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Narrative History of England
Part 1: The Prehistoric Period by Peter N. Williams, Ph. D.
Though the scribes that accompanied the Roman invaders of Britain gave us the first written history of the land that came to be known as England, its history had already been writ large in its ancient monuments and archeological findings. Present-day Britain is riddled with evidence of its long past, of the past that the Roman writers did not record, but which is etched in the landscape. Looking out on the green and cultivated land, where it is not disfigured by the inevitable cities and towns and villages of later civilizations -- those dark Satanic mills so loathed by William Blake -- he can see what seem to be anomalies on the hillsides -- strange bumps and mounds; remains of terraced or plowed fields; irregular slopes that bespeak ancient hill forts; strangely carved designs in the chalk; jagged teeth of upstanding megaliths; stone circles of immense breadth and height and ancient, mysterious wells and springs. Man lived in what we now call the British Isles long before it broke away from the continent of Europe, long before the great seas covered the land bridge that is now known as the English Channel, that body of water that protected this island for so long, and that by its very nature, was to keep it out of the maelstrom that became medieval Europe. Thus England's peculiar character as an island nation came about through its very isolation. Early man came, settled, farmed and built. His remains tell us much about his lifestyle and his habits. Of course, the land was not then known as England, nor would it be until long after the Romans had departed. We know of the island's early inhabitants from what they left behind on such sites as Clacton-on-Sea in Essex, and Swanscombe in Kent, gravel pits, the exploration of which opened up a whole new way of seeing our ancient ancestors dating back to the lower Paleolithic (early Stone Age). Here were deposited not only fine tools made of flint, including hand-axes, but also a fossilized skull of a young woman as well as bones of elephants, rhinoceroses, cave-bears, lions, horses, deer, giant oxen, wolves and hares. From the remains, we can assume that man lived at the same time as these animals which have long disappeared from the English landscape. So we know that a thriving culture existed around 8,000 years ago in the misty, westward islands the Romans were to call Britannia, though some have suggested the occupation was only seasonal, due to the still-cold climate of the glacial period which was slowly coming to an end. As the climate improved, there seems to have been an increase in the number of people moving into Britain from the Continent. They were attracted by its forests, its wild game, abundant rivers and fertile southern plains. An added attraction was its relative isolation, giving protection against the fierce nomadic tribesmen that kept appearing out of the east, forever searching for new hunting grounds and perhaps, people to subjugate and enslave. The Neolithic Age The new age of settlement took place around 4,500 BC, in what we now term the Neolithic Age. Though isolated farmhouses seem to be the norm, the remarkable findings at Skara Brae and Rinyo in the Orkneys give evidence of settled, village life. In both sites, local stone was used extensively to make interior walls, beds, boxes, cupboards and hearths. Roofs seem to have been supported by whale bone, more plentiful and more durable than timber. Much farther south, at Carn Brea in Cornwall, another Neolithic village attests to a lifestyle similar to that enjoyed at Skara Brae, except in the more fertile south, agriculture played a much larger part in the lives of the villagers. Animal husbandry was practiced at both sites. Very early on, farming began to transform the landscape of Britain from virgin forest to ploughed fields. An excavated settlement at Windmill Hill, Wiltshire shows us that its early inhabitants kept cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and dogs. They also cultivated various kinds of wheat and barley grew flax, gathered fruits and made pottery. They buried their dead in long barrows -- huge elongated mounds of earth raised over a temporary wooden structure in which several bodies were laid. These long barrows are found all over Southern England, where fertile soil allied to a flat, or gently rolling landscape greatly aided settlement.
To clear the forests, it is obvious that stone-axes of a sophisticated design were produced in great numbers. Many of these axes were obtained by trading with other groups or by mining high-quality flint. Both activities seem to have been wide-spread, as stone-axes appear in many areas away from the source of their manufacture. At Grimes Graves, in Norfolk (in the eastern half of Britain), great quantities of flint were mined by miners working deep hollowed-out shafts and galleries in the chalk. At the same time the Windmill people practiced their way of life and other farming people were introducing decorated pottery and different shaped tools to Britain. The cultures may have combined to produce the striking Megalithic monuments, the burial chambers and the henges. The tombs consisted of passage graves, in which a long narrow passage leads to a burial chamber in the very middle of the mound; and gallery graves, in which the passage is wider, divided by stone partitions making stall-like compartments. Some of these tombs were built of massive blocks of stone standing upright as walls, with other huge blocks laid across horizontally to make a roof. They were then covered with earthen mounds which have in many cases, completely eroded. One of the most impressive of these tombs is New Grange in Ireland. They are the oldest manmade stone structures known, older than the great Pyramids of Egypt. Sometime in the early to middle Neolithic period, groups of people began to build camps or enclosures in valley bottoms or on hilltops. Perhaps these were originally built to pen cattle and later used for defense, settlement or simply meeting places for trading. Perhaps they were built for religious purposes. Soon, these enclosures began to evolve into more elaborate sites that may have been used for religious ceremonies, perhaps even for studying the night stars so that sowing, planting and harvesting could be done at the most propitious times of the year. Whatever their purpose, we call these sites, most of which are circular or semi-circular in pattern, henges. They include banks and ditches; the most impressive, at Avebury, in Wiltshire, had a ditch 21 metres in width, and 9 metres deep in places. Many of the timber posts that defined these henges have long disappeared, but many sites still contain circles of pits, central stones, cairns or burials and clearly defined stone or timber entrances. It was not too long before stone circles began to dot the landscape, spanning the period between the late Neolithic and the early Bronze Ages (c 3370 - 2679 BC). Outside these circles were erected the monoliths, huge single standing stones that may have been aligned on the rising or setting sun at midsummer or midwinter. Some of these, such as the groups of circles known as the Calva group in present day Scotland, were also used for burials and burial ceremonies. Henges seem to have been used for multiple purposes, justifying the enormous expenditure of time and energy to construct them. The arrival of the so-called "Beaker people" named after the shape of their most characteristic pottery vessel, brought the first metal-users to the British Isles. Perhaps they used their beakers to store beer, for they grew barley and knew how to brew beer from it. At the time of their arrival in Britain, they seem to have mingled with another group of Europeans we call the "Battle-axe people," who had domesticated the horse, used wheeled carts and smelted and worked copper. They also buried their dead in single graves, often under round barrows. They also may have introduced a language into Britain derived from Indo-European. Prehistoric Earthworks and the "Wessex Culture" The two groups seem to have blended together to produce the cult in Southern England that we call the 'Wessex Culture.' They were responsible for the enormous earthwork called Silbury Hill, the largest manmade mound in prehistoric Europe. Silbury is 39 metres high and was built as a series of circular platforms; their purpose still unknown. Nearby is the largest henge of all, Avebury, consisting of a vast circular ditch and bank, an outer ring of one hundred standing stones and two smaller inner rings of stones. Outside the monument was a mile-long avenue of standing stones. Stonehenge, in the same general area as Silbury and Avebury, is perhaps the most famous, certainly the most visited and photographed of all the prehistoric monuments in Britain. We can only guess at the amount of labor involved in its
construction, at the enormous complexity of the task which included transporting the inner blue-stones from the Preseli Hills in Wales and erecting of the great lintelled circle and horseshoe of large sarsen stones, shaped and dressed. The architectural sophistication of the monument bears witness to the tremendous technological advances being made at the time of the arrival of the Bronze Age. Grave goods also attest to the sophistication of the Wessex culture: These include well-made stone battle axes, but also metal daggers with richly decorated hilts, precious ornaments of gold or amber, as well as gold cups, amulets, even a sceptre with a polished mace-head at one end. To make bronze, tin came from Cornwall; gold came from Wales, and products made from these metals were traded freely both within the British Isles and with peoples on the continent of Europe. Bronze was used to make cauldrons and bowls, shields and helmets, weapons of war, and farming tools. It was at this time that the Celtic peoples arrived in the islands we now call Britain.
The Celts Before the arrival of the Celts in Britain, iron-working had begun in the Hittite Empire, of Asia Minor. Those who practiced the trade kept it a closely guarded secret, but shortly after 1200 BC, the Hittites were overthrown and knowledge of the miracle metal began to leak out. In Central Europe, a culture known as "Urnfield" developed and prospered. It quickly adapted the iron-working culture known as "Hallstatt," after a site in Austria. One of the most significant elements in the new culture was the system of burial. Important people were buried along with their most precious possessions in timber built chambers under earthen barrows. The Hallstatt people were highly-skilled craftsmen, who used iron, bronze and gold, and produced fine burnished pottery. At some time they reached the British Isles and their culture began to infiltrate those foggy, wet, but mineral-rich islands off the Continent. From their contact with Mediterraneans, the Hallstatt people had advanced their technology and culture developing into what is called "La Tene" after a site in Switzerland. The La Tene style, with its production of beautiful, handsomely-made and decorated articles, came into existence around the middle of the fifth century BC. It was produced by the Celts, the first people in the islands of Britain whose culture and language survive in many forms today. Of the Celtic peoples, Hermann Noelle wrote: The Celtic culture as a whole, developing very early on about 1000 BC, and reaching its finest expression around 500 BC, is a fundamental part of Europe's past. This is not to underrate the subsequent influence of the Latin and Germanic peoples on this part of Europe. But the Celtic foundation was already present. Thus, European culture is inconceivable without the Celtic contribution. Even when the presence of the Celts in their original territory is no longer obvious, we must acknowledge the fact: they are at the root of the Western European peoples who have made history. (Die Kelten und Ihre Stadt Manching, cited in Cunliffe, 214) The arrival of people into the British Isles from the Continent probably took place in small successive waves. The Greeks called these people Keltoi, the Romans Celtai. In present-day Yorkshire, "the Arras Culture" with its La Tene chariot burials attests to the presence of a wealthy and flourishing Celtic society in Northeast Britain. In the southwest, cross-Channel influence is seen. Here, a culture developed that was probably highly involved in the mining and trading of tin; it is characterized by a certain type of hill fort that is also found in Britanny. Hill Forts Hill Forts from the Iron-Age, the age of the Celts, are found everywhere in the British Isles. Spectacular relics from prehistoric times, hill forts had as many purposes as sites. They varied from shelters for people and livestock in times of danger, purely local settlements of important leaders and their families, to small townships and administrative centers. Long practiced in the art of warfare, the people of these isolated settlements were responsible for some of the finest known artistic achievements. In addition to their beautifully wrought and highly decorated shields, daggers, spears, helmets and sword, they also produced superb mirrors, toilet articles, drinking vessels and personal jewelry of exquisite form and decoration.
The Celts in Britain used a language derived from a branch of Celtic known as either Brythonic, which gave rise to Welsh, Cornish and Breton; or Goidelic, giving rise to Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx. Along with their languages, the Celts brought their religion to Britain, particularly that of the Druids, the guardians of traditions and learning. The Druids *glorified the pursuits of war, feasting and horsemanship. They controlled the calender and the planting of crops and presided over the religious festivals and rituals that honored local deities.
*A druid was a member of the priestly and learned class in the ancient Celtic societies of Western Europe, Britain and Ireland. They were suppressed by the Roman government and disappeared from the written record by the second century CE. Druids combined the duties of priest, judge, scholar, and teacher. Little contemporary evidence for them exists, and thus little can be said of them with assurance, but they continued to feature prominently in later Irish myth and literature. Most of what is known about them comes from the Roman writers.
The Celtic communities that Druids served were polytheistic. They also show signs of animism, in their reverence for various aspects of the natural world, such as the land, sea and sky, and their veneration of other aspects of nature, such as sacred trees and groves (the oak and hazel were particularly revered), tops of hills, streams, lakes and plants such as the mistletoe. Fire was regarded as a symbol of several divinities and was associated with cleansing. Purported ritual killing and human sacrifice were aspects of druidic culture that shocked classical writers.
Many of Britain's Celts came from Gaul, driven from their homelands by the Roman armies and Germanic tribes. These were the Belgae, who arrived in great numbers and settled in the southeast around 75 BC. They brought with them a sophisticated plough that revolutionized agriculture in the rich, heavy soils of their new lands. Their society was well-organized in urban settlements, the capitals of the tribal chiefs. Their crafts were highly developed; bronze urns, bowls and torques illustrate their metalworking skills. They also introduced coinage to Britain and conducted a lively export trade with Rome and Gaul, including corn, livestock, metals and slaves. Of the Celtic lands on the mainland of Britain, Wales and Scotland have received extensive coverage in the pages of Britannia. The largest non-Celtic area, at least linguistically, is now known as England, and it is here that the Roman influence is most strongly felt. It was here that the armies of Rome came to stay, to farm, to mine, to build roads, small cities, and to prosper, but mostly to govern. Changes in Empire and at Home The first Roman invasion of the lands we now call the British Isles took place in 55 B.C. under war leader Julius Caesar, who returned one year later, but these probings did not lead to any significant or permanent occupation. He had some interesting, if biased comments concerning the natives: "All the Britons," he wrote, "paint themselves with woad, which gives their skin a bluish color and makes them look very dreadful in battle." It was not until a hundred years later that permanent settlement of the grain-rich eastern territories began in earnest. In the year 43.A.D.an expedition was ordered against Britain by the Emperor Claudius, who showed he meant business by sending his general, Aulus Plautius, and an army of 40,000 men. Only three months after Plautius's troops landed on Britain's shores, the Emperor Claudius felt it was safe enough to visit his new province. Establishing their bases in what is now Kent, through a series of battles involving greater discipline, a great element of luck, and general lack of co-ordination between the leaders of the various Celtic tribes, the Romans subdued much of Britain in the short space of forty years. They were to remain for nearly 400 years. The great number of prosperous villas that have been excavated in the southeast and southwest testify to the rapidity by which Britain became Romanized, for they functioned as centers of a settled, peaceful and urban life. The highlands and moorlands of the northern and western regions, present-day Scotland and Wales, were not as easily settled, nor did the Romans particularly wish to settle in these agriculturally poorer, harsh landscapes. They remained the frontier -- areas where military garrisons were strategically placed to guard the extremities of the Empire. The stubborn resistance of tribes in Wales meant that two out of three Roman legions in Britain were stationed on its borders, at Chester and Caerwent. Major defensive works further north attest to the fierceness of the Pictish and Celtic tribes, Hadrian's Wall in particular reminds us of the need for a peaceful and stable frontier. Built when Hadrian had abandoned his plan of world conquest, settling for a permanent frontier to "divide Rome from the barbarians," the seventy-
two mile long wall connecting the Tyne to the Solway was built and rebuilt, garrisoned and re-garrisoned many times, strengthened by stone-built forts as one mile intervals. For Imperial Rome, the island of Britain was a western breadbasket. Caesar had taken armies there to punish those who were aiding the Gauls on the Continent in their fight to stay free of Roman influence. Claudius invaded to give himself prestige, and his subjugation of eleven British tribes gave him a splendid triumph. Vespasian was a legion commander in Britain before he became Emperor, but it was Agricola who gave us most notice of the heroic struggle of the native Britons through his biographer Tacitus. From him, we get the unforgettable picture of the druids, "ranged in order, with their hands uplifted, invoking the gods and pouring forth horrible imprecations." Agricola also won the decisive victory of Mons Graupius in present-day Scotland in 84 A.D. over Calgacus "the swordsman," that carried Roman arms farther west and north than they had ever before ventured. They called their newly-conquered northern territory Caledonia. When Rome had to withdraw one of its legions from Britain, the thirty-seven mile long Antonine Wall, connecting the Firths of Forth and Clyde, served temporarily as the northern frontier, beyond which lay Caledonia.. The Caledonians, however were not easily contained; they were quick to master the arts of guerilla warfare against the scattered, home-sick Roman legionaries, including those under their ageing commander Severus. The Romans abandoned the Antonine Wall, withdrawing south of the better-built, more easily defended barrier of Hadrian, but by the end of the fourth century, the last remaining outposts in Caledonia were abandoned. Further south, however, in what is now England, Roman life prospered. Essentially urban, it was able to integrate the native tribes into a town-based governmental system. Agricola succeeded greatly in his aims to accustom the Britons "to a life of peace and quiet by the provision of amenities. He consequently gave private encouragement and official assistance to the building of temples, public squares and good houses." Many of these were built in former military garrisons that became the coloniae , the Roman chartered towns such as Colchester, Gloucester, Lincoln, and York (where Constantine was declared Emperor by his troops in 306 A.D.). Other towns, called municipia , included such foundations as St. Albans (Verulamium). Chartered towns were governed to a large extent on that of Rome. They were ruled by an ordo of 100 councillors (decurion ). who had to be local residents and own a certain amount of property. The ordo was run by two magistrates, rotated annually; they were responsible for collecting taxes, administering justice and undertaking public works. Outside the chartered town, the inhabitants were referred to as peregrini , or noncitizens. they were organized into local government areas known as civitates , largely based on pre-existing chiefdom boundaries. Canterbury and Chelmsford were two of the civitas capitals. In the countryside, away from the towns, with their metalled, properly drained streets, their forums and other public buildings, bath houses, shops and amphitheatres, were the great villas, such as are found at Bignor, Chedworth and Lullingstone. Many of these seem to have been occupied by native Britons who had acquired land and who had adopted Roman culture and customs.. Developing out of the native and relatively crude farmsteads, the villas gradually added features such as stone walls, multiple rooms, hypocausts (heating systems), mosaics and bath houses..The third and fourth centuries saw a golden age of villa building that further increased their numbers of rooms and added a central courtyard. The elaborate surviving mosaics found in some of these villas show a detailed construction and intensity of labor that only the rich could have afforded; their wealth came from the highly lucrative export of grain. Roman society in Britain was highly classified. At the top were those people associated with the legions, the provincial administration, the government of towns and the wealthy traders and commercial classes who enjoyed legal privileges not generally accorded to the majority of the population. In 2l2 AD, the Emperor Caracalla extended citizenship to all free-born inhabitants of the empire, but social and legal distinctions remained rigidly set between the upper rank of citizens known as honestiores and the masses, known as humiliores. At the lowest end of the scale were the slaves, many of whom were able to gain their freedom, and many of whom might occupy important govermental posts. Women were also rigidly circumscribed, not being allowed to hold any public office, and having severely limited property rights. One of the greatest achievements of the Roman Empire was its system of roads, in Britain no less than elsewhere. When the legions arrived in a country with virtually no roads at all, as Britain was in the first century
A.D., their first task was to build a system to link not only their military headquarters but also their isolated forts. Vital for trade, the roads were also of paramount important in the speedy movement of troops, munitions and supplies from one strategic center to another. They also allowed the movement of agricultural products from farm to market. London was the chief administrative centre, and from it, roads spread out to all parts of the province. They included Ermine Street, to Lincoln; Watling Street, to Wroxeter and then to Chester, all the way in the northwest on the Welsh frontier; and the Fosse Way, from Exeter to Lincoln, the first frontier of the province of Britain. The Romans built their roads carefully and they built them well. They followed proper surveying, they took account of contours in the land, avoided wherever possible the fen, bog and marsh so typical in much of the land, and stayed clear of the impenetrable forests. They also utilized bridges, an innovation that the Romans introduced to Britain in place of the hazardous fords at many river crossings. An advantage of good roads was that communications with all parts of the country could be effected. They carried the cursus publicus, or imperial post. A road book used by messengers that lists all the main routes in Britain, the principal towns and forts they pass through, and the distances between them has survived: the Antonine Itinerary.. In addition, the same information, in map form, is found in the Peutinger Table. It tells us that mansiones were places at various intervals along the road to change horses and take lodgings. The Roman armies did not have it all their own way in their battles with the native tribesmen, some of whom, in their inter-tribal squabbles, saw them as deliverers, not conquerors. Heroic and often prolonged resistance came from such leaders as Caratacus of the Ordovices, betrayed to the Romans by the Queen of the Brigantes. And there was Queen Boudicca (Boadicea) of the Iceni, whose revolt nearly succeeded in driving the Romans out of Britain. Her people, incensed by their brutal treatment at the hands of Roman officials, burned Colchester, London, and St. Albans, destroying many armies ranged against them. It took a determined effort and thousands of fresh troops sent from Italy to reinforce governor Suetonius Paulinus in A.D. 6l to defeat the British Queen, who took poison rather than submit. Apart from the villas and fortified settlements, the great mass of the British people did not seem to have become Romanized. The influence of Roman thought survived in Britain only through the Church. Christianity had thoroughly replaced the old Celtic gods by the close of the 4th Century, as the history of Pelagius and St. Patrick testify, but Romanization was not successful in other areas. For example, the Latin tongue did not replace Brittonic as the language of the general population. Today's visitors to Wales, however, cannot fail to notice some of the Latin words that were borrowed into the British language, such as pysg (fish), braich (arm), caer (fort), foss (ditch), pont (bridge), eglwys (church), llyfr (book), ysgrif (writing), ffenestr (window), pared (wall or partition), and ystafell (room). The disintegration of Roman Britain began with the revolt of Magnus Maximus in A.D. 383. After living in Britain as military commander for twelve years, he had been hailed as Emperor by his troops. He began his campaigns to dethrone Gratian as Emperor in the West, taking a large part of the Roman garrison in Britain with him to the Continent, and though he succeeded Gratian, he himself was killed by the Emperor Thedosius in 388. Some Welsh historians, and modern political figures, see Magnus Maximus as the father of the Welsh nation, for he opened the way for independent political organizations to develop among the Welsh people by his acknowledgement of the role of the leaders of the Britons in 383 (before departing on his military mission to the Continent) The enigmatic figure has remained a hero to the Welsh as Macsen Wledig, celebrated in poetry and song. The Roman legions began to withdraw from Britain at the end of the fourth century. Those who stayed behind were to become the Romanized Britons who organized local defences against the onslaught of the Saxon hordes. The famous letter of A.D.410 from the Emperor Honorius told the cities of Britain to look to their own defences from that time on. As part of the east coast defences, a command had been established under the Count of the Saxon Shore, and a fleet had been organized to control the Channel and the North Sea. All this showed a tremendous effort to hold the outlying province of Britain, but eventually, it was decided to abandon the whole project. In any case, the communication from Honorius was a little late: the Saxon influence had already begun in earnest.
