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´╗┐Title: A Child's History of England
Author: Dickens, Charles, 1812-1870
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcribed from the 1905 Chapman & Hall "Works of Charles Dickens"
edition by David Price, email ccx074@pglaf.org



A CHILD'S HISTORY OF ENGLAND


By CHARLES DICKENS

With Illustrations by F. H. Townsend and others

LONDON: CHAPMAN & HALL, LD.
NEW YORK: CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
1905



CHAPTER I--ANCIENT ENGLAND AND THE ROMANS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still, the Britons _would not_ yield.  They rose again and again, and
died by thousands, sword in hand.  They rose, on every possible occasion.
SUETONIUS, another Roman general, came, and stormed the Island of
Anglesey (then called MONA), which was supposed to be sacred, and he
burnt the Druids in their own wicker cages, by their own fires.  But,
even while he was in Britain, with his victorious troops, the BRITONS
rose.  Because BOADICEA, a British queen, the widow of the King of the
Norfolk and Suffolk people, resisted the plundering of her property by
the Romans who were settled in England, she was scourged, by order of
CATUS a Roman officer; and her two daughters were shamefully insulted in
her presence, and her husband's relations were made slaves.  To avenge
this injury, the Britons rose, with all their might and rage.  They drove
CATUS into Gaul; they laid the Roman possessions waste; they forced the
Romans out of London, then a poor little town, but a trading place; they
hanged, burnt, crucified, and slew by the sword, seventy thousand Romans
in a few days.  SUETONIUS strengthened his army, and advanced to give
them battle.  They strengthened their army, and desperately attacked his,
on the field where it was strongly posted.  Before the first charge of
the Britons was made, BOADICEA, in a war-chariot, with her fair hair
streaming in the wind, and her injured daughters lying at her feet, drove
among the troops, and cried to them for vengeance on their oppressors,
the licentious Romans.  The Britons fought to the last; but they were
vanquished with great slaughter, and the unhappy queen took poison.

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER II--ANCIENT ENGLAND UNDER THE EARLY SAXONS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER III--ENGLAND UNDER THE GOOD SAXON, ALFRED


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER IV--ENGLAND UNDER ATHELSTAN AND THE SIX BOY-KINGS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'I have no gold,' he said.

'Get it, bishop!' they all thundered.

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER V--ENGLAND UNDER CANUTE THE DANE


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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VI--ENGLAND UNDER HAROLD HAREFOOT, HARDICANUTE, AND EDWARD THE
CONFESSOR


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VII--ENGLAND UNDER HAROLD THE SECOND, AND CONQUERED BY THE
NORMANS


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

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

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

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

'The King of Norway,' he replied.

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

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

The captain rode away and gave the message.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER VIII--ENGLAND UNDER WILLIAM THE FIRST, THE NORMAN CONQUEROR


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER IX--ENGLAND UNDER WILLIAM THE SECOND, CALLED RUFUS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER X--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE FIRST, CALLED FINE-SCHOLAR


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

{Duke Robert of Normandy: p52.jpg}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XI--ENGLAND UNDER MATILDA AND STEPHEN


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XII--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE SECOND


PART THE FIRST


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART THE SECOND


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIII--ENGLAND UNDER RICHARD THE FIRST, CALLED THE LION-HEART


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIV--ENGLAND UNDER KING JOHN, CALLED LACKLAND


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XV--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE THIRD, CALLED, OF WINCHESTER


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XVI--ENGLAND UNDER EDWARD THE FIRST, CALLED LONGSHANKS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XVII--ENGLAND UNDER EDWARD THE SECOND


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XVIII--ENGLAND UNDER EDWARD THE THIRD


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

'Is my son killed?' said the King.

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

'Is he wounded?' said the King.

'No, sire.'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XIX--ENGLAND UNDER RICHARD THE SECOND


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XX--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE FOURTH, CALLED BOLINGBROKE


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXI--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE FIFTH


FIRST PART


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



SECOND PART


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXII--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE SIXTH


PART THE FIRST


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

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

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

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

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



PART THE SECOND: THE STORY OF JOAN OF ARC


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

{Joan of Arc: p158.jpg}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



PART THE THIRD


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXIII--ENGLAND UNDER EDWARD THE FOURTH


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXIV--ENGLAND UNDER EDWARD THE FIFTH


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXV--ENGLAND UNDER RICHARD THE THIRD


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXVI--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE SEVENTH


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXVII--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE EIGHTH, CALLED BLUFF KING HAL AND
BURLY KING HARRY


PART THE FIRST


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

{Catherine was old, so he fell in love with Anne Boleyn: p0.jpg}

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXVIII--ENGLAND UNDER HENRY THE EIGHTH


PART THE SECOND


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXIX--ENGLAND UNDER EDWARD THE SIXTH


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXX--ENGLAND UNDER MARY


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The scene of the suffering of these two good Protestant men was in the
City ditch, near Baliol College.  On coming to the dreadful spot, they
kissed the stakes, and then embraced each other.  And then a learned
doctor got up into a pulpit which was placed there, and preached a sermon
from the text, 'Though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity,
it profiteth me nothing.'  When you think of the charity of burning men
alive, you may imagine that this learned doctor had a rather brazen face.
Ridley would have answered his sermon when it came to an end, but was not
allowed.  When Latimer was stripped, it appeared that he had dressed
himself under his other clothes, in a new shroud; and, as he stood in it
before all the people, it was noted of him, and long remembered, that,
whereas he had been stooping and feeble but a few minutes before, he now
stood upright and handsome, in the knowledge that he was dying for a just
and a great cause.  Ridley's brother-in-law was there with bags of
gunpowder; and when they were both chained up, he tied them round their
bodies.  Then, a light was thrown upon the pile to fire it.  'Be of good
comfort, Master Ridley,' said Latimer, at that awful moment, 'and play
the man!  We shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in
England, as I trust shall never be put out.'  And then he was seen to
make motions with his hands as if he were washing them in the flames, and
to stroke his aged face with them, and was heard to cry, 'Father of
Heaven, receive my soul!'  He died quickly, but the fire, after having
burned the legs of Ridley, sunk.  There he lingered, chained to the iron
post, and crying, 'O!  I cannot burn!  O! for Christ's sake let the fire
come unto me!'  And still, when his brother-in-law had heaped on more
wood, he was heard through the blinding smoke, still dismally crying, 'O!
I cannot burn, I cannot burn!'  At last, the gunpowder caught fire, and
ended his miseries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

There was a bad fever raging in England at this time, and I am glad to
write that the Queen took it, and the hour of her death came.  'When I am
dead and my body is opened,' she said to those around those around her,
'ye shall find CALAIS written on my heart.'  I should have thought, if
anything were written on it, they would have found the words--JANE GREY,
HOOPER, ROGERS, RIDLEY, LATIMER, CRANMER, AND THREE HUNDRED PEOPLE BURNT
ALIVE WITHIN FOUR YEARS OF MY WICKED REIGN, INCLUDING SIXTY WOMEN AND
FORTY LITTLE CHILDREN.  But it is enough that their deaths were written
in Heaven.

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

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



CHAPTER XXXI--ENGLAND UNDER ELIZABETH


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



SECOND PART


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To return to the Catholics.  There arose two orders of priests, who were
very busy in England, and who were much dreaded.  These were the JESUITS
(who were everywhere in all sorts of disguises), and the SEMINARY
PRIESTS.  The people had a great horror of the first, because they were
known to have taught that murder was lawful if it were done with an
object of which they approved; and they had a great horror of the second,
because they came to teach the old religion, and to be the successors of
'Queen Mary's priests,' as those yet lingering in England were called,
when they should die out.  The severest laws were made against them, and
were most unmercifully executed.  Those who sheltered them in their
houses often suffered heavily for what was an act of humanity; and the
rack, that cruel torture which tore men's limbs asunder, was constantly
kept going.  What these unhappy men confessed, or what was ever confessed
by any one under that agony, must always be received with great doubt, as
it is certain that people have frequently owned to the most absurd and
impossible crimes to escape such dreadful suffering.  But I cannot doubt
it to have been proved by papers, that there were many plots, both among
the Jesuits, and with France, and with Scotland, and with Spain, for the
destruction of Queen Elizabeth, for the placing of Mary on the throne,
and for the revival of the old religion.

If the English people were too ready to believe in plots, there were, as
I have said, good reasons for it.  When the massacre of Saint Bartholomew
was yet fresh in their recollection, a great Protestant Dutch hero, the
PRINCE OF ORANGE, was shot by an assassin, who confessed that he had been
kept and trained for the purpose in a college of Jesuits.  The Dutch, in
this surprise and distress, offered to make Elizabeth their sovereign,
but she declined the honour, and sent them a small army instead, under
the command of the Earl of Leicester, who, although a capital Court
favourite, was not much of a general.  He did so little in Holland, that
his campaign there would probably have been forgotten, but for its
occasioning the death of one of the best writers, the best knights, and
the best gentlemen, of that or any age.  This was SIR PHILIP SIDNEY, who
was wounded by a musket ball in the thigh as he mounted a fresh horse,
after having had his own killed under him.  He had to ride back wounded,
a long distance, and was very faint with fatigue and loss of blood, when
some water, for which he had eagerly asked, was handed to him.  But he
was so good and gentle even then, that seeing a poor badly wounded common
soldier lying on the ground, looking at the water with longing eyes, he
said, 'Thy necessity is greater than mine,' and gave it up to him.  This
touching action of a noble heart is perhaps as well known as any incident
in history--is as famous far and wide as the blood-stained Tower of
London, with its axe, and block, and murders out of number.  So
delightful is an act of true humanity, and so glad are mankind to
remember it.

At home, intelligence of plots began to thicken every day.  I suppose the
people never did live under such continual terrors as those by which they
were possessed now, of Catholic risings, and burnings, and poisonings,
and I don't know what.  Still, we must always remember that they lived
near and close to awful realities of that kind, and that with their
experience it was not difficult to believe in any enormity.  The
government had the same fear, and did not take the best means of
discovering the truth--for, besides torturing the suspected, it employed
paid spies, who will always lie for their own profit.  It even made some
of the conspiracies it brought to light, by sending false letters to
disaffected people, inviting them to join in pretended plots, which they
too readily did.

But, one great real plot was at length discovered, and it ended the
career of Mary, Queen of Scots.  A seminary priest named BALLARD, and a
Spanish soldier named SAVAGE, set on and encouraged by certain French
priests, imparted a design to one ANTONY BABINGTON--a gentleman of
fortune in Derbyshire, who had been for some time a secret agent of
Mary's--for murdering the Queen.  Babington then confided the scheme to
some other Catholic gentlemen who were his friends, and they joined in it
heartily.  They were vain, weak-headed young men, ridiculously confident,
and preposterously proud of their plan; for they got a gimcrack painting
made, of the six choice spirits who were to murder Elizabeth, with
Babington in an attitude for the centre figure.  Two of their number,
however, one of whom was a priest, kept Elizabeth's wisest minister, SIR
FRANCIS WALSINGHAM, acquainted with the whole project from the first.  The
conspirators were completely deceived to the final point, when Babington
gave Savage, because he was shabby, a ring from his finger, and some
money from his purse, wherewith to buy himself new clothes in which to
kill the Queen.  Walsingham, having then full evidence against the whole
band, and two letters of Mary's besides, resolved to seize them.
Suspecting something wrong, they stole out of the city, one by one, and
hid themselves in St. John's Wood, and other places which really were
hiding places then; but they were all taken, and all executed.  When they
were seized, a gentleman was sent from Court to inform Mary of the fact,
and of her being involved in the discovery.  Her friends have complained
that she was kept in very hard and severe custody.  It does not appear
very likely, for she was going out a hunting that very morning.

Queen Elizabeth had been warned long ago, by one in France who had good
information of what was secretly doing, that in holding Mary alive, she
held 'the wolf who would devour her.'  The Bishop of London had, more
lately, given the Queen's favourite minister the advice in writing,
'forthwith to cut off the Scottish Queen's head.'  The question now was,
what to do with her?  The Earl of Leicester wrote a little note home from
Holland, recommending that she should be quietly poisoned; that noble
favourite having accustomed his mind, it is possible, to remedies of that
nature.  His black advice, however, was disregarded, and she was brought
to trial at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire, before a tribunal of
forty, composed of both religions.  There, and in the Star Chamber at
Westminster, the trial lasted a fortnight.  She defended herself with
great ability, but could only deny the confessions that had been made by
Babington and others; could only call her own letters, produced against
her by her own secretaries, forgeries; and, in short, could only deny
everything.  She was found guilty, and declared to have incurred the
penalty of death.  The Parliament met, approved the sentence, and prayed
the Queen to have it executed.  The Queen replied that she requested them
to consider whether no means could be found of saving Mary's life without
endangering her own.  The Parliament rejoined, No; and the citizens
illuminated their houses and lighted bonfires, in token of their joy that
all these plots and troubles were to be ended by the death of the Queen
of Scots.

{Mary Queen of Scots Reading the death warrant: p240.jpg}

She, feeling sure that her time was now come, wrote a letter to the Queen
of England, making three entreaties; first, that she might be buried in
France; secondly, that she might not be executed in secret, but before
her servants and some others; thirdly, that after her death, her servants
should not be molested, but should be suffered to go home with the
legacies she left them.  It was an affecting letter, and Elizabeth shed
tears over it, but sent no answer.  Then came a special ambassador from
France, and another from Scotland, to intercede for Mary's life; and then
the nation began to clamour, more and more, for her death.

What the real feelings or intentions of Elizabeth were, can never be
known now; but I strongly suspect her of only wishing one thing more than
Mary's death, and that was to keep free of the blame of it.  On the first
of February, one thousand five hundred and eighty-seven, Lord Burleigh
having drawn out the warrant for the execution, the Queen sent to the
secretary DAVISON to bring it to her, that she might sign it: which she
did.  Next day, when Davison told her it was sealed, she angrily asked
him why such haste was necessary?  Next day but one, she joked about it,
and swore a little.  Again, next day but one, she seemed to complain that
it was not yet done, but still she would not be plain with those about
her.  So, on the seventh, the Earls of Kent and Shrewsbury, with the
Sheriff of Northamptonshire, came with the warrant to Fotheringay, to
tell the Queen of Scots to prepare for death.

When those messengers of ill omen were gone, Mary made a frugal supper,
drank to her servants, read over her will, went to bed, slept for some
hours, and then arose and passed the remainder of the night saying
prayers.  In the morning she dressed herself in her best clothes; and, at
eight o'clock when the sheriff came for her to her chapel, took leave of
her servants who were there assembled praying with her, and went down-
stairs, carrying a Bible in one hand and a crucifix in the other.  Two of
her women and four of her men were allowed to be present in the hall;
where a low scaffold, only two feet from the ground, was erected and
covered with black; and where the executioner from the Tower, and his
assistant, stood, dressed in black velvet.  The hall was full of people.
While the sentence was being read she sat upon a stool; and, when it was
finished, she again denied her guilt, as she had done before.  The Earl
of Kent and the Dean of Peterborough, in their Protestant zeal, made some
very unnecessary speeches to her; to which she replied that she died in
the Catholic religion, and they need not trouble themselves about that
matter.  When her head and neck were uncovered by the executioners, she
said that she had not been used to be undressed by such hands, or before
so much company.  Finally, one of her women fastened a cloth over her
face, and she laid her neck upon the block, and repeated more than once
in Latin, 'Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!'  Some say her
head was struck off in two blows, some say in three.  However that be,
when it was held up, streaming with blood, the real hair beneath the
false hair she had long worn was seen to be as grey as that of a woman of
seventy, though she was at that time only in her forty-sixth year.  All
her beauty was gone.

But she was beautiful enough to her little dog, who cowered under her
dress, frightened, when she went upon the scaffold, and who lay down
beside her headless body when all her earthly sorrows were over.



THIRD PART


On its being formally made known to Elizabeth that the sentence had been
executed on the Queen of Scots, she showed the utmost grief and rage,
drove her favourites from her with violent indignation, and sent Davison
to the Tower; from which place he was only released in the end by paying
an immense fine which completely ruined him.  Elizabeth not only over-
acted her part in making these pretences, but most basely reduced to
poverty one of her faithful servants for no other fault than obeying her
commands.

James, King of Scotland, Mary's son, made a show likewise of being very
angry on the occasion; but he was a pensioner of England to the amount of
five thousand pounds a year, and he had known very little of his mother,
and he possibly regarded her as the murderer of his father, and he soon
took it quietly.

Philip, King of Spain, however, threatened to do greater things than ever
had been done yet, to set up the Catholic religion and punish Protestant
England.  Elizabeth, hearing that he and the Prince of Parma were making
great preparations for this purpose, in order to be beforehand with them
sent out ADMIRAL DRAKE (a famous navigator, who had sailed about the
world, and had already brought great plunder from Spain) to the port of
Cadiz, where he burnt a hundred vessels full of stores.  This great loss
obliged the Spaniards to put off the invasion for a year; but it was none
the less formidable for that, amounting to one hundred and thirty ships,
nineteen thousand soldiers, eight thousand sailors, two thousand slaves,
and between two and three thousand great guns.  England was not idle in
making ready to resist this great force.  All the men between sixteen
years old and sixty, were trained and drilled; the national fleet of
ships (in number only thirty-four at first) was enlarged by public
contributions and by private ships, fitted out by noblemen; the city of
London, of its own accord, furnished double the number of ships and men
that it was required to provide; and, if ever the national spirit was up
in England, it was up all through the country to resist the Spaniards.
Some of the Queen's advisers were for seizing the principal English
Catholics, and putting them to death; but the Queen--who, to her honour,
used to say, that she would never believe any ill of her subjects, which
a parent would not believe of her own children--rejected the advice, and
only confined a few of those who were the most suspected, in the fens in
Lincolnshire.  The great body of Catholics deserved this confidence; for
they behaved most loyally, nobly, and bravely.

So, with all England firing up like one strong, angry man, and with both
sides of the Thames fortified, and with the soldiers under arms, and with
the sailors in their ships, the country waited for the coming of the
proud Spanish fleet, which was called THE INVINCIBLE ARMADA.  The Queen
herself, riding in armour on a white horse, and the Earl of Essex and the
Earl of Leicester holding her bridal rein, made a brave speech to the
troops at Tilbury Fort opposite Gravesend, which was received with such
enthusiasm as is seldom known.  Then came the Spanish Armada into the
English Channel, sailing along in the form of a half moon, of such great
size that it was seven miles broad.  But the English were quickly upon
it, and woe then to all the Spanish ships that dropped a little out of
the half moon, for the English took them instantly!  And it soon appeared
that the great Armada was anything but invincible, for on a summer night,
bold Drake sent eight blazing fire-ships right into the midst of it.  In
terrible consternation the Spaniards tried to get out to sea, and so
became dispersed; the English pursued them at a great advantage; a storm
came on, and drove the Spaniards among rocks and shoals; and the swift
end of the Invincible fleet was, that it lost thirty great ships and ten
thousand men, and, defeated and disgraced, sailed home again.  Being
afraid to go by the English Channel, it sailed all round Scotland and
Ireland; some of the ships getting cast away on the latter coast in bad
weather, the Irish, who were a kind of savages, plundered those vessels
and killed their crews.  So ended this great attempt to invade and
conquer England.  And I think it will be a long time before any other
invincible fleet coming to England with the same object, will fare much
better than the Spanish Armada.

Though the Spanish king had had this bitter taste of English bravery, he
was so little the wiser for it, as still to entertain his old designs,
and even to conceive the absurd idea of placing his daughter on the
English throne.  But the Earl of Essex, SIR WALTER RALEIGH, SIR THOMAS
HOWARD, and some other distinguished leaders, put to sea from Plymouth,
entered the port of Cadiz once more, obtained a complete victory over the
shipping assembled there, and got possession of the town.  In obedience
to the Queen's express instructions, they behaved with great humanity;
and the principal loss of the Spaniards was a vast sum of money which
they had to pay for ransom.  This was one of many gallant achievements on
the sea, effected in this reign.  Sir Walter Raleigh himself, after
marrying a maid of honour and giving offence to the Maiden Queen thereby,
had already sailed to South America in search of gold.

The Earl of Leicester was now dead, and so was Sir Thomas Walsingham,
whom Lord Burleigh was soon to follow.  The principal favourite was the
EARL OF ESSEX, a spirited and handsome man, a favourite with the people
too as well as with the Queen, and possessed of many admirable qualities.
It was much debated at Court whether there should be peace with Spain or
no, and he was very urgent for war.  He also tried hard to have his own
way in the appointment of a deputy to govern in Ireland.  One day, while
this question was in dispute, he hastily took offence, and turned his
back upon the Queen; as a gentle reminder of which impropriety, the Queen
gave him a tremendous box on the ear, and told him to go to the devil.  He
went home instead, and did not reappear at Court for half a year or so,
when he and the Queen were reconciled, though never (as some suppose)
thoroughly.

From this time the fate of the Earl of Essex and that of the Queen seemed
to be blended together.  The Irish were still perpetually quarrelling and
fighting among themselves, and he went over to Ireland as Lord
Lieutenant, to the great joy of his enemies (Sir Walter Raleigh among the
rest), who were glad to have so dangerous a rival far off.  Not being by
any means successful there, and knowing that his enemies would take
advantage of that circumstance to injure him with the Queen, he came home
again, though against her orders.  The Queen being taken by surprise when
he appeared before her, gave him her hand to kiss, and he was
overjoyed--though it was not a very lovely hand by this time--but in the
course of the same day she ordered him to confine himself to his room,
and two or three days afterwards had him taken into custody.  With the
same sort of caprice--and as capricious an old woman she now was, as ever
wore a crown or a head either--she sent him broth from her own table on
his falling ill from anxiety, and cried about him.

He was a man who could find comfort and occupation in his books, and he
did so for a time; not the least happy time, I dare say, of his life.  But
it happened unfortunately for him, that he held a monopoly in sweet
wines: which means that nobody could sell them without purchasing his
permission.  This right, which was only for a term, expiring, he applied
to have it renewed.  The Queen refused, with the rather strong
observation--but she _did_ make strong observations--that an unruly beast
must be stinted in his food.  Upon this, the angry Earl, who had been
already deprived of many offices, thought himself in danger of complete
ruin, and turned against the Queen, whom he called a vain old woman who
had grown as crooked in her mind as she had in her figure.  These
uncomplimentary expressions the ladies of the Court immediately snapped
up and carried to the Queen, whom they did not put in a better tempter,
you may believe.  The same Court ladies, when they had beautiful dark
hair of their own, used to wear false red hair, to be like the Queen.  So
they were not very high-spirited ladies, however high in rank.

The worst object of the Earl of Essex, and some friends of his who used
to meet at LORD SOUTHAMPTON'S house, was to obtain possession of the
Queen, and oblige her by force to dismiss her ministers and change her
favourites.  On Saturday the seventh of February, one thousand six
hundred and one, the council suspecting this, summoned the Earl to come
before them.  He, pretending to be ill, declined; it was then settled
among his friends, that as the next day would be Sunday, when many of the
citizens usually assembled at the Cross by St. Paul's Cathedral, he
should make one bold effort to induce them to rise and follow him to the
Palace.

So, on the Sunday morning, he and a small body of adherents started out
of his house--Essex House by the Strand, with steps to the river--having
first shut up in it, as prisoners, some members of the council who came
to examine him--and hurried into the City with the Earl at their head
crying out 'For the Queen!  For the Queen!  A plot is laid for my life!'
No one heeded them, however, and when they came to St. Paul's there were
no citizens there.  In the meantime the prisoners at Essex House had been
released by one of the Earl's own friends; he had been promptly
proclaimed a traitor in the City itself; and the streets were barricaded
with carts and guarded by soldiers.  The Earl got back to his house by
water, with difficulty, and after an attempt to defend his house against
the troops and cannon by which it was soon surrounded, gave himself up
that night.  He was brought to trial on the nineteenth, and found guilty;
on the twenty-fifth, he was executed on Tower Hill, where he died, at
thirty-four years old, both courageously and penitently.  His step-father
suffered with him.  His enemy, Sir Walter Raleigh, stood near the
scaffold all the time--but not so near it as we shall see him stand,
before we finish his history.

In this case, as in the cases of the Duke of Norfolk and Mary Queen of
Scots, the Queen had commanded, and countermanded, and again commanded,
the execution.  It is probable that the death of her young and gallant
favourite in the prime of his good qualities, was never off her mind
afterwards, but she held out, the same vain, obstinate and capricious
woman, for another year.  Then she danced before her Court on a state
occasion--and cut, I should think, a mighty ridiculous figure, doing so
in an immense ruff, stomacher and wig, at seventy years old.  For another
year still, she held out, but, without any more dancing, and as a moody,
sorrowful, broken creature.  At last, on the tenth of March, one thousand
six hundred and three, having been ill of a very bad cold, and made worse
by the death of the Countess of Nottingham who was her intimate friend,
she fell into a stupor and was supposed to be dead.  She recovered her
consciousness, however, and then nothing would induce her to go to bed;
for she said that she knew that if she did, she should never get up
again.  There she lay for ten days, on cushions on the floor, without any
food, until the Lord Admiral got her into bed at last, partly by
persuasions and partly by main force.  When they asked her who should
succeed her, she replied that her seat had been the seat of Kings, and
that she would have for her successor, 'No rascal's son, but a King's.'
Upon this, the lords present stared at one another, and took the liberty
of asking whom she meant; to which she replied, 'Whom should I mean, but
our cousin of Scotland!'  This was on the twenty-third of March.  They
asked her once again that day, after she was speechless, whether she was
still in the same mind?  She struggled up in bed, and joined her hands
over her head in the form of a crown, as the only reply she could make.
At three o'clock next morning, she very quietly died, in the forty-fifth
year of her reign.

That reign had been a glorious one, and is made for ever memorable by the
distinguished men who flourished in it.  Apart from the great voyagers,
statesmen, and scholars, whom it produced, the names of BACON, SPENSER,
and SHAKESPEARE, will always be remembered with pride and veneration by
the civilised world, and will always impart (though with no great reason,
perhaps) some portion of their lustre to the name of Elizabeth herself.
It was a great reign for discovery, for commerce, and for English
enterprise and spirit in general.  It was a great reign for the
Protestant religion and for the Reformation which made England free.  The
Queen was very popular, and in her progresses, or journeys about her
dominions, was everywhere received with the liveliest joy.  I think the
truth is, that she was not half so good as she has been made out, and not
half so bad as she has been made out.  She had her fine qualities, but
she was coarse, capricious, and treacherous, and had all the faults of an
excessively vain young woman long after she was an old one.  On the
whole, she had a great deal too much of her father in her, to please me.

