presented to the
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
Mrs. Griff ing Bancroft
GrlAVURE F. HANF STAE N GX,
The Story of the Greatest Nation
A COMPREHENSIVE HISTORY, EXTENDING FROM THE
EARLIEST TIMES TO THE PRESENT, FOUNDED ON
THE MOST MODERN AUTHORITIES, AND
INCLUDING CHRONOLOGICAL SUM-
MARIES AND PRONOUNCING
The World's Famous Events
TOLD IN A SERIES OF BRIEF SKETCHES FORMING A
SINGLE CONTINUOUS STORY OF HISTORY AND
ILLUMINED BY A COMPLETE SERIES OF
NOTABLE ILLUSTRATIONS -FROM
THE GREAT HISTORIC PAINT-
INGS OF ALL LANLS
Edward S. Ellis, A.M.
Charles F. Horne, Ph.D.
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FllANCIS K. \I(;H ISC II
Copyright, 1913, 1914
F. R. NIGLUTSCH
Edward I. axd Ed-
Chapter CI. — The Beginnings of England,
Chapter CII. — Alfred the Great, .
Chapter CIII. — The Later Saxons,
Chapter CIV. — The Norman Invasion,
Chapter CV. — The Earlier Plantagenets,
Chapter CVI. — England's Rise to Power under
Chapter CVII. — The Houses of Lancaster and York, ....
Chapter CVIII. — The Growth of Royal Power under the Tudor Kings,
Chapter CIX. — The Glorious Reign of Elizabeth, ....
Chapter CX. — The Stuart Kings, ........
Chapter CXI. — Cromwell and the Commonwealth, ....
Chapter CXIL — The Restoration and Second Expulsion of the Stuarts,
Chapter CXIII. — William of Orange and Anne, .....
Chapter CXIV. — The House of Hanover,
Chapter CXV. — George III. and the Struggle with Napoleon, .
Chapter CXVI. — Parliamentary Reform, ....
Chapter CXVII. — The Victorian Era,
Contents — Volume VI.
Chapter CXVIII —Edward VII., . . . .
Chapter CXIX. — The Colonies of Great Britain,
Chronology of England, . . . ,
Rulers of England, . . . - .
Pronouncing Vocabulary for England,
[^^^^^^^^^^ mmm mmmmmm
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS-VOLUxME VI.
The Gateway of History, .
Great Britain (Map),
The Burial of Cadwallon, .
Caractacus in Chains,
Christianity Enters Britain,
Coming of the Teutons,
Saint Augustine, ....
King Alfred and the Danes,
Alfred made King of England. .
Edward takes up his Father's Work,
The Power of the Church,
King Canute and the Waves,
William of Normandy invades England,
The Legend of Harold's Burial, .
Father and Son meet in Battle. .
A Conqueror's Deathbed, .
An Historic Mystery,
Thomas A'Becket, ....
The Crowning of Richard the Lion Hearted,
Richard leads the Crusaders,
The Rescue of Richard,
King John Excommunicated,
The Last Crusader, ....
The Heart of Bruce,
TO FACE P.\GE
List of Illustrations — Volume VI.
Edward III at Crecy,
The Capture of Calais,
The Eve of Poitiers,
John Wycliffe, .
Henry V sails to conquer France,
A Terrible Guardian,
The Princes in the Tower,
The First of the Tudors,
The Tudor and Stuart Kings, .
A Kingly Courting, .
England's Foremost Martyr,
Accession of Edward VI, .
The Nine Days' Queen,
Archbishop Cranmer's Martyrdom,
The Arrest of Mary Queen of Scots,
England's greatest Literary Period,
Elizabeth condemns her Rival,
The Fight of the Revenge,
"The Invincible Armada,"
"The Gunpowder Plot," .
English Despotism at its highest.
King or Parliament, .
The Gathering of the Cavaliers,
Two Country Gentlemen, .
The End of the Civil War,
Cromwell seizes Control, .
Blake's Victory at Plymouth,
Cromwell refuses a crown,
The Rye-House Plot,
The "Bloody Assizes,"
The Coming of King William,
The Flight of the Stuarts,
An Unwilling Queen,
Lord Russell's Victory at La Hc^ue,
Marlborough at Blenheim,
List of Illustrations — Volume VI,
Marlborough at Ramillies, *.
England's Elected Kings, .
The Jacobites of the "Fifteen," .
