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 Battle of Waterloo

After the failure of his plan for crossing the Channel, Napoleon plunged into new ventures. He suddenly marched off to attack Austria and Russia, and won battle after battle in central Europe. Then, hoping to make Great Britain poor, he declared that none of her vessels should be allowed to come into any port on the Continent, to buy or sell any merchandise. Of course, such an order made the British angry; and when they heard that Napoleon intended to seize the fleet of Denmark and use it against England, they bombarded Copenhagen and seized the Danish ships.

Spain and Portugal, indignant at the treatment they received from their French conquerors, now declared war against Napoleon. They asked the help of the English, so Wellington, the "Iron Duke," immediately set out for the south. With a force of ten thousand men, he won the battles of Talavera, Salamanca, and Vitoria. This war, which lasted from 1808 to 1814, is generally known as the Peninsular War, because the principal battles were fought in the peninsula formed by Spain and Portugal.

Although it seemed as if Great Britain had already enough to do in fighting the greater part of Europe, she was soon called upon to fight against the United States also. In this War of 1812, about which you can learn in your American histories, King George took no interest; for he was now both blind and insane, and his son George was acting as regent in his stead.

Wellington and Blucher.


Napoleon, having failed to conquer Russia, was obliged to face all the European powers. They defeated him at the battle of Leipzig, or the "Battle of Nations," in 1813, and drove him back to France, where, in 1814, they forced him to give up the crown to Louis XVIII., a brother of the beheaded Louis XVI. Napoleon was then sent to the island of Elba, in the Mediterranean Sea. But while the different nations were assembled at Vienna, trying to decide how to divide his conquests, he suddenly escaped. Landing in France, he was joined by a large force, and for nearly one hundred days was again supreme.

The European powers, however, were determined not to allow him to reign long, and prepared for war. The British under Wellington, and the Prussians under Blucher, were first in the field. Napoleon met them at Waterloo (1815 ), and there, in spite of all his genius and the great courage of his soldiers, he was completely defeated.

"It is all over; we must save ourselves," said Napoleon, who had been in the midst of the fight, but was still unwounded. He was right; all was indeed over for him. He went back to Paris, and thence to Rochefort, intending to escape to America. But the British fleet blocked the port; and, being assured of honourable treatment, he went on board the Bellerophon.



Napoleon had been so dangerous a foe that, in spite of all the promises made to him, the British rulers finally decided that it would be best to exile him to the island of St. Helena. Here, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, closely watched by soldiers who allowed him no privacy, Napoleon spent six lonely years. He died of a painful disease in 1821, and the British vessels which had cruised around the island to prevent his escape then returned home.

It will probably interest you to hear that it was Wellington, the victor of Waterloo, who put an end to dueling in the army, by telling his soldiers that it was far more cowardly to accept a challenge than to refuse one. Since then, British soldiers have ceased to fight, except when in the presence of the enemy.