Front Matter Early Times The Druids The Britons Caesar in Britain Queen Boadicea The Great Walls The Great Irish Saint The Anglo-Saxons Brave King Arthur The Laws of the Saxons The Story of St Augustine Three Great Men The Danish Pirates King Alfred and the Cakes Alfred conquers the Danes A King's Narrow Escape The King and the Outlaw The Monasteries An Unlucky Couple St Dunstan King Canute and the Waves A Saxon Nobleman Lady Godiva's Ride The Battle of Hastings The Conquest Lords and Vassals Death of William The Brothers' Quarrels Arms and Armour The "White Ship" Matilda's Narrow Escapes Story of Fair Rosamond Thomas a Becket Murder of Thomas a Becket Richard's Adventures Richard and the Saracens The Faithful Minstrel Death of Richard The Murder of Arthur The Great Charter The Rule of Henry III A Race Persecution of the Jews The Conquest of Wales A Quarrel with France The Coronation Stone The Insolent Favourite Bruce and the Spider Death of Edward II The Murderers punished The Battle of Crecy The Siege of Calais The Age of Chivalry The Battle of Poitiers The Peasants' Revolt Richard's Presence of Mind A Tiny Queen Henry's Troubles Madcap Harry A Glorious Reign The Maid of Orleans The War of the Roses The Queen and the Brigand The Triumph of the Yorks The Princes in the Tower Richard's Punishment Two Pretenders A Grasping King Field of the Cloth of Gold The New Opinions Death of Wolsey Henry's Wives The King and the Painter A Boy King Lady Jane Grey The Death of Cranmer A Clever Queen Elizabeth's Lovers Mary, Queen of Scots Captivity of Mary Stuart Wreck of the Spanish Armada The Elizabethan Age Death of Elizabeth A Scotch King The Gunpowder Plot Sir Walter Raleigh King and Parliament Cavaliers and Roundheads "Remember" The Royal Oak The Commonwealth The Restoration Plague and Fire The Merry Monarch James driven out of England A Terrible Massacre William's Wars The Duke of Marlborough The Taking of Gibraltar The South Sea Bubble Bonny Prince Charlie Black Hole of Calcutta Loss of the Colonies The Battle of the Nile Nelson's Last Signal The Battle of Waterloo First Gentleman of Europe Childhood of Queen Victoria The Queen's Marriage Wars in Victoria's Reign The Jubilee

Story of the English - Helene Guerber

The South Sea Bubble

When the English saw that George I. was more attached to his German friends than to any one else, they were not pleased. The Tories, many of whom had been satisfied as long as a Stuart reigned, were indignant at being turned out of their offices to make room for Whigs. They began to side with the Jacobites, and said that the crown ought to be given to the Pretender.

This party in favour of the Pretender even went so far as to proclaim him James III. of England, and to invite him to come over and join them. Provided with a small army by the French king, the Pretender started out; but he was of so timid a disposition that he inspired his followers with no confidence. The Jacobites were already disheartened by the battle of Sheriffmuir, and James soon gave up the contest and returned to France.

The Scotch, ever faithful to the Stuarts, had been the first to fight for the Pretender, and it was they who suffered most sorely. A few of the nobles were beheaded, although their friends tried to save them; but many were merely banished to America, where the colonies were steadily growing in importance.

As there was not much to amuse him in England, George made long and frequent visits to Hanover, leaving the government in the hands of his ministers, who did all they could to make Great Britain a great and free country. Little by little, through the king's neglect of his duty and through his absence from the meetings of his ministers, his power grew less while theirs grew greater. The ministers came to be very important officers of the government, and the king having let slip his control over them, his successors could never fully recover it.

For several years England was greatly excited over the South Sea Company's plan for trading with Spanish America. People were eager to get rich without working, so they gave all their money to speculators, who promised them ten pounds for every one they invested. A great many of the English foolishly believed this, and rashly gave their savings, although Walpole constantly warned them that the plan could not succeed. At that time there was no end to the wild schemes in which money was invested, for companies were even formed for making salt water fresh, and for changing all metals to gold! As Walpole had predicted, the South Sea scheme swelled like a bubble and burst. Many people lost all they had, and complained bitterly, but ever since then the English have not been by any means so ready to rush into wild speculation.

The reign of George I. was short and uneventful. He was king for thirteen years, and died of apoplexy in his carriage, on his way to Hanover, whither he was hastening back, as usual, after a short sojourn in England. His eldest son, who had been named Prince of Wales at his coronation, now became king, under the title of George II.

George II. had the simple tastes of his father, but was less clever and of a violent temper. He, too, preferred Hanover to England, and therefore left the government to Walpole.

The French and the Spaniards, meantime, had made a secret or "family compact "to help each other. The Spanish now boarded English ships under pretext of searching for their countrymen or goods, and acted very insolently. This, added to a quarrel about the boundaries of Georgia and Florida, made bad feeling between the two nations. One day a Spanish captain roughly tore off the ear of an Englishman named Jenkins. Then, flinging the fragment in the man's face, he bade him carry it to King George and tell the latter that the Spaniards would treat him in the same way if they caught him.

This rude message proved the "last straw," and started the "War of Jenkins's Ear," as it is sometimes called. But although the fighting began between England and Spain, a quarrel about the crown of Austria soon involved all Europe in the "War of the Austrian Succession." Great Britain, Holland, and Austria were on one side, France, Spain, Prussia, and Bavaria on the other, and the war spread even to the colonies. You can read in your United States histories how it was conducted in America, where it was called "King George's War." In Europe it was carried on by George II., who took part in and won the battle of Dettingen. But the British did not win any very great advantage, and after eight years the War of the Austrian Succession was ended by the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1748).