Patriots and Tyrants - Marion Lansing

Patriots and Tyrants

"Freedom," says the German poet, "is surely a very precious jewel. Happy is he who has it and can keep it in peace. To him it matters not whether he has much besides. It is enough to him that he is free."

So men have felt in every land and in every age. It has seemed to them a light thing to give up home and friends and family, and all which made life dear, if haply they might preserve for themselves and for their children this priceless jewel of freedom. Because love of freedom can never be selfish, there grows up with it a greater thing, which the Germans call "Fatherland-love," and which we, in our shorter word borrowed from Roman speech, name "Patriotism." Patriotism is broader than love of freedom, for the patriot desires not only that he shall be free, but that his brothers and his neighbors and all who speak his tongue and dwell in his land,—yea, and the land itself,—shall be as free as he.

In the olden days freedom was again and again in danger. Men and nations were governed too often by the law that "Might makes Right." This is the exact opposite of the law of freedom, which says that every man has certain rights just because he is a human being. The patriots did not know at first exactly what these rights were, but they found out that if certain things were taken away, life was unbearable to them. So they worked out, each in his own nation, what the universal rights of men were, and these are our laws of liberty.

Sometimes a king thought that he could do anything he pleased. These rulers were called tyrants. They were not always wicked men; often they meant to do the people good, but they went about it in the wrong way by taking away their freedom. Sometimes a nation did the same thing. Rome thought that civilization would come more quickly if every other people became Roman. Perhaps it might have come a century sooner, but it would have been a sorry thing if the barbarian peoples had exchanged their precious jewel of freedom for a mere outer shell of civilization, from which the heart was gone.

So every nation of Europe has a roll of honor of "Men of Freedom"; and because these patriots helped to win for us our liberties, their stories belong to us, especially as we are a nation made up from all peoples of the Old World.

Three Teuton Boys

Long, long ago, at the time when our calendar begins, there lived in the imperial city of Rome three Teuton boys. They came from Old Germany, and are the first boys of our own race about whom we know anything; for all English-speaking peoples are descended from the Teutons, who lived in the eastern part of Europe, which the Romans called Germany. Their names were Hermann, Flavus, and Marbod. Marbod was the oldest by eight or ten years. He was a lad of noble family, from the tribe of Marcomans, who lived in South Germany. Hermann and Flavus were brothers, sons of Sigimer, an honored North German chief.

The three come together in our story because they all spent their childhood in Rome. The Romans on their long expeditions used to invite the best boys and young men of the barbarian tribes with which they had had dealings to go back with them and receive training in the Roman language and ways. This they did in the hope that when the boys grew up they would stay in the Roman armies as paid soldiers and would help Rome to conquer the world. Their fathers let the boys go because they wanted them to see something of the world and to learn Roman ways, which were then the standard for every other nation.

Life in the wonderful city of Rome seemed strange and marvelous to these fair-haired barbarians from the north. They had never seen a city of paved streets and stone houses, for the Teutons lived in villages of log huts scattered here and there through a wide forest land. Roman boys had been to school all their lives, but these lads had never seen a school-room. Why should there be schools where no one knew nor cared to know how to read or write? History they knew, though they did not call it by that name. It had been told to them by their fathers and by the old men of the tribe as it had been handed clown to them by their fathers and grandfathers.

Our three Teuton boys had not, however, been idle all their lives. They had had lessons to learn in the wilderness, and it had been needful that they learn them well, for on them depended their living. A Teuton boy must be skillful in the hunt, for how else could he obtain food? There were no stores, and no gold with which to buy provisions if there had been stores. Deer he could have for his dinner if he killed it; fish if he fished in the rivers; bread if he plowed the ground in the spring, scattered seed in the furrows, cut the grain when it came up, and threshed it with the flail till the flour was ready for mixing and baking. If he did these things with skill and energy, he could live royally, for the land was rich and fertile and well stocked with game.

Such accomplishments the boys found of little use in their new home, but they learned quickly to do in Rome as the Romans did. At first they were laughed at for their clumsy ways and their halting efforts to speak Latin; but it was not many months before they exchanged the free, wide tread of the forest for the soldierly step of the Roman drill. They were learning what their fathers had sent them to learn. As the years passed, each was made an officer in the army; each won his Roman citizenship; each was admitted to the small circle of favorite courtiers of the great Emperor Augustus; and each wore the golden chain of Roman knighthood around his neck. But what of the hearts that beat beneath these chains? Had they become Roman? Had the desire of the Romans been realized, and were these tall, splendid young Teutons ready to spend their lives in Rome's legions, fighting her battles for her? History gives the answer of each boy in the story of his after life.

King Marbod

As Marbod was the oldest, and the first to come to the Roman court, so he was the first to return to his own land, where his tribe welcomed the handsome young noble eagerly, and gave to him the chieftainship.

This was about eight years after the brave Roman general Drusus, whose story you have read in "Barbarian and Noble," had tried to conquer Germany and had met his death in the northern forests. The fear of the conqueror was upon all the Teuton tribes, for they knew that peace could not last. Ere many days Roman armies would cross the Rhine and the Danube, and try once again to set up their rule throughout Germany. So the people rejoiced at the return of the strong, Roman-trained leader, for his coming showed that he loved his fatherland more than he loved the Roman court.

The people were right. Marbod had worn the golden chain, but a Teuton heart beat beneath it. He had learned the Roman arts of war and peace, but there had never been a day, in all the years of training, when his anger had not been stirred by the patronizing way in which the Roman nobles spoke of him and his people as barbarians. He had given obedience where he must, but he had given it with a proud bearing which had shown that willingly he would take orders from no man. Now he went from tribe to tribe of the neighboring peoples, urging them to unite with him and with each other to withstand the hated power of Rome. Singly they could do nothing; together they would be strong. That was the burden of his message. By his eager enthusiasm and his burning words he won them over. "To keep back the Romans,"—that was the watchword of the union, and proud chiefs yielded for the sake of that cause the lonely independence which they had held so dear. Marbod was to be the general, and at his call they would come with their troops and together do battle with the Romans, when the dreaded day should come.

Year after year Marbod strengthened the union, till there was a great federation banded together to uphold the freedom of the Teuton peoples. And Marbod was at the head. No Teuton had ever held such power. How did he use it? There lay the test. The liberty-loving people had trusted him, and at his persuasion had surrendered part of their long-cherished independence. They had thought to make themselves members of a union; they awoke to find themselves subjects of a king.

Marbod had learned one lesson too many in the school of Rome,—he had learned the rule of one. In the court of the emperor he had seen how one man could rule a great kingdom, and the power which the tribes gave him tempted him too far. He announced that he was going to build a city,—the first city in all Germany; and the people were glad. Now the Romans could no longer taunt them with being barbarians. They would have a city of their own, and make it strong and beautiful. So they gave of their time and money to build it. But when it was done, Marbod ordered that it be called Marbodstadt, which is to say, Marbod City, just as the emperor had called the latest city which he had built Augusta, or the city of Augustus.

The people thought that in the center of their city there would be a great council hall, where, after the Teuton custom, the leaders of all the tribes would meet and discuss the affairs of the union. In the center of the city was a great castle and fort, with a treasure house, and here Marbod was to dwell. The center of South Germany was to be the palace of Marbod, as the center of Rome and of the world was the palace of Augustus. The Teutons had had for leaders chiefs elected by the people; Marbod called himself King. The Teutons loved freedom and equality. Marbod created a bodyguard of men who should attend and wait on him whenever he sat in his council chamber or walked abroad. The Teutons came together to fight when there was need. Marbod insisted that there must be a standing army which should be waiting always at his call.

When his power was established, Marbod wished others to see it. He opened his frontiers to Roman merchants. He invited Roman artists to come. In so far as he could he made his Teuton court like the great court of Rome, and he succeeded too well for the pleasure of the haughty world emperor. Merchants returned to Rome telling of the power of Marbod,—King Marbod, as he was called,—and the Roman court decided that here was too strong a neighbor. Marbod sent messengers to the emperor declaring that he had no thought of a break with Rome, still less of establishing a Teuton kingdom in defiance of the universal Roman empire; but the emperor saw in him a dangerous power, and sent his son Tiberius to conduct a war against him.

It was a long journey from Rome to South Germany. While Tiberius was on the march with his army, rumors reached him of a rising among the Dalmations and the Pannonians. He had expected to obtain an addition to his army from the troops which were stationed in these provinces. Now, five days' journey from Marbod's outposts, comes word that the uprising is proving dangerous, and that he must come instead to give help to the troops already there.

The time seems at hand when the Roman power is to be broken. Here is the Roman army, hundreds of miles from possible help, marching between Marbod with his strong Teuton union, gathered for this very purpose, and the eastern provinces which have risen in revolt against the conqueror. It needs only that Marbod shall act. He must unite the revolting peoples. He must send swift messengers calling his Teuton brothers between the Rhine, the Weser, the Elbe, and the Danube to come together at this fortunate hour and strike the blow which shall save the land of the Teutons from Roman conquest.

But the Marbod of these days is not the bold, impetuous young man who came back from Rome eager to unite his people against the tyrant nation. Tiberius has to deal with King Marbod, who proves to be a very different person. The Roman general hastens to send an embassy offering easy terms of peace.

"Rome will make no more complaint of your Teuton kingdom," runs the message of the emperor's son. "Your royal throne and your separate realm shall be assured to you. The strength of Rome shall be behind you, giving you help instead of taking away your power. Our friendship shall be yours."

The favorableness of the terms convinces others of the Roman's desperate need. Marbod is blinded by the offers of personal security to him in his kingdom. At this crisis he is not strong enough to put to the test this Teuton union which is his work. He strikes a peace with the Roman, draws back his army, and announces to the other tribes that he has saved the land from a Roman invasion. What he has done is to save to the emperor a Roman army and a hold on the provinces east of the Rhine and the Danube.

Hermann the Deliverer

What were Hermann and Flavus doing in these years while Marbod was making himself a king? They were still at Rome. Marbod was eight or ten years older than Hermann, who was therefore only a child when Marbod left the court.

Of Flavus we know almost nothing. We do not even know what his German name was, for Flavus was his Latin name, just as Arminius was the Latin form of Hermann. What we know of Hermann we get only from Roman writers, but the stories they tell show us what a brave, handsome boy he must have been, and we say to ourselves, "If the Romans, whose bitterest enemy he became, praised him like this, what would his own people have said of him, if there had been Teuton historians?"

This is the picture that his superior officer in the army gives of him: "He was a youth of noble blood, brave, and bold in action. He was quick, too, and far brighter than the average barbarian. In a moment he could understand a situation and grasp quickly the right thing to be done. Moreover, he was full of spirit. From his bright blue eyes streamed the fire of spirit and energy. There was something especially attractive about him."

Hermann was sixteen years old in the year of the birth of Christ, and he stayed at Rome till he was twenty-three. During his last years in the army there came to him news of the way the Roman officers were oppressing his people. A new governor, Varus, had been moved from Syria, where the people had hated him, and sent to the provinces beyond the Rhine. He and his officers cared nothing about Teuton ways nor customs. They set to work to make Old Germany a Roman province, and this is the way they did it. They said to the Teutons (or if they did not say it in so many words, they showed plainly enough that this was what they thought): "You Teutons are so rude and rough that we always call you barbarians. The wise men who rule you are barbarians, too, and your priests and your judges are barbarians, and by that we mean that they do not know how to rule in the right way, which is the Roman way. Even your language sounds rough and harsh to our ears. For this reason we have decided that it will be better for you to have our wise men rule over you, our priests and our judges. Also we command that all the business of the land be done in our beautiful, pleasant-sounding speech. Because it will cost a great deal to govern you in this way, you must give us, each one of you, part of your corn and of the money which you make in trading, and that we will call a tax."

The Teutons had never heard of taxes. To them money paid by one people to another was tribute, such as the Romans themselves had paid to keep Attila and his Huns from attacking their cities; and for a nation to pay tribute was a sign that its independence was gone.

"We are forced to give up our language and our customs and our laws, and then, in addition, to pay for this system which we hate," they said. "What, then, is left to us of our ancient liberty?"

This was the report that came to the young soldier Hermann, and he gave up his court life and came back in all haste to his home. He tried to persuade Flavus to return with him, but Flavus chose to stay in Rome. "What can one man do against such a mighty power as Rome?" he said.


So Hermann went back alone to his fatherland. As Marbod had worked among the tribes of South Germany eight years before, so he labored among the people of North Germany. He did not have to rouse them to anger; they were angry already with the Romans; but they were hopeless. "What can we do?" they said. "The Romans are stronger than we." Hermann had married the fair Thusnelda, daughter of the powerful chief Segestes, and now even Segestes refused to join him.

"I prefer ancient friendship to new connections; my voice is for peace," he said; and in one of Hermann's absences he exercised the old Teuton authority of a father over a daughter and gave Thusnelda into Roman custody, where, after war broke out, she was held a prisoner.

The loss of his wife roused Hermann to new bitterness. He went everywhere through the land, calling upon the tribes to rise against Rome.

"To other nations punishments and taxes are unknown, as they were to our fathers. They speak freely the language of their ancestors, not the tongue of a conqueror. Behold the exploits of the Romans, the glory of a warlike nation! With mighty numbers they have led a woman into captivity! Other nations are happy; they are ignorant of the Roman. Shall we who have dared nobly for our liberties remain under the Roman yoke? If your country is dear to you, if the glory of your ancestors is near your hearts, if liberty is of any value to you, follow Hermann. I will marshal you to glory and to freedom!"

With such burning words he inflamed the people, and when he gave the word to strike, they were ready to flock to his standard. Secretly he made his plans, and when he knew that Varus and his army were starting on a march to put down a revolt among the tribes, he gathered his countrymen by night, and prepared to meet the troops in the Teutoburg forest. The Romans were surprised; the ground under their feet was swamp land where they could not fight to advantage; and a terrible three-days battle took place in which the Teutons, with Hermann at their head, were victorious. The Roman legions were lost, and the news, when it came to Rome, created panic at the capital. If the barbarians could do this, would they not soon come down on Rome itself? "In ten days," said the emperor, "they may be here"; and the whole city was in terror. But the Germans had no such thought. They had driven the oppressor out of their land. They had saved their homes from Roman rule. To us these terrible battles seem a dreadful thing, and well they may; but we must remember that these were rough times, when all nations would have seemed to us cruel and barbarous. The battle of the Teutoburg forest took place only nine years after the birth of Christ; so all this happened more than nineteen hundred years ago. But if the question of who was to rule Europe was to be settled by war, as all questions were in those days, we who are of Hermann's own race and blood must rejoice that the victory was on the side of freedom for our ancestors. By his victory the Roman empire was halted at the river Rhine, and on the east of that great river our forefathers were free to develop their systems of law, which preserved and gave to the modern world the chief glory of the Teutons,—the love of independence, which is the foundation of all our law and government.

Hermann did not do all this in one battle. The Romans sent other armies across the river, and Hermann met them many times again; but he was never defeated. The Romans could not regain their power. Once his brother Flavus was in the army which fought against him,—Flavus, who had served all these years in the Roman army and had become so much a Roman that his German name has been lost to history, and we would not know that he had ever been a German if it were not for his relation to Hermann. There is a strange story of a meeting between the two, which took place on the evening before a great battle. Hermann went down to the river which lay between the two camps, and called across that he would speak to Flavus; and when Flavus came, the two brothers talked to each other across the stream in this wise: Flavus had lost an eye in battle, and Hermann, noticing it, began, "Whence that disfigurement of features?"

He was told the battle and the place where it had happened.

"And what," he asked, "has been your recompense?"

"I have received," said Flavus, "an increase of pay, a military chain, an ornamental crown, and other honors."

Hermann burst into a laugh of scorn and indignation.

"They are the wages," he said, "of a slave cheaply purchased."

A warm dispute followed. Flavus told of the majesty of Rome, of the power of the Cćsars, of the weight with which their vengeance fell on the obstinate, and the mercy shown to nations which submitted willingly. Hermann on his side urged the rights of men born in freedom, the ancient law of liberty, and the love of country.

"Your mother," he added, "joins me in earnest supplication; we both conjure you not to desert your family and friends and country, but to return and have the great glory of commanding armies in defense of your fatherland."

The conversation ended in sharp words, and while Hermann went back to his people, Flavus returned to the Roman camp, and we never hear of him again.

Hermann had occasion during these years to appeal also to Marbod for help against the Romans, but Marbod declined to send his army. Then Marbod's people rose up against him, and many of them went over to Hermann and fought by his side. For fifteen years the two leaders dwelt in North and South Germany, and then the differences between them came to a settlement by war. Hermann had spent his time, since the Romans departed, trying to unite his people and to show them that it would be better for them to make a great union of tribes But always they accused him of desiring power, and pointed to Marbod as an example. When the two came to battle, so many of Marbod's allies went over to Hermann that, though he was not defeated, he knew it was not safe for him to stay in the country. He fled away to Italy and begged protection of the, Roman emperor, and the emperor gave him a house in northern Italy, where he lived for the remaining twenty years of his life. "Hated by all his people," says the chronicler, "he grew gray in indolence, dying, as he had lived, under the power of Rome."

So Hermann was left to do his work alone. His mother, who had always supported him, died; his brother was in the Roman army; his wife was a Roman prisoner; his son had been born on Roman soil and the father had never seen him. Rival chiefs were jealous of him, thinking that, like Marbod, he sought power for himself, or at least would take away their authority. When he was only thirty-seven years old, he was killed by a member of his own family.

Thus died this great patriot; and gradually, after many years, people came to see what a great gift of freedom he had made to the world through the Teuton race. This is what the great Roman historian Tacitus writes about him: "He was undoubtedly the deliverer of the Teutons. He had not, like the kings and generals of a former day, the infancy of Rome to meet; he dared to grapple with the Roman power in its maturity and strength. To this noble man,—who in seven years had won freedom for his nation, who had given up not merely body and life but wife and home for his country,—to him his people gave what it had to give, an eternal place in its songs of heroes."

To-day the Teutoburg forest is still dense and wild, but there are open spots here and there. On the highest of these, upon a height overlooking the whole forest, stands a monument to Hermann. The pedestal of granite is in the form of a temple, ninety feet height, and above it rises a colossal bronze statue of the patriot. He stands with soldierly erectness, holding a spear in his uplifted hand, looking out upon the land which he saved. Travelers entering the region see from a distance of fifty miles this heroic figure, and are told by the patriotic Germans the story of his life. Thus the people of Germany have honored their deliverer, who is also the deliverer of the whole Teuton race,—our first "Man of Freedom."

The Story of Venice

Over the seas in Italy there stands a wonderful city which is built half on water and half on land. Its streets we should not call streets at all, for they are streams and canals of water. When one wishes to go from one part of the city to another, one steps from ones' own doorway into a boat or gondola instead of a carriage or car. These streets of blue water spanned by arched bridges and lined with marble palaces make Venice one of the most beautiful cities in the world; but if you went there, you would be sure to wonder why men went to the trouble of building these wonderful palaces and cathedrals on the shifting sand bars of the Mediterranean when they had all the firm land of Italy behind them. Perhaps you would ask of some Venetian the reason, and he would tell you this story, of which the men of Venice are very proud, for it is one of the earliest stories of liberty.

Many centuries ago the fair land of Italy was in sore distress. There came down over the Alps on enation after another of wild northern barbarians. They descended into the provinces of Italy like a whirlwind, trampling down the vineyards and setting fire to towns and villages. The first to come was Alaric with his Goths, and the whole land was laid waste by his armies, as they moved on towards Rome. Then Alaric died and was laid to rest in the river Busento, and for a time the land had rest.

