on that account happy! They had been planted in that land as a breakwater against the native Irish flood, but for all that, England had no idea of permitting them to build up a dangerous prosperity in Ireland. The theory governing English statesmanship was that that {228} country must be kept helpless; and to that end it must be kept poor. During the reign of Charles II. the importing of Irish cattle into England had been forbidden. The effects of this prohibition, so ruinous at first, were at last offset by the discovery that sheep might be made a greater source of profit at home, than when shipped to England. There was an increasing demand in Europe for Irish wool, and skilled manufacturers of woollen goods from abroad had come and started factories, thus giving employment to thousands of people.

When it was realized in England that a profitable Irish industry had actually been established, there was a panic. The traders demanded legislative protection from Irish competition, which came in this form. In 1699 an Act was passed prohibiting the export of Irish woollen goods, not alone to England, but to all other countries. The factories were closed. The manufacturers left the country, never to return, and a whole population was thrown out of employment. A tide of emigration then commenced which has never ceased; such as could, fleeing from the inevitable famine which in a land always {229} so perilously near starvation must surely come.

There was no market now for the wool which the factories would have consumed. At home it brought 5d. a pound, but in France a half crown! The long, deeply indented coast-line was well adapted for smuggling. French vessels were hovering about, waiting an opportunity to get it; the people were hungry, and might be hungrier, for there was a famine in the land! Is it strange that they were converted into law-breakers, and that wool was packed in caves all along the coast; and that a vast contraband trade carried on by stealth, took the place of a legitimate one which was made impossible?

So it became apparent that any efforts to establish profitable enterprises in Ireland would be put down with a strong hand. The colonists who had been placed there by England felt bitterly at finding themselves thus involved in the pre-determined ruin of the country with which they had identified their own fortunes. Their love of the parent-country waned, some even turning to and adopting the persecuted creed. The voice of {230} the native people, utterly stifled, was never heard in Parliament, and struggles which occurred there were between Protestants and Protestants; between those who did, and those who did not, uphold the policy of the Government. Such was the condition which remained practically unchanged until the middle of the eighteenth century; a small discontented upper class, chiefly aliens; below them the peasantry, the mass of the people, whose benumbed faculties and empty minds had two passions to stir their murky depths—love for their religion, and hatred of England.

The first voice raised in support of the constitutional rights of Ireland was that of William Molyneux, an Irish gentleman and scholar, a philosopher, and the intimate friend of Locke. In the latter part of the seventeenth century he issued a pamphlet which in the gentlest terms called attention to the fact that the laws and liberties of England which had been granted to Ireland five hundred years before had been invaded, in that the rights of their Parliament, a body which should be sacred and inviolable everywhere, had been abolished. Nothing could have been milder than this {231} presentation of a well-known fact; but it raised a furious storm. The constitutional rights of Ireland! Was the man mad? The book was denounced in Parliament as libellous and seditious, and was destroyed by the common hangman. Then Dean Swift, half-Irishman and more than half-Englishman, an ardent High-Churchman and a vehement anti-papist, published a satirical pamphlet called "A Modest Proposal," in which he suggests that the children of the Irish peasants should be reared for food, and the choicest ones reserved for the landlords, who having already devoured the substance of the fathers, had the best right to feast upon their children. This was made the more pungent because it came from a man who so far from being an Irish patriot, was an English Tory. He cared little for Ireland or its people, but he hated tyranny and injustice; and was stirred to a fierce wrath at what he himself witnessed while Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin. Then it was that with tremendous scorn he hurled those shafts of biting wit and satire, which struck deeper than the cogent reasoning of the gentle and philosophic Molyneux.


So the spell of silence was broken, and there began to form a small patriotic party in Parliament, which in 1760 was led by Henry Flood, from Kilkenny. A day was dawning after the long night; and when in 1775 Henry Grattan's more powerful personality was joined with Flood's, then that brief day had reached its highest noon. Next to that of Edmund Burke, Grattan's is the greatest name on the roll of native-born Irishmen. Happy was that country in having such an advocate and guide at the critical period when the American colonies were throwing off the yoke of English tyranny. The wrongs suffered by the English colonies in America were trifling compared with those endured by that other English colony in Ireland. If ever there was a time to press upon England the necessity for loosening their shackles it was now, when their battle was being fought across the sea. Every argument in support of the independence of America applied with equal force to the legislative independence of Ireland. It was Grattan who at this momentous time guided the course of events. A Protestant, yet possessing the entire confidence of the Catholics; {233} an uncompromising patriot, yet commanding the respect and admiration of the English Government; inflexibly opposed to Catholic exclusion and the ascendancy of a Protestant minority, and as inflexibly opposed to any act of violence, he was determined to obtain redress—but to obtain it only by means of the strictest constitutional methods. It was upon the constitutionality of their claims that he threw all the energy of the movement growing out of the American war. His personal sympathies were with the struggling colonists; yet he voted for men and money to sustain the English cause. Equal rights bestowed upon Catholics, who were in large majority, would transfer to them the power; yet he, a Protestant, passionately advocated a removal of the disabilities of four-fifths of the people. It was in this spirit of wise moderation and even-handed justice that Grattan took the tangled web of the Irish cause out of the hands of the more impetuous Flood; his eloquence and his moving appeals keeping two objects steadily in view—the independence of the Irish Parliament, and the removal of the fetters from Irish trade.


Times had changed since Molyneux's gentle remonstrance, when Grattan's famous Declaration of Rights was being supported by eighteen counties, and still more changed when at last, in 1782, an Irish House of Commons marched in a body to present to the Lord Lieutenant their address demanding freedom of commerce and manufacture.

An unlooked-for train of events had given new weight to this demand. England had realized the necessity of protecting Ireland from a possible invasion growing out of the American war. So it was determined that a body of militia should be levied, in which only Protestants should be enrolled. The attempt to raise the men or the money in Ireland was a failure, and while defenceless, the country was thrown into a panic by the descent of Paul Jones, the American naval hero, upon Belfast and other points on the coast. The citizens of Belfast enrolled themselves for their own defence. Other towns followed, and the contagion spread with such rapidity that in a short time there was in existence a volunteer force of 60,000 men.

Dismayed at the swiftness of the movement, England hesitated; but how could she {235} deny her colony the right of self-defence? They were given the arms which had been intended for the Protestant militia. And so, when the House of Commons marched in a body to the Lord Lieutenant, and presented their address to the Crown, it had 60,000 armed men behind it!

The Viceroy wrote to England that unless the trade restrictions were removed, he would not answer for the consequences. Lord North had enough to do with one rebellion on his hands; and, besides, George III. might have need of some of those 60,000 soldiers before he got through with America. So the Prime Minister yielded. The first victory was gained, and the other quickly followed. American independence was acknowledged; England was in no mood to defy another colony with rebellion in its heart. The Poynings Act once more, and now for all time, was repealed, and the Irish Parliament was a free and independent body. Grateful for this partial emancipation, it voted £100,000 to Grattan.

But this legislative triumph did not feed the people. It was only the seed out of which future prosperity was to grow. A vague expectation of instant relief was {236} bitterly disappointed when it was found instead that they were sinking deeper every day in the hopeless abyss of poverty and degradation. There had come into existence an organization called the "White Boys," with no political or religious purpose, simply a fraternity of wretchedness; beings made desperate by want, standing ready to commit any violence which offered relief. At the same time an irritation born of misery brought the Protestants and Catholics in the North into fierce collision; and the germ of the future Orange societies appeared.

These small storm-centres were all soon to be drawn into a larger one. In 1791 the "Society of United Irishmen" was formed at Belfast. It was merely a patriotic attempt to sink minor differences in an organization in which all could join. With the rising of the general tide of misery it changed in character, and fell into the control of a band of restless spirits led by Wolfe Tone, who maintained that since constitutional reforms had failed, force must be their resort. He sent agents to Paris, and the new French republic consented to assist in an attempt to establish a republic in Ireland.


When the year 1798 closed, there had been another unsuccessful rebellion. Ferocity had been met by ferocity, and Wolfe Tone and Edward Fitzgerald (a Geraldine) had perished in the ruin of the structure they had wildly built. Flood and Grattan had stood aloof from this miserable undertaking. It was now eighteen years since the constitutional triumph which had proved so barren. England was in stern mood. Pitt had long believed that the effacement of the Irish Parliament and a legislative union of the two countries was the only solution. The Irish Protestants were shown the benefits of the protection this would afford them, while the bait offered to the Catholics was emancipation, the removal of disabilities which it was intimated would quickly follow. But no one was won to the cause, Grattan, in the most impassioned way protesting against it, and the measure was defeated. Then followed the darkest page in the chapter.

It is well known that large amounts of money were paid to the owners of eighty-five doubtful boroughs—boroughs which would be effaced by the union—that peerages and {238} baronetcies were generously distributed, and that shortly after, the measure was again brought up and carried! So by the Act of Union, 1800, the Irish Parliament had ceased to exist, and the two countries were politically merged. It is certain that the union was hateful to the Irish people, and that it was tainted by the suspicion of dishonorable methods, which one hundred years have failed to disprove. It may have been the best thing possible, under the circumstances, for Ireland; but to the Irish patriots it seemed a crowning act of oppression accomplished by treachery.

You cannot combine oil and water by pouring them into one glass. The union was not a union. The natures of the two races were utterly hostile. Centuries of cruel wrong and outrage had accentuated every undesirable trait in the Irish people. A nature simple, confiding, spontaneous, and impulsive, had become suspicious, explosive, and dangerous. Pugnacity had grown into ferocity. A joyous, light-hearted, and engaging people had become a sullen and vindictive one; famine, misery, and ignorance had put their stamp of degradation {239} upon the peasantry, the majority of the people. Intermarriage, so savagely interdicted for centuries, was the only thing which could ever have fused two such contrasting races. Such a fusion might have benefited both, in giving a wholesome solidity to the Irish, while the stolid English would have been enriched by the fascinating traits and the native genius of their brilliant neighbors. But the opportunity had been lost; and enlightened English statesmanship is still seeking for a plan which will convert an unnatural and artificial union into a real one.

The delusive promises of the relief which was to come with union were not fulfilled. Catholics remained under the same monstrous ban as before, and things were practically unchanged. Young Robert Emmett's abortive attempt to seize Dublin Castle in 1803 intensified conditions, but did not alter them. The pathetic story of his capture while seeking a parting interview with Sarah Curran, to whom he was engaged, and his death by hanging the following morning, is one of the smaller tragedies in the greater one; and the death of Sarah {240} from a broken heart, soon after, is the subject of Moore's well-known lines.