England's Last Soldier King,
"Bonnie Prince Charlie," .
England becomes Master of India,
England conquers Canada, .
The Age of Steam begun, .
India's last Rally,
"Victory or Westminster Abbey,"
The Battle of the Nile,
A Masterly Retreat, .
The supreme ]\Ioment at Waterloo,
Queen Victoria's Wedding,
The Repeal of the Corn laws, .
The Relief of Lucknow, .
The Wedding of Edward VII, .
Disraeli's First Speech,
Theodore of Abyssinia,
Eviction in Ireland, .
England takes Control of Egypt,
The Fall of the Khalifa, .
The Jameson Inquiry,
Overthrow of the Boer Republic,
Victoria's Diamond Jubilee,
Coronation of Edward VII,
King George in Power,
Woman Suffrage in England,
TO FACE PAGE
ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT
The Coming of the Saxons,
Saint Augustine Preaching to Ethelbert,
Alfred Wins his Mother's Book,
List of Illustrations — Volume VI.
The Death of Edward the Martyr,
Mediaeval Weapons, . .
The Normans Entering England, .
Norman Knights under Stephen, ....
King John and Arthur,
King John Feasting,
The Tower of London,
Edward II. Carried to Prison, ....
Henry VI. Conferring the Regency on Richard of York,
The Roses of Lancaster and Vork,
Henry VIII. Meeting Anne of Cleves,
Wolsey Borne into Leicester Abbey,
Flight of Mary Stuart from Scotland,
Elizabeth and her Court,
Cavaliers Giving their Plate for the Royal Army,
Cromwell Closing the Rump Parliament,
The Trial of Lord Russell, . ...
The Welcome of William of Orange,
William III. Receiving Addresses of Welcome.
The Landing of the Jacobite Leaders in the Highlands.
Tailpiece, . .....
A Royal Reception under George III.,
The Passing of the Election Reform Bill,
The Sepoy Mutiny in India,
English Entrenchments at Mafeking,
The Boers Retreating across Klip River,
Tailpiece, . ...
An Indian Temple, ......
Advance of General Kitchener in the Soudan,
The Great Fire of London, 1666,
King John after Signing Magna Charta,
An Election in the Days of the Reform Bill, ,
The Coming of the Saxons
THE STORY OF
rHE GREATEST NATIONS
MODERN NATIONS — ENGLAND
THE BEGINNINGS OF ENGLAND
[Aulhorities : Green. "History of the English People"; Guizot, " Popular History of Eng-
land"; Kemble, "The Saxons in England"; WacFayden, "Alfred, the West-Saxon"; Palgrave,
"Rise of the English Commonwealth," "History of Normandy and England"; Bagehot, "The
English Constitution " : Freeman, " History of England " ; Hume, " History of England " ; Knight,
" Popular History of England " ; Lingard, "History of England"; Von Ranke, "History of Eng-
land " ; Froude, " History of England," " The English in Ireland" ; Gardiner, " History of England
from James I." ; Carlyle, " Oliver Cromwell" ; Macaulay, " History of England from James H." ;
Lecky, "England in the Eighteenth Century"; Mill, "History of British India"; MacMullen,
" History of Canada " ; Martineau, " History of England during the Peace"; McCarthy, " Historj
of Our Own Times."]
$f^/ c^i^MERICANS should not read the story of England as
they would that of a foreign country. Those of us
who have looked into the past, approach this tale with
quickened heart-beats and a livelier interest.
Our land was originally settled by Englishmen,
and, much as immigration has since altered our race
the foundation remains. It is not merely our language
that comes to us from England ; she gave us our bodies
and our brains, our laws, our hopes, and even our rcligioa
The grim barons who wrung the "Great Charter" from their un»
willing king, the mighty sea-fighters who followed Drake and Raleigh, belong
as much to our past as they do to that of any sturdy Briton of to-day. So it is
^02 The Story of the Greatest Nation^
not as an alien vomme, but ratlicr as an earlier chapter of our own more recent
tale, that this story of England should be read
Could we raise the curtain on Great Britain, far back in the twilight of his-
tory, we should see, instead of an island, a projecting par: of the European con-
tinent, for geologists agree that the country was once attacned to the mainland.
It had a climate of arctic severity, to which of course its animal and vegetable
life corresponded. About the only difference between the beasts of the wood
and the men was that the latter understood how to walk on two legs.