It was fifty years before the next barbarian conqueror came, but when he appeared, the invasion of Alaric was as a summer wind compared to a wild hurricane, for this was Attila the Hun; Attila the Destroyer, of whom it was said that where he stepped grass never grew again; Attila the Scourge of God, who declared that he would cross over into Italy to hunt, and when they asked him what he would hunt, said with a brutal laugh, "Hunt? What should I hunt, but Romans?"

Down over the Alps he came to the fair cities of northern Italy, with their sculptured halls and their marble villas, and laid them waste. Padua and Concordia, Milan, Turin, and Aquileia fell before him, but the last to fall was Aquileia. For three months the city held out, and the barbarians, who were unused to sieges and did not know how "to fight against stone walls," were at their wits' end. One day as Attila gazed at the city walls and pondered how he might get past them, he saw the storks leaving their nests and flying with their young away from the city. By their going he knew that famine had set in, and he rejoiced that the obstinate citizens who had held out against his swords must yield before the prospect of starvation.

So Attila waited, sure that each day would be the last, and that the people would throw open the gates and surrender the city to him. But the people of Aquileia were too clever for the dull barbarian. One day he noticed that a stork lighted on the figure of a sentinel standing at one of the towers, and perched there. "Surely a stork would not light upon a man," said Attila to himself, and he ordered an, attack on the city. Then he found that these sentinels who had been guarding the walls against him were blocks of wood cut in the form of men. The citizens had set them up to deceive the Huns, while they, with their women and children, were escaping by night from the city. Not all had yet escaped, but, while Attila and his warriors were breaking down the altars and robbing the palaces of their treasure, a large company of Aquileians were making their way along the shores of the Mediterranean, seeking some place of refuge from the barbarian.

As they journeyed along the shore, giving in every village the terrible word, "The Huns are upon us," they came to a place where there was a bay or lagoon almost landlocked by a group of low islands which stretched across its mouth. The fugitives looked at these islands and said, "There we should have water between us and the Huns; there if anywhere we should be safe." The kindly fisher folk lent them light boats, and they went over to the farthest island and stretched awnings and built huts and dwelt in safety; and that was the beginning of Venice.

Did they not go back to their city when Attila and the Huns were gone? you ask. Some of them did,—many of them; but they came back. From that time on Italy had no rest. The Alans and Vandals wandered through the land and fought with the Goths and Romans, and everywhere there was war and horror save on the Venetian islands. There the people dwelt in peace.


It was a simple life that could be lived on the low sand banks. No one could lord it over his neighbor, for no one's house was better than any other, and every one earned his living by fishing or making salt, which could be exchanged on the mainland for cloth and provisions, and so served as money. Men of all classes worked together deepening the channels so that their boats might pass through, and driving posts and making walls of woven reeds, which they bound against the banks of the islands to keep the sand from washing away. To build a house they drove posts and laid walls which would hold the sand foundations firm, and then built a stairway to the first floor, where the living room was to be. Their boats they kept tied like horses to the posts of the lower room. Gradually the islands (there were twelve larger ones and many small ones) came to be places of refuge from the barbarians. The island people were hospitable and welcomed those who sought shelter,—with this exception, which is written in their books, "They would receive no man who was a slave, nor a murderer, nor a man of wicked life."

During the time of peace, when Theodoric ruled the land, the little fishing settlement grew and became prosperous. Then the Lombards came down on Italy, and as usual they came first to the cities of Aquileia and Altinum, which had been rebuilt. They were the "cruellest of barbarians" and the most dangerous conquerors, for they came to seize the land and dwell in it.

This time the people did not wait for their coming. Once more the storks rose from their nests, and good Bishop Paul looked up to the towers of the city of Altinum and saw them going. First the birds flew round in circles, and there was a great chirping and chattering. Then all at once they picked up in their beaks those who could not fly, and flew away together to the southward. The good bishop had been in sore perplexity as to what he should advise the people, for he knew, as did every one, that the Lombards were coming, who destroyed cities as the flame licks up dry grass, and that all who stood in their way would be killed. Now he knew that the sign had been given him. He called the people together and told them that as the birds had gone away, so they too must seek safety in flight. The citizens divided into three parties, two of which sought shelter at neighboring cities; but the third group, of which Bishop Paul was the leader, stayed behind, not knowing which way to go. Two days they waited, and on the third day a strong, clear voice was heard (so the story goes) saying, "Go up into the tower and look at the stars."

The good bishop climbed the tower, and lo, the reflections of the stars made paths on the water to the islands beyond the lagoon. Then he went down and told the waiting people what he had seen, and they filled boats with such goods as they could carry, and the good bishop led them, and they came safely to the islands and landed and were saved.

This time the people had fled from the mainland never to return. While the Lombards were rebuilding their cities, the fugitives were building a new and fairer city on the islands which had sheltered them in trouble. They brought blocks of marble and columns of precious stone from the churches on the mainland, and began to build fine palaces and churches and bridges, some of which are standing to this day.

At first there had been no need of government. Each island brought its matters to the head of its noblest family to be settled, and each community lived for itself, the people from Aquileia paying little heed to those from Altinum. But the rule of the Lombards was rough on the mainland, and they constantly threatened evil to the island people; and the sea was infested with pirates who made pillages from the water. No single settlement could defend itself from these dangers, and, moreover, there were frequent disputes between the islands over fishing and trade rights. So the people of the lagoon called an assembly to elect twelve officers, to be called tribunes, one for each island, who should govern their affairs.

This plan of tribunes worked for a while, but there was always quarreling between the different men and the different island towns, and meantime the enemies of Venice were growing stronger. The Lombard dukes made new efforts to rule the islands, and the Slavic pirates came down upon them more and more often. Then Christopher, patriarch of the largest island, called a general assembly, and pointed out to the people that these quarrels were endangering their life and safety as well as the independence for which they were so eager, since they were making them weak before outside foes. He proposed that the Venetians should choose one man as head of the state. The people knew that his words were wise, and chose for themselves a duke or doge. From that time on, for a thousand years, the affairs of Venice were managed by doges elected by the people.

The ceremonies connected with these doges were very interesting. When a new one was to be chosen, the people came together and elected him by acclamation, that is, by the shouts of the crowd when the name was spoken which met their approval. Then he was carried shoulder high to the church, which he entered barefoot in sign of humility. There he swore to govern according to the laws and to work for the good of the people.

Doge's procession

As time went on and the office of doge became more important, the doge was treated as a very grand personage. When he went abroad on state business, a great umbrella was held over his head, waving banners were borne before him, trumpets blared to announce his coming, and an ivory chair of state was carried, in which he should sit, wearing his sword of office and holding a scepter. On such occasions he wore a silk mantle with a fringe of gold. This was fastened by a gold clasp over a tightly fitting tunic trimmed with ermine. Long red hose reached to his waist, and he wore a richly jeweled cap of the queer, peaked shape which you see in the picture, which came to be known as the doge's cap, for no one else could wear one like it.

The people who chose the first doge did not know what an important office they were making, but one thing which they began was never changed. The doge was always elected by the people, which was a wonderful thing in those days of families of kings. He might take advantage of his power and become a tyrant, but the people could always depose him and choose a new doge in his place.

The success of Venice in building its city on the water and managing its affairs came near being its undoing. So long as the sand flats sheltered only a band of fugitive fisher folk, no one cared what happened there. When a city of fine buildings, dwelt in by prosperous trading people who held with their fleet the control of the harbor, could be seen across the blue water, the rulers of Italy began to look across with covetous eyes. First the Lombard cities laid before the Roman general who governed Italy their claim to manage the affairs of Venice.

"These people who live over there on the water," they said, "came from the cities where we now live. If they had stayed here, they would have been under our control. Just because a little water separates us from them, why should they presume to be an independent state?"

It was poor reasoning, and the Roman general knew it.

"We," replied the Venetians, "have made these islands habitable, and these canals navigable. They would have been worth nothing had we not labored over them. The creator has a right to his creation. The islands belong to those who made them, the waters to those who know how to defend them. We have a right to be free."

Fifty years later the emperor of Constantinople sent a minister, Longinus, to look over his province of Italy. The western part of the Roman empire had fallen to pieces, but the emperor at Constantinople still claimed authority in Italy. Now it happened that the Venetians, who were a great trading people, wanted to enter into friendly commercial relations with the eastern empire, but they did not wish to lose their right to govern themselves. They gave Longinus an imposing welcome. He was met, as he stepped from the boat which brought him from the mainland, by the sounds of bells and flutes, cytherns and other instruments. He saw what valuable allies the Venetians would be, and he urged them to declare themselves subjects of the eastern empire. They gave him the same answer that they had given the Roman general.

"We made these islands; we made this lagoon a great navigable harbor,"—this they had told the Lombards. For Longinus they had still another argument: "We withstood the barbarian invasions. No conqueror has ever stepped on these islands. God, who is our help and protection, has saved us in order that we may dwell on these watery marshes. This new Venice which we have raised on the lagoons is a mighty habitation for us. No power of emperor or prince can reach us save by the sea alone, and of them we have no fear."

"Truly, as I heard from others, so have I found ye," replied Longinus,—"a great people with a strong habitation. Dwelling in this security, you need fear no emperor nor prince."

He saw at once that he could not make subjects of them, but he urged them to enter into a friendly treaty with the empire.

"We will enter into a trade treaty on one condition," replied the Venetians,—"that we have to take no oath of allegiance or submission."

"No oath shall be required of you," he replied.

The Venetians furnished him a vessel and escorted him to Constantinople, and there was made out the treaty between the empire and Venice. The Venetians had gained their point. They were recognized for the first time as an independent state.

Two hundred years passed, and the city on the lagoons had become fair and strong, when a new power appeared in Italy. Charlemagne crossed the Alps, destroyed the Lombard kingdom, and was crowned in Rome. The Venetians saw their powerful neighbors on the mainland humbled, but the emperor did not have time to cross over to them. Their hour came in the days of his son Pepin, who in the division of the empire had become king of Italy. It did not please him to hear of this free state, which held itself so proudly on the edge of his kingdom, and he sent word to them that they were part of his realm, and ordered them to furnish troops and vessels to help him subdue his enemies.

The Venetians saw that the crisis had come. Now the strength of their independence was to be put to the test. They sent to King Pepin a refusal, and prepared to defend themselves. By the advice of their doge they moved their wives and children, and such property as could be carried, to the little island of Rialto, which lay in the center of the lagoon and was inaccessible by land or sea. Then the fighting men established themselves at Albiola, and waited for the coming of the king. They had not long to wait. Pepin was very angry at their message. He had other business on hand, but his fleet and his army were in northern Italy and he thought it would be a little matter to go over and put these presuming rebels in their proper place. He reached Venice in January. This is the old record of his coming:

"Now when King Pepin came against the Venetians with an army and a fleet and much people, he encamped on the mainland over against the ferry to the Venetian islands. The Venetians, seeing King Pepin coming against them with intent to ship his cavalry over to the island nearest the mainland, blocked up his passage with a barricade of ships."

That was the beginning. Pepin and his army stayed six months. They tried to get over to the islands by a bridge of pontoons which they built; the Venetians stood on the nearest island and shot arrows and other missiles into their midst, and the bridge fell through with the great weight of soldiers which was put on it. They tried to attack by sea, and succeeded in taking all the outer islands, but as they made triumphant progress into the lagoon an unlooked-for difficulty met them. They went in as far as they could on a full tide, but their vessels were built for deep waters and they came to a place where the water was too shallow for them to proceed. Then the tide went out, and their vessels went aground on the shoals, and lay at the mercy of the Venetian archers. They built clumsy rafts of tubs and planks woven together with twisted branches of vines and olive trees. These could thread the shallow channels, but the Venetians enticed them on the sand bars.

There the city lay, with its domes and its spires standing out clear against the sky; but six miles of winding channels and treacherous shoals lay between Pepin and his desire. Summer came, and fever began to spread through his army. He made one last appeal to the Venetians. Standing on the mainland, with the Venetians waiting in their boats and on the beach of Albiola, he proclaimed in a loud voice his right to rule them.

"Ye are my subjects," he cried, "since ye come from my lands."

"We did not come over here to have a ruler," replied the Venetians.

Pepin had failed. The son of the mighty Charlemagne had to confess himself helpless before the island people. He withdrew with his army and died in that same year. The Venetians had made good their claim. They could preserve liberty among themselves; they could repel a foe. All through the Middle Ages this little free state lay between the empires of the east and of the west. For a thousand years, until the coming of Napoleon at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Venice remained an independent republic.

[Illustration] from Patriots and Tyrants by Marion Lansing

Charlemagne and Wittekind

There was great excitement throughout Saxony. Messengers had gone through the land summoning the people to a grand assembly, such as was held only in times of special business or grave danger. None knew the reason for the summons, but all knew that the great Frankish king Charles, or Charlemagne, as men had begun already to call him, had led his armies to the borders of Saxony. The men who were making their way over the forest paths to the place of meeting shook their heads gravely when his name was spoken.

The assembly came together, and still no one knew what was the reason for its call, until the oldest chief of the Saxons arose and said: "An ambassador has come from the Franks, and desires speech with the Saxon nation. If it be your will, he shall be called into your midst."

"Bring him into our presence," replied the chiefs, and a tall Frank, clad in the garb of a monk, was brought before them.

"I am a Christian bishop," he said, "and I come to tell you of my God. Your gods which you worship are no gods at all. They have no power, and it is wrong to worship them. Mine is the only true God. He is stronger than all others, and all who do not bow down before him are heathen. I call you to put aside your idols and give him honor and worship. Give up your religion and take mine. If you do not, I have something to tell you which has been revealed to me. A great and powerful king will come against you, whom God shall send to punish you. He will conquer your nation and wipe it out from the face of the earth. This will happen if you do not become Christians."

It was a queer way to preach Christianity, was it not? To us, who think of Christianity as a power to be trusted for all good qualities, it seems impossible that men should ever have spoken in this way. But this was a dark period in the world's history, when men did everything by force, and even the church did not know any other way to spread its teachings than by the sword.

The Frank was silent, and a murmur of indignation rose among the people, which soon grew into a cry of anger.

"What has he said to us? That our gods are no gods at all; that we must take his foreign god or his king will come upon us. It is an insult. Away with him, let him be put to death!"

Thus spoke the younger chiefs, whose blood ran hot in their veins; but the old men held them back as they would have fallen upon the stranger and taken him away.

"He is our guest," they said. "He has come to us as ambassador from the mighty Charles. Let him depart with our answer; let it not be said that an ambassador was murdered in the Saxon assembly."

Their words prevailed, and the Frankish monk went back to Charlemagne. What did he report? That the Saxons were a fierce and stubborn people, and that they refused to accept the God of the Christians. Charlemagne was angry at the message, and he called together a great council both of the men of the church and of the fighting men of the kingdom. They agreed that they would fight the rebellious Saxons and force them to become Christians.

"These people must not remain heathen, worshiping idols," declared Charlemagne. "It would be a disgrace to the Frankish church if we let heathen carry on their practices unchecked on our very borders. Saxony must be Christianized or wiped out."

With a great army he crossed over into Saxony, and this is the way he began his work. There was in the western part of Saxony, near the Frankish border, a sacred grove, the grove of Eresburg, which was situated at the top of a hill. Here the Saxons came to worship. They believed that the world was shaped like a great tree: the rays of the sun were the branches, the earth was the trunk. On the branches and at the roots lived the gods,—the sun and moon and stars, the wind, the thunder, the water gods, and many more. So they worshiped this all-sustaining world tree, and made a wooden likeness of it. They had been a wandering people before they settled between the Rhine and the Elbe, but wherever they went they had always kept with them this pillar of wood, called the Irminsul, which was carved in the likeness of the earth tree. Now, when they lived over a wide stretch of country and were split up into many tribes, they had put the Irminsul in the sacred grove at Eresburg, and here they came together as a nation, at certain seasons of the year, to pay honor to the symbol of their common faith.

Charlemagne had heard of this custom, and it seemed to him a terrible thing that these heathen should come together and worship an idol.

"If I destroy this idol," he said to himself, "I shall have done a service to God, and I shall have attacked at its source this terrible heathen belief."

Frankish soldiers scaled the hill of Eresburg and stepped within the sacred circle where only the priests of the Saxons might stand. They found there a hoard of gold and silver and many ornaments, deposited before the Irminsul as offerings by many generations of Saxons. These they distributed in the army. The sacred pillar they cut in pieces. In three days the work of destruction was finished,—the sacred grove had been cut down and a Frankish fort rose in its place.

That was the way Charlemagne went over to Christianize Saxony and to add it as a province to his empire. Do you wonder that he did not find it easy? Do you wonder that the Saxons rose up against this conqueror who had insulted their gods and threatened to take away their freedom, and that it Was thirty-three years from the time of his first entrance into Saxony before he felt that the province was surely his? That is a side of the matter which the Franks could not see, but which we can see very plainly.

In the first two years Charlemagne thought that he had conquered Saxony, as he had conquered other lands, by a few battles and marches and a show of Power. He had the chiefs come together and offer him allegiance. To the great king, accustomed to be obeyed, it seemed as if the story of independent Saxony was closed, and so perhaps it would have been if it had not been for one thing which the historian records in eight words, "Wittekind, chief of the Westphalians, was not there." Charlemagne did not know it; he did not care. He went back to Italy, rejoicing that another great section of Europe had been added so easily to his empire.

But Wittekind, chief of the Westphalians, had not been there. He had not intended to be there; he had urged the other chiefs not to be. In the breast of this Saxon chief burned a passion for independence which was like a torch shining out in these days of gloom and despondency and giving forth its light and heat till all Saxony caught fire and was aglow with the passion for freedom.

"The Franks think they have conquered us. The king has gone away and left his men to rule over us. He has burned down the sacred places of our religion. Shall we let any man, however strong, place us under the rule of foreigners and take away our gods, giving us a foreign god in their place?"

So spoke Wittekind; and so men began to speak all through the land; and the people rose, with him as their leader, and threw off the hated yoke of the Franks and tore down the forts which had been built. Then Charlemagne came back, and again he conquered. Again he summoned the chiefs of the defeated people to come and give him their allegiance, and again they dared not stay away; but again "Wittekind, chief of the Westphalians, was not there." When he saw that the people were yielding and that he could do his country no good by staying, he had crossed over to Denmark, to whose king he had given his sister in marriage, there to get help for the Saxons. This time Charlemagne wanted him; he had learned that it mattered that he was not there; but he could not get him.

Charlemagne stayed longer this time. He had found out that these people could not be subdued by one victory. He gave them laws which they hated very much,—laws taxing them one tenth of their income and of their labor to build Christian churches, and decreeing that every one who did not submit to be baptized must be killed. Along with the hateful laws he showed them his power and riches. "For the first time," says the chronicle, "the needy Saxons learned to know the abundance of wealthy Gaul, for Charles gave to them many lands, and costly vestments, heaps of silver, and rivers of mellow wine."

Still the people were very angry at the laws and taxes, which seemed to them like tribute, the badge of slavery. When Charlemagne went away to Spain to fight the Saracens, they sent to Denmark for Wittekind, and once more they rebelled. This time, however, many chiefs would not join in the fight for Saxon independence, because they had seen that under Charles they could be rich and prosperous.