" As far as British history is concerned. and that some of our most profound spiritual and cultural traditions were forged in the vibrant diversity of the ancient Near Eastern world. certainly not the writers of the English Chronicle. and the Saxons. Irish. and to denigrate the enemy. Recent archeological discoveries in the troubled land have cast into doubt the veracity of the Biblical accounts of the conquest of Canaan. He called members of the Celtic Church "barbarians.. The Israelite bards and scribes certainly telescoped the events of the gradual subjugation of the Canaanite kingdoms. all of whom subscribe to the notion that the British people were driven out of their homelands into Wales and Cornwall as a result of a catastrophic event known as "the Anglo-Saxon conquest. to the arrival of Augustine at Kent to convert the Saxons. especially Bede. the formation of the Welsh. He used the Roman term Saxons for all the English-speaking peoples . and the conversion of much of the west to Christianity. and Angles). doing the same thing as the biblical scribes. The Picts and Scots to the north and west (the Scots coming in from Ireland had not yet made their homes in what was to become later known as Scotland). Three main sources for our knowledge of the Anglo-Saxon permeation of Britain come from the 6th century monk Gildas. he was also a theologian. and from archeological evidence. we find English historians. the recognition that our biblical heritage is drawn from a complex mosaic of cultures. and the 9th century historian Nennius. but we do know that the most significant events were the gradual division of Britain into a Brythonic west." " a rustic. Neil Silberman wrote: "Archeology's real contribution has been. The two centuries that followed the collapse of Roman Britain happen to be among the worst recorded times in British history. Tyro had written that the Britons in 443 were reduced "in dicionen Saxonum" (under the jurisdiction of the English). that complex mosaic of cultures. The Celts were not driven out of what came to be known as England. in Northumbria. Let's face it. From them. Angles. perfidious race. English and Scottish nations. Nor do Nennius and Geoffrey of Monmouth escape censure. No matter how reliable an historian. Bede (672-735) spent his life at Jarrow. and only in terms that are not always consistent with the received accounts. the 8th century historian Bede. Referring to Israel. Bede's bitter prejudice against the native Britons was honed by his religious beliefs and his praise of the English peoples' successes in colonizing the island of Britain. ideologies." The heritage of the British people cannot simply be called Anglo-Saxon. In the Gallic Chronicle of 452." and is thus regarded by many modern historians (but especially Welsh writers) as a "fancy monger" especially for his account of the year of 708 that has been slavishly followed by countless generations of English historians throughout the centuries with nary a question. the old enemies began their onslaughts upon the native Britons once more. a Teutonic east and a Gaelic north. yet only Prosper Tyro and Procopius notice this great event. and economies. the period has been known as the Dark Ages. Acting as a bard of his own tribe in Northumbria. Written evidence concerning the period is scanty. hIs intense hostility made him a partisan witness when he wrote of the British people. the North (which already included people of mixed British and Angle stock). but in general terms. More than one modern historian has pointed out that such an extraordinary success as an Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain "by bands of bold adventurers" could hardly have passed without notice by the historians of the Roman Empire. for they had retained a form of Roman Christianity which was anathema to him. I have hesitated to use Bede's term of "Conquest" for sound reasons. it is based on such a mixture as took place in the Holy Land. With the departure of the Roman legions. it seems that the Anglo-Saxon domination of Britain took place in two distinct phases.7 The Dark Ages From the time that the Romans more or less abandoned Britain. and the South East (mainly Angles). and Jutes to the south and east. certainly the most obscure. By 4l0. transforming what modern archaeologists have recognized as a gradual recrystallization of settled life into a great literary epic of conquest. and will continue to be. to magnify their successes. In many ways a trustworthy historian. One analogous situation with events in Britain as recorded by its English historians can be found by looking at the history of Israel. ideologies and economies. Britain had become self-governing in three parts. the West (including Britons. history is written by the victors anxious to boast of their triumphs.
It was not until the highly imaginative works of Geoffrey of Monmouth (1090-1155) that the Arthurian romances provided the basis for a whole new and impressive tradition of European literature. 000 words. drawn up at St. however. great numbers . that overshadows the literary achievements of the age. an organized Christian Church seems to have been established in most of Britain. but whose language is recognizable as Old Welsh Their poems are part of the heroic tradition that praise the warrior king and his brave followers in their constant battles against the Germanic invaders. The myth was especially promulgated by 19th century historians in their attempts to stress the essential teutonic nature of the English people. "And so numerous are these nations that every year. By 3l4. . Arthur is also mentioned. and the Britons. in some 25. They also celebrate honor in defeat. these peoples were calling themselves Angles and Frisians . literature written before Bede's prejudiced history. for in that year British bishops were summoned to the Council of . Gildas gives us a sermon that pours scorn on his contemporaries. Wade-Evans that the Saxons did not sweep away the entire population of the areas they overran. In the Annales Cambriae. cap 20). Oxford (reported in Realm. the kings of Britain. they were again replaced when missionaries from Gaul introduced Christianity to the islands. In most of lowland Britain. Perhaps the most authentic of the early Arthurian references is the entry for 537 in the Annales that briefly refers to the Battle of Camlan in which Arthur and Medrawd were killed. therefore. It is the coming of Christianity. By the mid 6th Century. . Prose accounts of the enigmatic British leader are entirely tales of fancy. the Institute of Molecular Biology. confirming that successive invasions of Saxons. who contributed to the confusion concerning the momentous events of the years 400 to 600. Thus we have to agree with Professors John Davies and A. Latin had become the language of administration and education. Another collection of stories collected around 830 that relate the events of the age is the Historia Brittonum (History of the Britons) ascribed to Nennius. untrustworthy Welsh. and not Saxons.W. Latin was also the language of the Church in Rome. both of whom lived in the area now known as Strathclyde in Scotland. and we have to turn to literature to inform ourselves of its important events. nor that the British people had been vanquished or made to flee westwards. and their attempts to disassociate what they considered to be the politically mature. March/April. As we discover from reading Gildas. Here.. Aneirin is best remembered for Y Gododdin. Angles and Jutes (and Danes and Normans) did little to change that make-up. the Frisians.000 British people. commemorating the feats of a small band of warriors who fought the Angles at Catraeth and who were willing to die for their overlord. and that it does not signify conquest by the Saxons. 1999) has established a common DNA going back to the end of the last Ice Age which is shared by 99 percent from a sample of 6. described as a paragon of virtue and bravery.. The Britons of the North produced two great poets Taliesin and Aneirin. he writes of the island of Britain being possessed by three very populous nations: the Angili. Book 1V. enlightened English from their unreliable. as is Brutus. The Roman historians had been using the term to describe all the continental folk who had been directing their activities towards the eastern and southern coasts of Britain from as early as the 3rd Century. The old Celtic gods had given way to the new ones such as Mithras introduced by the Roman mercenaries. emotionally stable. the poem is the first to mention Arthur." There is no suggestion here that these peoples existed in a state of warfare or enmity. It was not only Bede of course. Arthur is recorded as having been victorious at the Battle of Badon in 5l6 against the Saxons. especially since Celtic writing was virtually unknown. We have to assume. migrate thence to the Franks . In the account given by Procopius in the middle of the 6th Century (the Gothic War. that the Gallic Chronicle of 452 refers only to a small part of Britain.8 resident in Britain: it comes from the Welsh appellation Saeson ). Scottish and Irish neighbors who apparently shared none of the former's redeeming characteristics. for the most influential document written during the period was that of the monk Gildas written about 540: De Excidio Britanniae (Concerning the Fall of Britain). . Taliesin's poetry praises the ideal ruler who protects his people by bravery and ferocity in battle but who is mangnanimous and generous in peace. He tells us that the coming of the Saxons was an act of God to punish the native Britons for their sins. described as the ancestor of the Welsh.David's in Wales around 960. According to a recent study. there is a great lack of reliable written evidence from the period. . Much of this literature was produced in what is now Scotland.
but even he built the nave of his first monastery facing west and not east. Columba was the most important of these missionaries. introduced by Augustine. about to be expelled as trouble-makers. and it was here that the missionary saint inaugurated Aidan as king of the new territory of Dalriata (previously settled by men from Columba's own Ulster). For his efforts at reforming the Church. As previously mentioned. We can be certain that the greater part of the pre-English inhabitants of England survived. He also refused to chop down the ancient. His banishment from Ireland became Scotland's gain. By the end of the fourth century. the Saxons were not warring against the Britons..Columba. After the monastic settlement at Iona gave sanctuary to the exiled Oswald early in the seventh century. that the first monasteries were established (the words Wales and Welsh were used by the Germanic invaders to refer to Romanized Britons). was written about 540. however. We note. Part 4: The Anglo Saxon Period by Peter N. long years since the 6th century). sacred oak trees that symbolized the old druidic religion. It was here that Columba (Columcille '"Dove of the Church" ) with his small band of Irish monks landed in 563 A. in his own day. Their success. he was excommunicated by Rome. in present-day Scotland.D. the Celtic Church. for it is most mere polemic. including visits from kings and queens of Scotland. with its own ideas about the consecration of its Bishops. rather than of St. At the Synod of Whitby in 664. came to Lindisfarne. Ph. was more or less forced by majority opinion of the British bishops to accept the rule of St. however. For many centuries his tomb remained a place of pilgrimage. Although the bards were allowed to remain. regarded by Gildas as God's vengeance against the Britons for their sins. From this date on. To answer the question how did the small number of invaders come to master the larger part of Britain? John Davies gives us part of the answer: the regions seized by the newcomers were mainly those that had been most thoroughly Romanized. was a theme repeated by Bede isolated in his monastery in the north. such as Robert Graves have seen the old traditions underlying much Celtic literature throughout the long. and that a great proportion of present-day England is made up of their descendants. the king invited the monks to come to his restored kingdom of Northumbria. ministering from there as a traveling bishop and being buried there after his death in 397 A. later becoming a popular saint in the history of the Christian Church. numerous Celtic saints were adopted by the rapidly expanding Church. however. destined with Iona to become one of the great cultural centers of the early Christian world.D. It is been called the Isle of Dreams or Isle of Druids. Mull and Tiree. D. a diocesan structure had been set up.Peter. the 5th and 6th Centuries. Those . Though preceded by St Oran. many districts having come under the pastoral care of a bishop. Closely followed by Bede. regions where traditions of political and military self-help were at their weakest. who established churches in Iona. and the formation and growth of various English kingdoms. In the meantime. They spread rapidly to Ireland from where missionaries returned to those parts of Britain that were not under the Roman Bishops' jurisdiction. it is not a good history. mainly the Northwest. to spread the faith. Iona was quickly to become the ecclesiastical head of the Celtic Church in the whole of Britain as well as a major political center. tonsure of its monks. dates for the celebration of Easter and other differences with Rome. The island of Iona is just off the western coast of Argyll.9 Arles. he sensibly argued that their expulsion would deprive the country of an irreplaceable wealth of folklore and antiquity. the account is the first to narrate what has traditionally been regarded as the story of the coming of the Saxons to Britain. that Gildas made the statement that. Columba is believed to have returned to Ireland to plead the cause of the bards. missionaries of the Gospel had been active in the south and east of the land that later became known as Scotland (It was not until the late tenth Century that the name Scotia ceased to be applied to Ireland and become transferred to southwestern Scotland) The first of these was Ninian who probably built his first church (Candida Casa: White House ) at Whithorn in Galloway. the "De Excidio Britanniae" (the loss of Britain). they were forced to give up their special privileges as priests of the old religion ( Some modern writers. with his twelve disciples. in that relatively unscathed western peninsular that later took the name Wales. In 574. In this period. It was during the time of the Saxon invasions. By the end of the seventh century we can also begin to speak of an Anglo-Saxon political entity in the island of Britain. It was thus that Aidan. Commonly ascribed to the monk Gildas. Williams. we can no longer speak of a Celtic Church as distinct from that of Rome. According to legend.
In 597. the monk Theodore of Tarsus was appointed as archbishop. for different kingdoms developed in England that constantly sought domination through conquest. but little trained in law and administration. Over the next twenty years bishoprics were established at York. who had argued successfully for the adoption of the Roman Church at Whitby. In 668 when a vacancy arose at Canterbury. the emergence of England as a nation did not begin as a result of a quick. sometimes peaceful. which benefitted from both Celtic and Roman influences. in Kent. it is to Bede that we owe the story of the conversion of England to the new faith (the older Roman Christian Church remained in parts of Britain. Wilfred of Ripon reigned supreme in Northumbria as the exponent of ecclesiastical authority. One of Theodore's great accomplishments was to create the machinery through which the wealth of the Celtic Church was transferred to the Anglo-Saxon Church. Before looking at political developments. though later attacks from Penda of Mercia meant that only a limited kind of Christian worship took place in the North until around the middle of the eighth century. Assisted by another Greek scholar Hadrian. but created a new concept of unity among the various tribal regions that overrode individual loyalties. Winchester and Rochester. promoted to archbishop. he was sent into exile. that influenced all Augustine's decisions. and Wessex. the immense task of converting and then organizing the converted was mostly beyond the limited powers of Augustine. The establishment of the Church at York was not possible until 625. he set up the basis of diocesan organization throughout England and carried out the decisions made at Whitby. a Celtic bishop and Wilfred of Ripon. notably Wales and Scotland as the Celtic Church). it is important to notice the religious conversion of the people we commonly call Anglo-Saxons. sometimes not. Hexham. in the southeast. however. and made no accommodations with it. Augustine received a favorable reception in the kingdom of Ethelbert. Ripon and Lindsey. and enhance papal prestige by reclaiming former territories of Rome. As the city of London was not under the control of Ethelbert. and set up the Sees of Worcester. Northumbria. there was one bishop south of the River Humber and two in the North: Cedda. daughter of the Merovingian King and a practicing Christian. In that northern outpost of the Catholic Church. well-trained in monastic rule. Pope Gregory had drawn up a detailed plan for the administration of the Church in England. laid down the beginnings of the ecclesiastical organization of the Church in Britain. but a result of hundreds of years of settlement and growth. Theodore seized his opportunity to break up the North into smaller and more controllable dioceses. Augustine was sent to convert the pagan English by Pope Gregory. Hereford. however. both Pope and Bishop seemed to know little of the Celtic Church. who had married Bertha. Even Bede could pick out half a dozen rulers able to impose some kind of authority upon their contemporaries. Another compelling reason cited by Davies is the emergence in Britain of the great plague of the sixth century from Egypt that was particularly devastating to the Britons who had been in close contact with peoples of the Mediterranean. Augustine's success in converting a large number of people led to his consecration as bishop by the end of the year. a tradition of scholarship began that was to have a profound . Theodore also re-established the system of ecclesiastical synods that disregarded political boundaries. Edwin of Northumbria's wife chose Paulinus as Bishop and the See of York was established. London and York (each to have 12 bishops). Again. who was anxious to spread the Gospel. It began in the late sixth century and created an institution that not only transcended political boundaries.10 who chafed at the administration of Rome could only have welcomed the arrival of the English in such areas as Kent and Sussex. There were to be two archbishops. He then attacked his work with vigor. Theodore consecrated new bishops at Dulwich. When Theodore arrived at Canterbury. It was Gregory's guiding hand. So we see the rise and fall of successive English kingdoms during the seventh and eighth centuries: Kent. more settlement and growth. it should also be noted that so were the tribes we now collectively term the English. a new See was chosen at Canterbury. It was there that Augustine. but when he quarreled with King Ecgfrith. Mercia. St. however. This wealth was particularly responsible for the late seventh century flowering of culture in Northumbria. If it is pointed out that the native Celts were constantly warring among themselves. His background as a Greek scholar meant that he had to take new vows and be ordained in custom with the Church in the West. Oxford and Leicester. Be that as it may. decisive victory over the native Britons.
Bede's greatest work was his Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. Both were to play important parts in this cultural phenomenon. Aella ruled the kingdom that became Sussex. events were rapidly changing the political face of Anglo-Saxon England. Benedict Biscop. and though it also records the flight of the Britons from that kingdom to London. and the West Saxons. associated with monastic life. Mercia westwards to the River Severn and Wessex into Devon and Cornwall. it was time for other kingdoms to rise to prominence. Rulers such as Charles Martel and Pepin III were pursuing aggressive policies against the Germanic tribes. In the southeast. It constituted a remarkable outbreak with equally remarkable consequences. who were Jutes. but more importantly. When Bede was writing his History. (Wessex) destined to become the most powerful of all and one that eventually brought together all the diverse people of England (named for the Angles) into one single nation. He sifted his evidence carefully. Wilfred of Ripon found a new calling after his expulsion from Northumbria. his prejudices against the Britons (Welsh) mar his work. and missionaries from the highly advanced English Church were extensively recruited. peopled by Anglo-Celts. the only British King to overthrow a Saxon dynasty. Saxons and Jutes whose areas. Hengist and Horsa had arrived in Kent with a small fleet of ships in around 446 AD to aid the Britons in the defense of their lands. though as noted earlier. The leader of the South Saxons. and he often indicated his sources. named the capital of their new kingdom Canterbury. was defeated by Cadwallon. preserving oral traditions where they complemented his written material. There were separate kingdoms in England. In particular. It all began with a Northumbrian nobleman. Working in the library with the manuscripts acquired by Benedict Biscop. The dynasty founded there by Hengist lasted for three centuries. the Middle Kingdom.11 influence on the literature of Western Europe. the borough of the people of the Cantii. for rulers such as Edwin. He entered Jarrow at the age of seven. Before leaving the Anglo-Saxon religious scene. it probably refers to an army. his concept of history set a new standard for future writers. they were in revolt against Vortigern. and he and others such as Willibrod carried out their conversions with approval from Rome." the monk lived from 673-735. another chieftain named Aelle came to settle. who had allied himself to Penda of Mercia. we must mention the enormous influence the English Church had on the continent. Only thirty years after the arrival of Hengist to Britain. All in all. who awarded them the whole kingdom of the Cantii with Hengist as king to be succeeded by his son Oisc. Only nine years after their arrival. Oswald . From York came Alcuin. extended into the Celtic regions: Northumbria in the north. They had been invited by British chief Vortigern to fight the northern barbarians in return for pay and supplies. bit by bit. acquiring many valuable manuscripts and beginning what can be termed a golden age in Northumbria. Biscop made six journeys to Rome. who established many German Sees from his archbishopric at Mainz. His history shows the stages by which the Anglo-Saxon people became Christian. Known to posterity as "the Venerable Bede. His contemporary reputation rested on his biblical writings and commentaries on the Scriptures as well as his chronological works that established a firm system of calculating the date of Easter. In the meantime. the kingdoms of Sussex and Kent had achieved early prominence. the English were anxious to hear of their past accomplishments and of the lives of their great people. with the death of joint kings Aethelbert and Eadberht. he became the most learned scholar of his time. Never traveling further than York. However. not a people. Other kingdoms were those of the East Saxons (Essex). he added greatly to its store of knowledge through his voluminous correspondence. we can say that the Anglo-Saxon Church provided an important impetus for the civilizing of much of the Continent. Bede's audience was a newly-forged nation. for land. Oswald and Oswy had made Northumbria politically stable as well as Christian. Wearmouth (674) and Jarrow (681). The invaders. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle dates Hengist's assumption of the kingdom of Kent to 455 AD. he was residing in what had been for over a century the most powerful kingdom in England. Thus the first Anglo-Saxon kingdom in Britain was an Anglo-Celtic kingdom. Bede provided them with both. settled by Angles. guides for memory. one of the period's greatest scholars. Its greatest scholar was Bede. who founded two monasteries. and its work in Europe produced events that had repercussions of profound importance. Edwin. Abounding in anecdotes. The greatest of the missionaries was Boniface. the first Christian king of Northumbria. it provided the agent for the fusing of Celtic and Roman ideas. the Middle Saxons (Middlesex).