The civilized nations of the ancient world knew nothing of Britain until the
daring Phoenician sailors, coasting Gaul, saw in the distant horizon the white
cliffs of a strange land. The Gauls told them that because of the white color of
the cliffs they had given the name of " Albion "—meaning white — to the coun-
try. The pretty title has lived through all the centuries and is still a favorite
one with poets and orators.
The Phoenicians looked farther into the land of the white cliffs and found
that it contained numerous rich mines of tin and lead. Tin was highly valued,
and the Phoenicians soon opened a brisk trade with the people. One of their
captains, Pytheas, sailed entirely around the little group of islands, in the third
century b. c, and wrote a brief record of his voyage. The accounts of those
remote days, however, are so vague and meagre that little dependence can be
placed upon them, and we must come down to the time of the mighty Caesar
for our first definite knowledge of England.
You will remember that while Caesar was engaged in conquering Gaul, he
discovered that his opponents received great help from their kinsmen, who
crossed over from Albion to aid them in repelling the Roman invaders. This
fact, added to the strange stories which he heard about the people of the isl-
ands, led Caesar, in the year 55 B.C., to sail for Albion — which he, in imitation
of the Greeks, called Britain. He took with him two legions, or about twelve
thousand men, and that was the first historical invasion of England. The time
was late in summer, and the landing-place near the site of the present town of
The shaggy Britons had watched the approach of the Roman ships, and were
in truth more eager for battle than the Romans themselves. The savages had
flung off their clothing of skins, so they were literally "stripped for the fight,'
and many who were on horseback forced their animals far out into the waves,
while the riders taunted the invaders, whom they were impatient to reach.
Others galloped up and down the beach in their war chariots and filled the air
with their defiant cries.
The Romans drawing near were awed by what they saw. They had learned
from the Gauls of the frenzied devotion of the Britons to the Druidical faith
England — Caesar's Conquests 963
The Romans knew nothing of that gloomy and fearful religion, and at first
were afraid to offend the unknown god whom the savages worshipped. They
hesitated, and we can fancy that Caesar himself may have faltered at first,
though not for long. When the invaders were close to land and the shrieking
horde on shore were waiting for them to come within reach of their war clubs
and swords, the standard-bearer of the tenth legion leaped into the sea and
shouted as he dashed toward shore :
" Follow me, my fellow-soldiers, unless you will give up your standard to
the enemy ! "
Thrilled by the heroism of their comrade, the others sprang after him and
drove the defenders before them. Discipline always prevails, and, despite
their bravery, the Britons were soon scattered in disorder. They learned in
the furious struggle that they were no match for these terrible invaders, and on
the morrow sent ambassadors to Caesar begging for peace. The great Roman
was always approachable and considerate to the feelings of others. He
listened to the suppliants kindly, agreed upon the terms, and a few weeks later
sailed away for Rome. In his "Commentaries," Caesar refers to his first cam-
paign in Britain as a reconnoitring expedition, and expresses his intention of
returning there later.
Accordingly, the following year he came back with a more powerful
iorce, and penetrated some distance inland. His most determined opponent,
the hero whose name first stands out for our remembrance in British history, is
called by the conqueror, Cassivelanus, which is probably a Latinized form of
the British name Cadwallon. Cadwallon was the chief or king of a tribe dwell-
ing in the neighborhood of modern London, and his capital stood on the pres-
ent site of St. Albans. He fought valiantly against the Romans ; but some of
the neighboring tribes over whom he wielded a vague and probably tyrannous
lordship, turned against him.
These rebels, joining the Romans, guided them to Cadwallon's hidden city,
which was sacked and burned. Still, however, Cadwallon kept up his resist-
ance, and after several months Caesar, finding little either of pleasure or profit
in the wild, bleak island, abandoned it. Cadwallon was regarded as a nati<)n;il
hero by the Britons, and his leadership over the island continued until his
Caesar, on his return to Rome, brought with him some spoils and large
numbers of captives as hostages. Yet there was significance in the declaration
of Tacitus regarding these expeditions of Caesar: "He did not conquer
Britain; he only showed it to the Romans."
Britain was now left to itself for nearly a hundred years. Thcr, in a.d.
43 the Emperor Claudius led a third invasion into the country. As before,
964 The Story of the Greatest Nations
the islanders made a sturdy resistance, and it was not until nine years had
passed that Roman valor and discipline triumphed. Among the captives
brought back to Rome was Caractacus, the heroic leader of the Britons.