For a short time Wittekind and his armies carried all before them. If his nation had stood by him, it would have gone hard with the Franks. They would have been forced to let the Saxons be an independent allied people. The people were with Wittekind; the chiefs were not. So the Saxons were defeated, and Charlemagne ruled once more in the land. "At last, with open roads and no man to gainsay him, he went where he would through Saxony."

The province seemed at last to be his, but Charlemagne was not satisfied, for, as before, "Wittekind, chief of the Westphalians, was not there." He was still at large, sheltered by the people, who were his devoted followers, in the wilderness beyond the Elbe. No man of the common people could have been bribed or tortured to give him up to the conqueror.

Now we see the real Charlemagne, Charles the Great, the wise emperor whose story was told in "Barbarian and Noble," whose name has been honored for all the centuries. He did not send soldiers to take the patriot. His anger was passed, and he did not desire to put him to death. He sent envoys—not Frankish envoys, who would have been suspected of some plot, but men of Saxon blood—to treat with the chief and ask him to come to a conference, and he bade them offer hostages as a pledge of good faith.

Wittekind met the emperor's offer in the same spirit. As Charlemagne knew that with Wittekind on his side there would be no leader of Saxon independence, so Wittekind had learned to his sorrow that with the other chiefs of the Saxon nation supporting Charlemagne resistance would be useless. With only one companion, his friend Abbio, he came to the royal palace. There on Frankish soil, at the river which separated Saxony from the Frankish kingdom, he submitted to Christian baptism. The emperor himself stood sponsor for the Saxon convert, loading him with christening gifts. Wittekind returned to Westphalia, where he lived to a good old age. Other chiefs, who had gone over to Charlemagne's side from love of wealth or desire for favor, deserted the emperor when they could no longer get these rewards. Amid all the later rebellions Wittekind remained faithful to his vow of allegiance.


Therefore when you honor Charlemagne, who built up a great united empire and spread civilization and Christianity over Europe, give honor also, as did he, to Wittekind, who was first his brave enemy and then his faithful subject. Charlemagne took away from the Saxons their laws and gave them better; he took away their heathen religion and gave them a better; he conquered them for the time, and it was well that he did; but he could not harm them, for he could not take away the spirit of independence, whose great hero was the patriot Wittekind.

The Choosing of a King

It was a hundred years since the death of Charlemagne. His empire had been divided into three parts, which later became France, Germany, and Italy, and Germany was governed by a king chosen from the dukes of one or other of the six tribes. Conrad, the Frank, had been king, and now he was dying. When he felt that his end was near, he called to him his brother Eberhard and said: "I feel, my brother, that I am to bear no longer the burden of this life; God wills it so, and I must die. What is to become now of the kingdom rests principally with you. Therefore pay good heed and consider the advice of your brother. We have tried to rule as the great Charles ruled; we have tried to keep up the glory of his line and of the Franks. We have many followers; we have castles and weapons; in our hands are the crown and scepter of the kingly office. But the people of Germany have never followed us; their hearts are not with us. The power to lead Germany, if it can be led as one people, lies with the Saxons; the love of the Germans rests on Henry, Duke of the Saxons. Take therefore, when I am gone, the symbols of royalty, the scepter, the gold armlets, the king's mantle of royal purple, the sword, and the crown of our ancient kings. Go with them to Henry and salute him as king."

"But he is our enemy," replied Eberhard in amazement. "Have you forgotten this? Have you forgotten how lately you were at war with him?"

"The future of Germany lies with Henry," replied the dying king. "Go to him and make your peace with him, for truly he will be king and lord of many peoples."

So spoke Conrad, and Eberhard promised to do as his brother had commanded, and the other nobles who were at the king's bedside promised likewise. Truly this last act of Conrad's was the grandest of his life, and was to be remembered to his honor for all generations, for, as you shall see, he forgave his enemy for the sake of the nation.

Conrad died, deeply lamented by the Franks, and was buried in the cloister of Fulda, and the Frankish nobles, true to their promise, took the symbols of kingship and brought them to Saxony. But before I tell how they found Duke Henry, I must tell you how it had happened that King Conrad and Henry had quarreled and become enemies, so that Eberhard was right when he said that the king had but lately been at war with him. The quarrel came about through a queer accident. When Henry was a young man, but lately appointed Duke of the Saxons, Archbishop Hatto of Mainz sent to the young duke a present of a necklace, fashioned by his craftsmen in a new way which they had just learned. It was made of twisted gold formed in a coil to act as a spring, so that the wearer need not clasp nor unclasp it, but could stretch the chain of gold and pass it over his head, and it would close again around his neck. Henry was pleased when the gift was brought to him, and after he had handled it and admired its workmanship he put it on. But the craftsmen had never seen Henry, who was a fine, tall man with a strong neck and big shoulders, and they had made it too small. It shrank so tight as nearly to throttle him, and had to be cut off his neck. Henry was very angry, and the Saxons were more angry. They said that the bishop had wanted to strangle their young duke, and that the scheme had been planned by him and King Conrad, who was jealous of him and of the Saxon power. So they went to war at once, and Conrad had to defend himself and his archbishop, and that was the beginning of the difference between Conrad and Henry. Since then many things had happened to widen the breach, for Henry did not believe in the way that Conrad ruled. Henry thought that the people and the other dukes should have more chance to speak their minds than they were given by Conrad, who was a king after the old imperial system of Charlemagne.

Now Conrad's brother was on his way to Saxony, carrying to Henry at Conrad's command the insignia of royalty.

There is in Saxony a beautiful region, with high mountains and swift-flowing streams, which is called the Harz. The mountain sides are covered with oak and beech forests, and streams of clear water from mountain springs flow down into green valleys. Here lived happily Henry, Duke of the Saxons, during the months when his duchy did not need him, and hither were sent the Frankish nobles when they came to Saxony asking for the duke. By a trail up the mountain side they made their way, and all at once the foremost of them heard a sound of a man whistling, which was answered by a chorus of bird notes. The nobles pressed on, and in a moment they were in the presence of their future king. Henry was seated in the shade of a great oak, whistling to his birds, who answered him with bell-like calls from the branches where they perched, or settled on his hands and shoulders.

Henry Fowler

The duke rose at the sight of the strangers, and the birds flew away to the upper branches, from which they looked down on the strange scene which took place in this forest retreat. Eberhard came forward first, and as Henry rose to greet him with a word of welcome, he stretched forth to him the crown which he bore, and the others came forward with the other symbols of kingship,—the scepter and the gold armlets and the king's mantle of royal purple.

"King Conrad is dead, God rest his soul," said Eberhard solemnly, "and by his wish and the wish of ourselves, the nobles of Franconia, we bring to you the symbols of royalty, and ask of you that you become King of the Germans."

"I king!" said Henry. "You come to me with these! But I was Conrad's enemy. He could never have desired you to come to me."

"By Conrad's wish we come," insisted Eberhard, and he told him of the king's words on his deathbed. Henry listened, and when Eberhard had finished speaking, he bowed his head.

"Truly he was a good man," he said, "and if it be that the welfare of the German nation lies with me as king, I will obey his word, provided the people of all the tribes shall so decide."

"It is well," replied the nobles, and they went away to summon the people to a great assembly at Fritzlar, which lies on the boundary between Franconia and Saxony. At Eberhard's call there came together all the nobles of the tribes on the fourteenth of April in the year 919, and Eberhard stepped out before the great company and said: "Behold I here present to you Henry, proposed by King Conrad, and nominated by all the princes, for your king! If this choice be acceptable to you, you will show it by raising your right hands toward heaven."

All the people raised their right hands toward heaven, and shouted with one accord, "King Henry!" and they prepared to set him on the throne. The archbishop came forward and would have anointed him with oil, as had been the custom of many kings. Henry stopped him.

"That have I not deserved," he said. "To me it is enough that I, through God's mercy and the love of you, my people, am called to be king. Let the anointing with oil be reserved for another. Of so great an honor I am not worthy."

This he did partly through modesty and partly to show to the church that, though he meant to defend it powerfully in its true rights, he felt that the right to choose a king rested with the German people and with them alone. If the church had part in the coronation, and thought there could be no proper king without its having this part, it might sometime happen that the church would say: "Germany cannot have this king that the people have chosen. We do not want him." Then the independence of Germany would be gone.

Henry's words pleased the assembled company, and once more they raised the right hand to heaven and swore fidelity to the king and shouted in loud acclaim, "Hail and blessing to King Henry!"

This was the true crowning of Henry, first king of the Germans; but the people loved to remember that he did not go out to seek his crown, but that it was first brought to him as he sat among his birds in the forest; and in memory of that hour they called him, as every one has come to call him, "Henry the Fowler," or, as the German speech puts it, "Henry the Bird-Man."

Henry the Fowler

Henry was wise enough to see that putting the crown on his head did not make him truly king of all Germany. Conrad had worn that very crown, but half his people had been at war with him, as had Henry himself. So he set about to make peace among all German dukes, and this was no easy matter, for each of them had wanted to be king himself, each save Eberhard. With him and the people of Franconia he was already at peace, and with Burkhardt of Swabia he was soon able to make terms. But Duke Arnulf of Bavaria had no intention of making peace. He had intended to seize the kingship when Conrad died; he intended to seize it now, and he had a strong army to enforce his claim. He had established himself in the newly fortified town of Regensburg, and there he waited for Henry to come and make war on him. Henry came, bringing an army to use if need be; but it was his plan to seek first to bring Bavaria into the kingdom with other weapons than the sword.

The king sent a message to Duke Arnulf appointing a conference, and Arnulf, thinking that a duel was to decide the question between them, did not shrink back, though Henry's fame as a swordsman had not been forgotten from his boyhood days, but appeared at the appointed place and hour armed from head to foot. The two armies were encamped on either side of the meeting place, awaiting the result of the interview.

But lo! when Arnulf in his coat of mail, with breastplate and knee guards and helmet, strode into the presence of King Henry, he found the latter unarmed and in homely house garb. He received the astonished duke with these words: "Since God has given to me the crown, you owe to me, your liege lord, obedience, even as I also would acknowledge you as overlord, had the choice fallen on you!"

Duke Arnulf stared in amazement. No one had ever dared to tell him that he owed obedience to any man. But the quiet voice went on: "The honor of the kingdom, the welfare of the fatherland, our peoples who long for peace and freedom, demand sacrifice from you and us all. If we will succeed in this purpose, we must act in unity; but if this is to come to pass, the smaller states must yield in some matters to the greater."

With a winning smile and a cordial word, the king dismissed him. The interview was over before Arnulf quite knew what had happened, and the duke was making his way back to his own followers to report to them the message, and to gather them in a council to ask their advice. The king's words had not been in vain.

"I do not want to yield," said Arnulf to his nobles, "but if I must yield, truly this is a man to whom one could willingly give one's support."

The nobles advised the duke to give to the king his allegiance, provided he was not forced to surrender any of his private rights over his duchy, and Arnulf followed their advice. He bore to the king the reply of Bavaria, and took for his duchy the oath of allegiance. From that day he held faithfully to the oath and kept himself an obedient vassal in such matters as pertained to the whole of Germany, becoming besides King Henry's most valued friend and adviser.

Within five years Henry accomplished, though not without some fighting, the great task of uniting Germany,—the work attempted, but without success, by Hermann and Wittekind in their time. His work had, however, only just begun. Germany was suffering at that time from invasions by the Magyars and Hungarians on the east and from the Danes and Norsemen on the north. This was the second period of the Wandering of the Peoples, when Rollo and his Vikings came down on France. With his northern and western neighbors Henry did not have much trouble. His northern tribes were strong enough with his help to beat off the Danes, and Charles the Simple of France met the German king on a boat on the river Rhine which separated France and Germany, and concluded with him a peace by which the boundaries of each land were established. So Germany was fairly secure on the north and west, but on the east and south a new tormentor had arisen. Bands of Hungarian horsemen would sweep through the land, burning towns and villages, stealing the crops, and killing men, women, and children as they came in their way. Arnulf had fought against them, but in vain. If matters went on there would soon be no Germany over which Henry could be king; each province would be subject to the Magyars and Hungarians.

King Henry had seen all this. That was why he had been so eager to form a strong, united Germany. Now fortune favored him. A Magyar leader fell, during one of these marauding expeditions, into the hands of the Germans, who delivered their prisoner to the king. The Magyars must therefore come to Henry to get him back.

"If you will conclude with us a nine years' truce, in which there shall be no fighting on either side, I will let your leader go free," said King Henry.

The Magyar messengers were surprised, the German dukes hardly less so.

"But what of the tribute money that the duchies on the south have been paying for the sake of peace?" demanded the Magyars.

"For nine years that money shall be paid, so long as you keep the peace," replied the king.

The Magyars wanted their leader very much, and finally agreed to these terms, and so did the dukes, though they murmured among themselves at the long truce.

When the Magyars were gone, King Henry explained his plan.

"We are not now strong enough to defeat the Magyars," he said. "If we went to war with them the result would be uncertain. They fight on horseback, we on foot. That gives to them a great advantage. They can sweep down upon us and destroy our crops and cause a famine in the land, and they can destroy even our homes, for they are not well protected. For nine years we shall have peace from their invasions, and during that time we can prepare ourselves so that we will be strong at their coming."

King Henry went at once about his work of strengthening the kingdom. He knew that the time was none too long. First he set the people to build about their settlements high, strong walls, with towers at each corner and gates from which sentinels could look out on the whole surrounding country and give warning of the approach of the enemy. Within these walls were constructed moats, deep paved ditches, twenty, thirty, and forty feet wide. Into these water might be run, and across them could be swung drawbridges, which could be let down or pulled up at will. They made a second barrier against the enemy. Within these moats was still another wall with iron gates. These were the first walled cities of Germany, and by the building of them Henry gained the noble name of "The Founder of Cities," for he was doing his people a greater service than he knew. He built the cities for defense against the Magyars, but they were to serve as a defense against many foes, and they were also to gather the people closer together and strengthen the bonds of national life. Some of the walled cities are standing there to this day just as they were built in the Middle Ages, and you will find, when you go to visit them, that in cities where no wall or tower remains there are often broad circular boulevards encircling the city, built where the moats used to be.

Walled town

One city in particular is associated with King Henry, for here he loved most to dwell. It was in the dear Harzland, whence the people had summoned him to be king, and was called Quedlinburg. Hither he brought in these years his wife Matilda, who was a descendant of the patriot Wittekind, and here they dwelt together happily in the midst of their people. The Germans loved Queen Matilda (the good queen, as they called her) almost as much as they did King Henry, and quaint stories have come down to us of her beauty and her goodness. The people of Quedlinburg were always glad when she spent the winter at home, for she never stayed in a town in winter without causing fires to be lighted in every house, however poor, and even on the streets. She had a special public bath built in Quedlinburg for the poor, and she never drove abroad without scattering bread to beggars.

King Henry ordered likewise that one ninth of the people should be chosen by lot to dwell within the cities and defend them, and that the people who lived on the farms outside should agree to send a certain amount of their produce to the city dwellers. Thus they should not lack for food, though they did not till the land themselves, and they would be ready to take in the country people and support them in case of siege.

The king had spoken to the dukes about the Magyar horsemen. Charlemagne had taught the Franks to fight on horseback to defend themselves against the Saracens, but the Saxons had never fought save on foot. In all the duchies there were younger brothers of noble family, who did not inherit the estates from their fathers. They were too proud to till the land or work at a trade, and they would not serve in the army as foot soldiers. Some of them had taken to the mountains and lived a reckless life, robbing merchants as they passed with their goods from town to town. These men were a menace to the nation. King Henry offered to them all free pardon if they would come and serve in the cavalry which he was organizing, and learn to fight on horseback. They came in great numbers, and as Henry did not want men of wild life in his army, the story is that he talked over with the dukes what should be the requirements of this knighthood which he was forming. "A knight," he began, "if he is to be a true servant of the crown, must not by word or deed harm the church."

"No," added Count Conrad, "nor his fatherland."

"Nor," said Berthold of Bavaria, "must he be a liar."

"Nor have injured a woman," said Hermann of Swabia.

"No, nor run away in battle," added Conrad.

So those were the laws of knighthood, and some say that chivalry began in that hour when it was agreed by Henry and his dukes that a knight must be true to his church and his country, honorable, gentle to women, and brave. Of later laws and customs of chivalry you will read more in "Cavalier and Courtier."

When the nine years were over, King Henry gathered the people. His preparations were finished; his army had fought with northern enemies and showed that it was well drilled and ready. Of all this he spoke to them: "Our kingdom is at peace within itself; all our enemies are conquered. Only the Hungarians stand over against us, demanding tribute as the price of peace. Nine years I have paid it; nine years I have had to give up what belonged to your children to enrich these enemies. We have robbed ourselves. We have given until there is nothing left to us but our bodies and our weapons, unless we rob the churches. We are here to decide what we shall do. Already the messengers are on the way. Shall we pay tribute longer? Shall we impoverish ourselves to give what they demand? Choose ye this day what ye will do."

Then there rose a shout from the whole people, speaking as one, "No! let us free ourselves from these bonds." They raised their right hands to heaven and vowed to stand by the king against the enemy, and as they shouted they beat their thousand swords upon their shields.

The Magyar messengers came to the borders of Germany. Instead of the ambassadors bearing gold there met them a group of warlike Germans leading a dog, a cur, with cropped tail and ears. Him they sent into the Magyar camp, which was by ancient custom the greatest insult one people could offer another.

The Magyars rose to take revenge. They came down upon Germany in greater numbers than ever before. But their horsemen were met by trained German horsemen. They could no longer kill and destroy where they would. The people were within the walled towns, which the Magyars could not take. Henry's plans were realized. After many battles the Magyars were driven back and Germany was safe.

For the last years of his life Henry could rule a peaceful and united Germany which he had delivered from warfare within and without. When he died, and was laid to rest in the abbey of Quedlinburg, the whole nation mourned him.

That was the way the German nation was founded.

[Illustration] from Patriots and Tyrants by Marion Lansing

Hereward the Saxon

Hereward was a Saxon patriot, and above all things the Saxons loved a hero. When the barons and their ladies were seated at banquet in the great castle halls, it was their wont to call for a minstrel and bid him sing to them a hero song. When the common people came together at the village green on festival or market days, there a minstrel would be found, and the people would flock to him and ask him for a song.

"Of whom shall I sing?" the minstrel would ask. "Of whom but Hereward, our Saxon hero?" would be the answer.

Then the minstrel would sing of Hereward and his exploits,—first of his life in the fastnesses of Ely and of his fight with William the Conqueror, which is all written down in sober form in the pages of history; and then, when the people clamored for more, of his boyhood, and of how he came to be an out-law, and of the fair ladies who loved him and whom he loved. Sometimes, when it came to be one hundred years or more since he lived, they would forget, and tell stories of him which belonged to some one else. So to-day when we search the old writings to learn about Hereward, we find some history and some of these songs which were written down just as the minstrels sang them; and this story, as I am going to tell it to you, is made up from all these accounts,—mostly from history, of the brave Saxon patriot whom all Anglo-Saxons honor, but sometimes from old English songs, of the wonderful hero who was the darling of the English people in the twelfth and thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

The minstrels tell us most about his boyhood. They say that he was the son of Leofric, Lord of Bourne, and of the Lady Godiva. He was graceful of form and handsome of face, with beautiful flaxen-colored hair and large, blue-gray eyes. He was large of frame and might have been clumsy, had he not been so agile and graceful in his movements. Even in his youth he showed himself remarkably strong and powerful of limb. Though he was gentle to the weak, with his fellows he was rough in play and bold in planning perilous adventures, so that he was the leader of them all.

