EasyFunSchool has over 1,500 pages of free unit studies, science projects, recipe and craft ideas, history activities & many other resources to make homeschooling more enjoyable for both child and parent!

A Child's History of England - Ch. 31-35

A Child's History of England: Chapters 1 - 2
A Child's History of England: Chapters 3 - 6
A Child's History of England: Chapters 7 - 10
A Child's History of England: Chapters 11 - 12
A Child's History of England: Chapters 13 - 16
A Child's History of England: Chapters 17 - 21
A Child's History of England: Chapters 22 - 25
A Child's History of England: Chapters 26 - 30
A Child's History of England: Chapters 31 - 35
A Child's History of England: Chapters 36 - 37


THERE was great rejoicing all over the land when the Lords of the
Council went down to Hatfield, to hail the Princess Elizabeth as
the new Queen of England. Weary of the barbarities of Mary's
reign, the people looked with hope and gladness to the new
Sovereign. The nation seemed to wake from a horrible dream; and
Heaven, so long hidden by the smoke of the fires that roasted men
and women to death, appeared to brighten once more.

Queen Elizabeth was five-and-twenty years of age when she rode
through the streets of London, from the Tower to Westminster Abbey,
to be crowned. Her countenance was strongly marked, but on the
whole, commanding and dignified; her hair was red, and her nose
something too long and sharp for a woman's. She was not the
beautiful creature her courtiers made out; but she was well enough,
and no doubt looked all the better for coming after the dark and
gloomy Mary. She was well educated, but a roundabout writer, and
rather a hard swearer and coarse talker. She was clever, but
cunning and deceitful, and inherited much of her father's violent
temper. I mention this now, because she has been so over-praised
by one party, and so over-abused by another, that it is hardly
possible to understand the greater part of her reign without first
understanding what kind of woman she really was.

She began her reign with the great advantage of having a very wise
and careful Minister, SIR WILLIAM CECIL, whom she afterwards made
LORD BURLEIGH. Altogether, the people had greater reason for
rejoicing than they usually had, when there were processions in the
streets; and they were happy with some reason. All kinds of shows
and images were set up; GOG and MAGOG were hoisted to the top of
Temple Bar, and (which was more to the purpose) the Corporation
dutifully presented the young Queen with the sum of a thousand
marks in gold - so heavy a present, that she was obliged to take it
into her carriage with both hands. The coronation was a great
success; and, on the next day, one of the courtiers presented a
petition to the new Queen, praying that as it was the custom to
release some prisoners on such occasions, she would have the
goodness to release the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and
John, and also the Apostle Saint Paul, who had been for some time
shut up in a strange language so that the people could not get at

To this, the Queen replied that it would be better first to inquire
of themselves whether they desired to be released or not; and, as a
means of finding out, a great public discussion - a sort of
religious tournament - was appointed to take place between certain
champions of the two religions, in Westminster Abbey. You may
suppose that it was soon made pretty clear to common sense, that
for people to benefit by what they repeat or read, it is rather
necessary they should understand something about it. Accordingly,
a Church Service in plain English was settled, and other laws and
regulations were made, completely establishing the great work of
the Reformation. The Romish bishops and champions were not harshly
dealt with, all things considered; and the Queen's Ministers were
both prudent and merciful.

The one great trouble of this reign, and the unfortunate cause of
the greater part of such turmoil and bloodshed as occurred in it,
was MARY STUART, QUEEN OF SCOTS. We will try to understand, in as
few words as possible, who Mary was, what she was, and how she came
to be a thorn in the royal pillow of Elizabeth.

She was the daughter of the Queen Regent of Scotland, MARY OF
GUISE. She had been married, when a mere child, to the Dauphin,
the son and heir of the King of France. The Pope, who pretended
that no one could rightfully wear the crown of England without his
gracious permission, was strongly opposed to Elizabeth, who had not
asked for the said gracious permission. And as Mary Queen of Scots
would have inherited the English crown in right of her birth,
supposing the English Parliament not to have altered the
succession, the Pope himself, and most of the discontented who were
followers of his, maintained that Mary was the rightful Queen of
England, and Elizabeth the wrongful Queen. Mary being so closely
connected with France, and France being jealous of England, there
was far greater danger in this than there would have been if she
had had no alliance with that great power. And when her young
husband, on the death of his father, became FRANCIS THE SECOND,
King of France, the matter grew very serious. For, the young
couple styled themselves King and Queen of England, and the Pope
was disposed to help them by doing all the mischief he could.

Now, the reformed religion, under the guidance of a stern and
powerful preacher, named JOHN KNOX, and other such men, had been
making fierce progress in Scotland. It was still a half savage
country, where there was a great deal of murdering and rioting
continually going on; and the Reformers, instead of reforming those
evils as they should have done, went to work in the ferocious old
Scottish spirit, laying churches and chapels waste, pulling down
pictures and altars, and knocking about the Grey Friars, and the
Black Friars, and the White Friars, and the friars of all sorts of
colours, in all directions. This obdurate and harsh spirit of the
Scottish Reformers (the Scotch have always been rather a sullen and
frowning people in religious matters) put up the blood of the
Romish French court, and caused France to send troops over to
Scotland, with the hope of setting the friars of all sorts of
colours on their legs again; of conquering that country first, and
England afterwards; and so crushing the Reformation all to pieces.
The Scottish Reformers, who had formed a great league which they
called The Congregation of the Lord, secretly represented to
Elizabeth that, if the reformed religion got the worst of it with
them, it would be likely to get the worst of it in England too; and
thus, Elizabeth, though she had a high notion of the rights of
Kings and Queens to do anything they liked, sent an army to
Scotland to support the Reformers, who were in arms against their
sovereign. All these proceedings led to a treaty of peace at
Edinburgh, under which the French consented to depart from the
kingdom. By a separate treaty, Mary and her young husband engaged
to renounce their assumed title of King and Queen of England. But
this treaty they never fulfilled.

It happened, soon after matters had got to this state, that the
young French King died, leaving Mary a young widow. She was then
invited by her Scottish subjects to return home and reign over
them; and as she was not now happy where she was, she, after a
little time, complied.

Elizabeth had been Queen three years, when Mary Queen of Scots
embarked at Calais for her own rough, quarrelling country. As she
came out of the harbour, a vessel was lost before her eyes, and she
said, 'O! good God! what an omen this is for such a voyage!' She
was very fond of France, and sat on the deck, looking back at it
and weeping, until it was quite dark. When she went to bed, she
directed to be called at daybreak, if the French coast were still
visible, that she might behold it for the last time. As it proved
to be a clear morning, this was done, and she again wept for the
country she was leaving, and said many times, ' Farewell, France!
Farewell, France! I shall never see thee again!' All this was
long remembered afterwards, as sorrowful and interesting in a fair
young princess of nineteen. Indeed, I am afraid it gradually came,
together with her other distresses, to surround her with greater
sympathy than she deserved.

When she came to Scotland, and took up her abode at the palace of
Holyrood in Edinburgh, she found herself among uncouth strangers
and wild uncomfortable customs very different from her experiences
in the court of France. The very people who were disposed to love
her, made her head ache when she was tired out by her voyage, with
a serenade of discordant music - a fearful concert of bagpipes, I
suppose - and brought her and her train home to her palace on
miserable little Scotch horses that appeared to be half starved.
Among the people who were not disposed to love her, she found the
powerful leaders of the Reformed Church, who were bitter upon her
amusements, however innocent, and denounced music and dancing as
works of the devil. John Knox himself often lectured her,
violently and angrily, and did much to make her life unhappy. All
these reasons confirmed her old attachment to the Romish religion,
and caused her, there is no doubt, most imprudently and dangerously
both for herself and for England too, to give a solemn pledge to
the heads of the Romish Church that if she ever succeeded to the
English crown, she would set up that religion again. In reading
her unhappy history, you must always remember this; and also that
during her whole life she was constantly put forward against the
Queen, in some form or other, by the Romish party.

That Elizabeth, on the other hand, was not inclined to like her, is
pretty certain. Elizabeth was very vain and jealous, and had an
extraordinary dislike to people being married. She treated Lady
Catherine Grey, sister of the beheaded Lady Jane, with such
shameful severity, for no other reason than her being secretly
married, that she died and her husband was ruined; so, when a
second marriage for Mary began to be talked about, probably
Elizabeth disliked her more. Not that Elizabeth wanted suitors of
her own, for they started up from Spain, Austria, Sweden, and
England. Her English lover at this time, and one whom she much
favoured too, was LORD ROBERT DUDLEY, Earl of Leicester - himself
secretly married to AMY ROBSART, the daughter of an English
gentleman, whom he was strongly suspected of causing to be
murdered, down at his country seat, Cumnor Hall in Berkshire, that
he might be free to marry the Queen. Upon this story, the great
writer, SIR WALTER SCOTT, has founded one of his best romances.
But if Elizabeth knew how to lead her handsome favourite on, for
her own vanity and pleasure, she knew how to stop him for her own
pride; and his love, and all the other proposals, came to nothing.
The Queen always declared in good set speeches, that she would
never be married at all, but would live and die a Maiden Queen. It
was a very pleasant and meritorious declaration, I suppose; but it
has been puffed and trumpeted so much, that I am rather tired of it

Divers princes proposed to marry Mary, but the English court had
reasons for being jealous of them all, and even proposed as a
matter of policy that she should marry that very Earl of Leicester
who had aspired to be the husband of Elizabeth. At last, LORD
DARNLEY, son of the Earl of Lennox, and himself descended from the
Royal Family of Scotland, went over with Elizabeth's consent to try
his fortune at Holyrood. He was a tall simpleton; and could dance
and play the guitar; but I know of nothing else he could do, unless
it were to get very drunk, and eat gluttonously, and make a
contemptible spectacle of himself in many mean and vain ways.
However, he gained Mary's heart, not disdaining in the pursuit of
his object to ally himself with one of her secretaries, DAVID
RIZZIO, who had great influence with her. He soon married the
Queen. This marriage does not say much for her, but what followed
will presently say less.

Mary's brother, the EARL OF MURRAY, and head of the Protestant
party in Scotland, had opposed this marriage, partly on religious
grounds, and partly perhaps from personal dislike of the very
contemptible bridegroom. When it had taken place, through Mary's
gaining over to it the more powerful of the lords about her, she
banished Murray for his pains; and, when he and some other nobles
rose in arms to support the reformed religion, she herself, within
a month of her wedding day, rode against them in armour with loaded
pistols in her saddle. Driven out of Scotland, they presented
themselves before Elizabeth - who called them traitors in public,
and assisted them in private, according to her crafty nature.

Mary had been married but a little while, when she began to hate
her husband, who, in his turn, began to hate that David Rizzio,
with whom he had leagued to gain her favour, and whom he now
believed to be her lover. He hated Rizzio to that extent, that he
made a compact with LORD RUTHVEN and three other lords to get rid
of him by murder. This wicked agreement they made in solemn
secrecy upon the first of March, fifteen hundred and sixty-six, and
on the night of Saturday the ninth, the conspirators were brought
by Darnley up a private staircase, dark and steep, into a range of
rooms where they knew that Mary was sitting at supper with her
sister, Lady Argyle, and this doomed man. When they went into the
room, Darnley took the Queen round the waist, and Lord Ruthven, who
had risen from a bed of sickness to do this murder, came in, gaunt
and ghastly, leaning on two men. Rizzio ran behind the Queen for
shelter and protection. 'Let him come out of the room,' said
Ruthven. 'He shall not leave the room,' replied the Queen; 'I read
his danger in your face, and it is my will that he remain here.'
They then set upon him, struggled with him, overturned the table,
dragged him out, and killed him with fifty-six stabs. When the
Queen heard that he was dead, she said, 'No more tears. I will
think now of revenge!'

Within a day or two, she gained her husband over, and prevailed on
the tall idiot to abandon the conspirators and fly with her to
Dunbar. There, he issued a proclamation, audaciously and falsely
denying that he had any knowledge of the late bloody business; and
there they were joined by the EARL BOTHWELL and some other nobles.
With their help, they raised eight thousand men; returned to
Edinburgh, and drove the assassins into England. Mary soon
afterwards gave birth to a son - still thinking of revenge.

That she should have had a greater scorn for her husband after his
late cowardice and treachery than she had had before, was natural
enough. There is little doubt that she now began to love Bothwell
instead, and to plan with him means of getting rid of Darnley.
Bothwell had such power over her that he induced her even to pardon
the assassins of Rizzio. The arrangements for the Christening of
the young Prince were entrusted to him, and he was one of the most
important people at the ceremony, where the child was named JAMES:
Elizabeth being his godmother, though not present on the occasion.
A week afterwards, Darnley, who had left Mary and gone to his
father's house at Glasgow, being taken ill with the small-pox, she
sent her own physician to attend him. But there is reason to
apprehend that this was merely a show and a pretence, and that she
knew what was doing, when Bothwell within another month proposed to
one of the late conspirators against Rizzio, to murder Darnley,
'for that it was the Queen's mind that he should be taken away.'
It is certain that on that very day she wrote to her ambassador in
France, complaining of him, and yet went immediately to Glasgow,
feigning to be very anxious about him, and to love him very much.
If she wanted to get him in her power, she succeeded to her heart's
content; for she induced him to go back with her to Edinburgh, and
to occupy, instead of the palace, a lone house outside the city
called the Kirk of Field. Here, he lived for about a week. One
Sunday night, she remained with him until ten o'clock, and then
left him, to go to Holyrood to be present at an entertainment given
in celebration of the marriage of one of her favourite servants.
At two o'clock in the morning the city was shaken by a great
explosion, and the Kirk of Field was blown to atoms.

Darnley's body was found next day lying under a tree at some
distance. How it came there, undisfigured and unscorched by
gunpowder, and how this crime came to be so clumsily and strangely
committed, it is impossible to discover. The deceitful character
of Mary, and the deceitful character of Elizabeth, have rendered
almost every part of their joint history uncertain and obscure.
But, I fear that Mary was unquestionably a party to her husband's
murder, and that this was the revenge she had threatened. The
Scotch people universally believed it. Voices cried out in the
streets of Edinburgh in the dead of the night, for justice on the
murderess. Placards were posted by unknown hands in the public
places denouncing Bothwell as the murderer, and the Queen as his
accomplice; and, when he afterwards married her (though himself
already married), previously making a show of taking her prisoner
by force, the indignation of the people knew no bounds. The women
particularly are described as having been quite frantic against the
Queen, and to have hooted and cried after her in the streets with
terrific vehemence.

Such guilty unions seldom prosper. This husband and wife had lived
together but a month, when they were separated for ever by the
successes of a band of Scotch nobles who associated against them
for the protection of the young Prince: whom Bothwell had vainly
endeavoured to lay hold of, and whom he would certainly have
murdered, if the EARL OF MAR, in whose hands the boy was, had not
been firmly and honourably faithful to his trust. Before this
angry power, Bothwell fled abroad, where he died, a prisoner and
mad, nine miserable years afterwards. Mary being found by the
associated lords to deceive them at every turn, was sent a prisoner
to Lochleven Castle; which, as it stood in the midst of a lake,
could only be approached by boat. Here, one LORD LINDSAY, who was
so much of a brute that the nobles would have done better if they
had chosen a mere gentleman for their messenger, made her sign her
abdication, and appoint Murray, Regent of Scotland. Here, too,
Murray saw her in a sorrowing and humbled state.

She had better have remained in the castle of Lochleven, dull
prison as it was, with the rippling of the lake against it, and the
moving shadows of the water on the room walls; but she could not
rest there, and more than once tried to escape. The first time she
had nearly succeeded, dressed in the clothes of her own washer-
woman, but, putting up her hand to prevent one of the boatmen from
lifting her veil, the men suspected her, seeing how white it was,
and rowed her back again. A short time afterwards, her fascinating
manners enlisted in her cause a boy in the Castle, called the
little DOUGLAS, who, while the family were at supper, stole the
keys of the great gate, went softly out with the Queen, locked the
gate on the outside, and rowed her away across the lake, sinking
the keys as they went along. On the opposite shore she was met by
another Douglas, and some few lords; and, so accompanied, rode away
on horseback to Hamilton, where they raised three thousand men.
Here, she issued a proclamation declaring that the abdication she
had signed in her prison was illegal, and requiring the Regent to
yield to his lawful Queen. Being a steady soldier, and in no way
discomposed although he was without an army, Murray pretended to
treat with her, until he had collected a force about half equal to
her own, and then he gave her battle. In one quarter of an hour he
cut down all her hopes. She had another weary ride on horse-back
of sixty long Scotch miles, and took shelter at Dundrennan Abbey,
whence she fled for safety to Elizabeth's dominions.

Mary Queen of Scots came to England - to her own ruin, the trouble
of the kingdom, and the misery and death of many - in the year one
thousand five hundred and sixty-eight. How she left it and the
world, nineteen years afterwards, we have now to see.


WHEN Mary Queen of Scots arrived in England, without money and even
without any other clothes than those she wore, she wrote to
Elizabeth, representing herself as an innocent and injured piece of
Royalty, and entreating her assistance to oblige her Scottish
subjects to take her back again and obey her. But, as her
character was already known in England to be a very different one
from what she made it out to be, she was told in answer that she
must first clear herself. Made uneasy by this condition, Mary,
rather than stay in England, would have gone to Spain, or to
France, or would even have gone back to Scotland. But, as her
doing either would have been likely to trouble England afresh, it
was decided that she should be detained here. She first came to
Carlisle, and, after that, was moved about from castle to castle,
as was considered necessary; but England she never left again.

After trying very hard to get rid of the necessity of clearing
herself, Mary, advised by LORD HERRIES, her best friend in England,
agreed to answer the charges against her, if the Scottish noblemen
who made them would attend to maintain them before such English
noblemen as Elizabeth might appoint for that purpose. Accordingly,
such an assembly, under the name of a conference, met, first at
York, and afterwards at Hampton Court. In its presence Lord
Lennox, Darnley's father, openly charged Mary with the murder of
his son; and whatever Mary's friends may now say or write in her
behalf, there is no doubt that, when her brother Murray produced
against her a casket containing certain guilty letters and verses
which he stated to have passed between her and Bothwell, she
withdrew from the inquiry. Consequently, it is to be supposed that
she was then considered guilty by those who had the best
opportunities of judging of the truth, and that the feeling which
afterwards arose in her behalf was a very generous but not a very
reasonable one.

However, the DUKE OF NORFOLK, an honourable but rather weak
nobleman, partly because Mary was captivating, partly because he
was ambitious, partly because he was over-persuaded by artful
plotters against Elizabeth, conceived a strong idea that he would
like to marry the Queen of Scots - though he was a little
frightened, too, by the letters in the casket. This idea being
secretly encouraged by some of the noblemen of Elizabeth's court,
and even by the favourite Earl of Leicester (because it was
objected to by other favourites who were his rivals), Mary
expressed her approval of it, and the King of France and the King
of Spain are supposed to have done the same. It was not so quietly
planned, though, but that it came to Elizabeth's ears, who warned
the Duke 'to be careful what sort of pillow he was going to lay his
head upon.' He made a humble reply at the time; but turned sulky
soon afterwards, and, being considered dangerous, was sent to the

Thus, from the moment of Mary's coming to England she began to be
the centre of plots and miseries.

A rise of the Catholics in the north was the next of these, and it
was only checked by many executions and much bloodshed. It was
followed by a great conspiracy of the Pope and some of the Catholic
sovereigns of Europe to depose Elizabeth, place Mary on the throne,
and restore the unreformed religion. It is almost impossible to
doubt that Mary knew and approved of this; and the Pope himself was
so hot in the matter that he issued a bull, in which he openly
called Elizabeth the 'pretended Queen' of England, excommunicated
her, and excommunicated all her subjects who should continue to
obey her. A copy of this miserable paper got into London, and was
found one morning publicly posted on the Bishop of London's gate.
A great hue and cry being raised, another copy was found in the
chamber of a student of Lincoln's Inn, who confessed, being put
upon the rack, that he had received it from one JOHN FELTON, a rich
gentleman who lived across the Thames, near Southwark. This John
Felton, being put upon the rack too, confessed that he had posted
the placard on the Bishop's gate. For this offence he was, within
four days, taken to St. Paul's Churchyard, and there hanged and
quartered. As to the Pope's bull, the people by the reformation
having thrown off the Pope, did not care much, you may suppose, for
the Pope's throwing off them. It was a mere dirty piece of paper,
and not half so powerful as a street ballad.

On the very day when Felton was brought to his trial, the poor Duke
of Norfolk was released. It would have been well for him if he had
kept away from the Tower evermore, and from the snares that had
taken him there. But, even while he was in that dismal place he
corresponded with Mary, and as soon as he was out of it, he began
to plot again. Being discovered in correspondence with the Pope,
with a view to a rising in England which should force Elizabeth to
consent to his marriage with Mary and to repeal the laws against
the Catholics, he was re-committed to the Tower and brought to
trial. He was found guilty by the unanimous verdict of the Lords
who tried him, and was sentenced to the block.

It is very difficult to make out, at this distance of time, and
between opposite accounts, whether Elizabeth really was a humane
woman, or desired to appear so, or was fearful of shedding the
blood of people of great name who were popular in the country.
Twice she commanded and countermanded the execution of this Duke,
and it did not take place until five months after his trial. The
scaffold was erected on Tower Hill, and there he died like a brave
man. He refused to have his eyes bandaged, saying that he was not
at all afraid of death; and he admitted the justice of his
sentence, and was much regretted by the people.

Although Mary had shrunk at the most important time from disproving
her guilt, she was very careful never to do anything that would
admit it. All such proposals as were made to her by Elizabeth for
her release, required that admission in some form or other, and
therefore came to nothing. Moreover, both women being artful and
treacherous, and neither ever trusting the other, it was not likely
that they could ever make an agreement. So, the Parliament,
aggravated by what the Pope had done, made new and strong laws
against the spreading of the Catholic religion in England, and
declared it treason in any one to say that the Queen and her
successors were not the lawful sovereigns of England. It would
have done more than this, but for Elizabeth's moderation.

Since the Reformation, there had come to be three great sects of
religious people - or people who called themselves so - in England;
that is to say, those who belonged to the Reformed Church, those
who belonged to the Unreformed Church, and those who were called
the Puritans, because they said that they wanted to have everything
very pure and plain in all the Church service. These last were for
the most part an uncomfortable people, who thought it highly
meritorious to dress in a hideous manner, talk through their noses,
and oppose all harmless enjoyments. But they were powerful too,
and very much in earnest, and they were one and all the determined
enemies of the Queen of Scots. The Protestant feeling in England
was further strengthened by the tremendous cruelties to which
Protestants were exposed in France and in the Netherlands. Scores
of thousands of them were put to death in those countries with
every cruelty that can be imagined, and at last, in the autumn of
the year one thousand five hundred and seventy-two, one of the
greatest barbarities ever committed in the world took place at

It is called in history, THE MASSACRE OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW, because
it took place on Saint Bartholomew's Eve. The day fell on Saturday
the twenty-third of August. On that day all the great leaders of
the Protestants (who were there called HUGUENOTS) were assembled
together, for the purpose, as was represented to them, of doing
honour to the marriage of their chief, the young King of Navarre,
with the sister of CHARLES THE NINTH: a miserable young King who
then occupied the French throne. This dull creature was made to
believe by his mother and other fierce Catholics about him that the
Huguenots meant to take his life; and he was persuaded to give
secret orders that, on the tolling of a great bell, they should be
fallen upon by an overpowering force of armed men, and slaughtered
wherever they could be found. When the appointed hour was close at
hand, the stupid wretch, trembling from head to foot, was taken
into a balcony by his mother to see the atrocious work begun. The
moment the bell tolled, the murderers broke forth. During all that
night and the two next days, they broke into the houses, fired the
houses, shot and stabbed the Protestants, men, women, and children,
and flung their bodies into the streets. They were shot at in the
streets as they passed along, and their blood ran down the gutters.
Upwards of ten thousand Protestants were killed in Paris alone; in
all France four or five times that number. To return thanks to
Heaven for these diabolical murders, the Pope and his train
actually went in public procession at Rome, and as if this were not
shame enough for them, they had a medal struck to commemorate the
event. But, however comfortable the wholesale murders were to
these high authorities, they had not that soothing effect upon the
doll-King. I am happy to state that he never knew a moment's peace
afterwards; that he was continually crying out that he saw the
Huguenots covered with blood and wounds falling dead before him;
and that he died within a year, shrieking and yelling and raving to
that degree, that if all the Popes who had ever lived had been
rolled into one, they would not have afforded His guilty Majesty
the slightest consolation.