Many improvements and luxuries were introduced in the course of these
five-and-forty years in the general manner of living; but cock-fighting,
bull-baiting, and bear-baiting, were still the national amusements; and a
coach was so rarely seen, and was such an ugly and cumbersome affair when
it was seen, that even the Queen herself, on many high occasions, rode on
horseback on a pillion behind the Lord Chancellor.



CHAPTER XXXII--ENGLAND UNDER JAMES THE FIRST


'Our cousin of Scotland' was ugly, awkward, and shuffling both in mind
and person.  His tongue was much too large for his mouth, his legs were
much too weak for his body, and his dull goggle-eyes stared and rolled
like an idiot's.  He was cunning, covetous, wasteful, idle, drunken,
greedy, dirty, cowardly, a great swearer, and the most conceited man on
earth.  His figure--what is commonly called rickety from his
birth--presented a most ridiculous appearance, dressed in thick padded
clothes, as a safeguard against being stabbed (of which he lived in
continual fear), of a grass-green colour from head to foot, with a
hunting-horn dangling at his side instead of a sword, and his hat and
feather sticking over one eye, or hanging on the back of his head, as he
happened to toss it on.  He used to loll on the necks of his favourite
courtiers, and slobber their faces, and kiss and pinch their cheeks; and
the greatest favourite he ever had, used to sign himself in his letters
to his royal master, His Majesty's 'dog and slave,' and used to address
his majesty as 'his Sowship.'  His majesty was the worst rider ever seen,
and thought himself the best.  He was one of the most impertinent talkers
(in the broadest Scotch) ever heard, and boasted of being unanswerable in
all manner of argument.  He wrote some of the most wearisome treatises
ever read--among others, a book upon witchcraft, in which he was a devout
believer--and thought himself a prodigy of authorship.  He thought, and
wrote, and said, that a king had a right to make and unmake what laws he
pleased, and ought to be accountable to nobody on earth.  This is the
plain, true character of the personage whom the greatest men about the
court praised and flattered to that degree, that I doubt if there be
anything much more shameful in the annals of human nature.

He came to the English throne with great ease.  The miseries of a
disputed succession had been felt so long, and so dreadfully, that he was
proclaimed within a few hours of Elizabeth's death, and was accepted by
the nation, even without being asked to give any pledge that he would
govern well, or that he would redress crying grievances.  He took a month
to come from Edinburgh to London; and, by way of exercising his new
power, hanged a pickpocket on the journey without any trial, and knighted
everybody he could lay hold of.  He made two hundred knights before he
got to his palace in London, and seven hundred before he had been in it
three months.  He also shovelled sixty-two new peers into the House of
Lords--and there was a pretty large sprinkling of Scotchmen among them,
you may believe.

His Sowship's prime Minister, CECIL (for I cannot do better than call his
majesty what his favourite called him), was the enemy of Sir Walter
Raleigh, and also of Sir Walter's political friend, LORD COBHAM; and his
Sowship's first trouble was a plot originated by these two, and entered
into by some others, with the old object of seizing the King and keeping
him in imprisonment until he should change his ministers.  There were
Catholic priests in the plot, and there were Puritan noblemen too; for,
although the Catholics and Puritans were strongly opposed to each other,
they united at this time against his Sowship, because they knew that he
had a design against both, after pretending to be friendly to each; this
design being to have only one high and convenient form of the Protestant
religion, which everybody should be bound to belong to, whether they
liked it or not.  This plot was mixed up with another, which may or may
not have had some reference to placing on the throne, at some time, the
LADY ARABELLA STUART; whose misfortune it was, to be the daughter of the
younger brother of his Sowship's father, but who was quite innocent of
any part in the scheme.  Sir Walter Raleigh was accused on the confession
of Lord Cobham--a miserable creature, who said one thing at one time, and
another thing at another time, and could be relied upon in nothing.  The
trial of Sir Walter Raleigh lasted from eight in the morning until nearly
midnight; he defended himself with such eloquence, genius, and spirit
against all accusations, and against the insults of COKE, the Attorney-
General--who, according to the custom of the time, foully abused him--that
those who went there detesting the prisoner, came away admiring him, and
declaring that anything so wonderful and so captivating was never heard.
He was found guilty, nevertheless, and sentenced to death.  Execution was
deferred, and he was taken to the Tower.  The two Catholic priests, less
fortunate, were executed with the usual atrocity; and Lord Cobham and two
others were pardoned on the scaffold.  His Sowship thought it wonderfully
knowing in him to surprise the people by pardoning these three at the
very block; but, blundering, and bungling, as usual, he had very nearly
overreached himself.  For, the messenger on horseback who brought the
pardon, came so late, that he was pushed to the outside of the crowd, and
was obliged to shout and roar out what he came for.  The miserable Cobham
did not gain much by being spared that day.  He lived, both as a prisoner
and a beggar, utterly despised, and miserably poor, for thirteen years,
and then died in an old outhouse belonging to one of his former servants.

This plot got rid of, and Sir Walter Raleigh safely shut up in the Tower,
his Sowship held a great dispute with the Puritans on their presenting a
petition to him, and had it all his own way--not so very wonderful, as he
would talk continually, and would not hear anybody else--and filled the
Bishops with admiration.  It was comfortably settled that there was to be
only one form of religion, and that all men were to think exactly alike.
But, although this was arranged two centuries and a half ago, and
although the arrangement was supported by much fining and imprisonment, I
do not find that it is quite successful, even yet.

His Sowship, having that uncommonly high opinion of himself as a king,
had a very low opinion of Parliament as a power that audaciously wanted
to control him.  When he called his first Parliament after he had been
king a year, he accordingly thought he would take pretty high ground with
them, and told them that he commanded them 'as an absolute king.'  The
Parliament thought those strong words, and saw the necessity of upholding
their authority.  His Sowship had three children: Prince Henry, Prince
Charles, and the Princess Elizabeth.  It would have been well for one of
these, and we shall too soon see which, if he had learnt a little wisdom
concerning Parliaments from his father's obstinacy.

Now, the people still labouring under their old dread of the Catholic
religion, this Parliament revived and strengthened the severe laws
against it.  And this so angered ROBERT CATESBY, a restless Catholic
gentleman of an old family, that he formed one of the most desperate and
terrible designs ever conceived in the mind of man; no less a scheme than
the Gunpowder Plot.

His object was, when the King, lords, and commons, should be assembled at
the next opening of Parliament, to blow them up, one and all, with a
great mine of gunpowder.  The first person to whom he confided this
horrible idea was THOMAS WINTER, a Worcestershire gentleman who had
served in the army abroad, and had been secretly employed in Catholic
projects.  While Winter was yet undecided, and when he had gone over to
the Netherlands, to learn from the Spanish Ambassador there whether there
was any hope of Catholics being relieved through the intercession of the
King of Spain with his Sowship, he found at Ostend a tall, dark, daring
man, whom he had known when they were both soldiers abroad, and whose
name was GUIDO--or GUY--FAWKES.  Resolved to join the plot, he proposed
it to this man, knowing him to be the man for any desperate deed, and
they two came back to England together.  Here, they admitted two other
conspirators; THOMAS PERCY, related to the Earl of Northumberland, and
JOHN WRIGHT, his brother-in-law.  All these met together in a solitary
house in the open fields which were then near Clement's Inn, now a
closely blocked-up part of London; and when they had all taken a great
oath of secrecy, Catesby told the rest what his plan was.  They then went
up-stairs into a garret, and received the Sacrament from FATHER GERARD, a
Jesuit, who is said not to have known actually of the Gunpowder Plot, but
who, I think, must have had his suspicions that there was something
desperate afoot.

Percy was a Gentleman Pensioner, and as he had occasional duties to
perform about the Court, then kept at Whitehall, there would be nothing
suspicious in his living at Westminster.  So, having looked well about
him, and having found a house to let, the back of which joined the
Parliament House, he hired it of a person named FERRIS, for the purpose
of undermining the wall.  Having got possession of this house, the
conspirators hired another on the Lambeth side of the Thames, which they
used as a storehouse for wood, gunpowder, and other combustible matters.
These were to be removed at night (and afterwards were removed), bit by
bit, to the house at Westminster; and, that there might be some trusty
person to keep watch over the Lambeth stores, they admitted another
conspirator, by name ROBERT KAY, a very poor Catholic gentleman.

All these arrangements had been made some months, and it was a dark,
wintry, December night, when the conspirators, who had been in the
meantime dispersed to avoid observation, met in the house at Westminster,
and began to dig.  They had laid in a good stock of eatables, to avoid
going in and out, and they dug and dug with great ardour.  But, the wall
being tremendously thick, and the work very severe, they took into their
plot CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT, a younger brother of John Wright, that they
might have a new pair of hands to help.  And Christopher Wright fell to
like a fresh man, and they dug and dug by night and by day, and Fawkes
stood sentinel all the time.  And if any man's heart seemed to fail him
at all, Fawkes said, 'Gentlemen, we have abundance of powder and shot
here, and there is no fear of our being taken alive, even if discovered.'
The same Fawkes, who, in the capacity of sentinel, was always prowling
about, soon picked up the intelligence that the King had prorogued the
Parliament again, from the seventh of February, the day first fixed upon,
until the third of October.  When the conspirators knew this, they agreed
to separate until after the Christmas holidays, and to take no notice of
each other in the meanwhile, and never to write letters to one another on
any account.  So, the house in Westminster was shut up again, and I
suppose the neighbours thought that those strange-looking men who lived
there so gloomily, and went out so seldom, were gone away to have a merry
Christmas somewhere.

It was the beginning of February, sixteen hundred and five, when Catesby
met his fellow-conspirators again at this Westminster house.  He had now
admitted three more; JOHN GRANT, a Warwickshire gentleman of a melancholy
temper, who lived in a doleful house near Stratford-upon-Avon, with a
frowning wall all round it, and a deep moat; ROBERT WINTER, eldest
brother of Thomas; and Catesby's own servant, THOMAS BATES, who, Catesby
thought, had had some suspicion of what his master was about.  These
three had all suffered more or less for their religion in Elizabeth's
time.  And now, they all began to dig again, and they dug and dug by
night and by day.

They found it dismal work alone there, underground, with such a fearful
secret on their minds, and so many murders before them.  They were filled
with wild fancies.  Sometimes, they thought they heard a great bell
tolling, deep down in the earth under the Parliament House; sometimes,
they thought they heard low voices muttering about the Gunpowder Plot;
once in the morning, they really did hear a great rumbling noise over
their heads, as they dug and sweated in their mine.  Every man stopped
and looked aghast at his neighbour, wondering what had happened, when
that bold prowler, Fawkes, who had been out to look, came in and told
them that it was only a dealer in coals who had occupied a cellar under
the Parliament House, removing his stock in trade to some other place.
Upon this, the conspirators, who with all their digging and digging had
not yet dug through the tremendously thick wall, changed their plan;
hired that cellar, which was directly under the House of Lords; put six-
and-thirty barrels of gunpowder in it, and covered them over with fagots
and coals.  Then they all dispersed again till September, when the
following new conspirators were admitted; SIR EDWARD BAYNHAM, of
Gloucestershire; SIR EVERARD DIGBY, of Rutlandshire; AMBROSE ROOKWOOD, of
Suffolk; FRANCIS TRESHAM, of Northamptonshire.  Most of these were rich,
and were to assist the plot, some with money and some with horses on
which the conspirators were to ride through the country and rouse the
Catholics after the Parliament should be blown into air.

Parliament being again prorogued from the third of October to the fifth
of November, and the conspirators being uneasy lest their design should
have been found out, Thomas Winter said he would go up into the House of
Lords on the day of the prorogation, and see how matters looked.  Nothing
could be better.  The unconscious Commissioners were walking about and
talking to one another, just over the six-and-thirty barrels of
gunpowder.  He came back and told the rest so, and they went on with
their preparations.  They hired a ship, and kept it ready in the Thames,
in which Fawkes was to sail for Flanders after firing with a slow match
the train that was to explode the powder.  A number of Catholic gentlemen
not in the secret, were invited, on pretence of a hunting party, to meet
Sir Everard Digby at Dunchurch on the fatal day, that they might be ready
to act together.  And now all was ready.

But, now, the great wickedness and danger which had been all along at the
bottom of this wicked plot, began to show itself.  As the fifth of
November drew near, most of the conspirators, remembering that they had
friends and relations who would be in the House of Lords that day, felt
some natural relenting, and a wish to warn them to keep away.  They were
not much comforted by Catesby's declaring that in such a cause he would
blow up his own son.  LORD MOUNTEAGLE, Tresham's brother-in-law, was
certain to be in the house; and when Tresham found that he could not
prevail upon the rest to devise any means of sparing their friends, he
wrote a mysterious letter to this lord and left it at his lodging in the
dusk, urging him to keep away from the opening of Parliament, 'since God
and man had concurred to punish the wickedness of the times.'  It
contained the words 'that the Parliament should receive a terrible blow,
and yet should not see who hurt them.'  And it added, 'the danger is
past, as soon as you have burnt the letter.'

The ministers and courtiers made out that his Sowship, by a direct
miracle from Heaven, found out what this letter meant.  The truth is,
that they were not long (as few men would be) in finding out for
themselves; and it was decided to let the conspirators alone, until the
very day before the opening of Parliament.  That the conspirators had
their fears, is certain; for, Tresham himself said before them all, that
they were every one dead men; and, although even he did not take flight,
there is reason to suppose that he had warned other persons besides Lord
Mounteagle.  However, they were all firm; and Fawkes, who was a man of
iron, went down every day and night to keep watch in the cellar as usual.
He was there about two in the afternoon of the fourth, when the Lord
Chamberlain and Lord Mounteagle threw open the door and looked in.  'Who
are you, friend?' said they.  'Why,' said Fawkes, 'I am Mr. Percy's
servant, and am looking after his store of fuel here.'  'Your master has
laid in a pretty good store,' they returned, and shut the door, and went
away.  Fawkes, upon this, posted off to the other conspirators to tell
them all was quiet, and went back and shut himself up in the dark, black
cellar again, where he heard the bell go twelve o'clock and usher in the
fifth of November.  About two hours afterwards, he slowly opened the
door, and came out to look about him, in his old prowling way.  He was
instantly seized and bound, by a party of soldiers under SIR THOMAS
KNEVETT.  He had a watch upon him, some touchwood, some tinder, some slow
matches; and there was a dark lantern with a candle in it, lighted,
behind the door.  He had his boots and spurs on--to ride to the ship, I
suppose--and it was well for the soldiers that they took him so suddenly.
If they had left him but a moment's time to light a match, he certainly
would have tossed it in among the powder, and blown up himself and them.

They took him to the King's bed-chamber first of all, and there the King
(causing him to be held very tight, and keeping a good way off), asked
him how he could have the heart to intend to destroy so many innocent
people?  'Because,' said Guy Fawkes, 'desperate diseases need desperate
remedies.'  To a little Scotch favourite, with a face like a terrier, who
asked him (with no particular wisdom) why he had collected so much
gunpowder, he replied, because he had meant to blow Scotchmen back to
Scotland, and it would take a deal of powder to do that.  Next day he was
carried to the Tower, but would make no confession.  Even after being
horribly tortured, he confessed nothing that the Government did not
already know; though he must have been in a fearful state--as his
signature, still preserved, in contrast with his natural hand-writing
before he was put upon the dreadful rack, most frightfully shows.  Bates,
a very different man, soon said the Jesuits had had to do with the plot,
and probably, under the torture, would as readily have said anything.
Tresham, taken and put in the Tower too, made confessions and unmade
them, and died of an illness that was heavy upon him.  Rookwood, who had
stationed relays of his own horses all the way to Dunchurch, did not
mount to escape until the middle of the day, when the news of the plot
was all over London.  On the road, he came up with the two Wrights,
Catesby, and Percy; and they all galloped together into Northamptonshire.
Thence to Dunchurch, where they found the proposed party assembled.
Finding, however, that there had been a plot, and that it had been
discovered, the party disappeared in the course of the night, and left
them alone with Sir Everard Digby.  Away they all rode again, through
Warwickshire and Worcestershire, to a house called Holbeach, on the
borders of Staffordshire.  They tried to raise the Catholics on their
way, but were indignantly driven off by them.  All this time they were
hotly pursued by the sheriff of Worcester, and a fast increasing
concourse of riders.  At last, resolving to defend themselves at
Holbeach, they shut themselves up in the house, and put some wet powder
before the fire to dry.  But it blew up, and Catesby was singed and
blackened, and almost killed, and some of the others were sadly hurt.
Still, knowing that they must die, they resolved to die there, and with
only their swords in their hands appeared at the windows to be shot at by
the sheriff and his assistants.  Catesby said to Thomas Winter, after
Thomas had been hit in the right arm which dropped powerless by his side,
'Stand by me, Tom, and we will die together!'--which they did, being shot
through the body by two bullets from one gun.  John Wright, and
Christopher Wright, and Percy, were also shot.  Rookwood and Digby were
taken: the former with a broken arm and a wound in his body too.

It was the fifteenth of January, before the trial of Guy Fawkes, and such
of the other conspirators as were left alive, came on.  They were all
found guilty, all hanged, drawn, and quartered: some, in St. Paul's
Churchyard, on the top of Ludgate-hill; some, before the Parliament
House.  A Jesuit priest, named HENRY GARNET, to whom the dreadful design
was said to have been communicated, was taken and tried; and two of his
servants, as well as a poor priest who was taken with him, were tortured
without mercy.  He himself was not tortured, but was surrounded in the
Tower by tamperers and traitors, and so was made unfairly to convict
himself out of his own mouth.  He said, upon his trial, that he had done
all he could to prevent the deed, and that he could not make public what
had been told him in confession--though I am afraid he knew of the plot
in other ways.  He was found guilty and executed, after a manful defence,
and the Catholic Church made a saint of him; some rich and powerful
persons, who had had nothing to do with the project, were fined and
imprisoned for it by the Star Chamber; the Catholics, in general, who had
recoiled with horror from the idea of the infernal contrivance, were
unjustly put under more severe laws than before; and this was the end of
the Gunpowder Plot.



SECOND PART


His Sowship would pretty willingly, I think, have blown the House of
Commons into the air himself; for, his dread and jealousy of it knew no
bounds all through his reign.  When he was hard pressed for money he was
obliged to order it to meet, as he could get no money without it; and
when it asked him first to abolish some of the monopolies in necessaries
of life which were a great grievance to the people, and to redress other
public wrongs, he flew into a rage and got rid of it again.  At one time
he wanted it to consent to the Union of England with Scotland, and
quarrelled about that.  At another time it wanted him to put down a most
infamous Church abuse, called the High Commission Court, and he
quarrelled with it about that.  At another time it entreated him not to
be quite so fond of his archbishops and bishops who made speeches in his
praise too awful to be related, but to have some little consideration for
the poor Puritan clergy who were persecuted for preaching in their own
way, and not according to the archbishops and bishops; and they
quarrelled about that.  In short, what with hating the House of Commons,
and pretending not to hate it; and what with now sending some of its
members who opposed him, to Newgate or to the Tower, and now telling the
rest that they must not presume to make speeches about the public affairs
which could not possibly concern them; and what with cajoling, and
bullying, and fighting, and being frightened; the House of Commons was
the plague of his Sowship's existence.  It was pretty firm, however, in
maintaining its rights, and insisting that the Parliament should make the
laws, and not the King by his own single proclamations (which he tried
hard to do); and his Sowship was so often distressed for money, in
consequence, that he sold every sort of title and public office as if
they were merchandise, and even invented a new dignity called a
Baronetcy, which anybody could buy for a thousand pounds.

These disputes with his Parliaments, and his hunting, and his drinking,
and his lying in bed--for he was a great sluggard--occupied his Sowship
pretty well.  The rest of his time he chiefly passed in hugging and
slobbering his favourites.  The first of these was SIR PHILIP HERBERT,
who had no knowledge whatever, except of dogs, and horses, and hunting,
but whom he soon made EARL OF MONTGOMERY.  The next, and a much more
famous one, was ROBERT CARR, or KER (for it is not certain which was his
right name), who came from the Border country, and whom he soon made
VISCOUNT ROCHESTER, and afterwards, EARL OF SOMERSET.  The way in which
his Sowship doted on this handsome young man, is even more odious to
think of, than the way in which the really great men of England
condescended to bow down before him.  The favourite's great friend was a
certain SIR THOMAS OVERBURY, who wrote his love-letters for him, and
assisted him in the duties of his many high places, which his own
ignorance prevented him from discharging.  But this same Sir Thomas
having just manhood enough to dissuade the favourite from a wicked
marriage with the beautiful Countess of Essex, who was to get a divorce
from her husband for the purpose, the said Countess, in her rage, got Sir
Thomas put into the Tower, and there poisoned him.  Then the favourite
and this bad woman were publicly married by the King's pet bishop, with
as much to-do and rejoicing, as if he had been the best man, and she the
best woman, upon the face of the earth.

But, after a longer sunshine than might have been expected--of seven
years or so, that is to say--another handsome young man started up and
eclipsed the EARL OF SOMERSET.  This was GEORGE VILLIERS, the youngest
son of a Leicestershire gentleman: who came to Court with all the Paris
fashions on him, and could dance as well as the best mountebank that ever
was seen.  He soon danced himself into the good graces of his Sowship,
and danced the other favourite out of favour.  Then, it was all at once
discovered that the Earl and Countess of Somerset had not deserved all
those great promotions and mighty rejoicings, and they were separately
tried for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, and for other crimes.  But,
the King was so afraid of his late favourite's publicly telling some
disgraceful things he knew of him--which he darkly threatened to do--that
he was even examined with two men standing, one on either side of him,
each with a cloak in his hand, ready to throw it over his head and stop
his mouth if he should break out with what he had it in his power to
tell.  So, a very lame affair was purposely made of the trial, and his
punishment was an allowance of four thousand pounds a year in retirement,
while the Countess was pardoned, and allowed to pass into retirement too.
They hated one another by this time, and lived to revile and torment each
other some years.

While these events were in progress, and while his Sowship was making
such an exhibition of himself, from day to day and from year to year, as
is not often seen in any sty, three remarkable deaths took place in
England.  The first was that of the Minister, Robert Cecil, Earl of
Salisbury, who was past sixty, and had never been strong, being deformed
from his birth.  He said at last that he had no wish to live; and no
Minister need have had, with his experience of the meanness and
wickedness of those disgraceful times.  The second was that of the Lady
Arabella Stuart, who alarmed his Sowship mightily, by privately marrying
WILLIAM SEYMOUR, son of LORD BEAUCHAMP, who was a descendant of King
Henry the Seventh, and who, his Sowship thought, might consequently
increase and strengthen any claim she might one day set up to the throne.
She was separated from her husband (who was put in the Tower) and thrust
into a boat to be confined at Durham.  She escaped in a man's dress to
get away in a French ship from Gravesend to France, but unhappily missed
her husband, who had escaped too, and was soon taken.  She went raving
mad in the miserable Tower, and died there after four years.  The last,
and the most important of these three deaths, was that of Prince Henry,
the heir to the throne, in the nineteenth year of his age.  He was a
promising young prince, and greatly liked; a quiet, well-conducted youth,
of whom two very good things are known: first, that his father was
jealous of him; secondly, that he was the friend of Sir Walter Raleigh,
languishing through all those years in the Tower, and often said that no
man but his father would keep such a bird in such a cage.  On the
occasion of the preparations for the marriage of his sister the Princess
Elizabeth with a foreign prince (and an unhappy marriage it turned out),
he came from Richmond, where he had been very ill, to greet his new
brother-in-law, at the palace at Whitehall.  There he played a great game
at tennis, in his shirt, though it was very cold weather, and was seized
with an alarming illness, and died within a fortnight of a putrid fever.
For this young prince Sir Walter Raleigh wrote, in his prison in the
Tower, the beginning of a History of the World: a wonderful instance how
little his Sowship could do to confine a great man's mind, however long
he might imprison his body.

And this mention of Sir Walter Raleigh, who had many faults, but who
never showed so many merits as in trouble and adversity, may bring me at
once to the end of his sad story.  After an imprisonment in the Tower of
twelve long years, he proposed to resume those old sea voyages of his,
and to go to South America in search of gold.  His Sowship, divided
between his wish to be on good terms with the Spaniards through whose
territory Sir Walter must pass (he had long had an idea of marrying
Prince Henry to a Spanish Princess), and his avaricious eagerness to get
hold of the gold, did not know what to do.  But, in the end, he set Sir
Walter free, taking securities for his return; and Sir Walter fitted out
an expedition at his own coast and, on the twenty-eighth of March, one
thousand six hundred and seventeen, sailed away in command of one of its
ships, which he ominously called the Destiny.  The expedition failed; the
common men, not finding the gold they had expected, mutinied; a quarrel
broke out between Sir Walter and the Spaniards, who hated him for old
successes of his against them; and he took and burnt a little town called
SAINT THOMAS.  For this he was denounced to his Sowship by the Spanish
Ambassador as a pirate; and returning almost broken-hearted, with his
hopes and fortunes shattered, his company of friends dispersed, and his
brave son (who had been one of them) killed, he was taken--through the
treachery of SIR LEWIS STUKELY, his near relation, a scoundrel and a Vice-
Admiral--and was once again immured in his prison-home of so many years.