The most colossal figure in the story of Ireland had now appeared. Daniel O'Connell, unlike the other great leaders, was a Catholic. In the language of another, "he was the incarnation of the Irish nation." All that they were, he was, on a majestic scale. His whole tremendous weight was thrown into the subject of Catholic emancipation; and, although a giant in eloquence and in power, it took him just twenty-nine years to accomplish it. In the year 1829, even Wellington, that incarnation of British conservatism, bent his head before the storm, and there was a full and unqualified removal of Catholic disabilities. O'Connell was not content; he did not pause. The tithe-system, that most odious of oppressions, must go. A starving nation compelled to support in its own land a Church it considered blasphemous! A standing army kept in their land to wring this tribute from them at the point of the bayonet! Think of a people on the brink of the greatest famine Europe has ever known, being in arrears a million and a quarter of pounds for tithes {241} for an Established Church they did not want! Is it strange that Sydney Smith said no abuse as great could be found in Timbuctoo? Is it a wonder that there was always disorder and violence from a chronic tithe-war in Ireland, which it is said has cost a million of lives? But in 1839, in the second year of Queen Victoria's reign, Parliament gave relief, in the following ingenious way. The burden was placed upon the land; the landlord must pay the tithe, not the people! The exasperation which followed took a form with which we are all more or less familiar. With the increase in rents which, of course, ensued, there commenced an anti-rent agitation which has never ceased. A repeal of the Union was the only remedy, and to this O'Connell devoted all his energies.

In 1845, in one black night, a blight fell upon the potato-crop. Carlyle says "a famine presupposes much." What must be the economic condition of a people when there is only one such frail barrier between them and starvation! The famine was the hideous child of centuries. There is no need to dwell upon its details. Its name expresses all the horror of those two years, when Europe and {242} America strove in vain to relieve the famishing nation, even those who had food, dying, it is said, from the mental anguish produced by witnessing so much suffering which they could not assuage. The great O'Connell himself died of a broken heart in beholding this national tragedy. When it was over, Ireland had lost two millions of its population. Thousands had perished and thousands more had emigrated from the doomed land to America, there to keep alive, in the hearts of their children, the memory of their wrongs.

Out of this wreck and ruin there arose the party of "Young Ireland," led, with more or less wisdom, by Mitchell, Smith O'Brien (descended from Brian Boru), Dillon, and Meagher. Mitchell was soon transported, and later O'Brien and Meagher were under sentence of death, which was afterward commuted, Meagher surviving to lay down his life for the North in the civil war in America. It is not strange that these men were driven to futile insurrections, maddened as they were by the sight of their countrymen, not yet emerged from the horrors of famine, forced in droves out of the shelter of their {243} miserable cabins, for non-payment of rent. It has been told in foregoing pages how it came about that absentee English landlords owned a great part of Ireland. From this had arisen the custom of subletting; and when it is known that sometimes four people stood between the tenant and the landlord, it will be realized how difficult it was to place responsibility, to do justice, or to show mercy in such an iniquitous system. It was the system, not the landlord, that was vicious. Eviction has done as much as famine to depopulate Ireland. It has driven millions of Irishmen into America; and the cruelty and even ferocity with which it has been carried out cannot be overstated. Whatever the weather, for the sick, or even for the dying, there was no pity. Out they must go; and to make sure that they would not return, the cabin was unroofed! And then, if the wretched being died under the stars by the road-side, he might, in the words of Mitchell, "lift his dying eyes and thank God that he perished under the best constitution in the world!"

At the close of the American civil war it was believed by Irishmen that the strained {244} relations between England and America would lead to open conflict. An organization named Fenians (after the ancient Feni) formed a plan for a rising in Ireland, which was to be simultaneous with a raid into Canada by way of America.

The United States Government took vigorous action in the matter of the Canadian raid, and the failure of this and of other violent attempts at home put an end to the least creditable of all such organizations.

It was in 1869 that Mr. Gladstone realized his long-cherished plan for the disestablishment of the Church in Ireland. The generations which had hoped and striven for this had passed away, and in the Ireland which remained, there was scarcely spirit enough left to rejoice over anything. The words Home Rule were the only ones with power to arouse hope. With the Liberal Party on their side, this seemed possible of attainment. In 1875 Charles Parnell entered the House of Commons and became the leader of a Home Rule Party. But the question of evictions, of which there had been 10,000 in four years, became so pressing, that he organized a National Land League, which {245} had for its object the relief of present distress, and the substitution of peasant-proprietorship for the existing landlord system; an agrarian scheme, or dream, to which Mr. Parnell devoted the rest of his life. Mr. Parnell's weapons were parliamentary. He introduced an obstructive method in legislation which caused extreme irritation and finally antagonism between the Liberal Party and his own. This, together with the unfounded suspicion of complicity in the murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish, in 1882, militated against Mr. Gladstone's Home Rule Act, which was defeated in 1886; and the cause awaited another champion.

But while the door bearing the alluring words "Home Rule" still remains rigidly closed, another has unexpectedly opened. One of the first subjects to engage the attention of King Edward VII. after his accession was the settlement of the Irish agrarian question which that practical Monarch recognized as the most essential to the pacification of his Irish subjects. This has {246} resulted in an ingeniously devised system of peasant-proprietorship, which is made possible by Government aid, in money and credit. The New Land Act, embodying this result, went into effect November 1, 1903, whereby tenants, sub-tenants, or people who are not tenants may purchase land in small lots and hold it as their own, by the payment of a small annual rental which applies to the purchase. It is impossible to give here the complicated details which insure this result with benefit to landlord, tenant, and also to the Government itself. But a remedy seems to have been found which accomplishes all this; and the condition, more demoralizing to Irish life and character than any other, has been removed. With the sense of peace and permanence, and even of dignity, which comes from proprietorship it is hoped a new day is dawning for the peasantry of that unhappy country.

It has been Ireland's misfortune to be geographically allied to one of the greatest {247} European Powers. She has been fighting for centuries against the "despotism of fact." She has never once loosened the grasp fastened upon her in 1171; never had control of her capital city, which, built by the Northmen, has been the home of her political masters ever since. Of course everyone knows that when the English Government solemnly doubts the capacity of the Irish people for Home Rule, its solicitude is for England, not Ireland.

Francis Meagher, when on trial for his life, said: "If I have committed a crime, it is because I have read the history of Ireland!" One need not be an Irish patriot to be in rebellion against the English rule in that land; and no Protestant can read without shame and indignation the crimes which have been committed in the name of his Church.

But, in view of the small results of more than eight centuries of resistance, would it not be wise for the Irish people to abandon the fight against the "despotism of fact," {248} to give up the attitude of a conquered people with rebellion in their hearts? Is not this the right moment, when England is manifesting a desire to be more just, for Ireland, deeply injured although she is, to accept the olive branch, and call a truce?



The northern extremity of the British Isles, bristling with mountains and with its ragged coast-line deeply fringed by the sea, told in advance the character of its people. Scotland is the child of the mountains; and in spite of all that has been done to change their native character, the word Caledonia still invokes the same picturesque, liberty-loving race which in the first century, under the name of Picts, defied Agricola and his Roman legions, and the wall they had builded. If they have borrowed their name from Ireland, if they have used the speech and consented to wear the political yoke of the Anglo-Saxon, they have accepted these things only as convenient garments for a proud Scottish nationality, which has defied all efforts to change its essential character.

About four centuries after the Roman invasion, a colony of Scots (Irish) migrated to {250} the opposite coast, under Fergus, and set up their little kingdom in Argyleshire, taking with them, perhaps, the sacred "Stone of Destiny" upon which a long line of Irish kings had been crowned, and which tradition asserts was "Jacob's Pillow." The Picts and the Irish Scots were both of the Celtic race, and if they fought, it was as brothers do, ready in an instant to embrace and make common cause, which they first did against the Romans. A common enemy is the surest healer of domestic feuds, and there were many of these to bring together the two Celtic branches dwelling on the same soil after the fifth century. Then came the more peaceful fusion through a common religious faith. St. Columba had been preceded by St. Nimian. But it was the Irish saint from Donegal who did for the Picts what St. Patrick had done for the Irish Scots. In the history of the Church there has never been an awakening of purer spiritual ardor than that which irradiated from Columba's monastery at Iona.

Why the Irish Scots, occupying only a small bit of territory, should have fastened their name upon the land of their adoption {251} is not known. Perhaps it was the magic of that Stone of Destiny! The Picts had the political centre of their kingdom at Scone, on the river Tay. It was in 844 that Kenneth M'Alpin made war upon the Irish Scots, the little kingdom in Argyle was merged with that of the Picts, and by the eleventh century the latter name had disappeared and the name Scotland was applied to the whole country. In the two centuries following this union there were four reigns, in which wars between hostile clans were diversified by wars with invading Danes, and with the Angles near the border, with whom there was a chronic struggle, caused by aggressions upon both sides. Malcolm II. succeeded in defeating the Angles on the Tweed, seized Lothian, incorporated this bit of old England with his own kingdom, then died, in 1034, leaving his throne to his grandson, Duncan. There was the same play of fierce ambitions upon this small stage as on larger ones. Scottish thanes strove to undermine and supplant other thanes, just as Norman barons and Scotch-English earls would do later, and as in other lands and at all times, the dream of aspiring, intriguing nobles {252} was by some happy chance to snatch the crown and reign at Scone.