Offa's correspondence with the Pope also shows roughly the same attitude. It was Offa who inaugurated what later became known as Peter's Pence (those financial contributions that became a bane to later rulers who wished to have more control over their finances and sources of revenue). Lord of Britain. and during his reign. Wessex borders had expanded greatly and Ceawlin had was recognized as supreme ruler in Southern England. however. After Penda's defeat. Then. It was Oswy's forceful backing that secured the decision for Rome. the situation began to change in the early eighth century with the accession of two strong rulers. tells us that in the year 834 "The heathen men harried Sheppey. An ominous entry in the "West Saxon Annals" however. Both Cadwalla and Ine abdicated to go on religious pilgrimages. A new phase began in 802 with the accession of Egbert and the establishment of his authority throughout Wessex." Chap. still exists). The dominance of Mercia was finally broken. Northumbria's dominance began to wane at the beginning of the eighth century. Mercia's domination ended at the battle of Ellendun in 825 when Egbert of Wessex defeated Beornwulf. often placed near the sea. It was the North. 2). whose king Penda had led the fiercest resistance to the imposition of Christianity. the other kingdoms defeated in battle or voluntary submitted to his overlordship. Wessex also expanded westward into the Celtic strongholds of Devon and Cornwall. Both Aethelbold and Offa insisted on being called by their royal titles. Though Offa's descendants tried to maintain the splendors (and the delusions) of his reign. The kingdom had been threatened by the growing power of Mercia. He also defeated pagan king Penda and brought Mercia under his control. king of Mercia. are in subjection to Aethelbald. It was hastened by the defeat and death of Ecgfrid in 685. The little kingdom of Mercia found itself a member of the community of European states. they were very much aware of the concept of unity within the kingdom of Mercia. The creation of a metropolitan archbishopric at Lichfield attested to his influence with Rome." Whatever his claims to sovereignty. were free to embark upon their voyages of plunder. The first recorded visit of the Vikings in the West Saxon Annals had stated that a small raiding party slew those who came to meet them at Dorchester in 789. Aethelbold and Offa. Cadwalla (685-88) was noted for his successful wars against Kent and his conquest of Sussex. but their work was well done and they left behind a strong state able to withstand the might of Mercia. the holiest city in England." for though Wessex was growing powerful within itself." Bede tells us that "all these provinces [in the South of England] with their kings. It was during the reign of Oswy (645-70) that Northumbria began to show signs of order. and Egbert was recognized as Bretwalda. Aethelbold (726-57) called himself "King of Britain. Under his reign an effective administration was created (and a good quality distinctive coinage). the Saxons had not thought of defending their coasts. that . so that the continuation of royal government did not depend upon the outcome of a single battle or the death of a king. However. attracted by the wealth of the religious settlements.12 restored the Saxon monarchy in 633. his successor Wulfhere turned south to concentrate his efforts on fighting against Wessex where strong rulers prevented any Mercian domination." During the centuries of inter-tribal warfare. opening up the whole middle kingdom to Celtic missionaries. even to Humber. the first to give reality to the dream of a single government from the borders of Scotland to the English Channel. at which the Roman Church was accepted as the official branch of the faith in England. It was time for Wessex to recover the greatness that had begun in the sixth century under Ceawlin. The growth of institutions guaranteed permanency. A series of insignificant kings followed Ceawlin. The second period of dominance began under kings Cadwalla and Ine. Offa seems to have been the senior partner and overlord of Southern Britain. however. missionaries under Aidan completed the conversion of Northumbria (an account of the early Christian Church in the North can be found in my "Brief History of Scotland. at such places as Lindisfarne. in 663 under his chairmanship. Offa was the first English ruler to draw a definite frontier with Wales (much of the earthen rampart and ditch created in the middle of the eighth century. The Norsemen. the great Synod of Whitby took place. lavishly endowed with treasures at its monastery and religious settlement. His many letters to Charles the Great (Charlemagne) show that the Mercian king regarded himself as an equal to the Carolingian ruler (his son Ecfrith was the very first king in England to have an official coronation). all subject to Mercian dominance. it was his successor Offa (757-96) who could call himself "king of all the English.
By the early part of the 10th century. Throughout early English history. but three men who are merely of his own class. Not merely a tariff of offenses. His code is a lengthy document. The Church and its leading ministers were given special privileges. the Church which Aethelbert had taken under his protection had become a power all but equal with the king himself. a ceorl who wished to clear himself at the altar must produce not a group of his kinsmen. brother and eldest son of Egbert. and the Church was to receive the same compensation as the king for violence done to dependents. They show a somewhat elaborate development of legal procedure. the king's servants of every degree were still being quartered on the country as they traveled from place to place to carry out their duties. heathen practices. "Yet even those matters which are reserved for the general opinion are thoroughly discussed by the chiefs. and thus encroachments upon the power of the kin to protect its own members constituted a rapid advancement of English law even before the end of the seventh century. entering much more fully than any other early code into the details of the agrarian system on which society rested.13 constituted the main target. Other Kentish laws date from the reigns of Hlothhere and Eadric. however.. Within 90 years. The free peasant was the independent master of a household.. From the Roman historian Tacitus we get a picture of the administration of Saxon law long before they came to settle in Britain. Early on. The king's food-rent was the heaviest of the public burdens. however. it is time to briefly review the accomplishments of the people collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons. From the laws of Ine (688-95). but they also recognized a title to nobility which is derived from birth and not from service to a king. It stands for a new concept of kingship. He filled a responsible position in the state and the law . These were mainly enlargements of previous laws. the strongest king in Southern England during his long reign. though respect for the kin did not mean that the ties of kindred dominated English law. They make the punishment fit the crime. the laws show a form of society little affected by the growth of royal power or aristocratic privilege. More significant. like those of a king. the government had begun to regard the kin as legally responsible for the good behavior of its members. it is clear that he was a statesman with ideas beyond the grasp of his predecessors. Long after Aethelbert's reign. especially in the rule of law. Ine's laws point to a complicated social order in which the aristocratic ideal was already important. The basis of Kentish society in Aethelbert's time was the free-peasant landholder." It was not long after the conversion of the Saxon peoples to Christianity that written laws began to be enacted in England to provide appropriate penalties for offenses against the Church (and therefore against God). Under Wihtraed (695-96)." All in all. it had consisted of providing a quantity of provisions sufficient to maintain a king and his retinue for 24 hours. including exemption from taxation. destined in time to replace the simple motives which had satisfied the men of an earlier age. Before dealing with the onslaught of the Norsemen. Mere oaths from his own family circle were looked upon with suspicion by the authorities. and to define the process under which accused persons might establish their innocence. but subject to no lord below the king himself. They show no sign of Roman influence but are more in common with the Lex Salica issued by Clovis for the Salian Franks. neglect of holy days or fast days. laws were set down mainly to deal with ecclesiastical matters. an independent person with many rights. His "Germania" tells us of the deliberation of the chiefs in smaller matters and the deliberation of all in more important ones. is the fact that the men who direct the pleas in popular assemblies are not ministers of the king. covering a wide range of human relationships. is declared uncontrovertible. They were also marked by the definite purpose of advancing Christianity. If he were to be slain. society seems to have rested on men of this type. but "the judges of the Kentish people. As head of a family. There had been earlier passages which ignored or deliberately weakened this primitive function of kin. actions may be brought and capital crimes prosecuted. it is the result of a serious attempt to bring together a body of rules governing the more complicated questions with which the king and his officers might have to deal. In Kent. he was entitled to compensation for the breaking of his household peace. They were primarily to provide penalties for unlawful marriages. without any claim to nobility. the killer had to compensate his kinfolk and also pay the king. The oath of a bishop. his laws constitute by far the earliest body of law expressed in any Germanic language. For example. due once a year from a particular group of villages. King Aethelbert (601-04) was the first to set down the laws of his people in the English language. in the assembly.
The strength of his Wessex Kingdom made it the ideal center for the resistance of Alfred to the Danish plans of conquest. though the fundamentals remained unchanged. Alfred occupied London. so a later leader stopped the advance of the Norsemen at Edington in 878. just as an earlier British leader. giving the first indication that the lands which had lately passed under Danish control might be reclaimed. That this turn of events did not come to pass was due to Alfred." The occassion marked the achievement of a new stage in the advancement of the English people towards political unity. In 896. In disputes concerning land rights. limiting the ancient custom of the blood-feud and emphasizing the duty of a man to his lord. D. the only English monarch in all history to have received the appellation "the Great.) by Peter N. tell us that the Vikings (also known as Norsemen or Danes) came as hostile raiders to the shores of Britain.14 protected the honor and peace of his household. retained their right to exercise legislative powers. Offa and Aethelberth whose work had influenced his own. He owed personal service in the national militia (the fyrd). wished for a reversal of the disasters. and unlawful entry through the hedge around his premises was a grave offense. it appeared at the end of a century during which no English king had issued any laws. The implication is that his code was intended to cover not only the kingdom of Wessex. Earlier rulers had to rely on the armed forces at their disposal for any such claims. those who didn't please him. the acceptance of Alfred's overlordship expressed a feeling that he stood for interests common to the whole English race. In addition. Williams. As a footnote. Their invasions were thus different from those of the earlier Saxons who had originally come to defend the British people and then to settle. were amended or discarded. it was also decided that the Annals of St. and it seemed as if there was noone strong enough to stop them. there were some that were not derived from any known source and may thus be considered original. "all the English people submitted to Alfred except those who were under the power of the Danes. and it was immediately followed by a general recognition of his lordship. It is a work of incomparable worth in its account of English history. It thus becomes important evidence of the new political unity forced upon the English people by the struggle against the Danes. Leaving aside the political events of the period. but also Kent and Mercia. Showing the religious nature of one who had once depended upon the loyalty of his men for survival. The West Saxon Annals (utilized as part of the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" that Alfred began around 890). in any part of the country. their armies marched inland destroying and burning until half of England had been taken. Neots were also the work of Asser. Alfred insisted that to clear himself. This time. the leader was Alfred of Wessex. it was necessasry for the King and his Council to provide settlement. naming previous kings such as Ine. It made him the obvious leader of all those who. Though much of Alfred's collection of laws came from earlier codes. our main source is more reliable. . unlike their counterparts on the Continent. a man of lower rank than a kings' thegn must produce the oaths of 11 men of his own class and one of the Kings' thegns. Much of what we know about King Alfred. They remain comments on the law. Though they did settle eventually in their newly conquered lands. Part 4: The Anglo Saxon Period (cont'd. English kings. for he gives himself the title of King of the West Saxons. It is now time to turn back to the Danish (Viking or Norsemen) invasion of England. and thus an authoritative source was given to many legends concerning the English king that appeared in the Annals." comes from Life of Alfred by his Bishop Asser. In the words of the Chronicle. perhaps the one known in legend as Arthur had stopped the Saxon advance into the Western regions at Mount Badon in 496. The free peasant was thus responsible to no authority below the king for his breaches of local custom. mere statements of established custom. which he farmed in association with his fellows. The Code of Alfred has a significance in English history which is entirely independent of its subject matter. Following Alfred's example. we can praise his laws as the first selective code of Anglo-Saxon England. By the year 878 there was every possibility that before the end of the year Wessex would have been divided among the Danish army. However. During the reign of Elizabeth I. the Vikings were more intent on looting and pillaging. the laws include provisions protecting the weaker members of society against oppression. and the part Alfred was to play in his country's defense and eventual survival. Ph.
wished for a reversal of the disasters. In the West. first to find treasure. on the southeastern edge of Mercia became a national symbol of English defiance. They were built neither on the Frisian pattern nor on the Danish. Alfred's successes were partly due to his building up the West Saxon navy into a fleet that could not only meet the Danes on equal terms. Like their Saxon predecessors. the Danish seamen and soldiers stayed the winter on the Isle of Thanet on the Thames where the men of Hengist had come ashore centuries earlier. though he was later defeated by a large Danish force of the mouth of the River Stour. Outside Wessex. but defeat them in battle. They came in a huge fleet to London in 851 to destroy the army of Mercia and capture Canterbury." Alfred "bade build long ships against the Danish warships: they were nearly twice as long as the others: some had sixty oars. "all the English people submitted to Alfred except those who were under the power of the Danes. we learn of the decisive event that took place at Edington (Ethandune). including York. The invaders had already shown their strength by splitting their forces in two: one remaining in the North under Halfdene. and then to take over good. where they settled down as farmers and the lords of large estates. the Danes also made incursions into Mercia and had conquered all of East Anglia. Alfred was forced to pay tribute to buy off the Danish army until he could build up his supporters. Wessex now stood almost alone. anxious to add Wessex to his territories. and they promised him that their king should receive baptism. Aethelwulf succeeded Egbert continuing his father's role as protector of the English people. In 867. He was succeeded by Aethelred.. they sailed with impunity up the Dee. the Danes showed that they had come to stay. Before Alfred.. their ships were able to penetrate far inland. According to the Chronicle of 896. and the next hundred years saw army after army crossing the North Sea." Wessex had been saved. East Anglia and Southern Mercia remained in Danish hands." Furthermore. And they carried out their promises.15 Before Alfred. the results of battles against the Danes often depended upon chance. giving the first indication that the lands which had lately passed under Danish control might be reclaimed. The Danes marched westward without opposition. the Danes had been relatively unopposed. Alfred also fortified the key English towns. who continued to hold his lands against the ever-increasing host of the Danes. only to receive their first check at the hands of Aethelstan of Wessex. but as it seemed to the king that they might be most serviceable." The Chronicle also records one of his victories in 882. But this time. Alfred occupied London. Armies under Aethelred and the young Alfred fought the Danes to a standstill. and it was immediately followed by a general recognition of his lordship. productive farm lands upon which to raise their families. Tyne. Its capture made Alfred truly the first king of England. Humber. He became King of Wessex in 871 the year the Danes defeated a large English force at Reading. His success made him the obvious leader of all those who. Then the Danes gave him hostages as security. Taking refuge on the Isle of Athelney. Alfred's greatness lay not so much in his defeat of the Danes but in his other major accomplishments. in any part of the country. but the borders of Wessex remained secure. and the other moving southwards under King Guthrum. when the enemy attacked the south coast of Wessex "with the warships which they had built many years before. In 896. now firmly in control of Northumbria. it wasn't long before the men of Wessex were ready to reassert themselves. Medway and Thames. instead of sailing home with their booty. when Alfred "fought with the whole force of the Danes and put them to flight. Alfred was born in 849. some more: they were both swifter and steadier and higher than the others. there was no standing army in England and response to threats without meant the calling up of the "fyrd" or the local levies. the city of London. and founded their communities wherever the rivers met the sea. Ribble. Not strong enough to offer total resistance. From the Chronicle. It was not too long before the Danes had become firmly entrenched seemingly everywhere they chose in England (many of the invaders came from Norway and Sweden as well as Denmark). neither side claiming complete victory. however. he conducted a campaign of guerilla warfare against the foreign occupiers of his kingdom. and swore great oaths that they would leave his kingdom. and rode after them to their fortifications and besieged them a fortnight. Of all the English kingdoms. of which historians write glowingly and are generally listed as four: his uniform code of laws for the good order of the . In the words of the Chronicle. They had begun their deprivations with the devastation of Lindisfarne in 793. The turning point took place in 878.
The normal "port" of the king's time was also a borough. all the people of Wales. as well as De Consolatione Philosophiae of Boethius." They all recognized Edward's authority and agreed to respect his territories and to attack his enemies. He filled Church positions with men of intelligence and learning. however. Wherever the king had enjoined or prohibited a certain course by express orders. there were advances made in the administration of law. The creation of this simple bond between Edward and the rulers of every established state in the Island of Britain thus gave to the West Saxon monarchy a new range and dignity which greatly strengthened its claim to sovereignty in England. Under Edward. the acceptance of his overlordship expressed a feeling that he stood for interests common to the whole English race. or others. dating back to the time of Ine. every Danish colony south of the River Humber had become annexed to Wessex. failure to obey made the offender liable to pay the heavy fines proscribed. warrior. most of England remained under Dane Law. Welsh monk Asser. law-giver and scholar. Had Alfred been defeated. the occupation of London by the King of Wessex marked a new stage in the advancement of the English people towards political unity. under which the moots (law courts) worked in independence. to watch over the workings of the law. trade in England prospered. One of Edward's laws prohibited trade outside a port. however. . A derelict "port" was a weak point in the national defenses and the era saw a rapid rise in boroughs that combined military and commercial factors. and ordered that all transactions be attested to by the portreeve or by other trusty men. all the people in Mercia and all those who dwelt in Northumbria submitted to him "whether English. On their part. Use of the Writ was responsible for an unparalleled growth of the King's official responsibility for the enforcement of law and order. During Edward's reign. it is probable that every place of trade which was more than a purely local market was surrounded by at least rudimentary fortifications. King. his enthusiastic patronage of the arts and learning. Before the end of his reign. The foundation of many new boroughs offered traders bases for their operations that were much more secure than the countryside. Even during the long and protracted Danish Wars. he increased the number of monasteries and made personal efforts to restore learning to the English nation that are recorded in his own words in a prose preface to the new edition of Pope Gregory's Pastoral Care. The significance of the above is clear. was enforced to punish attacks on the king's dignity and privilege. Much of the task of winning back these lands passed to Alfred's son Edward the Elder. The Chronicle reports that the Scottish King and people. a frontier that even today is reflected in a North-South divide. The phrase "except those who were under the power of the Danes" is very significant. but as an institution which had come to intervene. rulers were anxious to keep trade restricted to a limited number of recognized centers. and maybe because of them. For example. however. and all the Strathclyde Welsh. Edward further ordered that the hundred courts were to meet every four weeks under a king's reeve for the administration of customary law. By the end of Edward's reign. Outside Wessex.16 kingdom. The treaty with King Guthrum that followed Alfred's capture of London delineated a frontier between England and Danes. and the urgency with which Edward commanded traders to resort to it explained its military importance. which had been severely disrupted by the arrival of the Norsemen. and the respect that he gained on the Continent of Europe for himself and his kingdom. Alfred was also responsible (with other learned men) for the translation of Bede's Ecclesiastical History. the future identity of the English people as a separate island nation would have been very much in question. for it includes all of England outside Wessex and much of Mercia. the Kings' Writ. some of these in the king's favor. the king of the Strathclyde Welsh. his restoration of the monastic life of the Church. ruled by Scandinavian kings. the Crown was no longer seen as a remote providence. and to punish those who rebeled. some of his measures strengthened royal authority. Orosius' History of the Ancient World. or Northmen. all of England would have passed under the rule of the Danish kings. or Danish. who became King of Wessex in 899. Alfred's strenuous efforts to rebuild the fabric of the Church also met with great success. Towns allowed merchants the means to establish the validity of their transactions by the testimony of responsible persons of their own sort. as recorded by his biographer. which he translated into English. As it was.