His Sowship being mightily disappointed in not getting any gold, Sir
Walter Raleigh was tried as unfairly, and with as many lies and evasions
as the judges and law officers and every other authority in Church and
State habitually practised under such a King.  After a great deal of
prevarication on all parts but his own, it was declared that he must die
under his former sentence, now fifteen years old.  So, on the
twenty-eighth of October, one thousand six hundred and eighteen, he was
shut up in the Gate House at Westminster to pass his late night on earth,
and there he took leave of his good and faithful lady who was worthy to
have lived in better days.  At eight o'clock next morning, after a
cheerful breakfast, and a pipe, and a cup of good wine, he was taken to
Old Palace Yard in Westminster, where the scaffold was set up, and where
so many people of high degree were assembled to see him die, that it was
a matter of some difficulty to get him through the crowd.  He behaved
most nobly, but if anything lay heavy on his mind, it was that Earl of
Essex, whose head he had seen roll off; and he solemnly said that he had
had no hand in bringing him to the block, and that he had shed tears for
him when he died.  As the morning was very cold, the Sheriff said, would
he come down to a fire for a little space, and warm himself?  But Sir
Walter thanked him, and said no, he would rather it were done at once,
for he was ill of fever and ague, and in another quarter of an hour his
shaking fit would come upon him if he were still alive, and his enemies
might then suppose that he trembled for fear.  With that, he kneeled and
made a very beautiful and Christian prayer.  Before he laid his head upon
the block he felt the edge of the axe, and said, with a smile upon his
face, that it was a sharp medicine, but would cure the worst disease.
When he was bent down ready for death, he said to the executioner,
finding that he hesitated, 'What dost thou fear?  Strike, man!'  So, the
axe came down and struck his head off, in the sixty-sixth year of his
age.

The new favourite got on fast.  He was made a viscount, he was made Duke
of Buckingham, he was made a marquis, he was made Master of the Horse, he
was made Lord High Admiral--and the Chief Commander of the gallant
English forces that had dispersed the Spanish Armada, was displaced to
make room for him.  He had the whole kingdom at his disposal, and his
mother sold all the profits and honours of the State, as if she had kept
a shop.  He blazed all over with diamonds and other precious stones, from
his hatband and his earrings to his shoes.  Yet he was an ignorant
presumptuous, swaggering compound of knave and fool, with nothing but his
beauty and his dancing to recommend him.  This is the gentleman who
called himself his Majesty's dog and slave, and called his Majesty Your
Sowship.  His Sowship called him STEENIE; it is supposed, because that
was a nickname for Stephen, and because St. Stephen was generally
represented in pictures as a handsome saint.

His Sowship was driven sometimes to his wits'-end by his trimming between
the general dislike of the Catholic religion at home, and his desire to
wheedle and flatter it abroad, as his only means of getting a rich
princess for his son's wife: a part of whose fortune he might cram into
his greasy pockets.  Prince Charles--or as his Sowship called him, Baby
Charles--being now PRINCE OF WALES, the old project of a marriage with
the Spanish King's daughter had been revived for him; and as she could
not marry a Protestant without leave from the Pope, his Sowship himself
secretly and meanly wrote to his Infallibility, asking for it.  The
negotiation for this Spanish marriage takes up a larger space in great
books, than you can imagine, but the upshot of it all is, that when it
had been held off by the Spanish Court for a long time, Baby Charles and
Steenie set off in disguise as Mr. Thomas Smith and Mr. John Smith, to
see the Spanish Princess; that Baby Charles pretended to be desperately
in love with her, and jumped off walls to look at her, and made a
considerable fool of himself in a good many ways; that she was called
Princess of Wales and that the whole Spanish Court believed Baby Charles
to be all but dying for her sake, as he expressly told them he was; that
Baby Charles and Steenie came back to England, and were received with as
much rapture as if they had been a blessing to it; that Baby Charles had
actually fallen in love with HENRIETTA MARIA, the French King's sister,
whom he had seen in Paris; that he thought it a wonderfully fine and
princely thing to have deceived the Spaniards, all through; and that he
openly said, with a chuckle, as soon as he was safe and sound at home
again, that the Spaniards were great fools to have believed him.

Like most dishonest men, the Prince and the favourite complained that the
people whom they had deluded were dishonest.  They made such
misrepresentations of the treachery of the Spaniards in this business of
the Spanish match, that the English nation became eager for a war with
them.  Although the gravest Spaniards laughed at the idea of his Sowship
in a warlike attitude, the Parliament granted money for the beginning of
hostilities, and the treaties with Spain were publicly declared to be at
an end.  The Spanish ambassador in London--probably with the help of the
fallen favourite, the Earl of Somerset--being unable to obtain speech
with his Sowship, slipped a paper into his hand, declaring that he was a
prisoner in his own house, and was entirely governed by Buckingham and
his creatures.  The first effect of this letter was that his Sowship
began to cry and whine, and took Baby Charles away from Steenie, and went
down to Windsor, gabbling all sorts of nonsense.  The end of it was that
his Sowship hugged his dog and slave, and said he was quite satisfied.

He had given the Prince and the favourite almost unlimited power to
settle anything with the Pope as to the Spanish marriage; and he now,
with a view to the French one, signed a treaty that all Roman Catholics
in England should exercise their religion freely, and should never be
required to take any oath contrary thereto.  In return for this, and for
other concessions much less to be defended, Henrietta Maria was to become
the Prince's wife, and was to bring him a fortune of eight hundred
thousand crowns.

His Sowship's eyes were getting red with eagerly looking for the money,
when the end of a gluttonous life came upon him; and, after a fortnight's
illness, on Sunday the twenty-seventh of March, one thousand six hundred
and twenty-five, he died.  He had reigned twenty-two years, and was fifty-
nine years old.  I know of nothing more abominable in history than the
adulation that was lavished on this King, and the vice and corruption
that such a barefaced habit of lying produced in his court.  It is much
to be doubted whether one man of honour, and not utterly self-disgraced,
kept his place near James the First.  Lord Bacon, that able and wise
philosopher, as the First Judge in the Kingdom in this reign, became a
public spectacle of dishonesty and corruption; and in his base flattery
of his Sowship, and in his crawling servility to his dog and slave,
disgraced himself even more.  But, a creature like his Sowship set upon a
throne is like the Plague, and everybody receives infection from him.



CHAPTER XXXIII--ENGLAND UNDER CHARLES THE FIRST


Baby Charles became KING CHARLES THE FIRST, in the twenty-fifth year of
his age.  Unlike his father, he was usually amiable in his private
character, and grave and dignified in his bearing; but, like his father,
he had monstrously exaggerated notions of the rights of a king, and was
evasive, and not to be trusted.  If his word could have been relied upon,
his history might have had a different end.

His first care was to send over that insolent upstart, Buckingham, to
bring Henrietta Maria from Paris to be his Queen; upon which occasion
Buckingham--with his usual audacity--made love to the young Queen of
Austria, and was very indignant indeed with CARDINAL RICHELIEU, the
French Minister, for thwarting his intentions.  The English people were
very well disposed to like their new Queen, and to receive her with great
favour when she came among them as a stranger.  But, she held the
Protestant religion in great dislike, and brought over a crowd of
unpleasant priests, who made her do some very ridiculous things, and
forced themselves upon the public notice in many disagreeable ways.
Hence, the people soon came to dislike her, and she soon came to dislike
them; and she did so much all through this reign in setting the King (who
was dotingly fond of her) against his subjects, that it would have been
better for him if she had never been born.

Now, you are to understand that King Charles the First--of his own
determination to be a high and mighty King not to be called to account by
anybody, and urged on by his Queen besides--deliberately set himself to
put his Parliament down and to put himself up. You are also to
understand, that even in pursuit of this wrong idea (enough in itself to
have ruined any king) he never took a straight course, but always took a
crooked one.

He was bent upon war with Spain, though neither the House of Commons nor
the people were quite clear as to the justice of that war, now that they
began to think a little more about the story of the Spanish match.  But
the King rushed into it hotly, raised money by illegal means to meet its
expenses, and encountered a miserable failure at Cadiz, in the very first
year of his reign.  An expedition to Cadiz had been made in the hope of
plunder, but as it was not successful, it was necessary to get a grant of
money from the Parliament; and when they met, in no very complying
humour, the King told them, 'to make haste to let him have it, or it
would be the worse for themselves.'  Not put in a more complying humour
by this, they impeached the King's favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, as
the cause (which he undoubtedly was) of many great public grievances and
wrongs.  The King, to save him, dissolved the Parliament without getting
the money he wanted; and when the Lords implored him to consider and
grant a little delay, he replied, 'No, not one minute.'  He then began to
raise money for himself by the following means among others.

He levied certain duties called tonnage and poundage which had not been
granted by the Parliament, and could lawfully be levied by no other
power; he called upon the seaport towns to furnish, and to pay all the
cost for three months of, a fleet of armed ships; and he required the
people to unite in lending him large sums of money, the repayment of
which was very doubtful.  If the poor people refused, they were pressed
as soldiers or sailors; if the gentry refused, they were sent to prison.
Five gentlemen, named SIR THOMAS DARNEL, JOHN CORBET, WALTER EARL, JOHN
HEVENINGHAM, and EVERARD HAMPDEN, for refusing were taken up by a warrant
of the King's privy council, and were sent to prison without any cause
but the King's pleasure being stated for their imprisonment.  Then the
question came to be solemnly tried, whether this was not a violation of
Magna Charta, and an encroachment by the King on the highest rights of
the English people.  His lawyers contended No, because to encroach upon
the rights of the English people would be to do wrong, and the King could
do no wrong.  The accommodating judges decided in favour of this wicked
nonsense; and here was a fatal division between the King and the people.

For all this, it became necessary to call another Parliament.  The
people, sensible of the danger in which their liberties were, chose for
it those who were best known for their determined opposition to the King;
but still the King, quite blinded by his determination to carry
everything before him, addressed them when they met, in a contemptuous
manner, and just told them in so many words that he had only called them
together because he wanted money.  The Parliament, strong enough and
resolute enough to know that they would lower his tone, cared little for
what he said, and laid before him one of the great documents of history,
which is called the PETITION OF RIGHT, requiring that the free men of
England should no longer be called upon to lend the King money, and
should no longer be pressed or imprisoned for refusing to do so; further,
that the free men of England should no longer be seized by the King's
special mandate or warrant, it being contrary to their rights and
liberties and the laws of their country.  At first the King returned an
answer to this petition, in which he tried to shirk it altogether; but,
the House of Commons then showing their determination to go on with the
impeachment of Buckingham, the King in alarm returned an answer, giving
his consent to all that was required of him.  He not only afterwards
departed from his word and honour on these points, over and over again,
but, at this very time, he did the mean and dissembling act of publishing
his first answer and not his second--merely that the people might suppose
that the Parliament had not got the better of him.

That pestilent Buckingham, to gratify his own wounded vanity, had by this
time involved the country in war with France, as well as with Spain.  For
such miserable causes and such miserable creatures are wars sometimes
made!  But he was destined to do little more mischief in this world.  One
morning, as he was going out of his house to his carriage, he turned to
speak to a certain Colonel FRYER who was with him; and he was violently
stabbed with a knife, which the murderer left sticking in his heart.  This
happened in his hall.  He had had angry words up-stairs, just before,
with some French gentlemen, who were immediately suspected by his
servants, and had a close escape from being set upon and killed.  In the
midst of the noise, the real murderer, who had gone to the kitchen and
might easily have got away, drew his sword and cried out, 'I am the man!'
His name was JOHN FELTON, a Protestant and a retired officer in the army.
He said he had had no personal ill-will to the Duke, but had killed him
as a curse to the country.  He had aimed his blow well, for Buckingham
had only had time to cry out, 'Villain!' and then he drew out the knife,
fell against a table, and died.

The council made a mighty business of examining John Felton about this
murder, though it was a plain case enough, one would think.  He had come
seventy miles to do it, he told them, and he did it for the reason he had
declared; if they put him upon the rack, as that noble MARQUIS OF DORSET
whom he saw before him, had the goodness to threaten, he gave that
marquis warning, that he would accuse _him_ as his accomplice!  The King
was unpleasantly anxious to have him racked, nevertheless; but as the
judges now found out that torture was contrary to the law of England--it
is a pity they did not make the discovery a little sooner--John Felton
was simply executed for the murder he had done.  A murder it undoubtedly
was, and not in the least to be defended: though he had freed England
from one of the most profligate, contemptible, and base court favourites
to whom it has ever yielded.

A very different man now arose.  This was SIR THOMAS WENTWORTH, a
Yorkshire gentleman, who had sat in Parliament for a long time, and who
had favoured arbitrary and haughty principles, but who had gone over to
the people's side on receiving offence from Buckingham.  The King, much
wanting such a man--for, besides being naturally favourable to the King's
cause, he had great abilities--made him first a Baron, and then a
Viscount, and gave him high employment, and won him most completely.

A Parliament, however, was still in existence, and was _not_ to be won.
On the twentieth of January, one thousand six hundred and twenty-nine,
SIR JOHN ELIOT, a great man who had been active in the Petition of Right,
brought forward other strong resolutions against the King's chief
instruments, and called upon the Speaker to put them to the vote.  To
this the Speaker answered, 'he was commanded otherwise by the King,' and
got up to leave the chair--which, according to the rules of the House of
Commons would have obliged it to adjourn without doing anything more--when
two members, named Mr. HOLLIS and Mr. VALENTINE, held him down.  A scene
of great confusion arose among the members; and while many swords were
drawn and flashing about, the King, who was kept informed of all that was
going on, told the captain of his guard to go down to the House and force
the doors.  The resolutions were by that time, however, voted, and the
House adjourned.  Sir John Eliot and those two members who had held the
Speaker down, were quickly summoned before the council.  As they claimed
it to be their privilege not to answer out of Parliament for anything
they had said in it, they were committed to the Tower.  The King then
went down and dissolved the Parliament, in a speech wherein he made
mention of these gentlemen as 'Vipers'--which did not do him much good
that ever I have heard of.

As they refused to gain their liberty by saying they were sorry for what
they had done, the King, always remarkably unforgiving, never overlooked
their offence.  When they demanded to be brought up before the court of
King's Bench, he even resorted to the meanness of having them moved about
from prison to prison, so that the writs issued for that purpose should
not legally find them.  At last they came before the court and were
sentenced to heavy fines, and to be imprisoned during the King's
pleasure.  When Sir John Eliot's health had quite given way, and he so
longed for change of air and scene as to petition for his release, the
King sent back the answer (worthy of his Sowship himself) that the
petition was not humble enough.  When he sent another petition by his
young son, in which he pathetically offered to go back to prison when his
health was restored, if he might be released for its recovery, the King
still disregarded it.  When he died in the Tower, and his children
petitioned to be allowed to take his body down to Cornwall, there to lay
it among the ashes of his forefathers, the King returned for answer, 'Let
Sir John Eliot's body be buried in the church of that parish where he
died.'  All this was like a very little King indeed, I think.

And now, for twelve long years, steadily pursuing his design of setting
himself up and putting the people down, the King called no Parliament;
but ruled without one.  If twelve thousand volumes were written in his
praise (as a good many have been) it would still remain a fact,
impossible to be denied, that for twelve years King Charles the First
reigned in England unlawfully and despotically, seized upon his subjects'
goods and money at his pleasure, and punished according to his unbridled
will all who ventured to oppose him.  It is a fashion with some people to
think that this King's career was cut short; but I must say myself that I
think he ran a pretty long one.

WILLIAM LAUD, Archbishop of Canterbury, was the King's right-hand man in
the religious part of the putting down of the people's liberties.  Laud,
who was a sincere man, of large learning but small sense--for the two
things sometimes go together in very different quantities--though a
Protestant, held opinions so near those of the Catholics, that the Pope
wanted to make a Cardinal of him, if he would have accepted that favour.
He looked upon vows, robes, lighted candles, images, and so forth, as
amazingly important in religious ceremonies; and he brought in an
immensity of bowing and candle-snuffing.  He also regarded archbishops
and bishops as a sort of miraculous persons, and was inveterate in the
last degree against any who thought otherwise.  Accordingly, he offered
up thanks to Heaven, and was in a state of much pious pleasure, when a
Scotch clergyman, named LEIGHTON, was pilloried, whipped, branded in the
cheek, and had one of his ears cut off and one of his nostrils slit, for
calling bishops trumpery and the inventions of men.  He originated on a
Sunday morning the prosecution of WILLIAM PRYNNE, a barrister who was of
similar opinions, and who was fined a thousand pounds; who was pilloried;
who had his ears cut off on two occasions--one ear at a time--and who was
imprisoned for life.  He highly approved of the punishment of DOCTOR
BASTWICK, a physician; who was also fined a thousand pounds; and who
afterwards had _his_ ears cut off, and was imprisoned for life.  These
were gentle methods of persuasion, some will tell you: I think, they were
rather calculated to be alarming to the people.

In the money part of the putting down of the people's liberties, the King
was equally gentle, as some will tell you: as I think, equally alarming.
He levied those duties of tonnage and poundage, and increased them as he
thought fit.  He granted monopolies to companies of merchants on their
paying him for them, notwithstanding the great complaints that had, for
years and years, been made on the subject of monopolies.  He fined the
people for disobeying proclamations issued by his Sowship in direct
violation of law.  He revived the detested Forest laws, and took private
property to himself as his forest right.  Above all, he determined to
have what was called Ship Money; that is to say, money for the support of
the fleet--not only from the seaports, but from all the counties of
England: having found out that, in some ancient time or other, all the
counties paid it.  The grievance of this ship money being somewhat too
strong, JOHN CHAMBERS, a citizen of London, refused to pay his part of
it.  For this the Lord Mayor ordered John Chambers to prison, and for
that John Chambers brought a suit against the Lord Mayor.  LORD SAY,
also, behaved like a real nobleman, and declared he would not pay.  But,
the sturdiest and best opponent of the ship money was JOHN HAMPDEN, a
gentleman of Buckinghamshire, who had sat among the 'vipers' in the House
of Commons when there was such a thing, and who had been the bosom friend
of Sir John Eliot.  This case was tried before the twelve judges in the
Court of Exchequer, and again the King's lawyers said it was impossible
that ship money could be wrong, because the King could do no wrong,
however hard he tried--and he really did try very hard during these
twelve years.  Seven of the judges said that was quite true, and Mr.
Hampden was bound to pay: five of the judges said that was quite false,
and Mr. Hampden was not bound to pay.  So, the King triumphed (as he
thought), by making Hampden the most popular man in England; where
matters were getting to that height now, that many honest Englishmen
could not endure their country, and sailed away across the seas to found
a colony in Massachusetts Bay in America.  It is said that Hampden
himself and his relation OLIVER CROMWELL were going with a company of
such voyagers, and were actually on board ship, when they were stopped by
a proclamation, prohibiting sea captains to carry out such passengers
without the royal license.  But O! it would have been well for the King
if he had let them go!  This was the state of England.  If Laud had been
a madman just broke loose, he could not have done more mischief than he
did in Scotland.  In his endeavours (in which he was seconded by the
King, then in person in that part of his dominions) to force his own
ideas of bishops, and his own religious forms and ceremonies upon the
Scotch, he roused that nation to a perfect frenzy.  They formed a solemn
league, which they called The Covenant, for the preservation of their own
religious forms; they rose in arms throughout the whole country; they
summoned all their men to prayers and sermons twice a day by beat of
drum; they sang psalms, in which they compared their enemies to all the
evil spirits that ever were heard of; and they solemnly vowed to smite
them with the sword.  At first the King tried force, then treaty, then a
Scottish Parliament which did not answer at all.  Then he tried the EARL
OF STRAFFORD, formerly Sir Thomas Wentworth; who, as LORD WENTWORTH, had
been governing Ireland.  He, too, had carried it with a very high hand
there, though to the benefit and prosperity of that country.

Strafford and Laud were for conquering the Scottish people by force of
arms.  Other lords who were taken into council, recommended that a
Parliament should at last be called; to which the King unwillingly
consented.  So, on the thirteenth of April, one thousand six hundred and
forty, that then strange sight, a Parliament, was seen at Westminster.  It
is called the Short Parliament, for it lasted a very little while.  While
the members were all looking at one another, doubtful who would dare to
speak, MR. PYM arose and set forth all that the King had done unlawfully
during the past twelve years, and what was the position to which England
was reduced.  This great example set, other members took courage and
spoke the truth freely, though with great patience and moderation.  The
King, a little frightened, sent to say that if they would grant him a
certain sum on certain terms, no more ship money should be raised.  They
debated the matter for two days; and then, as they would not give him all
he asked without promise or inquiry, he dissolved them.

But they knew very well that he must have a Parliament now; and he began
to make that discovery too, though rather late in the day.  Wherefore, on
the twenty-fourth of September, being then at York with an army collected
against the Scottish people, but his own men sullen and discontented like
the rest of the nation, the King told the great council of the Lords,
whom he had called to meet him there, that he would summon another
Parliament to assemble on the third of November.  The soldiers of the
Covenant had now forced their way into England and had taken possession
of the northern counties, where the coals are got.  As it would never do
to be without coals, and as the King's troops could make no head against
the Covenanters so full of gloomy zeal, a truce was made, and a treaty
with Scotland was taken into consideration.  Meanwhile the northern
counties paid the Covenanters to leave the coals alone, and keep quiet.

We have now disposed of the Short Parliament.  We have next to see what
memorable things were done by the Long one.



SECOND PART


The Long Parliament assembled on the third of November, one thousand six
hundred and forty-one.  That day week the Earl of Strafford arrived from
York, very sensible that the spirited and determined men who formed that
Parliament were no friends towards him, who had not only deserted the
cause of the people, but who had on all occasions opposed himself to
their liberties.  The King told him, for his comfort, that the Parliament
'should not hurt one hair of his head.'  But, on the very next day Mr.
Pym, in the House of Commons, and with great solemnity, impeached the
Earl of Strafford as a traitor.  He was immediately taken into custody
and fell from his proud height.

It was the twenty-second of March before he was brought to trial in
Westminster Hall; where, although he was very ill and suffered great
pain, he defended himself with such ability and majesty, that it was
doubtful whether he would not get the best of it.  But on the thirteenth
day of the trial, Pym produced in the House of Commons a copy of some
notes of a council, found by young SIR HARRY VANE in a red velvet cabinet
belonging to his father (Secretary Vane, who sat at the council-table
with the Earl), in which Strafford had distinctly told the King that he
was free from all rules and obligations of government, and might do with
his people whatever he liked; and in which he had added--'You have an
army in Ireland that you may employ to reduce this kingdom to obedience.'
It was not clear whether by the words 'this kingdom,' he had really meant
England or Scotland; but the Parliament contended that he meant England,
and this was treason.  At the same sitting of the House of Commons it was
resolved to bring in a bill of attainder declaring the treason to have
been committed: in preference to proceeding with the trial by
impeachment, which would have required the treason to be proved.

So, a bill was brought in at once, was carried through the House of
Commons by a large majority, and was sent up to the House of Lords.  While
it was still uncertain whether the House of Lords would pass it and the
King consent to it, Pym disclosed to the House of Commons that the King
and Queen had both been plotting with the officers of the army to bring
up the soldiers and control the Parliament, and also to introduce two
hundred soldiers into the Tower of London to effect the Earl's escape.
The plotting with the army was revealed by one GEORGE GORING, the son of
a lord of that name: a bad fellow who was one of the original plotters,
and turned traitor.  The King had actually given his warrant for the
admission of the two hundred men into the Tower, and they would have got
in too, but for the refusal of the governor--a sturdy Scotchman of the
name of BALFOUR--to admit them.  These matters being made public, great
numbers of people began to riot outside the Houses of Parliament, and to
cry out for the execution of the Earl of Strafford, as one of the King's
chief instruments against them.  The bill passed the House of Lords while
the people were in this state of agitation, and was laid before the King
for his assent, together with another bill declaring that the Parliament
then assembled should not be dissolved or adjourned without their own
consent.  The King--not unwilling to save a faithful servant, though he
had no great attachment for him--was in some doubt what to do; but he
gave his consent to both bills, although he in his heart believed that
the bill against the Earl of Strafford was unlawful and unjust.  The Earl
had written to him, telling him that he was willing to die for his sake.
But he had not expected that his royal master would take him at his word
quite so readily; for, when he heard his doom, he laid his hand upon his
heart, and said, 'Put not your trust in Princes!'

The King, who never could be straightforward and plain, through one
single day or through one single sheet of paper, wrote a letter to the
Lords, and sent it by the young Prince of Wales, entreating them to
prevail with the Commons that 'that unfortunate man should fulfil the
natural course of his life in a close imprisonment.'  In a postscript to
the very same letter, he added, 'If he must die, it were charity to
reprieve him till Saturday.'  If there had been any doubt of his fate,
this weakness and meanness would have settled it.  The very next day,
which was the twelfth of May, he was brought out to be beheaded on Tower
Hill.

Archbishop Laud, who had been so fond of having people's ears cropped off
and their noses slit, was now confined in the Tower too; and when the
Earl went by his window to his death, he was there, at his request, to
give him his blessing.  They had been great friends in the King's cause,
and the Earl had written to him in the days of their power that he
thought it would be an admirable thing to have Mr. Hampden publicly
whipped for refusing to pay the ship money.  However, those high and
mighty doings were over now, and the Earl went his way to death with
dignity and heroism.  The governor wished him to get into a coach at the
Tower gate, for fear the people should tear him to pieces; but he said it
was all one to him whether he died by the axe or by the people's hands.
So, he walked, with a firm tread and a stately look, and sometimes pulled
off his hat to them as he passed along.  They were profoundly quiet.  He
made a speech on the scaffold from some notes he had prepared (the paper
was found lying there after his head was struck off), and one blow of the
axe killed him, in the forty-ninth year of his age.

This bold and daring act, the Parliament accompanied by other famous
measures, all originating (as even this did) in the King's having so
grossly and so long abused his power.  The name of DELINQUENTS was
applied to all sheriffs and other officers who had been concerned in
raising the ship money, or any other money, from the people, in an
unlawful manner; the Hampden judgment was reversed; the judges who had
decided against Hampden were called upon to give large securities that
they would take such consequences as Parliament might impose upon them;
and one was arrested as he sat in High Court, and carried off to prison.
Laud was impeached; the unfortunate victims whose ears had been cropped
and whose noses had been slit, were brought out of prison in triumph; and
a bill was passed declaring that a Parliament should be called every
third year, and that if the King and the King's officers did not call it,
the people should assemble of themselves and summon it, as of their own
right and power.  Great illuminations and rejoicings took place over all
these things, and the country was wildly excited.  That the Parliament
took advantage of this excitement and stirred them up by every means,
there is no doubt; but you are always to remember those twelve long
years, during which the King had tried so hard whether he really could do
any wrong or not.

All this time there was a great religious outcry against the right of the
Bishops to sit in Parliament; to which the Scottish people particularly
objected.  The English were divided on this subject, and, partly on this
account and partly because they had had foolish expectations that the
Parliament would be able to take off nearly all the taxes, numbers of
them sometimes wavered and inclined towards the King.