When the terrible news of the massacre arrived in England, it made
a powerful impression indeed upon the people. If they began to run
a little wild against the Catholics at about this time, this
fearful reason for it, coming so soon after the days of bloody
Queen Mary, must be remembered in their excuse. The Court was not
quite so honest as the people - but perhaps it sometimes is not.
It received the French ambassador, with all the lords and ladies
dressed in deep mourning, and keeping a profound silence.
Nevertheless, a proposal of marriage which he had made to Elizabeth
only two days before the eve of Saint Bartholomew, on behalf of the
Duke of Alen‡on, the French King's brother, a boy of seventeen,
still went on; while on the other hand, in her usual crafty way,
the Queen secretly supplied the Huguenots with money and weapons.

I must say that for a Queen who made all those fine speeches, of
which I have confessed myself to be rather tired, about living and
dying a Maiden Queen, Elizabeth was 'going' to be married pretty
often. Besides always having some English favourite or other whom
she by turns encouraged and swore at and knocked about - for the
maiden Queen was very free with her fists - she held this French
Duke off and on through several years. When he at last came over
to England, the marriage articles were actually drawn up, and it
was settled that the wedding should take place in six weeks. The
Queen was then so bent upon it, that she prosecuted a poor Puritan
named STUBBS, and a poor bookseller named PAGE, for writing and
publishing a pamphlet against it. Their right hands were chopped
off for this crime; and poor Stubbs - more loyal than I should have
been myself under the circumstances - immediately pulled off his
hat with his left hand, and cried, 'God save the Queen!' Stubbs
was cruelly treated; for the marriage never took place after all,
though the Queen pledged herself to the Duke with a ring from her
own finger. He went away, no better than he came, when the
courtship had lasted some ten years altogether; and he died a
couple of years afterwards, mourned by Elizabeth, who appears to
have been really fond of him. It is not much to her credit, for he
was a bad enough member of a bad family.

To return to the Catholics. There arose two orders of priests, who
were very busy in England, and who were much dreaded. These were
the JESUITS (who were everywhere in all sorts of disguises), and
the SEMINARY PRIESTS. The people had a great horror of the first,
because they were known to have taught that murder was lawful if it
were done with an object of which they approved; and they had a
great horror of the second, because they came to teach the old
religion, and to be the successors of 'Queen Mary's priests,' as
those yet lingering in England were called, when they should die
out. The severest laws were made against them, and were most
unmercifully executed. Those who sheltered them in their houses
often suffered heavily for what was an act of humanity; and the
rack, that cruel torture which tore men's limbs asunder, was
constantly kept going. What these unhappy men confessed, or what
was ever confessed by any one under that agony, must always be
received with great doubt, as it is certain that people have
frequently owned to the most absurd and impossible crimes to escape
such dreadful suffering. But I cannot doubt it to have been proved
by papers, that there were many plots, both among the Jesuits, and
with France, and with Scotland, and with Spain, for the destruction
of Queen Elizabeth, for the placing of Mary on the throne, and for
the revival of the old religion.

If the English people were too ready to believe in plots, there
were, as I have said, good reasons for it. When the massacre of
Saint Bartholomew was yet fresh in their recollection, a great
Protestant Dutch hero, the PRINCE OF ORANGE, was shot by an
assassin, who confessed that he had been kept and trained for the
purpose in a college of Jesuits. The Dutch, in this surprise and
distress, offered to make Elizabeth their sovereign, but she
declined the honour, and sent them a small army instead, under the
command of the Earl of Leicester, who, although a capital Court
favourite, was not much of a general. He did so little in Holland,
that his campaign there would probably have been forgotten, but for
its occasioning the death of one of the best writers, the best
knights, and the best gentlemen, of that or any age. This was SIR
PHILIP SIDNEY, who was wounded by a musket ball in the thigh as he
mounted a fresh horse, after having had his own killed under him.
He had to ride back wounded, a long distance, and was very faint
with fatigue and loss of blood, when some water, for which he had
eagerly asked, was handed to him. But he was so good and gentle
even then, that seeing a poor badly wounded common soldier lying on
the ground, looking at the water with longing eyes, he said, 'Thy
necessity is greater than mine,' and gave it up to him. This
touching action of a noble heart is perhaps as well known as any
incident in history - is as famous far and wide as the blood-
stained Tower of London, with its axe, and block, and murders out
of number. So delightful is an act of true humanity, and so glad
are mankind to remember it.

At home, intelligence of plots began to thicken every day. I
suppose the people never did live under such continual terrors as
those by which they were possessed now, of Catholic risings, and
burnings, and poisonings, and I don't know what. Still, we must
always remember that they lived near and close to awful realities
of that kind, and that with their experience it was not difficult
to believe in any enormity. The government had the same fear, and
did not take the best means of discovering the truth - for, besides
torturing the suspected, it employed paid spies, who will always
lie for their own profit. It even made some of the conspiracies it
brought to light, by sending false letters to disaffected people,
inviting them to join in pretended plots, which they too readily

But, one great real plot was at length discovered, and it ended the
career of Mary, Queen of Scots. A seminary priest named BALLARD,
and a Spanish soldier named SAVAGE, set on and encouraged by
certain French priests, imparted a design to one ANTONY BABINGTON -
a gentleman of fortune in Derbyshire, who had been for some time a
secret agent of Mary's - for murdering the Queen. Babington then
confided the scheme to some other Catholic gentlemen who were his
friends, and they joined in it heartily. They were vain, weak-
headed young men, ridiculously confident, and preposterously proud
of their plan; for they got a gimcrack painting made, of the six
choice spirits who were to murder Elizabeth, with Babington in an
attitude for the centre figure. Two of their number, however, one
of whom was a priest, kept Elizabeth's wisest minister, SIR FRANCIS
WALSINGHAM, acquainted with the whole project from the first. The
conspirators were completely deceived to the final point, when
Babington gave Savage, because he was shabby, a ring from his
finger, and some money from his purse, wherewith to buy himself new
clothes in which to kill the Queen. Walsingham, having then full
evidence against the whole band, and two letters of Mary's besides,
resolved to seize them. Suspecting something wrong, they stole out
of the city, one by one, and hid themselves in St. John's Wood, and
other places which really were hiding places then; but they were
all taken, and all executed. When they were seized, a gentleman
was sent from Court to inform Mary of the fact, and of her being
involved in the discovery. Her friends have complained that she
was kept in very hard and severe custody. It does not appear very
likely, for she was going out a hunting that very morning.

Queen Elizabeth had been warned long ago, by one in France who had
good information of what was secretly doing, that in holding Mary
alive, she held 'the wolf who would devour her.' The Bishop of
London had, more lately, given the Queen's favourite minister the
advice in writing, 'forthwith to cut off the Scottish Queen's
head.' The question now was, what to do with her? The Earl of
Leicester wrote a little note home from Holland, recommending that
she should be quietly poisoned; that noble favourite having
accustomed his mind, it is possible, to remedies of that nature.
His black advice, however, was disregarded, and she was brought to
trial at Fotheringay Castle in Northamptonshire, before a tribunal
of forty, composed of both religions. There, and in the Star
Chamber at Westminster, the trial lasted a fortnight. She defended
herself with great ability, but could only deny the confessions
that had been made by Babington and others; could only call her own
letters, produced against her by her own secretaries, forgeries;
and, in short, could only deny everything. She was found guilty,
and declared to have incurred the penalty of death. The Parliament
met, approved the sentence, and prayed the Queen to have it
executed. The Queen replied that she requested them to consider
whether no means could be found of saving Mary's life without
endangering her own. The Parliament rejoined, No; and the citizens
illuminated their houses and lighted bonfires, in token of their
joy that all these plots and troubles were to be ended by the death
of the Queen of Scots.

She, feeling sure that her time was now come, wrote a letter to the
Queen of England, making three entreaties; first, that she might be
buried in France; secondly, that she might not be executed in
secret, but before her servants and some others; thirdly, that
after her death, her servants should not be molested, but should be
suffered to go home with the legacies she left them. It was an
affecting letter, and Elizabeth shed tears over it, but sent no
answer. Then came a special ambassador from France, and another
from Scotland, to intercede for Mary's life; and then the nation
began to clamour, more and more, for her death.

What the real feelings or intentions of Elizabeth were, can never
be known now; but I strongly suspect her of only wishing one thing
more than Mary's death, and that was to keep free of the blame of
it. On the first of February, one thousand five hundred and
eighty-seven, Lord Burleigh having drawn out the warrant for the
execution, the Queen sent to the secretary DAVISON to bring it to
her, that she might sign it: which she did. Next day, when
Davison told her it was sealed, she angrily asked him why such
haste was necessary? Next day but one, she joked about it, and
swore a little. Again, next day but one, she seemed to complain
that it was not yet done, but still she would not be plain with
those about her. So, on the seventh, the Earls of Kent and
Shrewsbury, with the Sheriff of Northamptonshire, came with the
warrant to Fotheringay, to tell the Queen of Scots to prepare for

When those messengers of ill omen were gone, Mary made a frugal
supper, drank to her servants, read over her will, went to bed,
slept for some hours, and then arose and passed the remainder of
the night saying prayers. In the morning she dressed herself in
her best clothes; and, at eight o'clock when the sheriff came for
her to her chapel, took leave of her servants who were there
assembled praying with her, and went down-stairs, carrying a Bible
in one hand and a crucifix in the other. Two of her women and four
of her men were allowed to be present in the hall; where a low
scaffold, only two feet from the ground, was erected and covered
with black; and where the executioner from the Tower, and his
assistant, stood, dressed in black velvet. The hall was full of
people. While the sentence was being read she sat upon a stool;
and, when it was finished, she again denied her guilt, as she had
done before. The Earl of Kent and the Dean of Peterborough, in
their Protestant zeal, made some very unnecessary speeches to her;
to which she replied that she died in the Catholic religion, and
they need not trouble themselves about that matter. When her head
and neck were uncovered by the executioners, she said that she had
not been used to be undressed by such hands, or before so much
company. Finally, one of her women fastened a cloth over her face,
and she laid her neck upon the block, and repeated more than once
in Latin, 'Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit!' Some say
her head was struck off in two blows, some say in three. However
that be, when it was held up, streaming with blood, the real hair
beneath the false hair she had long worn was seen to be as grey as
that of a woman of seventy, though she was at that time only in her
forty-sixth year. All her beauty was gone.

But she was beautiful enough to her little dog, who cowered under
her dress, frightened, when she went upon the scaffold, and who lay
down beside her headless body when all her earthly sorrows were


ON its being formally made known to Elizabeth that the sentence had
been executed on the Queen of Scots, she showed the utmost grief
and rage, drove her favourites from her with violent indignation,
and sent Davison to the Tower; from which place he was only
released in the end by paying an immense fine which completely
ruined him. Elizabeth not only over-acted her part in making these
pretences, but most basely reduced to poverty one of her faithful
servants for no other fault than obeying her commands.

James, King of Scotland, Mary's son, made a show likewise of being
very angry on the occasion; but he was a pensioner of England to
the amount of five thousand pounds a year, and he had known very
little of his mother, and he possibly regarded her as the murderer
of his father, and he soon took it quietly.

Philip, King of Spain, however, threatened to do greater things
than ever had been done yet, to set up the Catholic religion and
punish Protestant England. Elizabeth, hearing that he and the
Prince of Parma were making great preparations for this purpose, in
order to be beforehand with them sent out ADMIRAL DRAKE (a famous
navigator, who had sailed about the world, and had already brought
great plunder from Spain) to the port of Cadiz, where he burnt a
hundred vessels full of stores. This great loss obliged the
Spaniards to put off the invasion for a year; but it was none the
less formidable for that, amounting to one hundred and thirty
ships, nineteen thousand soldiers, eight thousand sailors, two
thousand slaves, and between two and three thousand great guns.
England was not idle in making ready to resist this great force.
All the men between sixteen years old and sixty, were trained and
drilled; the national fleet of ships (in number only thirty-four at
first) was enlarged by public contributions and by private ships,
fitted out by noblemen; the city of London, of its own accord,
furnished double the number of ships and men that it was required
to provide; and, if ever the national spirit was up in England, it
was up all through the country to resist the Spaniards. Some of
the Queen's advisers were for seizing the principal English
Catholics, and putting them to death; but the Queen - who, to her
honour, used to say, that she would never believe any ill of her
subjects, which a parent would not believe of her own children -
rejected the advice, and only confined a few of those who were the
most suspected, in the fens in Lincolnshire. The great body of
Catholics deserved this confidence; for they behaved most loyally,
nobly, and bravely.

So, with all England firing up like one strong, angry man, and with
both sides of the Thames fortified, and with the soldiers under
arms, and with the sailors in their ships, the country waited for
the coming of the proud Spanish fleet, which was called THE
INVINCIBLE ARMADA. The Queen herself, riding in armour on a white
horse, and the Earl of Essex and the Earl of Leicester holding her
bridal rein, made a brave speech to the troops at Tilbury Fort
opposite Gravesend, which was received with such enthusiasm as is
seldom known. Then came the Spanish Armada into the English
Channel, sailing along in the form of a half moon, of such great
size that it was seven miles broad. But the English were quickly
upon it, and woe then to all the Spanish ships that dropped a
little out of the half moon, for the English took them instantly!
And it soon appeared that the great Armada was anything but
invincible, for on a summer night, bold Drake sent eight blazing
fire-ships right into the midst of it. In terrible consternation
the Spaniards tried to get out to sea, and so became dispersed; the
English pursued them at a great advantage; a storm came on, and
drove the Spaniards among rocks and shoals; and the swift end of
the Invincible fleet was, that it lost thirty great ships and ten
thousand men, and, defeated and disgraced, sailed home again.
Being afraid to go by the English Channel, it sailed all round
Scotland and Ireland; some of the ships getting cast away on the
latter coast in bad weather, the Irish, who were a kind of savages,
plundered those vessels and killed their crews. So ended this
great attempt to invade and conquer England. And I think it will
be a long time before any other invincible fleet coming to England
with the same object, will fare much better than the Spanish

Though the Spanish king had had this bitter taste of English
bravery, he was so little the wiser for it, as still to entertain
his old designs, and even to conceive the absurd idea of placing
his daughter on the English throne. But the Earl of Essex, SIR
WALTER RALEIGH, SIR THOMAS HOWARD, and some other distinguished
leaders, put to sea from Plymouth, entered the port of Cadiz once
more, obtained a complete victory over the shipping assembled
there, and got possession of the town. In obedience to the Queen's
express instructions, they behaved with great humanity; and the
principal loss of the Spaniards was a vast sum of money which they
had to pay for ransom. This was one of many gallant achievements
on the sea, effected in this reign. Sir Walter Raleigh himself,
after marrying a maid of honour and giving offence to the Maiden
Queen thereby, had already sailed to South America in search of

The Earl of Leicester was now dead, and so was Sir Thomas
Walsingham, whom Lord Burleigh was soon to follow. The principal
favourite was the EARL OF ESSEX, a spirited and handsome man, a
favourite with the people too as well as with the Queen, and
possessed of many admirable qualities. It was much debated at
Court whether there should be peace with Spain or no, and he was
very urgent for war. He also tried hard to have his own way in the
appointment of a deputy to govern in Ireland. One day, while this
question was in dispute, he hastily took offence, and turned his
back upon the Queen; as a gentle reminder of which impropriety, the
Queen gave him a tremendous box on the ear, and told him to go to
the devil. He went home instead, and did not reappear at Court for
half a year or so, when he and the Queen were reconciled, though
never (as some suppose) thoroughly.

From this time the fate of the Earl of Essex and that of the Queen
seemed to be blended together. The Irish were still perpetually
quarrelling and fighting among themselves, and he went over to
Ireland as Lord Lieutenant, to the great joy of his enemies (Sir
Walter Raleigh among the rest), who were glad to have so dangerous
a rival far off. Not being by any means successful there, and
knowing that his enemies would take advantage of that circumstance
to injure him with the Queen, he came home again, though against
her orders. The Queen being taken by surprise when he appeared
before her, gave him her hand to kiss, and he was overjoyed -
though it was not a very lovely hand by this time - but in the
course of the same day she ordered him to confine himself to his
room, and two or three days afterwards had him taken into custody.
With the same sort of caprice - and as capricious an old woman she
now was, as ever wore a crown or a head either - she sent him broth
from her own table on his falling ill from anxiety, and cried about

He was a man who could find comfort and occupation in his books,
and he did so for a time; not the least happy time, I dare say, of
his life. But it happened unfortunately for him, that he held a
monopoly in sweet wines: which means that nobody could sell them
without purchasing his permission. This right, which was only for
a term, expiring, he applied to have it renewed. The Queen
refused, with the rather strong observation - but she DID make
strong observations - that an unruly beast must be stinted in his
food. Upon this, the angry Earl, who had been already deprived of
many offices, thought himself in danger of complete ruin, and
turned against the Queen, whom he called a vain old woman who had
grown as crooked in her mind as she had in her figure. These
uncomplimentary expressions the ladies of the Court immediately
snapped up and carried to the Queen, whom they did not put in a
better tempter, you may believe. The same Court ladies, when they
had beautiful dark hair of their own, used to wear false red hair,
to be like the Queen. So they were not very high-spirited ladies,
however high in rank.

The worst object of the Earl of Essex, and some friends of his who
used to meet at LORD SOUTHAMPTON'S house, was to obtain possession
of the Queen, and oblige her by force to dismiss her ministers and
change her favourites. On Saturday the seventh of February, one
thousand six hundred and one, the council suspecting this, summoned
the Earl to come before them. He, pretending to be ill, declined;
it was then settled among his friends, that as the next day would
be Sunday, when many of the citizens usually assembled at the Cross
by St. Paul's Cathedral, he should make one bold effort to induce
them to rise and follow him to the Palace.

So, on the Sunday morning, he and a small body of adherents started
out of his house - Essex House by the Strand, with steps to the
river - having first shut up in it, as prisoners, some members of
the council who came to examine him - and hurried into the City
with the Earl at their head crying out 'For the Queen! For the
Queen! A plot is laid for my life!' No one heeded them, however,
and when they came to St. Paul's there were no citizens there. In
the meantime the prisoners at Essex House had been released by one
of the Earl's own friends; he had been promptly proclaimed a
traitor in the City itself; and the streets were barricaded with
carts and guarded by soldiers. The Earl got back to his house by
water, with difficulty, and after an attempt to defend his house
against the troops and cannon by which it was soon surrounded, gave
himself up that night. He was brought to trial on the nineteenth,
and found guilty; on the twenty-fifth, he was executed on Tower
Hill, where he died, at thirty-four years old, both courageously
and penitently. His step-father suffered with him. His enemy, Sir
Walter Raleigh, stood near the scaffold all the time - but not so
near it as we shall see him stand, before we finish his history.

In this case, as in the cases of the Duke of Norfolk and Mary Queen
of Scots, the Queen had commanded, and countermanded, and again
commanded, the execution. It is probable that the death of her
young and gallant favourite in the prime of his good qualities, was
never off her mind afterwards, but she held out, the same vain,
obstinate and capricious woman, for another year. Then she danced
before her Court on a state occasion - and cut, I should think, a
mighty ridiculous figure, doing so in an immense ruff, stomacher
and wig, at seventy years old. For another year still, she held
out, but, without any more dancing, and as a moody, sorrowful,
broken creature. At last, on the tenth of March, one thousand six
hundred and three, having been ill of a very bad cold, and made
worse by the death of the Countess of Nottingham who was her
intimate friend, she fell into a stupor and was supposed to be
dead. She recovered her consciousness, however, and then nothing
would induce her to go to bed; for she said that she knew that if
she did, she should never get up again. There she lay for ten
days, on cushions on the floor, without any food, until the Lord
Admiral got her into bed at last, partly by persuasions and partly
by main force. When they asked her who should succeed her, she
replied that her seat had been the seat of Kings, and that she
would have for her successor, 'No rascal's son, but a King's.'
Upon this, the lords present stared at one another, and took the
liberty of asking whom she meant; to which she replied, 'Whom
should I mean, but our cousin of Scotland!' This was on the
twenty-third of March. They asked her once again that day, after
she was speechless, whether she was still in the same mind? She
struggled up in bed, and joined her hands over her head in the form
of a crown, as the only reply she could make. At three o'clock
next morning, she very quietly died, in the forty-fifth year of her

That reign had been a glorious one, and is made for ever memorable
by the distinguished men who flourished in it. Apart from the
great voyagers, statesmen, and scholars, whom it produced, the
names of BACON, SPENSER, and SHAKESPEARE, will always be remembered
with pride and veneration by the civilised world, and will always
impart (though with no great reason, perhaps) some portion of their
lustre to the name of Elizabeth herself. It was a great reign for
discovery, for commerce, and for English enterprise and spirit in
general. It was a great reign for the Protestant religion and for
the Reformation which made England free. The Queen was very
popular, and in her progresses, or journeys about her dominions,
was everywhere received with the liveliest joy. I think the truth
is, that she was not half so good as she has been made out, and not
half so bad as she has been made out. She had her fine qualities,
but she was coarse, capricious, and treacherous, and had all the
faults of an excessively vain young woman long after she was an old
one. On the whole, she had a great deal too much of her father in
her, to please me.

Many improvements and luxuries were introduced in the course of
these five-and-forty years in the general manner of living; but
cock-fighting, bull-baiting, and bear-baiting, were still the
national amusements; and a coach was so rarely seen, and was such
an ugly and cumbersome affair when it was seen, that even the Queen
herself, on many high occasions, rode on horseback on a pillion
behind the Lord Chancellor.


'OUR cousin of Scotland' was ugly, awkward, and shuffling both in
mind and person. His tongue was much too large for his mouth, his
legs were much too weak for his body, and his dull goggle-eyes
stared and rolled like an idiot's. He was cunning, covetous,
wasteful, idle, drunken, greedy, dirty, cowardly, a great swearer,
and the most conceited man on earth. His figure - what is commonly
called rickety from his birth - presented a most ridiculous
appearance, dressed in thick padded clothes, as a safeguard against
being stabbed (of which he lived in continual fear), of a grass-
green colour from head to foot, with a hunting-horn dangling at his
side instead of a sword, and his hat and feather sticking over one
eye, or hanging on the back of his head, as he happened to toss it
on. He used to loll on the necks of his favourite courtiers, and
slobber their faces, and kiss and pinch their cheeks; and the
greatest favourite he ever had, used to sign himself in his letters
to his royal master, His Majesty's 'dog and slave,' and used to
address his majesty as 'his Sowship.' His majesty was the worst
rider ever seen, and thought himself the best. He was one of the
most impertinent talkers (in the broadest Scotch) ever heard, and
boasted of being unanswerable in all manner of argument. He wrote
some of the most wearisome treatises ever read - among others, a
book upon witchcraft, in which he was a devout believer - and
thought himself a prodigy of authorship. He thought, and wrote,
and said, that a king had a right to make and unmake what laws he
pleased, and ought to be accountable to nobody on earth. This is
the plain, true character of the personage whom the greatest men
about the court praised and flattered to that degree, that I doubt
if there be anything much more shameful in the annals of human

He came to the English throne with great ease. The miseries of a
disputed succession had been felt so long, and so dreadfully, that
he was proclaimed within a few hours of Elizabeth's death, and was
accepted by the nation, even without being asked to give any pledge
that he would govern well, or that he would redress crying
grievances. He took a month to come from Edinburgh to London; and,
by way of exercising his new power, hanged a pickpocket on the
journey without any trial, and knighted everybody he could lay hold
of. He made two hundred knights before he got to his palace in
London, and seven hundred before he had been in it three months.
He also shovelled sixty-two new peers into the House of Lords - and
there was a pretty large sprinkling of Scotchmen among them, you
may believe.