Being of noble family, Hereward received in his boyhood training as a page and an esquire. He was taught to wrestle, to tilt with the spear, to run, to shoot with bow and arrow, and to vault a horse when clad in heavy armor. Sometime during Hereward's boyhood Earl Leofric was called to court, and thither he took his family. Here Hereward did not get on so well. Edward the Confessor was king at that time. He had spent twenty-seven years across the Channel in France at the Norman court, and had brought back with him Norman lords and Norman pages and esquires and more foreign ways than were pleasing to the men of England. He was, besides, a scholar and cared nothing for manly sports and exercises of arms: Young Hereward was always getting into trouble with the Norman boys or inventing some adventure which brought all the esquires into disgrace. They were only boyish pranks, but they tried King Edward and Earl Leofric, who was the same kind of man, beyond measure. The worst story we hear of Hereward is that when he was wrestling with a French page on the roof of one of the low Saxon houses, the French boy angered him and he let him roll off, upon which the page went with a doleful tale to the king. The king and Earl Leofric took counsel together and decided to banish Hereward from the court, or, as they put it, "to send him to travel in foreign countries for an indefinite period."

So Hereward left England when he was nineteen years old. After his father had expelled him from his presence, he went for advice to his godfather, Gilbert of Ghent, and Earl Gilbert gave him letters to his friends in Ireland and Flanders. Of these years of his banishment the minstrels loved to tell wonderful tales, like those about Jack the Giant Killer,—how he went forth and meeting a giant in the way, slew him; how he killed a magic wild boar which attacked him; and many more legendary adventures.

History comes in to tell us of what happened in England during those years. The Normans, descendants of Rollo and his Vikings, had become a very great and powerful people dwelling in the north of France; in many ways they had come into relations with the Anglo-Saxons across the Channel, so that people were constantly going back and forth, and the men of one court, as you have seen with King Edward, lived first in one place and then in the other. The common people did not like it, but they could not help it. England was not strong enough in those days to make a separate nation that could defend itself against all other nations. King Edward died and Harold came to the English throne, and he too had had close relations with the Normans, so that William, their king, even said that Harold had sworn to him, while he was yet a duke over in Normandy, that if he became king of England William might come over and share his realm. However that was, William of Normandy looked with longing eyes upon the counties of England, and meant to add them to his domain. Harold stood out firmly when he came to be really king, and said that whatever promise William had got out of him when he was his subject did not hold now that he was the king of England, for the English crown belonged to the people and was not his to give. But William was not to be daunted. If he could not have England peacefully, he would take it by war. So he gathered an army of sixty thousand men and set sail for England. That was the last time a whole nation moved its home, the very last scene in the long Wandering of the Peoples of which you have read in "Barbarian and Noble." William came over, as you know, in the year 1066, and conquered the Saxons in the Battle of Hastings and was crowned in London.

All this time Hereward was over in Flanders. He heard of the coming of William the Conqueror to his land, and he heard too of the way the Normans were oppressing his people, taking their homes and fields and turning them out as if they were beggars. Then word came to him that his father was dead and his own home had been taken by a Norman chief, who was living in it and had driven out his mother Godiva, its lawful owner. Hereward waited no longer. Banished though he was, outlaw even, as some called him, he would return to his own land and his own people. But if he was outlaw from the court of the peace-loving Edward, how much more would he be in danger from the conqueror William!

Hereward went straight to his own county and gathered a band of his former friends and playmates, who welcomed him joyfully. The Normans were feasting in Hereward's hall, listening, so the minstrels say, to a false song of Saxon cowardice, and laughing at the Saxon ways, when Hereward and his men came upon them, and drove them out of the hall and out of the county,—that is, so many as escaped with their lives.

After that exploit there was no safety in England for Hereward. He stayed at his home only long enough to restore his mother to her rightful heritage, and retired to the marshes of Ely; and it is with his fight for liberty at Ely that history is most concerned. If, when you have read this tale, you want to know more of Hereward and of English life in the eleventh century, you must read Kingsley's book, "Hereward the Wake."

The Fenland in the east of England, of which the island of Ely is the center, is the most barren part of England. Here there is a great tract of country, none of it a hundred feet above sea level, dotted by an occasional island a little higher than the rest, and cut by narrow channels of sluggish water which divide the great swampy marshes. To this wild waste of land and water Hereward and his band retired, and on the island of Ely established a Camp of Refuge, to which flocked all the brave Saxons of England who had been driven from their homes by the Normans. Men slipped away even from William's court in his absence, to make, plans with the outlaws, and were back in their places before the king returned. From this shelter Hereward and his men "harried the Normans of nine counties," attacking their castles after a march of thirty or forty miles through the night, and returning before day-light to their fastnesses.

William the Conqueror

Meanwhile William was trying to govern England, with uprisings going on in the north and west and this nest of outlaws to the east. "This William was a very wise and great man," writes the Saxon chronicler, "but also was he a very stern and wrathful man, so that none durst do anything against his will. Amongst other things the good order that he established is not to be forgotten. But truly there was much trouble in his times, and very great distress. The rich complained and the poor murmured, but he was so sturdy that he reeked not of the hatred of them all; they must will all that the king willed, if they would live, or keep their lands, or be maintained in their rights."

Even while he was bringing order to their land, the Saxons hated their Norman king beyond all words, as all freedom-loving men must hate a foreign conqueror. More and more Saxon earls and lords slipped away to Hereward's Camp of Refuge, until there were gathered four thousand of the most daring spirits in England. William had heard of Hereward's attacks on the country round about. He had even come to have a grim sort of respect for this brave fighter who so easily overtook his Norman barons. When one of his own abbots had proved warlike and rebellious, he had said, "I'll find him his match! He shall go to Peterborough, where Hereward will give him enough fighting."

Now when William heard that Hereward and his men planned to winter together in Ely, he prepared to attack them. He moved his court to Cambridge, which was the nearest town; he sent his ships and sailors round by water to fight from the sea; and he brought with him all his army to besiege these Saxon rebels. By one means and another he tried to take them, but in vain. He attempted to starve them out, but Hereward had laid in a good store of wheat and grain, there were always fish and wild fowl to be caught, and, watch as the Normans would, the fishermen and country folk, who stood to a man with the patriots, would manage to take sheep and cattle at night by secret ways through the marshes to the besieged outlaws. He built approaches, and Hereward destroyed them. He planned surprises, and men from Hereward's supporters would get wind of them through servants of the king.

The minstrels tell how Hereward himself went over in disguise to the king's court. One time he went as a fisherman to sell fish, and another time he was dressed as a potter and walked into the camp crying, "Pots! pots! good pots and pitchers! Earthenware dishes, all of the very best! "This time he was in real danger, for he was brought by the cook, who wished to buy dishes, into the kitchen, and then, for his pleasing appearance and wit, taken up among the soldiers and courtiers. If it had not been for his swift mare Swallow, he would never have escaped that day, for among the soldiers was one who recognized him and gave the alarm.

King William sat in the Castle of Cambridge and looked out across the wastes of marsh to the camp of Ely and pondered how he should take Hereward and his men. At last he had a great causeway, two miles long, of stones and trees and earth, laid across the marshes, so that his army could march safely to the attack. He blocked up every outlet from the marshes to the sea with boats. So he shut in Hereward and his men, and still they did not yield, until a traitor from the monks of the abbey of Ely came and told the king of a secret way through the marshes, by which his men might safely reach the island. That made it possible for him to surprise the Saxons and take many of them; but even then he did not get Hereward.

A fisherman hid Hereward in his boat, which had been kept in waiting in case he should be obliged to make his escape, and there he lay under the straw until a party of Normans came to buy fish. As their leader, a Norman knight, bartered with the Saxon about the price of his fish, Hereward leaped from his place of hiding and, seizing the horse from which the Norman had dismounted, rode away to safety.

With his followers Hereward retired to the forests of his own estate, and there, in the midst of the forest, they lived for many a month. Berries and acorns grew there which were fit for food, and red deer and wild cattle and pigs ran in herds. With his bow a man might live there without lack, and in the depths of that wild forest he might evade a foe forever. Moving from one place to another each week, they dwelt in the forest in safety, and that was the beginning of the greenwood life of England, in which Robin Hood and Adam Bell and many another persecuted and friendless outlaw escaped, to live happily in the forest.

Hereward was not to end his days in the greenwood. He and his men were so fortunate as to capture a Norman knight, Duke Ivo, and thus the chance came to him to make peace with William, who had by this time made himself so strong in the land that it was useless to resist him. King William showed himself an honorable foe. He offered to restore Hereward's land and castle, and to let him dwell in peace on the estates of his fathers, if he would promise never to take up arms against him again. Hereward was true to his promise, and that was the way it happened all over England. The Normans saw that they could not make the Saxons a subject people, and the Saxons saw that the Normans had come to stay. So the two races came together, as English and Danes had come together in the days of King Alfred, and as the Saxons themselves had joined with the former inhabitants of the land when they sailed across from their Saxon homes in Germany five hundred years before. While they loved the story of Hereward,

"Who year by year did fight so well

The rhymers all his praises tell,"

the Saxons learned also the wonderful stories of the Normans; and took up the civilization of Europe which the Normans brought, until now

"Scot and Celt and Norman and Dane,

With the Northman's sinew and heart and brain,

And the Northman's courage for blessing or bane,

Are England's heroes too."

[Illustration] from Patriots and Tyrants by Marion Lansing

Frederick Barbarossa and the Lombard Cities

This story brings us back to Italy. The Lombards were the last barbarians, you remember, to come over the Alps into Italy, and they took the beautiful northern cities, while the people fled across the water to the islands of Venice. Then they lived in these cities, rebuilding them, and governing all northern Italy, and trying to get Venice into their power. Those same cities were taken by Charlemagne and the Franks when they came over into Italy, but the Lombards were not driven out. They stayed, but they had to acknowledge Charlemagne as their emperor and lord. After Charlemagne died, all Europe was in confusion for a time, and when there began to be emperors again, they were German emperors. Otto, the son of Henry the Fowler, was the first to call himself emperor, and he was crowned at Rome just as Charlemagne had been, and from that time on German emperors claimed to be kings of Italy as well as of their own native kingdom of Germany.

Sometimes the German emperors were too hard pressed keeping the peace in their own kingdom to pay much attention to Italy, and in those reigns the Lombard cities, which were the strongest cities in the whole land, got in the way of managing themselves and their neighbors as though there were no emperor at all. That was the way it was in the reign of Conrad, the uncle of the Frederick of our story, Frederick Barbarossa, or Frederick Red-beard, as he was called in history.

Frederick was not that kind of ruler. In the story of Charlemagne and Wittekind you saw that one man might seem to his own people a very wise ruler, but to the people whom for some reason he was trying to bring into his realm he might appear at the very same time a tyrant; which shows you that what we said in the beginning was true, that tyrants are not always bad men. Sometimes they are very good men, but for some mistaken reason they are trying to take away the rights of other people, and so the people resist them. That was what happened with Frederick. He was a brave king and a wise ruler and a chivalrous knight, and all the world holds him in honor, as you will when you have read about him in "Cavalier and Courtier"; but just now we are going to see how, through trying to keep his empire in order, he found himself for a little while taking away liberty from the Lombard cities. The first story that came to Frederick's court about the kingdom of Italy was that the big Lombard city of Milan was oppressing her smaller neighbors.

"I must go down and look after this kingdom of mine," said Frederick to himself, and with a great army he marched over the Brenner Pass and proceeded to the place where he had announced that he would meet his subjects, the vassals of the kingdom and the deputies of the cities. On the way a strange accident happened which began the trouble. It was the duty of every city to furnish to the emperor, whenever he might appear in its neighborhood, supplies for him and his companions, and guides to the places where he wished to go. The route by which Frederick chose to journey had lately been made barren by war, and the supplies which the city of Milan was trying to furnish fell short. It was only an accident. The Milanese had done their best to get together food for the army, but Frederick, remembering what he had heard of how Milan was oppressing her neighbors, thought it was an intentional slight, and on his way southward stopped to destroy two of her castles and to put Milan under the ban of the empire. When the Milanese came to beg for peace, he told them that they might have peace if they would give to him complete submission, so that he might govern their city as he pleased, appointing their officers. He had heard many stories of the way Milan was using her power over her neighbors, and he thought it best to make an example of the city. The Milanese refused, and Frederick declared them rebels.

He did not make war on them this time, but he came back two years later, and besieged the city and took it. This is the way the conquered people showed their submission. The whole population of the city formed a procession. First came the archbishops and clergy, bearing sacred vessels; then the nobles, barefoot and dressed in tattered garments, with their swords slung behind their backs, to show that they were using them no more; and last the common people, with ropes around their necks, to show that they were no longer free people. The long procession marched four miles from the city gates to the plain where Frederick was sitting crowned and in royal robes, waiting to receive their submission, and to take from their hands the keys of the city.


In the peace which was concluded that day, the Milanese thought that they were to have their city rights left to them. They were to appoint their own officers, subject to Emperor Frederick's approving them. What Frederick really understood we do not know. At any rate he sent men promptly to depose the officers chosen by the people and to put in his men, who were not Italians but Germans. When these foreigners began to govern the city, the Milanese rose up in rebellion, and before many weeks Frederick was called back to make war on them.

Again the greater force conquered. Frederick had called in the Italian neighbors of Milan, rival Lombard cities which were jealous of her power, and they had helped him. Once more, after many months of siege and starvation, the whole population marched out from the gates with ashes on their heads and ropes round their necks to prostrate themselves before their conqueror.

Frederick was more just than many kings of his time. He did not put his conquered people to death nor imprison them, but he decreed that the whole population should leave the city forever. They were to set themselves up in huts which they should build in four villages on the plains, and the men of the rival towns were to be called in to tear down the city. In six days not one stone remained upon another in what had been the fair-walled city of Milan.

Then Frederick went away to Germany, where his people needed him, and left German officers to govern the Lombards. They took no pains to make the yoke light. They oppressed the poor with taxes; they gave the people no share in the government; and life became intolerable to the freedom-loving Lombards. Their common suffering drew together the rival cities, which had never before been at peace. In the winter of 1167 a league was formed, which was the beginning of the famous Lombard League. The cities which came together in this league agreed that the first thing for them to do was to rebuild Milan and restore her citizens to their homes. On an April day the dwellers in the huts, which were all the homes that remained to the Milanese, looked out across the plain and saw horsemen coming with banners as if in battle array.

"What army is this," they said, "and what further evil is to befall us?"

When the troops came nearer to the poor villages the Milanese found that these were not enemies but friends, allies who had been their rivals until a common oppression by a foreigner had brought them together.

The Milanese joined the joyful procession and went with them to their ruined city. All set to work to restore first the moat and the city walls, for defense, and then the houses. The work went on with great enthusiasm. Women gave their jewels to adorn the restored churches, and in a short space of time Milan stood once more the central city of the Lombards.

It was seven years before Frederick was able to get the kingdom of Germany into order so that he was free enough from the enemies that beset his northern kingdom to come over and chastise these rebellious cities of his in Italy. During those years the Lombard League grew stronger, till at last thirty-six towns belonged to it.

Then Frederick came over with great armies, marching straight to Milan, where the allies gathered to meet him. In one of their wars for liberty a patriot of Milan had invented a military device which should serve as an inspiration to the army. This was a strong wagon built of iron, supporting an iron pole from the top of which floated the banner of the city, and was called the Carroccio. It was draped in scarlet cloth and drawn by eight white oxen selected for their size and beauty. The Carroccio was to be the center of the army. Around it were to be stationed the bravest warriors. To abandon it to the enemy was the extreme of disgrace. The Milanese had had to do this once. When Frederick destroyed the city, he ordered that the Carroccio be brought, and he himself tore away the fringe and scarlet cloth amid the lamentations of the people. Now it had been prepared again for his coming, and three hundred of the noblest youth of Milan had formed a company around it, swearing to die before they allowed the sacred emblem of the city to fall again into the hands of the conqueror.

The battle of Legnano was fought between the Germans and the Lombard League, and the Lombards were victorious. After the battle it was even thought for a time that Emperor Frederick had been killed, for he could not be found. The empress put on garments of mourning; but after a few days he reappeared from the mountains, to which he had been driven by his peril after the defeat. He had come to realize that the Lombard cities were not to be subdued by force of arms. A great Congress was held at Venice, at which a six years' truce was made between the emperor and his vassals; and by the Peace of Constance, agreed upon when the truce expired, Frederick solemnly granted to the Lombard cities the three things which they wanted and which were to them the symbols of liberty:

1. Liberty to make peace or war as an independent city with their neighbors.

2. Freedom from outside interference in the private government of the city.

3. Freedom from taxation to which they should not agree.

Having obtained these their cherished rights, the Lombard cities agreed to give to Emperor Frederick their allegiance, and to be in every other respect his vassals.

The Peace of Constance is a great liberty document, and the most beautiful part of the story remains to be told. There was never a peace more honorable to both sides, nor more honorably kept. Within a few years the Emperor Frederick came once again to visit Lombardy. He came as a loyal observer of the treaty to visit the free cities of his realm; he was received with loyal allegiance and cordial welcome by every city of Lombardy, even by Milan, which had been torn down and built again because of his coming. "I love to reward rather than to punish," was the word of the great emperor.


King John and the Barons

King John of England was a tyrant, and a wicked man besides,—one of the worst kings that England ever had. He tried to steal the kingship from his brother Richard the Lion-hearted while Richard was away at the Crusades, and he even offered the emperor of Germany money to keep Richard in prison, that he might still be king. When he became king, he had the child Arthur, his only heir, killed, that none might take the throne from him, and for this he was put out of the church by the pope; and all through these years he tyrannized over his people in every way.

Archbishop Stephen Langton had stood out against him in the earlier years of his reign, and when things became very bad in England, he privately called some of the nobles together after a church assembly. When the nobles and barons were gathered, Stephen Langton told them that he had found a most precious thing, the charter of liberty which the good King Henry, the son of William the Conqueror, had given to the people. It was only a sheet of parchment, but it was a written statement by the king of the rights and liberties of the people under him, and it meant that these rights should be observed by one king after another.

"With the help of this," said the archbishop, "we should be able to get back our rights."

Then all who were assembled in the church, commencing with those of highest rank, swore on the great altar that if the king refused to grant these liberties and laws, they themselves would withdraw from their allegiance to him, and make war on him, till he should, by a charter under his own seal, confirm to them everything they required. Finally it was agreed by all that after Christmas they should go together to the king and demand the confirmation of these liberties, and that they should in the meantime provide themselves with horses and arms "so that if the king should endeavor to depart from his oath, they might, by taking his castles, compel him to satisfy their demands; and having arranged this, each man returned home."

Only a very wicked king could have made the nobles take this stand, for they were ready to abide in all things by the will of a just ruler. But in those days no man's property nor life nor honor was safe. The whole nation was made poor by the demands of the king for money, and by his commands that men leave their homes and their work to come and serve as soldiers in his wars.

This then is the story as it is told in the chronicles of England. At Christmas, in the year 1215, the nobles came to King John in gay military array and made of him their demand. He, hearing the bold tone of the barons in making their demand, much feared an attack from them, as he saw that they were prepared for battle. He therefore asked time for deliberation, and a truce was fixed till the end of Easter.