I believe myself, that if, at this or almost any other period of his
life, the King could have been trusted by any man not out of his senses,
he might have saved himself and kept his throne.  But, on the English
army being disbanded, he plotted with the officers again, as he had done
before, and established the fact beyond all doubt by putting his
signature of approval to a petition against the Parliamentary leaders,
which was drawn up by certain officers.  When the Scottish army was
disbanded, he went to Edinburgh in four days--which was going very fast
at that time--to plot again, and so darkly too, that it is difficult to
decide what his whole object was.  Some suppose that he wanted to gain
over the Scottish Parliament, as he did in fact gain over, by presents
and favours, many Scottish lords and men of power.  Some think that he
went to get proofs against the Parliamentary leaders in England of their
having treasonably invited the Scottish people to come and help them.
With whatever object he went to Scotland, he did little good by going.  At
the instigation of the EARL OF MONTROSE, a desperate man who was then in
prison for plotting, he tried to kidnap three Scottish lords who escaped.
A committee of the Parliament at home, who had followed to watch him,
writing an account of this INCIDENT, as it was called, to the Parliament,
the Parliament made a fresh stir about it; were, or feigned to be, much
alarmed for themselves; and wrote to the EARL OF ESSEX, the commander-in-
chief, for a guard to protect them.

It is not absolutely proved that the King plotted in Ireland besides, but
it is very probable that he did, and that the Queen did, and that he had
some wild hope of gaining the Irish people over to his side by favouring
a rise among them.  Whether or no, they did rise in a most brutal and
savage rebellion; in which, encouraged by their priests, they committed
such atrocities upon numbers of the English, of both sexes and of all
ages, as nobody could believe, but for their being related on oath by eye-
witnesses.  Whether one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand
Protestants were murdered in this outbreak, is uncertain; but, that it
was as ruthless and barbarous an outbreak as ever was known among any
savage people, is certain.

The King came home from Scotland, determined to make a great struggle for
his lost power.  He believed that, through his presents and favours,
Scotland would take no part against him; and the Lord Mayor of London
received him with such a magnificent dinner that he thought he must have
become popular again in England.  It would take a good many Lord Mayors,
however, to make a people, and the King soon found himself mistaken.

Not so soon, though, but that there was a great opposition in the
Parliament to a celebrated paper put forth by Pym and Hampden and the
rest, called 'THE REMONSTRANCE,' which set forth all the illegal acts
that the King had ever done, but politely laid the blame of them on his
bad advisers.  Even when it was passed and presented to him, the King
still thought himself strong enough to discharge Balfour from his command
in the Tower, and to put in his place a man of bad character; to whom the
Commons instantly objected, and whom he was obliged to abandon.  At this
time, the old outcry about the Bishops became louder than ever, and the
old Archbishop of York was so near being murdered as he went down to the
House of Lords--being laid hold of by the mob and violently knocked
about, in return for very foolishly scolding a shrill boy who was yelping
out 'No Bishops!'--that he sent for all the Bishops who were in town, and
proposed to them to sign a declaration that, as they could no longer
without danger to their lives attend their duty in Parliament, they
protested against the lawfulness of everything done in their absence.
This they asked the King to send to the House of Lords, which he did.
Then the House of Commons impeached the whole party of Bishops and sent
them off to the Tower:

Taking no warning from this; but encouraged by there being a moderate
party in the Parliament who objected to these strong measures, the King,
on the third of January, one thousand six hundred and forty-two, took the
rashest step that ever was taken by mortal man.

Of his own accord and without advice, he sent the Attorney-General to the
House of Lords, to accuse of treason certain members of Parliament who as
popular leaders were the most obnoxious to him; LORD KIMBOLTON, SIR
ARTHUR HASELRIG, DENZIL HOLLIS, JOHN PYM (they used to call him King Pym,
he possessed such power and looked so big), JOHN HAMPDEN, and WILLIAM
STRODE.  The houses of those members he caused to be entered, and their
papers to be sealed up.  At the same time, he sent a messenger to the
House of Commons demanding to have the five gentlemen who were members of
that House immediately produced.  To this the House replied that they
should appear as soon as there was any legal charge against them, and
immediately adjourned.

Next day, the House of Commons send into the City to let the Lord Mayor
know that their privileges are invaded by the King, and that there is no
safety for anybody or anything.  Then, when the five members are gone out
of the way, down comes the King himself, with all his guard and from two
to three hundred gentlemen and soldiers, of whom the greater part were
armed.  These he leaves in the hall; and then, with his nephew at his
side, goes into the House, takes off his hat, and walks up to the
Speaker's chair.  The Speaker leaves it, the King stands in front of it,
looks about him steadily for a little while, and says he has come for
those five members.  No one speaks, and then he calls John Pym by name.
No one speaks, and then he calls Denzil Hollis by name.  No one speaks,
and then he asks the Speaker of the House where those five members are?
The Speaker, answering on his knee, nobly replies that he is the servant
of that House, and that he has neither eyes to see, nor tongue to speak,
anything but what the House commands him.  Upon this, the King, beaten
from that time evermore, replies that he will seek them himself, for they
have committed treason; and goes out, with his hat in his hand, amid some
audible murmurs from the members.

No words can describe the hurry that arose out of doors when all this was
known.  The five members had gone for safety to a house in
Coleman-street, in the City, where they were guarded all night; and
indeed the whole city watched in arms like an army.  At ten o'clock in
the morning, the King, already frightened at what he had done, came to
the Guildhall, with only half a dozen lords, and made a speech to the
people, hoping they would not shelter those whom he accused of treason.
Next day, he issued a proclamation for the apprehension of the five
members; but the Parliament minded it so little that they made great
arrangements for having them brought down to Westminster in great state,
five days afterwards.  The King was so alarmed now at his own imprudence,
if not for his own safety, that he left his palace at Whitehall, and went
away with his Queen and children to Hampton Court.

It was the eleventh of May, when the five members were carried in state
and triumph to Westminster.  They were taken by water.  The river could
not be seen for the boats on it; and the five members were hemmed in by
barges full of men and great guns, ready to protect them, at any cost.
Along the Strand a large body of the train-bands of London, under their
commander, SKIPPON, marched to be ready to assist the little fleet.
Beyond them, came a crowd who choked the streets, roaring incessantly
about the Bishops and the Papists, and crying out contemptuously as they
passed Whitehall, 'What has become of the King?'  With this great noise
outside the House of Commons, and with great silence within, Mr. Pym rose
and informed the House of the great kindness with which they had been
received in the City.  Upon that, the House called the sheriffs in and
thanked them, and requested the train-bands, under their commander
Skippon, to guard the House of Commons every day.  Then, came four
thousand men on horseback out of Buckinghamshire, offering their services
as a guard too, and bearing a petition to the King, complaining of the
injury that had been done to Mr. Hampden, who was their county man and
much beloved and honoured.

When the King set off for Hampton Court, the gentlemen and soldiers who
had been with him followed him out of town as far as
Kingston-upon-Thames; next day, Lord Digby came to them from the King at
Hampton Court, in his coach and six, to inform them that the King
accepted their protection.  This, the Parliament said, was making war
against the kingdom, and Lord Digby fled abroad.  The Parliament then
immediately applied themselves to getting hold of the military power of
the country, well knowing that the King was already trying hard to use it
against them, and that he had secretly sent the Earl of Newcastle to
Hull, to secure a valuable magazine of arms and gunpowder that was there.
In those times, every county had its own magazines of arms and powder,
for its own train-bands or militia; so, the Parliament brought in a bill
claiming the right (which up to this time had belonged to the King) of
appointing the Lord Lieutenants of counties, who commanded these train-
bands; also, of having all the forts, castles, and garrisons in the
kingdom, put into the hands of such governors as they, the Parliament,
could confide in.  It also passed a law depriving the Bishops of their
votes.  The King gave his assent to that bill, but would not abandon the
right of appointing the Lord Lieutenants, though he said he was willing
to appoint such as might be suggested to him by the Parliament.  When the
Earl of Pembroke asked him whether he would not give way on that question
for a time, he said, 'By God! not for one hour!' and upon this he and the
Parliament went to war.

His young daughter was betrothed to the Prince of Orange.  On pretence of
taking her to the country of her future husband, the Queen was already
got safely away to Holland, there to pawn the Crown jewels for money to
raise an army on the King's side.  The Lord Admiral being sick, the House
of Commons now named the Earl of Warwick to hold his place for a year.
The King named another gentleman; the House of Commons took its own way,
and the Earl of Warwick became Lord Admiral without the King's consent.
The Parliament sent orders down to Hull to have that magazine removed to
London; the King went down to Hull to take it himself.  The citizens
would not admit him into the town, and the governor would not admit him
into the castle.  The Parliament resolved that whatever the two Houses
passed, and the King would not consent to, should be called an ORDINANCE,
and should be as much a law as if he did consent to it.  The King
protested against this, and gave notice that these ordinances were not to
be obeyed.  The King, attended by the majority of the House of Peers, and
by many members of the House of Commons, established himself at York.  The
Chancellor went to him with the Great Seal, and the Parliament made a new
Great Seal.  The Queen sent over a ship full of arms and ammunition, and
the King issued letters to borrow money at high interest.  The Parliament
raised twenty regiments of foot and seventy-five troops of horse; and the
people willingly aided them with their money, plate, jewellery, and
trinkets--the married women even with their wedding-rings.  Every member
of Parliament who could raise a troop or a regiment in his own part of
the country, dressed it according to his taste and in his own colours,
and commanded it.  Foremost among them all, OLIVER CROMWELL raised a
troop of horse--thoroughly in earnest and thoroughly well armed--who
were, perhaps, the best soldiers that ever were seen.

In some of their proceedings, this famous Parliament passed the bounds of
previous law and custom, yielded to and favoured riotous assemblages of
the people, and acted tyrannically in imprisoning some who differed from
the popular leaders.  But again, you are always to remember that the
twelve years during which the King had had his own wilful way, had gone
before; and that nothing could make the times what they might, could,
would, or should have been, if those twelve years had never rolled away.



THIRD PART


I shall not try to relate the particulars of the great civil war between
King Charles the First and the Long Parliament, which lasted nearly four
years, and a full account of which would fill many large books.  It was a
sad thing that Englishmen should once more be fighting against Englishmen
on English ground; but, it is some consolation to know that on both sides
there was great humanity, forbearance, and honour.  The soldiers of the
Parliament were far more remarkable for these good qualities than the
soldiers of the King (many of whom fought for mere pay without much
caring for the cause); but those of the nobility and gentry who were on
the King's side were so brave, and so faithful to him, that their conduct
cannot but command our highest admiration.  Among them were great numbers
of Catholics, who took the royal side because the Queen was so strongly
of their persuasion.

The King might have distinguished some of these gallant spirits, if he
had been as generous a spirit himself, by giving them the command of his
army.  Instead of that, however, true to his old high notions of royalty,
he entrusted it to his two nephews, PRINCE RUPERT and PRINCE MAURICE, who
were of royal blood and came over from abroad to help him.  It might have
been better for him if they had stayed away; since Prince Rupert was an
impetuous, hot-headed fellow, whose only idea was to dash into battle at
all times and seasons, and lay about him.

The general-in-chief of the Parliamentary army was the Earl of Essex, a
gentleman of honour and an excellent soldier.  A little while before the
war broke out, there had been some rioting at Westminster between certain
officious law students and noisy soldiers, and the shopkeepers and their
apprentices, and the general people in the streets.  At that time the
King's friends called the crowd, Roundheads, because the apprentices wore
short hair; the crowd, in return, called their opponents Cavaliers,
meaning that they were a blustering set, who pretended to be very
military.  These two words now began to be used to distinguish the two
sides in the civil war.  The Royalists also called the Parliamentary men
Rebels and Rogues, while the Parliamentary men called _them_ Malignants,
and spoke of themselves as the Godly, the Honest, and so forth.

The war broke out at Portsmouth, where that double traitor Goring had
again gone over to the King and was besieged by the Parliamentary troops.
Upon this, the King proclaimed the Earl of Essex and the officers serving
under him, traitors, and called upon his loyal subjects to meet him in
arms at Nottingham on the twenty-fifth of August.  But his loyal subjects
came about him in scanty numbers, and it was a windy, gloomy day, and the
Royal Standard got blown down, and the whole affair was very melancholy.
The chief engagements after this, took place in the vale of the Red Horse
near Banbury, at Brentford, at Devizes, at Chalgrave Field (where Mr.
Hampden was so sorely wounded while fighting at the head of his men, that
he died within a week), at Newbury (in which battle LORD FALKLAND, one of
the best noblemen on the King's side, was killed), at Leicester, at
Naseby, at Winchester, at Marston Moor near York, at Newcastle, and in
many other parts of England and Scotland.  These battles were attended
with various successes.  At one time, the King was victorious; at another
time, the Parliament.  But almost all the great and busy towns were
against the King; and when it was considered necessary to fortify London,
all ranks of people, from labouring men and women, up to lords and
ladies, worked hard together with heartiness and good will.  The most
distinguished leaders on the Parliamentary side were HAMPDEN, SIR THOMAS
FAIRFAX, and, above all, OLIVER CROMWELL, and his son-in-law IRETON.

During the whole of this war, the people, to whom it was very expensive
and irksome, and to whom it was made the more distressing by almost every
family being divided--some of its members attaching themselves to one
side and some to the other--were over and over again most anxious for
peace.  So were some of the best men in each cause.  Accordingly,
treaties of peace were discussed between commissioners from the
Parliament and the King; at York, at Oxford (where the King held a little
Parliament of his own), and at Uxbridge.  But they came to nothing.  In
all these negotiations, and in all his difficulties, the King showed
himself at his best.  He was courageous, cool, self-possessed, and
clever; but, the old taint of his character was always in him, and he was
never for one single moment to be trusted.  Lord Clarendon, the
historian, one of his highest admirers, supposes that he had unhappily
promised the Queen never to make peace without her consent, and that this
must often be taken as his excuse.  He never kept his word from night to
morning.  He signed a cessation of hostilities with the blood-stained
Irish rebels for a sum of money, and invited the Irish regiments over, to
help him against the Parliament.  In the battle of Naseby, his cabinet
was seized and was found to contain a correspondence with the Queen, in
which he expressly told her that he had deceived the Parliament--a
mongrel Parliament, he called it now, as an improvement on his old term
of vipers--in pretending to recognise it and to treat with it; and from
which it further appeared that he had long been in secret treaty with the
Duke of Lorraine for a foreign army of ten thousand men.  Disappointed in
this, he sent a most devoted friend of his, the EARL OF GLAMORGAN, to
Ireland, to conclude a secret treaty with the Catholic powers, to send
him an Irish army of ten thousand men; in return for which he was to
bestow great favours on the Catholic religion.  And, when this treaty was
discovered in the carriage of a fighting Irish Archbishop who was killed
in one of the many skirmishes of those days, he basely denied and
deserted his attached friend, the Earl, on his being charged with high
treason; and--even worse than this--had left blanks in the secret
instructions he gave him with his own kingly hand, expressly that he
might thus save himself.

At last, on the twenty-seventh day of April, one thousand six hundred and
forty-six, the King found himself in the city of Oxford, so surrounded by
the Parliamentary army who were closing in upon him on all sides that he
felt that if he would escape he must delay no longer.  So, that night,
having altered the cut of his hair and beard, he was dressed up as a
servant and put upon a horse with a cloak strapped behind him, and rode
out of the town behind one of his own faithful followers, with a
clergyman of that country who knew the road well, for a guide.  He rode
towards London as far as Harrow, and then altered his plans and resolved,
it would seem, to go to the Scottish camp.  The Scottish men had been
invited over to help the Parliamentary army, and had a large force then
in England.  The King was so desperately intriguing in everything he did,
that it is doubtful what he exactly meant by this step.  He took it,
anyhow, and delivered himself up to the EARL OF LEVEN, the Scottish
general-in-chief, who treated him as an honourable prisoner.  Negotiations
between the Parliament on the one hand and the Scottish authorities on
the other, as to what should be done with him, lasted until the following
February.  Then, when the King had refused to the Parliament the
concession of that old militia point for twenty years, and had refused to
Scotland the recognition of its Solemn League and Covenant, Scotland got
a handsome sum for its army and its help, and the King into the bargain.
He was taken, by certain Parliamentary commissioners appointed to receive
him, to one of his own houses, called Holmby House, near Althorpe, in
Northamptonshire.

While the Civil War was still in progress, John Pym died, and was buried
with great honour in Westminster Abbey--not with greater honour than he
deserved, for the liberties of Englishmen owe a mighty debt to Pym and
Hampden.  The war was but newly over when the Earl of Essex died, of an
illness brought on by his having overheated himself in a stag hunt in
Windsor Forest.  He, too, was buried in Westminster Abbey, with great
state.  I wish it were not necessary to add that Archbishop Laud died
upon the scaffold when the war was not yet done.  His trial lasted in all
nearly a year, and, it being doubtful even then whether the charges
brought against him amounted to treason, the odious old contrivance of
the worst kings was resorted to, and a bill of attainder was brought in
against him.  He was a violently prejudiced and mischievous person; had
had strong ear-cropping and nose-splitting propensities, as you know; and
had done a world of harm.  But he died peaceably, and like a brave old
man.



FOURTH PART


When the Parliament had got the King into their hands, they became very
anxious to get rid of their army, in which Oliver Cromwell had begun to
acquire great power; not only because of his courage and high abilities,
but because he professed to be very sincere in the Scottish sort of
Puritan religion that was then exceedingly popular among the soldiers.
They were as much opposed to the Bishops as to the Pope himself; and the
very privates, drummers, and trumpeters, had such an inconvenient habit
of starting up and preaching long-winded discourses, that I would not
have belonged to that army on any account.

So, the Parliament, being far from sure but that the army might begin to
preach and fight against them now it had nothing else to do, proposed to
disband the greater part of it, to send another part to serve in Ireland
against the rebels, and to keep only a small force in England.  But, the
army would not consent to be broken up, except upon its own conditions;
and, when the Parliament showed an intention of compelling it, it acted
for itself in an unexpected manner.  A certain cornet, of the name of
JOICE, arrived at Holmby House one night, attended by four hundred
horsemen, went into the King's room with his hat in one hand and a pistol
in the other, and told the King that he had come to take him away.  The
King was willing enough to go, and only stipulated that he should be
publicly required to do so next morning.  Next morning, accordingly, he
appeared on the top of the steps of the house, and asked Comet Joice
before his men and the guard set there by the Parliament, what authority
he had for taking him away?  To this Cornet Joice replied, 'The authority
of the army.'  'Have you a written commission?' said the King.  Joice,
pointing to his four hundred men on horseback, replied, 'That is my
commission.'  'Well,' said the King, smiling, as if he were pleased, 'I
never before read such a commission; but it is written in fair and
legible characters.  This is a company of as handsome proper gentlemen as
I have seen a long while.'  He was asked where he would like to live, and
he said at Newmarket.  So, to Newmarket he and Cornet Joice and the four
hundred horsemen rode; the King remarking, in the same smiling way, that
he could ride as far at a spell as Cornet Joice, or any man there.

The King quite believed, I think, that the army were his friends.  He
said as much to Fairfax when that general, Oliver Cromwell, and Ireton,
went to persuade him to return to the custody of the Parliament.  He
preferred to remain as he was, and resolved to remain as he was.  And
when the army moved nearer and nearer London to frighten the Parliament
into yielding to their demands, they took the King with them.  It was a
deplorable thing that England should be at the mercy of a great body of
soldiers with arms in their hands; but the King certainly favoured them
at this important time of his life, as compared with the more lawful
power that tried to control him.  It must be added, however, that they
treated him, as yet, more respectfully and kindly than the Parliament had
done.  They allowed him to be attended by his own servants, to be
splendidly entertained at various houses, and to see his children--at
Cavesham House, near Reading--for two days.  Whereas, the Parliament had
been rather hard with him, and had only allowed him to ride out and play
at bowls.

It is much to be believed that if the King could have been trusted, even
at this time, he might have been saved.  Even Oliver Cromwell expressly
said that he did believe that no man could enjoy his possessions in
peace, unless the King had his rights.  He was not unfriendly towards the
King; he had been present when he received his children, and had been
much affected by the pitiable nature of the scene; he saw the King often;
he frequently walked and talked with him in the long galleries and
pleasant gardens of the Palace at Hampton Court, whither he was now
removed; and in all this risked something of his influence with the army.
But, the King was in secret hopes of help from the Scottish people; and
the moment he was encouraged to join them he began to be cool to his new
friends, the army, and to tell the officers that they could not possibly
do without him.  At the very time, too, when he was promising to make
Cromwell and Ireton noblemen, if they would help him up to his old
height, he was writing to the Queen that he meant to hang them.  They
both afterwards declared that they had been privately informed that such
a letter would be found, on a certain evening, sewed up in a saddle which
would be taken to the Blue Boar in Holborn to be sent to Dover; and that
they went there, disguised as common soldiers, and sat drinking in the
inn-yard until a man came with the saddle, which they ripped up with
their knives, and therein found the letter.  I see little reason to doubt
the story.  It is certain that Oliver Cromwell told one of the King's
most faithful followers that the King could not be trusted, and that he
would not be answerable if anything amiss were to happen to him.  Still,
even after that, he kept a promise he had made to the King, by letting
him know that there was a plot with a certain portion of the army to
seize him.  I believe that, in fact, he sincerely wanted the King to
escape abroad, and so to be got rid of without more trouble or danger.
That Oliver himself had work enough with the army is pretty plain; for
some of the troops were so mutinous against him, and against those who
acted with him at this time, that he found it necessary to have one man
shot at the head of his regiment to overawe the rest.

The King, when he received Oliver's warning, made his escape from Hampton
Court; after some indecision and uncertainty, he went to Carisbrooke
Castle in the Isle of Wight.  At first, he was pretty free there; but,
even there, he carried on a pretended treaty with the Parliament, while
he was really treating with commissioners from Scotland to send an army
into England to take his part.  When he broke off this treaty with the
Parliament (having settled with Scotland) and was treated as a prisoner,
his treatment was not changed too soon, for he had plotted to escape that
very night to a ship sent by the Queen, which was lying off the island.

He was doomed to be disappointed in his hopes from Scotland.  The
agreement he had made with the Scottish Commissioners was not favourable
enough to the religion of that country to please the Scottish clergy; and
they preached against it.  The consequence was, that the army raised in
Scotland and sent over, was too small to do much; and that, although it
was helped by a rising of the Royalists in England and by good soldiers
from Ireland, it could make no head against the Parliamentary army under
such men as Cromwell and Fairfax.  The King's eldest son, the Prince of
Wales, came over from Holland with nineteen ships (a part of the English
fleet having gone over to him) to help his father; but nothing came of
his voyage, and he was fain to return.  The most remarkable event of this
second civil war was the cruel execution by the Parliamentary General, of
SIR CHARLES LUCAS and SIR GEORGE LISLE, two grand Royalist generals, who
had bravely defended Colchester under every disadvantage of famine and
distress for nearly three months.  When Sir Charles Lucas was shot, Sir
George Lisle kissed his body, and said to the soldiers who were to shoot
him, 'Come nearer, and make sure of me.'  'I warrant you, Sir George,'
said one of the soldiers, 'we shall hit you.'  'AY?' he returned with a
smile, 'but I have been nearer to you, my friends, many a time, and you
have missed me.'

The Parliament, after being fearfully bullied by the army--who demanded
to have seven members whom they disliked given up to them--had voted that
they would have nothing more to do with the King.  On the conclusion,
however, of this second civil war (which did not last more than six
months), they appointed commissioners to treat with him.  The King, then
so far released again as to be allowed to live in a private house at
Newport in the Isle of Wight, managed his own part of the negotiation
with a sense that was admired by all who saw him, and gave up, in the
end, all that was asked of him--even yielding (which he had steadily
refused, so far) to the temporary abolition of the bishops, and the
transfer of their church land to the Crown.  Still, with his old fatal
vice upon him, when his best friends joined the commissioners in
beseeching him to yield all those points as the only means of saving
himself from the army, he was plotting to escape from the island; he was
holding correspondence with his friends and the Catholics in Ireland,
though declaring that he was not; and he was writing, with his own hand,
that in what he yielded he meant nothing but to get time to escape.

Matters were at this pass when the army, resolved to defy the Parliament,
marched up to London.  The Parliament, not afraid of them now, and boldly
led by Hollis, voted that the King's concessions were sufficient ground
for settling the peace of the kingdom.  Upon that, COLONEL RICH and
COLONEL PRIDE went down to the House of Commons with a regiment of horse
soldiers and a regiment of foot; and Colonel Pride, standing in the lobby
with a list of the members who were obnoxious to the army in his hand,
had them pointed out to him as they came through, and took them all into
custody.  This proceeding was afterwards called by the people, for a
joke, PRIDE'S PURGE.  Cromwell was in the North, at the head of his men,
at the time, but when he came home, approved of what had been done.

What with imprisoning some members and causing others to stay away, the
army had now reduced the House of Commons to some fifty or so.  These
soon voted that it was treason in a king to make war against his
parliament and his people, and sent an ordinance up to the House of Lords
for the King's being tried as a traitor.  The House of Lords, then
sixteen in number, to a man rejected it.  Thereupon, the Commons made an
ordinance of their own, that they were the supreme government of the
country, and would bring the King to trial.

The King had been taken for security to a place called Hurst Castle: a
lonely house on a rock in the sea, connected with the coast of Hampshire
by a rough road two miles long at low water.  Thence, he was ordered to
be removed to Windsor; thence, after being but rudely used there, and
having none but soldiers to wait upon him at table, he was brought up to
St. James's Palace in London, and told that his trial was appointed for
next day.

On Saturday, the twentieth of January, one thousand six hundred and forty-
nine, this memorable trial began.  The House of Commons had settled that
one hundred and thirty-five persons should form the Court, and these were
taken from the House itself, from among the officers of the army, and
from among the lawyers and citizens.  JOHN BRADSHAW, serjeant-at-law, was
appointed president.  The place was Westminster Hall.  At the upper end,
in a red velvet chair, sat the president, with his hat (lined with plates
of iron for his protection) on his head.  The rest of the Court sat on
side benches, also wearing their hats.  The King's seat was covered with
velvet, like that of the president, and was opposite to it.  He was
brought from St. James's to Whitehall, and from Whitehall he came by
water to his trial.