His Sowship's prime Minister, CECIL (for I cannot do better than
call his majesty what his favourite called him), was the enemy of
Sir Walter Raleigh, and also of Sir Walter's political friend, LORD
COBHAM; and his Sowship's first trouble was a plot originated by
these two, and entered into by some others, with the old object of
seizing the King and keeping him in imprisonment until he should
change his ministers. There were Catholic priests in the plot, and
there were Puritan noblemen too; for, although the Catholics and
Puritans were strongly opposed to each other, they united at this
time against his Sowship, because they knew that he had a design
against both, after pretending to be friendly to each; this design
being to have only one high and convenient form of the Protestant
religion, which everybody should be bound to belong to, whether
they liked it or not. This plot was mixed up with another, which
may or may not have had some reference to placing on the throne, at
some time, the LADY ARABELLA STUART; whose misfortune it was, to be
the daughter of the younger brother of his Sowship's father, but
who was quite innocent of any part in the scheme. Sir Walter
Raleigh was accused on the confession of Lord Cobham - a miserable
creature, who said one thing at one time, and another thing at
another time, and could be relied upon in nothing. The trial of
Sir Walter Raleigh lasted from eight in the morning until nearly
midnight; he defended himself with such eloquence, genius, and
spirit against all accusations, and against the insults of COKE,
the Attorney-General - who, according to the custom of the time,
foully abused him - that those who went there detesting the
prisoner, came away admiring him, and declaring that anything so
wonderful and so captivating was never heard. He was found guilty,
nevertheless, and sentenced to death. Execution was deferred, and
he was taken to the Tower. The two Catholic priests, less
fortunate, were executed with the usual atrocity; and Lord Cobham
and two others were pardoned on the scaffold. His Sowship thought
it wonderfully knowing in him to surprise the people by pardoning
these three at the very block; but, blundering, and bungling, as
usual, he had very nearly overreached himself. For, the messenger
on horseback who brought the pardon, came so late, that he was
pushed to the outside of the crowd, and was obliged to shout and
roar out what he came for. The miserable Cobham did not gain much
by being spared that day. He lived, both as a prisoner and a
beggar, utterly despised, and miserably poor, for thirteen years,
and then died in an old outhouse belonging to one of his former

This plot got rid of, and Sir Walter Raleigh safely shut up in the
Tower, his Sowship held a great dispute with the Puritans on their
presenting a petition to him, and had it all his own way - not so
very wonderful, as he would talk continually, and would not hear
anybody else - and filled the Bishops with admiration. It was
comfortably settled that there was to be only one form of religion,
and that all men were to think exactly alike. But, although this
was arranged two centuries and a half ago, and although the
arrangement was supported by much fining and imprisonment, I do not
find that it is quite successful, even yet.

His Sowship, having that uncommonly high opinion of himself as a
king, had a very low opinion of Parliament as a power that
audaciously wanted to control him. When he called his first
Parliament after he had been king a year, he accordingly thought he
would take pretty high ground with them, and told them that he
commanded them 'as an absolute king.' The Parliament thought those
strong words, and saw the necessity of upholding their authority.
His Sowship had three children: Prince Henry, Prince Charles, and
the Princess Elizabeth. It would have been well for one of these,
and we shall too soon see which, if he had learnt a little wisdom
concerning Parliaments from his father's obstinacy.

Now, the people still labouring under their old dread of the
Catholic religion, this Parliament revived and strengthened the
severe laws against it. And this so angered ROBERT CATESBY, a
restless Catholic gentleman of an old family, that he formed one of
the most desperate and terrible designs ever conceived in the mind
of man; no less a scheme than the Gunpowder Plot.

His object was, when the King, lords, and commons, should be
assembled at the next opening of Parliament, to blow them up, one
and all, with a great mine of gunpowder. The first person to whom
he confided this horrible idea was THOMAS WINTER, a Worcestershire
gentleman who had served in the army abroad, and had been secretly
employed in Catholic projects. While Winter was yet undecided, and
when he had gone over to the Netherlands, to learn from the Spanish
Ambassador there whether there was any hope of Catholics being
relieved through the intercession of the King of Spain with his
Sowship, he found at Ostend a tall, dark, daring man, whom he had
known when they were both soldiers abroad, and whose name was GUIDO
- or GUY - FAWKES. Resolved to join the plot, he proposed it to
this man, knowing him to be the man for any desperate deed, and
they two came back to England together. Here, they admitted two
other conspirators; THOMAS PERCY, related to the Earl of
Northumberland, and JOHN WRIGHT, his brother-in-law. All these met
together in a solitary house in the open fields which were then
near Clement's Inn, now a closely blocked-up part of London; and
when they had all taken a great oath of secrecy, Catesby told the
rest what his plan was. They then went up-stairs into a garret,
and received the Sacrament from FATHER GERARD, a Jesuit, who is
said not to have known actually of the Gunpowder Plot, but who, I
think, must have had his suspicions that there was something
desperate afoot.

Percy was a Gentleman Pensioner, and as he had occasional duties to
perform about the Court, then kept at Whitehall, there would be
nothing suspicious in his living at Westminster. So, having looked
well about him, and having found a house to let, the back of which
joined the Parliament House, he hired it of a person named FERRIS,
for the purpose of undermining the wall. Having got possession of
this house, the conspirators hired another on the Lambeth side of
the Thames, which they used as a storehouse for wood, gunpowder,
and other combustible matters. These were to be removed at night
(and afterwards were removed), bit by bit, to the house at
Westminster; and, that there might be some trusty person to keep
watch over the Lambeth stores, they admitted another conspirator,
by name ROBERT KAY, a very poor Catholic gentleman.

All these arrangements had been made some months, and it was a
dark, wintry, December night, when the conspirators, who had been
in the meantime dispersed to avoid observation, met in the house at
Westminster, and began to dig. They had laid in a good stock of
eatables, to avoid going in and out, and they dug and dug with
great ardour. But, the wall being tremendously thick, and the work
very severe, they took into their plot CHRISTOPHER WRIGHT, a
younger brother of John Wright, that they might have a new pair of
hands to help. And Christopher Wright fell to like a fresh man,
and they dug and dug by night and by day, and Fawkes stood sentinel
all the time. And if any man's heart seemed to fail him at all,
Fawkes said, 'Gentlemen, we have abundance of powder and shot here,
and there is no fear of our being taken alive, even if discovered.'
The same Fawkes, who, in the capacity of sentinel, was always
prowling about, soon picked up the intelligence that the King had
prorogued the Parliament again, from the seventh of February, the
day first fixed upon, until the third of October. When the
conspirators knew this, they agreed to separate until after the
Christmas holidays, and to take no notice of each other in the
meanwhile, and never to write letters to one another on any
account. So, the house in Westminster was shut up again, and I
suppose the neighbours thought that those strange-looking men who
lived there so gloomily, and went out so seldom, were gone away to
have a merry Christmas somewhere.

It was the beginning of February, sixteen hundred and five, when
Catesby met his fellow-conspirators again at this Westminster
house. He had now admitted three more; JOHN GRANT, a Warwickshire
gentleman of a melancholy temper, who lived in a doleful house near
Stratford-upon-Avon, with a frowning wall all round it, and a deep
moat; ROBERT WINTER, eldest brother of Thomas; and Catesby's own
servant, THOMAS BATES, who, Catesby thought, had had some suspicion
of what his master was about. These three had all suffered more or
less for their religion in Elizabeth's time. And now, they all
began to dig again, and they dug and dug by night and by day.

They found it dismal work alone there, underground, with such a
fearful secret on their minds, and so many murders before them.
They were filled with wild fancies. Sometimes, they thought they
heard a great bell tolling, deep down in the earth under the
Parliament House; sometimes, they thought they heard low voices
muttering about the Gunpowder Plot; once in the morning, they
really did hear a great rumbling noise over their heads, as they
dug and sweated in their mine. Every man stopped and looked aghast
at his neighbour, wondering what had happened, when that bold
prowler, Fawkes, who had been out to look, came in and told them
that it was only a dealer in coals who had occupied a cellar under
the Parliament House, removing his stock in trade to some other
place. Upon this, the conspirators, who with all their digging and
digging had not yet dug through the tremendously thick wall,
changed their plan; hired that cellar, which was directly under the
House of Lords; put six-and-thirty barrels of gunpowder in it, and
covered them over with fagots and coals. Then they all dispersed
again till September, when the following new conspirators were
admitted; SIR EDWARD BAYNHAM, of Gloucestershire; SIR EVERARD
DIGBY, of Rutlandshire; AMBROSE ROOKWOOD, of Suffolk; FRANCIS
TRESHAM, of Northamptonshire. Most of these were rich, and were to
assist the plot, some with money and some with horses on which the
conspirators were to ride through the country and rouse the
Catholics after the Parliament should be blown into air.

Parliament being again prorogued from the third of October to the
fifth of November, and the conspirators being uneasy lest their
design should have been found out, Thomas Winter said he would go
up into the House of Lords on the day of the prorogation, and see
how matters looked. Nothing could be better. The unconscious
Commissioners were walking about and talking to one another, just
over the six-and-thirty barrels of gunpowder. He came back and
told the rest so, and they went on with their preparations. They
hired a ship, and kept it ready in the Thames, in which Fawkes was
to sail for Flanders after firing with a slow match the train that
was to explode the powder. A number of Catholic gentlemen not in
the secret, were invited, on pretence of a hunting party, to meet
Sir Everard Digby at Dunchurch on the fatal day, that they might be
ready to act together. And now all was ready.

But, now, the great wickedness and danger which had been all along
at the bottom of this wicked plot, began to show itself. As the
fifth of November drew near, most of the conspirators, remembering
that they had friends and relations who would be in the House of
Lords that day, felt some natural relenting, and a wish to warn
them to keep away. They were not much comforted by Catesby's
declaring that in such a cause he would blow up his own son. LORD
MOUNTEAGLE, Tresham's brother-in-law, was certain to be in the
house; and when Tresham found that he could not prevail upon the
rest to devise any means of sparing their friends, he wrote a
mysterious letter to this lord and left it at his lodging in the
dusk, urging him to keep away from the opening of Parliament,
'since God and man had concurred to punish the wickedness of the
times.' It contained the words 'that the Parliament should receive
a terrible blow, and yet should not see who hurt them.' And it
added, 'the danger is past, as soon as you have burnt the letter.'

The ministers and courtiers made out that his Sowship, by a direct
miracle from Heaven, found out what this letter meant. The truth
is, that they were not long (as few men would be) in finding out
for themselves; and it was decided to let the conspirators alone,
until the very day before the opening of Parliament. That the
conspirators had their fears, is certain; for, Tresham himself said
before them all, that they were every one dead men; and, although
even he did not take flight, there is reason to suppose that he had
warned other persons besides Lord Mounteagle. However, they were
all firm; and Fawkes, who was a man of iron, went down every day
and night to keep watch in the cellar as usual. He was there about
two in the afternoon of the fourth, when the Lord Chamberlain and
Lord Mounteagle threw open the door and looked in. 'Who are you,
friend?' said they. 'Why,' said Fawkes, 'I am Mr. Percy's servant,
and am looking after his store of fuel here.' 'Your master has
laid in a pretty good store,' they returned, and shut the door, and
went away. Fawkes, upon this, posted off to the other conspirators
to tell them all was quiet, and went back and shut himself up in
the dark, black cellar again, where he heard the bell go twelve
o'clock and usher in the fifth of November. About two hours
afterwards, he slowly opened the door, and came out to look about
him, in his old prowling way. He was instantly seized and bound,
by a party of soldiers under SIR THOMAS KNEVETT. He had a watch
upon him, some touchwood, some tinder, some slow matches; and there
was a dark lantern with a candle in it, lighted, behind the door.
He had his boots and spurs on - to ride to the ship, I suppose -
and it was well for the soldiers that they took him so suddenly.
If they had left him but a moment's time to light a match, he
certainly would have tossed it in among the powder, and blown up
himself and them.

They took him to the King's bed-chamber first of all, and there the
King (causing him to be held very tight, and keeping a good way
off), asked him how he could have the heart to intend to destroy so
many innocent people? 'Because,' said Guy Fawkes, 'desperate
diseases need desperate remedies.' To a little Scotch favourite,
with a face like a terrier, who asked him (with no particular
wisdom) why he had collected so much gunpowder, he replied, because
he had meant to blow Scotchmen back to Scotland, and it would take
a deal of powder to do that. Next day he was carried to the Tower,
but would make no confession. Even after being horribly tortured,
he confessed nothing that the Government did not already know;
though he must have been in a fearful state - as his signature,
still preserved, in contrast with his natural hand-writing before
he was put upon the dreadful rack, most frightfully shows. Bates,
a very different man, soon said the Jesuits had had to do with the
plot, and probably, under the torture, would as readily have said
anything. Tresham, taken and put in the Tower too, made
confessions and unmade them, and died of an illness that was heavy
upon him. Rookwood, who had stationed relays of his own horses all
the way to Dunchurch, did not mount to escape until the middle of
the day, when the news of the plot was all over London. On the
road, he came up with the two Wrights, Catesby, and Percy; and they
all galloped together into Northamptonshire. Thence to Dunchurch,
where they found the proposed party assembled. Finding, however,
that there had been a plot, and that it had been discovered, the
party disappeared in the course of the night, and left them alone
with Sir Everard Digby. Away they all rode again, through
Warwickshire and Worcestershire, to a house called Holbeach, on the
borders of Staffordshire. They tried to raise the Catholics on
their way, but were indignantly driven off by them. All this time
they were hotly pursued by the sheriff of Worcester, and a fast
increasing concourse of riders. At last, resolving to defend
themselves at Holbeach, they shut themselves up in the house, and
put some wet powder before the fire to dry. But it blew up, and
Catesby was singed and blackened, and almost killed, and some of
the others were sadly hurt. Still, knowing that they must die,
they resolved to die there, and with only their swords in their
hands appeared at the windows to be shot at by the sheriff and his
assistants. Catesby said to Thomas Winter, after Thomas had been
hit in the right arm which dropped powerless by his side, 'Stand by
me, Tom, and we will die together!' - which they did, being shot
through the body by two bullets from one gun. John Wright, and
Christopher Wright, and Percy, were also shot. Rookwood and Digby
were taken: the former with a broken arm and a wound in his body

It was the fifteenth of January, before the trial of Guy Fawkes,
and such of the other conspirators as were left alive, came on.
They were all found guilty, all hanged, drawn, and quartered:
some, in St. Paul's Churchyard, on the top of Ludgate-hill; some,
before the Parliament House. A Jesuit priest, named HENRY GARNET,
to whom the dreadful design was said to have been communicated, was
taken and tried; and two of his servants, as well as a poor priest
who was taken with him, were tortured without mercy. He himself
was not tortured, but was surrounded in the Tower by tamperers and
traitors, and so was made unfairly to convict himself out of his
own mouth. He said, upon his trial, that he had done all he could
to prevent the deed, and that he could not make public what had
been told him in confession - though I am afraid he knew of the
plot in other ways. He was found guilty and executed, after a
manful defence, and the Catholic Church made a saint of him; some
rich and powerful persons, who had had nothing to do with the
project, were fined and imprisoned for it by the Star Chamber; the
Catholics, in general, who had recoiled with horror from the idea
of the infernal contrivance, were unjustly put under more severe
laws than before; and this was the end of the Gunpowder Plot.


His Sowship would pretty willingly, I think, have blown the House
of Commons into the air himself; for, his dread and jealousy of it
knew no bounds all through his reign. When he was hard pressed for
money he was obliged to order it to meet, as he could get no money
without it; and when it asked him first to abolish some of the
monopolies in necessaries of life which were a great grievance to
the people, and to redress other public wrongs, he flew into a rage
and got rid of it again. At one time he wanted it to consent to
the Union of England with Scotland, and quarrelled about that. At
another time it wanted him to put down a most infamous Church
abuse, called the High Commission Court, and he quarrelled with it
about that. At another time it entreated him not to be quite so
fond of his archbishops and bishops who made speeches in his praise
too awful to be related, but to have some little consideration for
the poor Puritan clergy who were persecuted for preaching in their
own way, and not according to the archbishops and bishops; and they
quarrelled about that. In short, what with hating the House of
Commons, and pretending not to hate it; and what with now sending
some of its members who opposed him, to Newgate or to the Tower,
and now telling the rest that they must not presume to make
speeches about the public affairs which could not possibly concern
them; and what with cajoling, and bullying, and fighting, and being
frightened; the House of Commons was the plague of his Sowship's
existence. It was pretty firm, however, in maintaining its rights,
and insisting that the Parliament should make the laws, and not the
King by his own single proclamations (which he tried hard to do);
and his Sowship was so often distressed for money, in consequence,
that he sold every sort of title and public office as if they were
merchandise, and even invented a new dignity called a Baronetcy,
which anybody could buy for a thousand pounds.

These disputes with his Parliaments, and his hunting, and his
drinking, and his lying in bed - for he was a great sluggard -
occupied his Sowship pretty well. The rest of his time he chiefly
passed in hugging and slobbering his favourites. The first of
these was SIR PHILIP HERBERT, who had no knowledge whatever, except
of dogs, and horses, and hunting, but whom he soon made EARL OF
MONTGOMERY. The next, and a much more famous one, was ROBERT CARR,
or KER (for it is not certain which was his right name), who came
from the Border country, and whom he soon made VISCOUNT ROCHESTER,
and afterwards, EARL OF SOMERSET. The way in which his Sowship
doted on this handsome young man, is even more odious to think of,
than the way in which the really great men of England condescended
to bow down before him. The favourite's great friend was a certain
SIR THOMAS OVERBURY, who wrote his love-letters for him, and
assisted him in the duties of his many high places, which his own
ignorance prevented him from discharging. But this same Sir Thomas
having just manhood enough to dissuade the favourite from a wicked
marriage with the beautiful Countess of Essex, who was to get a
divorce from her husband for the purpose, the said Countess, in her
rage, got Sir Thomas put into the Tower, and there poisoned him.
Then the favourite and this bad woman were publicly married by the
King's pet bishop, with as much to-do and rejoicing, as if he had
been the best man, and she the best woman, upon the face of the

But, after a longer sunshine than might have been expected - of
seven years or so, that is to say - another handsome young man
started up and eclipsed the EARL OF SOMERSET. This was GEORGE
VILLIERS, the youngest son of a Leicestershire gentleman: who came
to Court with all the Paris fashions on him, and could dance as
well as the best mountebank that ever was seen. He soon danced
himself into the good graces of his Sowship, and danced the other
favourite out of favour. Then, it was all at once discovered that
the Earl and Countess of Somerset had not deserved all those great
promotions and mighty rejoicings, and they were separately tried
for the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury, and for other crimes. But,
the King was so afraid of his late favourite's publicly telling
some disgraceful things he knew of him - which he darkly threatened
to do - that he was even examined with two men standing, one on
either side of him, each with a cloak in his hand, ready to throw
it over his head and stop his mouth if he should break out with
what he had it in his power to tell. So, a very lame affair was
purposely made of the trial, and his punishment was an allowance of
four thousand pounds a year in retirement, while the Countess was
pardoned, and allowed to pass into retirement too. They hated one
another by this time, and lived to revile and torment each other
some years.

While these events were in progress, and while his Sowship was
making such an exhibition of himself, from day to day and from year
to year, as is not often seen in any sty, three remarkable deaths
took place in England. The first was that of the Minister, Robert
Cecil, Earl of Salisbury, who was past sixty, and had never been
strong, being deformed from his birth. He said at last that he had
no wish to live; and no Minister need have had, with his experience
of the meanness and wickedness of those disgraceful times. The
second was that of the Lady Arabella Stuart, who alarmed his
Sowship mightily, by privately marrying WILLIAM SEYMOUR, son of
LORD BEAUCHAMP, who was a descendant of King Henry the Seventh, and
who, his Sowship thought, might consequently increase and
strengthen any claim she might one day set up to the throne. She
was separated from her husband (who was put in the Tower) and
thrust into a boat to be confined at Durham. She escaped in a
man's dress to get away in a French ship from Gravesend to France,
but unhappily missed her husband, who had escaped too, and was soon
taken. She went raving mad in the miserable Tower, and died there
after four years. The last, and the most important of these three
deaths, was that of Prince Henry, the heir to the throne, in the
nineteenth year of his age. He was a promising young prince, and
greatly liked; a quiet, well-conducted youth, of whom two very good
things are known: first, that his father was jealous of him;
secondly, that he was the friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, languishing
through all those years in the Tower, and often said that no man
but his father would keep such a bird in such a cage. On the
occasion of the preparations for the marriage of his sister the
Princess Elizabeth with a foreign prince (and an unhappy marriage
it turned out), he came from Richmond, where he had been very ill,
to greet his new brother-in-law, at the palace at Whitehall. There
he played a great game at tennis, in his shirt, though it was very
cold weather, and was seized with an alarming illness, and died
within a fortnight of a putrid fever. For this young prince Sir
Walter Raleigh wrote, in his prison in the Tower, the beginning of
a History of the World: a wonderful instance how little his
Sowship could do to confine a great man's mind, however long he
might imprison his body.

And this mention of Sir Walter Raleigh, who had many faults, but
who never showed so many merits as in trouble and adversity, may
bring me at once to the end of his sad story. After an
imprisonment in the Tower of twelve long years, he proposed to
resume those old sea voyages of his, and to go to South America in
search of gold. His Sowship, divided between his wish to be on
good terms with the Spaniards through whose territory Sir Walter
must pass (he had long had an idea of marrying Prince Henry to a
Spanish Princess), and his avaricious eagerness to get hold of the
gold, did not know what to do. But, in the end, he set Sir Walter
free, taking securities for his return; and Sir Walter fitted out
an expedition at his own coast and, on the twenty-eighth of March,
one thousand six hundred and seventeen, sailed away in command of
one of its ships, which he ominously called the Destiny. The
expedition failed; the common men, not finding the gold they had
expected, mutinied; a quarrel broke out between Sir Walter and the
Spaniards, who hated him for old successes of his against them; and
he took and burnt a little town called SAINT THOMAS. For this he
was denounced to his Sowship by the Spanish Ambassador as a pirate;
and returning almost broken-hearted, with his hopes and fortunes
shattered, his company of friends dispersed, and his brave son (who
had been one of them) killed, he was taken - through the treachery
of SIR LEWIS STUKELY, his near relation, a scoundrel and a Vice-
Admiral - and was once again immured in his prison-home of so many

His Sowship being mightily disappointed in not getting any gold,
Sir Walter Raleigh was tried as unfairly, and with as many lies and
evasions as the judges and law officers and every other authority
in Church and State habitually practised under such a King. After
a great deal of prevarication on all parts but his own, it was
declared that he must die under his former sentence, now fifteen
years old. So, on the twenty-eighth of October, one thousand six
hundred and eighteen, he was shut up in the Gate House at
Westminster to pass his late night on earth, and there he took
leave of his good and faithful lady who was worthy to have lived in
better days. At eight o'clock next morning, after a cheerful
breakfast, and a pipe, and a cup of good wine, he was taken to Old
Palace Yard in Westminster, where the scaffold was set up, and
where so many people of high degree were assembled to see him die,
that it was a matter of some difficulty to get him through the
crowd. He behaved most nobly, but if anything lay heavy on his
mind, it was that Earl of Essex, whose head he had seen roll off;
and he solemnly said that he had had no hand in bringing him to the
block, and that he had shed tears for him when he died. As the
morning was very cold, the Sheriff said, would he come down to a
fire for a little space, and warm himself? But Sir Walter thanked
him, and said no, he would rather it were done at once, for he was
ill of fever and ague, and in another quarter of an hour his
shaking fit would come upon him if he were still alive, and his
enemies might then suppose that he trembled for fear. With that,
he kneeled and made a very beautiful and Christian prayer. Before
he laid his head upon the block he felt the edge of the axe, and
said, with a smile upon his face, that it was a sharp medicine, but
would cure the worst disease. When he was bent down ready for
death, he said to the executioner, finding that he hesitated, 'What
dost thou fear? Strike, man!' So, the axe came down and struck
his head off, in the sixty-sixth year of his age.

The new favourite got on fast. He was made a viscount, he was made
Duke of Buckingham, he was made a marquis, he was made Master of
the Horse, he was made Lord High Admiral - and the Chief Commander
of the gallant English forces that had dispersed the Spanish
Armada, was displaced to make room for him. He had the whole
kingdom at his disposal, and his mother sold all the profits and
honours of the State, as if she had kept a shop. He blazed all
over with diamonds and other precious stones, from his hatband and
his earrings to his shoes. Yet he was an ignorant presumptuous,
swaggering compound of knave and fool, with nothing but his beauty
and his dancing to recommend him. This is the gentleman who called
himself his Majesty's dog and slave, and called his Majesty Your
Sowship. His Sowship called him STEENIE; it is supposed, because
that was a nickname for Stephen, and because St. Stephen was
generally represented in pictures as a handsome saint.