Sweyn marched on and conquered Winchester and Oxford and forced Ethelred to flee to France. however. More fighting continued under Edmund. he retook the five boroughs for the English and drove out two Danish kings from Northumbria. In what is known as the Wantage Code of Ethelred. But the Danes refused to stop their raids. and the western and northern kings of Britain and the Welsh princes came to regard him as their lord. Cnut became king of all England. The most interesting feature of the organization was the aristocratic jury of presentment which initiated the prosecution of suspected persons in the court of the wapentake. recognized as King in Wessex and probably in Mercia independently of his election in Wessex. but the strength of the Danes forced him to make peace with Cnut. northwestern England. Danish control of the five great boroughs of Leicester. He was the first English King to recognize in legislation that the Danish east of England was no longer a conquered province. Derby and Stamford -. a king supreme in southern England came to rule in York. In a sea battle in 1000 AD. Once again. They were found in northeastern England. Meanwhile. and England was made secure at least temporarily. the site of which has never been satisfactorily determined. only returning to England upon the death of Sweyn in the year 1003. Edmund won many important victories. anxious to be led by one who was called Edmund Ironside on account of his great strength. Ethelred then managed to get the Danish leader Anlaf baptized at Andover. it was agreed that Edmund should be King of Wessex and Cnut of Mercia. Anlaf could only laugh at his good fortune. who succeeded his father Ethelred by appointment of the citizens of London. Wales. but when King Edgar was slain by supporters of his brother Ethelred. and thus. At the Battle of Brunanburgh in 937. Edmund acted. Lincoln.17 Edward the Elder died in 924.created an effective barrier between Northumbria and Wessex. but an integral part of the English realm. a semblance of order was restored. He soon extended his influence further. but only at the enormous cost of the complete depletion of the treasury of England. Anlaf. In the truly Viking city of York. Scots and Irish. Though Alfred and Edward the Elder had been forced to watch the continental scene from the outside. He had to deal in legislation with lords who "maintained" their men in defiance of right and justice. now known as Olaf. Ethelred's weakness in dealing with the Danish leaders have earned him the title of "the unready. Wessex remained the stronghold of the English during the next twenty years of increasing Viking attacks. new threats faced the new King Edmund. who became King in Wessex in 954. Taking an army north. Aethelstan won prestige and influence in contemporary Europe that resulted from his position as heir to the one western kingdom which had emerged in greater strength from the Danish wars. however. was offered huge sums by Ethelred. Devon and Cornwall. to be succeeded by his son Aethelstan. and at Alney. a move that backfired for it only led to more raids. Eric Bloodaxe had set himself up as an independent king. the Danish fleets and armies seemed unstoppable. Changing social conditions led to Aethelstan issuing many new laws. he married Ethelred's widow that same year. Legal customs from the Scandinavian North were practiced throughout the eastern counties of England. It is recorded that eight kings in Britain came to him on a single day to acknowledge his supremacy. Upon Edmund's death. under conditions which no one could have foreseen. Formally taking the reins of power in 1017. King of Norway. villages were combined into local divisions for the administration of justice. Following the example of Alfred. the wapentake court appeared as the fundamental unit in the organization of justice throughout the territory of the five boroughs. These divisions were known as wapentakes. more slaughter and more Danish settlement. The word first appeared when Edgar refered in general terms to the buying and selling of goods in a borough or a wapentake. that same year. was defeated by the Danish King Sweyn who continued his rivals raids on England. and who in turn. There seems to have been no essential difference of function between the courts of the wapentake and those of the more familiar hundred. Ethelred could only achieve peace by buying off the Danes. disaster came to the whole country.all in the Midlands -." (rede-less) the one who lacked good counsel. The authority of a ruler universally regarded as king of England was placed over the local courts. Under Ethelred. one passage states that the twelve leading thegns in each wapentake were to go out from the court . Nottingham. Giving command of a great army to his son Cnut. there had been important developments in the administration of English law that would have profound effects upon the future legal system. At his death. Under Edgar. He took the important and strategic city of York from the Danes. Aethelstan won a great victory for his English army over a combined force of Danes.
There are over 1040 place names in England of Scandinavian origin. adopted many of their customs and entered into the everyday life of the community. he had become part of the national heritage of England. The strength of the Crown. before marrying Cnut. some three hundred contain the Scandinavian word thorp (village). and the ground was prepared for the coming of the Normans. had him captured and blinded. Hardacnut could not come to England from Denmark without leaving Magnus of Norway a free hand in Scandinavia. Prince Edward. and part of Sweden. led by the powerful Godwin of Wessex chose Hardacnut. enforced the laws. The two peoples had blended to become a single nation. then from lands bordering that little country. his favorite realm. The fate of the suspect. Emma was to reside at Winchester holding Wessex in her son's name. Chaos and confusion were quick to return to England after Cnut's death. the effects on the language and customs of the English were not as catastrophic as the earlier invasions had been on the native British. where Godwin reigned supreme as his representative. not by the judgment of the thegns who presented them. his Danish compatriots were to adopt the laws of their English neighbors. sought protection at Winchester. Cnut died in 1035 and was buried in the traditional resting place of the Saxon Kings. (farm or town). Cnut and his successors became heirs to the English laws and traditions of Wessex. He was welcomed in Wessex. There are more than 600 place names that end with the Scandinavian -by. he agreed to follow the laws of Edgar. the area of settlement known as the Danelaw. One faction. after reigning for only one year. became a generous patron of the Church and raised the prestige of England to unprecedented levels on the Continent of Europe. Godwin's fears of losing his control of Wessex. A meeting of the Witan (King's council) met to decide the successor to Cnut. Emma was a sister to the Duke of Normandy. they readily adapted to the ways of the English whose language they could understand without too much difficulty. At a great assembly in Oxford in 1018. bastard son Harold. The evidence shows extensive peaceable settlement by farmers who intermarried their English cousins. at Winchester. He even traveled to Rome in 1027 to attend the coronation of the new Holy Roman Emperor but also to consult with the Pope on behalf of all his people. Although the two hundred years of Danish invasions and settlement had an enormous effect on Britain. she had been the wife of Ethelred. Ruler of a united land. Hardacnut arrived in England in 1040 on the death of Harold. Englishmen and Danes. and the same number with thwaite (an isolated . unable to claim the throne of Wessex. many of them coming. their homelands had been in northern Europe. including the men of London chose Harold Harefoot. a new set of invaders no less ruthless than those who had come before. was still settled by ordeal. Upon his death. unprovided for. He had intended to give Denmark and England to Hardacnut and Norway to Swein. . The Anglo-Saxons were a Germanic race. Norway. hitherto unknown to English law. Alfred's older brother. Though the Danes and Norwegians who came to England preserved many of their own customs. In 1035. he kept the peace. Thus the sworn jury. Thus English kings came to rule in England once again. Edward. bringing over from the continent as many people as had the Anglo-Saxon invasions. was acclaimed as king. came into being in a most important document in English legal history. His eighteen-year rule was indeed a golden one for England. They shared many common traditions and customs with the people of Scandinavia. the first Viking leader to be admitted into the civilized fraternity of Christian Kings. The uniting of the houses of Wessex and Mercia through marriage had produced an English ruler after a quarter of a century of Danish rule. he brought a large army with him. When Ethelred's younger son Alfred came to Winchester. and they spoke a related language. but others. with the king becoming arbiter of the law continued during the reign of Cnut. be content as subjects of a Danish king in an English country. even though it was part of a Scandinavian empire. however. Cnut ruled England as it had long been ruled: he consulted his bishops and his subjects. if not from Denmark itself. It is generally agreed that he turned the part of conquering Viking ruler into one of the best kings ever enjoyed by the English people. son of Ethelred. He made atonement for the atrocities of the past wrought by Danish invaders by visiting the site of the battle with Edmund Ironside at Ashingdon and dedicating a church to the fallen. and when Harthacnut died suddenly. The unfortunate Alfred lived out his life as a monk at Ely.18 and swear that they would neither accuse the innocent nor protect the guilty. and one who was determined to rule as the chosen king of the English people as well as King of Denmark. whose mother. most occurring in the north and east. Cnut had precipitated problems by leaving his youngest.
There was another very important feature of the Scandinavian settlement which cannot be overlooked. Under the Saxon kings. The process was hastened by the coming of another host of Norsemen: the Norman Conquest was about to begin. In administrative matters. mostly replacing the aldermen. however. rather than the material goods supplied formerly to the King's household. and certainly under Cnut. the identity of the Scandinavians is totally lost among the English: the merging of the two people was total. too. It has been pointed out that though the separate identity and language of at least part of the Britons lives on in Wales. who followed him in war. there were great similarities between Saxon and Scandinavian. in England they had become an island race. the old Saxon system of taxation had been inefficient to say the least. First. The Scandinavians had a similar system that employed the hus-carles or house-troop (the Danish word carl being close to the Saxon ceorl. England was part of a Scandinavian empire. The Scandinavians. The two people shared the tradition of government by consultation and the reinforcement of loyalty by close collaboration between the leader and his followers. Clerks and secretaries were employed by both rulers to strengthen and communicate authority and raise and collect taxes efficiently. Thousands of words of Scandinavian origin remain in the everyday speech of people in the north and east of England. kept their contacts with their kinsman on the continent. The pressure of the Danish invasions. The Saxon chief's immediate followers and bodyguards were the heorth-werode. and the need to buy off the invaders in gold and silver meant that the kings' subjects now had to be taxed in terms of real money. both were military societies. its people began to extend their outlook and become less insular. who became the English earls. resided at his hall and were bound by ties of personal friendship and traditional loyalty. The Danish leaders were the jarls. Under Cnut. In addition. the hearthtroop. The Saxon people had not maintained contact with their orginal homelands. a free man). Under Ethelstan. we had the beginning of the civil service. the man who held great power under the crown was the alderman. who assisted the king. .19 piece of land).
who succeeded him. D. Harold then made himself the premier military leader in England. England had been wide open to Norman influences. Harold himself raised an army to punish Gruffudd. He died in convulsions at a wedding feast. Though he took adequate steps to provide for a smooth succession to the throne. he was perhaps one of the most misunderstood monarchs in the history of England. Edward was engaged in a power struggle with the Godwins. the marriage did not produce an heir. Edward was left alone to appoint Norman bishops to many vacant English Sees. Then Godwin returned. The Bayeux Tapestry. he collaborated with the leading earls of the country to dispossess his mother Emma of her wealth at Winchester. First. It shows Harold receiving instructions from King Edward. Edward's cousin was the father of Duke William. Godwin's nominee to Canterbury in place of Robert of Jumieges. A popular choice as king.20 Part 5: Medieval Britain by Peter N. The young Edward himself had been brought up in Normandy. events that followed his death have spoiled his reputation as a wise. embarking for Normandy. the ruthless treacherous eldest son who had abducted an abbotress among his other nefarious deeds. He then was forced to appoint Stigand. a union to which the king consented to keep Godwin happy and allied in the face of continued Scandinavian threats. for the saintly king had earlier taken a vow of chastity (a hunting accident had left him impotent in any case). But there were more pressing problems for Edward at home. Harold would thus act as regent until the Norman leader could . Thus temporarily freed from Godwin influence. Edward wanted his Norman relatives to gain the throne of England. that of succession. and who had returned in 1057. Edward the Atheling. Only the king and the late Athelings' two children remained of the ancient house of Cerdic of Wessex. the appearance of a comet and the invasion and culminating battle. Edward was double Edith's age. was the legitimate heir of Alfred the Great. the coronation of Harold. Edward shied away from provoking an all-out war with his hated enemy Godwin. but who tried his utmost to run the country as family fiefdom. Williams. Civil War was averted only because the King restored Godwin and his sons to their earldoms. In 1064. Ever since Edward's father had married Emma of Normandy in 1002. depicts the events leading up to the Norman invasion of that year as well as the great culminating battle. He was forced to take action. Ph. he exiled Swein. younger son of Edmund Ironside. The handing over of power to William became his obsession. effective ruler. He next exiled Godwin and all his sons. especially over the appointing of bishops and the leadership of the armies raised to fight Gruffudd of Wales who had been successful in winning back many border areas previously lost to the English. to whom he swears an oath of loyalty. in the pinnacle of his power. But there were other claimants from the house of Earl Godwin that contested the king's wishes. From 1046 to 1051. Known as Edward the Confessor. who had been smuggled out of England as a babe to escape Cnut. By his defeat of Gruffudd in Wales. a threat renewed when Harold Hardrada. woven after 1066. A motive was provided by her support of the King of Norway's claim to the English throne. Next is shown the death and burial of Edward. The enmity between the Crown and the House of Godwin continued unabated. Godwin of Wessex was the most powerful man in England after the King. He plotted to have Edward marry his daughter Edith. uncle of Magnus became king of Norway in 1048. he visited Normandy. Matters were not helped by the suspicious death of Edward the Atheling. two of whom joined their father and Swein in Bruges and two of whom went to join the Vikings in Dublin. The circumstances that eventually led to the arrival of William the Norman had been set in place long before 1066. But the main problem remained. saving trapped knights in a river crossing and being knighted by the Norman Duke. aiding William in an expedition. He was spared a decision by the death of Godwin on Easter Monday 1053 and the succession of Harold Godwinson as Earl of Wessex. whom he supported in the raid on the treasures at Winchester. Norman England Hardacnut was the last Danish king of England. It is highly probable that Edward did send Harold to Normandy with the formal promise that the kingdom would pass to William upon Edward's death. Edward was also humiliated by having to purge his Norman bishops.
had failed to conquer Denmark. On January 6. who had done everything in his power to hold the ambitions of the Godwins in check and to ensure the peaceful transition of power to William. an area also settled by invaders from the North. William of Normandy. They had come to France centuries before as Viking invaders when their brothers were busy ravaging the coast of England. was raising a massive invasion fleet and William of Normandy. England would surely have become part of the Scandinavian Empire with all its attendant problems. In 1002. to show himself as pious and humble. According to the account of Florence of Worcester. No new wave of people came to occupy the land. His people called themselves Franks or Frenchmen. took place at the newly consecrated Abbey at Westminster. to treat wrong doers with great severity. became the second wife of English King Ethelred. before the death of Edward. he mistakenly thought England would be an easier target. After dealing with the perfidy of his exiled brother Tostig. and it was touch and go all day. then the future course of England would have been certainly different. Harold had to march southwards with his tired. King Harold then showed his military prowess by marching his army northwards and completely destroying the over-confident forces of Hardrada and Tostig at Stamford Bridge. 1066. as we have seen. The Norman invasion of England was unlike that involving massive immigrations of people seeking new lands in which to settle and farm as marked by the Anglo-Saxon and Danish invasions. to patronize churches and monasteries. The "Chronicle" went so far as to justify Harold's seizure of power by stating that Edward had entrusted the kingdom to him. who had raised an army to plunder England's coast line Harold then had to deal with far more serious threats. henceforth held in contempt by the Normans as an untrustworthy bond-breaker. ruling aristocracy. The story is too wellknown to be repeated here. King Harold had taken concrete steps to enforce his rule throughout the country. There was no rest for the victors. William was duly crowned King of England at Westminster on Christmas Day. It had been recognized in 911 at a treaty between Charles. to imprison all thieves and to labour for the protection of his people. The only standing army in England had been defeated in an-all day battle in which the outcome was in doubt until the undisciplined English had broken ranks to pursue the Normans' feigning retreat. the funeral of Edward and the coronation of Harold. he first had to reconcile the houses of Godwin of Wessex and Leofric of Mercia. wishing to surpass even Cnut as the great ruler of a Scandinavian Empire. They had no choice. the Simple and Rollo. Harold immediately began to abolish unjust laws and make good ones. a subordinate of the French king. weakened army and did not wait for reinforcements before he awaited the charge of William's mounted knights at Hastings. Harold Hardrada. where young Edgar the Atheling had been proclaimed king in Harold's place. however. the Norwegian. The saintly king had completely overlooked English resentment at the ever-growing Norman influences in their island nation. King of Norway. We do know that William of . his bodyguard cut down and Duke William triumphant. at Pevensey. William of Normandy must have been furious. Three days later. with his huge host of fighting men. Emma. Rollo had then converted to Christianity and ruled his territory as a Duke. We can only guess at further isolation from the Continent and the making of a truly island nation at this very early date. sudden and self-contained. This new phenomenon was practically an overnight affair. Had Harold of Wessex won at Hastings. only a small. The resulting Norman triumph depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry shows Harold's death from an arrow. Hardrada. he could not have foreseen the wave of nationalist feeling which greeted Harold's bid for the crown. He crossed the North Sea to make his landing near York. English indecision in gathering together a formidable opposition forced the supporters of Edgar to negotiate for peace. pay reverence to religious men. In order to do all this. their new homeland was similar to the English Dane-Law. However. It is tempting to surmise the path England would have taken had William's invading force been beaten off. Had Harold Hardrada won at Stamford Bridge. landed unopposed in the south. sister of Richard Duke of Normandy and a descendant of Rollo. 1066. but when William took his army to London. William's victories were swift. was also busy raising his own army of invasion. In many ways.21 arrive to claim his throne.
what land and cattle the king should have in the country. In the early part of the 11th century. In addition. many for the first time. The great estates of England were given to Norman and Breton landowners. the "Domesday Book" is a remarkable accomplishment indeed.. he ruled with ruthless severity. Through attrition. able barons to deal with any rebellions." To determine how the country was occupied and with what sort of people. but these attempts were entirely given up in favor of a thoroughly Norman administration. and all these records were brought to him afterwards.. The sporadic outbreaks at rebellion against his rule had one important repercussion. The years 1066-1075 were a period of trial and experiment. they were no more than slaves. those at the bottom suffered most. mainly under the Cluniac Order. with serious attempts at cooperation between Saxon and Norman. William's victory also linked England with France and not Scandinavia from now on. In addition. William's insistence that the prime duty of any man holding land from the king was to produce on demand a set quota of mounted knights produced a new ruling class in England. the unique "Domesday Book" (the book of unalterable judgments). for the next four hundred years it wasted its resources and manpower on futile attempts to keep its French interests alive while. abbots and earls. Within six months of his coronation. including powerful church leaders such as Lanfranc of Canterbury.000 places. It brought feudalism and it introduced changes in the ecclesiastical hierarchy. nor indeed. bishops. and not put down in his record. In such a system. the only Anglo-Saxons to remain in authority were Ecclesiastes. was an attempt to provide the king with every penny to which he was legally entitled. Mercia. It worked only too well. assets belonging to the manor. William sent his men into every shire and had them find out how many hundred hides there were in the shire.22 Normandy won and changed the face of the nation forever. however: it meant that threats to his security prevented him from undertaking any attempt to cooperate with the native aristocracy in the administration of England. there were in the whole of the land only two Englishmen holding estates of any dimension. Not only was the land now governed by a foreign king and subjected to a foreign aristocracy. A veritable Who's Who of the century. Duke William showed that he meant business. The Conquest meant a new dynasty for England and a new aristocracy. reckoning the wealth of England "down to the last pig. becoming part of (and contributing to) the spectacular flowering of European culture. The simple rents of ale and barley or work upon the lord's manor were now supplemented by military service of a new kind: one that had been practiced only by and thus familiar to a Norman. William was also determined to find out how much land was owned by the archbishops. By the time of William's death in 1087. A rising at York in which the Danes also took part was easily crushed and the land harried unmercifully in revenge. Northumbria and other ancient kingdoms were abolished forever. there had been a tremendous monastic revival in the Dukedom of Normandy. By 1086. in the futile attempts at resistance." The book names some 13. one entirely different from that which had been in place for so long. and one which was transferred to England in 1066 lock. In all intents and purposes. other than small-estate holders. and what dues he ought to have in twelve months from the shire. For one thing. On his absences in Normandy. losing all their rights as free men and coming to be regarded as mere property. the old Anglo-Saxon aristocracy was severely depleted." Begun in 1080. This was not the Saxon way of doing things: it constituted a total revolution. The most emphatic proof that the old freedoms were gone was the remarkable survey of England known as the "Domesday Book. stock and barrel. This came about as a result of close cooperation between King and Church in what was basically a feudal society. carefully prevented from building up their estates by having them separated by the holdings of others. The peasantry was thus deprived of a valuable food source in times of bad harvests. By 1075. "So very narrowly did he have it investigated. with the attendant change in the relations of Church and State. one ox nor one cow nor one pig which was left out. the great Saxon earldoms were split: Wessex. packed . English society had been profoundly changed. that there was no single hide nor virgate of land. William felt secure enough to visit Normandy. he left strong. further restrictions and hardship came from William's New Forest laws and his vast extension of new royal forests in which all hunting rights belonged to the king. at the same time.