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, was by birth nearest to the supreme prize. His wife, whose "undaunted mettle" we all know, had royal blood in her veins. We also know how the poison of ambition worked in the once guiltless soul of the thane after the prophecy of the "Weird Sisters" had commenced its fulfilment. The story was quaintly told a century before Shakespeare lived, in a history of Scotland by Boece. The book was written in Latin, and in the sixteenth century was translated into the Scottish vernacular. It tells of the meeting between Macbeth, Banquo, and the "Weird Sisters." "The first of thaim said, 'Hale, Thane of Glammis!' the secound said, 'Hale, Thane of Cawder!' and the thrid said, 'Hale, King of Scotland!' Then Banquo said, 'How is it ye gaif to my companyeon not onlie landis and gret rentis, bot Kingdomes, and gevis me nocht?' To which they reply, 'Thoucht he happin to be ane King, nane of his blude sall eftir him succeid. Be contrar, thow sail nevir be King, bot of the sal cum mony Kingis, quhilkis {253} sall rejose the Croun of Scotland!' Then they evanist out of sicht." This seems to have amused the two friends and "Fur sam time Banquho wald call Makbeth 'King of Scottis' for derisioun; and he on the samin maner wald call Banquho 'the fader of mony Kingis!' Yit, not long efter, it hapnit that the Thane of Cawder was disinherist and forfaltit of his landis for certane crimes; and his landis wer gevin be King Duncane to Makbeth. It hapnit in the nixt nicht that Banquho and Makbeth were sportand togiddir at thair supper," and Banquo reminded his friend that there remained only the Crown to complete the prophecy. Whereupon, "he began to covat the crown." And then Duncan named his young son Malcolm as his heir, "Quhilk wes gret displeseir to Makbeth; for it maid plane derogatioun to the thrid weird," promising him the Crown. "Nochtheless, he thocht, gif Duncane war slane, he had maist richt to the Croun, be the old lawis of King Fergus (law of tanistry), becaus he wer nerest of blude thair to," the text of the old law being, "Quhen young children wer unabil to govern, the nerrest of thair blude sail regne." Then, {254} when his wife "calland him oft times, febil cowart, sen he durst not assail ye thing with manheid and enrage, quhilk is offert to him be benivolence of fortoun," then, so tempted and so goaded, "Makbeth fand sufficient opportunite, and slew King Duncane, the VII yeir of his regne, and his body was buryit in Elgin, and efter tane up and brocht to Colmekill, quhare it remanis yit, amang the uthir Kingis: fra our Redemption. MXLVI yeris."

The story told in these quaint words was, without any doubt, read by Shakespeare, and in the alembic of his imagination grew into the immortal play. Touched by his genius, the names Dunsinnane and Birnam, lying close to Scone, are luminous points on the map, upon which the eye loves to linger. The incidents may not be authentic. We are told they are not. But Macbeth certainly slew Duncan and was King of Scotland, and finally met his Nemesis at Dunsinnane, near Birnam Wood, where Malcolm III., called Canmore, avenged his father's death, slew the usurper, and was crowned king at Scone, 1054.

The historic point selected by Shakespeare {255} has an important significance of a different sort. It was the dividing line between the old and the new. Macbeth's reign marks the close of the Celtic period. With the advent of Malcolm III., there commenced that infusion of Teutonic political ideals which was destined at last to merge the Anglo-Saxon and the Scottish Celt into one political organism. Malcolm's mother was the sister of the Earl of Northumberland. So the son of Duncan was half-English; and he became more than half-English when, somewhat later, he married Margaret, sister of his friend and guest, "Edgar the Atheling," last claimant of the Saxon throne, who had taken refuge with him while vainly plotting against William the Conqueror. This was in 1067, the year after the conquest. So at this critical period in English history, the door leading to the South, which had until now been kept bolted and barred, except for hostile bands, was left ajar. A host of Saxon nobles, following their leader, Edgar, streamed into Scotland, and soon formed the most powerful element about the throne, bringing new speech, new ways, new customs; in fact, doing at Scone precisely what the Norman {256} nobles were at the same time doing at London, substituting a more advanced civilization for an existing one. The manners of the Norman nobles were not more odious to the Saxon nobility in England, than were those of the Saxons to the proud thanes and people in Scotland. Then Malcolm began to bestow large grants of land upon his foreign favorites, accompanied by an almost unlimited authority over their vassals, and feudalism was introduced into the free land. With these changes there gradually formed a dialect, a mingling of the two forms of speech, which became the language of the Court, and of the powerful dwellers in the Lowlands. And so, in succeeding reigns, the process of blending went on, the wave of a changed civilization driving before it the Celtic speech, manners, and habits, into their impregnable fastnesses in the Highlands, there to preserve the national type in proud persistence. Such was the condition for one hundred and fifty years, the Crown in open alliance with aliens, subverting established usages and fastening an exotic feudalism upon the South; while an angry and defiant Celtic people remained unsubdued in the North.


It was a favorite amusement with the Scottish kings to dart across the border into Northumbria, the disputed district, not yet incorporated with England, there to waste and burn as much as they could, and then back again. In one of these forays in 1174, the King, "William the Lion," was captured by a party of English barons. Henry II. of England had just returned from Ireland, where he had established his feudal sovereignty by conquest. Now he saw a chance of accomplishing the same thing by peaceful methods in Scotland. He named as a price of ransom for the captive King an acknowledgment of his feudal lordship. The terms were accepted, and the five castles which they included were surrendered. Fifteen years later, his son Richard I., the romantic crusader, gave back to Scotland her castles and her independence. But what had been done once, would be tried again. So while it was the steady policy of the English sovereigns to reduce Scotland to a state of vassalage to England, it was the no less steady aim of the Scottish kings to extend their own feudal authority to the Highlands and the islands in the north and west of their own realm, {258} where an independent people had never yet been brought under its subjection.

In the year 1286 Alexander III. died, and only an infant granddaughter survived to wear the crown. The daughter of the deceased King had married the King of Norway, and dying soon after, had left an infant daughter. It was about this babe that the diplomatic threads immediately began to entwine. A regency of six nobles was appointed to rule the kingdom. Then Edward I. of England proposed a marriage between his own infant son and the little maid. The proposition was accepted. A ship was sent to Norway to bring the baby Queen to Scotland, bearing jewels and gifts from Edward; but just before she reached the Orkneys the "Maid of Norway" died. Edward's plans were frustrated, and the empty throne of Scotland had many claimants, but none with paramount right to the succession. In the wrangle which ensued, when eight ambitious nobles were trying to snatch the prize, Edward I. intervened to settle the dispute, which had at last narrowed down to one between two competitors, Bruce and Baliol, both lineally descended from King David I.


But the important fact in this mediatorial act of Edward was, that it was done by virtue of his authority as Over-Lord of Scotland. We are left to imagine how and why such a monstrous and baseless pretension was acknowledged without a single protest. But when we reflect that the eager claimants and their upholders represented, not the people of Scotland but an aristocratic ruling element, more than half-English already, it is not so strange that they were willing to pay this price for the sake of restoring peace and security at a time when everything was imperilled by an empty throne. There was no organic unity in Scotland; only a superficial unity, created by the name of king, which fell into chaos when that name was withdrawn. It was imperative that someone should be crowned at Scone at once. And so, when Edward, by virtue of his authority as Over-Lord, gave judgment in favor of John Baliol, without a single remonstrance Baliol was crowned John I. at Scone, rendered homage to his feudal lord, and Scotland was a vassal kingdom (1292). This whole proceeding, thus disposing of the state, had in no way recognized the existence of a nation. {260} It was an arrangement between the Scottish nobles and clergy, and the King of England. When the heralds had, with great ceremony, proclaimed King Edward Lord Paramount of Scotland, the matter was supposed to be ended, and it was forgotten that there was beyond the Grampians a proud people, whose will would have to be broken before their country would become the fief of an English king. But Baliol soon discovered how empty was the honor he had purchased. There was now a right of appeal from the Scottish Parliament and courts to those of Edward I. Such appeals were made, and King John I. was with scant ceremony summoned to London to plead his own cause before a Parliament which humiliated and insulted him.

In 1295, so intolerable had his position become, that Baliol threw off the yoke of vassalage, secured an alliance with France, and gathered such of his nobles as he could about him, prepared to resist the authority of Edward; whereupon that enraged King marched into the rebellious land, swept victoriously from one city to another, gathering up towns and castles by the way; then took the {261} sacred Stone of Destiny from Scone as a memorial of his conquest, and left the penitent vassal King helpless and forlorn in his humiliated kingdom. It was then that the famous stone was built into the coronation-chair, where it still remains.

We have now come to a name which, as Wordsworth says, is "to be found like a wild flower, all over his dear country." Everywhere there are places sacred to his memory. The story of Wallace is a brief one—an impassioned resolve to free his enslaved country, one supreme triumph, then defeat, an ignominious and cruel death in London, to be followed by imperishable renown for himself, and for Scotland—freedom. Sir William Wallace belonged to the lower class of Scotch nobility. He had never sworn allegiance to Edward I. His career of outlawry commenced by his making small attacks upon small English posts. As his successes increased, so did his followers, until so formidable had the movement become, that Edward learned there was a rising in his vassal kingdom. But it could not be much, he thought, as he had all the nobles, and how could there be a rising {262} without nobles? So he despatched a small force to straighten things out. But a few weeks later, Edward himself was in Scotland with an army. Wallace was besieging the Castle of Dundee, when he heard that the King was marching on Stirling. With the quick instinct of the true military leader, he saw his opportunity. He reached the rising ground commanding the bridge of Stirling, while the English army of 50,000 were still on the opposite side of the river. When the English general, seeing his disadvantage, offered to make terms, Wallace replied that his terms were "the freedom of Scotland." The attack made as they were crossing the bridge resulted in the panic of the English and a rout in which the greater part of the fleeing army was slain and drowned (1297). Baliol had been swept from the scene and was in the Tower of London, so Wallace was supreme. But in less than a year Edward had returned with an army overwhelming in numbers, and Wallace met a crushing defeat at Falkirk. We next hear of him on the Continent, still planning for Scotland's liberation, then hunted and finally caught in Glasgow, dragged to London in chains, {263} there to be tried and condemned for treason. Had they condemned him as a rebel and an outlaw there would have been justice, for these he was. But a traitor he never was, for he had never sworn allegiance to Edward. He had fought against the invaders of his country, and for this he died a felon's death, with all the added cruelties of Norman law. He was first tortured, then executed in a way to strike terror to the souls of similar offenders (1304). But his work was accomplished. He had lighted the fires of patriotism in Scotland. The power of his name to stir the hearts of his people like a trumpet-blast, is best described by the words of Robert Burns: "The story of Wallace poured a Scottish prejudice into my veins, which will boil along there till the flood-gates of life shut, in eternal rest." To be praised by the bards was the supreme reward of Celtic heroes. What did death matter, in form however terrible, to one who was to be so remembered nearly five centuries later by Scotland's greatest bard?