His Sowship was driven sometimes to his wits'-end by his trimming
between the general dislike of the Catholic religion at home, and
his desire to wheedle and flatter it abroad, as his only means of
getting a rich princess for his son's wife: a part of whose
fortune he might cram into his greasy pockets. Prince Charles - or
as his Sowship called him, Baby Charles - being now PRINCE OF
WALES, the old project of a marriage with the Spanish King's
daughter had been revived for him; and as she could not marry a
Protestant without leave from the Pope, his Sowship himself
secretly and meanly wrote to his Infallibility, asking for it. The
negotiation for this Spanish marriage takes up a larger space in
great books, than you can imagine, but the upshot of it all is,
that when it had been held off by the Spanish Court for a long
time, Baby Charles and Steenie set off in disguise as Mr. Thomas
Smith and Mr. John Smith, to see the Spanish Princess; that Baby
Charles pretended to be desperately in love with her, and jumped
off walls to look at her, and made a considerable fool of himself
in a good many ways; that she was called Princess of Wales and that
the whole Spanish Court believed Baby Charles to be all but dying
for her sake, as he expressly told them he was; that Baby Charles
and Steenie came back to England, and were received with as much
rapture as if they had been a blessing to it; that Baby Charles had
actually fallen in love with HENRIETTA MARIA, the French King's
sister, whom he had seen in Paris; that he thought it a wonderfully
fine and princely thing to have deceived the Spaniards, all
through; and that he openly said, with a chuckle, as soon as he was
safe and sound at home again, that the Spaniards were great fools
to have believed him.

Like most dishonest men, the Prince and the favourite complained
that the people whom they had deluded were dishonest. They made
such misrepresentations of the treachery of the Spaniards in this
business of the Spanish match, that the English nation became eager
for a war with them. Although the gravest Spaniards laughed at the
idea of his Sowship in a warlike attitude, the Parliament granted
money for the beginning of hostilities, and the treaties with Spain
were publicly declared to be at an end. The Spanish ambassador in
London - probably with the help of the fallen favourite, the Earl
of Somerset - being unable to obtain speech with his Sowship,
slipped a paper into his hand, declaring that he was a prisoner in
his own house, and was entirely governed by Buckingham and his
creatures. The first effect of this letter was that his Sowship
began to cry and whine, and took Baby Charles away from Steenie,
and went down to Windsor, gabbling all sorts of nonsense. The end
of it was that his Sowship hugged his dog and slave, and said he
was quite satisfied.

He had given the Prince and the favourite almost unlimited power to
settle anything with the Pope as to the Spanish marriage; and he
now, with a view to the French one, signed a treaty that all Roman
Catholics in England should exercise their religion freely, and
should never be required to take any oath contrary thereto. In
return for this, and for other concessions much less to be
defended, Henrietta Maria was to become the Prince's wife, and was
to bring him a fortune of eight hundred thousand crowns.

His Sowship's eyes were getting red with eagerly looking for the
money, when the end of a gluttonous life came upon him; and, after
a fortnight's illness, on Sunday the twenty-seventh of March, one
thousand six hundred and twenty-five, he died. He had reigned
twenty-two years, and was fifty-nine years old. I know of nothing
more abominable in history than the adulation that was lavished on
this King, and the vice and corruption that such a barefaced habit
of lying produced in his court. It is much to be doubted whether
one man of honour, and not utterly self-disgraced, kept his place
near James the First. Lord Bacon, that able and wise philosopher,
as the First Judge in the Kingdom in this reign, became a public
spectacle of dishonesty and corruption; and in his base flattery of
his Sowship, and in his crawling servility to his dog and slave,
disgraced himself even more. But, a creature like his Sowship set
upon a throne is like the Plague, and everybody receives infection
from him.


BABY CHARLES became KING CHARLES THE FIRST, in the twenty-fifth
year of his age. Unlike his father, he was usually amiable in his
private character, and grave and dignified in his bearing; but,
like his father, he had monstrously exaggerated notions of the
rights of a king, and was evasive, and not to be trusted. If his
word could have been relied upon, his history might have had a
different end.

His first care was to send over that insolent upstart, Buckingham,
to bring Henrietta Maria from Paris to be his Queen; upon which
occasion Buckingham - with his usual audacity - made love to the
young Queen of Austria, and was very indignant indeed with CARDINAL
RICHELIEU, the French Minister, for thwarting his intentions. The
English people were very well disposed to like their new Queen, and
to receive her with great favour when she came among them as a
stranger. But, she held the Protestant religion in great dislike,
and brought over a crowd of unpleasant priests, who made her do
some very ridiculous things, and forced themselves upon the public
notice in many disagreeable ways. Hence, the people soon came to
dislike her, and she soon came to dislike them; and she did so much
all through this reign in setting the King (who was dotingly fond
of her) against his subjects, that it would have been better for
him if she had never been born.

Now, you are to understand that King Charles the First - of his own
determination to be a high and mighty King not to be called to
account by anybody, and urged on by his Queen besides -
deliberately set himself to put his Parliament down and to put
himself up. You are also to understand, that even in pursuit of
this wrong idea (enough in itself to have ruined any king) he never
took a straight course, but always took a crooked one.

He was bent upon war with Spain, though neither the House of
Commons nor the people were quite clear as to the justice of that
war, now that they began to think a little more about the story of
the Spanish match. But the King rushed into it hotly, raised money
by illegal means to meet its expenses, and encountered a miserable
failure at Cadiz, in the very first year of his reign. An
expedition to Cadiz had been made in the hope of plunder, but as it
was not successful, it was necessary to get a grant of money from
the Parliament; and when they met, in no very complying humour,
the, King told them, 'to make haste to let him have it, or it would
be the worse for themselves.' Not put in a more complying humour
by this, they impeached the King's favourite, the Duke of
Buckingham, as the cause (which he undoubtedly was) of many great
public grievances and wrongs. The King, to save him, dissolved the
Parliament without getting the money he wanted; and when the Lords
implored him to consider and grant a little delay, he replied, 'No,
not one minute.' He then began to raise money for himself by the
following means among others.

He levied certain duties called tonnage and poundage which had not
been granted by the Parliament, and could lawfully be levied by no
other power; he called upon the seaport towns to furnish, and to
pay all the cost for three months of, a fleet of armed ships; and
he required the people to unite in lending him large sums of money,
the repayment of which was very doubtful. If the poor people
refused, they were pressed as soldiers or sailors; if the gentry
refused, they were sent to prison. Five gentlemen, named SIR
EVERARD HAMPDEN, for refusing were taken up by a warrant of the
King's privy council, and were sent to prison without any cause but
the King's pleasure being stated for their imprisonment. Then the
question came to be solemnly tried, whether this was not a
violation of Magna Charta, and an encroachment by the King on the
highest rights of the English people. His lawyers contended No,
because to encroach upon the rights of the English people would be
to do wrong, and the King could do no wrong. The accommodating
judges decided in favour of this wicked nonsense; and here was a
fatal division between the King and the people.

For all this, it became necessary to call another Parliament. The
people, sensible of the danger in which their liberties were, chose
for it those who were best known for their determined opposition to
the King; but still the King, quite blinded by his determination to
carry everything before him, addressed them when they met, in a
contemptuous manner, and just told them in so many words that he
had only called them together because he wanted money. The
Parliament, strong enough and resolute enough to know that they
would lower his tone, cared little for what he said, and laid
before him one of the great documents of history, which is called
the PETITION OF RIGHT, requiring that the free men of England
should no longer be called upon to lend the King money, and should
no longer be pressed or imprisoned for refusing to do so; further,
that the free men of England should no longer be seized by the
King's special mandate or warrant, it being contrary to their
rights and liberties and the laws of their country. At first the
King returned an answer to this petition, in which he tried to
shirk it altogether; but, the House of Commons then showing their
determination to go on with the impeachment of Buckingham, the King
in alarm returned an answer, giving his consent to all that was
required of him. He not only afterwards departed from his word and
honour on these points, over and over again, but, at this very
time, he did the mean and dissembling act of publishing his first
answer and not his second - merely that the people might suppose
that the Parliament had not got the better of him.

That pestilent Buckingham, to gratify his own wounded vanity, had
by this time involved the country in war with France, as well as
with Spain. For such miserable causes and such miserable creatures
are wars sometimes made! But he was destined to do little more
mischief in this world. One morning, as he was going out of his
house to his carriage, he turned to speak to a certain Colonel
FRYER who was with him; and he was violently stabbed with a knife,
which the murderer left sticking in his heart. This happened in
his hall. He had had angry words up-stairs, just before, with some
French gentlemen, who were immediately suspected by his servants,
and had a close escape from being set upon and killed. In the
midst of the noise, the real murderer, who had gone to the kitchen
and might easily have got away, drew his sword and cried out, 'I am
the man!' His name was JOHN FELTON, a Protestant and a retired
officer in the army. He said he had had no personal ill-will to
the Duke, but had killed him as a curse to the country. He had
aimed his blow well, for Buckingham had only had time to cry out,
'Villain!' and then he drew out the knife, fell against a table,
and died.

The council made a mighty business of examining John Felton about
this murder, though it was a plain case enough, one would think.
He had come seventy miles to do it, he told them, and he did it for
the reason he had declared; if they put him upon the rack, as that
noble MARQUIS OF DORSET whom he saw before him, had the goodness to
threaten, he gave that marquis warning, that he would accuse HIM as
his accomplice! The King was unpleasantly anxious to have him
racked, nevertheless; but as the judges now found out that torture
was contrary to the law of England - it is a pity they did not make
the discovery a little sooner - John Felton was simply executed for
the murder he had done. A murder it undoubtedly was, and not in
the least to be defended: though he had freed England from one of
the most profligate, contemptible, and base court favourites to
whom it has ever yielded.

A very different man now arose. This was SIR THOMAS WENTWORTH, a
Yorkshire gentleman, who had sat in Parliament for a long time, and
who had favoured arbitrary and haughty principles, but who had gone
over to the people's side on receiving offence from Buckingham.
The King, much wanting such a man - for, besides being naturally
favourable to the King's cause, he had great abilities - made him
first a Baron, and then a Viscount, and gave him high employment,
and won him most completely.

A Parliament, however, was still in existence, and was NOT to be
won. On the twentieth of January, one thousand six hundred and
twenty-nine, SIR JOHN ELIOT, a great man who had been active in the
Petition of Right, brought forward other strong resolutions against
the King's chief instruments, and called upon the Speaker to put
them to the vote. To this the Speaker answered, 'he was commanded
otherwise by the King,' and got up to leave the chair - which,
according to the rules of the House of Commons would have obliged
it to adjourn without doing anything more - when two members, named
Mr. HOLLIS and Mr. VALENTINE, held him down. A scene of great
confusion arose among the members; and while many swords were drawn
and flashing about, the King, who was kept informed of all that was
going on, told the captain of his guard to go down to the House and
force the doors. The resolutions were by that time, however,
voted, and the House adjourned. Sir John Eliot and those two
members who had held the Speaker down, were quickly summoned before
the council. As they claimed it to be their privilege not to
answer out of Parliament for anything they had said in it, they
were committed to the Tower. The King then went down and dissolved
the Parliament, in a speech wherein he made mention of these
gentlemen as 'Vipers' - which did not do him much good that ever I
have heard of.

As they refused to gain their liberty by saying they were sorry for
what they had done, the King, always remarkably unforgiving, never
overlooked their offence. When they demanded to be brought up
before the court of King's Bench, he even resorted to the meanness
of having them moved about from prison to prison, so that the writs
issued for that purpose should not legally find them. At last they
came before the court and were sentenced to heavy fines, and to be
imprisoned during the King's pleasure. When Sir John Eliot's
health had quite given way, and he so longed for change of air and
scene as to petition for his release, the King sent back the answer
(worthy of his Sowship himself) that the petition was not humble
enough. When he sent another petition by his young son, in which
he pathetically offered to go back to prison when his health was
restored, if he might be released for its recovery, the King still
disregarded it. When he died in the Tower, and his children
petitioned to be allowed to take his body down to Cornwall, there
to lay it among the ashes of his forefathers, the King returned for
answer, 'Let Sir John Eliot's body be buried in the church of that
parish where he died.' All this was like a very little King
indeed, I think.

And now, for twelve long years, steadily pursuing his design of
setting himself up and putting the people down, the King called no
Parliament; but ruled without one. If twelve thousand volumes were
written in his praise (as a good many have been) it would still
remain a fact, impossible to be denied, that for twelve years King
Charles the First reigned in England unlawfully and despotically,
seized upon his subjects' goods and money at his pleasure, and
punished according to his unbridled will all who ventured to oppose
him. It is a fashion with some people to think that this King's
career was cut short; but I must say myself that I think he ran a
pretty long one.

WILLIAM LAUD, Archbishop of Canterbury, was the King's right-hand
man in the religious part of the putting down of the people's
liberties. Laud, who was a sincere man, of large learning but
small sense - for the two things sometimes go together in very
different quantities - though a Protestant, held opinions so near
those of the Catholics, that the Pope wanted to make a Cardinal of
him, if he would have accepted that favour. He looked upon vows,
robes, lighted candles, images, and so forth, as amazingly
important in religious ceremonies; and he brought in an immensity
of bowing and candle-snuffing. He also regarded archbishops and
bishops as a sort of miraculous persons, and was inveterate in the
last degree against any who thought otherwise. Accordingly, he
offered up thanks to Heaven, and was in a state of much pious
pleasure, when a Scotch clergyman, named LEIGHTON, was pilloried,
whipped, branded in the cheek, and had one of his ears cut off and
one of his nostrils slit, for calling bishops trumpery and the
inventions of men. He originated on a Sunday morning the
prosecution of WILLIAM PRYNNE, a barrister who was of similar
opinions, and who was fined a thousand pounds; who was pilloried;
who had his ears cut off on two occasions - one ear at a time - and
who was imprisoned for life. He highly approved of the punishment
of DOCTOR BASTWICK, a physician; who was also fined a thousand
pounds; and who afterwards had HIS ears cut off, and was imprisoned
for life. These were gentle methods of persuasion, some will tell
you: I think, they were rather calculated to be alarming to the

In the money part of the putting down of the people's liberties,
the King was equally gentle, as some will tell you: as I think,
equally alarming. He levied those duties of tonnage and poundage,
and increased them as he thought fit. He granted monopolies to
companies of merchants on their paying him for them,
notwithstanding the great complaints that had, for years and years,
been made on the subject of monopolies. He fined the people for
disobeying proclamations issued by his Sowship in direct violation
of law. He revived the detested Forest laws, and took private
property to himself as his forest right. Above all, he determined
to have what was called Ship Money; that is to say, money for the
support of the fleet - not only from the seaports, but from all the
counties of England: having found out that, in some ancient time
or other, all the counties paid it. The grievance of this ship
money being somewhat too strong, JOHN CHAMBERS, a citizen of
London, refused to pay his part of it. For this the Lord Mayor
ordered John Chambers to prison, and for that John Chambers brought
a suit against the Lord Mayor. LORD SAY, also, behaved like a real
nobleman, and declared he would not pay. But, the sturdiest and
best opponent of the ship money was JOHN HAMPDEN, a gentleman of
Buckinghamshire, who had sat among the 'vipers' in the House of
Commons when there was such a thing, and who had been the bosom
friend of Sir John Eliot. This case was tried before the twelve
judges in the Court of Exchequer, and again the King's lawyers said
it was impossible that ship money could be wrong, because the King
could do no wrong, however hard he tried - and he really did try
very hard during these twelve years. Seven of the judges said that
was quite true, and Mr. Hampden was bound to pay: five of the
judges said that was quite false, and Mr. Hampden was not bound to
pay. So, the King triumphed (as he thought), by making Hampden the
most popular man in England; where matters were getting to that
height now, that many honest Englishmen could not endure their
country, and sailed away across the seas to found a colony in
Massachusetts Bay in America. It is said that Hampden himself and
his relation OLIVER CROMWELL were going with a company of such
voyagers, and were actually on board ship, when they were stopped
by a proclamation, prohibiting sea captains to carry out such
passengers without the royal license. But O! it would have been
well for the King if he had let them go! This was the state of
England. If Laud had been a madman just broke loose, he could not
have done more mischief than he did in Scotland. In his endeavours
(in which he was seconded by the King, then in person in that part
of his dominions) to force his own ideas of bishops, and his own
religious forms and ceremonies upon the Scotch, he roused that
nation to a perfect frenzy. They formed a solemn league, which
they called The Covenant, for the preservation of their own
religious forms; they rose in arms throughout the whole country;
they summoned all their men to prayers and sermons twice a day by
beat of drum; they sang psalms, in which they compared their
enemies to all the evil spirits that ever were heard of; and they
solemnly vowed to smite them with the sword. At first the King
tried force, then treaty, then a Scottish Parliament which did not
answer at all. Then he tried the EARL OF STRAFFORD, formerly Sir
Thomas Wentworth; who, as LORD WENTWORTH, had been governing
Ireland. He, too, had carried it with a very high hand there,
though to the benefit and prosperity of that country.

Strafford and Laud were for conquering the Scottish people by force
of arms. Other lords who were taken into council, recommended that
a Parliament should at last be called; to which the King
unwillingly consented. So, on the thirteenth of April, one
thousand six hundred and forty, that then strange sight, a
Parliament, was seen at Westminster. It is called the Short
Parliament, for it lasted a very little while. While the members
were all looking at one another, doubtful who would dare to speak,
MR. PYM arose and set forth all that the King had done unlawfully
during the past twelve years, and what was the position to which
England was reduced. This great example set, other members took
courage and spoke the truth freely, though with great patience and
moderation. The King, a little frightened, sent to say that if
they would grant him a certain sum on certain terms, no more ship
money should be raised. They debated the matter for two days; and
then, as they would not give him all he asked without promise or
inquiry, he dissolved them.

But they knew very well that he must have a Parliament now; and he
began to make that discovery too, though rather late in the day.
Wherefore, on the twenty-fourth of September, being then at York
with an army collected against the Scottish people, but his own men
sullen and discontented like the rest of the nation, the King told
the great council of the Lords, whom he had called to meet him
there, that he would summon another Parliament to assemble on the
third of November. The soldiers of the Covenant had now forced
their way into England and had taken possession of the northern
counties, where the coals are got. As it would never do to be
without coals, and as the King's troops could make no head against
the Covenanters so full of gloomy zeal, a truce was made, and a
treaty with Scotland was taken into consideration. Meanwhile the
northern counties paid the Covenanters to leave the coals alone,
and keep quiet.

We have now disposed of the Short Parliament. We have next to see
what memorable things were done by the Long one.


THE Long Parliament assembled on the third of November, one
thousand six hundred and forty-one. That day week the Earl of
Strafford arrived from York, very sensible that the spirited and
determined men who formed that Parliament were no friends towards
him, who had not only deserted the cause of the people, but who had
on all occasions opposed himself to their liberties. The King told
him, for his comfort, that the Parliament 'should not hurt one hair
of his head.' But, on the very next day Mr. Pym, in the House of
Commons, and with great solemnity, impeached the Earl of Strafford
as a traitor. He was immediately taken into custody and fell from
his proud height.

It was the twenty-second of March before he was brought to trial in
Westminster Hall; where, although he was very ill and suffered
great pain, he defended himself with such ability and majesty, that
it was doubtful whether he would not get the best of it. But on
the thirteenth day of the trial, Pym produced in the House of
Commons a copy of some notes of a council, found by young SIR HARRY
VANE in a red velvet cabinet belonging to his father (Secretary
Vane, who sat at the council-table with the Earl), in which
Strafford had distinctly told the King that he was free from all
rules and obligations of government, and might do with his people
whatever he liked; and in which he had added - 'You have an army in
Ireland that you may employ to reduce this kingdom to obedience.'
It was not clear whether by the words 'this kingdom,' he had really
meant England or Scotland; but the Parliament contended that he
meant England, and this was treason. At the same sitting of the
House of Commons it was resolved to bring in a bill of attainder
declaring the treason to have been committed: in preference to
proceeding with the trial by impeachment, which would have required
the treason to be proved.

So, a bill was brought in at once, was carried through the House of
Commons by a large majority, and was sent up to the House of Lords.
While it was still uncertain whether the House of Lords would pass
it and the King consent to it, Pym disclosed to the House of
Commons that the King and Queen had both been plotting with the
officers of the army to bring up the soldiers and control the
Parliament, and also to introduce two hundred soldiers into the
Tower of London to effect the Earl's escape. The plotting with the
army was revealed by one GEORGE GORING, the son of a lord of that
name: a bad fellow who was one of the original plotters, and
turned traitor. The King had actually given his warrant for the
admission of the two hundred men into the Tower, and they would
have got in too, but for the refusal of the governor - a sturdy
Scotchman of the name of BALFOUR - to admit them. These matters
being made public, great numbers of people began to riot outside
the Houses of Parliament, and to cry out for the execution of the
Earl of Strafford, as one of the King's chief instruments against
them. The bill passed the House of Lords while the people were in
this state of agitation, and was laid before the King for his
assent, together with another bill declaring that the Parliament
then assembled should not be dissolved or adjourned without their
own consent. The King - not unwilling to save a faithful servant,
though he had no great attachment for him - was in some doubt what
to do; but he gave his consent to both bills, although he in his
heart believed that the bill against the Earl of Strafford was
unlawful and unjust. The Earl had written to him, telling him that
he was willing to die for his sake. But he had not expected that
his royal master would take him at his word quite so readily; for,
when he heard his doom, he laid his hand upon his heart, and said,
'Put not your trust in Princes!'

The King, who never could be straightforward and plain, through one
single day or through one single sheet of paper, wrote a letter to
the Lords, and sent it by the young Prince of Wales, entreating
them to prevail with the Commons that 'that unfortunate man should
fulfil the natural course of his life in a close imprisonment.' In
a postscript to the very same letter, he added, 'If he must die, it
were charity to reprieve him till Saturday.' If there had been any
doubt of his fate, this weakness and meanness would have settled
it. The very next day, which was the twelfth of May, he was
brought out to be beheaded on Tower Hill.

Archbishop Laud, who had been so fond of having people's ears
cropped off and their noses slit, was now confined in the Tower
too; and when the Earl went by his window to his death, he was
there, at his request, to give him his blessing. They had been
great friends in the King's cause, and the Earl had written to him
in the days of their power that he thought it would be an admirable
thing to have Mr. Hampden publicly whipped for refusing to pay the
ship money. However, those high and mighty doings were over now,
and the Earl went his way to death with dignity and heroism. The
governor wished him to get into a coach at the Tower gate, for fear
the people should tear him to pieces; but he said it was all one to
him whether he died by the axe or by the people's hands. So, he
walked, with a firm tread and a stately look, and sometimes pulled
off his hat to them as he passed along. They were profoundly
quiet. He made a speech on the scaffold from some notes he had
prepared (the paper was found lying there after his head was struck
off), and one blow of the axe killed him, in the forty-ninth year
of his age.

This bold and daring act, the Parliament accompanied by other
famous measures, all originating (as even this did) in the King's
having so grossly and so long abused his power. The name of
DELINQUENTS was applied to all sheriffs and other officers who had
been concerned in raising the ship money, or any other money, from
the people, in an unlawful manner; the Hampden judgment was
reversed; the judges who had decided against Hampden were called
upon to give large securities that they would take such
consequences as Parliament might impose upon them; and one was
arrested as he sat in High Court, and carried off to prison. Laud
was impeached; the unfortunate victims whose ears had been cropped
and whose noses had been slit, were brought out of prison in
triumph; and a bill was passed declaring that a Parliament should
be called every third year, and that if the King and the King's
officers did not call it, the people should assemble of themselves
and summon it, as of their own right and power. Great
illuminations and rejoicings took place over all these things, and
the country was wildly excited. That the Parliament took advantage
of this excitement and stirred them up by every means, there is no
doubt; but you are always to remember those twelve long years,
during which the King had tried so hard whether he really could do
any wrong or not.