and righted long-standing abuses. Wales was a different matter. Lanfranc was supported by the king.23 with exhaustive detail on every holding in the entire country and its value. settlers. Not much remains of their building. a frenzy of church building took place. not those in power. such marriages had been defensible from folk-law. he and the Conqueror seemed to have a close sympathy in aims and ideals. an exceptional man whose work was profound As Archbishop of Canterbury. Yet such was the power of the Welsh . it was the language of the common people. But what they built was meant to stay. He had been prominent in the negotiations leading to William's marriage with the daughter of the Duke of Flanders. His most persistent problem was that of clerical marriage. But all over the landscape. These so-called border barons or Marcher Lords were left free to add to their territories as they wished. the marriage of priests had been recognised. introduced many new rules into England that were copied and followed throughout the land. There was still the matter of how to deal with the Celtic kingdoms of Britain. giving it a tighter organization and discipline. Lanfranc had been Abbot of Cannes. but they did not include marriage of clerics. In Anglo-Saxon England. William seemed to regard Scotland as an area best left alone. abbey and town that demonstrate only too well the genius of this hardy breed of seafarers. we see physical reminders of the Norman presence. The last ruler who could truly call himself King of Wales. The new nobility knew no English and probably did little to learn it (in contrast to the situation on the borders of Wales where many Norman lords freely fraternized and married local inhabitants and learned the Welsh language). Their castles and fortified manors in all the important border towns attest to their power and influence. especially that the influence and intrusion of the Papacy should be resisted and that real power should lie with the metropolitan dioceses. Though English continued to be spoken by the great majority. he did not bother to venture further north. Apart from the cultural and political legacy of the Norman occupation. Changes in language also became permanent. William had presented his invasion to the Pope as a minor crusade in which the "corrupt" Saxon Church in England would be reformed. The country was then rent by a series of inter-family squabbles and William seized his opportunity to establish a firm western frontier by giving away lands along the border to some of his most loyal supporters. as king of England. They agreed on the nature of the reforms necessary for the Church in England. Household functions had taken priority over Church ceremony. Lanfranc was chosen as the instrument of reform. which meant a castle in just about every town. a situation that wasn't to change until the 14th century. The lordships of Chester. those beyond the borders. One important innovation of Lanfranc was the transfer of the seats of bishops to the new. He held synods regularly. in which the style we call "Romanesque" dominated. Asserting his authority and declaring that England was not merely a papal fief. some degree of influence over Scotland and took control of Cumbria in 1092. abbeys and monasteries that so effectively symbolize the triumph of the new order. we see that combination of church and castle. he infused new life into the Church made moribund under such as Stigand (deposed by William). Though he claimed. if not canon law. The growing dispute between the powers of the ecclesiastical courts and the secular courts remained a thorn in the Archbishop's side and soon came to a head in the reign of Henry II. Lanfranc as a lawyer familiar with current canon law and Church law as practiced on the Continent. Various Welsh princes were still vying for power. Hereford and Glamorgan kept a tight grip on any aspirations of Welsh princes to re-assert control of their nation. We have briefly noted the efforts to reorganize the Church in Normandy even before the Conquest of England. administrators. but also in the cathedrals. Everywhere in England. explorers. was killed in 1063. A practical administrator. he was a distinguished scholar and an expert on civil law. the effects on architecture and language were also immense. corrected many irregularities. On the borders of Wales and Scotland. law givers and builders who were never more than a tiny majority. Gruffudd ap Llywelyn. growing towns and centers of trade. in particular. not only in the military strongholds. those that were not occupied by the Saxons and where the language and customs remained more or less untouched: Scotland and Wales. The Anglo-Saxons were not noted for castle-building nor for great cathedrals and churches. Shrewsbury.
" and compared to the lawlessness and abuses which were apparent in the reign of his successor William II. Rufus (1087-1100) Despite the cohesion and order brought to England by the Duke of Normandy. were closely knit together by the family. The dominions ruled by William lI. such as "sacred" and "holy". In the meantime. Ph. could now circulate in the English court as it did in France. It seems that the only profession he honored was that of war. The leading Barons acquiesced in the coronation of William Rufus by Lanfranc in September of 1087. English became vastly enriched. It was a rotten state of affairs that could only be settled through the English acquisition of Normandy. "legal" and "lawful. not the sort of ruler the country needed at this or at any other time. William II started sending royal armies into Wales and the practice was continued by Henry I. his court became a Mecca for those practiced in its arts. Norman lands were surrounded by enemies eager to reconquer lost territories. avaricious. Though William respected the elective nature of the English monarch. Norman Rule not only affected political and social institutions.24 longing to be independent and so cleverly had they mastered the art of guerilla warfare from their mountain strongholds. in England. One of these foes was the Church of Rome itself. In 1095. Those huge. his retainers lived lavishly off the land and took what they wished from whom they wished. Part 5: Medieval Britain (cont'd. his eldest. but in some ways just. and he certainly brought a new degree of political unity to England. an old foe of . There were bound to be problems. his youngest. impetuous man. the Conqueror's reign was almost a golden age." "stench" and "aroma. many of these continuing side by side with their English equivalent. taking their lead from the archbishop but also demonstrating the immense power that was accruing to the Church in England. According to William of Malmesbury. but the English language itself. Taking place in 1088. The new king was an illiterate. The King of England and the Duke of Normandy had rival claims upon the allegiance of every great land-holder from the Scottish borders to Anjou. Norman influence on literature was equally profound. Many French words replaced English ones. the king had a huge banqueting hall built in Westminster. and sent him to England to Archbishop Lanfranc." and so on. D.) by Peter N. which remained in existence for over four hundred years. rapidly increasing in power and prestige at the expense of the feudal monarchies. in ruin. A huge body of French words were ultimately to become part of the English vocabulary. it was led by Bishop Odo of Bayeux. forbidding Norman castles which even today. William's rule can be seen as harsh. Both William Rufus and his successor Henry l had to deal with problems that eventually lay beyond their capabilities to solve. he had already sunk below the possibility of greatness or of moral reformation. the leading literature of Europe. Williams. that by the time of the death of William's son. the Barons and Earls made it their business to provoke and protract quarrels of every kind between their rulers. The king was determined to stay in firm control. for the developments in French literature. Continued Welsh efforts to drive out the Normans from their border territories was of great concern to England's rulers. And these great land-holders. Trouble came immediately upon his death. his favorite son. Rufus (King from 1087-1100) that Welsh control had been re-asserted over most of Wales. the new administrative system outlived him by less than fifty years. The great expense of such adventures meant that an easier way to keep Wales in check was to preserve the territories of the Marcher lordships. on his deathbed in Normandy he handed over the crown to William Rufus. William II. so that before the end of the 14th century Chaucer was able to use a vast store of new words such as "courage" in place of "heartness. and bequeathed a modest sum to Henry Beauclerk. more cosmopolitan. He reluctantly granted the Duchy of Normandy to Robert. dominate the skyline of so many towns and cities had the effect of maintaining law and order. An early rebellion was inevitable. In retrospect. perfunctorily recognised at his own coronation. In addition. Rufus. sharing its Teutonic and Romance traditions. To entertain his retinue." etc. Even a Saxon scribe wrote that "a man might walk through the land unmolested.
The archbishop did mollify the situation by officiating at the popular marriage of Henry to Edith. riding to seize the treasure at Winchester just ahead of William of Bretueil. Henry I (1100-1135) Of the three sons of the Conqueror. In August. a sum that could only be raised with difficulty in an England already drained by every method of extortion that could be devised by Flambard. A land grab by Malcolm of Scotland in 1092 then forced Rufus back to England where he established a stronghold at Carlisle. penned up at Rochester. as well as Anselm's refusal to honor the appointments made by Henry during his exile. it is significant that Henry was present in the hunting party. Henry ensured the support of his English subjects by issuing a solemn charter promising to redress grievances. 1100. He had no intention of fulfilling his promises. subdue the rebellious Welsh princes mainly through his sale of the Earldom of Shrewsbury to one of his Norman Barons and begin his campaign to add France to his kingdoms.25 Lanfranc. in which Donaldbane allied with the Norwegians under Magnus. During the following year.000 marks. on a hunting expedition in the New Forest. the remission of all novel dues and taxes. That Henry I of England. Despite the faults of William ll. took his full attention for the next three years. Rufus called upon his English subjects. though the big problem of lay investiture remained. He had the hated Flambard thrown into prison. a descendant of Edward the Confessor and a most suitable choice as . failed to keep "the law of Edward" as promised. and thus helped heal the breach between the Church and the Crown. With the tide running against him. the Scottish king was killed at Malcolm's Cross by Earl Mowbray. then created a new threat to William. Henry was the most able. The king could now appoint any advisor of his own choosing and accordingly. Subsequent events in Scotland. independent sovereigns. however. Duke Robert quickly lost interest in the affair. He promised them better laws than they had ever had before. Rufus seized the opportunity to invade the province with a large force in 1090 to take vengeance on Robert's part in the rebellion two years earlier. who fled the country. "Have you not gold and silver boxes full of dead men's bones?" asked the king contemptuously when his bishops protested. the repeal of many aspects of the hated forest laws. but with them he was able to raise an army of the people and defeat the scattered rebel forces. To meet the threat. Odo's army. Ranulf Flambard found himself treasurer of England. Though much of the blame for the death of his brother William was attributed to Walter Tyrrell. He was able to depose Donaldbane in Scotland in favor of his vassal Edgar. he mortgaged his Duchy to William for 10. William was killed. He was aided by Philip of France. where a constant state of anarchy prevailed and where Duke Robert was unable to control his barons who waged private wars. A competent administrator at home. He wasted no time in claiming the throne. however. He brought back Anselm to Canterbury. who wished to install Robert of Normandy on the throne of England. he succeeded in the conquest of Normandy. Lanfranc's death then removed the only person strong enough to protest against Rufus for failing to live up to his promises. His supporters quickly elected Henry King of England and he was crowned by the Bishop of London in the absence of the exiled Archbishop Anselm of Canterbury. The Church was particularly hit hard. Duke Robert decided to honor Pope Urban's call for a Crusade to win back the Holy Land from the Seljuk Turks to allow free access to pilgrims. on the Scottish border. England was governed well compared to Normandy. To raise the necessary funds. The throne of England now passed to his brother Henry. Affairs in Normandy. much in the manner of William Rufus. Yet the absence of Robert of Normandy on his adventures in the Middle East meant good fortune for the King of England. especially those involving the selling of vacant benefices to the highest bidder. bribed to drop his support of Robert. built castles without license and acted as petty. petitioned for a truce and the bishop himself was forced to depart for Europe. did not seem to matter as much as did his success in keeping the peace. In Normandy. a supporter of the claim of Duke Robert of Normandy.
climaxing in the one-hour battle at Tinchebrai when Robert surrendered. Predating Wycliffe. Above all. but would continue to receive their homage for their temporal possessions and duties. to the charge of one who would later raise a rebellion against him. . Ranulf Flambard. Robert duly landed at Portsmouth in 1101 to begin his march on London. who now resolved to dispossess his brother. with the English archbishop even moving to France unable to satisfy his king. His one great mistake was to entrust the infant son of Robert. fear of excommunication led the King to finally agree to a compromise with Anselm. He started by bribing the Count of Flanders and the King of France to transfer their allegiance. Henry was uncompromising. who had escaped his captors and returned to Normandy to help organize an expedition to capture the English throne. forcing the Montgomerys to negotiate for peace. Henry could now introduce into the anarchy that had been Normandy some of the order and economy that he had established in England. Normandy had become a Mecca for just about all of those opposed Henry of England. Henry renounced the right of investing prelates. accepting a pension of 3. The struggle between Anselm and Henry was abetted by the new Pope Paschal. The death of Anselm meant that the King could appoint a successor more favorable to his own views. It took all of England's resources to deal with the ensuing rebellion of the powerful house of Montgomery. Robert was held captive in Cardiff Castle in Wales to spend the remainder of his life a closely-guarded prisoner. did nothing to settle the question of the English Church's longed-for independence from the Crown. The terms of the Treaty of Alton. William the Clito. however. But it left Henry at the pinnacle of his power. and for twenty years. who argued that the Mother of Churches was Jerusalem. he was aided by Gerard the Archbishop of York. and that the Papacy was an institution of merely human ordinance. Arnulf and Roger of all their holdings in England. They were aided by the ex-treasurer of England. In addition. who had formed a large part of Henry's army. who immediately began to punish those barons who had sided with Robert. there was no need to have the will of God expounded by a Pope. growing ever more ambitious under a series of able popes. Henry appropriated Church revenues and enacted measures that led the bishops to beg for Anselm's return. free from any serious rival. the policies of Henry and his Norman possessions was determined by those who continued to plot against him. aided by the Welsh princes. Kings were ordained by God to rule the Church no less than the State. King Henry could count on the support of his English subjects. Henry promised South Wales to Lorwerth ap Bleddyn. Continued trouble with Normandy. Thus the English soldiers.000 marks and a promise of help to recover his rebellious dependency of Maine. Anselm wisely chose to ignore the fact that Edith had taken holy orders as a nun. The conquest of Normandy began in the spring of 1105. not Rome. Losing his nerve. the customs of the realm of England took precedence over the claims of the Church. Back in England. though many of them preferred Robert as their lord and schemed to replace Henry with their choice. King of England. however. he insisted on the rule of law. his leading barons would wait to see which side could benefit them most. all three were obdurate. and stripped Robert. the Duke decided to treaty instead of fight.26 Queen of England. Flambard. Many of the leading Barons of Normandy who held lands in England came to Henry's court to pay homage. put the Church-Crown struggle temporarily on hold. The king was now supreme in his rule. In the meantime. The treaty. For the king. forbade the building of castles or fortified dwellings without his license and insisted that every under-tenant regard the King as his chief lord. In this. He could now turn his attention to withholding royal authority from the encroachments of the Church in Rome. nonetheless. Henry kept in check the powers and ambitions of the great Barons by judiciously exercising his feudal rights. remained too unpopular to cause any trouble for the king. could now say that the Battle of Hastings was avenged. He prohibited the custom of private war. needless to say. preferring to believe that she had only done this to protect herself from importunate suitors rather than to fulfil a desire to enter a convent. Normandy now belonged to Henry. the Church-Crown struggle continued. Gerard argued that the Scriptures alone could give religious instruction. were never honored by Henry. restored to Durham.
married the Empress Matilda. David. Briefly. But the King's Court. the "Lion of Justice" thus propelled his English possessions towards a sense of national unity totally lacking in other lands. Stephen. refused to recognize these differences. a new nation was being forged out of the common respect for the King's writ. including Cumbria. and soon to be the Count of Anjou. nicknamed Plantagenet on account of a sprig of broom (genet) he wore in his cap. founded on a new. he distributed large estates to his Anglo-Norman cronies who also took over important positions in the Church. Brother-in-law to the King of England. as wife of Geoffrey. to . one of the wealthiest of the Anglo-Norman landholders. Stephen's position seemed secure. Return to Anarchy: Stephen (1135-1154) The order of Henry l's reign soon disintegrated under his successor Stephen of Blois. an oath he quickly forgot when he seized the treasury at Winchester and had himself crowned King. where he became Duke in 1144. Then it all unraveled for this good knight who was also. Prominent features of his reign. had taken an oath to accept the succession of Matilda. a fool. David took the opportunity to reassert old territorial claims to the border lands. entirely at his mercy. At the Treaty of Durham in 1136. out of their submission to and increasing attachment to the same principles of law and their trust in the monarchy to protect them against oppression. the ninth son of Malcom III. In 1126. and through marriage Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon. with their mutually incomprehensible dialects and varying legal customs and traditions. to her brother's castle at Bristol. daughter and designated heiress of Henry. King of Scotland invaded England on her behalf in 1135. West Saxons were treated differently from Mercians. the houses of Anjou and Blois began their long struggle for control of both. in this struggle. The war of succession began when Matilda's uncle. He later more than made up for this at the Battle of Lincoln in 1141 when he fought on foot long after much of his army had fled. fierce resistance. he was raised and educated in England by Normans who "polished his manners from the rust of Scottish barbarity. Before Henry died. His adherence to the code of chivalry led him to give safe conduct to Matilda. Henry. It was under the rule of David. However. and his political blunders were legion. the most distinctive of the old provincial differences had disappeared. However. Events had started in 1128 when Geoffrey the Fair. accordingly. he retained Carlisle (which he had earlier seized). Even Matilda's half brother.27 When Henry first acceded to the throne. King of England and Duke of Normandy. The rule was that the law of the King's Court must stand above all other law and was the same for all. When conflict arose between the new (and weak) English King Stephen and the Empress Matilda. in the words of chronicler Walter Map. Stephen gained early notoriety by running away from Antioch during the First Crusade. French-speaking Anglo-Norman aristocracy that remained aloof from the majority of the Gaelic-speaking Celtic population. His invasion of England took him into Yorkshire. the "Curia Regis" of Henry. a grievous error. trouble returned upon the king's death in 1135. David was also Prince of Cumbria. From all the varying tribes that dwelled in England. Events reluctantly forced Stephen to acknowledge Geoffrey in his Dukedom as well as Matilda's son Henry as heir to his English throne. that Norman influence began to percolate through much of southern Scotland. Matilda concentrated on England and Count Geoffrey on Normandy. for example. had a secure base in Anjou and later in Normandy and Stephen was made to pay dearly for his act of benevolence (or stupidity). were civil wars and local disturbances. His courtesy and chivalry were not matched by efficacy in governing. It is to David that Scotland's future as an independent kingdom can be traced. The king's justices travelled into the shires to see that his mandate was carried out. Matilda. When Henry died and his nephew and favorite Stephen seized the throne and the dukedom. wearing out a battle axe and a sword before being captured. Earl Robert of Gloucester paid him homage at his Easter Court. there had been different laws for different folks according to where they resided. Acceptance of his Dukedom quickly followed from the Norman barons and early in 1136. Into the Lowlands he introduced a feudal system of land ownership." In Scotland.