Again in Easter week of this same year the nobles assembled with horses and arms, for they had now induced almost all the nobility of the kingdom to join them, and constituted a very large army. The king was awaiting the arrival of his nobles in Oxford. He sent messengers to inquire what the laws and liberties were which they demanded. The barons then delivered to the messengers a paper containing the laws and ancient customs of the kingdom, which they desired to have renewed and established. The archbishop with his fellow messengers took this paper back to the king, and read to him the heads of the paper, one by one, till he had heard it throughout. But the king, when he heard the purport of these heads, derisively said, with a great show of indignation, "Why among these demands did not the barons ask for my kingdom also?" And with many angry words he declared with an oath that never so long as he was king would he grant them liberties which would take away from him the right to do as he pleased, and make him their slave.

The barons, when they received the scornful message of the king, began to make war. They took the king's castles and the king's towns, and marched nearer and nearer to London. As they were drawing near they received a secret message from the nobles of London, which was the head city of the kingdom, saying that if they wished to get into that city, they should come there immediately. They marched the whole night and arrived early in the morning at London, where they found the gates set wide open.

King John, when he saw that he was deserted by almost all his nobles, yielded, telling the barons that for the sake of peace he would willingly grant the laws and liberties which they required. He also sent them word to appoint a fitting day and place to meet and carry all these matters into effect; and they, with great joy, appointed the fifteenth day of June for the king to meet them at a meadow called Runnymede, near the royal castle of Windsor.

John I of England

There they met on that June day, and in the field of Runnymede, the king and the barons of England signed the parchment of the Magna Charta, the Great Charter, which may be seen to-day, torn and yellowed and shriveled with age, in the British Museum in London,—the most precious piece of paper in all England, for with it began English liberty. It was a long paper, and many parts of it applied only to that time, but there were two things which we must notice as the beginnings of English law, on which all our modern rule of government is built: No man might be arrested and thrown into prison without being tried before his peers, that is, before men of his own class,—his equals. In that provision we have personal liberty. And second, the king could not raise any great amount of money by taxing the people without the consent of the common council of the kingdom. Do you remember how the Teutons—Hermann and his Germans, and Wittekind and his Saxons had always rebelled against taxation by the Romans or the Franks? They were right; and yet there must be taxes (money paid into the common treasury by the people) if there was to be any government at all. The difficulty was settled by the English on the field of Runnymede. The people must consent to be taxed, or, as our fathers put it in the days of the American Revolution, there must be no taxation without representation. That was political liberty.

No one of those present at this assembly supposed that King John liked to sign this Magna Charta; but when he did it quietly and without any outward sign of opposition, they "hoped he was inclined henceforth to all gentleness and peace. But far otherwise was it. Some of the people said gruntingly and with much laughter and derision, 'Behold this is the twenty-fifth king of England; and lo! he is not now a king any longer.'"

That was not true, for he was only deprived of the power to be a tyrant king, but it was just the way John felt, and right in the midst of the company he fell into a rage, and "commenced gnashing his teeth, scowling with his eyes, and, seizing sticks and limbs of trees, began to gnaw them and break them in pieces to vent his rage." Truly he was almost beside himself with anger, this tyrant king who had been forced in spite of himself to give to his people a Great Charter of Liberty.

Simon of Montfort

It was a king's greed for money which gave the English people their next help to a free government, though the king never suspected it and the people themselves hardly realized it. When you read this story, however, see if you do not think so.

The king was Henry III, John's son, and it all began with his fondness for foreigners. The English were weary of foreigners. Every century or two, from the landing of Julius Cćsar to the coming of William the Conqueror, a new people had crossed the waters that separated them from Europe, and had invaded and settled in their island, trying to manage those who were already living there. England had become a wonderful nation by the coming together of all these strong Teutonic peoples, but now it had had enough. The English people wanted to be left to govern and develop their island in their own way. But their new king was of just the opposite mind. He began by marrying a princess of Provence; he brought over Frenchmen to live at his court, offering them as a reward not only high positions in the government but also marriageable English ladies of great wealth as wives; last of all he married his sister Isabella to the Emperor of Germany. This was what got him into trouble, for Henry was so eager to make this fine match that he agreed to give his sister a dowry second to none in the world. All the old records are full of descriptions of the wonderful outfit with which Isabella started for Germany. "She shone forth with the greatest profusion of rings and gold necklaces and other splendid jewels, surpassing even kingly wealth. The bed which she took with her was beautiful beyond words, and last, what seemed superfluous to every one, all the cooking pots and saucepans, large and small, were of pure silver." This, you will remember, was in the thirteenth century, when the table dishes of most castles were only of pewter, and the common people ate out of wooden bowls.

Simon de Montfort

Isabella went off to Germany with her silver sauce-pans and her jewels, and Henry began to wonder what he should do next. He held his court that year at Christmas in Winchester, and from there he sent out through all the borders of England royal writs directing all the barons and lords who had regard for the realm of England to come without fail to London for the purpose of royal business and matters touching the whole realm. The appeal sounded serious, and lords and barons obeyed the royal command at once, believing that they were to consider high matters of state. When they had taken their seats in the royal palace, they found that the king had spent all his money on his sister's dowry and his own wedding, and wanted more. This was the way the clerk of the king said it.

"Now, therefore, our lord the king, being wholly without money, without which any king is indeed desolate, humbly begs an aid from you."

He went on to say that the "aid" which the king requested was to be "one thirtieth of all the movables of England," which meant one thirtieth of everything which the lords and barons owned except their land and their castles, which were not "movable." The nobles, not expecting anything of this kind, murmured greatly, and answered angrily that they were constantly oppressed on every side.

"It would be unworthy of us," they said, "and injurious to us, to allow a king who is so easily led astray to extort so much money so often, and by so many arguments, from his natural subjects, as if they were slaves of the lowest condition."

The king excused himself by saying that he had spent so much money on his own and his sister's marriage.

Then they reminded him of the provisions of the Magna Charta, which he had confirmed when he came to the throne but which he seemed to have forgotten.

"All this was done without the advice of your subjects," they said, "and those who are free from the blame ought not to be sharers in the penalty."

The Magna Charta had said that the people must consent to a tax. These men went farther and said, "Whoever imposes a tax must tell the people what it is wanted for."

The council voted the king his money, for there was nothing else to do now that he had spent all that he had, but they made him promise that this should not happen again.

Five years later it was all to be done over. The king had broken all his promises. He had spent the money. Now he wanted more, and at the royal command the nobility of all England, prelates and earls and barons, assembled once more. Do you begin to see what this king's greed for money was doing? If the king had not wanted money, he would not have taken much notice of his nobles. Here we have, for the first time in history, an English king calling together a Parliament every few years and being forced, because he wanted their money, to listen while they told him what they thought of the way he was managing the kingdom.

This time the nobles were weary of the way their king was behaving. They complained to him that the money had all been used for foreigners and foreign wars and had contributed nothing to the advancement of king or kingdom, and they reproached him bitterly for thus scattering English money among foreigners, telling him that he should be ashamed to ask them for more. They gave him the right to impose a small tax, but before they separated they bound themselves by a solemn oath that they would give the king no more money.

"So the parliament dissolved," reads the record, "leaving fixed, but secret, anger in the hearts of either side."

Matters grew worse and worse in England. The king, as soon as he got his money, paid no attention to the warnings of the Parliament. There was a bad harvest one year, and the poor were without food. The Welsh rebelled against the king, and he did not have money enough in the treasury to pay for supplies for the army, and once again he was forced to call together his barons, who had been watching for another five years while the kingdom went from bad to worse.

At this Parliament of 1258, a great thing happened to the barons. Earl Simon of Montfort went over to their side. He was a foreigner by birth, a Norman, but he was at heart a better Englishman than their English king. He had married the king's sister, and had been at one time in high favor with Henry, who had given him provinces to govern in France. But when he went over to govern his provinces he had found that the king had no intention of backing him with money or help. He had given him the province. Earl Simon must manage it as best he could and try besides to extract from it money for the king. Not only had Henry treated him badly in many personal ways, but Earl Simon, when he returned to live in England, had seen the sad state of the land, and his sympathies were all with the protesting barons.

So in this Parliament he made a great speech of protest against the king's methods, and called on the barons to take measures for the protection of the land from this king, who, as the chronicler puts it, "with open mouth was thus greedily gaping after money."

Henry did his best to win over his nobles, but they had become too strong. On the altar of the church he finally swore that he would correct his errors; but the nobles had learned the value of the king's promises. To obtain the money he needed, the king had to agree to adjourn the Parliament for one month, when it should meet again and should appoint a commission of twenty-four of its members, twelve to be chosen by the king and twelve by the barons, to draw up a plan of reform for the kingdom. This Parliament was to meet at Oxford. In the month between the two meetings the barons made many preparations. They suspected that the king would hire foreign troops to help him put down the "rebels" as he called them. So they garrisoned the five great harbors opposite to the French coast. They also sent word to their homes that all who owed them knightly service might accompany them to this gathering. Thus they had a strong force of men to defend them, should the king plan to attack them with his troops.

The king dared do nothing. The Parliament met. It appointed councils whom the king should consult, and the king promised to make no move without them. It planned many reforms, and last of all it decreed that the king's castles which were held by foreigners should be given up by them. The foreigners protested, but in vain. The barons were firm, and the foreigners, seeing that the day when they could live in ease and idleness on English money was gone, fled from the country. Before it separated, the Parliament voted that henceforth it should meet not only at the call of the king, but regularly three times a year. That was the beginning of our modern system of regular governing assemblies of the people.

In all these councils Earl Simon was the leader. How the king hated and feared him is shown by a story of an accidental meeting between the two, one month after the Parliament had closed.

The king one day had left his palace at Westminster and gone down the Thames in a boat to take his dinner out of doors, when the sky clouded over and a thunderstorm came on, with lightning and heavy rain. Now the king feared a storm of this kind more than anything, so he directed them to land him at once. The boat happened to be opposite to the stately palace of the bishop of Durham, where Earl Simon was staying. On hearing of the king's arrival the earl went gladly to meet him and, greeting him with proper respect, said by way of reassurance, "What is it that you fear? The storm is now passed."

To this the king, not in jest but seriously, answered with a severe look, The thunder and lightning I fear beyond measure, but thee I fear more than all the thunder and lightning in the world."

The king did not keep his promises. This is not to be wondered at. He was too much used to ruling in his own way to submit to the council of the barons. England was once more oppressed, and the common people began to sing a song of which this was the first verse,

"Earl Simon, now, of Montfort,

Thou powerful man and brave,

Bring up thy strong battalions,

Thy country now to save."

"In the year 1261," reads the chronicle, "the king was turned aside from the compact which he had made with the barons. He retired to the Tower of London, and strengthened it. He broke open the treasure that was stored there, and he also commanded that the city be guarded with bolts and bars. The heralds of the king went out and proclaimed that those who would fight for the king should come forward and be supported at his expense . . . When the barons heard this, they assembled from all quarters with great hosts of soldiers outside the city walls."

Simon de Montfort

That was the beginning of the struggle. The barons, with Simon of Montfort leading them, sent word to the king in a last message, that if he would have pity on the land and grant them good laws, they would serve him well with foot and hand. The king replied that he cared nothing for their service.

"We care not for your protection nor love," the message read, "but defy you as being enemies of us and of our people."

Thus the king returned to the earls and lords the oath of fealty which they had sworn to him, declaring that he considered them enemies.

Both sides prepared for battle, and at Lewes the king and his troops met the forces of the barons, and were defeated, the king being taken prisoner.

Earl Simon marched to London to take up the government, and the hopes of men were high for England's freedom.

"Now does fair England breathe again, hoping for liberty, And may the grace of God above give her prosperity!"

So reads one of the songs of the people in that day.

Earl Simon summoned a Parliament, and for one thing about that Parliament he will be remembered with honor forever. He announced that there should be summoned to the Parliament not only the nobility of the realm, earls and barons and lords, but also "four discreet knights from each county," and "two discreet, loyal, and honest men" from each city. Thus he established the principle that every class of people should be represented in the government, which is the principle of every Congress and Parliament and Assembly to-day.

The barons did not keep supremacy in England. King Henry's son, Prince Edward, escaped from their custody and raised an army, which defeated the barons within a year, and by the battle of Evesham restored his father to the throne. In this battle Earl Simon of Montfort was killed, but the song was true which said,

"But by his death earl Simon hath

In sooth the victory won,"

for a very wonderful thing happened. When King Henry died and the crown of England passed to his son, Edward did not go back to the old way of governing, but took up Earl Simon's way and summoned just such Parliaments of the people as Earl Simon had gathered. So the prince who had defeated him carried on Earl Simon's work, and all Anglo-Saxon people give honor to this day to

"Simon of the mountain strong,

Flower of knightly chivalry,

Thou who death and deadly wrong

Barest, making England free."

The Men of the Forest Cantons

During the later centuries of the Middle Ages the different peoples of Europe began to draw apart from each other and to form separate nations. We have seen how England drove out its foreign lords and began to rule itself, and how Henry the Fowler founded the separate German nation. The same spirit was working in every region during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and the patriots of those years have a special interest because they were founding the nations of the modern world. The next people to make a stand for liberty were the Swiss, and this tale is of their leaders, the men of the forest cantons, and of their hero, William Tell.

Switzerland was divided into cantons as England was divided into counties, and the forest cantons were Uri, Schwiz, and Unterwalden. They were beautiful mountain regions, covered with forests, which sloped down to the blue lake of Lucerne lying in their midst. Here dwelt a simple mountain people, shepherds whose log huts perched in the high Alpine meadows, and artisans and farmers who lived in the tiny villages that dotted the valleys or lay, on the harbors of the lake. No part of Switzerland is more shut away by mountain ranges from the outer world.

The men who dwelt in the forest cantons in the Middle Ages heard of what was going on in the courts of emperors and kings, but so far as their daily life was concerned, it affected them little. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Switzerland was first under Clovis; then it was part of Charlemagne's empire; and after his death it fell, in the partition, to the German section. To each ruler the Swiss gave allegiance, recognizing his overlordship; but the private affairs of the cantons, which affected the life of the people, were managed either by seigniors and barons, who lived in castles and claimed control over the regions which surrounded them, or by town officers whose appointment was approved by the emperor. So there came to be "free towns," which paid their annual dues to the emperor, but which directed their own affairs through general assemblies meeting once or twice a year in the open air, at which any person who owned "seven feet of land before or behind him "might claim a voice. Such were the towns of the forest cantons. In this remote region, shut in by mountains, the people kept more of their ancient liberties than in any other part of Switzerland.

This was the state of affairs when the crown of the empire passed to the house of Hapsburg. Emperor Rudolph of Hapsburg was, as you will read in "Kings and Common Folk," a great emperor. He ruled justly and fairly, and the Swiss who were his fellow countrymen honored him; but he did not like the idea of free towns in his empire, and he refused to give a charter renewing and confirming the ancient rights of Uri, Schwiz, and Untenvalden. Because his officers were fair and just, the people of the forest cantons did not suffer in his reign, but when he died and the government passed to Albert, Duke of Austria, it was far otherwise. Not only did he refuse to grant the ancient liberties, but he put Austrian officers in place of their town seigniors. These men governed in a most tyrannous fashion. They threw people into prison without giving them any trial. They robbed the poor of their crops and their cattle under the name of taxes. In short, they knew no law but their own desires, and their ways were cruel beyond imagination.

Then the men of the forest cantons met and joined themselves in a "perpetual alliance" for aiding one another in resisting oppression. That is what history tells of the beginning of the oldest free state in the world. But, as in the case of Hereward the Saxon, legend has a great deal more to tell, and this is one of the times when legend is as well worth reading as history, for even if everything did not happen in just this fashion, the story gives us a true picture of Swiss patriotism, and has come to be one of the most famous stories of liberty in the world.

The men of the cantons resented bitterly the tyranny of the Austrian officers, and whispered among themselves that such deeds could not be borne. But they had no leader. They did not know that, while they were sleeping in their beds, three patriots were meeting nightly to plan for freedom.

It was not safe to meet by day nor in any house, for the Austrian's spies were everywhere. So three patriots, Stauffacher of Schwiz, Melchthal of Unterwalden, and Walter Fürst of Uri, who had suffered much from the governors and whose hearts burned over the oppression of the people, determined to come together by night and advise with one another concerning what could be done. They chose for their meeting place the meadow of Rütli, a steep promontory jutting out over Lake Lucerne, which lay mid-way between the three cantons. Here they met, and as they discovered from one another what tyrannies were being practiced in each canton, they said: "The time for submitting is past. The forest cantons must be free again." So they struck hands on it, and each agreed to bring ten men of like sentiments with himself to the place of meeting.

They came together, thirty-three of the truest men of the three cantons, on the night of the seventeenth of November ( this was in the year 1307) and talked together long hours in the darkness, and before they separated they took an oath which is known as the oath of Rütli. They raised their right hands to heaven and swore in the name of God, before whom kings and peasants had equal rights, that they would work together for the liberties of the cantons; that they would stand for the innocent and oppressed people of the land; that they would go about rousing the people to a remembrance of their ancient rights; that they would do no harm to seigniors or governors save as it was needful for their lawful liberties; but that the freedom which they had received from their ancestors, that same freedom they would hand down to their children. As they spoke the oath, so the story goes, the first rays of the rising sun shone over the mountains on the brave group of patriots.

The men of Rütli dispersed, to find new tyrannies awaiting them. Gessler, officer of Uri, had taken it into his head to humble the people in a new way. He had a pole set up near the linden tree of Altdorf, where every one must pass, and upon it he caused a hat to be placed. Then he had it proclaimed that every one who should pass before the hat should take off his hat and bow and show respect, as though the king were there. At the foot of the pole he set a servant to watch and see that every one obeyed him. He who did not, should have cause to repent it, he announced.

"What nonsense is this?" said the people. "Does he make mock of our misery, trying to show us that we are slaves, to bow down to a hat?"

Now the day after this hat was set up, one of the men of Rütli, William Tell, came to Altdorf and passed the hat upon the pole without doing reverence. This was reported to Gessler. He therefore had Tell brought before him and asked him why he did not bow before the hat. When his answer did not satisfy, the tyrant bethought him how he could best punish him and give the people a lesson at the same time. Now Tell was a renowned archer; there was hardly a better one. And he had with him his son, a child of six.

"Now, Tell," said Gessler, "I understand that thou art a good shot. Thou shalt prove thy skill before me. Thou shalt shoot an apple from the head of this thy son."

William Tell

Tell protested in vain, begging him for God's sake not to require him to do this.

"I would rather die," he said.

"Thou and thy child shall both die if thou wilt not obey," replied Gessler.

So Tell was led out into the village square. His son was placed before a tree, and an apple was laid on the child's head. All the people looked on in pity and fear, and murmured against the tyrant for this cruel plan.

Tell prayed fervently to God to protect him and his loved boy. Then he took his crossbow, drew it, and placed the arrow upon it, put another into his jerkin, and shot at the apple. And behold! the apple was cleft clean in two, the arrow lodged in the tree behind, and the child stood forth unhurt. Truly that was a wonderful shot.

Then Gessler praised him for the shot, but asked him why he had another arrow in his jerkin.

"It is the hunter's custom," replied Tell.

"Come, Tell, give me the truth. The answer thou hast given I will not accept. Fear not, thy life shall be safe."

"Well, then," said Tell, "since you have made my life safe, I will tell you the truth. Had I hurt the boy, with the other arrow I should have shot you, and I should not have missed you."

Gessler was furious when he heard this.

"So be it," he said. "I have made thy life safe; my word shall hold; but I will have thee taken to a place where thou shalt lie without seeing sun or moon forevermore."