We are accustomed to regard the name of Bruce as the intensest expression of a Scottish nationality, and of its aspirations {264} toward liberty. But it had no such meaning at this time. The ancestor of the family was Robert de Bruis, a Norman knight who came over with the Conqueror. His son, Robert, was one of those hated foreign adventurers at the Court of David I., and received from that King a large grant and the Lordship of Annandale. The grandson of this first Earl of Annandale married Isabel, the granddaughter of David I., and so it was that the house of Bruce came into the line of royal succession. It was Robert, the son of Isabel, who competed with Baliol for the throne of Scotland.

Robert Bruce, who stands forth as the greatest character in Scottish history, was twelve years old when his grandfather was defeated by Baliol in this competition. No family in the vassal kingdom was more trusted by England's King, nor more friendly to his pretensions. The young Robert's father had accompanied King Edward to Palestine in his own youth, and he himself was being trained at the English Court. His English mother had large estates in England, and, in fact there was everything to bind him to the King's cause. He and his father, {265} and the High Steward of Scotland, together with other Scottish-Norman nobles, had been with the King in his triumphal march through Scotland when Baliol was dethroned, and at the time of the rising under Wallace, Robert Bruce had not one thing in common with him or his cause. And as for the people in the Highlands, if he ever thought of them at all, it was as troublesome malcontents, who needed to be ruled with a strong hand. Wallace was in rebellion against an established authority, to which all his own antecedents reconciled him. How the change was wrought, how his bold and ardent spirit came to its final resolve, we can only surmise. Was it through a complicated struggle of forces, in which ambition played the greatest part? Or did the splendid heroism of Wallace, and the spirit it evoked in the people, awaken a slumbering patriotism in his own romantic soul? Or was it the prescience of a leader and statesman, who saw in this newly developed popular force an opportunity for a double triumph, the emancipation of Scotland, and the realization of his own kingship?

Whatever the process, a change was going {266} on in his soul. He wavered, sometimes inclining to the party of Wallace, and sometimes to that of the King, until the year 1304. In that year, the very one in which Wallace died, he made a secret compact with the Bishop of Lamberton, pledging mutual help against any opponents. While at the Court of Edward, shortly after this, he discovered that the King had learned of this compromising paper. There was nothing left but flight. He mounted his horse and swiftly returned to Scotland. Now the die was cast. His only competitor for the throne was Comyn. They met to confer over some plan of combination, and in a dispute which arose, Bruce slew his rival. Whether it was premeditated, or in the heat of passion, who could say? But Comyn was the one obstacle to his purpose, and he had slain him, had slain the highest noble in the state! All of England, and now much of Scotland, would be against him; but he could not go back. He resolved upon a bold course. He went immediately to Scone, ascended the throne, and surrounded by a small band of followers, was crowned King of Scotland, March 27, 1306. He soon learned {267} the desperate nature of the enterprise upon which he had embarked. There was nothing in his past to inspire the confidence of the patriots at the North, and at the South he was pursued with vindictive fury by the friends of the slain Comyn. Edward, stirred as never before, was preparing for an invasion, issuing proclamations; no mercy to be shown to the rebels. Bruce's English estates, inherited from his mother, were confiscated, and an outlaw and a fugitive, he was excommunicated by the Pope! Unable to meet the forces sent by Edward, he placed his Queen in the care of a relative and then disappeared, wandering in the Highlands, hiding for one whole winter on the coast of Ireland and supposed to be dead. His Queen and her ladies were torn from their refuge and his cousin hanged.

Had Robert Bruce died at this time he would have been remembered not as a patriot, but as an ambitious noble who perished in a desperate attempt to make himself king. But his undaunted soul was working out a different ending to the story. In the spring of 1307 he returned undismayed. With a small band of followers he met an English {268} army, defeated the Earl of Pembroke at Ayr, and with this success the tide turned. The people caught the contagion of his intrepid spirit, and in the seven years which followed, he shines out as one of the great captains of history. By the year 1313 every castle save Berwick and Stirling had surrendered to him. Vast preparations were made in England for the defence of this latter stronghold.

It was on the burn (stream) two miles from Stirling that Bruce assembled his 30,000 men, and made his plans to meet Edward with his 100,000. On the morning of the 23d of June, 1314, he exhorted his Scots to fight for their liberty. How they did it, the world will never forget! And while Scotland endures, and as long as there are Scotsmen with warm blood coursing in their veins, they will never cease to exult at the name Bannockburn! Thirty thousand English fell upon the field. Twenty-seven barons and two hundred knights, and seven hundred squires were lying in the dust, and twenty-two barons and sixty knights were prisoners. Never was there a more crushing defeat.


Still England refused to acknowledge the independence of the kingdom, and Bruce crossed the border with his army. The Pope was appealed to by Edward, and issued a pacifying bull in 1317, addressed to "Edward, King of England," and "the noble Robert de Bruis, conducting himself as King of Scotland." Bruce declined to accept it until he was addressed as King of Scotland, and then proceeded to capture Berwick. The Scottish Parliament sent an address to the Pope, from which a few interesting extracts are here made:

"It has pleased God to restore us to liberty, by one most valiant Prince and King, Lord Robert, who has undergone all manner of toil, fatigue, hardship, and hazard. To him we are resolved to adhere in all things, both on account of his merit, and for what he has done for us. But, if this Prince should leave those principles he has so nobly pursued, and consent that we be subjected to the King of England, we will immediately expel him as our enemy, and will choose another king, for as long as one hundred of us remain alive, we will never be subject to the English. For it is not glory, nor riches, {270} nor honor, but it is liberty alone, that we contend for, which no honest man will lose but with his life."

The spirit manifested in this had its effect, and the Pope consented to address Bruce by his title, "King of Scotland." After delaying the evil day as long as possible, England at last, in 1328, concluded a treaty recognizing Scotland as an independent kingdom, in which occurred these words: "And we renounce whatever claims we or our ancestors in bygone times have laid in any way over the kingdom of Scotland."

Concerning the character of Robert Bruce, historians are not agreed. To fathom his motives would have been difficult at the time; how much more so then after six centuries. We only know that he leaped into an arena from which nature and circumstances widely separated him, gave a free Scotland to her people, and made himself the hero of her great epic.

When we see the spiritless sons of Bruce in the hands of base intriguing nobles, trailing their great inheritance in the mire, we exclaim: Was it for this that there was such magnificent heroism? Was it worth seven {271} years of such struggle to emancipate the land from a foreign tyranny, only to have it fall into a degrading domestic one? But the reassuring fact is, that the governing power of a nation is only an incident, more or less imperfect. The life is in the people. There was not a cottage nor a cabin in all of Scotland that was not ennobled by the consciousness of what had been done. Men's hearts were glad with a wholesome gladness; and every child in the land was lisping the names of Wallace and of Bruce and learning the story of their deeds. But for all that, the period following the death of the great King and Captain is a disappointing one, and we are not tempted to linger while the incapable David II. wears his father's crown, and while the son of Baliol, instigated by England, is troubling the kingdom, and even having himself crowned at Scone; and while Edward III., until attracted by more tempting fields in France, is invading the land and recapturing its strongholds. The limit of humiliation seems to be reached when David II., in the absence of an heir, proposes to leave his throne to Lionel, son of Edward III.!

When Robert Bruce bestowed his {272} daughter, Marjory, upon the High Steward of Scotland, he determined the course of history in two countries; in England even more than in Scotland. The office of Steward was the highest in the realm. Since the time of David I. it had been hereditary in one family, and according to a prevailing custom, to which many names now bear testimony, the official designation had become the family name. The marriage of Robert Stewart (seventh High Steward of his house) to Marjory Bruce was destined to bear consequences involving not alone the fate of Scotland, but leading to a transforming revolution and the greatest crisis in the life of England. As the Weird Sisters promised to Banquo, this Stewart was "to be the fader of mony Kingis," for Marjory was the ancestress of fourteen sovereigns, eight of whom were to sit upon the throne of Scotland, and six upon those of both England and Scotland (1371 to 1714, three hundred and forty-three years).

Marjory's son, Robert II., the first of the Stuart kings, was crowned at Scone in 1371. His natural weakness of character made him the mere creature of his determined and {273} ambitious brother, the Duke of Albany, who, in fact, held the state in his hand until far into the succeeding reign of Robert III., which commenced in 1390. The nobles had now established a ruinous ascendancy in the state, and so abject had the King become, that Robert III. was paying annual grants to the Duke of Albany and others for his safety and that of his heir. In spite of this, his eldest son, Rothesay, was abducted by Albany and the Earl of Douglas, and mysteriously died, it is said of starvation. The unhappy King then sent Prince James, his second son, to France for safety; but he was captured by an English ship by the way, and lodged in the Tower of London by Henry IV. When Robert III. died immediately after of a broken heart, the captive Prince was proclaimed king (1406), and his uncle, the Duke of Albany, the next in royal succession, ruled the kingdom in name, as he had for many years in fact.

There existed between France and Scotland that sure bond of friendship between nations—a common hatred. This had given birth to a political alliance which was to be a thorn in the side of England for many {274} years. French soldiers and French gold strengthened Scotland in her chronic war with England, and in return the Scots sent their soldiers to the aid of the Dauphin of France. It was this which gave such value to the royal prisoner. He could be used by Henry IV. to restrain the French alliance, and also to keep in check the ambitious Duke of Albany, by the fact that he could in an hour reduce him to insignificance by restoring James to his throne.

Such were some of the influences at work during the eighteen years while the Scottish Prince with keen intelligence was drinking in the best culture of his age, and at the same time studying the superior civilization and government of the land of his captivity. He seems to have studied also to some effect the affairs of his own kingdom. He was released in 1424, crowned at Scone, and a new epoch commenced. He had resolved to break the power of the nobles, and with extraordinary energy he set about his task! There was a long and unsettled account with his own relatives. He knew well who had humiliated and broken his father's heart, and starved to death his brother Rothesay, {275} and, as he believed, had also conspired with Henry IV. for his own capture and eighteen years' captivity. The old conspirator who had been the chief author of these things had recently died, but his son wore his title. So the Duke of Albany (the King's cousin) and a few of the most conspicuous of the conspirators were seized, tried, and one after another five of the King's kindred died by the axe, in front of Stirling Castle. It was one of those outbursts of wrath after a long period of wrongdoing, terrible but wholesome. An unscrupulous nobility had wrenched the power from the Crown, and it must be restored, or the kingdom would perish. This disease, common to European monarchies, could only be cured by just such a drastic remedy; successfully tried later in France, by Louis XI. (fifteenth century), by Ivan the Terrible in Russia (sixteenth century), and by slower methods accomplished in England, commencing with William the Conqueror, and completed when great nobles were cringing at the feet of Henry VIII. There are times when a tyrant is a benefactor. And when a centralized, or even a despotic, monarchy {276} supplants an oligarchy, it is a long step in progress.