All this time there was a great religious outcry against the right
of the Bishops to sit in Parliament; to which the Scottish people
particularly objected. The English were divided on this subject,
and, partly on this account and partly because they had had foolish
expectations that the Parliament would be able to take off nearly
all the taxes, numbers of them sometimes wavered and inclined
towards the King.

I believe myself, that if, at this or almost any other period of
his life, the King could have been trusted by any man not out of
his senses, he might have saved himself and kept his throne. But,
on the English army being disbanded, he plotted with the officers
again, as he had done before, and established the fact beyond all
doubt by putting his signature of approval to a petition against
the Parliamentary leaders, which was drawn up by certain officers.
When the Scottish army was disbanded, he went to Edinburgh in four
days - which was going very fast at that time - to plot again, and
so darkly too, that it is difficult to decide what his whole object
was. Some suppose that he wanted to gain over the Scottish
Parliament, as he did in fact gain over, by presents and favours,
many Scottish lords and men of power. Some think that he went to
get proofs against the Parliamentary leaders in England of their
having treasonably invited the Scottish people to come and help
them. With whatever object he went to Scotland, he did little good
by going. At the instigation of the EARL OF MONTROSE, a desperate
man who was then in prison for plotting, he tried to kidnap three
Scottish lords who escaped. A committee of the Parliament at home,
who had followed to watch him, writing an account of this INCIDENT,
as it was called, to the Parliament, the Parliament made a fresh
stir about it; were, or feigned to be, much alarmed for themselves;
and wrote to the EARL OF ESSEX, the commander-in-chief, for a guard
to protect them.

It is not absolutely proved that the King plotted in Ireland
besides, but it is very probable that he did, and that the Queen
did, and that he had some wild hope of gaining the Irish people
over to his side by favouring a rise among them. Whether or no,
they did rise in a most brutal and savage rebellion; in which,
encouraged by their priests, they committed such atrocities upon
numbers of the English, of both sexes and of all ages, as nobody
could believe, but for their being related on oath by eye-
witnesses. Whether one hundred thousand or two hundred thousand
Protestants were murdered in this outbreak, is uncertain; but, that
it was as ruthless and barbarous an outbreak as ever was known
among any savage people, is certain.

The King came home from Scotland, determined to make a great
struggle for his lost power. He believed that, through his
presents and favours, Scotland would take no part against him; and
the Lord Mayor of London received him with such a magnificent
dinner that he thought he must have become popular again in
England. It would take a good many Lord Mayors, however, to make a
people, and the King soon found himself mistaken.

Not so soon, though, but that there was a great opposition in the
Parliament to a celebrated paper put forth by Pym and Hampden and
the rest, called 'THE REMONSTRANCE,' which set forth all the
illegal acts that the King had ever done, but politely laid the
blame of them on his bad advisers. Even when it was passed and
presented to him, the King still thought himself strong enough to
discharge Balfour from his command in the Tower, and to put in his
place a man of bad character; to whom the Commons instantly
objected, and whom he was obliged to abandon. At this time, the
old outcry about the Bishops became louder than ever, and the old
Archbishop of York was so near being murdered as he went down to
the House of Lords - being laid hold of by the mob and violently
knocked about, in return for very foolishly scolding a shrill boy
who was yelping out 'No Bishops!' - that he sent for all the
Bishops who were in town, and proposed to them to sign a
declaration that, as they could no longer without danger to their
lives attend their duty in Parliament, they protested against the
lawfulness of everything done in their absence. This they asked
the King to send to the House of Lords, which he did. Then the
House of Commons impeached the whole party of Bishops and sent them
off to the Tower:

Taking no warning from this; but encouraged by there being a
moderate party in the Parliament who objected to these strong
measures, the King, on the third of January, one thousand six
hundred and forty-two, took the rashest step that ever was taken by
mortal man.

Of his own accord and without advice, he sent the Attorney-General
to the House of Lords, to accuse of treason certain members of
Parliament who as popular leaders were the most obnoxious to him;
used to call him King Pym, he possessed such power and looked so
big), JOHN HAMPDEN, and WILLIAM STRODE. The houses of those
members he caused to be entered, and their papers to be sealed up.
At the same time, he sent a messenger to the House of Commons
demanding to have the five gentlemen who were members of that House
immediately produced. To this the House replied that they should
appear as soon as there was any legal charge against them, and
immediately adjourned.

Next day, the House of Commons send into the City to let the Lord
Mayor know that their privileges are invaded by the King, and that
there is no safety for anybody or anything. Then, when the five
members are gone out of the way, down comes the King himself, with
all his guard and from two to three hundred gentlemen and soldiers,
of whom the greater part were armed. These he leaves in the hall;
and then, with his nephew at his side, goes into the House, takes
off his hat, and walks up to the Speaker's chair. The Speaker
leaves it, the King stands in front of it, looks about him steadily
for a little while, and says he has come for those five members.
No one speaks, and then he calls John Pym by name. No one speaks,
and then he calls Denzil Hollis by name. No one speaks, and then
he asks the Speaker of the House where those five members are? The
Speaker, answering on his knee, nobly replies that he is the
servant of that House, and that he has neither eyes to see, nor
tongue to speak, anything but what the House commands him. Upon
this, the King, beaten from that time evermore, replies that he
will seek them himself, for they have committed treason; and goes
out, with his hat in his hand, amid some audible murmurs from the

No words can describe the hurry that arose out of doors when all
this was known. The five members had gone for safety to a house in
Coleman-street, in the City, where they were guarded all night; and
indeed the whole city watched in arms like an army. At ten o'clock
in the morning, the King, already frightened at what he had done,
came to the Guildhall, with only half a dozen lords, and made a
speech to the people, hoping they would not shelter those whom he
accused of treason. Next day, he issued a proclamation for the
apprehension of the five members; but the Parliament minded it so
little that they made great arrangements for having them brought
down to Westminster in great state, five days afterwards. The King
was so alarmed now at his own imprudence, if not for his own
safety, that he left his palace at Whitehall, and went away with
his Queen and children to Hampton Court.

It was the eleventh of May, when the five members were carried in
state and triumph to Westminster. They were taken by water. The
river could not be seen for the boats on it; and the five members
were hemmed in by barges full of men and great guns, ready to
protect them, at any cost. Along the Strand a large body of the
train-bands of London, under their commander, SKIPPON, marched to
be ready to assist the little fleet. Beyond them, came a crowd who
choked the streets, roaring incessantly about the Bishops and the
Papists, and crying out contemptuously as they passed Whitehall,
'What has become of the King?' With this great noise outside the
House of Commons, and with great silence within, Mr. Pym rose and
informed the House of the great kindness with which they had been
received in the City. Upon that, the House called the sheriffs in
and thanked them, and requested the train-bands, under their
commander Skippon, to guard the House of Commons every day. Then,
came four thousand men on horseback out of Buckinghamshire,
offering their services as a guard too, and bearing a petition to
the King, complaining of the injury that had been done to Mr.
Hampden, who was their county man and much beloved and honoured.

When the King set off for Hampton Court, the gentlemen and soldiers
who had been with him followed him out of town as far as Kingston-
upon-Thames; next day, Lord Digby came to them from the King at
Hampton Court, in his coach and six, to inform them that the King
accepted their protection. This, the Parliament said, was making
war against the kingdom, and Lord Digby fled abroad. The
Parliament then immediately applied themselves to getting hold of
the military power of the country, well knowing that the King was
already trying hard to use it against them, and that he had
secretly sent the Earl of Newcastle to Hull, to secure a valuable
magazine of arms and gunpowder that was there. In those times,
every county had its own magazines of arms and powder, for its own
train-bands or militia; so, the Parliament brought in a bill
claiming the right (which up to this time had belonged to the King)
of appointing the Lord Lieutenants of counties, who commanded these
train-bands; also, of having all the forts, castles, and garrisons
in the kingdom, put into the hands of such governors as they, the
Parliament, could confide in. It also passed a law depriving the
Bishops of their votes. The King gave his assent to that bill, but
would not abandon the right of appointing the Lord Lieutenants,
though he said he was willing to appoint such as might be suggested
to him by the Parliament. When the Earl of Pembroke asked him
whether he would not give way on that question for a time, he said,
'By God! not for one hour!' and upon this he and the Parliament
went to war.

His young daughter was betrothed to the Prince of Orange. On
pretence of taking her to the country of her future husband, the
Queen was already got safely away to Holland, there to pawn the
Crown jewels for money to raise an army on the King's side. The
Lord Admiral being sick, the House of Commons now named the Earl of
Warwick to hold his place for a year. The King named another
gentleman; the House of Commons took its own way, and the Earl of
Warwick became Lord Admiral without the King's consent. The
Parliament sent orders down to Hull to have that magazine removed
to London; the King went down to Hull to take it himself. The
citizens would not admit him into the town, and the governor would
not admit him into the castle. The Parliament resolved that
whatever the two Houses passed, and the King would not consent to,
should be called an ORDINANCE, and should be as much a law as if he
did consent to it. The King protested against this, and gave
notice that these ordinances were not to be obeyed. The King,
attended by the majority of the House of Peers, and by many members
of the House of Commons, established himself at York. The
Chancellor went to him with the Great Seal, and the Parliament made
a new Great Seal. The Queen sent over a ship full of arms and
ammunition, and the King issued letters to borrow money at high
interest. The Parliament raised twenty regiments of foot and
seventy-five troops of horse; and the people willingly aided them
with their money, plate, jewellery, and trinkets - the married
women even with their wedding-rings. Every member of Parliament
who could raise a troop or a regiment in his own part of the
country, dressed it according to his taste and in his own colours,
and commanded it. Foremost among them all, OLIVER CROMWELL raised
a troop of horse - thoroughly in earnest and thoroughly well armed
- who were, perhaps, the best soldiers that ever were seen.

In some of their proceedings, this famous Parliament passed the
bounds of previous law and custom, yielded to and favoured riotous
assemblages of the people, and acted tyrannically in imprisoning
some who differed from the popular leaders. But again, you are
always to remember that the twelve years during which the King had
had his own wilful way, had gone before; and that nothing could
make the times what they might, could, would, or should have been,
if those twelve years had never rolled away.


I SHALL not try to relate the particulars of the great civil war
between King Charles the First and the Long Parliament, which
lasted nearly four years, and a full account of which would fill
many large books. It was a sad thing that Englishmen should once
more be fighting against Englishmen on English ground; but, it is
some consolation to know that on both sides there was great
humanity, forbearance, and honour. The soldiers of the Parliament
were far more remarkable for these good qualities than the soldiers
of the King (many of whom fought for mere pay without much caring
for the cause); but those of the nobility and gentry who were on
the King's side were so brave, and so faithful to him, that their
conduct cannot but command our highest admiration. Among them were
great numbers of Catholics, who took the royal side because the
Queen was so strongly of their persuasion.

The King might have distinguished some of these gallant spirits, if
he had been as generous a spirit himself, by giving them the
command of his army. Instead of that, however, true to his old
high notions of royalty, he entrusted it to his two nephews, PRINCE
RUPERT and PRINCE MAURICE, who were of royal blood and came over
from abroad to help him. It might have been better for him if they
had stayed away; since Prince Rupert was an impetuous, hot-headed
fellow, whose only idea was to dash into battle at all times and
seasons, and lay about him.

The general-in-chief of the Parliamentary army was the Earl of
Essex, a gentleman of honour and an excellent soldier. A little
while before the war broke out, there had been some rioting at
Westminster between certain officious law students and noisy
soldiers, and the shopkeepers and their apprentices, and the
general people in the streets. At that time the King's friends
called the crowd, Roundheads, because the apprentices wore short
hair; the crowd, in return, called their opponents Cavaliers,
meaning that they were a blustering set, who pretended to be very
military. These two words now began to be used to distinguish the
two sides in the civil war. The Royalists also called the
Parliamentary men Rebels and Rogues, while the Parliamentary men
called THEM Malignants, and spoke of themselves as the Godly, the
Honest, and so forth.

The war broke out at Portsmouth, where that double traitor Goring
had again gone over to the King and was besieged by the
Parliamentary troops. Upon this, the King proclaimed the Earl of
Essex and the officers serving under him, traitors, and called upon
his loyal subjects to meet him in arms at Nottingham on the twenty-
fifth of August. But his loyal subjects came about him in scanty
numbers, and it was a windy, gloomy day, and the Royal Standard got
blown down, and the whole affair was very melancholy. The chief
engagements after this, took place in the vale of the Red Horse
near Banbury, at Brentford, at Devizes, at Chalgrave Field (where
Mr. Hampden was so sorely wounded while fighting at the head of his
men, that he died within a week), at Newbury (in which battle LORD
FALKLAND, one of the best noblemen on the King's side, was killed),
at Leicester, at Naseby, at Winchester, at Marston Moor near York,
at Newcastle, and in many other parts of England and Scotland.
These battles were attended with various successes. At one time,
the King was victorious; at another time, the Parliament. But
almost all the great and busy towns were against the King; and when
it was considered necessary to fortify London, all ranks of people,
from labouring men and women, up to lords and ladies, worked hard
together with heartiness and good will. The most distinguished
leaders on the Parliamentary side were HAMPDEN, SIR THOMAS FAIRFAX,
and, above all, OLIVER CROMWELL, and his son-in-law IRETON.

During the whole of this war, the people, to whom it was very
expensive and irksome, and to whom it was made the more distressing
by almost every family being divided - some of its members
attaching themselves to one side and some to the other - were over
and over again most anxious for peace. So were some of the best
men in each cause. Accordingly, treaties of peace were discussed
between commissioners from the Parliament and the King; at York, at
Oxford (where the King held a little Parliament of his own), and at
Uxbridge. But they came to nothing. In all these negotiations,
and in all his difficulties, the King showed himself at his best.
He was courageous, cool, self-possessed, and clever; but, the old
taint of his character was always in him, and he was never for one
single moment to be trusted. Lord Clarendon, the historian, one of
his highest admirers, supposes that he had unhappily promised the
Queen never to make peace without her consent, and that this must
often be taken as his excuse. He never kept his word from night to
morning. He signed a cessation of hostilities with the blood-
stained Irish rebels for a sum of money, and invited the Irish
regiments over, to help him against the Parliament. In the battle
of Naseby, his cabinet was seized and was found to contain a
correspondence with the Queen, in which he expressly told her that
he had deceived the Parliament - a mongrel Parliament, he called it
now, as an improvement on his old term of vipers - in pretending to
recognise it and to treat with it; and from which it further
appeared that he had long been in secret treaty with the Duke of
Lorraine for a foreign army of ten thousand men. Disappointed in
this, he sent a most devoted friend of his, the EARL OF GLAMORGAN,
to Ireland, to conclude a secret treaty with the Catholic powers,
to send him an Irish army of ten thousand men; in return for which
he was to bestow great favours on the Catholic religion. And, when
this treaty was discovered in the carriage of a fighting Irish
Archbishop who was killed in one of the many skirmishes of those
days, he basely denied and deserted his attached friend, the Earl,
on his being charged with high treason; and - even worse than this
- had left blanks in the secret instructions he gave him with his
own kingly hand, expressly that he might thus save himself.

At last, on the twenty-seventh day of April, one thousand six
hundred and forty-six, the King found himself in the city of
Oxford, so surrounded by the Parliamentary army who were closing in
upon him on all sides that he felt that if he would escape he must
delay no longer. So, that night, having altered the cut of his
hair and beard, he was dressed up as a servant and put upon a horse
with a cloak strapped behind him, and rode out of the town behind
one of his own faithful followers, with a clergyman of that country
who knew the road well, for a guide. He rode towards London as far
as Harrow, and then altered his plans and resolved, it would seem,
to go to the Scottish camp. The Scottish men had been invited over
to help the Parliamentary army, and had a large force then in
England. The King was so desperately intriguing in everything he
did, that it is doubtful what he exactly meant by this step. He
took it, anyhow, and delivered himself up to the EARL OF LEVEN, the
Scottish general-in-chief, who treated him as an honourable
prisoner. Negotiations between the Parliament on the one hand and
the Scottish authorities on the other, as to what should be done
with him, lasted until the following February. Then, when the King
had refused to the Parliament the concession of that old militia
point for twenty years, and had refused to Scotland the recognition
of its Solemn League and Covenant, Scotland got a handsome sum for
its army and its help, and the King into the bargain. He was
taken, by certain Parliamentary commissioners appointed to receive
him, to one of his own houses, called Holmby House, near Althorpe,
in Northamptonshire.

While the Civil War was still in progress, John Pym died, and was
buried with great honour in Westminster Abbey - not with greater
honour than he deserved, for the liberties of Englishmen owe a
mighty debt to Pym and Hampden. The war was but newly over when
the Earl of Essex died, of an illness brought on by his having
overheated himself in a stag hunt in Windsor Forest. He, too, was
buried in Westminster Abbey, with great state. I wish it were not
necessary to add that Archbishop Laud died upon the scaffold when
the war was not yet done. His trial lasted in all nearly a year,
and, it being doubtful even then whether the charges brought
against him amounted to treason, the odious old contrivance of the
worst kings was resorted to, and a bill of attainder was brought in
against him. He was a violently prejudiced and mischievous person;
had had strong ear-cropping and nose-splitting propensities, as you
know; and had done a world of harm. But he died peaceably, and
like a brave old man.


WHEN the Parliament had got the King into their hands, they became
very anxious to get rid of their army, in which Oliver Cromwell had
begun to acquire great power; not only because of his courage and
high abilities, but because he professed to be very sincere in the
Scottish sort of Puritan religion that was then exceedingly popular
among the soldiers. They were as much opposed to the Bishops as to
the Pope himself; and the very privates, drummers, and trumpeters,
had such an inconvenient habit of starting up and preaching long-
winded discourses, that I would not have belonged to that army on
any account.

So, the Parliament, being far from sure but that the army might
begin to preach and fight against them now it had nothing else to
do, proposed to disband the greater part of it, to send another
part to serve in Ireland against the rebels, and to keep only a
small force in England. But, the army would not consent to be
broken up, except upon its own conditions; and, when the Parliament
showed an intention of compelling it, it acted for itself in an
unexpected manner. A certain cornet, of the name of JOICE, arrived
at Holmby House one night, attended by four hundred horsemen, went
into the King's room with his hat in one hand and a pistol in the
other, and told the King that he had come to take him away. The
King was willing enough to go, and only stipulated that he should
be publicly required to do so next morning. Next morning,
accordingly, he appeared on the top of the steps of the house, and
asked Comet Joice before his men and the guard set there by the
Parliament, what authority he had for taking him away? To this
Cornet Joice replied, 'The authority of the army.' 'Have you a
written commission?' said the King. Joice, pointing to his four
hundred men on horseback, replied, 'That is my commission.'
'Well,' said the King, smiling, as if he were pleased, 'I never
before read such a commission; but it is written in fair and
legible characters. This is a company of as handsome proper
gentlemen as I have seen a long while.' He was asked where he
would like to live, and he said at Newmarket. So, to Newmarket he
and Cornet Joice and the four hundred horsemen rode; the King
remarking, in the same smiling way, that he could ride as far at a
spell as Cornet Joice, or any man there.

The King quite believed, I think, that the army were his friends.
He said as much to Fairfax when that general, Oliver Cromwell, and
Ireton, went to persuade him to return to the custody of the
Parliament. He preferred to remain as he was, and resolved to
remain as he was. And when the army moved nearer and nearer London
to frighten the Parliament into yielding to their demands, they
took the King with them. It was a deplorable thing that England
should be at the mercy of a great body of soldiers with arms in
their hands; but the King certainly favoured them at this important
time of his life, as compared with the more lawful power that tried
to control him. It must be added, however, that they treated him,
as yet, more respectfully and kindly than the Parliament had done.
They allowed him to be attended by his own servants, to be
splendidly entertained at various houses, and to see his children -
at Cavesham House, near Reading - for two days. Whereas, the
Parliament had been rather hard with him, and had only allowed him
to ride out and play at bowls.

It is much to be believed that if the King could have been trusted,
even at this time, he might have been saved. Even Oliver Cromwell
expressly said that he did believe that no man could enjoy his
possessions in peace, unless the King had his rights. He was not
unfriendly towards the King; he had been present when he received
his children, and had been much affected by the pitiable nature of
the scene; he saw the King often; he frequently walked and talked
with him in the long galleries and pleasant gardens of the Palace
at Hampton Court, whither he was now removed; and in all this
risked something of his influence with the army. But, the King was
in secret hopes of help from the Scottish people; and the moment he
was encouraged to join them he began to be cool to his new friends,
the army, and to tell the officers that they could not possibly do
without him. At the very time, too, when he was promising to make
Cromwell and Ireton noblemen, if they would help him up to his old
height, he was writing to the Queen that he meant to hang them.
They both afterwards declared that they had been privately informed
that such a letter would be found, on a certain evening, sewed up
in a saddle which would be taken to the Blue Boar in Holborn to be
sent to Dover; and that they went there, disguised as common
soldiers, and sat drinking in the inn-yard until a man came with
the saddle, which they ripped up with their knives, and therein
found the letter. I see little reason to doubt the story. It is
certain that Oliver Cromwell told one of the King's most faithful
followers that the King could not be trusted, and that he would not
be answerable if anything amiss were to happen to him. Still, even
after that, he kept a promise he had made to the King, by letting
him know that there was a plot with a certain portion of the army
to seize him. I believe that, in fact, he sincerely wanted the
King to escape abroad, and so to be got rid of without more trouble
or danger. That Oliver himself had work enough with the army is
pretty plain; for some of the troops were so mutinous against him,
and against those who acted with him at this time, that he found it
necessary to have one man shot at the head of his regiment to
overawe the rest.

The King, when he received Oliver's warning, made his escape from
Hampton Court; after some indecision and uncertainty, he went to
Carisbrooke Castle in the Isle of Wight. At first, he was pretty
free there; but, even there, he carried on a pretended treaty with
the Parliament, while he was really treating with commissioners
from Scotland to send an army into England to take his part. When
he broke off this treaty with the Parliament (having settled with
Scotland) and was treated as a prisoner, his treatment was not
changed too soon, for he had plotted to escape that very night to a
ship sent by the Queen, which was lying off the island.

He was doomed to be disappointed in his hopes from Scotland. The
agreement he had made with the Scottish Commissioners was not
favourable enough to the religion of that country to please the
Scottish clergy; and they preached against it. The consequence
was, that the army raised in Scotland and sent over, was too small
to do much; and that, although it was helped by a rising of the
Royalists in England and by good soldiers from Ireland, it could
make no head against the Parliamentary army under such men as
Cromwell and Fairfax. The King's eldest son, the Prince of Wales,
came over from Holland with nineteen ships (a part of the English
fleet having gone over to him) to help his father; but nothing came
of his voyage, and he was fain to return. The most remarkable
event of this second civil war was the cruel execution by the
Parliamentary General, of SIR CHARLES LUCAS and SIR GEORGE LISLE,
two grand Royalist generals, who had bravely defended Colchester
under every disadvantage of famine and distress for nearly three
months. When Sir Charles Lucas was shot, Sir George Lisle kissed
his body, and said to the soldiers who were to shoot him, 'Come
nearer, and make sure of me.' 'I warrant you, Sir George,' said
one of the soldiers, 'we shall hit you.' 'AY?' he returned with a
smile, 'but I have been nearer to you, my friends, many a time, and
you have missed me.'

The Parliament, after being fearfully bullied by the army - who
demanded to have seven members whom they disliked given up to them
- had voted that they would have nothing more to do with the King.
On the conclusion, however, of this second civil war (which did not
last more than six months), they appointed commissioners to treat
with him. The King, then so far released again as to be allowed to
live in a private house at Newport in the Isle of Wight, managed
his own part of the negotiation with a sense that was admired by
all who saw him, and gave up, in the end, all that was asked of him
- even yielding (which he had steadily refused, so far) to the
temporary abolition of the bishops, and the transfer of their
church land to the Crown. Still, with his old fatal vice upon him,
when his best friends joined the commissioners in beseeching him to
yield all those points as the only means of saving himself from the
army, he was plotting to escape from the island; he was holding
correspondence with his friends and the Catholics in Ireland,
though declaring that he was not; and he was writing, with his own
hand, that in what he yielded he meant nothing but to get time to

Matters were at this pass when the army, resolved to defy the
Parliament, marched up to London. The Parliament, not afraid of
them now, and boldly led by Hollis, voted that the King's
concessions were sufficient ground for settling the peace of the
kingdom. Upon that, COLONEL RICH and COLONEL PRIDE went down to
the House of Commons with a regiment of horse soldiers and a
regiment of foot; and Colonel Pride, standing in the lobby with a
list of the members who were obnoxious to the army in his hand, had
them pointed out to him as they came through, and took them all
into custody. This proceeding was afterwards called by the people,
for a joke, PRIDE'S PURGE. Cromwell was in the North, at the head
of his men, at the time, but when he came home, approved of what
had been done.

