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

Loss of the Thirteen Colonies

George's son having died before him, he was succeeded by his grandson, George III. The new ruler was not a native German, like the two Hanoverian kings who preceded him, but prided himself upon being "born a Briton."

As his grandfather and his mother were not on friendly terms, George III. had been brought up far from court, and in such quiet surroundings that he was always rather timid and awkward. It was only when called upon to make public speeches that he appeared well; for he had been carefully taught this art by an instructor who proudly cried, after his first speech: "I taught the boy!"

George III. was a good man, and so gentle and unassuming that he is often called Farmer George. He was very kind to every one he met, and a better father, husband, and son has never been seen. He and his family were so happy and united that they were an example to the whole nation, and Queen Charlotte is always spoken of as a very good woman.

The only great defect in the character of George III. was that he was narrow-minded, obstinate, and anxious to rule by himself. Still, the English were all very fond of him, and the Jacobites, seeing the worthlessness of the Stuarts, now became loyal subjects, and accepted public offices from the king.

The Seven Years' War was still going on when George III. came to the throne; but the British were tired of supplying money for what they called "German quarrels." Still, although the national debt already amounted to many millions, they could not make peace, for Spain had joined forces with France against England.

As a result, the war was carried on in the southern as well as in the northern part of Europe, in the colonies, and on the sea. There were numerous engagements, the British gaining the advantage everywhere, and in 1763 Spain and France were anxious for peace. In the Peace of Paris it was decided that almost all the French possessions in North America, east of the Mississippi River, should belong to the British, who also received Florida from Spain.

Great Britain was now the foremost country in the world, having the largest colonies and the most trade. This prosperity was greatly owing to able ministers, among whom one of the best-known is Pitt.

The war had cost a great deal of money, so heavy taxes were laid upon the people. Not only were these taxes laid upon England, the "mother country," but Parliament decided to impose them upon the colonies also, although Pitt was strongly opposed to this. The most prosperous of all the colonies were located in what is now known as the United States of America; and these refused to be taxed unless they were allowed either to send members to Parliament to protect their interests, or to decide in their colonial assemblies how much they could afford to pay. A good many in Parliament thought the colonists were right, and spoke and voted in their favour; but the greater number—who did not at all represent the common people of England—insisted that the colonists had to obey any law they chose to make. They therefore began by imposing taxes under a law called the Stamp Act. But the American colonists resisted it so strongly that Parliament withdrew the Stamp Act, and insisted only upon a small tax, laid principally upon tea.

Now it was not unwillingness to pay the money that caused the colonists to resist, but it was the thought that the British would not allow them the same freedom as the people of England enjoyed. First, they refused to buy tea; then, seeing that the British wanted to compel them to obey, the colonists took up arms, and at the battle of Lexington, in 1775, began the Revolutionary War, which lasted about seven years. The American forces were ably led by Washington; and the British, although they came over with hired German troops and won several victories, were gradually compelled to yield.

The colonies proclaimed their independence from Great Britain on the 4th of July, 1776, and were soon recognized as the United States of America by France, Holland, and Spain. In 1781 Cornwallis, the British commander, surrendered; and Parliament, which had fancied there would be no great trouble in putting down the American rebellion, soon after had to acknowledge the independence of the United States.

The great statesman Pitt, who had first opposed the taxation of the colonies, made his last and most brilliant speech to protest against their separation from the mother country. He was then so ill that he fainted before his speech was ended, and had to be carried home, where he soon died. His son, the Younger Pitt, who shared his views, was elected member of Parliament in 1780. For the next twenty-six years he was one of the ablest British statesmen, and he too served his country nobly.

The independence of the United States being acknowledged in England, John Adams was sent there as ambassador; and to him George III. frankly said: "I was the last man in the kingdom, sir, to consent to the independence of America; but now it is granted, I shall be the last man in the kingdom to sanction the violation of it."