This ablest of the Stuart kings was assassinated in 1437 by the enemies he had shorn of power, his own kindred removing the bolts to admit his murderers. He was the only sovereign of the Stuart line who inherited the heroic qualities of his great ancestor Robert Bruce, a line which almost fatally entangled England, and sprinkled the pages of history with tragedies, four out of the fourteen dying violent deaths, two of broken hearts, while two others were beheaded.

It is a temptation to linger for a moment over the personal traits of James I. We shall not find again among Scottish kings one who is possessed of "every manly accomplishment," one who plays upon the organ, the flute, the psaltery, and upon the harp "like another Orpheus," who draws and paints, is a poet, and what all the world loves—a lover. It was his pure, tender, romantic passion for Lady Jane Beaufort, whom he married, just before his return to his kingdom, which inspired his poem, "The Kingis Qahaiir" (the King's book), a work {277} never approached by any other poet-king, and which marked a new epoch in the history of Scottish poetry. It is the story of his life and his love—a fantastic mingling of fact and allegory after the fashion of Chaucer and other mediaeval writers. It is pleasant to fancy that a sympathetic friendship may have existed between the unfortunate youth and the warm-hearted, impulsive Prince Hal, who, immediately upon his accession as Henry V., had James transferred from the Tower to Windsor. There it was he spent the last ten years of his captivity, there he met Lady Jane Beaufort, and wrote a great part of his poem.

The turbulence which had been checked by the splendid energy of James I., revived with increased fury after his death. The fifty years in which James II. and James III. reigned, but did not govern, is a meaningless period, over which it would be folly to linger. If it had any purpose it was to show how utterly base an unpatriotic feudalism could become—Douglases, Crawfords, Livingstons, Crichtons, Boyds, like ravening beasts of prey tearing each other to pieces, and trying to outwit by perfidy when {278} force failed; Livingstons holding the infant King, James II., a prisoner in Stirling Castle, of which they were hereditary governors, and together with the Crichtons entrapping the young Earl of Douglas and his brother by an invitation to dine, and then beheading them both—so that it is with satisfaction we learn of the King's reaching his majority and beheading a half-score of Livingstons at Edinburgh Castle! Then to the Douglases is traced every disorder in the realm, and with relief we hear of their disgrace and banishment, only to have the Boyds come upon the scene with a villanous conspiracy to seize the young King, James III., they, after rising to power, swiftly and tragically to fall again. History could not afford a more shameful and senseless display of depravity than in these human vultures. A Scottish writer says: "There was nothing but slaughter in this realm, every party lying in wait for another, as they had been setting tinchills (snares) for wild beasts."

In viewing this raging storm of anarchy one wonders what had become of the people. We hear nothing of them. They had no political influence, and if they had {279} representatives in Parliament, they were dumb, for the voice of the Commons was never heard. But there is reason to believe that, in spite of the ferocious feudal and social anarchy, the urban population and the peasantry were groping their way into a higher civilization. That better ways of living prevailed we may infer from sumptuary laws enacted by James III., and in the founding of three universities (St. Andrew's, 1411, Glasgow, 1450, and Aberdeen, 1494) there is sure indication that beneath the turbid political surface there flowed a stream of intellectual life. From these literary centres "learned Scotsmen" began to swarm over the land, and a solid scholarship was the aim of ambitious youths, who found in that the road to posts of distinction once won only by arms. There was a small body of national literature. Barbour's poem, "The Brus," led the way in the fourteenth century, then King James's poem in the fifteenth, then Henryson and Boece, and the procession of splendid names had commenced which was to be joined in later ages by Burns, Scott, and Carlyle.

England had now become the refuge for {280} disgraced and intriguing nobles. The Duke of Albany, the Earl of Douglas, and others entered into negotiations with the English King, offering to acknowledge his feudal superiority, he in return promising to give the crown of Scotland to Albany. A battle between the English and Scottish forces took place in the vicinity of Stirling. During the engagement King James was thrown from his horse and then slain by his miscreant nobles (1488). The scheme was a failure, and the son of the murdered King was at once crowned James IV. Henry VII., now King of England, conceived a plan of cementing friendly relations between the two kingdoms by the marriage of his daughter, Princess Margaret, with the young King. This union, so fruitful in consequences, took place at Holyrood in 1502, amid great rejoicings.

During the two preceding reigns the relations of Scotland with her great neighbor were comparatively peaceful. But in 1509 Queen Margaret's brother, Henry VIII., was crowned King of England. Family ties sat very lightly upon this monarch, and his hostile purposes soon became apparent, and {281} the friendly relations were broken. A war between France and England was the signal for a renewal of the old alliance between the French and the Scots. James himself led an army against that of his brother-in-law across the Tweed, and at Flodden met an overwhelming defeat and his own death (1513).

Europe was now unconsciously on the brink of a moral and spiritual revolution, a revolution which was going to affect no country more profoundly than Scotland. The Church of Rome, deeply embedded and wrought into the very structure of every European nation, seemed like a part of nature. As soon would men have expected to see the foundations of the continent removed, and yet there was a little rivulet of thought coursing through the brain of an obscure monk in Germany which was going to undermine and overthrow it, and cause a new Christendom to arise upon its ruins. And strangely, too, as if by pre-arrangement, that wonderful new device—the printing press—stood ready, waiting to disseminate the propaganda of a Reformed Church!

But kings and nobles went on as before {282} with their absorbing game. The infant James V. was proclaimed king. The conditions which had disgraced the minority of his predecessors were repeated, and until he was eighteen he was virtually a prisoner; then with relentless severity he turned upon the traitors. The Reformation which was assuming great proportions was beginning to creep into Scotland. The Catholic King, with a double intent, placed Primates of the Church in all the great offices, and the excluded nobles began to lean toward the new faith. Luther's works were prohibited and stringent measures adopted to drive heretical literature out of the land. When, for reasons we all know, Henry VIII. became an illustrious convert to Protestantism, he tried to bring about a marriage between his nephew, James, and his young daughter, Princess Mary; at the same time urging his nephew to join him in throwing off the authority of the Pope. But James made a choice pregnant with consequences for England. He married, in 1538, Mary, daughter of the great Duke of Guise in France; thus rejecting the peaceful overtures of his uncle, Henry VIII., and confirming the French alliance and {283} the anti-Protestant policy of his kingdom. Henry was displeased, and commenced an exasperating course toward Scotland. There was a small engagement with the English at Solway Moss, which ended in a panic and defeat of the Scots. This so preyed upon the mind of the King that his spirit seemed broken. The news of the birth of a daughter—Mary Stuart—came to him simultaneously with that of the defeat. He was full of vague, tragic forebodings, sank into a melancholy, and expired a week later (1542). The little Queen Mary at once became the centre of state intrigues. Henry VIII. secured the co-operation of disaffected Scotch nobles in a plan to place her in his hands as the betrothed of his son, Prince Edward. A treaty of alliance was drawn and signed, agreeing to the marriage, with the usual condition of the feudal lordship of the English King over Scotland. The Scottish Parliament, through the efforts of Cardinal Beaton, rejected the proposal, and the furious Henry declared war, with instructions to sack, burn, and put to death without mercy, Cardinal Beaton's destruction being especially enjoined. The Cardinal, in the {284} meantime, was trying to stamp out the Reform-fires which were spreading with extraordinary swiftness. There were executions and banishments. Wishart, the Reformer and friend of John Knox, was burned at the stake. Following this there was a conspiracy for the death of the Cardinal, who was assassinated, and his Castle of St. Andrew became the stronghold of the conspirators. John Knox, for his own safety, took refuge with them, and upon the surrender of the castle to a French force, Knox was sent a prisoner to the French galleys.

The infant Queen, now six years old, was betrothed to the grandson of Francis I. and conveyed by Lord Livingston to France for safe-keeping until her marriage. Her mother, Mary of Guise, was Regent of Scotland, and doing her best to stem the tide of Protestantism. The spread of the Reformed faith was amazing. It took on at first a form more ethical than doctrinal. It was against the immoralities of the clergy that a sternly moral people rose in its wrath, and, on the other hand, it was the reading of the Scriptures, and interpreting them without authority, for which men were condemned to the {285} stake, their accusers saying, "What shall we leave to the bishops to do, when every man shall be a babbler about the Bible?" Carlyle says the Reformation gave to Scotland a soul. But it might have fared differently had not a co-operating destiny at the same time given Scotland a John Knox! Knox was to the Reformed Church in Scotland what the body of the tree is to its branches. He not only poured his own uncompromising life into the branches, but then determined the direction in which they should inflexibly grow. Knox had been the friend and disciple of Calvin in Geneva. The newly awakened soul in Scotland fed upon the theology of that great logician as the bread of heaven, and Calvinism was forever rooted in the hearts and minds of the people.

The marriage of Queen Mary with the Dauphin had been quickly followed by the death of Henry II., and her young consort was King of France. Queen Elizabeth, in response to an appeal from the Reformed Church, sent a fleet and soldiers to meet the powerful French force which would now surely come. But the reign of Francis {286} II. was brief. In 1560 tidings came that he was dead. Mary now resolved to return to her own kingdom. Elizabeth tried to intercept her by the way, but she arrived safely and was warmly welcomed. She was nineteen, beautiful, gifted, rarely accomplished, had been trained in the most brilliant and gayest capital in Europe, and was a fervent Catholic. She came back to a land which had by Act of Parliament prohibited the Mass and adopted a religious faith she considered heretical, and a land where Protestantism in its austerest form had become rooted, and where John Knox, its sternest exponent, held the conscience of the people in his keeping. What to her were only simple pleasures, were to them deadly sins. When the Mass was celebrated after her return, so intense was the excitement, the chapel-door had to be guarded, and Knox proclaimed from the pulpit, that "an army of 10,000 enemies would have been less fearful to him" than this act of the Queen.