What with imprisoning some members and causing others to stay away,
the army had now reduced the House of Commons to some fifty or so.
These soon voted that it was treason in a king to make war against
his parliament and his people, and sent an ordinance up to the
House of Lords for the King's being tried as a traitor. The House
of Lords, then sixteen in number, to a man rejected it. Thereupon,
the Commons made an ordinance of their own, that they were the
supreme government of the country, and would bring the King to

The King had been taken for security to a place called Hurst
Castle: a lonely house on a rock in the sea, connected with the
coast of Hampshire by a rough road two miles long at low water.
Thence, he was ordered to be removed to Windsor; thence, after
being but rudely used there, and having none but soldiers to wait
upon him at table, he was brought up to St. James's Palace in
London, and told that his trial was appointed for next day.

On Saturday, the twentieth of January, one thousand six hundred and
forty-nine, this memorable trial began. The House of Commons had
settled that one hundred and thirty-five persons should form the
Court, and these were taken from the House itself, from among the
officers of the army, and from among the lawyers and citizens.
JOHN BRADSHAW, serjeant-at-law, was appointed president. The place
was Westminster Hall. At the upper end, in a red velvet chair, sat
the president, with his hat (lined with plates of iron for his
protection) on his head. The rest of the Court sat on side
benches, also wearing their hats. The King's seat was covered with
velvet, like that of the president, and was opposite to it. He was
brought from St. James's to Whitehall, and from Whitehall he came
by water to his trial.

When he came in, he looked round very steadily on the Court, and on
the great number of spectators, and then sat down: presently he
got up and looked round again. On the indictment 'against Charles
Stuart, for high treason,' being read, he smiled several times, and
he denied the authority of the Court, saying that there could be no
parliament without a House of Lords, and that he saw no House of
Lords there. Also, that the King ought to be there, and that he
saw no King in the King's right place. Bradshaw replied, that the
Court was satisfied with its authority, and that its authority was
God's authority and the kingdom's. He then adjourned the Court to
the following Monday. On that day, the trial was resumed, and went
on all the week. When the Saturday came, as the King passed
forward to his place in the Hall, some soldiers and others cried
for 'justice!' and execution on him. That day, too, Bradshaw, like
an angry Sultan, wore a red robe, instead of the black robe he had
worn before. The King was sentenced to death that day. As he went
out, one solitary soldier said, 'God bless you, Sir!' For this,
his officer struck him. The King said he thought the punishment
exceeded the offence. The silver head of his walking-stick had
fallen off while he leaned upon it.


BEFORE sunset on the memorable day on which King Charles the First
was executed, the House of Commons passed an act declaring it
treason in any one to proclaim the Prince of Wales - or anybody
else - King of England. Soon afterwards, it declared that the
House of Lords was useless and dangerous, and ought to be
abolished; and directed that the late King's statue should be taken
down from the Royal Exchange in the City and other public places.
Having laid hold of some famous Royalists who had escaped from
prison, and having beheaded the DUKE OF HAMILTON, LORD HOLLAND, and
LORD CAPEL, in Palace Yard (all of whom died very courageously),
they then appointed a Council of State to govern the country. It
consisted of forty-one members, of whom five were peers. Bradshaw
was made president. The House of Commons also re-admitted members
who had opposed the King's death, and made up its numbers to about
a hundred and fifty.

But, it still had an army of more than forty thousand men to deal
with, and a very hard task it was to manage them. Before the
King's execution, the army had appointed some of its officers to
remonstrate between them and the Parliament; and now the common
soldiers began to take that office upon themselves. The regiments
under orders for Ireland mutinied; one troop of horse in the city
of London seized their own flag, and refused to obey orders. For
this, the ringleader was shot: which did not mend the matter, for,
both his comrades and the people made a public funeral for him, and
accompanied the body to the grave with sound of trumpets and with a
gloomy procession of persons carrying bundles of rosemary steeped
in blood. Oliver was the only man to deal with such difficulties
as these, and he soon cut them short by bursting at midnight into
the town of Burford, near Salisbury, where the mutineers were
sheltered, taking four hundred of them prisoners, and shooting a
number of them by sentence of court-martial. The soldiers soon
found, as all men did, that Oliver was not a man to be trifled
with. And there was an end of the mutiny.

The Scottish Parliament did not know Oliver yet; so, on hearing of
the King's execution, it proclaimed the Prince of Wales King
Charles the Second, on condition of his respecting the Solemn
League and Covenant. Charles was abroad at that time, and so was
Montrose, from whose help he had hopes enough to keep him holding
on and off with commissioners from Scotland, just as his father
might have done. These hopes were soon at an end; for, Montrose,
having raised a few hundred exiles in Germany, and landed with them
in Scotland, found that the people there, instead of joining him,
deserted the country at his approach. He was soon taken prisoner
and carried to Edinburgh. There he was received with every
possible insult, and carried to prison in a cart, his officers
going two and two before him. He was sentenced by the Parliament
to be hanged on a gallows thirty feet high, to have his head set on
a spike in Edinburgh, and his limbs distributed in other places,
according to the old barbarous manner. He said he had always acted
under the Royal orders, and only wished he had limbs enough to be
distributed through Christendom, that it might be the more widely
known how loyal he had been. He went to the scaffold in a bright
and brilliant dress, and made a bold end at thirty-eight years of
age. The breath was scarcely out of his body when Charles
abandoned his memory, and denied that he had ever given him orders
to rise in his behalf. O the family failing was strong in that
Charles then!

Oliver had been appointed by the Parliament to command the army in
Ireland, where he took a terrible vengeance for the sanguinary
rebellion, and made tremendous havoc, particularly in the siege of
Drogheda, where no quarter was given, and where he found at least a
thousand of the inhabitants shut up together in the great church:
every one of whom was killed by his soldiers, usually known as
OLIVER'S IRONSIDES. There were numbers of friars and priests among
them, and Oliver gruffly wrote home in his despatch that these were
'knocked on the head' like the rest.

But, Charles having got over to Scotland where the men of the
Solemn League and Covenant led him a prodigiously dull life and
made him very weary with long sermons and grim Sundays, the
Parliament called the redoubtable Oliver home to knock the Scottish
men on the head for setting up that Prince. Oliver left his son-
in-law, Ireton, as general in Ireland in his stead (he died there
afterwards), and he imitated the example of his father-in-law with
such good will that he brought the country to subjection, and laid
it at the feet of the Parliament. In the end, they passed an act
for the settlement of Ireland, generally pardoning all the common
people, but exempting from this grace such of the wealthier sort as
had been concerned in the rebellion, or in any killing of
Protestants, or who refused to lay down their arms. Great numbers
of Irish were got out of the country to serve under Catholic powers
abroad, and a quantity of land was declared to have been forfeited
by past offences, and was given to people who had lent money to the
Parliament early in the war. These were sweeping measures; but, if
Oliver Cromwell had had his own way fully, and had stayed in
Ireland, he would have done more yet.

However, as I have said, the Parliament wanted Oliver for Scotland;
so, home Oliver came, and was made Commander of all the Forces of
the Commonwealth of England, and in three days away he went with
sixteen thousand soldiers to fight the Scottish men. Now, the
Scottish men, being then - as you will generally find them now -
mighty cautious, reflected that the troops they had were not used
to war like the Ironsides, and would be beaten in an open fight.
Therefore they said, 'If we live quiet in our trenches in Edinburgh
here, and if all the farmers come into the town and desert the
country, the Ironsides will be driven out by iron hunger and be
forced to go away.' This was, no doubt, the wisest plan; but as
the Scottish clergy WOULD interfere with what they knew nothing
about, and would perpetually preach long sermons exhorting the
soldiers to come out and fight, the soldiers got it in their heads
that they absolutely must come out and fight. Accordingly, in an
evil hour for themselves, they came out of their safe position.
Oliver fell upon them instantly, and killed three thousand, and
took ten thousand prisoners.

To gratify the Scottish Parliament, and preserve their favour,
Charles had signed a declaration they laid before him, reproaching
the memory of his father and mother, and representing himself as a
most religious Prince, to whom the Solemn League and Covenant was
as dear as life. He meant no sort of truth in this, and soon
afterwards galloped away on horseback to join some tiresome
Highland friends, who were always flourishing dirks and
broadswords. He was overtaken and induced to return; but this
attempt, which was called 'The Start,' did him just so much
service, that they did not preach quite such long sermons at him
afterwards as they had done before.

On the first of January, one thousand six hundred and fifty-one,
the Scottish people crowned him at Scone. He immediately took the
chief command of an army of twenty thousand men, and marched to
Stirling. His hopes were heightened, I dare say, by the
redoubtable Oliver being ill of an ague; but Oliver scrambled out
of bed in no time, and went to work with such energy that he got
behind the Royalist army and cut it off from all communication with
Scotland. There was nothing for it then, but to go on to England;
so it went on as far as Worcester, where the mayor and some of the
gentry proclaimed King Charles the Second straightway. His
proclamation, however, was of little use to him, for very few
Royalists appeared; and, on the very same day, two people were
publicly beheaded on Tower Hill for espousing his cause. Up came
Oliver to Worcester too, at double quick speed, and he and his
Ironsides so laid about them in the great battle which was fought
there, that they completely beat the Scottish men, and destroyed
the Royalist army; though the Scottish men fought so gallantly that
it took five hours to do.

The escape of Charles after this battle of Worcester did him good
service long afterwards, for it induced many of the generous
English people to take a romantic interest in him, and to think
much better of him than he ever deserved. He fled in the night,
with not more than sixty followers, to the house of a Catholic lady
in Staffordshire. There, for his greater safety, the whole sixty
left him. He cropped his hair, stained his face and hands brown as
if they were sunburnt, put on the clothes of a labouring
countryman, and went out in the morning with his axe in his hand,
accompanied by four wood-cutters who were brothers, and another man
who was their brother-in-law. These good fellows made a bed for
him under a tree, as the weather was very bad; and the wife of one
of them brought him food to eat; and the old mother of the four
brothers came and fell down on her knees before him in the wood,
and thanked God that her sons were engaged in saving his life. At
night, he came out of the forest and went on to another house which
was near the river Severn, with the intention of passing into
Wales; but the place swarmed with soldiers, and the bridges were
guarded, and all the boats were made fast. So, after lying in a
hayloft covered over with hay, for some time, he came out of his
place, attended by COLONEL CARELESS, a Catholic gentleman who had
met him there, and with whom he lay hid, all next day, up in the
shady branches of a fine old oak. It was lucky for the King that
it was September-time, and that the leaves had not begun to fall,
since he and the Colonel, perched up in this tree, could catch
glimpses of the soldiers riding about below, and could hear the
crash in the wood as they went about beating the boughs.

After this, he walked and walked until his feet were all blistered;
and, having been concealed all one day in a house which was
searched by the troopers while he was there, went with LORD WILMOT,
another of his good friends, to a place called Bentley, where one
MISS LANE, a Protestant lady, had obtained a pass to be allowed to
ride through the guards to see a relation of hers near Bristol.
Disguised as a servant, he rode in the saddle before this young
lady to the house of SIR JOHN WINTER, while Lord Wilmot rode there
boldly, like a plain country gentleman, with dogs at his heels. It
happened that Sir John Winter's butler had been servant in Richmond
Palace, and knew Charles the moment he set eyes upon him; but, the
butler was faithful and kept the secret. As no ship could be found
to carry him abroad, it was planned that he should go - still
travelling with Miss Lane as her servant - to another house, at
Trent near Sherborne in Dorsetshire; and then Miss Lane and her
cousin, MR. LASCELLES, who had gone on horseback beside her all the
way, went home. I hope Miss Lane was going to marry that cousin,
for I am sure she must have been a brave, kind girl. If I had been
that cousin, I should certainly have loved Miss Lane.

When Charles, lonely for the loss of Miss Lane, was safe at Trent,
a ship was hired at Lyme, the master of which engaged to take two
gentlemen to France. In the evening of the same day, the King -
now riding as servant before another young lady - set off for a
public-house at a place called Charmouth, where the captain of the
vessel was to take him on board. But, the captain's wife, being
afraid of her husband getting into trouble, locked him up and would
not let him sail. Then they went away to Bridport; and, coming to
the inn there, found the stable-yard full of soldiers who were on
the look-out for Charles, and who talked about him while they
drank. He had such presence of mind, that he led the horses of his
party through the yard as any other servant might have done, and
said, 'Come out of the way, you soldiers; let us have room to pass
here!' As he went along, he met a half-tipsy ostler, who rubbed
his eyes and said to him, 'Why, I was formerly servant to Mr.
Potter at Exeter, and surely I have sometimes seen you there, young
man?' He certainly had, for Charles had lodged there. His ready
answer was, 'Ah, I did live with him once; but I have no time to
talk now. We'll have a pot of beer together when I come back.'

From this dangerous place he returned to Trent, and lay there
concealed several days. Then he escaped to Heale, near Salisbury;
where, in the house of a widow lady, he was hidden five days, until
the master of a collier lying off Shoreham in Sussex, undertook to
convey a 'gentleman' to France. On the night of the fifteenth of
October, accompanied by two colonels and a merchant, the King rode
to Brighton, then a little fishing village, to give the captain of
the ship a supper before going on board; but, so many people knew
him, that this captain knew him too, and not only he, but the
landlord and landlady also. Before he went away, the landlord came
behind his chair, kissed his hand, and said he hoped to live to be
a lord and to see his wife a lady; at which Charles laughed. They
had had a good supper by this time, and plenty of smoking and
drinking, at which the King was a first-rate hand; so, the captain
assured him that he would stand by him, and he did. It was agreed
that the captain should pretend to sail to Deal, and that Charles
should address the sailors and say he was a gentleman in debt who
was running away from his creditors, and that he hoped they would
join him in persuading the captain to put him ashore in France. As
the King acted his part very well indeed, and gave the sailors
twenty shillings to drink, they begged the captain to do what such
a worthy gentleman asked. He pretended to yield to their
entreaties, and the King got safe to Normandy.

Ireland being now subdued, and Scotland kept quiet by plenty of
forts and soldiers put there by Oliver, the Parliament would have
gone on quietly enough, as far as fighting with any foreign enemy
went, but for getting into trouble with the Dutch, who in the
spring of the year one thousand six hundred and fifty-one sent a
fleet into the Downs under their ADMIRAL VAN TROMP, to call upon
the bold English ADMIRAL BLAKE (who was there with half as many
ships as the Dutch) to strike his flag. Blake fired a raging
broadside instead, and beat off Van Tromp; who, in the autumn, came
back again with seventy ships, and challenged the bold Blake - who
still was only half as strong - to fight him. Blake fought him all
day; but, finding that the Dutch were too many for him, got quietly
off at night. What does Van Tromp upon this, but goes cruising and
boasting about the Channel, between the North Foreland and the Isle
of Wight, with a great Dutch broom tied to his masthead, as a sign
that he could and would sweep the English of the sea! Within three
months, Blake lowered his tone though, and his broom too; for, he
and two other bold commanders, DEAN and MONK, fought him three
whole days, took twenty-three of his ships, shivered his broom to
pieces, and settled his business.

Things were no sooner quiet again, than the army began to complain
to the Parliament that they were not governing the nation properly,
and to hint that they thought they could do it better themselves.
Oliver, who had now made up his mind to be the head of the state,
or nothing at all, supported them in this, and called a meeting of
officers and his own Parliamentary friends, at his lodgings in
Whitehall, to consider the best way of getting rid of the
Parliament. It had now lasted just as many years as the King's
unbridled power had lasted, before it came into existence. The end
of the deliberation was, that Oliver went down to the House in his
usual plain black dress, with his usual grey worsted stockings, but
with an unusual party of soldiers behind him. These last he left
in the lobby, and then went in and sat down. Presently he got up,
made the Parliament a speech, told them that the Lord had done with
them, stamped his foot and said, 'You are no Parliament. Bring
them in! Bring them in!' At this signal the door flew open, and
the soldiers appeared. 'This is not honest,' said Sir Harry Vane,
one of the members. 'Sir Harry Vane!' cried Cromwell; 'O, Sir
Harry Vane! The Lord deliver me from Sir Harry Vane!' Then he
pointed out members one by one, and said this man was a drunkard,
and that man a dissipated fellow, and that man a liar, and so on.
Then he caused the Speaker to be walked out of his chair, told the
guard to clear the House, called the mace upon the table - which is
a sign that the House is sitting - 'a fool's bauble,' and said,
'here, carry it away!' Being obeyed in all these orders, he
quietly locked the door, put the key in his pocket, walked back to
Whitehall again, and told his friends, who were still assembled
there, what he had done.

They formed a new Council of State after this extraordinary
proceeding, and got a new Parliament together in their own way:
which Oliver himself opened in a sort of sermon, and which he said
was the beginning of a perfect heaven upon earth. In this
Parliament there sat a well-known leather-seller, who had taken the
singular name of Praise God Barebones, and from whom it was called,
for a joke, Barebones's Parliament, though its general name was the
Little Parliament. As it soon appeared that it was not going to
put Oliver in the first place, it turned out to be not at all like
the beginning of heaven upon earth, and Oliver said it really was
not to be borne with. So he cleared off that Parliament in much
the same way as he had disposed of the other; and then the council
of officers decided that he must be made the supreme authority of
the kingdom, under the title of the Lord Protector of the

So, on the sixteenth of December, one thousand six hundred and
fifty-three, a great procession was formed at Oliver's door, and he
came out in a black velvet suit and a big pair of boots, and got
into his coach and went down to Westminster, attended by the
judges, and the lord mayor, and the aldermen, and all the other
great and wonderful personages of the country. There, in the Court
of Chancery, he publicly accepted the office of Lord Protector.
Then he was sworn, and the City sword was handed to him, and the
seal was handed to him, and all the other things were handed to him
which are usually handed to Kings and Queens on state occasions.
When Oliver had handed them all back, he was quite made and
completely finished off as Lord Protector; and several of the
Ironsides preached about it at great length, all the evening.


OLIVER CROMWELL - whom the people long called OLD NOLL - in
accepting the office of Protector, had bound himself by a certain
paper which was handed to him, called 'the Instrument,' to summon a
Parliament, consisting of between four and five hundred members, in
the election of which neither the Royalists nor the Catholics were
to have any share. He had also pledged himself that this
Parliament should not be dissolved without its own consent until it
had sat five months.

When this Parliament met, Oliver made a speech to them of three
hours long, very wisely advising them what to do for the credit and
happiness of the country. To keep down the more violent members,
he required them to sign a recognition of what they were forbidden
by 'the Instrument' to do; which was, chiefly, to take the power
from one single person at the head of the state or to command the
army. Then he dismissed them to go to work. With his usual vigour
and resolution he went to work himself with some frantic preachers
- who were rather overdoing their sermons in calling him a villain
and a tyrant - by shutting up their chapels, and sending a few of
them off to prison.

There was not at that time, in England or anywhere else, a man so
able to govern the country as Oliver Cromwell. Although he ruled
with a strong hand, and levied a very heavy tax on the Royalists
(but not until they had plotted against his life), he ruled wisely,
and as the times required. He caused England to be so respected
abroad, that I wish some lords and gentlemen who have governed it
under kings and queens in later days would have taken a leaf out of
Oliver Cromwell's book. He sent bold Admiral Blake to the
Mediterranean Sea, to make the Duke of Tuscany pay sixty thousand
pounds for injuries he had done to British subjects, and spoliation
he had committed on English merchants. He further despatched him
and his fleet to Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli, to have every English
ship and every English man delivered up to him that had been taken
by pirates in those parts. All this was gloriously done; and it
began to be thoroughly well known, all over the world, that England
was governed by a man in earnest, who would not allow the English
name to be insulted or slighted anywhere.

These were not all his foreign triumphs. He sent a fleet to sea
against the Dutch; and the two powers, each with one hundred ships
upon its side, met in the English Channel off the North Foreland,
where the fight lasted all day long. Dean was killed in this
fight; but Monk, who commanded in the same ship with him, threw his
cloak over his body, that the sailors might not know of his death,
and be disheartened. Nor were they. The English broadsides so
exceedingly astonished the Dutch that they sheered off at last,
though the redoubtable Van Tromp fired upon them with his own guns
for deserting their flag. Soon afterwards, the two fleets engaged
again, off the coast of Holland. There, the valiant Van Tromp was
shot through the heart, and the Dutch gave in, and peace was made.

Further than this, Oliver resolved not to bear the domineering and
bigoted conduct of Spain, which country not only claimed a right to
all the gold and silver that could be found in South America, and
treated the ships of all other countries who visited those regions,
as pirates, but put English subjects into the horrible Spanish
prisons of the Inquisition. So, Oliver told the Spanish ambassador
that English ships must be free to go wherever they would, and that
English merchants must not be thrown into those same dungeons, no,
not for the pleasure of all the priests in Spain. To this, the
Spanish ambassador replied that the gold and silver country, and
the Holy Inquisition, were his King's two eyes, neither of which he
could submit to have put out. Very well, said Oliver, then he was
afraid he (Oliver) must damage those two eyes directly.

So, another fleet was despatched under two commanders, PENN and
VENABLES, for Hispaniola; where, however, the Spaniards got the
better of the fight. Consequently, the fleet came home again,
after taking Jamaica on the way. Oliver, indignant with the two
commanders who had not done what bold Admiral Blake would have
done, clapped them both into prison, declared war against Spain,
and made a treaty with France, in virtue of which it was to shelter
the King and his brother the Duke of York no longer. Then, he sent
a fleet abroad under bold Admiral Blake, which brought the King of
Portugal to his senses - just to keep its hand in - and then
engaged a Spanish fleet, sunk four great ships, and took two more,
laden with silver to the value of two millions of pounds: which
dazzling prize was brought from Portsmouth to London in waggons,
with the populace of all the towns and villages through which the
waggons passed, shouting with all their might. After this victory,
bold Admiral Blake sailed away to the port of Santa Cruz to cut off
the Spanish treasure-ships coming from Mexico. There, he found
them, ten in number, with seven others to take care of them, and a
big castle, and seven batteries, all roaring and blazing away at
him with great guns. Blake cared no more for great guns than for
pop-guns - no more for their hot iron balls than for snow-balls.
He dashed into the harbour, captured and burnt every one of the
ships, and came sailing out again triumphantly, with the victorious
English flag flying at his masthead. This was the last triumph of
this great commander, who had sailed and fought until he was quite
worn out. He died, as his successful ship was coming into Plymouth
Harbour amidst the joyful acclamations of the people, and was
buried in state in Westminster Abbey. Not to lie there, long.

Over and above all this, Oliver found that the VAUDOIS, or
Protestant people of the valleys of Lucerne, were insolently
treated by the Catholic powers, and were even put to death for
their religion, in an audacious and bloody manner. Instantly, he
informed those powers that this was a thing which Protestant
England would not allow; and he speedily carried his point, through
the might of his great name, and established their right to worship
God in peace after their own harmless manner.

Lastly, his English army won such admiration in fighting with the
French against the Spaniards, that, after they had assaulted the
town of Dunkirk together, the French King in person gave it up to
the English, that it might be a token to them of their might and

There were plots enough against Oliver among the frantic
religionists (who called themselves Fifth Monarchy Men), and among
the disappointed Republicans. He had a difficult game to play, for
the Royalists were always ready to side with either party against
him. The 'King over the water,' too, as Charles was called, had no
scruples about plotting with any one against his life; although
there is reason to suppose that he would willingly have married one
of his daughters, if Oliver would have had such a son-in-law.
There was a certain COLONEL SAXBY of the army, once a great
supporter of Oliver's but now turned against him, who was a
grievous trouble to him through all this part of his career; and
who came and went between the discontented in England and Spain,
and Charles who put himself in alliance with Spain on being thrown
off by France. This man died in prison at last; but not until
there had been very serious plots between the Royalists and
Republicans, and an actual rising of them in England, when they
burst into the city of Salisbury, on a Sunday night, seized the
judges who were going to hold the assizes there next day, and would
have hanged them but for the merciful objections of the more
temperate of their number. Oliver was so vigorous and shrewd that
he soon put this revolt down, as he did most other conspiracies;
and it was well for one of its chief managers - that same Lord
Wilmot who had assisted in Charles's flight, and was now EARL OF
ROCHESTER - that he made his escape. Oliver seemed to have eyes
and ears everywhere, and secured such sources of information as his
enemies little dreamed of. There was a chosen body of six persons,
called the Sealed Knot, who were in the closest and most secret
confidence of Charles. One of the foremost of these very men, a
SIR RICHARD WILLIS, reported to Oliver everything that passed among
them, and had two hundred a year for it.

