Modern education has not given us men who write better epitaphs or men who build better houses. It has given us men who are afraid to write epitaphs and leave it to the vicar. It has given us men who are afraid to build houses and leave it to the architect. — G. K. Chesterton

Story of the English - Helene Guerber




Sir Walter Raleigh

During the reign of Elizabeth, in the year 1600, some English traders formed the East India Company. Their charter was renewed in the reign of James, and at the same time a traveller named Coryat wrote an account of his visit to one of the greatest Indian rulers, and gave an enthusiastic description of the country, little suspecting that it would, in days to come, belong to the English.

James's eldest son, Prince Henry, was such a very good and clever lad that every one loved him. The prince was very fond of learned men, so he often visited. Raleigh in the Tower, where the latter was busy writing a history of the world for his use. Henry greatly admired Raleigh, who had travelled so much, and who conferred an inestimable benefit on Ireland by bringing potatoes over from America to plant there.

Henry was sorry to see this able man languish in prison, and he was once heard to say: "No king but my father would keep such a bird in such a cage!" Unfortunately for Raleigh, the young prince did not live long enough to free him, but suddenly died from a cold caught after playing a violent game of tennis.

Some time after that, James, being short of money, and hearing that Raleigh knew where a gold mine was to be found, took him out of prison, and, giving him a vessel, sent him in search of the treasure. In this expedition Raleigh got into trouble with the Spaniards, and when he came home without any money, the king was so angry that he sent him back to the Tower to be executed.

Raleigh was a good and brave man, and, knowing he was innocent, he went to his death without fear. When he was on the scaffold, he gently ran his finger along the edge of the ax, and then, giving it to the executioner, he said: "This is a sharp medicine, but a cure for all evils."

James, having sent away his favourite Carr because the latter ceased to amuse him, now took up a young man whose principal attractions were his good looks and graceful dancing. He bestowed upon this new favourite the title of Duke of Buckingham, and soon no one could approach the king except through this "Steenie," whose only aim was to lead a merry life and get a great deal of money.

This vicious man spent much of his time with the king's son Charles, for whom he did not set a good example: He even went in disguise with the young prince to the court of Spain, for Charles was anxious to see the Spanish princess whom he was to marry. On their way, the two young men visited the French court, where they saw Henrietta Maria, the king's fair sister.

On reaching Spain, Buckingham was coldly received. This made him so angry that he soon influenced James to give up the Spanish match, and to bargain with France for the hand of Princess Henrietta.

James's daughter married the Elector Frederick V., so England was dragged into the war then troubling Europe, which is known as the Thirty Years' War. Here the English and the Spanish were opposed to each other; for since the marriage between Charles and the Spanish princess had been broken off, they had ceased to be friends.

Charles I
CHARLES I. AND VANDYKE AT HAMPTON COURT.


Four very clever men lived in the reign of King James. The first was Lord Francis Bacon, one of Elizabeth's advisers. This man was very talented, but he accepted bribes, and was sent away from court in disgrace. The second, Ben Jonson, wrote so well that he came to be regarded as Shakespeare's successor, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The third was John Napier, a man of science, who invented the tables of logarithms, which in higher arithmetic help as much as the multiplication tables in easier sums. The fourth was the Dutch artist Van Dyke, who first came over to England to paint the portrait of James I. Later on, he became court painter to Charles I., and his portraits of that unhappy king, of the beautiful queen, and of the royal children, now form the principal decoration of a room in Windsor Palace, which bears the artist's name.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

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