During the winter in Edinburgh the gayeties gave fresh offence. Knox declared that "the Queen had danced excessively till after midnight." And then he preached a sermon {287} on the "Vices of Princes," which was an open attack upon her uncles, the Guises in France. Mary sent for the preacher, and reproved him for disrespect in trying to make her an object of contempt and hatred to her people, adding, "I know that my uncles and ye are not of one religion, and therefore I do not blame you, albeit you have no good opinion of them." The General Assembly passed resolutions recommending that it be enacted by Parliament that "all papistical idolatry should be suppressed in the realm, not alone among the subjects, but in the Queen's own person." Mary, with her accustomed tact, replied, that she "was not yet persuaded in the Protestant religion, nor of the impiety in the Mass. But although she would not leave the religion wherein she had been nourished and brought up, neither would she press the conscience of any, and, on their part, they should not press her conscience."

We cannot wonder that Mary was revolted by the harshness of John Knox; nor can we wonder that he was alarmed. A fascinating queen, with a rare talent for diplomacy, and in personal touch with all the Catholic centres in Europe, was a {288} formidable menace to the Reformed Church in Scotland, and would in all probability have temporarily overthrown it, had not the course of events been unexpectedly arrested. Every Court in Europe was scheming for Mary's marriage. Proposals from Spain, France, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, and the Earl of Leicester in England were all considered. Mary's preference was for Don Carlos of Spain; but when this proved impossible, she made, suddenly, an unfortunate choice. Henry Stewart, who was Lord Darnley, the son of the Earl of Lennox, was, like herself, the great grandchild of Henry VII. That was a great point in eligibility, but the only one. He was a Catholic, three years younger than herself, good-looking, weak and vicious. The marriage was celebrated at Holyrood in 1565, and Mary bestowed upon her consort the title of king. This did not satisfy him. He demanded that the crown should be secured to him for life; and that if Mary died childless, his heirs should succeed. With such violence and insolence did Darnley press these demands, and so open were his debaucheries, that Mary was revolted and disgusted. Her chief {289} minister was an Italian named Rizzio, a man of insignificant, mean exterior, but astute and accomplished. There seems no reason to believe that Darnley was ever jealous of the Italian, but he believed that he was an obstacle to his ambitious designs and was using his influence with Mary to defeat them. He determined to remove him. While Rizzio and the Queen were in conversation in her cabinet, Darnley entered, seized and held Mary in his grasp, while his assassins dragged Rizzio into an adjoining room and stabbed him to death. Who can wonder that she left him, saying, "I shall be your wife no longer!" But after the birth of her infant, three months later, her feelings seem to have softened, and it looked like heroic devotion when she went to his bedside while he was recovering from small-pox, and had him tenderly removed to a house near Edinburgh, where she could visit him daily.

It will never be known whether Mary was cognizant of or, even worse, accessory to Darnley's murder, which occurred at midnight a few hours after she had left him, February 9, 1567.


Suspicion pointed at once to the Earl of Bothwell. The Court acquitted him, but public opinion did not. And it was Mary's marriage with this man which was her undoing. Innocent or guilty, the world will never forgive her for having married, three months after her husband's death, the man believed to be his murderer! Even her friends deserted her. A prisoner at Lochleven Castle, she was compelled to sign an act of abdication in favor of her son. A few of the Queen's adherents, the Hamiltons, Argyles, Setons, Livingstons, Flemings, and others gathered a small army in her support and aided her escape, which was quickly followed by a defeat in an engagement near Glasgow. Mary then resolved upon the step which led her by a long, dark, and dreary pathway to the scaffold. She crossed into England and threw herself upon the mercy of her cousin, Elizabeth.

Immediately upon the Queen's abdication her son, thirteen months old, was crowned James VI. of Scotland. There was a powerful minority which disapproved of all these proceedings; so now there was a Queen's party, a King's party, the latter, under the {291} regency of Moray, having the support of the Reformed clergy. These conditions promised a bitter and prolonged contest, which promise was fully realized; and not until 1573 was the party of the Queen subdued. During the minority of the King a new element had entered into the conflict. The Reformation in Scotland had, as we have seen, under the vigorous leadership of John Knox, assumed the Calvinistic type. In England, during the reign of Elizabeth, a more modified form had been adopted—an episcopacy, with a house of bishops, a liturgy, and a ritual. To the Scotch Reformers this was a compromise with the Church of Rome, no less abhorrent to them than papacy. The struggle resolved itself into one between the advocates of these rival forms of Protestantism, each striving to obtain ascendancy in the kingdom, and control of the King. Some of the most moderate of the Protestants approved of restoring the ecclesiastical estate which had disappeared from Parliament with the Reformation, and having a body of Protestant clergy to sit with the Lords and Commons. These questions, of such vital moment to the consciences of many, were to others merely a cloak for {292} personal ambitions and political intrigues. When James was seventeen years old, the method already so familiar in Scotland, was resorted to. In order to separate him from one set of villanous plotters, he was entrapped by another by an invitation to visit Ruthven Castle, where he found himself a prisoner, and when the plot failed, the Reformed clergy did its best to shield the perpetrators, who had acted with their knowledge and consent.

But James had already made his choice between the two forms of Protestantism, and the basis of his choice was the sacredness of the royal prerogative. A theology which conflicted with that, was not the one for his kingdom. He would have no religion in which presbyters and synods and laymen were asserting authority. The King, God's anointed, was the natural head of the Church, and should determine its policy. Such was the theory which even at this early time had become firmly lodged in the acute and narrow mind of the precocious youth, and which throughout his entire reign was the inspiration of his policy. In the proceedings following the "Ruthven Raid," as it is {293} called, he openly manifested his determination to introduce episcopacy into his kingdom.

So the conflict was now between the clergy and the Crown. The latter gained the first victory. Parliament, in 1584, affirmed the supreme authority of the King in all matters civil and religious. The act placed unprecedented powers in his hands, saying, "These powers by the gift of Heaven belong to his Majesty and to his successors." And so it was that in 1584 the current started which, after running its ruinous course, was to terminate in 1649 in the tragedy at Whitehall. There was a reaction from the first triumph of divine right, and in 1592 the Act of Royal Supremacy was repealed, and the General Assembly succeeded in obtaining parliamentary sanction for the authority of the presbytery.

The Roman Catholic Church, although no longer conspicuous in the arena of politics, was by no means extinguished in Scotland. Its stronghold was in the North, among the Highlands, where it is estimated that out of the 14,000 Catholics in the kingdom, 12,000 were still clinging with unabated ardor to the {294} old religion. It was this minority, with many powerful chiefs for its leaders, which looked to Mary as the possible restorer of the faith; and this was the nursery and the hatching-ground for all the plots with France or Spain which for twenty years were leading Mary step by step toward Fotheringay. Whether the copies of the compromising letters which convicted her of complicity in these plots would have stood the test of an impartial investigation to-day we cannot say; but we know that Mary's tarnished name was restored almost to lustre by the fortitude and dignity with which she bore her long captivity, and met the moment of her tragic release (1587). There is something in this story which has touched the universal heart, and the world still weeps over it. But we do not hear that it ever cost her son one pang. James was twenty years old when Elizabeth signed the fatal paper, and if he ever made an effort to save his mother or shed a single tear over her fate, history does not mention it. Perhaps it was in recognition of this, or it may have been in reward for his championship of episcopacy, that Elizabeth made James her heir and successor. Whatever {295} was the impelling motive, the protracted struggle between the two nations came to a strange ending; not the supremacy of an English king in Scotland, as had been so often attempted, but the reign of a Scottish king in England. Elizabeth died in 1603, leaving to the son of Mary her crown, and a few days later James arrived in London, was greeted by the shouts of his English subjects, and crowned James I., King of England, upon the Stone of Destiny.

The limits of this sketch do not permit more than the briefest mention of the period between the union of the crowns, and the legislative union, a century later, when the two kingdoms became actually one. Its chief features were the resistance to encroachments upon the polity and organization of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland, the cruelty and oppressions used by Charles I. to enforce the use of the liturgy of the Church of England, the formation of the "National Covenant," a sacred bond by which the Covenanters solemnly pledged an eternal fidelity to their Church, the alliance between the Scotch Covenanters and English Puritans, and the consequences to Scotland {296} of the overthrow of the monarchy by Cromwell. Still later (1689) came the rising of the Highland chiefs and clans, the Jacobites, as the adherents of the Stuarts are called, an attempt by the Catholics in the North to bring about the restoration of the exiled King or his son, the Pretender.

Statesmen in England, and some in Scotland, believed there would be no peace until the two countries were organically joined. In the face of great opposition a treaty of union was ratified by the Scottish Parliament in 1707. The country was given a representation of forty-five members in the English House of Commons, and sixteen peers in the House of Lords, and it was provided that the Presbyterian Church should remain unchanged in worship, doctrine, and government "to the people of the land in all succeeding generations." With this final Act the Scottish Parliament passed out of existence.

The wisdom of this measure has been abundantly justified by the results—a growth in all that makes for material prosperity, a richer intellectual life, and peace. After centuries of anarchy and misrule and {297} aimless upheavals, Scotland had reached a haven. Her triumph has been a moral and an intellectual triumph, not political. In intellectual splendor her people may challenge the world, and in moral elevation and in righteousness they will find few peers. But candor compels the admission that Scotland has no more than Ireland proved herself capable of maintaining a separate nationality. Without the excuse of her sister island, never the victim of a foreign conquest, left to herself, with her own kings and government for nearly a thousand years, what do we see? A brave, spirited, warlike race with a passion for liberty dominated and actually effaced by vicious kings, intriguing regents, and a corrupt nobility; only once, under Wallace and Bruce, rising to heroic proportions, and then to throw off a foreign yoke and under leaders who were both of Norman extraction.

Never once were her native oppressors checked or awed; never once did an outraged people unite under a great political leader; and only one sovereign after Bruce (James I.) can be said to have had great kingly qualities. What are we to conclude? {298} Are we not compelled to believe that Scotland reached her highest destiny when she was joined to England, and when she bestowed her leaven of righteousness and her moral strength and the genius of her sons, and received in exchange the political protection of her great neighbor?