Though in chains, Caractacus held his head unbowed and his spirit unbroken.
When he looked upon the splendor and magnificence of Rome, he exclaimed:
"Why do you who possess all this, covet the poor hovels of my countrymen? "
Brought in front of Claudius, Caractacus looked him defiantly in the face
and refused to kneel and beg for his liberty. The simple majesty and dignity
of the prisoner so impressed the Emperor that he set him and his family free.
It has been said that the religion of the ancient Britons was Druidical.
This faith was hideous in many of its features and of frightful severity, possess-
ing no trace of the gentleness of Christianity. Druid is from a word meaning
an oak. The people venerated this tree and also the mistletoe, which still
forms a part of our Christmas festivities. They had a regularly organized
priesthood, dwelt in forests, met in sacred groves, and offered up human sacri-
fices to win the favor of the gods. The priests held all the traditions, admin-
istered the laws, and prescribed the customs. Naturally, they were held in
great fear by the people, for when the priests were offended they sometimes
roasted those whom they disliked, in large wicker cages. This horrible religion
«eems to have been brought from Gaul in the earliest times, and was woven in
with the worship of the serpent, of the sun and moon, and some of the heathen
gods and goddesses. The priests kept most of their faith and its ceremonies
secret ; but they certainly believed in a life beyond the grave. They built tem-
ples and altars, open to the sky. Many remains of these may still be seen.
The most striking is Stonehege, on Salisbury plain in Wiltshire.
In A.D. 61 Suetonius Paulinus, the Roman governor of Britain, seeing
there could be no real peace so long as the Druids were allowed to make their
fanatical appeals to the people, set out to extirpate them. The island of
Anglesey, off the coast of Wales, was their sacred refuge, and against that he
marched. At sight of the priests wildly calling down curses, and the women
with streaming hair and flaming torches rushing to and fro, the soldiers paused
in superstitious fear, but at the stern command of their leader they rushed
forward, cut down the Britons, demolished the stone altars, flung the frantic
Druids into their own divine fires, and hewed away the sacred groves.
The Roman yoke, however, was not yet firmly fitted to the necks of the
Britons. While Suetonius was in Anglesey, a vicious uprising broke out in
the east. The leader was Boadicea, widow of a king of the Icenians, who was
driven to irrestrainable rage by the brutality with which she and her two
daughters were treated. Her flaming appeals drew the surrounding tribes to
her, and she led them into battle. The Druids by their doubtful prophecies
England — The Introduction of Christianity 965
had encouraged her to hope for success. Legend represents them as fore-
seeing the greatness of England, and promising the frenzied queen —
' ' Regions Cjesar never knew
Thy posterity shall sway ;
Where his eagles never flew,
None invincible as they."
At first it seemed as if the furious and fanatic Britons would sweep the
Romans into the sea. London, St. Albans, and other towns were given to the
torch, and the inhabitants slain without mercy, but when Suetonius hurried
back he stamped out the revolt in one great battle. Eighty thousand Brit9ns
are said to have fallen, and Boadicea poisoned herself in despair.
The real conqueror of Britain was Cnaeus Julius Agricola, who was govern-
or from A. D. 78 to 84. He was an excellent ruler, who built a line of forts
from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Clyde, to keep back the turbulent
North Britons. Then sailing round the north of the island, he discovered the
Orkneys. He stopped the merciless tyranny of the Roman tax gatherers, and
encouraged the natives to build comfortable dwellings, good roads, and thriv-
ing towns. The pleasing character of the country caused many Romans to
settle there, and their power may be considered as having been established by
this wise and good governor.
The Emperor Hadrian visited Britain In a.d. 120, and not feeling strong
enough to hold all the lands gained by Agricola, he constructed an immense
earthwork from the Tyne to the Solway Firth. In 1 39 the Emperor Antoninus
Pius built a new dyke, which followed the line of that of Agricola. The rest-
less North Britons continued troublesome, and the Emperor Severus made a
campaign against them between 207 and 210, and erected a chain of forts along
the line of the dyke built by Hadrian.
Historians have not been able to fix the time when Christianity was
introduced into Britain. It is generally believed that the first church was
built at Glastonbury, the structure being of the most primitive character. The
new religion at that time was held in scorn by the Romans, but its steady
growth caused them fear. Finally in the closing years of the third century,
the Emperor Diocletian determined to stamp out the hated faith. You know
of the dreadful persecution he set on foot in every part of the Roman Empire.
