Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude. — Alexis de Tocqueville

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

A Quarrel with France

The Welsh war was scarcely ended when trouble began with France. This war arose from a very slight cause. It seems that a Norman bark and an English ship once put in at the same port to renew their supply of fresh water. Two sailors began to quarrel while filling their casks, and soon came to blows. The crews of both vessels, instead of stopping the fight, joined in it, and a Norman was killed. A few days later the angry Normans took revenge by capturing and hanging an English merchant, and they added insult to injury by placing a dog at his feet. The news of this affront enraged the English seamen, and for some time after that, whenever Normans and Englishmen met, there were quarrels and fights.

France during100 Years War

Although both the French and the English king tried to avoid taking part in this contest, it soon grew so bitter that the French king summoned Edward to come to France, as Duke of Guienne, to answer for the damages done by his subjects. Edward, either unable or unwilling to go himself, sent his brother, who foolishly allowed the French monarch to occupy Guienne for forty days, upon his promise to give it back at the end of that time.

But when the forty days were ended, the French king refused to give up the province, and Edward, eager to regain it, began to raise an army. As he had no money to pay troops, he tried to levy a force in the same way as William the Conqueror. Calling the noblemen to help him, he bade them bring their vassals, and told the Earl of Hereford to lead the army into Guienne.

The Earl of Hereford, however, flatly refused to obey; and when Edward angrily cried, "By heaven, Sir Earl, you shall either go or be hanged!" he retorted hotly, "By heaven, Sir King, I will neither go nor yet will I be hanged!" And having said these words, he coolly left the court and went home.

When Edward saw that he could not raise troops in this way, he began to tax the clergy to get money to hire men; and when they complained, he said he would not protect them unless they did as he wished, but would allow any one to take their property. In dismay the priests appealed to the pope, while the barons, banding together, sent word to Edward that he should have neither funds nor help unless he solemnly swore to ratify the Great Charter, and never again to attempt to raise money except through Parliament. Edward was forced to yield to these demands; and in 1295 was held the first English Parliament that was composed of a House of Lords and a House of Commons. Ever since then Parliament has exercised the right of taxing the people, whom it represents by bishops, lords, and elected members.

Edward himself now conducted his army into France, but before much fighting could be done the pope interfered. By his advice the two kings became friends, and then Edward went back to England.

Charing Cross, London.

Shortly before this good Queen Eleanor died. She had been Edward's wife for more than twenty years, and had borne him fifteen children. To show his affection for her, the king ordered that a cross should be erected wherever her body rested on its way from Lincoln to Westminster Abbey, where she lies buried. The best known of these interesting monuments is "Charing Cross "in London.


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