MILES SYNDARCOMB, also of the old army, was another conspirator
against the Protector. He and a man named CECIL, bribed one of his
Life Guards to let them have good notice when he was going out -
intending to shoot him from a window. But, owing either to his
caution or his good fortune, they could never get an aim at him.
Disappointed in this design, they got into the chapel in Whitehall,
with a basketful of combustibles, which were to explode by means of
a slow match in six hours; then, in the noise and confusion of the
fire, they hoped to kill Oliver. But, the Life Guardsman himself
disclosed this plot; and they were seized, and Miles died (or
killed himself in prison) a little while before he was ordered for
execution. A few such plotters Oliver caused to be beheaded, a few
more to be hanged, and many more, including those who rose in arms
against him, to be sent as slaves to the West Indies. If he were
rigid, he was impartial too, in asserting the laws of England.
When a Portuguese nobleman, the brother of the Portuguese
ambassador, killed a London citizen in mistake for another man with
whom he had had a quarrel, Oliver caused him to be tried before a
jury of Englishmen and foreigners, and had him executed in spite of
the entreaties of all the ambassadors in London.

One of Oliver's own friends, the DUKE OF OLDENBURGH, in sending him
a present of six fine coach-horses, was very near doing more to
please the Royalists than all the plotters put together. One day,
Oliver went with his coach, drawn by these six horses, into Hyde
Park, to dine with his secretary and some of his other gentlemen
under the trees there. After dinner, being merry, he took it into
his head to put his friends inside and to drive them home: a
postillion riding one of the foremost horses, as the custom was.
On account of Oliver's being too free with the whip, the six fine
horses went off at a gallop, the postillion got thrown, and Oliver
fell upon the coach-pole and narrowly escaped being shot by his own
pistol, which got entangled with his clothes in the harness, and
went off. He was dragged some distance by the foot, until his foot
came out of the shoe, and then he came safely to the ground under
the broad body of the coach, and was very little the worse. The
gentlemen inside were only bruised, and the discontented people of
all parties were much disappointed.

The rest of the history of the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell is a
history of his Parliaments. His first one not pleasing him at all,
he waited until the five months were out, and then dissolved it.
The next was better suited to his views; and from that he desired
to get - if he could with safety to himself - the title of King.
He had had this in his mind some time: whether because he thought
that the English people, being more used to the title, were more
likely to obey it; or whether because he really wished to be a king
himself, and to leave the succession to that title in his family,
is far from clear. He was already as high, in England and in all
the world, as he would ever be, and I doubt if he cared for the
mere name. However, a paper, called the 'Humble Petition and
Advice,' was presented to him by the House of Commons, praying him
to take a high title and to appoint his successor. That he would
have taken the title of King there is no doubt, but for the strong
opposition of the army. This induced him to forbear, and to assent
only to the other points of the petition. Upon which occasion
there was another grand show in Westminster Hall, when the Speaker
of the House of Commons formally invested him with a purple robe
lined with ermine, and presented him with a splendidly bound Bible,
and put a golden sceptre in his hand. The next time the Parliament
met, he called a House of Lords of sixty members, as the petition
gave him power to do; but as that Parliament did not please him
either, and would not proceed to the business of the country, he
jumped into a coach one morning, took six Guards with him, and sent
them to the right-about. I wish this had been a warning to
Parliaments to avoid long speeches, and do more work.

It was the month of August, one thousand six hundred and fifty-
eight, when Oliver Cromwell's favourite daughter, ELIZABETH
CLAYPOLE (who had lately lost her youngest son), lay very ill, and
his mind was greatly troubled, because he loved her dearly.
Another of his daughters was married to LORD FALCONBERG, another to
the grandson of the Earl of Warwick, and he had made his son
RICHARD one of the Members of the Upper House. He was very kind
and loving to them all, being a good father and a good husband; but
he loved this daughter the best of the family, and went down to
Hampton Court to see her, and could hardly be induced to stir from
her sick room until she died. Although his religion had been of a
gloomy kind, his disposition had been always cheerful. He had been
fond of music in his home, and had kept open table once a week for
all officers of the army not below the rank of captain, and had
always preserved in his house a quiet, sensible dignity. He
encouraged men of genius and learning, and loved to have them about
him. MILTON was one of his great friends. He was good humoured
too, with the nobility, whose dresses and manners were very
different from his; and to show them what good information he had,
he would sometimes jokingly tell them when they were his guests,
where they had last drunk the health of the 'King over the water,'
and would recommend them to be more private (if they could) another
time. But he had lived in busy times, had borne the weight of
heavy State affairs, and had often gone in fear of his life. He
was ill of the gout and ague; and when the death of his beloved
child came upon him in addition, he sank, never to raise his head
again. He told his physicians on the twenty-fourth of August that
the Lord had assured him that he was not to die in that illness,
and that he would certainly get better. This was only his sick
fancy, for on the third of September, which was the anniversary of
the great battle of Worcester, and the day of the year which he
called his fortunate day, he died, in the sixtieth year of his age.
He had been delirious, and had lain insensible some hours, but he
had been overheard to murmur a very good prayer the day before.
The whole country lamented his death. If you want to know the real
worth of Oliver Cromwell, and his real services to his country, you
can hardly do better than compare England under him, with England

He had appointed his son Richard to succeed him, and after there
had been, at Somerset House in the Strand, a lying in state more
splendid than sensible - as all such vanities after death are, I
think - Richard became Lord Protector. He was an amiable country
gentleman, but had none of his father's great genius, and was quite
unfit for such a post in such a storm of parties. Richard's
Protectorate, which only lasted a year and a half, is a history of
quarrels between the officers of the army and the Parliament, and
between the officers among themselves; and of a growing discontent
among the people, who had far too many long sermons and far too few
amusements, and wanted a change. At last, General Monk got the
army well into his own hands, and then in pursuance of a secret
plan he seems to have entertained from the time of Oliver's death,
declared for the King's cause. He did not do this openly; but, in
his place in the House of Commons, as one of the members for
Devonshire, strongly advocated the proposals of one SIR JOHN
GREENVILLE, who came to the House with a letter from Charles, dated
from Breda, and with whom he had previously been in secret
communication. There had been plots and counterplots, and a recall
of the last members of the Long Parliament, and an end of the Long
Parliament, and risings of the Royalists that were made too soon;
and most men being tired out, and there being no one to head the
country now great Oliver was dead, it was readily agreed to welcome
Charles Stuart. Some of the wiser and better members said - what
was most true - that in the letter from Breda, he gave no real
promise to govern well, and that it would be best to make him
pledge himself beforehand as to what he should be bound to do for
the benefit of the kingdom. Monk said, however, it would be all
right when he came, and he could not come too soon.

So, everybody found out all in a moment that the country MUST be
prosperous and happy, having another Stuart to condescend to reign
over it; and there was a prodigious firing off of guns, lighting of
bonfires, ringing of bells, and throwing up of caps. The people
drank the King's health by thousands in the open streets, and
everybody rejoiced. Down came the Arms of the Commonwealth, up
went the Royal Arms instead, and out came the public money. Fifty
thousand pounds for the King, ten thousand pounds for his brother
the Duke of York, five thousand pounds for his brother the Duke of
Gloucester. Prayers for these gracious Stuarts were put up in all
the churches; commissioners were sent to Holland (which suddenly
found out that Charles was a great man, and that it loved him) to
invite the King home; Monk and the Kentish grandees went to Dover,
to kneel down before him as he landed. He kissed and embraced
Monk, made him ride in the coach with himself and his brothers,
came on to London amid wonderful shoutings, and passed through the
army at Blackheath on the twenty-ninth of May (his birthday), in
the year one thousand six hundred and sixty. Greeted by splendid
dinners under tents, by flags and tapestry streaming from all the
houses, by delighted crowds in all the streets, by troops of
noblemen and gentlemen in rich dresses, by City companies, train-
bands, drummers, trumpeters, the great Lord Mayor, and the majestic
Aldermen, the King went on to Whitehall. On entering it, he
commemorated his Restoration with the joke that it really would
seem to have been his own fault that he had not come long ago,
since everybody told him that he had always wished for him with all
his heart.


THERE never were such profligate times in England as under Charles
the Second. Whenever you see his portrait, with his swarthy, ill-
looking face and great nose, you may fancy him in his Court at
Whitehall, surrounded by some of the very worst vagabonds in the
kingdom (though they were lords and ladies), drinking, gambling,
indulging in vicious conversation, and committing every kind of
profligate excess. It has been a fashion to call Charles the
Second 'The Merry Monarch.' Let me try to give you a general idea
of some of the merry things that were done, in the merry days when
this merry gentleman sat upon his merry throne, in merry England.

The first merry proceeding was - of course - to declare that he was
one of the greatest, the wisest, and the noblest kings that ever
shone, like the blessed sun itself, on this benighted earth. The
next merry and pleasant piece of business was, for the Parliament,
in the humblest manner, to give him one million two hundred
thousand pounds a year, and to settle upon him for life that old
disputed tonnage and poundage which had been so bravely fought for.
Then, General Monk being made EARL OF ALBEMARLE, and a few other
Royalists similarly rewarded, the law went to work to see what was
to be done to those persons (they were called Regicides) who had
been concerned in making a martyr of the late King. Ten of these
were merrily executed; that is to say, six of the judges, one of
the council, Colonel Hacker and another officer who had commanded
the Guards, and HUGH PETERS, a preacher who had preached against
the martyr with all his heart. These executions were so extremely
merry, that every horrible circumstance which Cromwell had
abandoned was revived with appalling cruelty. The hearts of the
sufferers were torn out of their living bodies; their bowels were
burned before their faces; the executioner cut jokes to the next
victim, as he rubbed his filthy hands together, that were reeking
with the blood of the last; and the heads of the dead were drawn on
sledges with the living to the place of suffering. Still, even so
merry a monarch could not force one of these dying men to say that
he was sorry for what he had done. Nay, the most memorable thing
said among them was, that if the thing were to do again they would
do it.

Sir Harry Vane, who had furnished the evidence against Strafford,
and was one of the most staunch of the Republicans, was also tried,
found guilty, and ordered for execution. When he came upon the
scaffold on Tower Hill, after conducting his own defence with great
power, his notes of what he had meant to say to the people were
torn away from him, and the drums and trumpets were ordered to
sound lustily and drown his voice; for, the people had been so much
impressed by what the Regicides had calmly said with their last
breath, that it was the custom now, to have the drums and trumpets
always under the scaffold, ready to strike up. Vane said no more
than this: 'It is a bad cause which cannot bear the words of a
dying man:' and bravely died.

These merry scenes were succeeded by another, perhaps even merrier.
On the anniversary of the late King's death, the bodies of Oliver
Cromwell, Ireton, and Bradshaw, were torn out of their graves in
Westminster Abbey, dragged to Tyburn, hanged there on a gallows all
day long, and then beheaded. Imagine the head of Oliver Cromwell
set upon a pole to be stared at by a brutal crowd, not one of whom
would have dared to look the living Oliver in the face for half a
moment! Think, after you have read this reign, what England was
under Oliver Cromwell who was torn out of his grave, and what it
was under this merry monarch who sold it, like a merry Judas, over
and over again.

Of course, the remains of Oliver's wife and daughter were not to be
spared either, though they had been most excellent women. The base
clergy of that time gave up their bodies, which had been buried in
the Abbey, and - to the eternal disgrace of England - they were
thrown into a pit, together with the mouldering bones of Pym and of
the brave and bold old Admiral Blake.

The clergy acted this disgraceful part because they hoped to get
the nonconformists, or dissenters, thoroughly put down in this
reign, and to have but one prayer-book and one service for all
kinds of people, no matter what their private opinions were. This
was pretty well, I think, for a Protestant Church, which had
displaced the Romish Church because people had a right to their own
opinions in religious matters. However, they carried it with a
high hand, and a prayer-book was agreed upon, in which the
extremest opinions of Archbishop Laud were not forgotten. An Act
was passed, too, preventing any dissenter from holding any office
under any corporation. So, the regular clergy in their triumph
were soon as merry as the King. The army being by this time
disbanded, and the King crowned, everything was to go on easily for

I must say a word here about the King's family. He had not been
long upon the throne when his brother the Duke of Gloucester, and
his sister the PRINCESS OF ORANGE, died within a few months of each
other, of small-pox. His remaining sister, the PRINCESS HENRIETTA,
married the DUKE OF ORLEANS, the brother of LOUIS THE FOURTEENTH,
King of France. His brother JAMES, DUKE OF YORK, was made High
Admiral, and by-and-by became a Catholic. He was a gloomy, sullen,
bilious sort of man, with a remarkable partiality for the ugliest
women in the country. He married, under very discreditable
circumstances, ANNE HYDE, the daughter of LORD CLARENDON, then the
King's principal Minister - not at all a delicate minister either,
but doing much of the dirty work of a very dirty palace. It became
important now that the King himself should be married; and divers
foreign Monarchs, not very particular about the character of their
son-in-law, proposed their daughters to him. The KING OF PORTUGAL
offered his daughter, CATHERINE OF BRAGANZA, and fifty thousand
pounds: in addition to which, the French King, who was favourable
to that match, offered a loan of another fifty thousand. The King
of Spain, on the other hand, offered any one out of a dozen of
Princesses, and other hopes of gain. But the ready money carried
the day, and Catherine came over in state to her merry marriage.

The whole Court was a great flaunting crowd of debauched men and
shameless women; and Catherine's merry husband insulted and
outraged her in every possible way, until she consented to receive
those worthless creatures as her very good friends, and to degrade
herself by their companionship. A MRS. PALMER, whom the King made
the most powerful of the bad women about the Court, and had great
influence with the King nearly all through his reign. Another
merry lady named MOLL DAVIES, a dancer at the theatre, was
afterwards her rival. So was NELL GWYN, first an orange girl and
then an actress, who really had good in her, and of whom one of the
worst things I know is, that actually she does seem to have been
fond of the King. The first DUKE OF ST. ALBANS was this orange
girl's child. In like manner the son of a merry waiting-lady, whom
the King created DUCHESS OF PORTSMOUTH, became the DUKE OF
RICHMOND. Upon the whole it is not so bad a thing to be a

The Merry Monarch was so exceedingly merry among these merry
ladies, and some equally merry (and equally infamous) lords and
gentlemen, that he soon got through his hundred thousand pounds,
and then, by way of raising a little pocket-money, made a merry
bargain. He sold Dunkirk to the French King for five millions of
livres. When I think of the dignity to which Oliver Cromwell
raised England in the eyes of foreign powers, and when I think of
the manner in which he gained for England this very Dunkirk, I am
much inclined to consider that if the Merry Monarch had been made
to follow his father for this action, he would have received his
just deserts.

Though he was like his father in none of that father's greater
qualities, he was like him in being worthy of no trust. When he
sent that letter to the Parliament, from Breda, he did expressly
promise that all sincere religious opinions should be respected.
Yet he was no sooner firm in his power than he consented to one of
the worst Acts of Parliament ever passed. Under this law, every
minister who should not give his solemn assent to the Prayer-Book
by a certain day, was declared to be a minister no longer, and to
be deprived of his church. The consequence of this was that some
two thousand honest men were taken from their congregations, and
reduced to dire poverty and distress. It was followed by another
outrageous law, called the Conventicle Act, by which any person
above the age of sixteen who was present at any religious service
not according to the Prayer-Book, was to be imprisoned three months
for the first offence, six for the second, and to be transported
for the third. This Act alone filled the prisons, which were then
most dreadful dungeons, to overflowing.

The Covenanters in Scotland had already fared no better. A base
Parliament, usually known as the Drunken Parliament, in consequence
of its principal members being seldom sober, had been got together
to make laws against the Covenanters, and to force all men to be of
one mind in religious matters. The MARQUIS OF ARGYLE, relying on
the King's honour, had given himself up to him; but, he was
wealthy, and his enemies wanted his wealth. He was tried for
treason, on the evidence of some private letters in which he had
expressed opinions - as well he might - more favourable to the
government of the late Lord Protector than of the present merry and
religious King. He was executed, as were two men of mark among the
Covenanters; and SHARP, a traitor who had once been the friend of
the Presbyterians and betrayed them, was made Archbishop of St.
Andrew's, to teach the Scotch how to like bishops.

Things being in this merry state at home, the Merry Monarch
undertook a war with the Dutch; principally because they interfered
with an African company, established with the two objects of buying
gold-dust and slaves, of which the Duke of York was a leading
member. After some preliminary hostilities, the said Duke sailed
to the coast of Holland with a fleet of ninety-eight vessels of
war, and four fire-ships. This engaged with the Dutch fleet, of no
fewer than one hundred and thirteen ships. In the great battle
between the two forces, the Dutch lost eighteen ships, four
admirals, and seven thousand men. But, the English on shore were
in no mood of exultation when they heard the news.

For, this was the year and the time of the Great Plague in London.
During the winter of one thousand six hundred and sixty-four it had
been whispered about, that some few people had died here and there
of the disease called the Plague, in some of the unwholesome
suburbs around London. News was not published at that time as it
is now, and some people believed these rumours, and some
disbelieved them, and they were soon forgotten. But, in the month
of May, one thousand six hundred and sixty-five, it began to be
said all over the town that the disease had burst out with great
violence in St. Giles's, and that the people were dying in great
numbers. This soon turned out to be awfully true. The roads out
of London were choked up by people endeavouring to escape from the
infected city, and large sums were paid for any kind of conveyance.
The disease soon spread so fast, that it was necessary to shut up
the houses in which sick people were, and to cut them off from
communication with the living. Every one of these houses was
marked on the outside of the door with a red cross, and the words,
Lord, have mercy upon us! The streets were all deserted, grass
grew in the public ways, and there was a dreadful silence in the
air. When night came on, dismal rumblings used to be heard, and
these were the wheels of the death-carts, attended by men with
veiled faces and holding cloths to their mouths, who rang doleful
bells and cried in a loud and solemn voice, 'Bring out your dead!'
The corpses put into these carts were buried by torchlight in great
pits; no service being performed over them; all men being afraid to
stay for a moment on the brink of the ghastly graves. In the
general fear, children ran away from their parents, and parents
from their children. Some who were taken ill, died alone, and
without any help. Some were stabbed or strangled by hired nurses
who robbed them of all their money, and stole the very beds on
which they lay. Some went mad, dropped from the windows, ran
through the streets, and in their pain and frenzy flung themselves
into the river.

These were not all the horrors of the time. The wicked and
dissolute, in wild desperation, sat in the taverns singing roaring
songs, and were stricken as they drank, and went out and died. The
fearful and superstitious persuaded themselves that they saw
supernatural sights - burning swords in the sky, gigantic arms and
darts. Others pretended that at nights vast crowds of ghosts
walked round and round the dismal pits. One madman, naked, and
carrying a brazier full of burning coals upon his head, stalked
through the streets, crying out that he was a Prophet, commissioned
to denounce the vengeance of the Lord on wicked London. Another
always went to and fro, exclaiming, 'Yet forty days, and London
shall be destroyed!' A third awoke the echoes in the dismal
streets, by night and by day, and made the blood of the sick run
cold, by calling out incessantly, in a deep hoarse voice, 'O, the
great and dreadful God!'

Through the months of July and August and September, the Great
Plague raged more and more. Great fires were lighted in the
streets, in the hope of stopping the infection; but there was a
plague of rain too, and it beat the fires out. At last, the winds
which usually arise at that time of the year which is called the
equinox, when day and night are of equal length all over the world,
began to blow, and to purify the wretched town. The deaths began
to decrease, the red crosses slowly to disappear, the fugitives to
return, the shops to open, pale frightened faces to be seen in the
streets. The Plague had been in every part of England, but in
close and unwholesome London it had killed one hundred thousand

All this time, the Merry Monarch was as merry as ever, and as
worthless as ever. All this time, the debauched lords and
gentlemen and the shameless ladies danced and gamed and drank, and
loved and hated one another, according to their merry ways.

So little humanity did the government learn from the late
affliction, that one of the first things the Parliament did when it
met at Oxford (being as yet afraid to come to London), was to make
a law, called the Five Mile Act, expressly directed against those
poor ministers who, in the time of the Plague, had manfully come
back to comfort the unhappy people. This infamous law, by
forbidding them to teach in any school, or to come within five
miles of any city, town, or village, doomed them to starvation and

The fleet had been at sea, and healthy. The King of France was now
in alliance with the Dutch, though his navy was chiefly employed in
looking on while the English and Dutch fought. The Dutch gained
one victory; and the English gained another and a greater; and
Prince Rupert, one of the English admirals, was out in the Channel
one windy night, looking for the French Admiral, with the intention
of giving him something more to do than he had had yet, when the
gale increased to a storm, and blew him into Saint Helen's. That
night was the third of September, one thousand six hundred and
sixty-six, and that wind fanned the Great Fire of London.

It broke out at a baker's shop near London Bridge, on the spot on
which the Monument now stands as a remembrance of those raging
flames. It spread and spread, and burned and burned, for three
days. The nights were lighter than the days; in the daytime there
was an immense cloud of smoke, and in the night-time there was a
great tower of fire mounting up into the sky, which lighted the
whole country landscape for ten miles round. Showers of hot ashes
rose into the air and fell on distant places; flying sparks carried
the conflagration to great distances, and kindled it in twenty new
spots at a time; church steeples fell down with tremendous crashes;
houses crumbled into cinders by the hundred and the thousand. The
summer had been intensely hot and dry, the streets were very
narrow, and the houses mostly built of wood and plaster. Nothing
could stop the tremendous fire, but the want of more houses to
burn; nor did it stop until the whole way from the Tower to Temple
Bar was a desert, composed of the ashes of thirteen thousand houses
and eighty-nine churches.

This was a terrible visitation at the time, and occasioned great
loss and suffering to the two hundred thousand burnt-out people,
who were obliged to lie in the fields under the open night sky, or
in hastily-made huts of mud and straw, while the lanes and roads
were rendered impassable by carts which had broken down as they
tried to save their goods. But the Fire was a great blessing to
the City afterwards, for it arose from its ruins very much improved
- built more regularly, more widely, more cleanly and carefully,
and therefore much more healthily. It might be far more healthy
than it is, but there are some people in it still - even now, at
this time, nearly two hundred years later - so selfish, so pig-
headed, and so ignorant, that I doubt if even another Great Fire
would warm them up to do their duty.

The Catholics were accused of having wilfully set London in flames;
one poor Frenchman, who had been mad for years, even accused
himself of having with his own hand fired the first house. There
is no reasonable doubt, however, that the fire was accidental. An
inscription on the Monument long attributed it to the Catholics;
but it is removed now, and was always a malicious and stupid


THAT the Merry Monarch might be very merry indeed, in the merry
times when his people were suffering under pestilence and fire, he
drank and gambled and flung away among his favourites the money
which the Parliament had voted for the war. The consequence of
this was that the stout-hearted English sailors were merrily
starving of want, and dying in the streets; while the Dutch, under
their admirals DE WITT and DE RUYTER, came into the River Thames,
and up the River Medway as far as Upnor, burned the guard-ships,
silenced the weak batteries, and did what they would to the English
coast for six whole weeks. Most of the English ships that could
have prevented them had neither powder nor shot on board; in this
merry reign, public officers made themselves as merry as the King
did with the public money; and when it was entrusted to them to
spend in national defences or preparations, they put it into their
own pockets with the merriest grace in the world.

Lord Clarendon had, by this time, run as long a course as is
usually allotted to the unscrupulous ministers of bad kings. He
was impeached by his political opponents, but unsuccessfully. The
King then commanded him to withdraw from England and retire to
France, which he did, after defending himself in writing. He was
no great loss at home, and died abroad some seven years afterwards.