Henry II (1154-1189) Henry had become Duke of Normandy in 1150 and Count of Anjou after his father's death in 1151. left for Normandy. Cumberland and Westmoreland. .28 what has been called his needless. he ruled her duchy as well. In contrast to the peace of Henry's reign. When his eldest son Eustace died the same year. was famous for its political results. caused by Stephen's failure to recognize Matilda as rightful monarch. The stage was set for the greatest period in Plantagenet history. Fragmentation and decentralization were the order of the day. made war on the couple. but she was determined on the union and made all the initial overtures. Matilda landed at Arundel in 1139 with a large army. due mainly to Stephen's troubles. gleeful violence led to his defeat at Northallerton in the "Battle of the Standard. equally ambitious and proud. but Stephen ultimately was unable to dislodge them. He was to continue as king so long as he lived and to receive Henry's homage. the Scottish king was able to gain practically all of Northumbria at a second treaty of Durham in 1139. often desperately close to being defeated. The situation called out desperately for a strong able ruler. Both armies relied heavily on foreign mercenaries. King Louis of France. fearful of his loss of influence in France. beginning in 1153. In the meantime. finally despairing at her failure to dislodge Stephen. Stephen agreed to a compromise.) by Peter N. anxious to set up their own private fiefdoms in England and on occasion. never to return. When he married Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. Stephen was captured at the battle of Lincoln in 1141. the English countryside now suffered the sad consequences of an unremitting struggle with lawless armies on the rampage and barons paying off old scores. with Matilda and her supporters firmly entrenched in the West country. joined by Henry's younger brother Geoffrey who claimed the inheritance of Anjou. notwithstanding the efforts of the Pope to keep the marriage whole. the civil wars continued intermittently. Part 5: Medieval Britain (cont'd. King Louis. however. only to be exchanged for Robert of Gloucester after Matilda had incurred the enmity of the citizens of London. The wars of succession in England. At David's death in 1153. Eleanor had been divorced from Louis VII after her spell of adultery with her Uncle Raymond of Antioch. Despite Matilda's being proclaimed "Domina Anglorum" at Winchester. was easily overcome and Henry acquired a vast swathe of territory in France from Normandy through Anjou to Aquitaine. Their feeble opposition. In the meantime. complete anarchy prevailed in which the functions of central government quickly broke down. In turn. A more successful campaign was then carried out by Matilda's son Henry. Henry II came along just in time. normally on the defensive. managing to do so. The turbulent marriage of the able. were not happy times. Matilda. when his Barons deserted him. ambitious Henry to an older woman. Williams. and the Queen had raised an army to defend the city. the kingdom of Scotland had been extended to include the Modern English counties of Northumberland. D. Ph. She was several years older than Henry. thus becoming more powerful than his lord." Yet. territories that were in future to be held by the kings of Scotland. headstrong. Henry was to be recognized as rightful heir.
peddlers and artisans. opening up the Western Mediterranean to trade. Sicily had been conquered by the Normans by 1090. There seem to have been three main factors in the quarrel between Archbishop Becket and King Henry: their differing personalities. But he was also a scholar and Churchman. he ruled supreme in England. In the meantime. fearful that a victory for either side would be followed by a massive confiscation of lands. four years into his reign. Henry replaced feudal law by a body of royal or common law. was greatly aided by the stimulation of the First Crusade that revived the commerce of Europe by increased contact with the Mediterranean and especially through the growth of Venice. the great Barons decided to shift any allegiance away from the King of England to the one he was more or less forced to acknowledge as his successor. Henry then turned his attention to the Church. Stephen was unable to garner the support he needed from his Barons. he left a legacy of shrewd decisions in the effective legal. administrative and financial developments of his thirty-five year reign. the new towns that were to transform the landscape of the nation during the century and that were ultimately to play such a strong part in its political and economic life. much of it rooted in Anglo-Saxon custom. The problems of succession did not go away. for the union of Henry and Eleanor produced four sons. The drift into towns meant a weakening of serfdom and the Lord's hold upon his demesne. and the Church had consequently refused to recognize his son Eustace as his heir. complex and slow accumulation of procedures. shrewdly relying on his close ally Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury to carry out his religious policies. To posterity. the new trading centers. A major innovation was the replacement of the older system of a sworn oath or an ordeal to establish truth by the jury of 12 sworn men. His boundless energy was the wonder of his chroniclers. a cumbersome. the horse collar made it possible to efficiently transport the heavy blocks of stone for the building of the great cathedrals. perhaps Henry's greatest accomplishment was to take the English system of law. and turn it into an efficient legal system closely presided over by the royal court and the king's justices. Making much use of the itinerant justices to bring criminals to trial. founding and endowing many religious houses. After Eustace's premature death in 1154. The continuing clash between Church and King was another matter altogether. however. For one thing.29 In England. As chancellor for eight years from . even if it meant allying with Louis VII and Philip ll of France against their father. both of which were to have enormous influence on farming methods and transportation. He had quarreled with his Archbishop of Canterbury in 1147. though he was castigated for keeping many bishoprics vacant to enjoy their revenues for himself. Leaving a greater impress upon the institutions of England than any other king. This in turn stimulated the growth of the towns. his court had to rush like mad to keep up with his constant travels and hunting expeditions. and stimulated by the Crusades. Upon his succession. The growth of towns. the Italian city-states grew in influence and prosperity. Motivated by hatred and fear of the Moslems. ever anxious to protect its own areas of interest and those of the merchant classes and rapidly forming guilds. Particularly noticeable were the growth of boroughs. which soon led to demands for more say in their own government and the inevitable clash with the Church. when Stephen was forced to meet Henry at Wallingford. who had built up their estates and consolidated their positions during the anarchy under Stephen. however. Henry was duly crowned with general English acclaim. serfs left the land to become traders. Improvements in agriculture included the introduction of the wheeled plough and the horse collar. Henry ll was making his mark as one of the most powerful rulers in Europe. political implications and the intolerance of the age. England began to prosper under its able administrators closely watched and guided by their king. Great changes in Europe also had their effects on the English political system. Any attempts at opposition were suppressed so that by 1158. He refused to recognize any land grants made by his predecessor and ruled as if Stephen had not even existed. Henry immediately took steps to reduce the power of the barons. all thirsty for power and not averse to any means whatsoever to get it.
Becket was a firm friend of the king with whom he had been a boyhood companion. aided by the Queen. John was to get nothing. His ferocious pursuit of the arts of war squandered his vast wealth and devastated the economy of his dominions. For her part. whose intransigence made him. he was captured while returning to England and ransomed in prison in Germany. he busied himself in Ireland. Henry had worked out a scheme for the future division of his kingdoms. and more than Henry's abject penance made the murdered Becket the most influential martyr in the history of the English Church. That almost sums up his reign. his anger was uncontrollable and the four knights who sped to Canterbury to murder Becket in his own cathedral thought that this was an act desired by the King. but Henry's insistence that it was illegal for Churchmen to appeal to Rome gave the quarrel a much wider significance. his sons now broke out in open rebellion. Taking advantage of their father's weakness. heir to the duchy of Aquitaine. When the news reached Henry in Normandy. he died after being forced to accept humiliating terms from Philip of France and his son Richard. however. In a minor skirmish in Aquitaine. Her particular ally against Henry was Richard. she assumed far greater powers than she had enjoyed as his queen. she had acted as regent of England. On a Crusade to the Holy Land in 1191-2. . Henry was to inherit England. After six years in exile. During the last three years of Henry's life. he began in earnest to work solely in the interests of the Church. but especially over Henry's proposal that people in holy orders found guilty of criminal offences should be handed over to the secular authorities for punishment. Under pressure from resistance in Britanny and Aquitaine. though their lack of cooperation and trust in each other led to Henry eventually being able to defeat them one at a time. and an important phase in the struggle between Church and State had been won. He found very little support from the English bishops who owed their appointments to royal favor and who were heavily involved on the Crown's behalf in legal and administrative matters. During her husband's many absences. preferred to demonstrate his talents in battle. the Lionheart. Becket immediately excommunicated the Archbishop of York and the other bishops who had assisted at the coronation of Henry's oldest son. There was hardly any indication that the relationship of Church and State would be completely changed upon Becket's appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury upon Theodore's death in 1161. and upon his death in 1189. Henry was forced to give way all along the line. who succeeded him as King of England in 1189. but later was promised Chinon. trivial matters. methodical and trustworthy. but not quite. aided by their ambitious. Showing not a sign of his willingness to honor the compromise. and possible rebellion from his sons. sending his son John as "Lord of Ireland" to conduct a campaign that was a complete fiasco. King and Archbishop was broken. Resigning the chancellorship. this time against Philip ll of France. The triangle of Pope. Instead. The king was determined to turn unwritten custom into written. He was energetic. supporting his king in relations with the Church. thus making Becket liable for punishment. Richard was to gain Poitou and Britanny was to go to Geoffrey. in their eyes. his imprisoned queen once more began to plot against him. a compromise was reached and Becket returned to England. a fool. But upon his release. he was killed. the whole of Europe was outraged. Richard l. opposing the king even on insignificant. scheming mother. but now sworn to uphold ecclesiastical prestige against any royal encroachments. They were not willing to give up their powers by supporting the Archbishop. It was in Normandy that Henry fell ill. he went back to fighting. This decision was strongly contested by Prince Henry and was a leading factor in the warfare that ensued between the King and his sons. After Henry had presented his proposals at Clarendon in January 1164. Normandy and Anjou. Eleanor was imprisoned for the remainder of the king's life. as a way out. Richard l (1189-1199): The Warrior King Showing but some of his father's administrative capacity. Becket refused to submit and his angry confrontation with the king was only defused with his escape to exile in France to wage a war of words. Loudon and Mirebeau as part of a proposed marriage settlement. Canon law was introduced fully into England. The dead archbishop was immensely more powerful than the live one.30 1154. a position in which he now displayed the same enthusiasm and energy as before.
thanks to such as Longchamps in England. a most formidable foe. and lands. castles. In the meantime. lordships. this match. a process that continued into the reign of Edward l. John's mishandling of his responsibilities at home led to increased baronial resistance and to the great concessions of the Magna Carta. The most able of Richard's ministers. The successes enjoyed in the Third Crusade against the forces of Saladin. It is a pity that Richard got himself captured in Germany. Poitou and Gascony. He died in the siege of a minor castle in a foolish attempt at inspecting his troops. sheriffdoms. But that was later. hailed as one of the greatest developments in human rights in history and the precursor of the United States . he was able to raise sufficient funds to recover all that Philip had gained in Normandy and to keep his lands intact. Disaster under King John (1199-1216) There are quite a number of ironies connected with the reign of John. when they were expelled from England. King Richard spent all of six months in England. Unfortunately. To raise the funds for his adventures overseas. were mainly due to the English king's abilities as politician and military leader. son of Frederick Barbarossa. but his friendship turned to hostility when the Lionheart rejected his betrothed. did not produce an heir and left the way open for the numerous conspiracies hatched by Richard's brother John. despite the occasional troubles caused by Richard's scheming and ambitious brother John. Count of Mortain (who had been miserly treated in the dispositions of their father. making himself extremely unpopular and being removed by a rebellion of the Barons in 1191. towns. he appointed able administrators who carried out his plans to sell just about everything he owned: offices. John lost very little time in losing everything that his brother had fought so hard to protect. Normandy. Richard. and the Crown of England eventually could concern itself solely with running its own affairs free from Continental intrigue. He helped keep the country more or less stable during the absence of the adventurer king despite being grievously threatened by the townspeople's protests against taxes and the nobles' protests against Richard's plans to establish a standing army. as feudal overlord of England. for he had made ample arrangements for the government of his domains. in favor of Princess Berengaria of Navarre. as well as in the duchy of Aquitaine.31 Philip had been a co-Crusader with Richard. experienced men to represent him in England. married his plain. Nonetheless. Justiciar and Chancellor. the House of Anjou was separated from its links with its homeland. William also taxed the people heavily in the service of his master. Bishop of Ely. All in all." was anything but remarkable. The system that had been developed by Henry ll enabled the country to function quite well. but prudent bride. One favorable legacy that Richard left behind was his patronage of the troubadours. unless the exploits of this violent and selfish man deserve mention. he forgave his brother and promised him the succession. One of these involves the conquest of Cyprus after Berengaria's ship had sheltered near Limassol and had been threatened by the island's ruler. A sad note is that Richard's preparations for the Third Crusade against the Moslems provoked popular hostility in England towards its Jewish inhabitants (who had been formerly encouraged to come from Normandy). the composers of lyric poetry that were bringing a civilized tone to savage times and whose influence charted the future course that literature in Europe was to take. John placed heavy fines which led to many Jews fleeing back to the continent. for during his reign all the vast Plantagenet possessions in France except Gascony were lost. Even his Chancellor William Longchamps. in that Cypriot port. consummated for purely political reasons. But his dominions were constantly threatened by enemies. A massacre of the Jewish inhabitants of York took place in March. was Hubert Walter. had to pay an enormous sum for his chancellorship. it included his recognition of Henry VI of Germany. Philip's sister Alice. From now on. however. who included Philip II of France. and Richard's successor. in fact. His ransom was massive. Richard was fortunate to have loyal. the reign of one called by a contemporary as the "most remarkable ruler of his times. Though Richard outlawed or excommunicated John's supporters when he returned from overseas. Henry II). 1190. Archbishop of Canterbury. earldoms. Anjou. Raymond of Toulouse and his brother John. and certainly the most important.
He also lacked the military abilities of his brother. never to return. and seizing young Arthur (and releasing Eleanor of Aquitaine. though his age and lack of allies prevented him from achieving his aims. Innocent III. He then threw everything away by releasing the most dangerous of his prisoners. Their major dispute came over the appointment of the new Archbishop of Canterbury at the death of Hubert Walter in 1205. John had successfully dealt with the problem of Ireland. the only French lands left to him. His own resources were insufficient to overcome the problems he thus inherited. they had little faith in a victory over the King of France and became weary of fighting John's wars. Isabella of Gloucester (who had failed to give him a son and heir). Most of the bishops left the country. an Englishman active in the papal court at Rome. now under a strong and determined Pope. He had failed miserably. Many Anglo-Norman lords had consolidated major landholdings and were in defiance of . Innocent excommunicated John. The campaign of 1210 was more successful. and the behavior of his undisciplined troops quickly led to his ignominious withdrawal from that troubled land. It was also in John's reign that the first income tax was levied in England. his English kingdom had been drained of its wealth for Richard's wars in France and the Crusade as well as the exorbitant ransom. The English barons were also indignant. Not only that. Pope from 1198 to 1216 was the first to style himself "Vicar of Christ. who was eventually forced to submit by accepting Langton as his primary Church leader. but the inclinations of a petty tyrant. When John began to direct his attention to matters in England. When John reached England." He proved to be a formidable adversary to the English King.32 Bill of Rights. When Arthur was murdered. it was the end for John's hopes in France. apart from the mistrust of his barons. sent by his father to try to complete Henry's plans to bring the feuding Irish chiefs and independent Norman lords to order. John's greatest problems. It has been said that John could win a battle in a sudden display of energy. and Philip now pressed home his advantage. who continued the revolt against him and worse. apart from Gascony. he was unable to gain their confidence. To be fair to the unfortunate John. held captive). It is more than one historian who wrote of John as having the mental abilities of a great king. John refused to accept Stephen Langton. The King of England's ineptitude and lack of support. but then fritter away any advantage gained in a spell of indolence. They had begun to lose confidence in their feudal lord. Philip had not been the only one to be upset by John's repudiation of Isabella. a political move that brought him no gain. After Richard's death. The young woman was already betrothed to Hugh de Lusignan of Poitou. York had been without an archbishop since 1207 when John's half brother Geoffrey had fled to the continent after a quarrel over church taxes. he had Arthur of Britanny killed. John introduced his tax of one thirteenth on income from rents and moveable property. even from burying the dead. despite winning some victories in some provinces. English priests were forbidden from administering the sacraments. The act alienated just about everybody. In 1209. to try to recover his lost lands in France. In the meantime. however. After all his lands in France were forfeited for his refusal to appear. John alienated his vassals in Aquitaine by divorcing his first wife. lay not with Scotland. was the Channel Islands (these nine island have remained under the British Crown ever since and were the only part of the United Kingdom occupied by Nazi forces in World War II). eventually caused him to flee across the Channel. He was punished by the Interdict of 1208. but he had to place England under the direct overlordship of the papacy. but with the Church of Rome. to be collected by the sheriffs. and for the next five years. It was the greatest reverse suffered by the English Crown since the Battle of Hastings in 1066. and it was this humiliation that completely destroyed his political credibility. The King had already been in Ireland. William the Lion of Scotland seized the opportunity to reassert his country's claim to Northumberland and Cumberland. John seized the initiative. marching to Poitier. and John was summoned to appear before Philip ll his nominal overlord in France. and taking as his second wife the teenage daughter of the Count of Angouleme. Innocent. deserting him in droves.
33 royal authority. His burial at Worcester. but pious king. Williams. which states that no one should be imprisoned without trial and 40. on June 15. John's efforts to bring them to heel proved to be one of the few successes of his seventeenyear reign. the "Great Charter" was something of a compromise. all subsequent rulers of England fundamentally disagreed with its principles. Henry asked for taxes in a repeat of his revenue-raising efforts that had failed to bring military success in France and a crisis soon erupted. in later years. the safety of merchants ensured and the privileges of the citizens of London were confirmed. John's plans to re-conquer his former French possessions led to the revolt of his barons. however. In addition. even though John reluctantly signed the charter. When the northern barons refused to help. John took an army to punish the rebels. however. Though John's signature meant that baronial grievances were to be remedied. They preferred to see themselves as the source of all laws and thus above the law. showed that the centre of Plantagenet rule was now firmly established in England. came to the throne. Only Langton's intervention effected a reconciliation. and not France (both Henry II and Richard I had been buried in Anjou). but achieving little. who brought many of her relatives to England to create an anti-foreigner element into the realm's political intrigues and helped solidify baronial resentment and suspicion of the incompetent. Weights and measures were regulated. allied to the disgrace of the defeat in France and loss of lands. were now seized on by the majority of English barons who presented their grievances at Runnymede. son of Philip ll. The Barons showed their power by . The most lasting effect of the somewhat vague conditions of the Magna Carta was the upholding of individual rights against arbitrary government. To raise the funds to pay the ever increasing demands of the Bishop of Rome. a treaty of peace between John and his rebellious barons. for the next 450 years. He allied himself with the Irish chiefs. He had to agree to a meeting of "parliament" in which the opposition was led by his brother-in-law Simon de Montfort. most of which were also spent in futile battles with the leading barons of England and his failure to recapture the lost Plantagenet lands in France. Henry lll. 1215. The Magna Carta. For posterity. John spent the rest of his reign marching back and forth trying to stamp out opposition that was led by Prince Louis of France. to rule for 56 years. Henry III (1216-1272) And so it was that John's young heir. His request for money and arms was the flash point. Also of particular interest is the provision that taxes henceforth could not be levied except with the agreement of leading churchmen and barons at a meeting to which 40 days notice was to be given. His continued disregard of feudal law and customs. In 1212. Part 5: Medieval Britain (cont'd. The angry and frustrated king died in October 1216. the two most important clauses were 39. Henry also tried to take advantage of the Pope's offer of the kingdom of Sicily by making his youngest son Edmund king of that far-off island.) by Peter N. which states that no one could buy or deny justice. but ended in total failure with the defeat by Philip at Bouvines. Baronial rebellion in England was not crushed by the provisions signed at Runnymede. restrictions were placed on the powers of the king's local officials to prevent them from abusing their financial. the charter became almost a manifesto of royal powers. The expedition to Poitou then proceeded. It was time for the king of England to turn back to France. He placed the royal Justiciar in charge of Ireland and had castles built at Carrickfergus and Dublin to strengthen English control over the country. In fact. Henry had already alienated his leading barons by marrying Eleanor of Provence. whose chief grievance was that of punishment without trial. and with their help was able to dispossess the powerful Walter and Hugh de Lacy. One persistent legend is that he lost all his baggage train. Archbishop Langton drew up the grievances into a form of statements that constitute a complex document of 63 clauses. D. including the Crown jewels in the marshy area known as the Wash in the county of Norfolk. Ph. administrative and judicial powers.