When he came in, he looked round very steadily on the Court, and on the
great number of spectators, and then sat down: presently he got up and
looked round again.  On the indictment 'against Charles Stuart, for high
treason,' being read, he smiled several times, and he denied the
authority of the Court, saying that there could be no parliament without
a House of Lords, and that he saw no House of Lords there.  Also, that
the King ought to be there, and that he saw no King in the King's right
place.  Bradshaw replied, that the Court was satisfied with its
authority, and that its authority was God's authority and the kingdom's.
He then adjourned the Court to the following Monday.  On that day, the
trial was resumed, and went on all the week.  When the Saturday came, as
the King passed forward to his place in the Hall, some soldiers and
others cried for 'justice!' and execution on him.  That day, too,
Bradshaw, like an angry Sultan, wore a red robe, instead of the black
robe he had worn before.  The King was sentenced to death that day.  As
he went out, one solitary soldier said, 'God bless you, Sir!'  For this,
his officer struck him.  The King said he thought the punishment exceeded
the offence.  The silver head of his walking-stick had fallen off while
he leaned upon it, at one time of the trial.  The accident seemed to
disturb him, as if he thought it ominous of the falling of his own head;
and he admitted as much, now it was all over.

Being taken back to Whitehall, he sent to the House of Commons, saying
that as the time of his execution might be nigh, he wished he might be
allowed to see his darling children.  It was granted.  On the Monday he
was taken back to St. James's; and his two children then in England, the
PRINCESS ELIZABETH thirteen years old, and the DUKE OF GLOUCESTER nine
years old, were brought to take leave of him, from Sion House, near
Brentford.  It was a sad and touching scene, when he kissed and fondled
those poor children, and made a little present of two diamond seals to
the Princess, and gave them tender messages to their mother (who little
deserved them, for she had a lover of her own whom she married soon
afterwards), and told them that he died 'for the laws and liberties of
the land.'  I am bound to say that I don't think he did, but I dare say
he believed so.

There were ambassadors from Holland that day, to intercede for the
unhappy King, whom you and I both wish the Parliament had spared; but
they got no answer.  The Scottish Commissioners interceded too; so did
the Prince of Wales, by a letter in which he offered as the next heir to
the throne, to accept any conditions from the Parliament; so did the
Queen, by letter likewise.

Notwithstanding all, the warrant for the execution was this day signed.
There is a story that as Oliver Cromwell went to the table with the pen
in his hand to put his signature to it, he drew his pen across the face
of one of the commissioners, who was standing near, and marked it with
ink.  That commissioner had not signed his own name yet, and the story
adds that when he came to do it he marked Cromwell's face with ink in the
same way.

The King slept well, untroubled by the knowledge that it was his last
night on earth, and rose on the thirtieth of January, two hours before
day, and dressed himself carefully.  He put on two shirts lest he should
tremble with the cold, and had his hair very carefully combed.  The
warrant had been directed to three officers of the army, COLONEL HACKER,
COLONEL HUNKS, and COLONEL PHAYER.  At ten o'clock, the first of these
came to the door and said it was time to go to Whitehall.  The King, who
had always been a quick walker, walked at his usual speed through the
Park, and called out to the guard, with his accustomed voice of command,
'March on apace!'  When he came to Whitehall, he was taken to his own
bedroom, where a breakfast was set forth.  As he had taken the Sacrament,
he would eat nothing more; but, at about the time when the church bells
struck twelve at noon (for he had to wait, through the scaffold not being
ready), he took the advice of the good BISHOP JUXON who was with him, and
ate a little bread and drank a glass of claret.  Soon after he had taken
this refreshment, Colonel Hacker came to the chamber with the warrant in
his hand, and called for Charles Stuart.

And then, through the long gallery of Whitehall Palace, which he had
often seen light and gay and merry and crowded, in very different times,
the fallen King passed along, until he came to the centre window of the
Banqueting House, through which he emerged upon the scaffold, which was
hung with black.  He looked at the two executioners, who were dressed in
black and masked; he looked at the troops of soldiers on horseback and on
foot, and all looked up at him in silence; he looked at the vast array of
spectators, filling up the view beyond, and turning all their faces upon
him; he looked at his old Palace of St. James's; and he looked at the
block.  He seemed a little troubled to find that it was so low, and
asked, 'if there were no place higher?'  Then, to those upon the
scaffold, he said, 'that it was the Parliament who had begun the war, and
not he; but he hoped they might be guiltless too, as ill instruments had
gone between them.  In one respect,' he said, 'he suffered justly; and
that was because he had permitted an unjust sentence to be executed on
another.'  In this he referred to the Earl of Strafford.

He was not at all afraid to die; but he was anxious to die easily.  When
some one touched the axe while he was speaking, he broke off and called
out, 'Take heed of the axe! take heed of the axe!'  He also said to
Colonel Hacker, 'Take care that they do not put me to pain.'  He told the
executioner, 'I shall say but very short prayers, and then thrust out my
hands'--as the sign to strike.

He put his hair up, under a white satin cap which the bishop had carried,
and said, 'I have a good cause and a gracious God on my side.'  The
bishop told him that he had but one stage more to travel in this weary
world, and that, though it was a turbulent and troublesome stage, it was
a short one, and would carry him a great way--all the way from earth to
Heaven.  The King's last word, as he gave his cloak and the George--the
decoration from his breast--to the bishop, was, 'Remember!'  He then
kneeled down, laid his head on the block, spread out his hands, and was
instantly killed.  One universal groan broke from the crowd; and the
soldiers, who had sat on their horses and stood in their ranks immovable
as statues, were of a sudden all in motion, clearing the streets.

Thus, in the forty-ninth year of his age, falling at the same time of his
career as Strafford had fallen in his, perished Charles the First.  With
all my sorrow for him, I cannot agree with him that he died 'the martyr
of the people;' for the people had been martyrs to him, and to his ideas
of a King's rights, long before.  Indeed, I am afraid that he was but a
bad judge of martyrs; for he had called that infamous Duke of Buckingham
'the Martyr of his Sovereign.'



CHAPTER XXXIV--ENGLAND UNDER OLIVER CROMWELL


Before sunset on the memorable day on which King Charles the First was
executed, the House of Commons passed an act declaring it treason in any
one to proclaim the Prince of Wales--or anybody else--King of England.
Soon afterwards, it declared that the House of Lords was useless and
dangerous, and ought to be abolished; and directed that the late King's
statue should be taken down from the Royal Exchange in the City and other
public places.  Having laid hold of some famous Royalists who had escaped
from prison, and having beheaded the DUKE OF HAMILTON, LORD HOLLAND, and
LORD CAPEL, in Palace Yard (all of whom died very courageously), they
then appointed a Council of State to govern the country.  It consisted of
forty-one members, of whom five were peers.  Bradshaw was made president.
The House of Commons also re-admitted members who had opposed the King's
death, and made up its numbers to about a hundred and fifty.

But, it still had an army of more than forty thousand men to deal with,
and a very hard task it was to manage them.  Before the King's execution,
the army had appointed some of its officers to remonstrate between them
and the Parliament; and now the common soldiers began to take that office
upon themselves.  The regiments under orders for Ireland mutinied; one
troop of horse in the city of London seized their own flag, and refused
to obey orders.  For this, the ringleader was shot: which did not mend
the matter, for, both his comrades and the people made a public funeral
for him, and accompanied the body to the grave with sound of trumpets and
with a gloomy procession of persons carrying bundles of rosemary steeped
in blood.  Oliver was the only man to deal with such difficulties as
these, and he soon cut them short by bursting at midnight into the town
of Burford, near Salisbury, where the mutineers were sheltered, taking
four hundred of them prisoners, and shooting a number of them by sentence
of court-martial.  The soldiers soon found, as all men did, that Oliver
was not a man to be trifled with.  And there was an end of the mutiny.

The Scottish Parliament did not know Oliver yet; so, on hearing of the
King's execution, it proclaimed the Prince of Wales King Charles the
Second, on condition of his respecting the Solemn League and Covenant.
Charles was abroad at that time, and so was Montrose, from whose help he
had hopes enough to keep him holding on and off with commissioners from
Scotland, just as his father might have done.  These hopes were soon at
an end; for, Montrose, having raised a few hundred exiles in Germany, and
landed with them in Scotland, found that the people there, instead of
joining him, deserted the country at his approach.  He was soon taken
prisoner and carried to Edinburgh.  There he was received with every
possible insult, and carried to prison in a cart, his officers going two
and two before him.  He was sentenced by the Parliament to be hanged on a
gallows thirty feet high, to have his head set on a spike in Edinburgh,
and his limbs distributed in other places, according to the old barbarous
manner.  He said he had always acted under the Royal orders, and only
wished he had limbs enough to be distributed through Christendom, that it
might be the more widely known how loyal he had been.  He went to the
scaffold in a bright and brilliant dress, and made a bold end at thirty-
eight years of age.  The breath was scarcely out of his body when Charles
abandoned his memory, and denied that he had ever given him orders to
rise in his behalf.  O the family failing was strong in that Charles
then!

Oliver had been appointed by the Parliament to command the army in
Ireland, where he took a terrible vengeance for the sanguinary rebellion,
and made tremendous havoc, particularly in the siege of Drogheda, where
no quarter was given, and where he found at least a thousand of the
inhabitants shut up together in the great church: every one of whom was
killed by his soldiers, usually known as OLIVER'S IRONSIDES.  There were
numbers of friars and priests among them, and Oliver gruffly wrote home
in his despatch that these were 'knocked on the head' like the rest.

But, Charles having got over to Scotland where the men of the Solemn
League and Covenant led him a prodigiously dull life and made him very
weary with long sermons and grim Sundays, the Parliament called the
redoubtable Oliver home to knock the Scottish men on the head for setting
up that Prince.  Oliver left his son-in-law, Ireton, as general in
Ireland in his stead (he died there afterwards), and he imitated the
example of his father-in-law with such good will that he brought the
country to subjection, and laid it at the feet of the Parliament.  In the
end, they passed an act for the settlement of Ireland, generally
pardoning all the common people, but exempting from this grace such of
the wealthier sort as had been concerned in the rebellion, or in any
killing of Protestants, or who refused to lay down their arms.  Great
numbers of Irish were got out of the country to serve under Catholic
powers abroad, and a quantity of land was declared to have been forfeited
by past offences, and was given to people who had lent money to the
Parliament early in the war.  These were sweeping measures; but, if
Oliver Cromwell had had his own way fully, and had stayed in Ireland, he
would have done more yet.

However, as I have said, the Parliament wanted Oliver for Scotland; so,
home Oliver came, and was made Commander of all the Forces of the
Commonwealth of England, and in three days away he went with sixteen
thousand soldiers to fight the Scottish men.  Now, the Scottish men,
being then--as you will generally find them now--mighty cautious,
reflected that the troops they had were not used to war like the
Ironsides, and would be beaten in an open fight.  Therefore they said,
'If we live quiet in our trenches in Edinburgh here, and if all the
farmers come into the town and desert the country, the Ironsides will be
driven out by iron hunger and be forced to go away.'  This was, no doubt,
the wisest plan; but as the Scottish clergy _would_ interfere with what
they knew nothing about, and would perpetually preach long sermons
exhorting the soldiers to come out and fight, the soldiers got it in
their heads that they absolutely must come out and fight.  Accordingly,
in an evil hour for themselves, they came out of their safe position.
Oliver fell upon them instantly, and killed three thousand, and took ten
thousand prisoners.

To gratify the Scottish Parliament, and preserve their favour, Charles
had signed a declaration they laid before him, reproaching the memory of
his father and mother, and representing himself as a most religious
Prince, to whom the Solemn League and Covenant was as dear as life.  He
meant no sort of truth in this, and soon afterwards galloped away on
horseback to join some tiresome Highland friends, who were always
flourishing dirks and broadswords.  He was overtaken and induced to
return; but this attempt, which was called 'The Start,' did him just so
much service, that they did not preach quite such long sermons at him
afterwards as they had done before.

On the first of January, one thousand six hundred and fifty-one, the
Scottish people crowned him at Scone.  He immediately took the chief
command of an army of twenty thousand men, and marched to Stirling.  His
hopes were heightened, I dare say, by the redoubtable Oliver being ill of
an ague; but Oliver scrambled out of bed in no time, and went to work
with such energy that he got behind the Royalist army and cut it off from
all communication with Scotland.  There was nothing for it then, but to
go on to England; so it went on as far as Worcester, where the mayor and
some of the gentry proclaimed King Charles the Second straightway.  His
proclamation, however, was of little use to him, for very few Royalists
appeared; and, on the very same day, two people were publicly beheaded on
Tower Hill for espousing his cause.  Up came Oliver to Worcester too, at
double quick speed, and he and his Ironsides so laid about them in the
great battle which was fought there, that they completely beat the
Scottish men, and destroyed the Royalist army; though the Scottish men
fought so gallantly that it took five hours to do.

The escape of Charles after this battle of Worcester did him good service
long afterwards, for it induced many of the generous English people to
take a romantic interest in him, and to think much better of him than he
ever deserved.  He fled in the night, with not more than sixty followers,
to the house of a Catholic lady in Staffordshire.  There, for his greater
safety, the whole sixty left him.  He cropped his hair, stained his face
and hands brown as if they were sunburnt, put on the clothes of a
labouring countryman, and went out in the morning with his axe in his
hand, accompanied by four wood-cutters who were brothers, and another man
who was their brother-in-law.  These good fellows made a bed for him
under a tree, as the weather was very bad; and the wife of one of them
brought him food to eat; and the old mother of the four brothers came and
fell down on her knees before him in the wood, and thanked God that her
sons were engaged in saving his life.  At night, he came out of the
forest and went on to another house which was near the river Severn, with
the intention of passing into Wales; but the place swarmed with soldiers,
and the bridges were guarded, and all the boats were made fast.  So,
after lying in a hayloft covered over with hay, for some time, he came
out of his place, attended by COLONEL CARELESS, a Catholic gentleman who
had met him there, and with whom he lay hid, all next day, up in the
shady branches of a fine old oak.  It was lucky for the King that it was
September-time, and that the leaves had not begun to fall, since he and
the Colonel, perched up in this tree, could catch glimpses of the
soldiers riding about below, and could hear the crash in the wood as they
went about beating the boughs.

After this, he walked and walked until his feet were all blistered; and,
having been concealed all one day in a house which was searched by the
troopers while he was there, went with LORD WILMOT, another of his good
friends, to a place called Bentley, where one MISS LANE, a Protestant
lady, had obtained a pass to be allowed to ride through the guards to see
a relation of hers near Bristol.  Disguised as a servant, he rode in the
saddle before this young lady to the house of SIR JOHN WINTER, while Lord
Wilmot rode there boldly, like a plain country gentleman, with dogs at
his heels.  It happened that Sir John Winter's butler had been servant in
Richmond Palace, and knew Charles the moment he set eyes upon him; but,
the butler was faithful and kept the secret.  As no ship could be found
to carry him abroad, it was planned that he should go--still travelling
with Miss Lane as her servant--to another house, at Trent near Sherborne
in Dorsetshire; and then Miss Lane and her cousin, MR. LASCELLES, who had
gone on horseback beside her all the way, went home.  I hope Miss Lane
was going to marry that cousin, for I am sure she must have been a brave,
kind girl.  If I had been that cousin, I should certainly have loved Miss
Lane.

When Charles, lonely for the loss of Miss Lane, was safe at Trent, a ship
was hired at Lyme, the master of which engaged to take two gentlemen to
France.  In the evening of the same day, the King--now riding as servant
before another young lady--set off for a public-house at a place called
Charmouth, where the captain of the vessel was to take him on board.  But,
the captain's wife, being afraid of her husband getting into trouble,
locked him up and would not let him sail.  Then they went away to
Bridport; and, coming to the inn there, found the stable-yard full of
soldiers who were on the look-out for Charles, and who talked about him
while they drank.  He had such presence of mind, that he led the horses
of his party through the yard as any other servant might have done, and
said, 'Come out of the way, you soldiers; let us have room to pass here!'
As he went along, he met a half-tipsy ostler, who rubbed his eyes and
said to him, 'Why, I was formerly servant to Mr. Potter at Exeter, and
surely I have sometimes seen you there, young man?'  He certainly had,
for Charles had lodged there.  His ready answer was, 'Ah, I did live with
him once; but I have no time to talk now.  We'll have a pot of beer
together when I come back.'

From this dangerous place he returned to Trent, and lay there concealed
several days.  Then he escaped to Heale, near Salisbury; where, in the
house of a widow lady, he was hidden five days, until the master of a
collier lying off Shoreham in Sussex, undertook to convey a 'gentleman'
to France.  On the night of the fifteenth of October, accompanied by two
colonels and a merchant, the King rode to Brighton, then a little fishing
village, to give the captain of the ship a supper before going on board;
but, so many people knew him, that this captain knew him too, and not
only he, but the landlord and landlady also.  Before he went away, the
landlord came behind his chair, kissed his hand, and said he hoped to
live to be a lord and to see his wife a lady; at which Charles laughed.
They had had a good supper by this time, and plenty of smoking and
drinking, at which the King was a first-rate hand; so, the captain
assured him that he would stand by him, and he did.  It was agreed that
the captain should pretend to sail to Deal, and that Charles should
address the sailors and say he was a gentleman in debt who was running
away from his creditors, and that he hoped they would join him in
persuading the captain to put him ashore in France.  As the King acted
his part very well indeed, and gave the sailors twenty shillings to
drink, they begged the captain to do what such a worthy gentleman asked.
He pretended to yield to their entreaties, and the King got safe to
Normandy.

Ireland being now subdued, and Scotland kept quiet by plenty of forts and
soldiers put there by Oliver, the Parliament would have gone on quietly
enough, as far as fighting with any foreign enemy went, but for getting
into trouble with the Dutch, who in the spring of the year one thousand
six hundred and fifty-one sent a fleet into the Downs under their ADMIRAL
VAN TROMP, to call upon the bold English ADMIRAL BLAKE (who was there
with half as many ships as the Dutch) to strike his flag.  Blake fired a
raging broadside instead, and beat off Van Tromp; who, in the autumn,
came back again with seventy ships, and challenged the bold Blake--who
still was only half as strong--to fight him.  Blake fought him all day;
but, finding that the Dutch were too many for him, got quietly off at
night.  What does Van Tromp upon this, but goes cruising and boasting
about the Channel, between the North Foreland and the Isle of Wight, with
a great Dutch broom tied to his masthead, as a sign that he could and
would sweep the English of the sea!  Within three months, Blake lowered
his tone though, and his broom too; for, he and two other bold
commanders, DEAN and MONK, fought him three whole days, took twenty-three
of his ships, shivered his broom to pieces, and settled his business.

Things were no sooner quiet again, than the army began to complain to the
Parliament that they were not governing the nation properly, and to hint
that they thought they could do it better themselves.  Oliver, who had
now made up his mind to be the head of the state, or nothing at all,
supported them in this, and called a meeting of officers and his own
Parliamentary friends, at his lodgings in Whitehall, to consider the best
way of getting rid of the Parliament.  It had now lasted just as many
years as the King's unbridled power had lasted, before it came into
existence.  The end of the deliberation was, that Oliver went down to the
House in his usual plain black dress, with his usual grey worsted
stockings, but with an unusual party of soldiers behind him.  These last
he left in the lobby, and then went in and sat down.  Presently he got
up, made the Parliament a speech, told them that the Lord had done with
them, stamped his foot and said, 'You are no Parliament.  Bring them in!
Bring them in!'  At this signal the door flew open, and the soldiers
appeared.  'This is not honest,' said Sir Harry Vane, one of the members.
'Sir Harry Vane!' cried Cromwell; 'O, Sir Harry Vane!  The Lord deliver
me from Sir Harry Vane!'  Then he pointed out members one by one, and
said this man was a drunkard, and that man a dissipated fellow, and that
man a liar, and so on.  Then he caused the Speaker to be walked out of
his chair, told the guard to clear the House, called the mace upon the
table--which is a sign that the House is sitting--'a fool's bauble,' and
said, 'here, carry it away!'  Being obeyed in all these orders, he
quietly locked the door, put the key in his pocket, walked back to
Whitehall again, and told his friends, who were still assembled there,
what he had done.

They formed a new Council of State after this extraordinary proceeding,
and got a new Parliament together in their own way: which Oliver himself
opened in a sort of sermon, and which he said was the beginning of a
perfect heaven upon earth.  In this Parliament there sat a well-known
leather-seller, who had taken the singular name of Praise God Barebones,
and from whom it was called, for a joke, Barebones's Parliament, though
its general name was the Little Parliament.  As it soon appeared that it
was not going to put Oliver in the first place, it turned out to be not
at all like the beginning of heaven upon earth, and Oliver said it really
was not to be borne with.  So he cleared off that Parliament in much the
same way as he had disposed of the other; and then the council of
officers decided that he must be made the supreme authority of the
kingdom, under the title of the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.

So, on the sixteenth of December, one thousand six hundred and
fifty-three, a great procession was formed at Oliver's door, and he came
out in a black velvet suit and a big pair of boots, and got into his
coach and went down to Westminster, attended by the judges, and the lord
mayor, and the aldermen, and all the other great and wonderful personages
of the country.  There, in the Court of Chancery, he publicly accepted
the office of Lord Protector.  Then he was sworn, and the City sword was
handed to him, and the seal was handed to him, and all the other things
were handed to him which are usually handed to Kings and Queens on state
occasions.  When Oliver had handed them all back, he was quite made and
completely finished off as Lord Protector; and several of the Ironsides
preached about it at great length, all the evening.



SECOND PART


Oliver Cromwell--whom the people long called OLD NOLL--in accepting the
office of Protector, had bound himself by a certain paper which was
handed to him, called 'the Instrument,' to summon a Parliament,
consisting of between four and five hundred members, in the election of
which neither the Royalists nor the Catholics were to have any share.  He
had also pledged himself that this Parliament should not be dissolved
without its own consent until it had sat five months.

When this Parliament met, Oliver made a speech to them of three hours
long, very wisely advising them what to do for the credit and happiness
of the country.  To keep down the more violent members, he required them
to sign a recognition of what they were forbidden by 'the Instrument' to
do; which was, chiefly, to take the power from one single person at the
head of the state or to command the army.  Then he dismissed them to go
to work.  With his usual vigour and resolution he went to work himself
with some frantic preachers--who were rather overdoing their sermons in
calling him a villain and a tyrant--by shutting up their chapels, and
sending a few of them off to prison.

There was not at that time, in England or anywhere else, a man so able to
govern the country as Oliver Cromwell.  Although he ruled with a strong
hand, and levied a very heavy tax on the Royalists (but not until they
had plotted against his life), he ruled wisely, and as the times
required.  He caused England to be so respected abroad, that I wish some
lords and gentlemen who have governed it under kings and queens in later
days would have taken a leaf out of Oliver Cromwell's book.  He sent bold
Admiral Blake to the Mediterranean Sea, to make the Duke of Tuscany pay
sixty thousand pounds for injuries he had done to British subjects, and
spoliation he had committed on English merchants.  He further despatched
him and his fleet to Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, to have every English
ship and every English man delivered up to him that had been taken by
pirates in those parts.  All this was gloriously done; and it began to be
thoroughly well known, all over the world, that England was governed by a
man in earnest, who would not allow the English name to be insulted or
slighted anywhere.

These were not all his foreign triumphs.  He sent a fleet to sea against
the Dutch; and the two powers, each with one hundred ships upon its side,
met in the English Channel off the North Foreland, where the fight lasted
all day long.  Dean was killed in this fight; but Monk, who commanded in
the same ship with him, threw his cloak over his body, that the sailors
might not know of his death, and be disheartened.  Nor were they.  The
English broadsides so exceedingly astonished the Dutch that they sheered
off at last, though the redoubtable Van Tromp fired upon them with his
own guns for deserting their flag.  Soon afterwards, the two fleets
engaged again, off the coast of Holland.  There, the valiant Van Tromp
was shot through the heart, and the Dutch gave in, and peace was made.

Further than this, Oliver resolved not to bear the domineering and
bigoted conduct of Spain, which country not only claimed a right to all
the gold and silver that could be found in South America, and treated the
ships of all other countries who visited those regions, as pirates, but
put English subjects into the horrible Spanish prisons of the
Inquisition.  So, Oliver told the Spanish ambassador that English ships
must be free to go wherever they would, and that English merchants must
not be thrown into those same dungeons, no, not for the pleasure of all
the priests in Spain.  To this, the Spanish ambassador replied that the
gold and silver country, and the Holy Inquisition, were his King's two
eyes, neither of which he could submit to have put out.  Very well, said
Oliver, then he was afraid he (Oliver) must damage those two eyes
directly.

So, another fleet was despatched under two commanders, PENN and VENABLES,
for Hispaniola; where, however, the Spaniards got the better of the
fight.  Consequently, the fleet came home again, after taking Jamaica on
the way.  Oliver, indignant with the two commanders who had not done what
bold Admiral Blake would have done, clapped them both into prison,
declared war against Spain, and made a treaty with France, in virtue of
which it was to shelter the King and his brother the Duke of York no
longer.  Then, he sent a fleet abroad under bold Admiral Blake, which
brought the King of Portugal to his senses--just to keep its hand in--and
then engaged a Spanish fleet, sunk four great ships, and took two more,
laden with silver to the value of two millions of pounds: which dazzling
prize was brought from Portsmouth to London in waggons, with the populace
of all the towns and villages through which the waggons passed, shouting
with all their might.  After this victory, bold Admiral Blake sailed away
to the port of Santa Cruz to cut off the Spanish treasure-ships coming
from Mexico.  There, he found them, ten in number, with seven others to
take care of them, and a big castle, and seven batteries, all roaring and
blazing away at him with great guns.  Blake cared no more for great guns
than for pop-guns--no more for their hot iron balls than for snow-balls.
He dashed into the harbour, captured and burnt every one of the ships,
and came sailing out again triumphantly, with the victorious English flag
flying at his masthead.  This was the last triumph of this great
commander, who had sailed and fought until he was quite worn out.  He
died, as his successful ship was coming into Plymouth Harbour amidst the
joyful acclamations of the people, and was buried in state in Westminster
Abbey.  Not to lie there, long.

Over and above all this, Oliver found that the VAUDOIS, or Protestant
people of the valleys of Lucerne, were insolently treated by the Catholic
powers, and were even put to death for their religion, in an audacious
and bloody manner.  Instantly, he informed those powers that this was a
thing which Protestant England would not allow; and he speedily carried
his point, through the might of his great name, and established their
right to worship God in peace after their own harmless manner.

