Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

James Driven Out of England

Charles was succeeded by his brother James, who, as you know, was not very welcome to many of the English, because he was a Catholic. Still, they allowed him to reign, for they hoped he would not rule long, as he was already more than fifty years of age, and they knew that his daughters, Mary and Anne, who would succeed him, had both married Protestants.

James was very different from his brother, and, although earnest, was so far from clever that a courtier once said: "Charles could see things if he would; James would if he could." The new king had wandered about a great deal during his youth, and at the Restoration he had become an admiral. We are told he did good service at sea, and that he invented the system of signalling with flags. In reward for his services in the Dutch war, he had received the province and city of New Amsterdam, whose name he changed to New York.

When James's first wife died, leaving two daughters, he married a young and beautiful Italian princess called Marie d'Este. She was much younger than he, a very ardent Catholic, and greatly disliked by the English because she tried to meddle in state affairs.

On coming to the throne, James II. promised to support the Church of England and to govern the country by the laws of the realm. But, three days later, he broke both these promises by sending a messenger to the pope and by raising money without the permission of Parliament. The people, seeing that he could no more be trusted than the other Stuarts, were very angry, and many of the Protestants joined the Duke of Monmouth, who landed in England to demand the throne.

Monmouth claimed the throne as Charles's son, and accused James of setting fire to London, of poisoning King Charles, and of many other crimes of which he was not guilty. Some of the English pretended to believe what Monmouth said, and joined in the rebellion. It burst out in Scotland under the Duke of Argyle, and in England under the Duke of Monmouth. Both dukes were defeated, however. When Monmouth fell into James's hands, after the battle of Sedgemoor, he begged pitifully for mercy, but he and Argyle were both beheaded.

James was very revengeful, so he sent a cruel officer named Kirk, and a still more heartless judge named Jeffreys, to try and to punish all the rebels. Kirk and his "lambs," as he jokingly called his soldiers, massacred all who had borne arms, while Jeffreys sentenced to death men and women who had only given water or food to fugitive rebels. He was so cruel that he condemned both innocent and guilty, and his rule has been called the English Reign of Terror, or the Bloody Assizes.

Urged by the queen and by other bad advisers, James not only showed no mercy to the rebels, but rewarded Jeffreys for his cruelty by making him chancellor. Then he began to remove Protestants from their offices, so as to put Roman Catholics in their places. When, six of the bishops refused to read a declaration which annulled all the laws against Catholics, he sent them to the Tower. But, owing to the Habeas Corpus Act, he had to let them go when the judges said they were guilty of no crime.

All these things were borne rather patiently by his subjects, who comforted themselves with the thought that as soon as James died his Protestant daughters would succeed him. But all their hopes were blasted when they heard that the queen had given birth to a son, who would, of course, be brought up a Catholic and inherit the crown.

This was more than the Protestants could bear, so they sent word to William of Orange, the husband of Mary, to come over and deliver them from a Roman Catholic rule. The nobles and Princess Anne joined in this petition; and when James heard that his favourite daughter was against him, he cried: "God help me! My own children have forsaken me!"

James II.


The people were so angry that the queen hastily fled with the baby prince, and King James, fearing lest he should lose his head like his father, soon prepared to follow them to France. He slipped out of the palace unnoticed, rowed over the Thames, into whose waters he flung the great seal, and went to Faversham, whence he hoped to sail across the Channel. But he was recognized by some fishermen there, who brought him back to London. The king was more frightened than ever; but his daughter Mary, thinking it best that James should seem to flee from England of his own accord, gave orders that the soldiers should guard him carelessly. James then contrived to es-cape, and joined his wife and son in France, where the king gave him the palace of St. Germain for his abode.