He ordered his men to bind Tell and take him to a boat, which should carry him to prison, and he himself went with them. Tell's shooting tackle, quiver and arrow and bow, he took along and placed on board near the tiller. When they came upon the lake a terrible storm arose, and all were in danger of being drowned. Gessler's servants said to him: "Sir, you see us and our danger. Our pilot is full of fear and unskilled. Now Tell is a powerful man and skillful with a boat. We should make use of him in this distress."

So Tell was loosed and stood at the rudder and sailed along. But he looked often at his bow and arrow. When he came near to a level place, he cried to the boatmen to pull well until they were in front of that flat place, where they would be out of danger. Then he pushed the tiller with much power (he was a man of great strength), grasped his bow, and leaped on shore, pushing the boat back as he did so. Thus Tell escaped from the tyrant Gessler.

When you go to Switzerland, you will see on the shore of Lake Lucerne a little chapel built at the spot where tradition says he leaped ashore, and you will be shown the meadow of Rütli, where the patriots met. In the little town of Altdorf you will find the statue of which the picture is shown here. The rest of the story of Swiss freedom you will read in the pages of history, which tells how the three cantons rose in revolt against their oppressors, how the Swiss fought at Morgarten and threw off the hated yoke of Austria, and how they met on the shores of Lake Lucerne in the year 1315 and renewed the perpetual league of freedom which was the beginning of the Swiss republic, the oldest free state in the world.

[Illustration] from Patriots and Tyrants by Marion Lansing

Robert Bruce

"Ah! Freedom is a noble thing!

Freedom makes man to have liking;

Freedom all solace to man gives;

He lives at ease that freely lives.

A noble heart may have none ease,

Nor aught besides that may him please,

If Freedom faileth."

With these words John Barbour, the old Scotch chronicler, begins his life of Robert Bruce, hero of the cause of freedom. In quaint verse he tells stories of the patriot's adventures for the sake of freedom, and it is because of these stories that Robert Bruce's name has lived and will live through the ages. His memory is not cherished for the battles which he fought, though he was a brave and skillful general, nor even for the political cause to which he gave his life, for he fought to keep Scotland separate from England, and the centuries have proved that it is for the good of both nations to be united. His memory is cherished because of these old stories, which show that to the minds of his countrymen the spirit of liberty and of patriotism was made perfect in Robert Bruce. Therefore we need not concern ourselves with all the history of England and Scotland at this time, although some day you must read the whole thrilling story in the works of Sir Walter Scott, but we can find out what we care to know about the patriot Robert Bruce by reading his story as it is told in the quaint old Scotch books.

By the death of the rightful heir the Scottish throne became vacant at about the time when the Swiss, far away in the center of Europe, were making their struggle for freedom, and Edward I of England tried to seize it. He even took the ancient Coronation Stone of Scotland and carried it off to England. But the Scottish people wanted independence and a king of their own, and a little group of them met in all haste and crowned Robert Bruce, who was the next claimant, King Robert of Scotland. It was a hasty ceremony, performed in the year 1306. The ancient crown was gone, but a slight circlet of gold was used in its place. The Coronation Stone was gone, and the robes of office, but robes were provided, and a patriotic churchman came forward with the banner of Scotland, which he had kept hidden these many years. Duncan Macduff, whose right it was as Earl of Fife to put the crown on the king's head, was over in England serving the English king, but his patriotic sister came riding across Scotland in all haste to put the crown on Robert's head. She was a bit late, and every one was very much surprised to see her, but it was a great joy to them all to have her lay the circlet on Robert's head, for it carried on the old custom. When the coronation ceremony was over, Sir James Douglas came forward and cast down some earth that he had brought from his own estates, in token that he gave his possessions as well as his body to the service of the new king, and others did the same, till there was a tiny mound of earth in front of King Robert.

There were a great many Scottish estates that were not represented in this little mound of earth, and King Robert must go about at once to strengthen his cause and try, by persuasion or by force, to win over more men to his side. For a time he met with many misfortunes. An English army was sent over the border to take him, and many Scots sided with them. All his expeditions and attempts met with misfortune, his friends were captured by the English, and the autumn of 1306 found the king of the Scots and his companions outlaws and fugitives in the mountains. Life in the barren Highlands was full of hardship, even if one were not in fear of his life, but when one was pursued from every side and must move hither and thither at every new alarm, it took on added trials. Yet Bruce's wife and several faithful ladies followed their lords into the hills, and there they lived through the autumn months. For food they ate roots and herbs and such venison as the men could get by hunting. By day they wandered through the moor, and at night they lay down on the bare ground and in the heather; and all this hardship they endured cheerily and bravely, for, as the old writer says, "it was not the Crown only, but their Liberty also that they suffered for; and not their own Liberty alone, but the Freedom of their Country and all Patriots."

But winter was coming on. The nights were too cold for them to sleep safely on the bare ground. Their clothes were tattered and torn; they had no shoes but such as they had made of deerskin. Besides, the English had heard of King Robert's hiding place, and he was no longer safe. The ladies could not endure the hardships that were before their husbands, and so they went sadly back to the towns, and Bruce and his followers turned toward the Western Isles.

On their way westward they came to Loch Lomond and wished to go across; but from the hills they could see no boats, till at last Sir James Douglas, hunting along the banks, found an old sunken boat. They pulled it out of the water and tried to stop up the leaks, and got it so that it would carry them with some safety. But it would only take three men at a time, and there were two hundred. To row them all across took a night and half a day, and all through those hours of waiting in the cold Bruce sat on the shore and told the men stories from an old French romance which he had read.

"The good king in this manner

Comforted them that were him near.

And made them games and solace

Till that all his folk were passed."

This, then, is our first picture of the patriot king, out on the lonely moors, an outlaw, hunted almost to death, in tattered rags, cheering his followers by his story-telling and never losing heart.

They came over Loch Lomond to a richer country than that which they had left, and the men went out to kill deer for food. Then word came to the Earl of Lennox, the lord of that manor, as he was riding abroad, that there were poachers on his estate, and he went to find them, and behold! it was his king. Then was the earl glad and welcomed him and his men joyfully and took them to his castle and gave them such food and shelter as he might, and they made merry. But it was not safe for Bruce to remain there. Vessels were got for him, and he and his men went over to the isle of Rachrin, which lies off the coast of Ireland, and there they spent the winter.

It was a long, weary time. Often the hearts of the men failed them, but their king cheered them and spoke to them often of the sorrows of their land under the tyrant, and told them tales of brave men of old who had been in great hardship but had come through safely. In the spring they could abide quietly no longer. News had come to them of the way their friends were being persecuted. Once more the party went over to the moors of Scotland, and here again King Robert was found out by the English, and parties were sent to take him. They closed in round his hiding place (he and his band were not at that time strong enough to meet them in open battle), and he divided his men into four companies, who should go out in different directions and meet the English as they were searching in small parties. This was the time when King Robert was in the greatest danger, for he was by some mischance left alone, and he was set upon by three men. By his great strength and bravery he escaped safely from them, and was wandering alone on the hills on the eastern shore of Loch Dee, when he saw before him a solitary cabin. This was the hill where, when they separated, he and his four bands of followers had agreed to meet again, and he went,—for he was sore weary and had been long without food,—to the door of the cabin to ask if he might enter and rest awhile. He found an old housewife sitting on the bench, and she asked him what he was and whence he came and whither he went.

"A wayfarer, dame," said he.

"All wayfarers are welcome here," said she, "for the sake of one."

"Good dame, prithee, who may that one be?"

"Sir," quoth the good wife, "that shall I you say. Robert Bruce is he, who is rightful lord of all this land. His foes are now pressing him hard, but the day is coming, and not far off, when he shall be lord and king of all the land."

"Dame, do you love him so well?"

"Yes sir," said she, "so God me see."

"Dame, lo! it is he by you here," said the king, "for I am he."

"Ha! "said the dame, as she curtsied before him, "where are your men gone, and why are you thus alone?" for even while she rejoiced at his presence, she was angered that he should be there alone and unprotected in her cabin.

"At this moment, dame, I have no men."

Robert the Bruce

"That may not be," she said, "for I have two sons, strong and hardy. They shall become your men." While he was eating the homely fare which the good dame set before him, her two sons came in, and they knelt gladly before him and served him from that time forth.

This is the second picture which the old writers give us of Robert Bruce, showing the love his people bore him. Legend has yet a third tale that is even more well known than these two, so that every one, whether he knows anything else about him or not, knows the story of Robert Bruce and the spider.

This tells us that even to this brave king there came moments of discouragement. During the winter of his misfortune, word reached him that three of his four brothers had been killed by the English, that his wife was imprisoned, and that many more were suffering for his sake. He wondered if it was all worth while. Would it not be better if he went away to Palestine on the crusades and ceased to trouble Scotland by his presence? These thoughts came to him one day as he was lying in hiding in a tiny, forsaken hut in the mountains. As he pondered on this wise, he lay idly watching a spider that was working over his head. Six times it tried to throw its thread across to a beam, and six times it failed. Then the thought came to Bruce: "Six times I have fought with the English, and six times I have been defeated. Now we shall see what will happen the seventh time. If the spider succeeds, it shall be a sign to me that I shall succeed. If not—"

But he never had time to decide what he would do "if not," for the seventh time the thread went safely across, and King Robert rose with new courage and went forth to fight the battle of liberty for the Scotch; and legend says that from this time on King Robert never lost a battle.

After this winter of exile Bruce's fortunes changed. He fought many successful battles, and won over all Scotland to his side, save only the castle of Stirling. That he gained at last by the famous battle of Bannockburn. You will read about that, and about the peace with England, in your English histories. Before many years he was acknowledged by all Scotland to be king, and his Parliament sent communications to other powers, urging them to recognize the independence of Scotland. This is the way they ended one of these proclamations, "As long as one hundred of us remain alive, we will never consent to subject ourselves to the English. For it is not glory, it is not riches, neither is it honor, but it is liberty alone that we contend for, which no honest man will lose but with his life,"—which shows that the spirit of Robert Bruce had entered into the whole Scottish nation.

Queen Philippa and the Citizens of Calais

It took France and England many centuries, and finally a war which dragged along from one generation to another till it was called the Hundred Years' War, to become two separate nations whose kings and people did not interfere with one another. You remember that in the days of William the Conqueror one king tried to rule both kingdoms. Then King John lost all his French possessions; but in the fourteenth century we find an English king, Edward III, claiming the throne of France, and supporting his claim with invading armies. The French liked no better than the English to have their land overrun by foreigners, and the great war began, one incident of which is this siege of Calais of our story. Sir John Froissart, a French knight, wrote down in a very quaint and picturesque style many stories of this war, and no one of them is prettier than this one which I am going to tell to you, keeping as close as I can to his manner of telling.

It was in 1346. The English had won the battle of Crécy, and now an army moved on Calais, one of the strongest French cities, for "the English king was very wroth at the people of Calais for the great damages and displeasures they had done him on the sea before."

When the king of England was come before Calais, he built a camp and a fortress, from which he could lay his siege. He had carpenters make houses and lodgings of great timber, and set the houses like streets, and cover them with reed and broom, so that it was like a little town; and there was everything to sell, and a market place to be kept every Tuesday and Saturday for flesh and fish, houses for cloth, and for bread and wine, and all other things necessary. This the king did because he would not assail the town of Calais, for he thought it but a lost labor. (That was because the walls and towers and defenses of the city were so strong.) He spared his people and his artillery, and said that he would famish those in the town with long siege.

When the captain of Calais saw the manner of the Englishmen's attack, he ordered all the poor people of the city to leave Calais. It would be hard enough for the well-to-do, who could afford to buy provisions, to live through such a siege as was before them. The city must not be burdened by a host of poor people. So on a Wednesday the gates were opened, and there issued out of the town men, women, and children, more than seventeen hundred. As they passed through the English army it was demanded of them why they departed, and they said because they had nothing to live on. Then the English king did them that grace that he suffered them to pass through his host without danger, and gave them meat and drink to dinner, and to every person two-pence in alms.

Then Froissart tells the story of the long siege, how it went on for many months, until the citizens were truly famished for food, since the English camped on every side and allowed none to be brought in to them; how they made sallies and attacks, but could not conquer the great English army; and how at last the French king raised an army and attempted to relieve Calais, but the roads thither were so well kept by English troops that he could not approach.

When they who were within Calais heard that the French king had departed, they knew that their last hope of succor had failed them, and they were in great sorrow. They took counsel together and desired their captain, Sir John of Vienne, to go to the walls of the town and make a sign that he wished to speak with some person from the English host. When the English king heard this, he sent thither two English knights, Sir Gaultier and Sir Basset.

Then Sir John said to them: "Sirs, ye be right valiant knights in deeds of arms, and ye know well how the king of France my master hath commanded us to keep in his behalf this town; and we have done all that lieth in our power. Now our last succor hath failed us, and we be so sore straitened that we have naught on which to live, but must all die of famine, unless this noble and gentle king of yours will take mercy on us: the which we request you to desire him to do,—to have pity on us, and to let us go and depart as we be, and let him take the town and the castle, and all the goods that be therein, the which is great abundance."

Then Sir Gaultier said: "Sir, we know somewhat of the intention of the king our master. Know surely for truth that it is not his mind that ye nor they within the town should depart so. It is his will that ye put yourselves into his will, to ransom all such as pleaseth him, and to put to death such as he decide: for they of Calais have caused him to take much trouble and lost him many of his men, so that he is sore grieved against them."

Siege of Calais

Then the captain said: "Sir, this is too hard a matter to us. We have endured much pain; but we shall yet endure as much pain as ever knights did, rather than to consent that the worst lad in the town should fare any worse than the greatest of us all. Therefore we pray you that you will go and speak to the king of England, and desire him to have pity on us, for we trust that by the grace of God his purpose shall change."

The English knights returned to the king and told him all that had been said, and he declared that he would hear to nothing else but that they should yield to him, for him to do with them according to his pleasure. Then Sir Gaultier protested, saying that if they treated the French knights so, some day, when they themselves were in the hands of the French, they might be so dealt with. All the lords supported him, and the king, saying that he would not go against all his knights, yielded and told Sir Gaultier that he might say to the men of Calais that if they would let six of the chief citizens of the town come out "bareheaded, barefooted, barelegged, and in their shirts, with halters about their necks, and with the keys of the town and castle in their hands," and if these were yielded simply to his pleasure to do with them as he would, he would "take the rest to mercy."

Sir Gaultier returned and found the captain still on the wall, abiding for an answer. When he had heard the message, he begged Sir Gaultier to tarry on the wall a little space while he went to the town and showed this to the citizens who sent him thither.

The captain returned to the market place and sounded the common bell, and all the men and women assembled there, and the captain made report of all that he had done and asked what was their answer. At his report the people began to weep and make much sorrow, and the richest citizen of the town, Eustace of Saint-Pierre, rose and said: "Sirs, great and small, it would be great mischief to suffer so many people to die as be in this town, either by famine or by the pleasure of the king, when there is a way to save them. Wherefore I will be the first to put my life in jeopardy."

Then another honest citizen arose and said: "I will keep company with my friend and neighbor Eustace."

And still another rose, and another, until there were six of the most honorable citizens of the town. They went and appareled themselves as the king desired, and the people went with them to the gate, and there was much weeping and lamentation. Then the gate was opened, and the captain went out with the six citizens and said to Sir Gaultier: "Sir, I deliver to you these six citizens, and I swear to you truly that they be and were to-day most honorable, rich, and notable citizens of all the town of Calais. Wherefore, gentle knight, I require you to pray the king to have mercy on them, that they die not."

"I cannot say what the king will do," quoth Sir Gaultier, "but I shall do for them the best I can."

Then the six citizens went toward the king, and the captain again entered the town.

When Sir Gaultier presented these citizens to the king, they knelt down and gave him the keys, saying that they offered themselves up to submit to his pleasure in order to save the rest of the people of Calais.

The hearts of all the lords and knights were touched at the sight of these noble men, shorn of all sign of rank and all means of defense, offering themselves for their city, but the king looked coldly upon them and commanded that their heads be struck off. Sir Gaultier spoke for them, saying that this was a cruel deed and would hurt the king's fair renown, but his words had no weight. The king turned away, saying, "They of Calais have caused many of my men to be slain, wherefore these shall die."

Then Queen Philippa knelt down before him, and, weeping sorely, said: "Gentle sir, since I have crossed the sea from my home in great peril to be with you, I have desired nothing of you. Now therefore I humbly beg you, in honor of God and for the love of me, that ye will have mercy on these six citizens."

The king looked sullenly at the queen and stood still for a space in a study, and then said: "Ah, dame, I would you had been elsewhere, for if ye make such request to me, I cannot deny you. Wherefore I give them to you, to do your pleasure with them."

The queen caused the six citizens to be brought to her apartment, and had the halters taken from their necks, and had them newly clothed in garments suitable to their station, and gave them their dinner at their leisure. Finally she had each of them brought out of the English host under safe guard and set at liberty.

Wherefore men everywhere honor the six citizens of Calais, that they were willing to give their lives in order to save their people, and hold likewise in loving remembrance the good Queen Philippa, who by her gentleness and mercy did win back their lives.

Joan of Arc

The story of Joan of Arc is the most wonderful story in the history of any nation of Europe. In the hour of France's need, when she was being conquered by English armies, when her forces were so divided by civil war that it seemed as if there were no true Frenchmen, but that every lord and district were for themselves, when she had no recognized king, but only an uncrowned Dauphin,—in this hour of her need there was raised up for France a Maiden for a deliverer. History has no story more beautiful or more mysterious.

It was ninety years since the opening of the war with England. Before the war began, France had been split up into many small districts and towns and estates, which were managed by different lords and counts. These petty rulers spent most of their time quarreling with each other in just such fashion as the kings of England and France were now fighting over their crowns; and neither lords nor kings paid much heed to the good of the land or of the people. This was the weakness of France, which had given England the chance to begin the Hundred Years' War. Ninety years of warfare under weak kings, who could not command the respect of their lords, had made matters worse.

The land was in a terrible state. Peasants had no courage to plant their crops, for armies would shortly trample them down. Merchants could not ply their trade for fear of bands of soldiers, which robbed them on the roads. All France was broken up into districts under tyrant lords, and the young Dauphin, whom half the nobles did not recognize as their lawful king, was as helpless as the rest. He held his court at the little village of Chinon in southern France, and tried to forget his misery and weakness in music and entertainment, while the English occupied Paris and the north of France and at last moved on Orleans, the strong city of central France, the "key to the south."

The English began the siege of Orleans in October, 1428. They took the neighboring towns and built a chain of forts inclosing the city, planning, by shutting off supplies and storming the city from their defenses, to force it to surrender. Two thousand brave men were defending the city, but they could not drive off the great English army. They had been defeated in their sallies, and no strong French force came to their help from without. The Dauphin could not rally men to so hopeless a cause, even if he had the ambition, and he was a weak lad without strength of purpose or experience. So he and his courtiers were entertaining themselves from day to day at the castle of Chinon, knowing too well that if Orleans was lost, all France was lost.

To this court in early March came news that a marvelous Maiden was coming to the rescue of France. Next came a letter to the Dauphin from this Joan of Arc, saying that she was on her way to his court. She arrived at Chinon, and for two days his advisers refused her audience with the Dauphin. Then they yielded and let the peasant girl be brought before him.