Lastly, his English army won such admiration in fighting with the French
against the Spaniards, that, after they had assaulted the town of Dunkirk
together, the French King in person gave it up to the English, that it
might be a token to them of their might and valour.

There were plots enough against Oliver among the frantic religionists
(who called themselves Fifth Monarchy Men), and among the disappointed
Republicans.  He had a difficult game to play, for the Royalists were
always ready to side with either party against him.  The 'King over the
water,' too, as Charles was called, had no scruples about plotting with
any one against his life; although there is reason to suppose that he
would willingly have married one of his daughters, if Oliver would have
had such a son-in-law.  There was a certain COLONEL SAXBY of the army,
once a great supporter of Oliver's but now turned against him, who was a
grievous trouble to him through all this part of his career; and who came
and went between the discontented in England and Spain, and Charles who
put himself in alliance with Spain on being thrown off by France.  This
man died in prison at last; but not until there had been very serious
plots between the Royalists and Republicans, and an actual rising of them
in England, when they burst into the city of Salisbury, on a Sunday
night, seized the judges who were going to hold the assizes there next
day, and would have hanged them but for the merciful objections of the
more temperate of their number.  Oliver was so vigorous and shrewd that
he soon put this revolt down, as he did most other conspiracies; and it
was well for one of its chief managers--that same Lord Wilmot who had
assisted in Charles's flight, and was now EARL OF ROCHESTER--that he made
his escape.  Oliver seemed to have eyes and ears everywhere, and secured
such sources of information as his enemies little dreamed of.  There was
a chosen body of six persons, called the Sealed Knot, who were in the
closest and most secret confidence of Charles.  One of the foremost of
these very men, a SIR RICHARD WILLIS, reported to Oliver everything that
passed among them, and had two hundred a year for it.

MILES SYNDARCOMB, also of the old army, was another conspirator against
the Protector.  He and a man named CECIL, bribed one of his Life Guards
to let them have good notice when he was going out--intending to shoot
him from a window.  But, owing either to his caution or his good fortune,
they could never get an aim at him.  Disappointed in this design, they
got into the chapel in Whitehall, with a basketful of combustibles, which
were to explode by means of a slow match in six hours; then, in the noise
and confusion of the fire, they hoped to kill Oliver.  But, the Life
Guardsman himself disclosed this plot; and they were seized, and Miles
died (or killed himself in prison) a little while before he was ordered
for execution.  A few such plotters Oliver caused to be beheaded, a few
more to be hanged, and many more, including those who rose in arms
against him, to be sent as slaves to the West Indies.  If he were rigid,
he was impartial too, in asserting the laws of England.  When a
Portuguese nobleman, the brother of the Portuguese ambassador, killed a
London citizen in mistake for another man with whom he had had a quarrel,
Oliver caused him to be tried before a jury of Englishmen and foreigners,
and had him executed in spite of the entreaties of all the ambassadors in
London.

One of Oliver's own friends, the DUKE OF OLDENBURGH, in sending him a
present of six fine coach-horses, was very near doing more to please the
Royalists than all the plotters put together.  One day, Oliver went with
his coach, drawn by these six horses, into Hyde Park, to dine with his
secretary and some of his other gentlemen under the trees there.  After
dinner, being merry, he took it into his head to put his friends inside
and to drive them home: a postillion riding one of the foremost horses,
as the custom was.  On account of Oliver's being too free with the whip,
the six fine horses went off at a gallop, the postillion got thrown, and
Oliver fell upon the coach-pole and narrowly escaped being shot by his
own pistol, which got entangled with his clothes in the harness, and went
off.  He was dragged some distance by the foot, until his foot came out
of the shoe, and then he came safely to the ground under the broad body
of the coach, and was very little the worse.  The gentlemen inside were
only bruised, and the discontented people of all parties were much
disappointed.

The rest of the history of the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell is a
history of his Parliaments.  His first one not pleasing him at all, he
waited until the five months were out, and then dissolved it.  The next
was better suited to his views; and from that he desired to get--if he
could with safety to himself--the title of King.  He had had this in his
mind some time: whether because he thought that the English people, being
more used to the title, were more likely to obey it; or whether because
he really wished to be a king himself, and to leave the succession to
that title in his family, is far from clear.  He was already as high, in
England and in all the world, as he would ever be, and I doubt if he
cared for the mere name.  However, a paper, called the 'Humble Petition
and Advice,' was presented to him by the House of Commons, praying him to
take a high title and to appoint his successor.  That he would have taken
the title of King there is no doubt, but for the strong opposition of the
army.  This induced him to forbear, and to assent only to the other
points of the petition.  Upon which occasion there was another grand show
in Westminster Hall, when the Speaker of the House of Commons formally
invested him with a purple robe lined with ermine, and presented him with
a splendidly bound Bible, and put a golden sceptre in his hand.  The next
time the Parliament met, he called a House of Lords of sixty members, as
the petition gave him power to do; but as that Parliament did not please
him either, and would not proceed to the business of the country, he
jumped into a coach one morning, took six Guards with him, and sent them
to the right-about.  I wish this had been a warning to Parliaments to
avoid long speeches, and do more work.

It was the month of August, one thousand six hundred and fifty-eight,
when Oliver Cromwell's favourite daughter, ELIZABETH CLAYPOLE (who had
lately lost her youngest son), lay very ill, and his mind was greatly
troubled, because he loved her dearly.  Another of his daughters was
married to LORD FALCONBERG, another to the grandson of the Earl of
Warwick, and he had made his son RICHARD one of the Members of the Upper
House.  He was very kind and loving to them all, being a good father and
a good husband; but he loved this daughter the best of the family, and
went down to Hampton Court to see her, and could hardly be induced to
stir from her sick room until she died.  Although his religion had been
of a gloomy kind, his disposition had been always cheerful.  He had been
fond of music in his home, and had kept open table once a week for all
officers of the army not below the rank of captain, and had always
preserved in his house a quiet, sensible dignity.  He encouraged men of
genius and learning, and loved to have them about him.  MILTON was one of
his great friends.  He was good humoured too, with the nobility, whose
dresses and manners were very different from his; and to show them what
good information he had, he would sometimes jokingly tell them when they
were his guests, where they had last drunk the health of the 'King over
the water,' and would recommend them to be more private (if they could)
another time.  But he had lived in busy times, had borne the weight of
heavy State affairs, and had often gone in fear of his life.  He was ill
of the gout and ague; and when the death of his beloved child came upon
him in addition, he sank, never to raise his head again.  He told his
physicians on the twenty-fourth of August that the Lord had assured him
that he was not to die in that illness, and that he would certainly get
better.  This was only his sick fancy, for on the third of September,
which was the anniversary of the great battle of Worcester, and the day
of the year which he called his fortunate day, he died, in the sixtieth
year of his age.  He had been delirious, and had lain insensible some
hours, but he had been overheard to murmur a very good prayer the day
before.  The whole country lamented his death.  If you want to know the
real worth of Oliver Cromwell, and his real services to his country, you
can hardly do better than compare England under him, with England under
CHARLES THE SECOND.

He had appointed his son Richard to succeed him, and after there had
been, at Somerset House in the Strand, a lying in state more splendid
than sensible--as all such vanities after death are, I think--Richard
became Lord Protector.  He was an amiable country gentleman, but had none
of his father's great genius, and was quite unfit for such a post in such
a storm of parties.  Richard's Protectorate, which only lasted a year and
a half, is a history of quarrels between the officers of the army and the
Parliament, and between the officers among themselves; and of a growing
discontent among the people, who had far too many long sermons and far
too few amusements, and wanted a change.  At last, General Monk got the
army well into his own hands, and then in pursuance of a secret plan he
seems to have entertained from the time of Oliver's death, declared for
the King's cause.  He did not do this openly; but, in his place in the
House of Commons, as one of the members for Devonshire, strongly
advocated the proposals of one SIR JOHN GREENVILLE, who came to the House
with a letter from Charles, dated from Breda, and with whom he had
previously been in secret communication.  There had been plots and
counterplots, and a recall of the last members of the Long Parliament,
and an end of the Long Parliament, and risings of the Royalists that were
made too soon; and most men being tired out, and there being no one to
head the country now great Oliver was dead, it was readily agreed to
welcome Charles Stuart.  Some of the wiser and better members said--what
was most true--that in the letter from Breda, he gave no real promise to
govern well, and that it would be best to make him pledge himself
beforehand as to what he should be bound to do for the benefit of the
kingdom.  Monk said, however, it would be all right when he came, and he
could not come too soon.

So, everybody found out all in a moment that the country _must_ be
prosperous and happy, having another Stuart to condescend to reign over
it; and there was a prodigious firing off of guns, lighting of bonfires,
ringing of bells, and throwing up of caps.  The people drank the King's
health by thousands in the open streets, and everybody rejoiced.  Down
came the Arms of the Commonwealth, up went the Royal Arms instead, and
out came the public money.  Fifty thousand pounds for the King, ten
thousand pounds for his brother the Duke of York, five thousand pounds
for his brother the Duke of Gloucester.  Prayers for these gracious
Stuarts were put up in all the churches; commissioners were sent to
Holland (which suddenly found out that Charles was a great man, and that
it loved him) to invite the King home; Monk and the Kentish grandees went
to Dover, to kneel down before him as he landed.  He kissed and embraced
Monk, made him ride in the coach with himself and his brothers, came on
to London amid wonderful shoutings, and passed through the army at
Blackheath on the twenty-ninth of May (his birthday), in the year one
thousand six hundred and sixty.  Greeted by splendid dinners under tents,
by flags and tapestry streaming from all the houses, by delighted crowds
in all the streets, by troops of noblemen and gentlemen in rich dresses,
by City companies, train-bands, drummers, trumpeters, the great Lord
Mayor, and the majestic Aldermen, the King went on to Whitehall.  On
entering it, he commemorated his Restoration with the joke that it really
would seem to have been his own fault that he had not come long ago,
since everybody told him that he had always wished for him with all his
heart.



CHAPTER XXXV--ENGLAND UNDER CHARLES THE SECOND, CALLED THE MERRY MONARCH


There never were such profligate times in England as under Charles the
Second.  Whenever you see his portrait, with his swarthy, ill-looking
face and great nose, you may fancy him in his Court at Whitehall,
surrounded by some of the very worst vagabonds in the kingdom (though
they were lords and ladies), drinking, gambling, indulging in vicious
conversation, and committing every kind of profligate excess.  It has
been a fashion to call Charles the Second 'The Merry Monarch.'  Let me
try to give you a general idea of some of the merry things that were
done, in the merry days when this merry gentleman sat upon his merry
throne, in merry England.

The first merry proceeding was--of course--to declare that he was one of
the greatest, the wisest, and the noblest kings that ever shone, like the
blessed sun itself, on this benighted earth.  The next merry and pleasant
piece of business was, for the Parliament, in the humblest manner, to
give him one million two hundred thousand pounds a year, and to settle
upon him for life that old disputed tonnage and poundage which had been
so bravely fought for.  Then, General Monk being made EARL OF ALBEMARLE,
and a few other Royalists similarly rewarded, the law went to work to see
what was to be done to those persons (they were called Regicides) who had
been concerned in making a martyr of the late King.  Ten of these were
merrily executed; that is to say, six of the judges, one of the council,
Colonel Hacker and another officer who had commanded the Guards, and HUGH
PETERS, a preacher who had preached against the martyr with all his
heart.  These executions were so extremely merry, that every horrible
circumstance which Cromwell had abandoned was revived with appalling
cruelty.  The hearts of the sufferers were torn out of their living
bodies; their bowels were burned before their faces; the executioner cut
jokes to the next victim, as he rubbed his filthy hands together, that
were reeking with the blood of the last; and the heads of the dead were
drawn on sledges with the living to the place of suffering.  Still, even
so merry a monarch could not force one of these dying men to say that he
was sorry for what he had done.  Nay, the most memorable thing said among
them was, that if the thing were to do again they would do it.

Sir Harry Vane, who had furnished the evidence against Strafford, and was
one of the most staunch of the Republicans, was also tried, found guilty,
and ordered for execution.  When he came upon the scaffold on Tower Hill,
after conducting his own defence with great power, his notes of what he
had meant to say to the people were torn away from him, and the drums and
trumpets were ordered to sound lustily and drown his voice; for, the
people had been so much impressed by what the Regicides had calmly said
with their last breath, that it was the custom now, to have the drums and
trumpets always under the scaffold, ready to strike up.  Vane said no
more than this: 'It is a bad cause which cannot bear the words of a dying
man:' and bravely died.

These merry scenes were succeeded by another, perhaps even merrier.  On
the anniversary of the late King's death, the bodies of Oliver Cromwell,
Ireton, and Bradshaw, were torn out of their graves in Westminster Abbey,
dragged to Tyburn, hanged there on a gallows all day long, and then
beheaded.  Imagine the head of Oliver Cromwell set upon a pole to be
stared at by a brutal crowd, not one of whom would have dared to look the
living Oliver in the face for half a moment!  Think, after you have read
this reign, what England was under Oliver Cromwell who was torn out of
his grave, and what it was under this merry monarch who sold it, like a
merry Judas, over and over again.

Of course, the remains of Oliver's wife and daughter were not to be
spared either, though they had been most excellent women.  The base
clergy of that time gave up their bodies, which had been buried in the
Abbey, and--to the eternal disgrace of England--they were thrown into a
pit, together with the mouldering bones of Pym and of the brave and bold
old Admiral Blake.

The clergy acted this disgraceful part because they hoped to get the
nonconformists, or dissenters, thoroughly put down in this reign, and to
have but one prayer-book and one service for all kinds of people, no
matter what their private opinions were.  This was pretty well, I think,
for a Protestant Church, which had displaced the Romish Church because
people had a right to their own opinions in religious matters.  However,
they carried it with a high hand, and a prayer-book was agreed upon, in
which the extremest opinions of Archbishop Laud were not forgotten.  An
Act was passed, too, preventing any dissenter from holding any office
under any corporation.  So, the regular clergy in their triumph were soon
as merry as the King.  The army being by this time disbanded, and the
King crowned, everything was to go on easily for evermore.

I must say a word here about the King's family.  He had not been long
upon the throne when his brother the Duke of Gloucester, and his sister
the PRINCESS OF ORANGE, died within a few months of each other, of small-
pox.  His remaining sister, the PRINCESS HENRIETTA, married the DUKE OF
ORLEANS, the brother of LOUIS THE FOURTEENTH, King of France.  His
brother JAMES, DUKE OF YORK, was made High Admiral, and by-and-by became
a Catholic.  He was a gloomy, sullen, bilious sort of man, with a
remarkable partiality for the ugliest women in the country.  He married,
under very discreditable circumstances, ANNE HYDE, the daughter of LORD
CLARENDON, then the King's principal Minister--not at all a delicate
minister either, but doing much of the dirty work of a very dirty palace.
It became important now that the King himself should be married; and
divers foreign Monarchs, not very particular about the character of their
son-in-law, proposed their daughters to him.  The KING OF PORTUGAL
offered his daughter, CATHERINE OF BRAGANZA, and fifty thousand pounds:
in addition to which, the French King, who was favourable to that match,
offered a loan of another fifty thousand.  The King of Spain, on the
other hand, offered any one out of a dozen of Princesses, and other hopes
of gain.  But the ready money carried the day, and Catherine came over in
state to her merry marriage.

The whole Court was a great flaunting crowd of debauched men and
shameless women; and Catherine's merry husband insulted and outraged her
in every possible way, until she consented to receive those worthless
creatures as her very good friends, and to degrade herself by their
companionship.  A MRS. PALMER, whom the King made LADY CASTLEMAINE, and
afterwards DUCHESS OF CLEVELAND, was one of the most powerful of the bad
women about the Court, and had great influence with the King nearly all
through his reign.  Another merry lady named MOLL DAVIES, a dancer at the
theatre, was afterwards her rival.  So was NELL GWYN, first an orange
girl and then an actress, who really had good in her, and of whom one of
the worst things I know is, that actually she does seem to have been fond
of the King.  The first DUKE OF ST. ALBANS was this orange girl's child.
In like manner the son of a merry waiting-lady, whom the King created
DUCHESS OF PORTSMOUTH, became the DUKE OF RICHMOND.  Upon the whole it is
not so bad a thing to be a commoner.

The Merry Monarch was so exceedingly merry among these merry ladies, and
some equally merry (and equally infamous) lords and gentlemen, that he
soon got through his hundred thousand pounds, and then, by way of raising
a little pocket-money, made a merry bargain.  He sold Dunkirk to the
French King for five millions of livres.  When I think of the dignity to
which Oliver Cromwell raised England in the eyes of foreign powers, and
when I think of the manner in which he gained for England this very
Dunkirk, I am much inclined to consider that if the Merry Monarch had
been made to follow his father for this action, he would have received
his just deserts.

Though he was like his father in none of that father's greater qualities,
he was like him in being worthy of no trust.  When he sent that letter to
the Parliament, from Breda, he did expressly promise that all sincere
religious opinions should be respected.  Yet he was no sooner firm in his
power than he consented to one of the worst Acts of Parliament ever
passed.  Under this law, every minister who should not give his solemn
assent to the Prayer-Book by a certain day, was declared to be a minister
no longer, and to be deprived of his church.  The consequence of this was
that some two thousand honest men were taken from their congregations,
and reduced to dire poverty and distress.  It was followed by another
outrageous law, called the Conventicle Act, by which any person above the
age of sixteen who was present at any religious service not according to
the Prayer-Book, was to be imprisoned three months for the first offence,
six for the second, and to be transported for the third.  This Act alone
filled the prisons, which were then most dreadful dungeons, to
overflowing.

The Covenanters in Scotland had already fared no better.  A base
Parliament, usually known as the Drunken Parliament, in consequence of
its principal members being seldom sober, had been got together to make
laws against the Covenanters, and to force all men to be of one mind in
religious matters.  The MARQUIS OF ARGYLE, relying on the King's honour,
had given himself up to him; but, he was wealthy, and his enemies wanted
his wealth.  He was tried for treason, on the evidence of some private
letters in which he had expressed opinions--as well he might--more
favourable to the government of the late Lord Protector than of the
present merry and religious King.  He was executed, as were two men of
mark among the Covenanters; and SHARP, a traitor who had once been the
friend of the Presbyterians and betrayed them, was made Archbishop of St.
Andrew's, to teach the Scotch how to like bishops.

Things being in this merry state at home, the Merry Monarch undertook a
war with the Dutch; principally because they interfered with an African
company, established with the two objects of buying gold-dust and slaves,
of which the Duke of York was a leading member.  After some preliminary
hostilities, the said Duke sailed to the coast of Holland with a fleet of
ninety-eight vessels of war, and four fire-ships.  This engaged with the
Dutch fleet, of no fewer than one hundred and thirteen ships.  In the
great battle between the two forces, the Dutch lost eighteen ships, four
admirals, and seven thousand men.  But, the English on shore were in no
mood of exultation when they heard the news.

For, this was the year and the time of the Great Plague in London.  During
the winter of one thousand six hundred and sixty-four it had been
whispered about, that some few people had died here and there of the
disease called the Plague, in some of the unwholesome suburbs around
London.  News was not published at that time as it is now, and some
people believed these rumours, and some disbelieved them, and they were
soon forgotten.  But, in the month of May, one thousand six hundred and
sixty-five, it began to be said all over the town that the disease had
burst out with great violence in St. Giles's, and that the people were
dying in great numbers.  This soon turned out to be awfully true.  The
roads out of London were choked up by people endeavouring to escape from
the infected city, and large sums were paid for any kind of conveyance.
The disease soon spread so fast, that it was necessary to shut up the
houses in which sick people were, and to cut them off from communication
with the living.  Every one of these houses was marked on the outside of
the door with a red cross, and the words, Lord, have mercy upon us!  The
streets were all deserted, grass grew in the public ways, and there was a
dreadful silence in the air.  When night came on, dismal rumblings used
to be heard, and these were the wheels of the death-carts, attended by
men with veiled faces and holding cloths to their mouths, who rang
doleful bells and cried in a loud and solemn voice, 'Bring out your
dead!'  The corpses put into these carts were buried by torchlight in
great pits; no service being performed over them; all men being afraid to
stay for a moment on the brink of the ghastly graves.  In the general
fear, children ran away from their parents, and parents from their
children.  Some who were taken ill, died alone, and without any help.
Some were stabbed or strangled by hired nurses who robbed them of all
their money, and stole the very beds on which they lay.  Some went mad,
dropped from the windows, ran through the streets, and in their pain and
frenzy flung themselves into the river.

These were not all the horrors of the time.  The wicked and dissolute, in
wild desperation, sat in the taverns singing roaring songs, and were
stricken as they drank, and went out and died.  The fearful and
superstitious persuaded themselves that they saw supernatural
sights--burning swords in the sky, gigantic arms and darts.  Others
pretended that at nights vast crowds of ghosts walked round and round the
dismal pits.  One madman, naked, and carrying a brazier full of burning
coals upon his head, stalked through the streets, crying out that he was
a Prophet, commissioned to denounce the vengeance of the Lord on wicked
London.  Another always went to and fro, exclaiming, 'Yet forty days, and
London shall be destroyed!'  A third awoke the echoes in the dismal
streets, by night and by day, and made the blood of the sick run cold, by
calling out incessantly, in a deep hoarse voice, 'O, the great and
dreadful God!'

Through the months of July and August and September, the Great Plague
raged more and more.  Great fires were lighted in the streets, in the
hope of stopping the infection; but there was a plague of rain too, and
it beat the fires out.  At last, the winds which usually arise at that
time of the year which is called the equinox, when day and night are of
equal length all over the world, began to blow, and to purify the
wretched town.  The deaths began to decrease, the red crosses slowly to
disappear, the fugitives to return, the shops to open, pale frightened
faces to be seen in the streets.  The Plague had been in every part of
England, but in close and unwholesome London it had killed one hundred
thousand people.

All this time, the Merry Monarch was as merry as ever, and as worthless
as ever.  All this time, the debauched lords and gentlemen and the
shameless ladies danced and gamed and drank, and loved and hated one
another, according to their merry ways.

So little humanity did the government learn from the late affliction,
that one of the first things the Parliament did when it met at Oxford
(being as yet afraid to come to London), was to make a law, called the
Five Mile Act, expressly directed against those poor ministers who, in
the time of the Plague, had manfully come back to comfort the unhappy
people.  This infamous law, by forbidding them to teach in any school, or
to come within five miles of any city, town, or village, doomed them to
starvation and death.

The fleet had been at sea, and healthy.  The King of France was now in
alliance with the Dutch, though his navy was chiefly employed in looking
on while the English and Dutch fought.  The Dutch gained one victory; and
the English gained another and a greater; and Prince Rupert, one of the
English admirals, was out in the Channel one windy night, looking for the
French Admiral, with the intention of giving him something more to do
than he had had yet, when the gale increased to a storm, and blew him
into Saint Helen's.  That night was the third of September, one thousand
six hundred and sixty-six, and that wind fanned the Great Fire of London.

It broke out at a baker's shop near London Bridge, on the spot on which
the Monument now stands as a remembrance of those raging flames.  It
spread and spread, and burned and burned, for three days.  The nights
were lighter than the days; in the daytime there was an immense cloud of
smoke, and in the night-time there was a great tower of fire mounting up
into the sky, which lighted the whole country landscape for ten miles
round.  Showers of hot ashes rose into the air and fell on distant
places; flying sparks carried the conflagration to great distances, and
kindled it in twenty new spots at a time; church steeples fell down with
tremendous crashes; houses crumbled into cinders by the hundred and the
thousand.  The summer had been intensely hot and dry, the streets were
very narrow, and the houses mostly built of wood and plaster.  Nothing
could stop the tremendous fire, but the want of more houses to burn; nor
did it stop until the whole way from the Tower to Temple Bar was a
desert, composed of the ashes of thirteen thousand houses and eighty-nine
churches.

This was a terrible visitation at the time, and occasioned great loss and
suffering to the two hundred thousand burnt-out people, who were obliged
to lie in the fields under the open night sky, or in hastily-made huts of
mud and straw, while the lanes and roads were rendered impassable by
carts which had broken down as they tried to save their goods.  But the
Fire was a great blessing to the City afterwards, for it arose from its
ruins very much improved--built more regularly, more widely, more cleanly
and carefully, and therefore much more healthily.  It might be far more
healthy than it is, but there are some people in it still--even now, at
this time, nearly two hundred years later--so selfish, so pig-headed, and
so ignorant, that I doubt if even another Great Fire would warm them up
to do their duty.

The Catholics were accused of having wilfully set London in flames; one
poor Frenchman, who had been mad for years, even accused himself of
having with his own hand fired the first house.  There is no reasonable
doubt, however, that the fire was accidental.  An inscription on the
Monument long attributed it to the Catholics; but it is removed now, and
was always a malicious and stupid untruth.



SECOND PART


That the Merry Monarch might be very merry indeed, in the merry times
when his people were suffering under pestilence and fire, he drank and
gambled and flung away among his favourites the money which the
Parliament had voted for the war.  The consequence of this was that the
stout-hearted English sailors were merrily starving of want, and dying in
the streets; while the Dutch, under their admirals DE WITT and DE RUYTER,
came into the River Thames, and up the River Medway as far as Upnor,
burned the guard-ships, silenced the weak batteries, and did what they
would to the English coast for six whole weeks.  Most of the English
ships that could have prevented them had neither powder nor shot on
board; in this merry reign, public officers made themselves as merry as
the King did with the public money; and when it was entrusted to them to
spend in national defences or preparations, they put it into their own
pockets with the merriest grace in the world.

Lord Clarendon had, by this time, run as long a course as is usually
allotted to the unscrupulous ministers of bad kings.  He was impeached by
his political opponents, but unsuccessfully.  The King then commanded him
to withdraw from England and retire to France, which he did, after
defending himself in writing.  He was no great loss at home, and died
abroad some seven years afterwards.