There then came into power a ministry called the Cabal Ministry,
because it was composed of LORD CLIFFORD, the EARL OF ARLINGTON,
the DUKE OF BUCKINGHAM (a great rascal, and the King's most
powerful favourite), LORD ASHLEY, and the DUKE OF LAUDERDALE, C. A.
B. A. L. As the French were making conquests in Flanders, the
first Cabal proceeding was to make a treaty with the Dutch, for
uniting with Spain to oppose the French. It was no sooner made
than the Merry Monarch, who always wanted to get money without
being accountable to a Parliament for his expenditure, apologised
to the King of France for having had anything to do with it, and
concluded a secret treaty with him, making himself his infamous
pensioner to the amount of two millions of livres down, and three
millions more a year; and engaging to desert that very Spain, to
make war against those very Dutch, and to declare himself a
Catholic when a convenient time should arrive. This religious king
had lately been crying to his Catholic brother on the subject of
his strong desire to be a Catholic; and now he merrily concluded
this treasonable conspiracy against the country he governed, by
undertaking to become one as soon as he safely could. For all of
which, though he had had ten merry heads instead of one, he richly
deserved to lose them by the headsman's axe.

As his one merry head might have been far from safe, if these
things had been known, they were kept very quiet, and war was
declared by France and England against the Dutch. But, a very
uncommon man, afterwards most important to English history and to
the religion and liberty of this land, arose among them, and for
many long years defeated the whole projects of France. This was
WILLIAM OF NASSAU, PRINCE OF ORANGE, son of the last Prince of
Orange of the same name, who married the daughter of Charles the
First of England. He was a young man at this time, only just of
age; but he was brave, cool, intrepid, and wise. His father had
been so detested that, upon his death, the Dutch had abolished the
authority to which this son would have otherwise succeeded
(Stadtholder it was called), and placed the chief power in the
hands of JOHN DE WITT, who educated this young prince. Now, the
Prince became very popular, and John de Witt's brother CORNELIUS
was sentenced to banishment on a false accusation of conspiring to
kill him. John went to the prison where he was, to take him away
to exile, in his coach; and a great mob who collected on the
occasion, then and there cruelly murdered both the brothers. This
left the government in the hands of the Prince, who was really the
choice of the nation; and from this time he exercised it with the
greatest vigour, against the whole power of France, under its
famous generals CONDE and TURENNE, and in support of the Protestant
religion. It was full seven years before this war ended in a
treaty of peace made at Nimeguen, and its details would occupy a
very considerable space. It is enough to say that William of
Orange established a famous character with the whole world; and
that the Merry Monarch, adding to and improving on his former
baseness, bound himself to do everything the King of France liked,
and nothing the King of France did not like, for a pension of one
hundred thousand pounds a year, which was afterwards doubled.
Besides this, the King of France, by means of his corrupt
ambassador - who wrote accounts of his proceedings in England,
which are not always to be believed, I think - bought our English
members of Parliament, as he wanted them. So, in point of fact,
during a considerable portion of this merry reign, the King of
France was the real King of this country.

But there was a better time to come, and it was to come (though his
royal uncle little thought so) through that very William, Prince of
Orange. He came over to England, saw Mary, the elder daughter of
the Duke of York, and married her. We shall see by-and-by what
came of that marriage, and why it is never to be forgotten.

This daughter was a Protestant, but her mother died a Catholic.
She and her sister ANNE, also a Protestant, were the only survivors
of eight children. Anne afterwards married GEORGE, PRINCE OF
DENMARK, brother to the King of that country.

Lest you should do the Merry Monarch the injustice of supposing
that he was even good humoured (except when he had everything his
own way), or that he was high spirited and honourable, I will
mention here what was done to a member of the House of Commons, SIR
JOHN COVENTRY. He made a remark in a debate about taxing the
theatres, which gave the King offence. The King agreed with his
illegitimate son, who had been born abroad, and whom he had made
DUKE OF MONMOUTH, to take the following merry vengeance. To waylay
him at night, fifteen armed men to one, and to slit his nose with a
penknife. Like master, like man. The King's favourite, the Duke
of Buckingham, was strongly suspected of setting on an assassin to
murder the DUKE OF ORMOND as he was returning home from a dinner;
and that Duke's spirited son, LORD OSSORY, was so persuaded of his
guilt, that he said to him at Court, even as he stood beside the
King, 'My lord, I know very well that you are at the bottom of this
late attempt upon my father. But I give you warning, if he ever
come to a violent end, his blood shall be upon you, and wherever I
meet you I will pistol you! I will do so, though I find you
standing behind the King's chair; and I tell you this in his
Majesty's presence, that you may be quite sure of my doing what I
threaten.' Those were merry times indeed.

There was a fellow named BLOOD, who was seized for making, with two
companions, an audacious attempt to steal the crown, the globe, and
sceptre, from the place where the jewels were kept in the Tower.
This robber, who was a swaggering ruffian, being taken, declared
that he was the man who had endeavoured to kill the Duke of Ormond,
and that he had meant to kill the King too, but was overawed by the
majesty of his appearance, when he might otherwise have done it, as
he was bathing at Battersea. The King being but an ill-looking
fellow, I don't believe a word of this. Whether he was flattered,
or whether he knew that Buckingham had really set Blood on to
murder the Duke, is uncertain. But it is quite certain that he
pardoned this thief, gave him an estate of five hundred a year in
Ireland (which had had the honour of giving him birth), and
presented him at Court to the debauched lords and the shameless
ladies, who made a great deal of him - as I have no doubt they
would have made of the Devil himself, if the King had introduced

Infamously pensioned as he was, the King still wanted money, and
consequently was obliged to call Parliaments. In these, the great
object of the Protestants was to thwart the Catholic Duke of York,
who married a second time; his new wife being a young lady only
fifteen years old, the Catholic sister of the DUKE OF MODENA. In
this they were seconded by the Protestant Dissenters, though to
their own disadvantage: since, to exclude Catholics from power,
they were even willing to exclude themselves. The King's object
was to pretend to be a Protestant, while he was really a Catholic;
to swear to the bishops that he was devoutly attached to the
English Church, while he knew he had bargained it away to the King
of France; and by cheating and deceiving them, and all who were
attached to royalty, to become despotic and be powerful enough to
confess what a rascal he was. Meantime, the King of France,
knowing his merry pensioner well, intrigued with the King's
opponents in Parliament, as well as with the King and his friends.

The fears that the country had of the Catholic religion being
restored, if the Duke of York should come to the throne, and the
low cunning of the King in pretending to share their alarms, led to
some very terrible results. A certain DR. TONGE, a dull clergyman
in the City, fell into the hands of a certain TITUS OATES, a most
infamous character, who pretended to have acquired among the
Jesuits abroad a knowledge of a great plot for the murder of the
King, and the re-establishment if the Catholic religion. Titus
Oates, being produced by this unlucky Dr. Tonge and solemnly
examined before the council, contradicted himself in a thousand
ways, told the most ridiculous and improbable stories, and
implicated COLEMAN, the Secretary of the Duchess of York. Now,
although what he charged against Coleman was not true, and although
you and I know very well that the real dangerous Catholic plot was
that one with the King of France of which the Merry Monarch was
himself the head, there happened to be found among Coleman's
papers, some letters, in which he did praise the days of Bloody
Queen Mary, and abuse the Protestant religion. This was great good
fortune for Titus, as it seemed to confirm him; but better still
was in store. SIR EDMUNDBURY GODFREY, the magistrate who had first
examined him, being unexpectedly found dead near Primrose Hill, was
confidently believed to have been killed by the Catholics. I think
there is no doubt that he had been melancholy mad, and that he
killed himself; but he had a great Protestant funeral, and Titus
was called the Saver of the Nation, and received a pension of
twelve hundred pounds a year.

As soon as Oates's wickedness had met with this success, up started
another villain, named WILLIAM BEDLOE, who, attracted by a reward
of five hundred pounds offered for the apprehension of the
murderers of Godfrey, came forward and charged two Jesuits and some
other persons with having committed it at the Queen's desire.
Oates, going into partnership with this new informer, had the
audacity to accuse the poor Queen herself of high treason. Then
appeared a third informer, as bad as either of the two, and accused
a Catholic banker named STAYLEY of having said that the King was
the greatest rogue in the world (which would not have been far from
the truth), and that he would kill him with his own hand. This
banker, being at once tried and executed, Coleman and two others
were tried and executed. Then, a miserable wretch named PRANCE, a
Catholic silversmith, being accused by Bedloe, was tortured into
confessing that he had taken part in Godfrey's murder, and into
accusing three other men of having committed it. Then, five
Jesuits were accused by Oates, Bedloe, and Prance together, and
were all found guilty, and executed on the same kind of
contradictory and absurd evidence. The Queen's physician and three
monks were next put on their trial; but Oates and Bedloe had for
the time gone far enough and these four were acquitted. The public
mind, however, was so full of a Catholic plot, and so strong
against the Duke of York, that James consented to obey a written
order from his brother, and to go with his family to Brussels,
provided that his rights should never be sacrificed in his absence
to the Duke of Monmouth. The House of Commons, not satisfied with
this as the King hoped, passed a bill to exclude the Duke from ever
succeeding to the throne. In return, the King dissolved the
Parliament. He had deserted his old favourite, the Duke of
Buckingham, who was now in the opposition.

To give any sufficient idea of the miseries of Scotland in this
merry reign, would occupy a hundred pages. Because the people
would not have bishops, and were resolved to stand by their solemn
League and Covenant, such cruelties were inflicted upon them as
make the blood run cold. Ferocious dragoons galloped through the
country to punish the peasants for deserting the churches; sons
were hanged up at their fathers' doors for refusing to disclose
where their fathers were concealed; wives were tortured to death
for not betraying their husbands; people were taken out of their
fields and gardens, and shot on the public roads without trial;
lighted matches were tied to the fingers of prisoners, and a most
horrible torment called the Boot was invented, and constantly
applied, which ground and mashed the victims' legs with iron
wedges. Witnesses were tortured as well as prisoners. All the
prisons were full; all the gibbets were heavy with bodies; murder
and plunder devastated the whole country. In spite of all, the
Covenanters were by no means to be dragged into the churches, and
persisted in worshipping God as they thought right. A body of
ferocious Highlanders, turned upon them from the mountains of their
own country, had no greater effect than the English dragoons under
GRAHAME OF CLAVERHOUSE, the most cruel and rapacious of all their
enemies, whose name will ever be cursed through the length and
breadth of Scotland. Archbishop Sharp had ever aided and abetted
all these outrages. But he fell at last; for, when the injuries of
the Scottish people were at their height, he was seen, in his
coach-and-six coming across a moor, by a body of men, headed by one
JOHN BALFOUR, who were waiting for another of their oppressors.
Upon this they cried out that Heaven had delivered him into their
hands, and killed him with many wounds. If ever a man deserved
such a death, I think Archbishop Sharp did.

It made a great noise directly, and the Merry Monarch - strongly
suspected of having goaded the Scottish people on, that he might
have an excuse for a greater army than the Parliament were willing
to give him - sent down his son, the Duke of Monmouth, as
commander-in-chief, with instructions to attack the Scottish
rebels, or Whigs as they were called, whenever he came up with
them. Marching with ten thousand men from Edinburgh, he found
them, in number four or five thousand, drawn up at Bothwell Bridge,
by the Clyde. They were soon dispersed; and Monmouth showed a more
humane character towards them, than he had shown towards that
Member of Parliament whose nose he had caused to be slit with a
penknife. But the Duke of Lauderdale was their bitter foe, and
sent Claverhouse to finish them.

As the Duke of York became more and more unpopular, the Duke of
Monmouth became more and more popular. It would have been decent
in the latter not to have voted in favour of the renewed bill for
the exclusion of James from the throne; but he did so, much to the
King's amusement, who used to sit in the House of Lords by the
fire, hearing the debates, which he said were as good as a play.
The House of Commons passed the bill by a large majority, and it
was carried up to the House of Lords by LORD RUSSELL, one of the
best of the leaders on the Protestant side. It was rejected there,
chiefly because the bishops helped the King to get rid of it; and
the fear of Catholic plots revived again. There had been another
got up, by a fellow out of Newgate, named DANGERFIELD, which is
more famous than it deserves to be, under the name of the MEAL-TUB
PLOT. This jail-bird having been got out of Newgate by a MRS.
CELLIER, a Catholic nurse, had turned Catholic himself, and
pretended that he knew of a plot among the Presbyterians against
the King's life. This was very pleasant to the Duke of York, who
hated the Presbyterians, who returned the compliment. He gave
Dangerfield twenty guineas, and sent him to the King his brother.
But Dangerfield, breaking down altogether in his charge, and being
sent back to Newgate, almost astonished the Duke out of his five
senses by suddenly swearing that the Catholic nurse had put that
false design into his head, and that what he really knew about,
was, a Catholic plot against the King; the evidence of which would
be found in some papers, concealed in a meal-tub in Mrs. Cellier's
house. There they were, of course - for he had put them there
himself - and so the tub gave the name to the plot. But, the nurse
was acquitted on her trial, and it came to nothing.

Lord Ashley, of the Cabal, was now Lord Shaftesbury, and was strong
against the succession of the Duke of York. The House of Commons,
aggravated to the utmost extent, as we may well suppose, by
suspicions of the King's conspiracy with the King of France, made a
desperate point of the exclusion, still, and were bitter against
the Catholics generally. So unjustly bitter were they, I grieve to
say, that they impeached the venerable Lord Stafford, a Catholic
nobleman seventy years old, of a design to kill the King. The
witnesses were that atrocious Oates and two other birds of the same
feather. He was found guilty, on evidence quite as foolish as it
was false, and was beheaded on Tower Hill. The people were opposed
to him when he first appeared upon the scaffold; but, when he had
addressed them and shown them how innocent he was and how wickedly
he was sent there, their better nature was aroused, and they said,
'We believe you, my Lord. God bless you, my Lord!'

The House of Commons refused to let the King have any money until
he should consent to the Exclusion Bill; but, as he could get it
and did get it from his master the King of France, he could afford
to hold them very cheap. He called a Parliament at Oxford, to
which he went down with a great show of being armed and protected
as if he were in danger of his life, and to which the opposition
members also went armed and protected, alleging that they were in
fear of the Papists, who were numerous among the King's guards.
However, they went on with the Exclusion Bill, and were so earnest
upon it that they would have carried it again, if the King had not
popped his crown and state robes into a sedan-chair, bundled
himself into it along with them, hurried down to the chamber where
the House of Lords met, and dissolved the Parliament. After which
he scampered home, and the members of Parliament scampered home
too, as fast as their legs could carry them.

The Duke of York, then residing in Scotland, had, under the law
which excluded Catholics from public trust, no right whatever to
public employment. Nevertheless, he was openly employed as the
King's representative in Scotland, and there gratified his sullen
and cruel nature to his heart's content by directing the dreadful
cruelties against the Covenanters. There were two ministers named
CARGILL and CAMERON who had escaped from the battle of Bothwell
Bridge, and who returned to Scotland, and raised the miserable but
still brave and unsubdued Covenanters afresh, under the name of
Cameronians. As Cameron publicly posted a declaration that the
King was a forsworn tyrant, no mercy was shown to his unhappy
followers after he was slain in battle. The Duke of York, who was
particularly fond of the Boot and derived great pleasure from
having it applied, offered their lives to some of these people, if
they would cry on the scaffold 'God save the King!' But their
relations, friends, and countrymen, had been so barbarously
tortured and murdered in this merry reign, that they preferred to
die, and did die. The Duke then obtained his merry brother's
permission to hold a Parliament in Scotland, which first, with most
shameless deceit, confirmed the laws for securing the Protestant
religion against Popery, and then declared that nothing must or
should prevent the succession of the Popish Duke. After this
double-faced beginning, it established an oath which no human being
could understand, but which everybody was to take, as a proof that
his religion was the lawful religion. The Earl of Argyle, taking
it with the explanation that he did not consider it to prevent him
from favouring any alteration either in the Church or State which
was not inconsistent with the Protestant religion or with his
loyalty, was tried for high treason before a Scottish jury of which
the MARQUIS OF MONTROSE was foreman, and was found guilty. He
escaped the scaffold, for that time, by getting away, in the
disguise of a page, in the train of his daughter, LADY SOPHIA
LINDSAY. It was absolutely proposed, by certain members of the
Scottish Council, that this lady should be whipped through the
streets of Edinburgh. But this was too much even for the Duke, who
had the manliness then (he had very little at most times) to remark
that Englishmen were not accustomed to treat ladies in that manner.
In those merry times nothing could equal the brutal servility of
the Scottish fawners, but the conduct of similar degraded beings in

After the settlement of these little affairs, the Duke returned to
England, and soon resumed his place at the Council, and his office
of High Admiral - all this by his brother's favour, and in open
defiance of the law. It would have been no loss to the country, if
he had been drowned when his ship, in going to Scotland to fetch
his family, struck on a sand-bank, and was lost with two hundred
souls on board. But he escaped in a boat with some friends; and
the sailors were so brave and unselfish, that, when they saw him
rowing away, they gave three cheers, while they themselves were
going down for ever.

The Merry Monarch, having got rid of his Parliament, went to work
to make himself despotic, with all speed. Having had the villainy
to order the execution of OLIVER PLUNKET, BISHOP OF ARMAGH, falsely
accused of a plot to establish Popery in that country by means of a
French army - the very thing this royal traitor was himself trying
to do at home - and having tried to ruin Lord Shaftesbury, and
failed - he turned his hand to controlling the corporations all
over the country; because, if he could only do that, he could get
what juries he chose, to bring in perjured verdicts, and could get
what members he chose returned to Parliament. These merry times
produced, and made Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench, a
drunken ruffian of the name of JEFFREYS; a red-faced, swollen,
bloated, horrible creature, with a bullying, roaring voice, and a
more savage nature perhaps than was ever lodged in any human
breast. This monster was the Merry Monarch's especial favourite,
and he testified his admiration of him by giving him a ring from
his own finger, which the people used to call Judge Jeffreys's
Bloodstone. Him the King employed to go about and bully the
corporations, beginning with London; or, as Jeffreys himself
elegantly called it, 'to give them a lick with the rough side of
his tongue.' And he did it so thoroughly, that they soon became
the basest and most sycophantic bodies in the kingdom - except the
University of Oxford, which, in that respect, was quite pre-eminent
and unapproachable.

Lord Shaftesbury (who died soon after the King's failure against
Hampden), and some others, used to hold a council together after
the dissolution of the Parliament, arranging what it might be
necessary to do, if the King carried his Popish plot to the utmost
height. Lord Shaftesbury having been much the most violent of this
party, brought two violent men into their secrets - RUMSEY, who had
been a soldier in the Republican army; and WEST, a lawyer. These
two knew an old officer of CROMWELL'S, called RUMBOLD, who had
married a maltster's widow, and so had come into possession of a
solitary dwelling called the Rye House, near Hoddesdon, in
Hertfordshire. Rumbold said to them what a capital place this
house of his would be from which to shoot at the King, who often
passed there going to and fro from Newmarket. They liked the idea,
and entertained it. But, one of their body gave information; and
they, together with SHEPHERD a wine merchant, Lord Russell,
Algernon Sidney, LORD ESSEX, LORD HOWARD, and Hampden, were all

Lord Russell might have easily escaped, but scorned to do so, being
innocent of any wrong; Lord Essex might have easily escaped, but
scorned to do so, lest his flight should prejudice Lord Russell.
But it weighed upon his mind that he had brought into their
council, Lord Howard - who now turned a miserable traitor - against
a great dislike Lord Russell had always had of him. He could not
bear the reflection, and destroyed himself before Lord Russell was
brought to trial at the Old Bailey.

He knew very well that he had nothing to hope, having always been
manful in the Protestant cause against the two false brothers, the
one on the throne, and the other standing next to it. He had a
wife, one of the noblest and best of women, who acted as his
secretary on his trial, who comforted him in his prison, who supped
with him on the night before he died, and whose love and virtue and
devotion have made her name imperishable. Of course, he was found
guilty, and was sentenced to be beheaded in Lincoln's Inn-fields,
not many yards from his own house. When he had parted from his
children on the evening before his death, his wife still stayed
with him until ten o'clock at night; and when their final
separation in this world was over, and he had kissed her many
times, he still sat for a long while in his prison, talking of her
goodness. Hearing the rain fall fast at that time, he calmly said,
'Such a rain to-morrow will spoil a great show, which is a dull
thing on a rainy day.' At midnight he went to bed, and slept till
four; even when his servant called him, he fell asleep again while
his clothes were being made ready. He rode to the scaffold in his
own carriage, attended by two famous clergymen, TILLOTSON and
BURNET, and sang a psalm to himself very softly, as he went along.
He was as quiet and as steady as if he had been going out for an
ordinary ride. After saying that he was surprised to see so great
a crowd, he laid down his head upon the block, as if upon the
pillow of his bed, and had it struck off at the second blow. His
noble wife was busy for him even then; for that true-hearted lady
printed and widely circulated his last words, of which he had given
her a copy. They made the blood of all the honest men in England

The University of Oxford distinguished itself on the very same day
by pretending to believe that the accusation against Lord Russell
was true, and by calling the King, in a written paper, the Breath
of their Nostrils and the Anointed of the Lord. This paper the
Parliament afterwards caused to be burned by the common hangman;
which I am sorry for, as I wish it had been framed and glazed and
hung up in some public place, as a monument of baseness for the
scorn of mankind.

Next, came the trial of Algernon Sidney, at which Jeffreys
presided, like a great crimson toad, sweltering and swelling with
rage. 'I pray God, Mr. Sidney,' said this Chief Justice of a merry
reign, after passing sentence, 'to work in you a temper fit to go
to the other world, for I see you are not fit for this.' 'My
lord,' said the prisoner, composedly holding out his arm, 'feel my
pulse, and see if I be disordered. I thank Heaven I never was in
better temper than I am now.' Algernon Sidney was executed on
Tower Hill, on the seventh of December, one thousand six hundred
and eighty-three. He died a hero, and died, in his own words, 'For
that good old cause in which he had been engaged from his youth,
and for which God had so often and so wonderfully declared

The Duke of Monmouth had been making his uncle, the Duke of York,
very jealous, by going about the country in a royal sort of way,
playing at the people's games, becoming godfather to their
children, and even touching for the King's evil, or stroking the
faces of the sick to cure them - though, for the matter of that, I
should say he did them about as much good as any crowned king could
have done. His father had got him to write a letter, confessing
his having had a part in the conspiracy, for which Lord Russell had
been beheaded; but he was ever a weak man, and as soon as he had
written it, he was ashamed of it and got it back again. For this,
he was banished to the Netherlands; but he soon returned and had an
interview with his father, unknown to his uncle. It would seem
that he was coming into the Merry Monarch's favour again, and that
the Duke of York was sliding out of it, when Death appeared to the
merry galleries at Whitehall, and astonished the debauched lords
and gentlemen, and the shameless ladies, very considerably.

On Monday, the second of February, one thousand six hundred and
eighty-five, the merry pensioner and servant of the King of France
fell down in a fit of apoplexy. By the Wednesday his case was
hopeless, and on the Thursday he was told so. As he made a
difficulty about taking the sacrament from the Protestant Bishop of
Bath, the Duke of York got all who were present away from the bed,
and asked his brother, in a whisper, if he should send for a
Catholic priest? The King replied, 'For God's sake, brother, do!'
The Duke smuggled in, up the back stairs, disguised in a wig and
gown, a priest named HUDDLESTON, who had saved the King's life
after the battle of Worcester: telling him that this worthy man in
the wig had once saved his body, and was now come to save his soul.

The Merry Monarch lived through that night, and died before noon on
the next day, which was Friday, the sixth. Two of the last things
he said were of a human sort, and your remembrance will give him
the full benefit of them. When the Queen sent to say she was too
unwell to attend him and to ask his pardon, he said, 'Alas! poor
woman, SHE beg MY pardon! I beg hers with all my heart. Take back
that answer to her.' And he also said, in reference to Nell Gwyn,
'Do not let poor Nelly starve.'

He died in the fifty-fifth year of his age, and the twenty-fifth of
his reign.


Copyright 2002-2015 FreeUnitStudies.com - All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy