Front Matter Albion and Brutus The Coming of the Romans The Romans Come Again Caligula Conquers Britain The Story of Boadicea The Last of the Romans The Story of St. Alban Vortigern and King Constans Hengist and Horsa Hengist's Treachery The Giant's Dance The Coming of Arthur Founding of the Round Table Gregory and the Children King Alfred Learns to Read Alfred and the Cowherd More About Alfred the Great Ethelred the Unready Edmund Ironside Canute and the Waves Edward the Confessor Harold Godwin The Battle of Stamford Bridge The Battle of Hastings Hereward the Wake Death of the King The Story of William the Red The Story of the "White Ship" The Story of King Stephen Henry II—Gilbert and Rohesia Thomas a Becket The Conquest of Ireland Richard Coeur de Lion How Blondel Found the King The Story of Prince Arthur The Great Charter Henry III and Hubert de Burgh Simon de Montfort The Poisoned Dagger The War of Chalons The Lawgiver The Hammer of the Scots King Robert the Bruce The Battle of Bannockburn The Battle of Sluys The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Battle of Poitiers Wat Tyler's Rebellion How Richard Lost His Throne The Battle of Shrewsbury Prince Hal Sent to Prison The Battle of Agincourt The Maid of Orleans Red Rose and White Margaret and the Robbers The Story of the Kingmaker A King Who Wasn't Crowned Two Princes in the Tower The Make-Believe Prince Another Make-Believe Prince The Field of the Cloth of Gold Defender of the Faith The Six Wives of Henry VIII The Story of a Boy King The Story of Lady Jane Grey Elizabeth a Prisoner A Candle Lit in England Elizabeth Becomes Queen A Most Unhappy Queen Saved from the Spaniards Sir Walter Raleigh The Queen's Favourite The Story of Guy Fawkes The Story of the Mayflower A Blow for Freedom King and Parliament Quarrel The King Brought to Death The Adventures of a Prince The Lord Protector How Death Plagued London How London was Burned The Fiery Cross The Story of King Monmouth The Story of the Seven Bishops William the Deliverer William III and Mary II A Sad Day in a Highland Glen How the Union Jack was Made Earl of Mar's Hunting Party Bonnie Prince Charlie Flora MacDonald The Black Hole of Calcutta How Canada Was Won How America Was Lost A Story of a Spinning Wheel Every Man Will Do His Duty The Battle of Waterloo The First Gentleman in Europe Two Peaceful Victories The Girl Queen When Bread was Dear Victorian Age: Peace Victorian Age: War The Land of Snow The Siege of Delhi The Pipes at Lucknow Under the Southern Cross From Cannibal to Christian Boer and Briton List of Kings

Our Island Story - H. E. Marshall

George IV.—The First Gentleman in Europe

George III. died in January 1820 A.D., and was succeeded by his son George IV. George IV. had already been reigning as Regent for ten years, for, during that time, his father had been mad and so unable to rule, and towards the end of his life he had become blind, and deaf as well.

George III. was called Farmer George, because he liked a peaceful country life, and would have been a very good farmer, although he was not a very wise King. He had reigned sixty years, including the last ten, during which he really did not rule.

George IV. was called 'the first gentleman in Europe,' because he was handsome, and had fine manners, very different from those of his homely father. He tried to make friends with all his people through his fine manners. Soon after he became King he went to Ireland, where the people received him with great joy. He made speeches to them, and laughed and cried with them. He wore the order of St. Patrick on his breast, and great bunches of shamrock in his cap. He told them that he loved his Irish people, and that he was Irish at heart, and altogether acted his part very well. But it was merely acting, for George IV. only cared for himself, and was not in the least a good king. The warm-hearted Irish people, however, believed in him and, when he sailed away again, some of them were so eager to catch a last glimpse of their King, that they fell into the sea, and were nearly drowned.

George next went to Hanover, for he was King of Hanover, as well as king of Britain. There he talked German, and wore a Hanoverian Order, sang German national songs, and told the people with tears in his eyes that he was truly German at heart; and perhaps the German people believed him too.

Next he went to Scotland. Since the time of Charles I. no king had visited Scotland, and the people crowded to welcome him. The road from Leith to Edinburgh was lined with gentlemen to do him honour, and as King George drove along through the lines of cheering people, it was seen that he was dressed in Stuart tartan, and that he wore the Order of the Thistle.

George had wept and laughed with his Irish subjects, yet when a chance came for him to prove that he loved them as he had said he did, he did not willingly take it.

In the fierce old days the Roman Catholics had killed and tortured the Protestants whenever they had the power and, in dread of them, an act had been passed forbidding Roman Catholics to hold any public office. Those days were long passed. No one was now killed or tortured because of his religion, yet the laws against the Roman Catholics still remained. No Catholic might be an officer in the army or navy, no Catholic might sit in Parliament, or serve his country in any way.

Yet nearly all the Irish people were Roman Catholics, and generous men for many years had felt these laws to be unjust. The younger Pitt had tried in vain to make George III. do away with them. Now wise men tried to make George IV. repeal them. But the King, who said he was Irish at heart, refused. 'My father,' he said, 'would have laid his head on the block rather than yield, and I am equally ready to lay my head there for the same cause.'

The great Duke of Wellington was Prime Minister at this time, and as he had conquered Napoleon in war, so now he conquered George IV. in peace. He stood firm, and at last the King was forced to give way. A bill called the Catholic Emancipation Act, which means 'freeing' Act, was passed by Parliament. Since then Roman Catholics have been allowed to sit in Parliament, to be officers, or to hold any other post which is open to Protestants, although no king may rule in Britain unless he is a Protestant.

George IV. died in June 1830 A.D., having reigned ten years. He was an utterly selfish man, and a bad King. Yet the British nation had grown so strong that even a bad King could not do much harm, while there were great men around him to work for their country.