There then came into power a ministry called the Cabal Ministry, because
it was composed of LORD CLIFFORD, the EARL OF ARLINGTON, the DUKE OF
BUCKINGHAM (a great rascal, and the King's most powerful favourite), LORD
ASHLEY, and the DUKE OF LAUDERDALE, C. A. B. A. L.  As the French were
making conquests in Flanders, the first Cabal proceeding was to make a
treaty with the Dutch, for uniting with Spain to oppose the French.  It
was no sooner made than the Merry Monarch, who always wanted to get money
without being accountable to a Parliament for his expenditure, apologised
to the King of France for having had anything to do with it, and
concluded a secret treaty with him, making himself his infamous pensioner
to the amount of two millions of livres down, and three millions more a
year; and engaging to desert that very Spain, to make war against those
very Dutch, and to declare himself a Catholic when a convenient time
should arrive.  This religious king had lately been crying to his
Catholic brother on the subject of his strong desire to be a Catholic;
and now he merrily concluded this treasonable conspiracy against the
country he governed, by undertaking to become one as soon as he safely
could.  For all of which, though he had had ten merry heads instead of
one, he richly deserved to lose them by the headsman's axe.

As his one merry head might have been far from safe, if these things had
been known, they were kept very quiet, and war was declared by France and
England against the Dutch.  But, a very uncommon man, afterwards most
important to English history and to the religion and liberty of this
land, arose among them, and for many long years defeated the whole
projects of France.  This was WILLIAM OF NASSAU, PRINCE OF ORANGE, son of
the last Prince of Orange of the same name, who married the daughter of
Charles the First of England.  He was a young man at this time, only just
of age; but he was brave, cool, intrepid, and wise.  His father had been
so detested that, upon his death, the Dutch had abolished the authority
to which this son would have otherwise succeeded (Stadtholder it was
called), and placed the chief power in the hands of JOHN DE WITT, who
educated this young prince.  Now, the Prince became very popular, and
John de Witt's brother CORNELIUS was sentenced to banishment on a false
accusation of conspiring to kill him.  John went to the prison where he
was, to take him away to exile, in his coach; and a great mob who
collected on the occasion, then and there cruelly murdered both the
brothers.  This left the government in the hands of the Prince, who was
really the choice of the nation; and from this time he exercised it with
the greatest vigour, against the whole power of France, under its famous
generals CONDE and TURENNE, and in support of the Protestant religion.  It
was full seven years before this war ended in a treaty of peace made at
Nimeguen, and its details would occupy a very considerable space.  It is
enough to say that William of Orange established a famous character with
the whole world; and that the Merry Monarch, adding to and improving on
his former baseness, bound himself to do everything the King of France
liked, and nothing the King of France did not like, for a pension of one
hundred thousand pounds a year, which was afterwards doubled.  Besides
this, the King of France, by means of his corrupt ambassador--who wrote
accounts of his proceedings in England, which are not always to be
believed, I think--bought our English members of Parliament, as he wanted
them.  So, in point of fact, during a considerable portion of this merry
reign, the King of France was the real King of this country.

But there was a better time to come, and it was to come (though his royal
uncle little thought so) through that very William, Prince of Orange.  He
came over to England, saw Mary, the elder daughter of the Duke of York,
and married her.  We shall see by-and-by what came of that marriage, and
why it is never to be forgotten.

This daughter was a Protestant, but her mother died a Catholic.  She and
her sister ANNE, also a Protestant, were the only survivors of eight
children.  Anne afterwards married GEORGE, PRINCE OF DENMARK, brother to
the King of that country.

Lest you should do the Merry Monarch the injustice of supposing that he
was even good humoured (except when he had everything his own way), or
that he was high spirited and honourable, I will mention here what was
done to a member of the House of Commons, SIR JOHN COVENTRY.  He made a
remark in a debate about taxing the theatres, which gave the King
offence.  The King agreed with his illegitimate son, who had been born
abroad, and whom he had made DUKE OF MONMOUTH, to take the following
merry vengeance.  To waylay him at night, fifteen armed men to one, and
to slit his nose with a penknife.  Like master, like man.  The King's
favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, was strongly suspected of setting on
an assassin to murder the DUKE OF ORMOND as he was returning home from a
dinner; and that Duke's spirited son, LORD OSSORY, was so persuaded of
his guilt, that he said to him at Court, even as he stood beside the
King, 'My lord, I know very well that you are at the bottom of this late
attempt upon my father.  But I give you warning, if he ever come to a
violent end, his blood shall be upon you, and wherever I meet you I will
pistol you!  I will do so, though I find you standing behind the King's
chair; and I tell you this in his Majesty's presence, that you may be
quite sure of my doing what I threaten.'  Those were merry times indeed.

There was a fellow named BLOOD, who was seized for making, with two
companions, an audacious attempt to steal the crown, the globe, and
sceptre, from the place where the jewels were kept in the Tower.  This
robber, who was a swaggering ruffian, being taken, declared that he was
the man who had endeavoured to kill the Duke of Ormond, and that he had
meant to kill the King too, but was overawed by the majesty of his
appearance, when he might otherwise have done it, as he was bathing at
Battersea.  The King being but an ill-looking fellow, I don't believe a
word of this.  Whether he was flattered, or whether he knew that
Buckingham had really set Blood on to murder the Duke, is uncertain.  But
it is quite certain that he pardoned this thief, gave him an estate of
five hundred a year in Ireland (which had had the honour of giving him
birth), and presented him at Court to the debauched lords and the
shameless ladies, who made a great deal of him--as I have no doubt they
would have made of the Devil himself, if the King had introduced him.

Infamously pensioned as he was, the King still wanted money, and
consequently was obliged to call Parliaments.  In these, the great object
of the Protestants was to thwart the Catholic Duke of York, who married a
second time; his new wife being a young lady only fifteen years old, the
Catholic sister of the DUKE OF MODENA.  In this they were seconded by the
Protestant Dissenters, though to their own disadvantage: since, to
exclude Catholics from power, they were even willing to exclude
themselves.  The King's object was to pretend to be a Protestant, while
he was really a Catholic; to swear to the bishops that he was devoutly
attached to the English Church, while he knew he had bargained it away to
the King of France; and by cheating and deceiving them, and all who were
attached to royalty, to become despotic and be powerful enough to confess
what a rascal he was.  Meantime, the King of France, knowing his merry
pensioner well, intrigued with the King's opponents in Parliament, as
well as with the King and his friends.

The fears that the country had of the Catholic religion being restored,
if the Duke of York should come to the throne, and the low cunning of the
King in pretending to share their alarms, led to some very terrible
results.  A certain DR. TONGE, a dull clergyman in the City, fell into
the hands of a certain TITUS OATES, a most infamous character, who
pretended to have acquired among the Jesuits abroad a knowledge of a
great plot for the murder of the King, and the re-establishment if the
Catholic religion.  Titus Oates, being produced by this unlucky Dr. Tonge
and solemnly examined before the council, contradicted himself in a
thousand ways, told the most ridiculous and improbable stories, and
implicated COLEMAN, the Secretary of the Duchess of York.  Now, although
what he charged against Coleman was not true, and although you and I know
very well that the real dangerous Catholic plot was that one with the
King of France of which the Merry Monarch was himself the head, there
happened to be found among Coleman's papers, some letters, in which he
did praise the days of Bloody Queen Mary, and abuse the Protestant
religion.  This was great good fortune for Titus, as it seemed to confirm
him; but better still was in store.  SIR EDMUNDBURY GODFREY, the
magistrate who had first examined him, being unexpectedly found dead near
Primrose Hill, was confidently believed to have been killed by the
Catholics.  I think there is no doubt that he had been melancholy mad,
and that he killed himself; but he had a great Protestant funeral, and
Titus was called the Saver of the Nation, and received a pension of
twelve hundred pounds a year.

As soon as Oates's wickedness had met with this success, up started
another villain, named WILLIAM BEDLOE, who, attracted by a reward of five
hundred pounds offered for the apprehension of the murderers of Godfrey,
came forward and charged two Jesuits and some other persons with having
committed it at the Queen's desire.  Oates, going into partnership with
this new informer, had the audacity to accuse the poor Queen herself of
high treason.  Then appeared a third informer, as bad as either of the
two, and accused a Catholic banker named STAYLEY of having said that the
King was the greatest rogue in the world (which would not have been far
from the truth), and that he would kill him with his own hand.  This
banker, being at once tried and executed, Coleman and two others were
tried and executed.  Then, a miserable wretch named PRANCE, a Catholic
silversmith, being accused by Bedloe, was tortured into confessing that
he had taken part in Godfrey's murder, and into accusing three other men
of having committed it.  Then, five Jesuits were accused by Oates,
Bedloe, and Prance together, and were all found guilty, and executed on
the same kind of contradictory and absurd evidence.  The Queen's
physician and three monks were next put on their trial; but Oates and
Bedloe had for the time gone far enough and these four were acquitted.
The public mind, however, was so full of a Catholic plot, and so strong
against the Duke of York, that James consented to obey a written order
from his brother, and to go with his family to Brussels, provided that
his rights should never be sacrificed in his absence to the Duke of
Monmouth.  The House of Commons, not satisfied with this as the King
hoped, passed a bill to exclude the Duke from ever succeeding to the
throne.  In return, the King dissolved the Parliament.  He had deserted
his old favourite, the Duke of Buckingham, who was now in the opposition.

To give any sufficient idea of the miseries of Scotland in this merry
reign, would occupy a hundred pages.  Because the people would not have
bishops, and were resolved to stand by their solemn League and Covenant,
such cruelties were inflicted upon them as make the blood run cold.
Ferocious dragoons galloped through the country to punish the peasants
for deserting the churches; sons were hanged up at their fathers' doors
for refusing to disclose where their fathers were concealed; wives were
tortured to death for not betraying their husbands; people were taken out
of their fields and gardens, and shot on the public roads without trial;
lighted matches were tied to the fingers of prisoners, and a most
horrible torment called the Boot was invented, and constantly applied,
which ground and mashed the victims' legs with iron wedges.  Witnesses
were tortured as well as prisoners.  All the prisons were full; all the
gibbets were heavy with bodies; murder and plunder devastated the whole
country.  In spite of all, the Covenanters were by no means to be dragged
into the churches, and persisted in worshipping God as they thought
right.  A body of ferocious Highlanders, turned upon them from the
mountains of their own country, had no greater effect than the English
dragoons under GRAHAME OF CLAVERHOUSE, the most cruel and rapacious of
all their enemies, whose name will ever be cursed through the length and
breadth of Scotland.  Archbishop Sharp had ever aided and abetted all
these outrages.  But he fell at last; for, when the injuries of the
Scottish people were at their height, he was seen, in his coach-and-six
coming across a moor, by a body of men, headed by one JOHN BALFOUR, who
were waiting for another of their oppressors.  Upon this they cried out
that Heaven had delivered him into their hands, and killed him with many
wounds.  If ever a man deserved such a death, I think Archbishop Sharp
did.

It made a great noise directly, and the Merry Monarch--strongly suspected
of having goaded the Scottish people on, that he might have an excuse for
a greater army than the Parliament were willing to give him--sent down
his son, the Duke of Monmouth, as commander-in-chief, with instructions
to attack the Scottish rebels, or Whigs as they were called, whenever he
came up with them.  Marching with ten thousand men from Edinburgh, he
found them, in number four or five thousand, drawn up at Bothwell Bridge,
by the Clyde.  They were soon dispersed; and Monmouth showed a more
humane character towards them, than he had shown towards that Member of
Parliament whose nose he had caused to be slit with a penknife.  But the
Duke of Lauderdale was their bitter foe, and sent Claverhouse to finish
them.

As the Duke of York became more and more unpopular, the Duke of Monmouth
became more and more popular.  It would have been decent in the latter
not to have voted in favour of the renewed bill for the exclusion of
James from the throne; but he did so, much to the King's amusement, who
used to sit in the House of Lords by the fire, hearing the debates, which
he said were as good as a play.  The House of Commons passed the bill by
a large majority, and it was carried up to the House of Lords by LORD
RUSSELL, one of the best of the leaders on the Protestant side.  It was
rejected there, chiefly because the bishops helped the King to get rid of
it; and the fear of Catholic plots revived again.  There had been another
got up, by a fellow out of Newgate, named DANGERFIELD, which is more
famous than it deserves to be, under the name of the MEAL-TUB PLOT.  This
jail-bird having been got out of Newgate by a MRS. CELLIER, a Catholic
nurse, had turned Catholic himself, and pretended that he knew of a plot
among the Presbyterians against the King's life.  This was very pleasant
to the Duke of York, who hated the Presbyterians, who returned the
compliment.  He gave Dangerfield twenty guineas, and sent him to the King
his brother.  But Dangerfield, breaking down altogether in his charge,
and being sent back to Newgate, almost astonished the Duke out of his
five senses by suddenly swearing that the Catholic nurse had put that
false design into his head, and that what he really knew about, was, a
Catholic plot against the King; the evidence of which would be found in
some papers, concealed in a meal-tub in Mrs. Cellier's house.  There they
were, of course--for he had put them there himself--and so the tub gave
the name to the plot.  But, the nurse was acquitted on her trial, and it
came to nothing.

Lord Ashley, of the Cabal, was now Lord Shaftesbury, and was strong
against the succession of the Duke of York.  The House of Commons,
aggravated to the utmost extent, as we may well suppose, by suspicions of
the King's conspiracy with the King of France, made a desperate point of
the exclusion, still, and were bitter against the Catholics generally.  So
unjustly bitter were they, I grieve to say, that they impeached the
venerable Lord Stafford, a Catholic nobleman seventy years old, of a
design to kill the King.  The witnesses were that atrocious Oates and two
other birds of the same feather.  He was found guilty, on evidence quite
as foolish as it was false, and was beheaded on Tower Hill.  The people
were opposed to him when he first appeared upon the scaffold; but, when
he had addressed them and shown them how innocent he was and how wickedly
he was sent there, their better nature was aroused, and they said, 'We
believe you, my Lord.  God bless you, my Lord!'

The House of Commons refused to let the King have any money until he
should consent to the Exclusion Bill; but, as he could get it and did get
it from his master the King of France, he could afford to hold them very
cheap.  He called a Parliament at Oxford, to which he went down with a
great show of being armed and protected as if he were in danger of his
life, and to which the opposition members also went armed and protected,
alleging that they were in fear of the Papists, who were numerous among
the King's guards.  However, they went on with the Exclusion Bill, and
were so earnest upon it that they would have carried it again, if the
King had not popped his crown and state robes into a sedan-chair, bundled
himself into it along with them, hurried down to the chamber where the
House of Lords met, and dissolved the Parliament.  After which he
scampered home, and the members of Parliament scampered home too, as fast
as their legs could carry them.

The Duke of York, then residing in Scotland, had, under the law which
excluded Catholics from public trust, no right whatever to public
employment.  Nevertheless, he was openly employed as the King's
representative in Scotland, and there gratified his sullen and cruel
nature to his heart's content by directing the dreadful cruelties against
the Covenanters.  There were two ministers named CARGILL and CAMERON who
had escaped from the battle of Bothwell Bridge, and who returned to
Scotland, and raised the miserable but still brave and unsubdued
Covenanters afresh, under the name of Cameronians.  As Cameron publicly
posted a declaration that the King was a forsworn tyrant, no mercy was
shown to his unhappy followers after he was slain in battle.  The Duke of
York, who was particularly fond of the Boot and derived great pleasure
from having it applied, offered their lives to some of these people, if
they would cry on the scaffold 'God save the King!'  But their relations,
friends, and countrymen, had been so barbarously tortured and murdered in
this merry reign, that they preferred to die, and did die.  The Duke then
obtained his merry brother's permission to hold a Parliament in Scotland,
which first, with most shameless deceit, confirmed the laws for securing
the Protestant religion against Popery, and then declared that nothing
must or should prevent the succession of the Popish Duke.  After this
double-faced beginning, it established an oath which no human being could
understand, but which everybody was to take, as a proof that his religion
was the lawful religion.  The Earl of Argyle, taking it with the
explanation that he did not consider it to prevent him from favouring any
alteration either in the Church or State which was not inconsistent with
the Protestant religion or with his loyalty, was tried for high treason
before a Scottish jury of which the MARQUIS OF MONTROSE was foreman, and
was found guilty.  He escaped the scaffold, for that time, by getting
away, in the disguise of a page, in the train of his daughter, LADY
SOPHIA LINDSAY.  It was absolutely proposed, by certain members of the
Scottish Council, that this lady should be whipped through the streets of
Edinburgh.  But this was too much even for the Duke, who had the
manliness then (he had very little at most times) to remark that
Englishmen were not accustomed to treat ladies in that manner.  In those
merry times nothing could equal the brutal servility of the Scottish
fawners, but the conduct of similar degraded beings in England.

After the settlement of these little affairs, the Duke returned to
England, and soon resumed his place at the Council, and his office of
High Admiral--all this by his brother's favour, and in open defiance of
the law.  It would have been no loss to the country, if he had been
drowned when his ship, in going to Scotland to fetch his family, struck
on a sand-bank, and was lost with two hundred souls on board.  But he
escaped in a boat with some friends; and the sailors were so brave and
unselfish, that, when they saw him rowing away, they gave three cheers,
while they themselves were going down for ever.

The Merry Monarch, having got rid of his Parliament, went to work to make
himself despotic, with all speed.  Having had the villainy to order the
execution of OLIVER PLUNKET, BISHOP OF ARMAGH, falsely accused of a plot
to establish Popery in that country by means of a French army--the very
thing this royal traitor was himself trying to do at home--and having
tried to ruin Lord Shaftesbury, and failed--he turned his hand to
controlling the corporations all over the country; because, if he could
only do that, he could get what juries he chose, to bring in perjured
verdicts, and could get what members he chose returned to Parliament.
These merry times produced, and made Chief Justice of the Court of King's
Bench, a drunken ruffian of the name of JEFFREYS; a red-faced, swollen,
bloated, horrible creature, with a bullying, roaring voice, and a more
savage nature perhaps than was ever lodged in any human breast.  This
monster was the Merry Monarch's especial favourite, and he testified his
admiration of him by giving him a ring from his own finger, which the
people used to call Judge Jeffreys's Bloodstone.  Him the King employed
to go about and bully the corporations, beginning with London; or, as
Jeffreys himself elegantly called it, 'to give them a lick with the rough
side of his tongue.'  And he did it so thoroughly, that they soon became
the basest and most sycophantic bodies in the kingdom--except the
University of Oxford, which, in that respect, was quite pre-eminent and
unapproachable.

Lord Shaftesbury (who died soon after the King's failure against him),
LORD WILLIAM RUSSELL, the Duke of Monmouth, LORD HOWARD, LORD JERSEY,
ALGERNON SIDNEY, JOHN HAMPDEN (grandson of the great Hampden), and some
others, used to hold a council together after the dissolution of the
Parliament, arranging what it might be necessary to do, if the King
carried his Popish plot to the utmost height.  Lord Shaftesbury having
been much the most violent of this party, brought two violent men into
their secrets--RUMSEY, who had been a soldier in the Republican army; and
WEST, a lawyer.  These two knew an old officer of CROMWELL'S, called
RUMBOLD, who had married a maltster's widow, and so had come into
possession of a solitary dwelling called the Rye House, near Hoddesdon,
in Hertfordshire.  Rumbold said to them what a capital place this house
of his would be from which to shoot at the King, who often passed there
going to and fro from Newmarket.  They liked the idea, and entertained
it.  But, one of their body gave information; and they, together with
SHEPHERD a wine merchant, Lord Russell, Algernon Sidney, LORD ESSEX, LORD
HOWARD, and Hampden, were all arrested.

Lord Russell might have easily escaped, but scorned to do so, being
innocent of any wrong; Lord Essex might have easily escaped, but scorned
to do so, lest his flight should prejudice Lord Russell.  But it weighed
upon his mind that he had brought into their council, Lord Howard--who
now turned a miserable traitor--against a great dislike Lord Russell had
always had of him.  He could not bear the reflection, and destroyed
himself before Lord Russell was brought to trial at the Old Bailey.

He knew very well that he had nothing to hope, having always been manful
in the Protestant cause against the two false brothers, the one on the
throne, and the other standing next to it.  He had a wife, one of the
noblest and best of women, who acted as his secretary on his trial, who
comforted him in his prison, who supped with him on the night before he
died, and whose love and virtue and devotion have made her name
imperishable.  Of course, he was found guilty, and was sentenced to be
beheaded in Lincoln's Inn-fields, not many yards from his own house.  When
he had parted from his children on the evening before his death, his wife
still stayed with him until ten o'clock at night; and when their final
separation in this world was over, and he had kissed her many times, he
still sat for a long while in his prison, talking of her goodness.
Hearing the rain fall fast at that time, he calmly said, 'Such a rain to-
morrow will spoil a great show, which is a dull thing on a rainy day.'  At
midnight he went to bed, and slept till four; even when his servant
called him, he fell asleep again while his clothes were being made ready.
He rode to the scaffold in his own carriage, attended by two famous
clergymen, TILLOTSON and BURNET, and sang a psalm to himself very softly,
as he went along.  He was as quiet and as steady as if he had been going
out for an ordinary ride.  After saying that he was surprised to see so
great a crowd, he laid down his head upon the block, as if upon the
pillow of his bed, and had it struck off at the second blow.  His noble
wife was busy for him even then; for that true-hearted lady printed and
widely circulated his last words, of which he had given her a copy.  They
made the blood of all the honest men in England boil.

The University of Oxford distinguished itself on the very same day by
pretending to believe that the accusation against Lord Russell was true,
and by calling the King, in a written paper, the Breath of their Nostrils
and the Anointed of the Lord.  This paper the Parliament afterwards
caused to be burned by the common hangman; which I am sorry for, as I
wish it had been framed and glazed and hung up in some public place, as a
monument of baseness for the scorn of mankind.

Next, came the trial of Algernon Sidney, at which Jeffreys presided, like
a great crimson toad, sweltering and swelling with rage.  'I pray God,
Mr. Sidney,' said this Chief Justice of a merry reign, after passing
sentence, 'to work in you a temper fit to go to the other world, for I
see you are not fit for this.'  'My lord,' said the prisoner, composedly
holding out his arm, 'feel my pulse, and see if I be disordered.  I thank
Heaven I never was in better temper than I am now.'  Algernon Sidney was
executed on Tower Hill, on the seventh of December, one thousand six
hundred and eighty-three.  He died a hero, and died, in his own words,
'For that good old cause in which he had been engaged from his youth, and
for which God had so often and so wonderfully declared himself.'

The Duke of Monmouth had been making his uncle, the Duke of York, very
jealous, by going about the country in a royal sort of way, playing at
the people's games, becoming godfather to their children, and even
touching for the King's evil, or stroking the faces of the sick to cure
them--though, for the matter of that, I should say he did them about as
much good as any crowned king could have done.  His father had got him to
write a letter, confessing his having had a part in the conspiracy, for
which Lord Russell had been beheaded; but he was ever a weak man, and as
soon as he had written it, he was ashamed of it and got it back again.
For this, he was banished to the Netherlands; but he soon returned and
had an interview with his father, unknown to his uncle.  It would seem
that he was coming into the Merry Monarch's favour again, and that the
Duke of York was sliding out of it, when Death appeared to the merry
galleries at Whitehall, and astonished the debauched lords and gentlemen,
and the shameless ladies, very considerably.

On Monday, the second of February, one thousand six hundred and eighty-
five, the merry pensioner and servant of the King of France fell down in
a fit of apoplexy.  By the Wednesday his case was hopeless, and on the
Thursday he was told so.  As he made a difficulty about taking the
sacrament from the Protestant Bishop of Bath, the Duke of York got all
who were present away from the bed, and asked his brother, in a whisper,
if he should send for a Catholic priest?   The King replied, 'For God's
sake, brother, do!'  The Duke smuggled in, up the back stairs, disguised
in a wig and gown, a priest named HUDDLESTON, who had saved the King's
life after the battle of Worcester: telling him that this worthy man in
the wig had once saved his body, and was now come to save his soul.

The Merry Monarch lived through that night, and died before noon on the
next day, which was Friday, the sixth.  Two of the last things he said
were of a human sort, and your remembrance will give him the full benefit
of them.  When the Queen sent to say she was too unwell to attend him and
to ask his pardon, he said, 'Alas! poor woman, _she_ beg _my_ pardon!  I
beg hers with all my heart.  Take back that answer to her.'  And he also
said, in reference to Nell Gwyn, 'Do not let poor Nelly starve.'

He died in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and the twenty-fifth of his
reign.



CHAPTER XXXVI--ENGLAND UNDER JAMES THE SECOND


King James the Second was a man so very disagreeable, that even the best
of historians has favoured his brother Charles, as becoming, by
comparison, quite a pleasant character.  The one object of his short
reign was to re-establish the Catholic religion in England; and this he
doggedly pursued with such a stupid obstinacy, that his career very soon
came to a close.

The first thing he did, was, to assure his council that he would make it
his endeavour to preserve the Government, both in Church and State, as it
was by law established; and that he would always take care to defend and
support the Church.  Great public acclamations were raised over this fair
speech, and a great deal was said, from the pulpits and elsewhere, about
the word of a King which was never broken, by credulous people who little
supposed that he had formed a secret council for Catholic affairs, of
which a mischievous Jesuit, called FATHER PETRE, was one of the chief
members.  With tears of joy in his eyes, he received, as the beginning of
_his_ pension from the King of France, five hundred thousand livres; yet,
with a mixture of meanness and arrogance that belonged to his
contemptible character, he was always jealous of making some show of
being independent of the King of France, while he pocketed his money.
As--notwithstanding his publishing two papers in favour of Popery (and
not likely to do it much service, I should think) written by the King,
his brother, and found in his strong-box; and his open display of himself
attending mass--the Parliament was very obsequious, and granted him a
large sum of money, he began his reign with a belief that he could do
what he pleased, and with a determination to do it.

Before we proceed to its principal events, let us dispose of Titus Oates.
He was tried for perjury, a fortnight after the coronation, and besides
being very heavily fined, was sentenced to stand twice in the pillory, to
be whipped from Aldgate to Newgate one day, and from Newgate to Tyburn
two days afterwards, and to stand in the pillory five times a year as
long as he lived.  This fearful sentence was actually inflicted on the
rascal.  Being unable to stand after his first flogging, he was dragged
on a sledge from Newgate to Tyburn, and flogged as he was drawn along.  He
was so strong a villain that he did not die under the torture, but lived
to be afterwards pardoned and rewarded, though not to be ever believed in
any more.  Dangerfield, the only other one of that crew left alive, was
not so fortunate.  He was almost killed by a whipping from Newgate to
Tyburn, and, as if that were not punishment enough, a ferocious barrister
of Gray's Inn gave him a poke in the eye with his cane, which caused his
death; for which the ferocious barrister was deservedly tried and
executed.