  ANGLO-SAXON LINE                             Reign began

  Egbert ...........................................   800
  Ethelwulf ........................................   836
  Ethelbald ........................................   857
  Ethelbert ........................................   860
  Ethelred .........................................   866
  Alfred ...........................................   871
  Edward the Elder .................................   901
  Athelstan ........................................   925
  Edmund ...........................................   940
  Edred ............................................   946
  Edwy .............................................   955
  Edgar ............................................   957
  Edward the Martyr ................................   975
  Ethelred the Unready .............................   978
  Edmund Ironside ..................................  1016


  Canute ...........................................  1017
  Harold I .........................................  1030
  Hardi Canute .....................................  1039


  Edward the Confessor .............................  1041
  Harold II ........................................  1066

  William I ........................................  1066
  William II .......................................  1087
  Henry I ..........................................  1100
  Stephen ..........................................  1135


  Henry II .........................................  1154
  Richard I ........................................  1189
  John .............................................  1199
  Henry III ........................................  1216
  Edward I .........................................  1272
  Edward II ........................................  1307
  Edward III .......................................  1327
  Richard II .......................................  1377


  Henry IV .........................................  1399
  Henry V ..........................................  1413
  Henry VI .........................................  1422


  Edward IV ........................................  1461
  Edward V .........................................  1483
  Richard III ......................................  1483


  Henry VII ........................................  1485
  Henry VIII .......................................  1509
  Edward VI ........................................  1547
  Mary .............................................  1553
  Elizabeth ........................................  1558


  James I ..........................................  1603
  Charles I ........................................  1625



  Charles II .......................................  1660
  James II .........................................  1685


  William and Mary .................................  1688


  Anne .............................................  1702


  George I .........................................  1714
  George II ........................................  1727
  George III .......................................  1760
  George IV ........................................  1820
  William IV .......................................  1830
  Victoria .........................................  1837
  Edward VII .......................................  1901


                                            Began to Reign

  Kenneth II .......................................   836
  Union with the Picts .............................   843
  Donald V .........................................   854
  Constantine II ...................................   858
  Ethus ............................................   874
  Gregory ..........................................   875
  Donald VI ........................................   892
  Constantine III ..................................   903
  Malcolm I ........................................   943
  Indulfus .........................................   952
  Duff .............................................   961
  Culenus ..........................................   966
  Kenneth III ......................................   970
  Constantine IV ...................................   994
  Grimus ...........................................   996
  Malcolm II .......................................  1004
  Duncan I .........................................  1034
  Macbeth ..........................................  1040
  Malcolm III ......................................  1057
  Donald VII .......................................  1093
  Duncan II ........................................  1094
  Edgar ............................................  1098
  Alexander I ......................................  1107
  David I ..........................................  1124
  Malcolm IV .......................................  1153
  William ..........................................  1165
  Alexander II .....................................  1214
  Alexander III ....................................  1249


  John Baliol ......................................  1293
  Robert I (Bruce) .................................  1306
  David II .........................................  1330
  Edward Baliol ....................................  1332
  Robert II ........................................  1370
  Robert III .......................................  1390



  James I ..........................................  1424
  James II .........................................  1437
  James III ........................................  1460
  James IV .........................................  1489
  James V ..........................................  1514
  Mary Stuart ......................................  1544
  Mary and      }
  Henry Stuart  } jointly ..........................  1565
  James VI .........................................  1567