From the knights who accompanied the Maiden and were convinced of her mission, the Dauphin and his courtiers had heard tales of Joan as one who had visions and knew more than ordinary people could divine. When they led her into the palace room, to test her powers the Dauphin stepped down from his chair of state and stood with the nobles as if he were one of them. It was evening. The light of fifty torches illumined the hall, and a brilliant array of nobles and knights stood about. She entered, a simple Maiden of eighteen, in peasant dress, with a clear, pure face and steady blue eyes with which she searched the faces of the smiling courtiers. Without a moment's hesitation she went forward and knelt before Charles.

"Gentle Dauphin," she said, "God give you good life."

"But it is not I that am the king; there is the king," said Charles, pointing to a richly dressed noble.

"Gentle Prince, it is you and no other," she said. Then rising, "Gentle Dauphin, I am Joan the Maid. I am sent to you by the King of Heaven to tell you that you shall be consecrated and crowned at Rheims."

Such was the coming of the Maid of France to the court of her king. They questioned her. She gave to the king a private sign which convinced him that she was inspired of God. To the council of judges to whom they sent her to see whether she was a witch,—for witches were much feared in those days,—she told her simple story.

"I come from the village of Domremy," she said, "and am the daughter of Jacques d'Arc. In my home I was employed during my childhood with the ordinary cares of the house. I was taught to sew and spin. I went often to the church to pray. When I was thirteen years old a Voice came to me from God for my help and guidance. The first time that I heard this Voice I was very much frightened. It was midday in summer in my father's garden. This first time the Voice told me to be a good girl and go to church."

Since then, she continued, the Voice had come to her many times, and it had told her more and more often "of the great pity that there was in France," and that she must go and help her country. The years had gone on, soldiers had appeared in the country side, and more often she had heard the Voice. She had pleaded that she was only a poor girl and that she could not ride and lead armed men. But visions had come to her, and the Voice had returned, until finally it said, "Go, raise the siege which is being made before the City of Orleans." This time it told her just what she should do and how she should come to the Dauphin, and she had come.

That was Joan's story, and the learned men who questioned her could not shake her out of it. They sent to Domremy and found it was even as she said. But they questioned her the more, and no one gave her any help to her mission. At last she grew weary. She went to Charles and said: "Gentle Dauphin, why do you delay to believe me? Already a battle has been lost at Orleans since my coming. I tell you that God has taken pity on you and your people. Take me to Orleans."

Still, he did nothing, and weeks passed. Always her cry was, "Take me to Orleans. There I will show you the signs that I am sent to do, and God will give the victory."

At last the king made up his mind to take the chance. Joan was promised that she should go with an army to Orleans. She was offered armor and horses. She chose white armor, and had a white banner made with the lilies of France upon a white field, and selected a beautiful coal-black horse. So she came to Orleans with the army, and as she passed into the city, riding on her black horse and carrying her banner, she was hailed by the people with joy indescribable. They had lost all hope, but now, by the strength that was in the Maid, were comforted as if the siege were over. "Verily," says the record, "they gazed at her as if they were beholding God."

Before she had been with the army many days, Joan found that the generals intended to carry out their plans instead of hers. How should she, a peasant girl who had never seen an army, know how to manage a campaign and raise a siege? But she did know, and the generals found it out. When they obeyed her, all went well. When they deceived her, she saw through their schemes, or, if they carried them out in her absence, they were defeated.

Joan of Arc

The English had surrounded the city with forts. These Joan prepared to attack. They had heard of her coming and had laughed with scorn at the idea of a Maiden conquering them. But when she had led charges against them and had been always victorious, the soldiers began to be filled with a superstitious fear and to declare that she was a witch.

At last the English concentrated their forces in two forts, Augustin's and Tournelles. The latter commanded the bridge across the river Loire to Orleans. The former Joan and her soldiers took. Then the French generals held a council without Joan. They wanted now to wait, since the English were reduced to such desperate straits, till reënforcements came. Then they could surely take the fort of Tournelles with safety. They sent this word to Joan.

"You have been at your council," she said. "I also have been at mine. The wisdom of God is greater than yours. Rise early to-morrow, do better than your best, quit me not, for to-morrow I have much to do, more than ever I have done, and to-morrow my blood shall flow from a wound."

Next morning her host prepared a fish for her breakfast.

"Stay, Joan," he said, "let us partake together of this fish which is just fresh caught."

"Keep it till evening, "said the Maid. "Then I shall come back across the bridge of the Tournelles, and I will bring you an Englishman to eat it with us."

She hurried away, and the sun was just rising above the Loire when the French began the attack on the fort of Tournelles, which was to last all that long day.

It was a terrible battle. Joan was wounded even as she had predicted she would be, by an arrow which struck between the neck and the shoulder. For a few moments she withdrew from the combat, but soon she was back again, bringing, by the very sight of her waving banner, new cheer to the hearts of the French and dismay to the English. Finally she stood on the edge of the moat, and then, with a last bold sally, the fort was stormed and Joan's banner was flying from the battlements of the last English fort. Night fell, and the French returned victorious over the bridge of the Loire, even as Joan had prophesied that morning that they would.

The next morning the French saw the English drawing up their men in line. They desired to go out once more and attack them, but Joan forbade.

"No! there has been enough fighting," she said. "If the English attack, we shall defeat them. We are to let them go in peace if they will."

From the walls of the city the Frenchmen looked out at the English.

"Do they face us," asked Joan, "or have they turned their backs?"

"Their backs are towards us; they are marching away."

"Then let them go," said Joan; and that night there was not an Englishman left south of the Loire.

The taking of Orleans roused France. From it and the events that followed may be dated a new France,—a France united for the first time in its history into one nation. The victory roused hope. It stirred the lords to work together. It united the people, also, in loyalty to Charles, for Joan was faithful to her first word to the Dauphin. He was to be crowned at Rheims. She returned after the victory to the court of Charles and desired him to come at once to Rheims; but the country between his court and Rheims was held by the English, and he would not start. Even yet he was not quite sure of her, and he and his timid advisers held frequent councils.

"Noble Dauphin," she said, "do not hold so many and so weary councils, but come to Rheims and receive the crown."

At last he consented to go, if the way was clear. She went ahead with her forces, and in one week of marvelous victories prepared his way. Then finally he ceased his questioning and started for Rheims.

On the evening of the sixteenth of July, 1429, Charles and the Maid entered the city. The next day, in the beautiful cathedral of Rheims, he was crowned King of France. It was a grand spectacle. Four nobles, in full armor, had ridden through the streets that morning to the old abbey where the monks kept under strict guard the sacred vial of oil for the king's consecration, which was said to have been used by Clovis. They had brought it with all honor, carrying it, under a splendid canopy of cloth of gold, to the cathedral, where a great company of lords and nobles in glittering array were waiting. Thither Joan had come in her white armor, bearing her banner, and the ceremony of consecration and coronation had been performed. Charles was anointed with the holy oil by the archbishop, and then, as the crown was put on his head, a peal of trumpets rang out, announcing to the waiting throng that France had once more a king. All the people cried "Noel!" and "Long live King Charles!" and as the multitude both within and without the cathedral shouted, Joan knelt at the king's feet, weeping, and said: "Gentle king, now is fulfilled the will of God, who willed it that you should come to Rheims and receive your crown."

There were tears in the eyes of the king and all his knights as the fair Maid who had done these wonders knelt, weeping for joy, at his feet.

The story of united France begins with the coronation scene in the cathedral at Rheims. Would that the story of Joan of Arc ended there, and that she could have been allowed to slip away, as she longed to, with her father and mother, back to her simple home in Domremy! But the king would not allow it. The English had not yet been fully driven out of the land, and the Maid must stay and help the armies. She did help, but the generals once more distrusted her and would not follow her advice; her king did not support her; and Joan knew and prophesied to those who were with her that her end was near. At last, even as she had foretold, she was taken by the English.

The rest of the sad story is quickly told; yet none may read it without deep sorrow. The English took the Maid and put her in prison, and when she had lain in captivity for many weary months, they brought her out and tried her as a "witch." That was the name her accusers, both French and English, had given her from the first. To us it is a strange mystery. People in those days had great dread of any person who seemed to have more than ordinary powers, for they thought these a sign that evil spirits possessed that person. Such people the church decreed should be put to death, because they would be dangerous to the world.

For many days the judges questioned Joan, and her answers were simple and pure as was the story which she had told to the Dauphin at her coming. But there were many things about her Voices which she could not tell them, and the judges wanted her to promise some things which she believed her Voices forbade her to say. So they condemned her, deciding that she was a witch and a heretic, and must therefore be burned. And the saddest thing of all is that the French did not lift a hand to save from death this Maid who had been their deliverer.

So Joan died a cruel death, but the work which she had begun in France did not die with her. She had united the French, and they did not fall apart again into quarrelsome factions. King Charles showed a new spirit as he began his reign. Even amid the dangers of war he took time to unite his nobles and keep them in order under him. The English were driven out by this newly roused French nation. The Hundred Years' War was ended, and a peace was concluded by which France was left free within her own provinces, untroubled by foreigners.

Happy days had come to the nation, and in the universal joy Joan was not forgotten. Twenty years after her death King Charles asked the church to allow a new trial of Joan. She could not be brought to life, but her name could be cleared. She could be declared innocent of the charges for which she had suffered death. The case was re-tried. Every one who had known Joan from her childhood came and told about her, and learned men wrote it down. That is why we know so much about her, though all this happened five hundred years ago; and when you are older you will read this full story of her life, as they wrote it down during this trial, by which it was proved that she was even as we have pictured her, innocent and pure and good and kind and wise. The learned men could not bring her back by their judgment, but it is good to remember that they did agree, though twenty years too late, to honor their deliverer, the Maid of Orleans, who had given to them a new and united France.

The "Beggars" of Holland

You remember how in the south of Europe the little Republic of Venice built itself up on the sand flats of the Mediterranean and made its successful stand for independence. Away up in the north of Europe there was another brave, liberty-loving people, which had undertaken to build a nation on the lowlands, or Netherlands, as they were called, at the edge of the North Sea. These were the Dutch people, one of the best branches of the old Teutonic stock from which all our nations came. They were such a little people that they had a hard time keeping clear of their German and French neighbors, who were determined to govern them; but at last, in 1477, they gained from their rulers a paper called the Groot Privilegie  (the Great Privilege), which gave to the people even more rights than the Magna Charta had given to the English. But the rulers of Holland had no more intention than the kings of England of being bound by such a paper,—until they were forced to,—and that is where the "Beggars" come in!

It was in the sixteenth century that the Netherlands came to be oppressed beyond endurance. They were one of the kingdoms included by emperors of Europe in their realm, and they had endured much from these foreign rulers. The last two emperors, Maximilian and Charles V, had taken away many liberties of the Great Privilege; they had taxed the province, which was rich and prosperous, for huge sums of money to spend in their wars or on their court life.

"They are men of butter," one emperor had said. "I have tried them and they will submit to anything."

The Dutch were a slow people, but the next emperor, Charles's son, Philip II of Spain, was to find that they were not "men of butter," to be molded this way or that at the pleasure of a foreign ruler. He had been brought up in Spain, and the people of all other lands found him heartless and disagreeable. Do you remember that we said the patriots found out what were the universal rights of men by finding out what things were to them so precious that if they were taken away life became unendurable to them? Philip tried to take one of those rights away from the Dutch. He began to oppress and even to put to death every one whose religion was different from his own. The Dutch found that this was a new and very terrible danger to their liberty; for if a ruler did this, he was breaking at the same time every other law of freedom.

That was why, on an April day in 1566, the whole city of Brussels was stirred by the news that a long-expected procession was soon to enter the city. That was why the streets were thronged by eager crowds, the gates were watched, and when at last, at about six o'clock in the evening, the word was passed that the company was in sight, the crowds broke into wild huzzas.

Through the gates rode two horsemen, followed by two more, and more and more, till two hundred had entered the city; and as the long line wound through the narrow streets of Brussels, the multitude could not contain itself for joy.

Who were these men whose coming stirred the city and was to stir the nation? They were not warriors. That was plain, for their costume was of rich cloths and furs rather than the steel armor of the hated Spanish soldiers, and they wore golden chains around their necks instead of glittering breastplates. They were wealthy. That one could see by a glance at their plumed hats and jeweled swords, and at the rich trappings of their steeds. They were also handsome and young. But it was not for their youth or their beauty or their wealth that the people welcomed them. They were a band of nobles and gentlemen of rank who had come together to speak for the people's liberty. The Duchess Regent of Holland, Philip's sister Margaret, was sitting with her councilors in Brussels, and these gallant cavaliers had come to present to her a "Request."

The next day one hundred more gentlemen arrived, and on the third morning the crowds gathered once more along the road to the palace. At a little before noon they came two by two, as before. This time they were on foot, with no gay trappings of steeds and banners. At their head walked two men who were the idols of the people. On the right Count Brederode, tall and light, with handsome features and fair, curling locks, reaching, after the fashion of the day, to his shoulders. He bore in his hand the parchment on which was written the "Request," and as he walked along, acknowledging with stately bows and gracious smile the plaudits of the people, those who looked on remembered that he claimed a straight descent, unbroken through five hundred years, from the original sovereigns of Holland. With him walked Count Louis, the truest knight whom the Netherlands could boast, small of stature but well formed, and agile in his movements, with close-clipped brown hair, peaked beard, and dark eyes. The people knew him to be as gentle and generous as he was brave and steadfast, and they loved him for his ready wit and his warm heart.

These were the leaders, and behind them walked three hundred cavaliers, nearly all young, many of whom bore the most ancient names in the nobility of the nation. In the square before the palace an immense crowd welcomed them with deafening cheers and clapping of hands. They passed up the steps, through the great hall, and into the council chamber where the Duchess Regent Margaret was seated in her chair of state, surrounded by the highest officials of the land, among them several of the dark-haired Spaniards whom Philip had left to help his sister rule the land. As the long line wound into the room and took their places, the Duchess turned pale and showed much agitation.

Beggers banquet

As soon as all had entered, Count Brederode advanced, made a low obeisance, and spoke. He began by begging Duchess Margaret to consider them a loyal and honorable company, gathered be-fore her with no evil intent but humbly petitioning her, and her brother through her, in behalf of their land. They had come on foot and unarmed in proof of their sincerity. Then he read the "Request," which was, as he had said, loyal and respectful in tone, but which set forth in no uncertain terms the distress of the country and the danger of a rebellion of the common people. It pictured the sufferings of the people through the famine that was sweeping the land. It told how many had been forced by persecution to leave the land, and how great numbers of fugitives were sailing every day to England. This terrible state of affairs had come about through the edicts of the emperor that all who did not agree with him in religious faith should be killed. Fifty thousand had been put to death. The land was impoverished, the people were fleeing to escape persecution, and still the Spanish troops of Philip stayed and continued their bloody work. The petition begged that an envoy be sent to the emperor to tell him of these things and request the removal of the foreign troops, which were such an indignity to the whole Dutch people.

He finished reading, and Duchess Margaret remained silent, clasping her hands in agitation and with tears rolling down her cheeks. As soon as she could command her voice, she said that she would advise with her councilors and give the petitioners such answer as seemed fitting. Count Brederode bowed his acquiescence, and the long line of nobles began to pass from the chamber. But they did not march quickly out as they had come in. Before he went, each cavalier advanced to the Duchess and made before her the "caracole," a sweeping bow. This gave time for her to see each man, and made the departure a long and impressive ceremony.

The Duchess was left at last with her councilors to discuss this unheard-of demonstration. William of Orange, governor of three provinces, and the man who was to do more than any other man for the freedom of Holland, began the debate. He spoke reassuringly to the agitated Duchess, reminding her that it was even as the Count had said. These men were not rebels. They were loyal and honorable gentlemen, come with sincere wish for the good of the land, which was indeed on the eve of revolution. His was the only calm voice in the council. As the discussion waxed hot, one man, a high official and close adviser of the Duchess, becoming impatient that so many words should be wasted over so trifling a matter, exclaimed in a passion: "What, Madam, is it possible that your Highness can entertain fears of these beggars?"

The council broke up at noon, to return in the afternoon to consider the matter further, and as this same official stood at the window of his inn and saw some of the petitioners pass by, he repeated again the phrase which had pleased him, "Look, there go those beggars," and one of them overheard him.

That night Count Brederode gave in his mansion a fine banquet to all his colleagues. The tables were set for three hundred, the board glittered with gold and silver and was loaded with rich food, and all was merriment and glee among the cavaliers, now that the serious business of the day was done.

Amid the laughter and gayety the talk came round more than once to the cause in which they were come together, and at one of these times the contemptuous speech of the Duchess's adviser was repeated, to the great anger of those who heard it for the first time. As the talk about this insult grew more wild and violent, Count Brederode sprang to his feet: "Beggars!" he cried, "do they call us beggars? It were no shame to be beggars for our country's good. Let us accept the name!"

He beckoned to one of his pages, who brought him at his request a leather wallet, such as was worn in that day by professional beggars, and a large wooden bowl, such as they carried from house to house begging kind housewives to fill it with food. The count hung the wallet round his neck, filled the bowl with wine, and drained it.

"To the Health of the Beggars! Long live the Beggars!" he cried, and all the company took up the cry.

Brederode slipped off the wallet and threw it to his nearest neighbor, handing him at the same time the bowl. He in his turn slipped it round his neck, took the bowl, and filled it with wine, drinking to the same toast, "Long live the Beggars!" And so the wallet and the bowl passed around the table, and every man pushed aside his silver goblet to drink with his fellows out of the common wooden bowl. Each, as he held the bowl in his hand, threw a pinch of salt into the wine, for to take bread and salt together has always been in every land a symbol of friendship, and as he threw in the salt he repeated:

"By the salt, by the bread, by the wallet too, The Beggars will not change, no matter what they do."

They laughed as they did it, but there was much behind their laughter. They did not change. The name chosen that night was to spread like wildfire over the Netherlands, and to stand to every Dutch-man for a lover of liberty. There were to be "Beggars of the Sea," who would drive off the Spanish warships; "Beggars of the Land," who would defend the homes of Holland; "Beggars of Leyden," who were to say, "Better our land be ruined than be conquered," and were to open the dikes and let the sea flow in over their fields ripe with the harvest, in order to drive back by water the enemy whom they were not strong enough in numbers to turn back by the sword.

Count Brederode's guests had come to his banquet in velvets and gold laces. They went out to array themselves in doublets and hose of ashen gray, with short cloaks of the same color, all of coarsest materials. The next day they appeared in the streets carrying beggars' pouches round their necks and beggars' bowls slung at their sides.

The Netherlands were not to be delivered in a day. It took the life and death of William of Orange, "Father of the Dutch Republic," to free the land; it took the life and death of many a brave "Beggar" besides; and it took fifteen years of struggle. Englishmen came over in great numbers and helped the Dutch, seeing that these brothers across the Channel were fighting a battle not only for themselves but for all liberty-loving people. But when the war was over, the Dutch had won not only the religious freedom for which they began their fight but political freedom as well. King Philip of Spain was deposed; his authority was denounced by the Dutch nation. On the twenty-sixth of July, 1581, the seventeen provinces of United Netherlands published their Declaration of Independence, throwing off their allegiance to King Philip. "All mankind know," began this Declaration, "that a prince is appointed by God to cherish his subjects, even as a shepherd to guard his sheep. When, therefore, the prince does not fulfill his duty as protector; when he oppresses his subjects, destroys their ancient liberties, and treats them as slaves, he is to be considered, not a prince, but a tyrant." Thus they formed a republic which was the forerunner of our great republic across the seas, and adopted their motto of union, "By concord, little things become great."

