Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. — John Adams

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

A Terrible Massacre

James gone, the crown was offered to William and Mary by Parliament. A new charter was made, in which, besides the laws of the Magna Charta granted by John, and those of the Petition of Right granted by Charles, were those called the Act of Settlement. Among other things, this act decided that the crown could belong only to a Protestant ruler, and that if Mary, Anne, and William all died without children, it should go to Sophia, a grand-daughter of James I., and to her Protestant descendants.

The change of government which gave the crown to William and Mary is called the "glorious revolution of 1688; "and it was glorious not only because it took place without costing a drop of blood, but also because England, instead of being ruled by a tyrant, was to be governed by its own laws, and thus to be a constitutional monarchy.

William of Orange was the great-grandson of a famous Dutch hero of the same name, and grandson of Charles I., King of England. Although weak and sickly, he was a great fighter and a very determined man. The English did not like him much at first, because he was cold and reserved and spoke English badly; but they all loved the virtuous Queen Mary. Her excellent example was soon followed by other women, who, instead of gambling and thinking of nothing but dress and amusement, now began to delight again in needlework and study.

Although most of the Protestants had warmly welcomed William and Mary, all the Catholics had remained faithful to James; and as his name in Latin was Jacobus, they were called Jacobites. Besides, the Highlanders, as the Scotch who lived in the northern and mountainous part of the island were called, were so loyal to the old royal family that for a time they refused to obey William and Mary.

After these Highlanders were defeated, an edict was published, promising full pardon to all rebels if they would only take, before a certain day, an oath to be faithful to the new rulers. One of the Highland families, or clans, the MacDonalds, by mistake failed to take this oath in time; so their enemies, the Campbells, got an order to put them to death. Coming to the valley of Glencoe as if they were friends, and tarrying there twelve days, the Campbells suddenly fell upon the MacDonalds and began to murder them. A few escaped to the mountains, but it was only to perish of hunger and cold, not far from the ruined homes where they had once been happy.

William wanted the whole kingdom to be of one religion; but finally he granted full freedom in religious matters to all the people. The church was therefore mainly Anglican in England, Presbyterian in Scotland, and Roman Catholic in Ireland, and so it still remains to-day.

In England the population had been increased by the arrival of many French Protestants, the Huguenots, who had been driven out of France in 1685, when the king recalled a law allowing them to worship as they pleased. These industrious Huguenots began to work at their trades, and at Spitalfields they set up the first English silk manufactory.


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
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