Abelard, 53

Act of Supremacy, 84

Addison, 135

Agincourt, 65

Agricola, 13

Albert, Prince of Saxe-Coburg, 159, 171

Alfred, King, 27, 40

Anglo-Saxons, 15-20, 22, 39

Anne Boleyn, 75, 77

Anne, of Cleves, 78

Anne, Queen of England, 131, 135

Anselm, 38

Antoninus, 14

Aquitaine, 65

Army Plot, 116

Arthur, King, 16

Arthur, Prince 48

Atlantic Cable, 169

Bacon, Francis, 95, 100

Bacon, Roger, 53

Bæda, 27

Balaklava, Battle of, 163

Bank of England, 130

Bannockburn, Battle of, 56

Basques, 10

Bayeux Tapestry, 33

Bedford, Duke of, 65

Bible, 101

Bill of Rights, 127

Black Death, 58

Black Prince, 58

Blenheim, Battle of, 133

Boadicea, 11

Bosworth, Battle of, 71

Bothwell, 93

Boyne, Battle of, 127

Bright, John, 160, 171

British Association, 27

Britons, 10, 14, 20

Bruce, Robert, 56

Bruno, 86

Buddha, 193

Buller, General, 185

Bunker Hill, 148

Bunyan, 124

Burke, 145, 149

Burney, Frances, 153

Burns, 153

Byron, 154

Cade, Jack, 66

Cædmon, 26

Cæsar, 11

Calais, 81

Calcutta, Black Hole of, 140

Calvin, 84

Canada, 140, 143

Canning, 149

Canterbury, 25, 45

Canterbury, Archbishop of, 44

Canute, 31

Cape of Good Hope, 172

Caroline, of Brunswick, 156

Caroline, Queen, 138

Catharine de Medici, 91

Catholicism, Roman Church, 25, 63, 74-79, 83, 99, 123

Cavaliers, 123, 137

Cawnpore, Massacre at, 166

Caxton, 71

Cerdic, 19-22

Charles I, 102, 118

Charles II, 121, 123

Charles V, 74

Charles VII, 65

Charlotte, Princess, 156

Chaucer, 60

Christianity, 18, 23, 26

Chronicle, 149

Church of England, 76, 83

Churchill, John, 132

Circuits, 45

Clarence, Duke, 62

Claudius, 11

Clive, 140

Cobden, Richard, 160

Coleridge, 149, 153

Colonies, The Thirteen, 145

Commonwealth, 119

Conservatives, 137, 157

Constance, of Brittany, 48

Cook, Captain, 143

Cornwallis, Lord, 148

Court of Appeals, 45

Cowper, 153

Crécy, Battle of, 57

Crimean War, 162

Cromlechs, 9

Cromwell, Oliver, 117, 119

Cromwell, Thomas, 77

Cronje, General, 185-191

Crusades, 42, 47

Culloden Moor, 139

Daguerre, 169

Danes, 30

Darnley, Lord, 93

Defoe, 135

De Wet, 189

Dickens, 170

Disraeli (Lord Beaconsfield), 160, 171

Domesday Book, 36

Drake, Sir Francis, 94

Dufferin, 187

Duncan, 31

Dutch East India Co., 172

East India Co., 89, 140, 149, 173

Edict of Nantes, 173

Education Bill, 195

Edward "the Confessor," 32

Edward I, 54

Edward II, 56

Edward III, 56, 62, 66

Edward IV, 68

Edward V, 70

Edward VI, 78, 79

Edward VII, 191

Edward, of York, 67

Edward, Prince of Wales, 68

Edwin, 26

Egbert, 23

Elizabeth, 80, 82

Erasmus, 71

Escurial, 86

Exeter, Duke of, 69

Exposition, 169

Fawkes, Guy, 99

Feudalism, 34, 66, 69

Fielding, 135

Flodden Field, 91

Florida, Cession of, 141

Fox, 145, 148, 149

Franchise, 184

Francis I, 74

Frith-Gilds, 40

Fulton, 154

Gage, General, 147

Geoffrey, Count of Anjou, 43

Geoffrey, Prince, 48

George I, Elector of Hanover, 135, 138

George II, 138

George III, 143, 146, 151

George IV, 155

George, Prince of Denmark, 134

Gilds, 40

Gladstone, 171

Godwin, 32

Goldsmith, 153

Grand Alliance, 131, 132

Grand Lama, 193

Great Britain, 101

Great Trek, 175

Gregory, Pope, 24

Grey, Lady Jane, 79

Guise, House of, 92, 102, 123

Guise, Mary, 91

Gunpowder Plot, 99

Habeas Corpus, 123, 124

Hadrian, 14

Hampden, John, 106, 112, 116

Hanover, House of, 135

Harold, 32, 33, 38

Hastings (Senlac), Battle of, 33

Hastings, Warren, 149

Havelock, General, 167

Hengest, 22

Henrietta, of France, 103

Henry I, 42

Henry II, 44

Henry III, 51

Henry IV, 63

Henry V, 64

Henry VI, 68

Henry VII, 71

Henry VIII, 73-79

Henry Tudor, 71

High Commission Court, 115

Hinterland, 176

Horsa, 22

House of Commons, 54, 63, 87, 119, 156

Howard, John, 153

Howard, Katharine, 78

Huguenots, 89, 173, 186

Hundred Years' War, 65

Iberians, 10

India, 140, 143, 164, 168

India, Viceroy of, 192-193

Ireland, 154, 159, 194

Jackson, General Andrew, 151

James I, of England, 96, 99, 102

James II, 123, 125

James IV, of Scotland, 90

James V, of Scotland, 91

James VI, of Scotland, 94

Jameson Raid, 182, 183

Jamestown, Virginia, 99

Jeffries, Chief Justice, 124

Jew, 36, 51, 53, 55

Joan of Arc, 65

John, Prince, 46

John of Gaunt, 62

Johnson, 153

Joubert, General, 185

Jutes, 22

Kaffir, 188

Katharine, Princess of Aragon, 73

Katharine, Princess, 65

Kelt, 20

Keltic-Aryans, 9

Keltic-Britons, 13, 55

Keltic-Gauls, 13

King's Court, 42, 45

Knox, John, 94

Kruger, Paul Stephanus, 177

Lancaster, Duke of, 62

Lancaster, House of, 62, 67, 71

Laud, Archbishop, 103, 111, 115

Leicester, Earl of, 95

Lexington, Battle of, 148

Lhassa, 193

Liberals, 137, 157

Lionel of York, 67

Lollards, 64

London, 11, 12, 35

Long Parliament, 114-120

Louis XIV, 126

Loyalists, 114

Luther, 74

Magna Charta, 49

Margaret, Princess, 90

Marlborough, Lord, 132

Mary Stuart, 81, 89, 96

Mary Tudor, 80

Massachusetts Charter, 107, 147

Massacre of St. Bartholomew's, 89

Matilda, 43

Mayflower, 98

Merchant Co., 89, 140

Metabeli, 178

Methodism, 141

Milner, Sir Alfred, 184

Milton, 124

Monopolies, 112

Montcalm, 140

More, Sir Thomas, 73, 95

Mortimer, 56

Motley, John, 186

Napoleon Bonaparte, 150

Naseby, Battle of, 117

Natal, 178

Netherlands, 186

New England, 98

Newton, 124

Nightingale, Florence, 164

Nonconformists, 195

Normandy, 42

North, Lord, 148

Northmen, 30

O'Connell, Daniel, 155

Opus Maius, 53

Orange Free State, 175, 179

Orleans, Battle of, 65

Ouck, Kingdom of, 165

Oxford, 52, 54, 59, 71

Parliament, 54, 62, 69, 88, 105

Parr, Katharine, 78

Peel, Sir Robert, 155

Petition of Right, 106, 127

Philip II, of Spain, 80, 85

Picts, 13, 14, 23

Pitt, William, 142, 145

Plantagenet, 44, 58

Plymouth, 99

Popular Sovereignty, 196

Presbyterianism, 114

Pretender, 131, 137

Pretender, the Young, 139

Protectorate, 119

Protestantism, 76, 83, 103, 121

Puritans, 84, 98, 104, 124

Pym, 104, 114, 116

Quebec, Battle of, 144

Railway, 154

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 89, 101

Reform Act, 156

Reformation, 75, 83

Rhodes, Cecil, 183

Richard I, "Coeur de Lion," 47

Richard II, 58

Richard, Duke of York, 62, 67, 70

Richard, Duke of Gloucester, 70

Robert, Prince, 42

Roberts, General, 185

Robsart, Amy, 95

Romans, 11-16

Roundheads, 123, 137

Royalists, 113

Royal Society, 27

Russia, 160

Salisbury Plain, 10, 37

Scotland, 55, 90, 114

Scots, 13, 14

Scott, 153

Sepoy Rebellion, 165

Seven Years' War, 139

Severus, 14

Seymour, Jane, 78

Shelley, 154

Sheridan, 149, 153

Ship Money, 112, 146

Sidney, Sir Philip, 86

Simon de Montfort, 54

Solway Moss, 91

South Sea Bubble, 138

Southey, 153

Spanish Armada, 94

Spectator, 135

Spenser, 86

Stamp Act, 145

Star Chamber, 110, 115, 120

Statute of Heresy, 63

St. Bartholomew's Eve, 89

Steane, 135

Steele, 135

Stephen, King, 43

Stephenson, George, 154

Stonehenge, 10, 35

Strafford, Earl, 110, 114

Stuart, Charles Edward, 139

Stuart, House of, 91, 97, 123, 125, 139

Suez Canal, 171

Supremacy, Oath of, 155

Suzerainty, 180, 184

Sweyn, 31

Swift, 135

Sydenham Palace, 169

Tax on Tea, 146

Tennyson, 169

Thackeray, 169

Thomas à Becket, 44

Three Years' War, 189

Tibet, 192

Times, 149

Tory, 125, 132, 136, 146

Transvaal Republic, 178, 179, 180, 182

Tudor, House of, 71

Tyler, Wat, 58

Uitlanders, 182

United States, 149, 150

Victor, Prince, 187

Victoria, Accession of, 159

Virginia, Colonization of, 89

Wales, 55

Wales, Prince of, 55

Walpole, Horace, 153

Walpole, Robert, 136, 138

War of 1812 with United States, 150

Wars of the Roses, 62, 67

Warwick, Earl of, 66, 67

Washington, George, 148

Waterloo, 150

Watt, James, 150

Wellington, Duke of, 150, 154

Wentworth, Sir Thomas, 110

Wesley, John, 141

Westminster Abbey, 55

Whig, 125, 132, 136

White Ship, 43

Wickliffe, 59, 64

Wilberforce, 158

William the Conqueror, 32

William, Prince of Orange, 125, 128, 130, 137

William Rufus, 41

William IV, 156, 159

Witenagemot, 29

Wolfe, 140

Wolsey, Chancellor, 74

Yangtse Valley, 194

York, House of, 68

York, Princess Elizabeth of, 71


Aberdeen, University of, 297

Act of Royal Supremacy, 293

Agricola, 249

Albany, Duke of, 273, 274, 280

Alexander III, 258

Angles, 251

Annandale, Earl of, 264

Argyle, 251

Assembly, General, The, 287

Ayr, 268

Baliol, 258, 259, 262

Bannockburn, 268

Beaton, Cardinal, 283

Beaufort, Lady Jane, 276

Berwick, 268, 269

Birnam, 254

Boece, 252, 279

Bothwell, Earl of, 290

Boyds, 278

Bruce, 258, 262-271, 276, 296

Bruce, Marjory, 272

Bruis, Robert de, 261

Canmore, 254

Catholic Church, 267, 287, 293, 296

Comyn, 266

Covenanters, 295

Crichtons, 277, 278

Cromwell, 296

Danes, 251

Darnley, 288

David I, King, 258, 264

David II, 271

Donegal, 250

Douglas, Earl of, 273, 278, 280

Duncan, 251, 254

Dundee, 262

Dunsinnane, 254

Edgar the Atheling, 255

Edward I of England, 258, 261

Edward III of England, 271

Elizabeth, Queen, 285, 290, 295

Falkirk, 262

Fergus, 250, 252

Flodden, 287

Glasgow, 262, 279, 290

Grampians, 260

Guise, Mary of, 282, 284

Henry II of England, 257

Henry IV, 273, 274

Henry V, 277

Henry VII, 280

Henry VIII, 280, 282

Henryson, 279

Holyrood, 280, 288

Iona, Monastery at, 250

Jacobites, 297

James, Prince, 273, 274

James I, 276, 277

James II, 278

James III, 278, 280

James IV, 280

James V, 282

James VI, 290

James I of England, 295

John I, 259-261

Knox, John, 284, 286

Lamberton, Bishop of, 266

Lennox, Earl of, 288

Lionel, Prince, 272

Livingston, 278, 284

Lochleven Castle, 290

Lothian, 251

Luther, 282

Macbeth, 252, 254

Maid of Norway, 258

Malcolm II, 251

Malcolm III, 254, 256

M'Alpin, Kenneth, 251

Margaret, 255

Margaret, Princess, 280

Mary, Princess, 282

Moray, 291

National Covenanters, 295

Normans, 256, 296

Parliament, Scottish, 260, 269, 279, 283, 291, 296

Pembroke, Earl of, 268

Picts, 249, 251

Presbyterian Church, 293, 296

Pretender, The, 296

Protestantism, 286

Puritans, 295

Reformation, 282, 291

Reformed Church, 281, 285, 288, 291

Richard I, 257

Rizzio, 289

Robert II, 272

Robert III, 273

Rothesay, 273, 274

Ruthven Raid, 292

Scone, 251, 254, 259, 274

Scots, 249

Solway Moss, 283

St. Andrew's University, 279

St. Columba, 250

St. Nimian, 250

Steward, High, of Scotland, 272

Stewart, Robert, 272

Stirling, 262, 268, 275

Stone of Destiny, 250, 261, 295

Stuart, Mary, 283, 286, 288, 295

Stuarts, 272, 276, 296

Tay, River, 251

Tweed, 251, 281

William the Lion, 257

William Wallace, 261, 265, 296

Wishart, 284


Act of Settlement, 221

Act of Uniformity, 210

Act of Union, 238, 241

Ard Reagh, 201

Armagh, 214

Bard, 202

Bowes, Lord Chancellor, 226

Boyne, Battle of, 223

Brefny, Lord of, 204

Brehon Law, 202, 205

Brehons, 202

Brian Boru, 204

Cæsair, Lady, 199

Catholic Church, 210, 221-227, 233, 239-241, 244

Cavendish, Lord Frederick, 245

Celts, 201

Charles I, 213, 215

Charles II, 216, 218-221, 228

Christianity, 202-203

Church of England, 213

Clan, 201

Connaught, 201, 212, 216

Crécy, 208

Cromlechs, 201

Cromwell, 216

Crosby, Sir Francis, 212

Curran, Sarah, 239

Danes, 204, 205

Declaration of Rights, 234

Dermot, 204

Desmond, House of, 207, 211, 212

Desmond Rebellion, 211

Dillon, 242

Dublin, 205, 209

Edward III, 208

Elizabeth, Queen, 210

Emmet, Robert, 239

Enniskillen, 222

Eric, 202

Erin, 200

Famine in Ireland, 241

Fenians, 244

Fenius, 200

Fitzgerald, 237

Flood, Henry, 232, 237

Gael, 199

Gaelic, 200

Geraldines, 207, 209, 237

Geraldine League, 211

Ginkel, 223

Gladstone, 244, 245

Godfrey, Sir Edward Bery, 219

Grattan, Henry, 232, 237

Great Rebellion, The, of 1690, 224

Heber, 199, 200

Henry II, 204-206

Henry VII, 209

Henry VIII, 209

Heremon, 200

Hibernia, 200

Home Rule, 244

Home Rule Act, 245

Irish Parliament, 209, 213, 221, 234, 235, 238

James II, 221-222

Kildare, Earl of, 210

Kildare, House of, 207, 212

Kilkenny, Statutes of, 208, 210, 232

Laud, Archbishop, 213, 215

Leinster, 201, 204

Liberals, 244

Limerick, 223

Limerick, Articles of, 223

Locke, 230

London, 210

Londonderry, 222

Long Parliament, 214

Louis XIV, 222

Meagher, 242, 247

Meath, 201, 227

Milesius, 199

Mitchell, 242

Molyneux, William, 230, 234

Mountjoy, 213

Mullaghmast, 212

Munster, 201, 212

National Land League, 244

Nemehd, 199

New Land Act, 246

Normans, 206, 209

Oates, Titus, 219

O'Brien, 204, 206

O'Brien, Smith, 242

O'Connell, Daniel, 240

O'Connells, 206

O'Moore, Clan of, 212

O'Neill, Shane the Proud, 211

O'Neills, 206, 209, 210

Ormond, House of, 207, 219, 221

Palatines, 206

Pale, Lords of the, 207, 209, 214

Parnell, Charles, 244

Penal Code, 225

Picts, 200

Pitt, 237

Plunkett, Dr., 220

Popish Plot, 221

Poyning, Sir Edward, 209

Poynings Act, 209, 210, 221, 224, 235

Presbyterians, 214

Protestantism, 210, 214, 215, 219-227, 232

Reformation, 210

Rinucini, 216

Robinson, Chief-Justice, 226

Roman Christianity, 203

Rome, 202

Rory O'Moore, 212

Saarsfield, 223

Scota, 199

Scots, 200

Sept, 201

Shinar, 199

Society of United Irishmen, 236

St. Patrick, 202, 203

Strafford, 213, 215

Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, 204

Swift, Dean, 231

Tanistry, Law of, 202, 211

Tara in Meath, 201, 204

Thomond, 226

Tone, Wolfe, 236

Tyrone, Earl of, 210, 213, 214

Ulster, 201, 210, 212, 213

Viking, 204

White Boys, 236

William of Orange, 222-225

Wolsey, 209

Young Ireland, 241

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