As soon as James was on the throne, Argyle and Monmouth went from
Brussels to Rotterdam, and attended a meeting of Scottish exiles held
there, to concert measures for a rising in England.  It was agreed that
Argyle should effect a landing in Scotland, and Monmouth in England; and
that two Englishmen should be sent with Argyle to be in his confidence,
and two Scotchmen with the Duke of Monmouth.

Argyle was the first to act upon this contract.  But, two of his men
being taken prisoners at the Orkney Islands, the Government became aware
of his intention, and was able to act against him with such vigour as to
prevent his raising more than two or three thousand Highlanders, although
he sent a fiery cross, by trusty messengers, from clan to clan and from
glen to glen, as the custom then was when those wild people were to be
excited by their chiefs.  As he was moving towards Glasgow with his small
force, he was betrayed by some of his followers, taken, and carried, with
his hands tied behind his back, to his old prison in Edinburgh Castle.
James ordered him to be executed, on his old shamefully unjust sentence,
within three days; and he appears to have been anxious that his legs
should have been pounded with his old favourite the boot.  However, the
boot was not applied; he was simply beheaded, and his head was set upon
the top of Edinburgh Jail.  One of those Englishmen who had been assigned
to him was that old soldier Rumbold, the master of the Rye House.  He was
sorely wounded, and within a week after Argyle had suffered with great
courage, was brought up for trial, lest he should die and disappoint the
King.  He, too, was executed, after defending himself with great spirit,
and saying that he did not believe that God had made the greater part of
mankind to carry saddles on their backs and bridles in their mouths, and
to be ridden by a few, booted and spurred for the purpose--in which I
thoroughly agree with Rumbold.

The Duke of Monmouth, partly through being detained and partly through
idling his time away, was five or six weeks behind his friend when he
landed at Lyme, in Dorset: having at his right hand an unlucky nobleman
called LORD GREY OF WERK, who of himself would have ruined a far more
promising expedition.  He immediately set up his standard in the market-
place, and proclaimed the King a tyrant, and a Popish usurper, and I know
not what else; charging him, not only with what he had done, which was
bad enough, but with what neither he nor anybody else had done, such as
setting fire to London, and poisoning the late King.  Raising some four
thousand men by these means, he marched on to Taunton, where there were
many Protestant dissenters who were strongly opposed to the Catholics.
Here, both the rich and poor turned out to receive him, ladies waved a
welcome to him from all the windows as he passed along the streets,
flowers were strewn in his way, and every compliment and honour that
could be devised was showered upon him.  Among the rest, twenty young
ladies came forward, in their best clothes, and in their brightest
beauty, and gave him a Bible ornamented with their own fair hands,
together with other presents.

Encouraged by this homage, he proclaimed himself King, and went on to
Bridgewater.  But, here the Government troops, under the EARL OF
FEVERSHAM, were close at hand; and he was so dispirited at finding that
he made but few powerful friends after all, that it was a question
whether he should disband his army and endeavour to escape.  It was
resolved, at the instance of that unlucky Lord Grey, to make a night
attack on the King's army, as it lay encamped on the edge of a morass
called Sedgemoor.  The horsemen were commanded by the same unlucky lord,
who was not a brave man.  He gave up the battle almost at the first
obstacle--which was a deep drain; and although the poor countrymen, who
had turned out for Monmouth, fought bravely with scythes, poles,
pitchforks, and such poor weapons as they had, they were soon dispersed
by the trained soldiers, and fled in all directions.  When the Duke of
Monmouth himself fled, was not known in the confusion; but the unlucky
Lord Grey was taken early next day, and then another of the party was
taken, who confessed that he had parted from the Duke only four hours
before.  Strict search being made, he was found disguised as a peasant,
hidden in a ditch under fern and nettles, with a few peas in his pocket
which he had gathered in the fields to eat.  The only other articles he
had upon him were a few papers and little books: one of the latter being
a strange jumble, in his own writing, of charms, songs, recipes, and
prayers.  He was completely broken.  He wrote a miserable letter to the
King, beseeching and entreating to be allowed to see him.  When he was
taken to London, and conveyed bound into the King's presence, he crawled
to him on his knees, and made a most degrading exhibition.  As James
never forgave or relented towards anybody, he was not likely to soften
towards the issuer of the Lyme proclamation, so he told the suppliant to
prepare for death.

On the fifteenth of July, one thousand six hundred and eighty-five, this
unfortunate favourite of the people was brought out to die on Tower Hill.
The crowd was immense, and the tops of all the houses were covered with
gazers.  He had seen his wife, the daughter of the Duke of Buccleuch, in
the Tower, and had talked much of a lady whom he loved far better--the
LADY HARRIET WENTWORTH--who was one of the last persons he remembered in
this life.  Before laying down his head upon the block he felt the edge
of the axe, and told the executioner that he feared it was not sharp
enough, and that the axe was not heavy enough.  On the executioner
replying that it was of the proper kind, the Duke said, 'I pray you have
a care, and do not use me so awkwardly as you used my Lord Russell.'  The
executioner, made nervous by this, and trembling, struck once and merely
gashed him in the neck.  Upon this, the Duke of Monmouth raised his head
and looked the man reproachfully in the face.  Then he struck twice, and
then thrice, and then threw down the axe, and cried out in a voice of
horror that he could not finish that work.  The sheriffs, however,
threatening him with what should be done to himself if he did not, he
took it up again and struck a fourth time and a fifth time.  Then the
wretched head at last fell off, and James, Duke of Monmouth, was dead, in
the thirty-sixth year of his age.  He was a showy, graceful man, with
many popular qualities, and had found much favour in the open hearts of
the English.

The atrocities, committed by the Government, which followed this Monmouth
rebellion, form the blackest and most lamentable page in English history.
The poor peasants, having been dispersed with great loss, and their
leaders having been taken, one would think that the implacable King might
have been satisfied.  But no; he let loose upon them, among other
intolerable monsters, a COLONEL KIRK, who had served against the Moors,
and whose soldiers--called by the people Kirk's lambs, because they bore
a lamb upon their flag, as the emblem of Christianity--were worthy of
their leader.  The atrocities committed by these demons in human shape
are far too horrible to be related here.  It is enough to say, that
besides most ruthlessly murdering and robbing them, and ruining them by
making them buy their pardons at the price of all they possessed, it was
one of Kirk's favourite amusements, as he and his officers sat drinking
after dinner, and toasting the King, to have batches of prisoners hanged
outside the windows for the company's diversion; and that when their feet
quivered in the convulsions of death, he used to swear that they should
have music to their dancing, and would order the drums to beat and the
trumpets to play.  The detestable King informed him, as an acknowledgment
of these services, that he was 'very well satisfied with his
proceedings.'  But the King's great delight was in the proceedings of
Jeffreys, now a peer, who went down into the west, with four other
judges, to try persons accused of having had any share in the rebellion.
The King pleasantly called this 'Jeffreys's campaign.'  The people down
in that part of the country remember it to this day as The Bloody Assize.

It began at Winchester, where a poor deaf old lady, MRS. ALICIA LISLE,
the widow of one of the judges of Charles the First (who had been
murdered abroad by some Royalist assassins), was charged with having
given shelter in her house to two fugitives from Sedgemoor.  Three times
the jury refused to find her guilty, until Jeffreys bullied and
frightened them into that false verdict.  When he had extorted it from
them, he said, 'Gentlemen, if I had been one of you, and she had been my
own mother, I would have found her guilty;'--as I dare say he would.  He
sentenced her to be burned alive, that very afternoon.  The clergy of the
cathedral and some others interfered in her favour, and she was beheaded
within a week.  As a high mark of his approbation, the King made Jeffreys
Lord Chancellor; and he then went on to Dorchester, to Exeter, to
Taunton, and to Wells.  It is astonishing, when we read of the enormous
injustice and barbarity of this beast, to know that no one struck him
dead on the judgment-seat.  It was enough for any man or woman to be
accused by an enemy, before Jeffreys, to be found guilty of high treason.
One man who pleaded not guilty, he ordered to be taken out of court upon
the instant, and hanged; and this so terrified the prisoners in general
that they mostly pleaded guilty at once.  At Dorchester alone, in the
course of a few days, Jeffreys hanged eighty people; besides whipping,
transporting, imprisoning, and selling as slaves, great numbers.  He
executed, in all, two hundred and fifty, or three hundred.

These executions took place, among the neighbours and friends of the
sentenced, in thirty-six towns and villages.  Their bodies were mangled,
steeped in caldrons of boiling pitch and tar, and hung up by the
roadsides, in the streets, over the very churches.  The sight and smell
of heads and limbs, the hissing and bubbling of the infernal caldrons,
and the tears and terrors of the people, were dreadful beyond all
description.  One rustic, who was forced to steep the remains in the
black pot, was ever afterwards called 'Tom Boilman.'  The hangman has
ever since been called Jack Ketch, because a man of that name went
hanging and hanging, all day long, in the train of Jeffreys.  You will
hear much of the horrors of the great French Revolution.  Many and
terrible they were, there is no doubt; but I know of nothing worse, done
by the maddened people of France in that awful time, than was done by the
highest judge in England, with the express approval of the King of
England, in The Bloody Assize.

Nor was even this all.  Jeffreys was as fond of money for himself as of
misery for others, and he sold pardons wholesale to fill his pockets.  The
King ordered, at one time, a thousand prisoners to be given to certain of
his favourites, in order that they might bargain with them for their
pardons.  The young ladies of Taunton who had presented the Bible, were
bestowed upon the maids of honour at court; and those precious ladies
made very hard bargains with them indeed.  When The Bloody Assize was at
its most dismal height, the King was diverting himself with horse-races
in the very place where Mrs. Lisle had been executed.  When Jeffreys had
done his worst, and came home again, he was particularly complimented in
the Royal Gazette; and when the King heard that through drunkenness and
raging he was very ill, his odious Majesty remarked that such another man
could not easily be found in England.  Besides all this, a former sheriff
of London, named CORNISH, was hanged within sight of his own house, after
an abominably conducted trial, for having had a share in the Rye House
Plot, on evidence given by Rumsey, which that villain was obliged to
confess was directly opposed to the evidence he had given on the trial of
Lord Russell.  And on the very same day, a worthy widow, named ELIZABETH
GAUNT, was burned alive at Tyburn, for having sheltered a wretch who
himself gave evidence against her.  She settled the fuel about herself
with her own hands, so that the flames should reach her quickly: and
nobly said, with her last breath, that she had obeyed the sacred command
of God, to give refuge to the outcast, and not to betray the wanderer.

After all this hanging, beheading, burning, boiling, mutilating,
exposing, robbing, transporting, and selling into slavery, of his unhappy
subjects, the King not unnaturally thought that he could do whatever he
would.  So, he went to work to change the religion of the country with
all possible speed; and what he did was this.

He first of all tried to get rid of what was called the Test Act--which
prevented the Catholics from holding public employments--by his own power
of dispensing with the penalties.  He tried it in one case, and, eleven
of the twelve judges deciding in his favour, he exercised it in three
others, being those of three dignitaries of University College, Oxford,
who had become Papists, and whom he kept in their places and sanctioned.
He revived the hated Ecclesiastical Commission, to get rid of COMPTON,
Bishop of London, who manfully opposed him.  He solicited the Pope to
favour England with an ambassador, which the Pope (who was a sensible man
then) rather unwillingly did.  He flourished Father Petre before the eyes
of the people on all possible occasions.  He favoured the establishment
of convents in several parts of London.  He was delighted to have the
streets, and even the court itself, filled with Monks and Friars in the
habits of their orders.  He constantly endeavoured to make Catholics of
the Protestants about him.  He held private interviews, which he called
'closetings,' with those Members of Parliament who held offices, to
persuade them to consent to the design he had in view.  When they did not
consent, they were removed, or resigned of themselves, and their places
were given to Catholics.  He displaced Protestant officers from the army,
by every means in his power, and got Catholics into their places too.  He
tried the same thing with the corporations, and also (though not so
successfully) with the Lord Lieutenants of counties.  To terrify the
people into the endurance of all these measures, he kept an army of
fifteen thousand men encamped on Hounslow Heath, where mass was openly
performed in the General's tent, and where priests went among the
soldiers endeavouring to persuade them to become Catholics.  For
circulating a paper among those men advising them to be true to their
religion, a Protestant clergyman, named JOHNSON, the chaplain of the late
Lord Russell, was actually sentenced to stand three times in the pillory,
and was actually whipped from Newgate to Tyburn.  He dismissed his own
brother-in-law from his Council because he was a Protestant, and made a
Privy Councillor of the before-mentioned Father Petre.  He handed Ireland
over to RICHARD TALBOT, EARL OF TYRCONNELL, a worthless, dissolute knave,
who played the same game there for his master, and who played the deeper
game for himself of one day putting it under the protection of the French
King.  In going to these extremities, every man of sense and judgment
among the Catholics, from the Pope to a porter, knew that the King was a
mere bigoted fool, who would undo himself and the cause he sought to
advance; but he was deaf to all reason, and, happily for England ever
afterwards, went tumbling off his throne in his own blind way.

A spirit began to arise in the country, which the besotted blunderer
little expected.  He first found it out in the University of Cambridge.
Having made a Catholic a dean at Oxford without any opposition, he tried
to make a monk a master of arts at Cambridge: which attempt the
University resisted, and defeated him.  He then went back to his
favourite Oxford.  On the death of the President of Magdalen College, he
commanded that there should be elected to succeed him, one MR. ANTHONY
FARMER, whose only recommendation was, that he was of the King's
religion.  The University plucked up courage at last, and refused.  The
King substituted another man, and it still refused, resolving to stand by
its own election of a MR. HOUGH.  The dull tyrant, upon this, punished
Mr. Hough, and five-and-twenty more, by causing them to be expelled and
declared incapable of holding any church preferment; then he proceeded to
what he supposed to be his highest step, but to what was, in fact, his
last plunge head-foremost in his tumble off his throne.

He had issued a declaration that there should be no religious tests or
penal laws, in order to let in the Catholics more easily; but the
Protestant dissenters, unmindful of themselves, had gallantly joined the
regular church in opposing it tooth and nail.  The King and Father Petre
now resolved to have this read, on a certain Sunday, in all the churches,
and to order it to be circulated for that purpose by the bishops.  The
latter took counsel with the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was in
disgrace; and they resolved that the declaration should not be read, and
that they would petition the King against it.  The Archbishop himself
wrote out the petition, and six bishops went into the King's bedchamber
the same night to present it, to his infinite astonishment.  Next day was
the Sunday fixed for the reading, and it was only read by two hundred
clergymen out of ten thousand.  The King resolved against all advice to
prosecute the bishops in the Court of King's Bench, and within three
weeks they were summoned before the Privy Council, and committed to the
Tower.  As the six bishops were taken to that dismal place, by water, the
people who were assembled in immense numbers fell upon their knees, and
wept for them, and prayed for them.  When they got to the Tower, the
officers and soldiers on guard besought them for their blessing.  While
they were confined there, the soldiers every day drank to their release
with loud shouts.  When they were brought up to the Court of King's Bench
for their trial, which the Attorney-General said was for the high offence
of censuring the Government, and giving their opinion about affairs of
state, they were attended by similar multitudes, and surrounded by a
throng of noblemen and gentlemen.  When the jury went out at seven
o'clock at night to consider of their verdict, everybody (except the
King) knew that they would rather starve than yield to the King's brewer,
who was one of them, and wanted a verdict for his customer.  When they
came into court next morning, after resisting the brewer all night, and
gave a verdict of not guilty, such a shout rose up in Westminster Hall as
it had never heard before; and it was passed on among the people away to
Temple Bar, and away again to the Tower.  It did not pass only to the
east, but passed to the west too, until it reached the camp at Hounslow,
where the fifteen thousand soldiers took it up and echoed it.  And still,
when the dull King, who was then with Lord Feversham, heard the mighty
roar, asked in alarm what it was, and was told that it was 'nothing but
the acquittal of the bishops,' he said, in his dogged way, 'Call you that
nothing?  It is so much the worse for them.'

Between the petition and the trial, the Queen had given birth to a son,
which Father Petre rather thought was owing to Saint Winifred.  But I
doubt if Saint Winifred had much to do with it as the King's friend,
inasmuch as the entirely new prospect of a Catholic successor (for both
the King's daughters were Protestants) determined the EARLS OF
SHREWSBURY, DANBY, and DEVONSHIRE, LORD LUMLEY, the BISHOP OF LONDON,
ADMIRAL RUSSELL, and COLONEL SIDNEY, to invite the Prince of Orange over
to England.  The Royal Mole, seeing his danger at last, made, in his
fright, many great concessions, besides raising an army of forty thousand
men; but the Prince of Orange was not a man for James the Second to cope
with.  His preparations were extraordinarily vigorous, and his mind was
resolved.

For a fortnight after the Prince was ready to sail for England, a great
wind from the west prevented the departure of his fleet.  Even when the
wind lulled, and it did sail, it was dispersed by a storm, and was
obliged to put back to refit.  At last, on the first of November, one
thousand six hundred and eighty-eight, the Protestant east wind, as it
was long called, began to blow; and on the third, the people of Dover and
the people of Calais saw a fleet twenty miles long sailing gallantly by,
between the two places.  On Monday, the fifth, it anchored at Torbay in
Devonshire, and the Prince, with a splendid retinue of officers and men,
marched into Exeter.  But the people in that western part of the country
had suffered so much in The Bloody Assize, that they had lost heart.  Few
people joined him; and he began to think of returning, and publishing the
invitation he had received from those lords, as his justification for
having come at all.  At this crisis, some of the gentry joined him; the
Royal army began to falter; an engagement was signed, by which all who
set their hand to it declared that they would support one another in
defence of the laws and liberties of the three Kingdoms, of the
Protestant religion, and of the Prince of Orange.  From that time, the
cause received no check; the greatest towns in England began, one after
another, to declare for the Prince; and he knew that it was all safe with
him when the University of Oxford offered to melt down its plate, if he
wanted any money.

By this time the King was running about in a pitiable way, touching
people for the King's evil in one place, reviewing his troops in another,
and bleeding from the nose in a third.  The young Prince was sent to
Portsmouth, Father Petre went off like a shot to France, and there was a
general and swift dispersal of all the priests and friars.  One after
another, the King's most important officers and friends deserted him and
went over to the Prince.  In the night, his daughter Anne fled from
Whitehall Palace; and the Bishop of London, who had once been a soldier,
rode before her with a drawn sword in his hand, and pistols at his
saddle.  'God help me,' cried the miserable King: 'my very children have
forsaken me!'  In his wildness, after debating with such lords as were in
London, whether he should or should not call a Parliament, and after
naming three of them to negotiate with the Prince, he resolved to fly to
France.  He had the little Prince of Wales brought back from Portsmouth;
and the child and the Queen crossed the river to Lambeth in an open boat,
on a miserable wet night, and got safely away.  This was on the night of
the ninth of December.

At one o'clock on the morning of the eleventh, the King, who had, in the
meantime, received a letter from the Prince of Orange, stating his
objects, got out of bed, told LORD NORTHUMBERLAND who lay in his room not
to open the door until the usual hour in the morning, and went down the
back stairs (the same, I suppose, by which the priest in the wig and gown
had come up to his brother) and crossed the river in a small boat:
sinking the great seal of England by the way.  Horses having been
provided, he rode, accompanied by SIR EDWARD HALES, to Feversham, where
he embarked in a Custom House Hoy.  The master of this Hoy, wanting more
ballast, ran into the Isle of Sheppy to get it, where the fishermen and
smugglers crowded about the boat, and informed the King of their
suspicions that he was a 'hatchet-faced Jesuit.'  As they took his money
and would not let him go, he told them who he was, and that the Prince of
Orange wanted to take his life; and he began to scream for a boat--and
then to cry, because he had lost a piece of wood on his ride which he
called a fragment of Our Saviour's cross.  He put himself into the hands
of the Lord Lieutenant of the county, and his detention was made known to
the Prince of Orange at Windsor--who, only wanting to get rid of him, and
not caring where he went, so that he went away, was very much
disconcerted that they did not let him go.  However, there was nothing
for it but to have him brought back, with some state in the way of Life
Guards, to Whitehall.  And as soon as he got there, in his infatuation,
he heard mass, and set a Jesuit to say grace at his public dinner.

The people had been thrown into the strangest state of confusion by his
flight, and had taken it into their heads that the Irish part of the army
were going to murder the Protestants.  Therefore, they set the bells a
ringing, and lighted watch-fires, and burned Catholic Chapels, and looked
about in all directions for Father Petre and the Jesuits, while the
Pope's ambassador was running away in the dress of a footman.  They found
no Jesuits; but a man, who had once been a frightened witness before
Jeffreys in court, saw a swollen, drunken face looking through a window
down at Wapping, which he well remembered.  The face was in a sailor's
dress, but he knew it to be the face of that accursed judge, and he
seized him.  The people, to their lasting honour, did not tear him to
pieces.  After knocking him about a little, they took him, in the basest
agonies of terror, to the Lord Mayor, who sent him, at his own shrieking
petition, to the Tower for safety.  There, he died.

Their bewilderment continuing, the people now lighted bonfires and made
rejoicings, as if they had any reason to be glad to have the King back
again.  But, his stay was very short, for the English guards were removed
from Whitehall, Dutch guards were marched up to it, and he was told by
one of his late ministers that the Prince would enter London, next day,
and he had better go to Ham.  He said, Ham was a cold, damp place, and he
would rather go to Rochester.  He thought himself very cunning in this,
as he meant to escape from Rochester to France.  The Prince of Orange and
his friends knew that, perfectly well, and desired nothing more.  So, he
went to Gravesend, in his royal barge, attended by certain lords, and
watched by Dutch troops, and pitied by the generous people, who were far
more forgiving than he had ever been, when they saw him in his
humiliation.  On the night of the twenty-third of December, not even then
understanding that everybody wanted to get rid of him, he went out,
absurdly, through his Rochester garden, down to the Medway, and got away
to France, where he rejoined the Queen.

There had been a council in his absence, of the lords, and the
authorities of London.  When the Prince came, on the day after the King's
departure, he summoned the Lords to meet him, and soon afterwards, all
those who had served in any of the Parliaments of King Charles the
Second.  It was finally resolved by these authorities that the throne was
vacant by the conduct of King James the Second; that it was inconsistent
with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom, to be governed by
a Popish prince; that the Prince and Princess of Orange should be King
and Queen during their lives and the life of the survivor of them; and
that their children should succeed them, if they had any.  That if they
had none, the Princess Anne and her children should succeed; that if she
had none, the heirs of the Prince of Orange should succeed.

On the thirteenth of January, one thousand six hundred and eighty-nine,
the Prince and Princess, sitting on a throne in Whitehall, bound
themselves to these conditions.  The Protestant religion was established
in England, and England's great and glorious Revolution was complete.



CHAPTER XXXVII


I have now arrived at the close of my little history.  The events which
succeeded the famous Revolution of one thousand six hundred and eighty-
eight, would neither be easily related nor easily understood in such a
book as this.

William and Mary reigned together, five years.  After the death of his
good wife, William occupied the throne, alone, for seven years longer.
During his reign, on the sixteenth of September, one thousand seven
hundred and one, the poor weak creature who had once been James the
Second of England, died in France.  In the meantime he had done his
utmost (which was not much) to cause William to be assassinated, and to
regain his lost dominions.  James's son was declared, by the French King,
the rightful King of England; and was called in France THE CHEVALIER
SAINT GEORGE, and in England THE PRETENDER.  Some infatuated people in
England, and particularly in Scotland, took up the Pretender's cause from
time to time--as if the country had not had Stuarts enough!--and many
lives were sacrificed, and much misery was occasioned.  King William died
on Sunday, the seventh of March, one thousand seven hundred and two, of
the consequences of an accident occasioned by his horse stumbling with
him.  He was always a brave, patriotic Prince, and a man of remarkable
abilities.  His manner was cold, and he made but few friends; but he had
truly loved his queen.  When he was dead, a lock of her hair, in a ring,
was found tied with a black ribbon round his left arm.

He was succeeded by the PRINCESS ANNE, a popular Queen, who reigned
twelve years.  In her reign, in the month of May, one thousand seven
hundred and seven, the Union between England and Scotland was effected,
and the two countries were incorporated under the name of GREAT BRITAIN.
Then, from the year one thousand seven hundred and fourteen to the year
one thousand, eight hundred and thirty, reigned the four GEORGES.

It was in the reign of George the Second, one thousand seven hundred and
forty-five, that the Pretender did his last mischief, and made his last
appearance.  Being an old man by that time, he and the Jacobites--as his
friends were called--put forward his son, CHARLES EDWARD, known as the
young Chevalier.  The Highlanders of Scotland, an extremely troublesome
and wrong-headed race on the subject of the Stuarts, espoused his cause,
and he joined them, and there was a Scottish rebellion to make him king,
in which many gallant and devoted gentlemen lost their lives.  It was a
hard matter for Charles Edward to escape abroad again, with a high price
on his head; but the Scottish people were extraordinarily faithful to
him, and, after undergoing many romantic adventures, not unlike those of
Charles the Second, he escaped to France.  A number of charming stories
and delightful songs arose out of the Jacobite feelings, and belong to
the Jacobite times.  Otherwise I think the Stuarts were a public nuisance
altogether.

It was in the reign of George the Third that England lost North America,
by persisting in taxing her without her own consent.  That immense
country, made independent under WASHINGTON, and left to itself, became
the United States; one of the greatest nations of the earth.  In these
times in which I write, it is honourably remarkable for protecting its
subjects, wherever they may travel, with a dignity and a determination
which is a model for England.  Between you and me, England has rather
lost ground in this respect since the days of Oliver Cromwell.

The Union of Great Britain with Ireland--which had been getting on very
ill by itself--took place in the reign of George the Third, on the second
of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight.

WILLIAM THE FOURTH succeeded George the Fourth, in the year one thousand
eight hundred and thirty, and reigned seven years.  QUEEN VICTORIA, his
niece, the only child of the Duke of Kent, the fourth son of George the
Third, came to the throne on the twentieth of June, one thousand eight
hundred and thirty-seven.  She was married to PRINCE ALBERT of Saxe Gotha
on the tenth of February, one thousand eight hundred and forty.  She is
very good, and much beloved.  So I end, like the crier, with

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!





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