St. Alban was the first in Britain to suffer death, and on the spot where in
304 he gave up his life for his religion the abbey of St. Albans was erected
five centuries later.
The impact of Roman civilization made a lasting impression on the people
and the country. The Romans built some fifty towns, many protected by walls,
^66 The Story of the Greatest Nations
and of these London soon became the chief, though York was made the civil
and military capital of the country. You can still see some of the towers that
flanked the ancient walls of the latter city. The most notable incident in the
history of York was the proclamation of Constantine as Emperor in 306.
Through him Christianity became the established religion of the empire, though
his friendship for the growing faith was that of a statesman rather than of a
The changing forms of government finally resulted in Britain being sepa-
rated into five provinces, all traversed by admirable, paved roads, which centred
in London and were connected across the Straits of Dover with other master-
pieces of engineering skill in France, Spain, and Italy, ending at the Roman
capital — for, as you know, in those days they used to say, " all roads lead to
Rome ruled Britain for three centuries and a half, but by that time the
stupendous empire was crumbling to ruin. Her legions were called back to the
capital and the condition of Britain became the extreme of feebleness. The
people were in a state of hopeless collapse, with not a particle of their for-
mer vigor and resolution remaining. On the north the Picts, on the northwest
the Scots, and on the south and east the Teutons were hammering the miser-
able beings, who meekly bowed their heads to the blows and quarrelled among
themselves over theological questions, while their enemies swarmed over the
border and swept them out of their path like so much chaff.
The foes who came by sea were Teutonic tribes from the mouths of the
Elbe and the Weser in North Germany. Most of the country was conquered
by these Teutons, of whom the principal tribes were the Angles, Saxons, and
Jutes, who finally fused into one people, under the name of Anglo-Saxons, or
Angles or EnglisJi, while that portion of Britain in which they made their
home was called England. They were cruel, and such of the conquered
Britons as they did not enslave, they huddled into the western part of the
The first of these Teutonic kingdoms was founded in Kent. A despairing
British chieftain or king, Vortigern, undertook the dangerous experiment of
fighting fire with fire. To save his people from their northern foes, the Scots,
he invited the Teutons to come to his aid. Two well-known Jutish vikings,
Hengist and Horsa, accepted the invitation with their followers, and in the
year 449 landed on the island of Thanet, the southeastern extremity of
At first Hengist and Horsa served their host well, driving back the wild
northern tribes. Soon, however, larger ambitions took possession of the
shrewd sea-kings. They recognized their own strength and the Britons' weak-
England — The Saxon Conquest 967
ness; they sent word to other Jutes to join them and soon accumulated a
formidable force ; then they picked a quarrel with those they had come to aid.
Legend represents King Vortigern as cowardly, weak, and evil, and tells
that he was fascinated by the wiles of Rowena, a daughter of Hengist. At
any rate he made little resistance to the bold robbers, and the real defence of
the Britons fell to his son Vortimer. There were many fierce combats, in one
of which Horsa was slain. The valiant Vortimer also perished, and gradually
the Jutes crushed out all resistance.
Finally, King Vortigern proposed a friendly meeting. Hengist, now sole
leader of the Jutes, consented. In the midst of a great love-feast held at
Stonehenge, the treacherous Hengist cried out suddenly to his men, " Use your
swords ! "
At the signal every Jute stabbed his British neighbor to the heart. Vorti-
gern alone was spared ; for he had wedded Rowena, and probably the murderers
thought him more useful alive than dead.
These are only dark and doubtful stories. They may or may not be the
literal facts connected v/ith the first entrance of the great Teutonic race into
England. Hengist, Horsa, cind Vortigern, however., really existed, and Eric a
son of Hengist, was, in 457, formally crowned King of Kent, that is, ^'l
England's southeastern coast. He was the first of her Teutonic kings.
Other Teutonic tribes were naturally drawn to Britain by the Jutes' suc-
cess. The Saxons, under a chieftain named Ella, founded a kingdom of Sus-
sex (the South-Saxons) in 477. Two Saxon chiefs, coming over in 495, con-
quered the portion of the country now known as Hampshire, and named it
Wessex, or the Kingdom of the West Saxons. Then, again, from Jutland
came a swarm of Angles, who occupied all that remained of Eastern Britain.
Increasing in strength and numbers, they became masters of most of the