showing much more resolve and military skills than his father. Ever anxious to raise funds for his never-ending wars. for the opposition of de Montfort and the Barons. During Henry III's long reign. his gathering contained all the elements later associated with the word "parliament. In the country. not the least of which was the completion of the great cathedrals at Durham. Henry's eldest son. and of "government by the people and for the people. He desperately needed this income to fight his Welsh and Scottish wars.34 drawing up the Provisions of Oxford. his reign produced a great milestone in the history of England. who become Oxford University's first chancellor. who enjoyed his last few years in peace. Edward l enjoyed warfare and statecraft equally. When he finally did arrive to claim his throne. His great inquiry to recover royal rights and to re-establish law and justice became the largest official undertaking since the "Domesday Book" of two hundred years earlier. Henry's reign also saw the movement away from the monastic ideal to that of the Church working among the people. had produced a parliament in which commoners sat for the first time. The death of Henry forced his return from Sicily. Wells. and at the decisive battle of Evesham in 1265. The wily king even granted foreign merchants freedom of trade in England in return for additional customs revenues. The proceedings took place under the Statute of Gloucester on 1278 and the Statute of Quo Warranto of 1290. he was a man whose immense strength and steely resolve had been ably shown on the crusade he undertook to the Holy Land in 1270. he was forced to acquiesce to the setting up of a Council of Fifteen. great progress was made in the direction of the English Church. All these efforts and the great statutes of Westminster of 1275 and 1285 were so successful in reforming and codifying English law that Edward was given the title of the "English Justinian. though it took him two years to return. Most notable among many learned clerics of the period was Robert Grosstested." Edward I (1272-1307) Seen by many historians as the ideal medieval king. Knights of the shire and burgesses of the boroughs were called to attend many of the king's parliaments. that was to prove of immense significance in the future of democracy in England. the barons once again rebelled. which greatly aided in the draining of marshes and the milling of grain. and it was this. The Statute of Mortmain of 1279 had decreed that no more land might be given into the hands to the church without royal license. He was especially gratified at the completion of Westminster Abbey and the reburial of the remains of Edward the Confessor there. In 1295. they captured Henry." When the king later tried to reassert his authority. Henry capitulated. he had conducted the ailing king's affairs in England during the last years of his father's life." the writs issued to the sheriffs to call the knights and burgesses made it clear that they were to act according to common counsel of their respective local communities. an important innovation was the introduction of windmills from Holland. Ely and Lincoln and the erection of the magnificent edifice at Salisbury with its spire lasting for many centuries as the tallest man-made structure in England. giving them protection in return for a grant of export duties on wool and other agricultural products. Henry's son Edward. the king also established a long-lasting alliance between the Crown and the merchant classes. much more than the Magna Carta of John. Under de Montfort. defeated de Montfort to restore Henry. Though Henry lll in many ways was a weak and vacillating king. setting that institution on the road to its eventual greatness and its enormous influence upon the nation's future leaders." Of equal importance in the future development of the English civilization was Edward's fostering of the concept of representation in a people's parliament. with himself as a "first among equals. and set up de Montfort as temporary ruler. . Bishop of Lincoln. King Edward immediately set about restoring order in England and wiping out corruption among the barons and royal officials. then raised an army. Known as Edward Longshanks. The Franciscans and Dominicans were particularly prominent in charitable work in the rapidly growing towns and villages of England. and was determined to succeed in both. though ultimately defeated.
the Welsh put aside their constant infighting to create something of a nation themselves under a succession of strong leaders beginning with Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri the Great) who ruled the greater part of Wales by the time of his death in 877. They show the extent to which Edward was determined to crush any Welsh aspirations of independence and to bring the country firmly under royal control. The situation was restored by Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. setting a precedent that was to continue throughout the Norman invasion of Britain. the other to avoid loss. Hywel was a lawgiver. written in the British tongue (Welsh). Hywel Dda (Howell the Good 904-50). Geoffrey of Monmouth (1090-1155) had claimed that they had come to the island of Britain from Troy under their leader Brutus. Giraldus Cambrensis (1146-1243) had this to say about his fellow countrymen: The English fight for power: the Welsh for liberty. Llywelyn married King John's daughter Joan and was recognised by Henry III as preeminent in his territories. When his brother Dafydd rose in rebellion against the harsh repression of his people's laws and customs. Llywelyn took up the cause. Rhodri's work of unification was then continued by his grandson. According to one chronicler. The stubborn Welsh were a thorn in the side of Edward whose ambition was to rule the whole of Britain. when he was separated . soon meant that the small Welsh forces were forced into their mountain strongholds. Under Llywelyn ap Iorwerth. Edward then began his castle-building campaign. the Welsh "preferred to be slain in war for their liberty than to suffer themselves to be unrighteously trampled upon by foreigners. Llywelyn was forced to concede much of his territories east of the River Conwy. and in 1254. Wales was forged into a single political unit. Harlech and Beaumaris are listed as World Heritage Sites along with others such as Flint and Rhuddlan. his enormous expenditure on troops and supplies and resistance to Llywelyn from minor Welsh princes who were jealous of his rule. In 1039. recognised as Prince of Wales by Henry in 1267 and ruler of a kingdom set to conduct its own affairs free from English influence. When the English nation forged some kind of national identity under Alfred of Wessex. Llywelyn was slain at Cilmeri. At the Treaty of Aberconwy of 1287. The tide of affairs then undertook a complete reversal with the accession of Edward I to the throne of England in 1272. In 1204. the Welsh patriots for their country. Henry's son Edward was given control of all the Crown lands in Wales that had been ceded at the Treaty of Woodstock in 1247. considering themselves the true Britons. Huge forbidding castles. At his death. The English hirelings for money. however. Edward's armies were defeated when they first crossed Offas's Dyke into Wales. whose codification of Welsh law has been described as among the most splendid creations of the culture of the Welsh. Llywelyn was not yet finished. Conwy. however. despite initial successes. He also praised their history. The English king's determination to crush his opposition.35 The Conquest of Wales Visitors to the Wales of today are sometimes astonished to see the extent of Edward's castle-building campaign. near Builth. he had to accept the position of sub-regulus to Athelstan of Wessex. fighting between his sons Dafydd and Gruffudd just about destroyed all their father had accomplished." Sadly. in 1240. the one to procure. Another Norman-Welsh author. Gruffudd ap Llywelyn became king of Gwynedd and extended his authority throughout Wales. however. such as Caernarfon. They were a proud people. gain. not a military leader. In order to keep the peace throughout his kingdoms. beginning with Flint right on the English border and extending to Builth in mid-Wales.
the Angles were finally defeated in this northerly part of Britain and Lothian came under Scottish rule. Alas. Their "impetuous rashness" was now severely punished by the English king. the Scots. It excluded large tracts in the North. In 1300. the accession of Henry II to the English throne in 1154 had changed everything. Henry II's successor was Richard I. in that mighty fortress overlooking the Menai Straits in Gwynedd) "Prince of Wales. "the authority of his might. and for all intents and purposes. And there it remained until the rash adventures of William. There was still no established boundary between Scotland and England. At the Statute of Rhuddlan. the Shetlands. In the Scottish Lowlands he introduced a feudal system of land ownership. Richard freed William from all "compacts" extorted by Henry and restored the castles of Berwick and Roxburgh for a sum of 10. the kingdom of Scotland had been extended to include the Modern English counties of Northumberland. many of whom became settlers. The Scots' Road to Independence At roughly the same time that the people of Wales were separated from the invading Saxons by the artificial boundary of Offa's Dyke. under MacAlpin's descendant Malcolm II. he was raised and educated in England by Normans who "polished his manners from the rust of Scottish barbarity. and forced to acknowledge Henry's feudal superiority over himself and his Scottish kingdom. Thus the humiliation of the Falaise agreement was cancelled. In 1034. was that Scotland became surrounded and isolated. thus the kingdom of Alba established by MacAlpin was thrown in upon itself and united against a common foe. Wales was divided up into English counties. Once again. Brother-in-law to the King of England.36 from his loyal troops. Cumberland and Westmoreland. the English court pattern set firmly in place. was also Prince of Cumbria. Desperately needing money to finance his overseas adventures. It was under the rule of David l. that Norman influence began to percolate through much of southern Scotland. territories that were in future to be held by the kings of Scotland. Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon. Stirling. Jedburgh and Berwick were to be held by England with English garrisons at Scottish expense. The situation seemed permanent when Edward followed up his castle building program by his completion of Caernarfon. and through marriage. the strategic castles of edinburgh. the ninth son of Malcom III. his throne going to Malcolm's grandson Duncan. The Scottish border was considerably shifted northwards. Lothian. Scotland. . Duncan became King of a much-expanded Scotland that included Pict-land." forced Malcolm to give up the northern counties solely in return for the confirmation of his rights as Earl of Huntingdon. 1157 Henry's strength. got him captured at Alnwich. Cumbria and Strathclyde. Roxburgh." The powerful king could now turn his attention to those other troublemakers. At the Treaty of Chester. he distributed large estates to his Anglo-Norman cronies who also took over important positions in the Church. French-speaking Anglo-Norman aristocracy that remained aloof from the majority of the Gaelic-speaking Celtic population. The same year saw the death of the British (Celtic) King of Strathclyde who left no heir. King of Scotland. Wales ceased to exist as a political unit. In 1018." In Scotland. Orkneys and the Western Isles. less interested in Scotland and departed for the crusade in 1189. 1284. In addition. held by the Scandinavians. imprisoned at Falaise in Normandy. intent on ridding himself of these stubborn people once and for all. The old link with Ireland was broken and the country was now cut off from southern England and the Continent. Malcolms' brother and successor. The seizure of control over all Norway in 872 by Harald Fairhair caused many of the previously independent Jarls to look for new lands to establish themselves. One result of the coming of the Norsemen and Danes with their command of the sea.00 marks of silver. and Edward's troubles with the Welsh were at an end. Malcolm IV an eleven-year old boy He was no match for the powerful new King of England. Richard showed little interest in running his English kingdom. whose main concern was the Third Crusade. founded on a new. David. Scotland was a free and independent country. His successes in part were due to the threat coming from the raids of the Vikings. David had been succeeded by his grandson. MacAlpin had been creating a kingdom of Scotland. Edward made his son (born at Caernarfon castle. to add insult to injury. At David's death in 1153. Conwy and Harlech.
Yet within a few months. The English king's plans for a peaceful relationship with his northern neighbor now took a different turn. among them none other than Robert Bruce. Edward l viceroy. thus earning the enmity of the many powerful supporters of the Comyn family. Robert Bruce murdered John Comyn. with Edward as judge. Balliol immediately punished this treachery by seizing Bruce's lands in Scotland and giving them to his own brother-in-law. He seemed secure in Scotland. who believed him to be the weaker and more compliant of the two Scottish claimants. judicial authority over the Scottish king in any disputes brought against him by his own subjects and defrayment of costs for the defence of England as well as active support in the war against France. Edward was ready. Overestimating his strength. He went north to receive homage from a great number of Scottish nobles as their feudal lord. John Comyn. Edward had gone too far. he demanded feudal superiority over Scotland. Soon after at Brechin. lavishly-equipped English army under the command of Surrey. declaring himself King of Scots. After a year of demoralization and widespread English terror let loose in Scotland. the decision went in favor of Balliol. won an astonishing victory when it completely annihilated a large. who was duly declared the rightful king in November. At a meeting between the two surviving claimants for the Scottish throne in Greyfriar's Kirk at Dumfries. In exchange for his support. the young Norwegian princess died. The rising tide of nationalist fervor in the face of the arrival of the English armies north of the border created the need for new Scottish leaders. Bruce came out of hiding. "the coronation stone" of the Scottish kings. but also excommunication from the Church. Even Balliol rebelled at these outrageous demands. the Scottish king was to disappear from the scene.37 A new struggle for control of Scotland had begun at the death of Alexander III in 1286. William Wallace found himself at the head of a fast-spreading movement of national resistance. It was time for Robert Bruce to free himself from his fealty to Edward and lead the fight for Scotland. 1292. John Balliol was supported by King Edward. Edward's reply was predictable. The succession was now open to many claimants. including homage from Balliol. raising the Royal Standard at Scone and. suggested that Margaret should marry his son. executed many of his supporters and forced the Scottish king to become a hunted outlaw. Aided mightily by . who owned estates in England. At Stirling Bridge. though Edward wished to keep English garrisons in a number of Scottish castles. on March 27. With the killing of an English sheriff following a brawl with English soldiers in the marketplace at Lanark. who took into his possession the stone of Scone. during which two of his brothers were killed. At a meeting of 104 auditors. The indefatigable Scottish leader bided his time. the infant daughter of the King of Norway. who was now finished as an effective leader and forced into hiding. His answer was to strike out boldly. His army was defeated by Edward at Dunbar in April 1296. his re-organized army crushed the over-confident Scottish followers of Wallace. a desire consummated at a treaty signed and sealed at Birgham. On her way to Scotland. a campaign began to ruthlessly suppress all attempts at reasserting Scottish independence. Scotland was to remain a separate and independent kingdom. Under the terms. the English king received homage and the oath of fealty from over two thousand Scots. defeated Bruce at the battle of Methven. We can imagine the shock to the over-confident Edward and the extent to which he sought his revenge. At Falkirk. Flushed with this success. leaving as heir his grandchild Margaret. he then concluded a treaty with France prior to planning an invasion of England. on 10 July. with his eye on the complete subjugation of his northern neighbors. Following the battle. a young Scottish knight. At a parliament which he summoned at Berwick. English King Edward. unable to enjoy the consignment of sweetmeats and raisins sent by the English King. the strongest of whom were John Balliol and Robert Bruce. somewhere in the Orkney. in front of the English king he declared that he was the King of Scotland and should answer only to his own people and refused to supply military service to Edward. Showing a hitherto unshown courage. he sent a large army north. a Scottish force led by Wallace. 1306. he surrendered his Scottish throne to the English king.
He was no man for the task. but the now weak and sick king was ineffectual as a military leader. whom he made Earl of Cornwall. In 1311 he drove out the English garrisons in all their Scottish strongholds except Stirling and invaded northern England. heavily outnumbered by their English rivals. a freedom that was a gift from God. The unfortunate king. then he would be dismissed in favor of someone else. but employing tactics that prevented the English army from effectively employing its strength. If Robert Bruce were to prove weak enough to acknowledge Edward as overlord. homosexual king.38 his Chief Lieutenant. Quite simply. Sir James Douglas." One problem was the resurgence of baronial opposition. Williams. its armies free to invade and harass northern England. won a decisive victory at Bannockburn. the 24th of June. 1314 occurred one of the most momentous battles in British history. Faced by too many problems at home and completely lacking the ruthfulness and resourcefulness of his father. the young king had no wish to get embroiled in the affairs of Scotland. without any support. The Declaration of Arboath of 1320 stated that since ancient times the Scots had been free to choose their own kings. Such was Bruce's military successes that he was able to invade Ireland. On Mid-Summer's Day. King Edward finally. The disaster at Bannockburn added to the king's ever-plummeting reputation for incompetence and opposition gathered under the Earl of Lancaster. Scotland remained fully independent until 1603 (when James Stuart succeeded Elizabeth I). begrudgingly. He could only wish that after his death his bones would be carried at the head of his army until Scotland had been crushed. as one chronicler put it: "He did not realize his father's ambition. Part 5: Medieval Britain (cont'd. especially enjoying a passionate relationship with the French Piers Gaveston. It didn't help much that the king was overly fond of his male companions. the clans answered the call and Bruce's forces gathered in strength to fight the English invaders." he won his first victory on Palm Sunday. just as they called themselves rulers of France for centuries after being booted out of the continent. Though English kings still continued to call themselves rulers of Scotland. Edward's wife Isabella and their young son had gone to the French court to start their own revolt against the profligate." marched north at the head of a large army to punish the Scots' impudence. winning many encounters against cavalry with his spearmen. D. Edward ll was crowned King of England in 1307. The armies of Robert Bruce. His gruesome death in prison need not be . The aging Edward. Bruce was left alone to consolidate his gains and to punish those who opposed him. Meanwhile. She took as her lover the powerful Mortimer.) by Peter N. It was left to his son Edward to try to carry out his father's dying wish. Scotland was wrenched from English control. and in 1326 their combined forces landed in England to begin active resistance to Edward. bestirred himself from his dalliances at Court to respond and took a large army north. the so-called "hammer of the Scots. A second expedition carried out by Edward II north of the border was driven back and the English king was forced to seek for peace. "the Black Douglas. was forced to surrender his crown in favor of his young son. where his brother Edward had been crowned King by the exuberant Irish. From all over Scotland. Ph. Misrule in England under Edward II (1307-27) Edward II's miserable failure in Scotland was matched by equal ignominy at home. 1307.
knights and burgesses. Edward also re-enforced his claim to the French crown by assuming the title of King of France. however. Charles V of France had other ideas. the growth of Parliament. the beginnings of what is known as "The Hundred Years War" with France. as Edward II learned of his peril and ultimate death. Edward's policy of launching lightning raids deep into France was initially successful. came about as a result of Edward's constant need for finances to support his continental adventures. the so-called gentry. the growth of parliamentary privilege in England and the devastating results of the plague known as the Black Death. years marked by the king's restoration of royal prestige. in fact. The Magna Carta had been primarily a concern of the barons to protect their interests against the king. . It was to avoid confiscation of the duchy by the French king that Edward decided to invade. Edward's son. the Prince of Wales. used as part of the insignia of the present Prince of Wales. It had been the combined assembly of prelates. It began over the duchy of Gascony. It arrived in England in 1348. gained his motto "Ich Dien" (I serve). also increased its influence at the expense of the king. When Edward I also imposed heavy taxes on the clergy and offered special favors to the merchants. In 1360. the English king made a peace settlement by which he received southwest France in full sovereignty. The beginning of rule by consensus was firmly established by the time of Edward III's death. the middle class landholders in the various counties were also taking part in the political debate. but it received dramatic attention at the hands of the gifted Marlowe (1564-1593). the only fragment left to the Angevin kings of England (apart from the Channel Islands) of their French possessions. they had been summoned by the king and parliament to authorize taxes to pay for the military. a move that would also help to provide sanction for his French supporters (the title was only given up by the British monarchy in 1802). It was apparent that a new political society had been brewing ever so gradually but ever so strongly in England.39 recounted here. Since then. Edward III began his reign at the age of fourteen. By 1375. quickly spreading inland from its port of entry and within one year had affected all of Britain. however. but the Commons. following a costly war of attrition. carried by the black rat and transmitted to humans by fleas and the pneumonia that inevitably followed. Gascony was held by the king. and brought his full military might to repudiate the settlement. many statutes were passed to increase the powers of the nobles. that had shown their own increasing power by demanding the abdication of Edward in 1326. both these classes then expected some recognition in return. It left behind a greatly depleted population. At Crecy. Philip IV. From 1299 on. creating a situation in which many workers could offer their services to the highest bidder." for the color of his armor. made laborers scarce and thus drove up wages. however. the King of France. The assembly of nobles and administrators who offered advice to the king had begun to insist that they had a right to be summoned. for its chief port Bordeaux shipped huge quantities of wine that provided a much needed source of income for the English Crown in customs revenues. Edward was also successful in capturing Calais in 1347 which was to remain in English hands for over two hundred years. England Revives Under Edward III (1327-77) The murdered king's successor. also depended upon for revenue. Parliament took action to curtail many royal perquisites. its kings had to come to terms with it. as a vassal of his powerful overlord. and his tactic of using men-at-arms and longbowmen produced the outstanding victories at Crecy in 1346 and at Poitiers in 1356. Edward had lost most of his gains. Perhaps as many as one half of the country's population died before the scourge suddenly came to an end in 1350. It was an extremely valuable asset. Briefly. He ruled for fifty years. Edward had no control over the outbreak of the Black Death that devastated most of Europe by bringing bubonic plague. The earlier conflict of 1321 between Edward II and his barons had led to the Statute of York one year later that clearly limited the king's powers. The third major phenomenon. A floating population of traveling workers came into being. known as The Black Prince. The Hundred Years War began when Edward took up arms against his overlord. A crisis occurred in 1341-43 over Edward's finances.
