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

A Clever Queen

Parliament was sitting when Mary, Queen of England, breathed her last; and when her death was announced, the members all sprang from their seats with shouts of joy, and cries of "God save Queen Elizabeth!" The news was received in the same way throughout the kingdom, and was no less welcome to the new queen, who had spent the last five years in captivity at Hatfield House.

Elizabeth now came to London, where she was joyfully welcomed, and where one of her first acts was to order the release of all who were prisoners on account of their religion. She selected Lord Burleigh, her brother's adviser, as her chief minister, and for the next forty years this able man ruled the country wisely.

At Elizabeth's first Parliament the Protestants came to beg her to release four important prisoners; and when the queen asked their names, they answered that these captives were Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, who were bound fast in the Latin language. Elizabeth smiled when they said this, but soon answered that she would first inquire whether these prisoners wished to be set free.

She therefore assembled a council to discuss religious matters; and this council decided that it was best for the people to have prayers, hymns, and Scriptures in English. The Church of England, or Anglican Church, was therefore again declared the church of the country, and nine thousand priests were given their choice to adopt the Anglican services and recognize the queen as head of the church, or to give up their positions. Only two hundred went away, and as their places were given to Protestants, the whole country was soon under the same teaching.

Thus the change was gradually made, but so gently that not one drop of blood was shed or one estate confiscated. As soon as this was known abroad, the exiled Protestants came flocking back. Some of them brought home from France and Germany what they called purer ideas of worship, so they were called Puritans.

Elizabeth was twenty-five when she came to the throne. She was rather good-looking, very clever and well educated, generous, and forgiving. But she had also three great failings: she was vain, untruthful, and of a violent temper. She showed her forgiving nature by not trying to avenge any of her past injuries. Even to a jailer who had been very unkind to her, she only remarked that he should have the keeping of any prisoner whom she wished treated with great severity.

Queen Elizabeth.


Elizabeth was extravagantly fond of dress and display, and her coronation was a splendid affair. The streets were hung with tapestry and strewn with flowers; there were triumphal arches, shows, speeches, and presents without number; flags waved, bells rang, bonfires were lighted, and it seemed as if the whole nation had gone mad with joy.

Elizabeth had been so well taught by her tutor Ascham that she was able to reign wisely. When she came to the throne the country was in debt, the money was bad, there was no good army or navy, and she saw that it would take time to make England what she wanted it to become one of the foremost countries of the world.

Helped by her clever ministers, Burleigh and Walsingham, Elizabeth began her reforms, and she went ahead so steadily that she soon saw great progress and in time reached her aim. By her order commerce and manufacture were encouraged, the army was properly drilled, and the navy was increased till she won the title of "Queen of the Northern Seas."