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Parts First, Second, and Third.
England under Elizabetu. From the year 1558, to

the year 1603 1


Parts First and Second.

England under James the First. From the year

1G03, to the year 1625 36


Parts First, Second, Third, and Fourth.

England under Charles the First. From the year

1025, to the year 1649 60


Parts First and Second.
England under Oliver Cromwell. From the year

1049, to the year 1660 101




Parts First and Second.
England under Charles the Second, called the
Merry Monarch. From the year 1660, to the year
1685 125


England under James the Second. From the year

1685, to the year 1688 156

Conclusion. From the year 1688, to the year 1837 . . 175



Introductory Romance from the Pen of William Tink-
ling, Esq 181

Romance. From the Pen of Miss Alice Rainbird . . 193


Romance. From the Pen of Lieutenant-Colonel Robin

Redforth 207

Romance. From the Pen of Miss Nettie Ashford . . 221



TION 235



In the old City of Rochester 277

The Story of Richard Doubledick 290

The Road 311



Myself 317

The Boots 346

The Bill 361

The Wreck 369



Portrait of Dickens {cet. 44). From the Painting

BY Ary Scheffer, 1856 Title Page

The Love-making of Francis II. and Mary Stuart, 4

Portrait of James the First 36

Execution of Charles the First 99


The Seven Poor Travellers 277

The Holly-Tree Inn 317

Wreck of the Golden Mary 369




There was great rejoicing all over the land wlien
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

VOL. II.-l.

2 A child's history of ENGLAND.

deceitful, and inherited mucli 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 understand-
ing 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 pre-
sented 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 Evan-
gelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and also
the Apostle St. Paul, who had been for some time
shut up in a strange language, so that the people
could not get at them.

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 West-

A child's history of ENGLAND. 3

minster 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

The one great trouble of this reign, and the unfor-
tunate 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 pre-
tended 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
\^ere 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,

4 A child's history 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

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
Gray Friars, and the Black Friars, and the White
Friars, and the friars of all sorts of colors, 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 colors on their legs again ; of conquering
that country first, and England afterwards ; and so
crushing the Reformation all to pieces. The Scot-
tish Reformers, who had formed a great league
which they called The Congregation of the Lord,
secretly represented to Elizabeth that, if the re-
formed religion got the worst of it with them, it

A child's history of ENGLAND. 5

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

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
harbor, 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 Avere 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

6 A child's history of ENGLAND.

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 ex-
periences 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 sere-
nade of discordant music — a fearful concert of bag-
pipes, 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 for-
ward against the Queen, in some form or other, by
the Romish party.

That Elizabeth, on the other hand, was not in-
clined to like her, is pretty certain. Elizabeth was
very vain and jealous, and had an extraordinary

A child's history of ENGLAND. 7

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 mar-
riage 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 favored
too, was Lord Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester
— himself secretly married to Amy Eobsart, 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 Eliza-
beth knew how to lead her handsome favorite 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 myself.

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, sou of the Earl of Lennox,

8 A child's history of ENGLAND.

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 con-
temptible 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 him-
self 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 armor, 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 favor, and whom he now believed
to be her lover. He hated Rizzio to that extent,
that he made a compact with Lord Ruthven and

A child's history of ENGLAND. 9

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 protec-
tion. " Let him come out of the room," said Ruth-
ven. " 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 con-
spirators 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
Eaki. Bothwell and some other nobles. With
their help, they raised eight thousand men, returned
to.Ediiiburgh, 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.

10 A child's history of ENGLAND.

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 abandon the
assassins of Eizzio. The arrangements for the
christening of the young Prince were intrusted 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 mur-
der 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 con-
tent ; 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 Sun-
day 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 favorite servants. At two
o'clock in the morning the city was shaken by a

A child's history of ENGLAND. 11

great explosion, and the Kirk of Field was blown to

Darnley's body was found next day lying under a
tree at some distance. How it came there, uudis-
figured and un scorched by gunpowder, and how this
crime came to be so clumsily and strangely com-
mitted, 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 de-
scribed as having been quite frantic against the
Queen, and to have hooted and cried after her in the
streets with terrific vehemence.

Such guilty unious seldom prosper. This husband
and wife had lived together but a month, when they
were separated forever by the successes of a band
of Scotch nobles who associated against them for
the protection of the young Prince : whom Bothwell
Iiad vainly endeavored to lay hold of, and whom he
would certainly have murdered, if the Eakl of
Mar, in whose hands the boy was, had not been
lirmly and honorably faithful to his trust. Before

12 A child's history of ENGLAND.

this angry power, Bothwell fled abroad, where he
died a prisoner, and mad, nine miserable years after-
Avards. 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 sorrow-
ing 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 washerwoman, 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 Eegent to yield

A child's history of. ENGLAND. 13

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 horseback 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, repre-
senting herself as an innocent and injured piece of
Eoyalty, 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 con-
dition, 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

14 A child's history op ENGLAND.

considered necessary; but England she never left

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

Online LibraryCharles DickensDicken's works (Volume 8) → online text (page 1 of 26)