Story of the English - Helene Guerber

James Driven Out of England

Charles was succeeded by his brother James, who, as you know, was not very welcome to many of the English, because he was a Catholic. Still, they allowed him to reign, for they hoped he would not rule long, as he was already more than fifty years of age, and they knew that his daughters, Mary and Anne, who would succeed him, had both married Protestants.

James was very different from his brother, and, although earnest, was so far from clever that a courtier once said: "Charles could see things if he would; James would if he could." The new king had wandered about a great deal during his youth, and at the Restoration he had become an admiral. We are told he did good service at sea, and that he invented the system of signalling with flags. In reward for his services in the Dutch war, he had received the province and city of New Amsterdam, whose name he changed to New York.

When James's first wife died, leaving two daughters, he married a young and beautiful Italian princess called Marie d'Este. She was much younger than he, a very ardent Catholic, and greatly disliked by the English because she tried to meddle in state affairs.

On coming to the throne, James II. promised to support the Church of England and to govern the country by the laws of the realm. But, three days later, he broke both these promises by sending a messenger to the pope and by raising money without the permission of Parliament. The people, seeing that he could no more be trusted than the other Stuarts, were very angry, and many of the Protestants joined the Duke of Monmouth, who landed in England to demand the throne.

Monmouth claimed the throne as Charles's son, and accused James of setting fire to London, of poisoning King Charles, and of many other crimes of which he was not guilty. Some of the English pretended to believe what Monmouth said, and joined in the rebellion. It burst out in Scotland under the Duke of Argyle, and in England under the Duke of Monmouth. Both dukes were defeated, however. When Monmouth fell into James's hands, after the battle of Sedgemoor, he begged pitifully for mercy, but he and Argyle were both beheaded.

James was very revengeful, so he sent a cruel officer named Kirk, and a still more heartless judge named Jeffreys, to try and to punish all the rebels. Kirk and his "lambs," as he jokingly called his soldiers, massacred all who had borne arms, while Jeffreys sentenced to death men and women who had only given water or food to fugitive rebels. He was so cruel that he condemned both innocent and guilty, and his rule has been called the English Reign of Terror, or the Bloody Assizes.

Urged by the queen and by other bad advisers, James not only showed no mercy to the rebels, but rewarded Jeffreys for his cruelty by making him chancellor. Then he began to remove Protestants from their offices, so as to put Roman Catholics in their places. When, six of the bishops refused to read a declaration which annulled all the laws against Catholics, he sent them to the Tower. But, owing to the Habeas Corpus Act, he had to let them go when the judges said they were guilty of no crime.

All these things were borne rather patiently by his subjects, who comforted themselves with the thought that as soon as James died his Protestant daughters would succeed him. But all their hopes were blasted when they heard that the queen had given birth to a son, who would, of course, be brought up a Catholic and inherit the crown.

This was more than the Protestants could bear, so they sent word to William of Orange, the husband of Mary, to come over and deliver them from a Roman Catholic rule. The nobles and Princess Anne joined in this petition; and when James heard that his favourite daughter was against him, he cried: "God help me! My own children have forsaken me!"

James II.

The people were so angry that the queen hastily fled with the baby prince, and King James, fearing lest he should lose his head like his father, soon prepared to follow them to France. He slipped out of the palace unnoticed, rowed over the Thames, into whose waters he flung the great seal, and went to Faversham, whence he hoped to sail across the Channel. But he was recognized by some fishermen there, who brought him back to London. The king was more frightened than ever; but his daughter Mary, thinking it best that James should seem to flee from England of his own accord, gave orders that the soldiers should guard him carelessly. James then contrived to es-cape, and joined his wife and son in France, where the king gave him the palace of St. Germain for his abode.


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
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