[Illustration] from Patriots and Tyrants by Marion Lansing

To this republic of United Netherlands, with its newly won liberty, came within thirty years a company of English folk,—men, women, and children,—fleeing from persecution for their religious faith. In the earlier days, when Spain ruled the Netherlands, it had been Dutch people who had slipped away and sought shelter in tolerant England. Now a wave of persecution was sweeping England.

In one of the eastern counties of England, right in the heart of the district that had been settled in olden times by the adventurous and freedom-loving Danes, there had grown up in the minds of a little company of people a great longing for religious liberty. The church had come to be managed by the rulers of the land. They began to see that what they felt to be one of the rights of man was being taken away from them. They could not worship as they chose. The state decreed how the church should be managed, and what should be its forms of service. The leaders of these people had seen how free the people were in Holland, and they desired greatly to live in such liberty, and worship in the simplicity which was their wish.

But when these English folk attempted to do this in England, they were not allowed. When their views became known, "they could not continue in any peaceful condition," says William Bradford, their chronicler, "but were hunted and persecuted on every side,—for some were taken and clapped into prison, others had their houses beset and watched night and day, and the most were fain to flee and leave their houses and habitations, and the means of their livelihood. So, seeing themselves thus molested, by a joint consent they resolved to go into the Netherlands, where they heard was Freedom of Religion for all men." And from the time when, with many difficulties, they escaped by ship from England, these people were called Pilgrims, and so they are known to us who live in the land where they finally made their home.

But first the Pilgrims went to Holland, and were kindly received, as Bradford tells us, by the hospitable Dutch. As they came into the waterways of these lowlands, it seemed to these English folk as if they were come into a new world. "They saw many goodly cities, strongly walled. Also they heard a strange and uncouth language, and beheld the different manners and customs of the people, with their strange fashions and attire:—all differing from the plain country villages wherein they were bred, and had so long lived."

They settled first in Amsterdam and then a large number of them desired to go to the fair city of Leyden. So they sent a memorial to the magistrates, asking that one hundred of them might come to dwell in Leyden, and the Court responded that their coming "would be agreeable and welcome."

In Leyden they went to work at trades and other employments to earn their livelihood, and of their record we may well be proud. "Though many of them were poor," says the chronicler, "yet there was none so poor but if they were known to be of that congregation, the Dutch (either bakers or others) would trust them in any reasonable matter, when they wanted money. This was because they had found by experience how careful they were to keep their word, and how diligent in their callings." And the magistrates, "about the time of their coming away, gave in the public place of justice this commendable testimony. These English, said they, have lived amongst us now these twelve years, and yet we never had any suit or accusation come against any of them."

Fortunately for us they did not stay in Holland. The atmosphere of liberty was pleasant to them, but they could not remain in a land of foreign speech and customs and faith. "We live here but as men in exile, and in a poor condition," they said, and they began to long for a land which should be their own, and where they might establish themselves according to their own faith. They feared, too, that the little company would be scattered, and that the children would grow up in the Dutch ways. "Lastly (and what was not least) they had a great hope and inward zeal of laying some good foundation, or at least to make some way thereunto." Therefore they took thought of "those vast and unpeopled countries of America, which are fruitful and fit for habitation," and they departed from the Netherlands and set sail in the Mayflower, in 1620; for the new land of America, where the Teuton love of independence, which had inspired Hermann and Wittekind and Hereward and all the other patriots, was to create out of all nations of the earth a new nation of liberty.



The Beginning of Nations

This map makes no claim to giving a complete representation of the principalities of Europe at any one time. That would be impossible in so small a space and confusing even in a larger. It aims rather to show where the peoples lived which in the progress of our stories have been evolving into nationalities which were to persist. The period of "Barbarian and Noble" gave the outline map of Europe fairly permanent boundaries, but left Christendom divided into innumerable small states and kingdoms. The keynote of this later period is the beginning of nationalities, and those which appeared in the stories of the text have been named and located, even though the beginnings were most shadowy.

Purpose of Notes

To the teacher or older reader, and to the thoughtful child, it has become plain already that this volume is far more than a storybook of patriotism. No story is put in without an educative purpose, and all the stories fit together like the blocks in a playhouse, making, when put one upon another, a complete structure. It is to emphasize the unity of the book and, by additional emphasis on the important points, by outlines, and by suggestive questions, to suggest ways of making the desired impression upon the child's mind that these Notes have been written. It will add to the child's interest in the heroes to talk over each tale and see what were the special ways in which this man and this period solved some of the questions of government, and so contributed to the world of to-day. Moreover, the mediaeval atmosphere throws a glamour over such necessary facts of civics as the reason for taxes and the injustice of taxation without representation. These points have been fully brought out in the text. It remains only to emphasize them and to help make the impression of the stories lasting.

The writings of the old chroniclers, on which many of the descriptions and incidents are based, are full of dramatic spirit. The attitude of these narrators to the events which they chronicled was very close to that of a child to historic happenings. For this reason their pictures can be made so vivid to the child that he will give them back in his own language. The more he pictures them and acts them over to himself, the more deeply will their facts and lessons be imprinted on his mind.


By dates
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest9 A.D.
Growth of the Venetian Republic400-810
Charlemagne's wars with the Saxons770-800
Reign of Henry the Fowler919-936
Saxon revolt against William the Conqueror1070
Destruction of Milan1162
Peace of Constance1183
Signing of the Magna Charta1215
Earl Simon's Parliament1265
Swiss Revolt1300-1315
Crowning of Robert Bruce1306
Battle of Bannockburn1314
Siege of Calais1346
Relief of Orleans1429
Organization of the "Beggars"1566
Founding of United Netherlands1581
Landing of the Pilgrims1620

By steps toward freedom
Teuton country saved from becoming a Roman province1st century
Venetian Republic formed and kept independent6th to 9th centuries
German-Saxon struggle for independence8th century
Anglo-Saxon struggle against the Normans11th century
Lombard League formed in Italy12th century
Magna Charta granted in England13th century
English representative government established13th century
League of Swiss Cantons formed14th century
Scotland made an independent nation14th century
France and England separated15th century
United Netherlands founded16th century
America colonized17th century

Three Teuton Boys

Next to the study of the history of our own country, nearest in the degree and in the character of the interest with which it should be regarded, comes the history of Germany . . . Jute, Angle, Saxon, Dane, Norwegian, Norseman, all were Teutonic in origin, branches of one great tree of nations, springing from the stem at different heights from the ground.


This is the picture of primitive German life which Tacitus gives. It is the irony of history that Rome trained in her armies the barbarians who were to destroy the empire. Yet we see that it was this intimate knowledge of Roman law and civilization on the part of the conquerors which saved to the Middle Ages the best of the ancient culture.

QUESTIONS: 1. Why were barbarian boys taken to Rome? 2. What kind of life did the Teutons live in the forests?

King Marbod

Germany was from the beginning leavened with a Roman element from which England was left free.


In King Marbod we have a perfect illustration of the evolution of a tyrant, in the strict sense of the word in which we are using it. We have added to our conception of a tyrant many qualities which went along with tyrannous rule, but by the real definition Marbod was a typical tyrant. Yet he founded the first Teuton city, probably the city of Prague.

QUESTIONS: 1. What changed Marbod from a patriot to a tyrant? 2. What acts made him seem to his people a tyrant?

Herman the Deliverer

Had these successes been unchecked, the Romans would have permanently occupied the greatest part of Germany; the Latin language and the manners of Italy might have prevailed as entirely over the language and manners of the Germans as they did over those of the Gauls and Spaniard, whilst the Teutonic tribes, pressed by the Romans on the Elbe, and by the Sclavonic nations on the Oder and the Vistula, would have been either gradually overpowered and lost, or at any rate would never have been able to spread that regenerating influence over the best portion of Europe, to which the excellence of our modern institutions may in great measure be referred. If this be so, the victory of Arminius deserves to be reckoned among the signal deliverances which have affected for centuries the happiness of mankind.


In this verdict of the importance of Hermann's victory, historians are practically agreed. In "Barbarian and Noble" we have seen the Teuton love of independence coming up against the Roman civilization. Here we review it from a different standpoint. It was this Teuton characteristic which, when combined with Christianity, made the difference between the ancient world and the mediaeval world. "The peculiar stamp of the Middle Ages is undoubtedly German."

It is well for us to go back to these early stories. We get from them a sense of the continuity of history and of the essential unity of the race,—that we are indeed all of one blood. The Indian life, which is the only part of our own history showing primitive conditions, lacks much that can be supplied only by these first stories of our ancestors.

QUESTIONS: 1. In what ways did the Romans deprive the Teutons of their independence? 2. Why did the Teutons object to the Roman taxes? 3. Why is the taking away of a people's language one of the worst acts of tyranny that can be practiced? 4. Why are we so particularly interested in these stories of the Teuton race?

The Story of Venice

Once did She hold the gorgeous East in fee;

And was the safeguard of the West: the worth

Of Venice did not fall below her birth,

Venice, the eldest Child of Liberty.


There is nothing in history quite so perfect as the story of Venice. It illustrates the growth of a community unhampered, even stimulated, from without. It gives a picture of a primitive mode of life without the usual attendants of barbarian or savage participants. Its problems are the universal problems of governments, and it solves them one by one in a way which is as dramatic as it is obvious and intelligible. Above all, it throws round this development the picturesqueness and charm which one could find nowhere save in sunny Italy. This is a fresh story, which has not been worn threadbare by frequent telling, and ought to prove full of charm as well as instruction. We are often troubled in the struggles for independence by the fact that the people claiming rights may have no particular justice to back their claim. The right of the creator to his creation is delightfully clear-cut and obvious.

The later development of Venice, which is no less fascinating, will be described in the later books; in "Sea Kings and Explorers," in its commercial greatness, and in "Craftsman and Artist," in its arts and industries.

QUESTIONS: 1. What drove the people of northern Italy to build a city on the water? 2. What claim did the Lombard dukes and the emperors give as a reason why the Venetians should be subject to them? 3. What did the people of Venice reply? 4. How did they come to have a doge? 5. Who chose him?

Charlemagne and Wittekind

They [the Saxons] were a splendid people, and much of the best blood that now circles in the veins of Germanic and Anglo-Saxon origin is derived from them.


By common consent of posterity the Saxon Witikind, although all but the barest facts of his life are lost, has been singled out as the worthiest opponent whom Charles ever met. In legend the war reduces itself to a duel between the two. They fight in single combat for the prize of Saxony . . . The legend is not far from the truth. The baptism of Witikind marks the birthday of united Christian Germany.


This is distinctly a story with a moral. The young reader must come to see very plainly that a course of action may look entirely different from two opposite points of view. In "Barbarian and Noble" he saw the good side of building up an empire. Here he sees the other side, and he sees why an empire was not to succeed, because it takes little account of the liberty of the individual man or the small nation. The Saxon war is in history the darkest part of Charlemagne's career. "Its only excuse was its success," says one historian, and another, "Charlemagne was a terrible warrior, but he is chiefly distinguished for the fact that love of war was not his only incentive."

Our Christmas tree is borrowed from this old world tree worship of the Germans.

QUESTIONS: 1. What was Charlemagne trying to do? 2. The Teutons had fought for their language and their property. What added thing did the Saxons fight for? 3. Why was it better for civilization that this once they should lose, and take the religion of their conqueror?

The Choosing of a King

"It was a mighty step, full of consequences, this choice of Henry as king. Through it the rule of the Franks gave way to the rifle of the Saxons. Moreover, he was a. king chosen by election of the people. In this thought his choice may be considered as the beginning of the new German kingdom."

In this story of the choice of the first German king there are many points to be brought out. First, concerning Conrad: "This king," says a chronicler of the next century, "was so bent on the good of his fatherland that he sacrificed to it his personal enmity,—truly a rare virtue." Recall our explanation of "patriotism" or "fatherland-love" in the introduction. Here was a king who exemplified it. Again, notice the method of election,—nomination by the princes, acclamation by the people, with the raising of the right hand. Again, the way in which a war could start by a mistake. The Milanese war began through a failure of provisions. Again, Henry's attitude to the church: "It was enough to him to be king through the mercy of God and the choice of the people. No priestly ceremony was needed to make a German king."

QUESTIONS: 1. How did the war between Conrad and Henry begin? 2. How did Conrad show himself a true patriot? 3. How was Henry elected and how did he get his name of Henry the Fowler?

Henry the Fowler

By his wise policy and the consistent pursuit and enforcement of it, he laid the foundation of a great national system. Reading of his measures for the foundation of cities seems like reading a story of colonization; his extension of the boundaries of the empire entitles him to the praise of a conqueror, his victories over the Hungarians to that of a deliverer…Such is in brief the outline of the career and influence of this great king, of whom, if more was known, as favorable an idea night be formed as of Charles the Great or even as of the English Alfred. In him, just as in Alfred, is summed up the national hero, conqueror, colonist, deliverer.


The tenth century was the worst century in history. The reign of Henry is its bright spot. Here we see the beginnings of a nation in the work of civilization. "It is satisfactory," says Stillé, "to find that the real title of those princely houses who struggled for the headship or kingship of the country in early times was in almost all cases the real service they had rendered in resisting the barbarian invaders."

QUESTIONS: 1. How did there come to be walled towns, and men living in cities instead of tilling the ground as farmers? 2. How were these city dwellers to be fed at first? 3. How did there come to be knights and rules for these knights?

Hereward the Saxon

A brave hero, who tried to do his duty to his country in troublous and disastrous days, to wham failure and despair were unknown . . . In his character we find the germ of that self-reliant courage to which are due the greatness and freedom of our country.


The Saxon heroes of England are the first heroes with whom we are directly concerned as our ancestors. In "Sea Kings and Explorers" the story of the coming of the Saxons to Britain will be told. Back of that we need not go, since, as Freeman has put it, "for us the conquest of the land which afterwards became our own has an interest above all the other conquests of Rome. But it is a purely geographical interest. The British victories of Cćsar and Agricola were won, not over our own forefathers, but over those Celtic Britons whom our forefathers more thoroughly swept away. The history of our own nation is for some ages to be looked for by the banks of the Elbe and the Weser, not by those of the Severn and the Thames." That was true of the history before the coming of the Saxons to England. Looking back we rejoice that William was able to make England one kingdom, even at the expense of some misgovernment and suffering at the time; but we can accord honor, in spite of this, to the men of the eleventh century, who naturally looked at it from another point of view and were as truly defenders of freedom as their ancestors or their descendants. It should be remembered that both Normans and Saxons were of Teutonic stock. The family of John Harvard claimed descent from Hereward.

QUESTIONS: 1. The Danes and the Saxons had come together in Alfred's day. What two nationalities came together in England in Hereward's day? 2. To what great family of nations did both belong?

Frederick Barbarossa

There still remained at the heart of Lombardy the strong principle of national liberty, imperishable among the perishing armies of her patriots, inconsumable in the conflagration of her cities.


"By the great elements of nationality," says Thomas Arnold, "I mean race, language, institutions, and religion." We are studying the period of the rise of nationalities. These four things will be found to be the important elements in each.

The dramatic ways in which the conquered peoples were forced to show their submission are of interest in these tales.

QUESTIONS: 1. Was Frederick always a tyrant? 2. Was he ever a tyrant? 3. What rights did the Lombard cities want?

King John and the Barons

"The maxims of liberty handed down by the Germans speedily asserted themselves in a country so much less permeated by Roman ideas. England was the first to find the form of modern liberty."

The stories of the winning of English liberty touch most closely our own institutions, and should be dwelt upon with particular care. The story of the granting of the Magna Charta can be made to take its true place of importance when it has the cumulative force of all the efforts for liberty behind it.

QUESTIONS: 1. What is a charter? 2. Why did the patriots demand written charters? 3. The Teutons had given the spirit of liberty. What did the English give? 4. How were taxes and liberty made possible at the same time?

Simon of Montfort

We see, then, the foundations of the English Constitution laid in the thirteenth century.


"A land of old and just renown,

Where freedom slowly broadens down,

From precedent to precedent."

The three elements,—the spending of money, the need to gather a Parliament, and then the measures of that Parliament,—are here made very dramatic. This is the crystallizing of the old Teuton assembly, of which we have read in the stories of Wittekind and Henry the Fowler.

QUESTIONS: 1. How did Parliament come to meet regularly instead of only at the call of the king? 2. What new principle of taxation did the barons introduce? 3. How did representation of all classes in the national assembly begin?

The Men of the Forest Cantons

Men will tell of the shot of Tell

While the mountains stand in their places.


The story of Tell has been proved to be a legend, and the chroniclers who first wrote it out have been traced down; but the spirit of the Tell story is the spirit of the patriotism which was at that time animating the mountain dwellers of Switzerland. We must take care lest our striving for historic accuracy deprive the child of his rightful literary inheritance.

QUESTIONS: 1. What nation was founded by William Tell and the men of the forest cantons? 2. Of what other nations have we read of the founding?

Robert Bruce

Wha, for Scotland's King and Laze,

Freedom's sword will strongly draw,

Free-man stand, or free-man fa',

Let him on wi' me!

By Oppression's woes and pains!

By your sons in servile chains!

We will drain our dearest veins,

But they shall be free!

Robert Burns

Writer of the great national epic, sole recorder of the most heroic period of the national history, . . . John Barbour justly remains the most famous of the early poet-chroniclers of Scotland. But for his pen the passion of patriotism which gave Scotland a soul for four hundred years might have died with Douglas and Bruce.


As has been indicated in the text, these three pictures of Bruce should be used to turn the young reader to Scott's works, and to the Scottish ballads, and to Robert Burns as well. It will be found that all else of the Bruce story as it is told in the chronicles is a tale of bloody battles and weary wars.

QUESTIONS: What other movement for patriotism was taking place at the time of Robert Bruce's struggle for Scotland?

Queen Philippa and the Citizens of Calais

"In the story of the citizens of Calais we see patriotism carried to the point of giving one's life to save one's country."

This story has been put in not only for its charm but also to round out the conception of patriotism. Let the reader tell in what ways the heroes of the previous stories have shown their patriotism. Were these men fighting for liberty in general? No, they were giving their lives for the sake of their fellow men.

Joan of Arc

Thus the nationality of France was formed.


"There are many aspects," says Stillé, "of the story of Jeanne d'Arc . . . ; yet certainly on no surer basis can her fame rest in history than that she was the first apostle in France of that sentiment of national unity binding all her children together, in opposition to the separatism of the feudal policy, which modern Frenchmen believe to be not merely the nurse of all patriotism, but the inspiring motive of that ardent desire so characteristic of their countrymen at all time to be the leaders of civilization in France."

QUESTIONS: Besides fighting their battles for them, what did Joan of Arc do for the French nation?

The "Beggars" of Holland

Although this instrument [the Groot Privilegie] was afterwards violated, and indeed abolished, it became the foundation of the republic . . . It was a noble and temperate vindication of natural liberty . . . To no people in the world more than to the stout burghers of Flanders and Holland belongs the honor of having battled audaciously and perennially in behalf of human rights.


Bring out the difference between a republic and a monarchy, a hereditary system of rulers and an elective system.

QUESTIONS: 1. Of the foundation of what two other republics have we read the stories? 2. What was the third republic? 3. What was the fourth, and how did the Dutch struggle for liberty help in the end toward the founding of the United States?

The present volume, and its companion, "Barbarian and Noble," have dealt with the political side of the Middle Ages; "Kings and Common Folk" and "Cavalier and Courtier" will present the social side; and "Craftsman and Artist" and "Sea Kings and Explorers" will give the economic and industrial conditions.