England. Because Latin was a spoken language among clerics and men of learning. was the age of Geoffrey Chaucer. watching the soldiers of Henry. still held shackled by great war debts. in summing up his long reign. who had now taken the initiative in ousting royal favorites. Edward the heir to the throne was painfully ill and dying. Though King Edward. Four years after Richard acceded to the throne. but many of his attempts to establish a realm of royal absolutism were to come to fruition only in the reign of his successor. The gradual disintegration of royal authority brought about by diplomatic and military failures produced the serious confrontation of the so-called Good Parliament of 1376. To raise funds for the French war. The king's own lack of judgement only precipitated his eventual abdication. Duke of Lancaster. This. a standard form of written English had come into being. It was a cult that made it very difficult for his successors. betrayed his master that day by running to greet the triumphant Henry. There were many grievances to be dealt with by the Good Parliament and a committee was set up of leading prelates and nobles to deal with them. Resistance from the lawyers prevented its full implementation. enforced after a rule of 22 years of great social unrest and baronial discontent. That the king himself was in his dotage hardly helped matters. John Gower. Sir John Mandevill. John of Gaunt Duke of Lancaster by virtue of his first marriage. all of whom wrote in the English language. Great economic and political developments were changing the face of Europe forever. that ate away at his treasury and caused constitutional crises at home. By the end of the 14th century. His own reign saw the unleashing of forces completely beyond his control. The Duke's second marriage was to Constanza of Castile. A speaker was appointed to act as the Commons' chairman and representative. and John Wycliffe. The Good Parliament had also seen one of the most serious attacks on the Crown during the whole later Middle Ages. we can praise his remarkable ability to accommodate the interests of so many of his subjects. a union that forced a great deal of his attention to acquiring the throne of that Spanish kingdom. The principal grievance was that Edward's councillors and servants "were not loyal or profitable to him or the kingdom. his greyhound Math. No wonder a cult of Edward lll as a wise and benevolent king quickly grew in England. not the barons.40 Another important phenomenon taking place in England in the 14th century must not be overlooked." was marred by constitutional crises. through his powerful Councillor John of Gaunt. highly praised by his contemporaries as a period without parallel in the history of England for its "beneficent. John Barbour. rather than French. in its lonely position on the Dee estuary in Northeast Wales. His reign also coincided with the period of the French Wars. A King is Deposed: Richard II (1377-99) One sorrowful day in August. Flint townspeople still relate that the king's ever-present companion. merciful and august rule. advance from the direction of Chester. the vast variety of Middle English dialects notwithstanding. supervised by the Richard's uncle. he was faced with the mass popular uprising known as the Peasants' Revolt. was governed by a powerful council of nobles. Parliament passed an act to make English the official language of pleadings in the law courts. Math's ghost is now said to howl nightly in the ruins of the ancient castle. and the first use of the judicial procedure known as impeachment took place. In 1362. to Blanche of Lancaster. Richard had become king at the age of ten. a poll tax was adopted by the government the unfair distribution of which caused massive resistance (much like the one initiated by the government of Margaret . an enormous number of borrowings came into English at this time from Latin. too. sought some measure of revenge by nullifying almost everything the parliament had sought to put in place. Richard had already been betrayed by the Earls of Northumberland and Arundel who had persuaded him to leave the safety of Conwy Castle to journey to Flint." The resulting dismissal of some of the king's advisors and financiers meant that it was the commons. King Richard stood on the ramparts of Flint Castle. 1399. Poor Richard! He certainly had delusions of grandeur. but the English language continued to be used in parliamentary rolls and statutes and ultimately replaced French to become the official language of the country. The last ten years of the glorious reign of Edward lll.
He was repudiated by his nation. He also incurred the enmity of the citizens of London. arrogant man. his appeals to the Pope to obtain confirmation of his measures all combined to force the barons to acquiesce in his deposition. The articles of deposition setting forth the charges against the king were just as uncompromising as his own absolute doctrine. promises. coupled with his attempts to create a written constitution that would serve the rights of the crown for ever. the king had given the title of Marquis of Dublin to Robert de Vere. his extravagant tastes. he then showed he meant business by having their leaders executed. who introduced the handkerchief to England. imposed additional taxes. Neither the time nor the place was right for the establishment of an absolute monarchy. An outbreak of rioting followed attempts to collect the tax from the poorer classes. Perhaps scared for the safety of his Crown. originally formed into a system of defence against the papacy (growing increasingly powerful in the affairs of Europe) were formulated into a doctrine of absolute monarchy. he then squandered the support of his lords in Parliament by going too far. The young king pacified the angry mob when their leader Wat Tylor was killed. This was the ultimate blunder that led directly to its downfall. did not sit too highly with those who thought otherwise. In 1386. coming of age. nullifying measures passed by both Lords and Commons. The last straw was Richard's attempt to make Parliament the instrument of destruction of its own liberties (a political move carried out with much greater success by Henry VIII many generations later). through the leading barons. Richard's major problem was that he had high ideas of his own dignity and of the power of the divine right of kings. down to the poorest of is subjects. but also with the powerful English Church. it turned out. in an attempt to reassert royal prerogative. His will directed that he be given a royal funeral. Richard devoted all his energies to the establishing of a despotism that was out of place in the England of his time. Richard was outraged. including the Dukes of Lancaster and Norfolk demanded trial for Richard's friends. The principal grievances were the same. The nobles had grown too powerful and Richard's insistence that he was the sole source of English law. without whose support no king of England could now successfully govern. not bound by custom. . including de Vere. he was defeated. leading to his ultimate deposition.41 Thatcher many hundreds of years later). This not only brought him into conflict with his barons. whose leaders could always appeal to Rome against any royal encroachment on their privileges. thus it bears an uncanny resemblance to the great revolt of the American Colonies some centuries later. It did not help Richard. It seems that his ideas. but in 1389. lavished gifts upon his favorites and spent huge sums of money on extravagant court feasts. His despotic measures. Richard believed he had a free hand to begin his aim of ruling by absolute fiat. If the great house of Lancaster could lose its property to the king. Richard and his advisors hastily promised charters of emancipation and redress of grievances to the rebel leaders. A group of nobles known as the Lords Appellant. He raised a private army. his choice of favorites and his effeminate ways. from the Pope himself. and his assertion that it was high treason to try to repeal his statutes. who sided with Duke Henry of Lancaster. began his majority by dispensing with a council altogether. that his nobles had regarded with loathing his patronage of the arts. Richard regarded his coronation as giving him the right to keep royalty from being dishonored by any concessions to anyone. then no man's land was safe in England. alienated the barons. a greedy. When he found a pretence to banish both Bolingbroke and Mowbray (Dukes of Lancaster and Norfolk). Richard had greatly overreached his powers by appropriating the lands of the Duchy of Lancaster after the death of John of Gaunt in 1399. that they had no intention of keeping. The future Henry IV was thus acting as the champion of property rights when he met Richard at Flint Castle. The kings' tampering with the will of Parliament. The great revolution of 1399 was an assertion of the rights of Englishmen to constitutional government. and the "Merciless Parliament of 1388 tried an executed many of Richard's followers. When de Vere raised an army. The rebels marched on and occupied London.
who was disgruntled by his excommunication and imprisonment for heresy. It could have been a glorious one. For a short time at least. the other led by Richard. and his cause was lost. Henry Percy of Northumberland (Hotspur) was killed at the Battle of Shrewsbury. leaving the throne to the charismatic warrior. fighting for the English. Unfortunately for the future of the kingdom. of a prominent Welsh border family. Of the serious threats he had to deal with. They thus asserted the right of Parliament to elect the fittest person from within the royal family. the Earl of Northumberland and Henry Mortimer looked as if it would succeed in dismembering England. Ph. Henry was most troubled by the revolt of the Welsh under Owain Glyndwr. the King of Scotland was taken prisoner by the armies of England. Social unrest and racial tension underlay much of the resentment of the Welsh people. Through this alliance. Wales had to wait almost 600 years for its next people's assembly. Military aid was promised from the king of France. King Henry V. It was thus up to Henry to consolidate the powers of the monarchy. descendants of Brutus and rightful heirs to the kingdom. certainly if we think of him solely as a warrior-king.) by Peter N. who was executed for his audacity. properly anointed and recognized by the Church. King Henry then quickly dealt with other rebellions. did not get off to a good start at home.42 By elevating Bolingbroke. Owain's fight for Welsh independence was betrayed by fellow Welshman David Gam. fearless in leading his troops into battle and winning his military victories against seemingly-impossible odds. Richard Scrope. as troubled as it was by constant wrangling over the king's expenses. One problem with Henry's usurpation of the throne was the setting of a dangerous precedent: a rightful king. however. England Triumphant: Henry IV (1399-1413) Henry of Bolingbroke was renowned as a fighting man. D. His conquest of Normandy and his acquisition of the throne of France made him a legend in his own time. husband of Anne Mortimer. He died after a long illness in 1413. commanded by the ever resourceful. Two rebellions had to be dealt with: one led by Sir John Oldcastle. constitutionalism triumphed in England. ridding its people of its usurper monarch. Glyndwr (Owen Glendower) had himself crowned Prince of Wales and called a parliament at Machynlleth. and it was to his advantage to utilize Parliament to bolster his position and counter the ever-present threats to his throne and challenges to his position as chief lawgiver. Thus Henry succeeded in keeping his shaky throne intact. Uncertainty as to the future of Wales and the repressive measures of successive English kings following Edward IÍs conquest of their nation found expression in the general uprising under Owain. Henry V (1413-22) The reign of Lancastrian hero Henry V was not a long one. ever mindful that they were the true Britons. later Henry V. the passing over of the elder branch of the royal house in favor of the House of Lancaster meant the eventual reasserting of the claims of the House of York and the consequent Wars of the Roses with their attendant anarchy. the nobles passed over Richard's nearest heir. had been deposed (a theme that provided Shakespeare with so much material in his "Richard II"). Earl of Cambridge. Then it all unraveled for the conspirators. Williams. sister of . A tripartite alliance among Owain. including one led by Archbishop of York. He had travelled extensively in Europe and the Mediterranean before overthrowing the unpopular Richard (who died a mysterious death. Part 5: Medieval Britain (cont'd. Louis of Orleans was assassinated and the promise of French aid was not fulfilled. at first successful in reclaiming much Welsh territory and capturing English strongholds on and within the borders. son of John of Gaunt and grandson of Edward lll to the throne. Who can find fault with his dream of ultimately uniting all of Christian Europe against the infidel? Henry's brief reign. Duke of Lancaster. probably due to starvation while in prison). ever able military strength of young Prince Henry. Owain's other ally. he was able to overcome most of the troubles that were a legacy from Richard.
The heir to the English throne was less than one year old. the French army attacked the motley crew that made up the English forces at Agincourt using the same tactics that failed them in the earlier slaughter. all of who condemned many practices of the established Church. also suffered the same fate. especially the incompetence of Charles V's son and heir Charles VI. the King of England took immediate advantage and took his army across the Channel. The latter had designs on complete control of the government of France. was the true guide to faith. supported by an effective. was accused of organizing a Lollard rebellion. This was hardly a situation that created confidence in the Holy Catholic Church. Wycliffe went so far as having the Bible translated into English. The English king could welcome this novel idea as long as it didn't lead to attacks on his own prerogative. it needed a representative of Rome at Canterbury to sanction the accession to power of the English monarch. for religious dissent also constituted a grave threat to the stability of the realm. reformer John Wycliffe. whose support had been crucial for Henry. Contemporary events in France greatly favored the implementation of Henry's claims in that country. one headed by the king's younger brother. After all. now married to the Princess Catherine. Bitter rivalries tore asunder the French Court." Henry V of England. Queen Catherine. mounted knights completely unable to maneuver in the marshy lands and cut down by the skill of Henry's mercenary archers. The rebellion of Richard. with rival popes in Rome and Avignon. After years in hiding. The Dauphin fled Paris. There was also the matter of the Papal Schism. with consequences we shall deal with later. Their demands were premature. and not just the classically educated clergy. against the Royal House of Lancaster. making it accessible to all who could read. with the able assistance of ultra-conservative Archbishop Arundel had undertaken stern measures to combat their ideas. Following Agincourt. who also suffered from bouts of insanity. took as her next husband Owen Tudor of Wales. During the reign of Edward lll. was thus free to embark on his French adventures. had declared that the Bible.43 Edmund Mortimer the nearest legitimate claimant to the throne by descent from Edward lll. but the English king had no serious rivals in France to thwart his ambition. but it had been meeting with increasing resistance. Henry VI (1422-71) . was fatally stabbed by a former supporter of the murdered Orleans while arranging the negotiations. after escaping from the Tower of London. the way was open for Henry to take possession of Normandy. The resulting outbreak of civil war paralyzed France for a generation. including burning Lollards at the stake. many recruited in Wales. Philip of Burgundy. and King Henry IV. it was declared that on the death of Charles VI his throne should be given to "his only true son. Both plots were foiled by the decisive action of the king's supporters and Henry. a cause aided by the assassination of Orleans in 1407. The result was an even bigger disaster for the over-confident French with appalling losses among their heavily armed. remaining in England. His ideas were then preached with great zeal by the Lollards. Louis of Orleans and the other by the king's uncle. captured and executed and his followers dispersed. leaving Queen Isabella (during one of her husband fits of insanity) to come to term with the victorious English king. By the Treaty of Troyes of 1420. We can only surmise what the political future of both France and England might have been had Henry not died during one of his French campaigns in 1422. a boyhood friend of Henry V. disciplined royal council. The first one owed a great deal to the earlier attempts of English monarchs to make their country more independent of Rome. In the meantime. The Catholic Church had been steadily increasing its demands upon the English treasury. Forgetting anything or everything they had learned at Crecy in the previous century. and not the Church. the second to the continuing claims of the heirs of Richard ll to the Crown of England. Earl of Cambridge. Oldcastle. leaving the Duke of Gloucester as regent in England and the Duke of Bedford as regent in France. and younger brother of the Duke of York. he was eventually betrayed. The powerful Duke of Burgundy.
and thus a battle was necessary to try to settle the matter. the complete fiasco of the reign of Henry Vl ultimately led to that sad period in English history known as "The Wars of the Roses. In marked contrast to the good order of his father. things went from bad to worse for the English occupiers. the boy whose rights had been passed over by parliament in 1399. only to be imprisoned once more. created a situation bordering on anarchy. Joan was eventually captured by the ever-treacherous Burgundians and sentenced to death for heresy by a Church court. No wonder Henry had fits of insanity. bewildered Henry from the Tower of London to be recognized as king again. Henry stayed behind as fugitive. After 1435 and the death of the Duke of Bedford. but the former Henry had . used to rule. and both Eton College and Kings College. led the anti-Lancastrian party. King Henry and Margaret had adopted the red rose as the symbol of the House of Lancaster. whose family had adopted its emblem a white rose as a Yorkist badge. Richard of York. They released the poor. Perhaps we can blame bad luck for the king's misfortunes. but York was killed at Wakefield when Margaret led an army against him in 1460. Later chroniclers praised his good qualities and Henry VII even sought his canonization. he was also controlled by his wife Margaret of Anjou. when the birth of a son to King Henry precluded the possibility of a peaceful succession. he then defeated Queen Margaret and killed her husband's son Edward." In France. he defeated and killed Warwick. A compromise was then effected that would allow him to reign after Henry's death. Henry and Margaret had to flee to Scotland. the country being governed by a regency dominated first by his uncles of the House of Lancaster and later by the Beauforts.. Henry had been recaptured by his "manly queen. heir to the son of Richard II. His joy at being restored to the throne was short-lived. Henry found himself back in prison at the Tower where he was executed. the constant feuds of the kings' relatives. they were gradually forced to give up all they had gained under Henry V except the single port of Calais. raised the standard of revolt to begin the thirty-year period of civil war that wracked the whole nation. The Wars of the Roses began in 1453. his reason. Orleans relieved and the Dauphin crowned at Reims as Charles VII. During bouts of mental illness. but when Henry was later captured at the Battle of Northampton. Henry VI lost two kingdoms. Richard returned to claim the throne for himself. Cambridge were founded during his reign. At the battle of Tewkesbury. It duly took place in 1461 at Towton. despite a few desultory successes after the death of Henry V. despite the avowed saintliness of the king. the bloody conflict nevertheless managed to exterminate most of the English aristocracy as its fortunes swung back and forth between the two sides. When his wife left to drum up support in France. descended from Edward lll. known as Joan of Arc. Though he was interested in education. They managed to force Richard of York into exile. French resistance was revitalized. Under the inspired leadership of a peasant girl from Domremy. the bloodiest engagement of the whole war and a disaster for the House of Lancaster. The fires that burned Joan also ignited the latent forces of French nationalism. He had come to the throne as an infant. self-serving courtiers and advisors only hastened the onset of civil war. Duke of York as protector. Never really involving more than armed clashes between small bands of noblemen with their private retainers. In addition to being dominated by the Duke of Suffolk. but Henry was never a ruler in his own person. During the long years of attrition that followed. the English armies found themselves virtually leaderless in the face of increasing French strength. Henry's employment of ambitious.. becoming a national martyr after she had nobly perished in the bonfire at Rouen in 1431. with aid from Charles the Bold of Burgundy and at Barnet in 1471. Agincourt might as well not have happened. Richard of York. His son Edward was then supported in his claims by the formidable Earl of Warwick (Warwick the kingmaker). Warwick then switched his allegiance to Margaret and their joint invasion forced King Edward to flee to the Continent. He returned to England in 1471. at the same time. for Edward was not finished. England was ruled by Richard." but he was driven into exile one year later when Warwick had the Yorkist prince crowned as Edward lV. In particular. his only son and on many occasions. the monarchy was rapidly losing its prestige.44 In a reign lasting almost fifty years. certainly his bad judgement. In England. There were now two kings ruling England.
Richard was able to pressure the assembled Lords and Commons in Parliament to petition him to assume the kingship. Edward had allowed Richard to govern that part of the country.45 completely failed as a ruler. Edward and Richard. who had rewarded his loyalty with many northern estates bordering the city of York. the Duke of Clarence. anxious to restore her influence in the north. The queen herself took sanctuary in Westminster Abbey. Though the rebellion failed. invested his own considerable fortune in improving trade. a commoner of great beauty. the Duke of Gloucester headed a council in the north. He then had his other young nephew Richard join Edward in the Tower. Richard planned his coup. He was never seen again though his uncle kept up the pretence that Edward would be safely guarded until his upcoming coronation. One day after that set for Edward's coronation. seeking to redress government abuses and the lack of input into the arbitrary decisions of the king and council. Edward lV (1461-83) Edward began his reign in 1461 and ruled for eight years before Henry's brief return. 1483. Richard condemned himself. the first in which he was chiefly engaged in suppressing the opposition to his throne. Richard III (1483-85) Richard of Gloucester had grown rich and powerful during the reign of his brother Edward IV. in the protection of Richard of Gloucester. it showed only too clearly that arbitrary decisions by those in power could be strongly protested by those without. Though the new king busied himself granting amnesty and largesse to all and sundry. he then rode to Westminster and was duly crowned as Richard III. His reign is marked by two distinct periods. (It had been Hastings who had informed him of the late King's death and the ambitions of the Queen's party). it is said that his sexual excesses were the cause of his death (it may have been typhoid)." The new king was a minor and England was divided over whether Richard should govern as Protector or merely as chief member of a Council. freed himself from involvement in France by accepting a pension from the French King. but regarded as an unfit bride for a king. his involvement in a plot to depose the king got him banished to the Tower where he mysteriously died (drowned in his bath). where he was known as "Lord of the North. When Edward married Elizabeth Woodville. It is one thing to kill a rival in battle but it is another matter to have your brother's children put to death. and all in all. Clarence continued his activities against his brother during the second phase of Edward's reign. Both periods were marked also by his extreme licentiousness. Richard's competence and military ability was a threat to the throne and the legitimate heir Edward V. There were also fears that he may use his influence to avenge the death of his brother Clarence at the hands of the Queen's supporters. Edward had meanwhile set up a council with extensive judicial and military powers to deal with Wales and to govern the Marches. Edward's coronation was set for June. After his immediate acceptance. And Richard was supported by the powerful Duke of Buckingham. After a series of skirmishes with the forces of the widowed queen. His rivals had been defeated and the prospects for a long. We can understand Warwick's switch to Margaret and to Edward's young brother. he could never cleanse himself of the suspicion surrounding the . even Warwick turned against him. Richard had the young prince of Wales placed in the Tower. convincing his own followers of the need to have Lord Hastings executed for treason. with the results that have forever blackened their guardian's name in English history. and the second in which he enjoyed a period of relative peace and security. stable reign looked promising. He left two sons. He levied few subsidies. but he was praised highly for his military skills and his charming personality. when we learn that he had hoped the king would marry one of his own daughters. but Richard had her brother and father killed. By being suspected of this evil deed. who had married into the Woodville family against his will. remained a popular monarch. His reign had not only seen civil war. but also had to deal with the serious revolt of the middle classes led by Jack Cade. Then it all unraveled for the treacherous King. First he divided the ruling Council. His brother.
" impugned the legitimacy of his own brother and his young nephews and stigmatized Henry Tudor's royal blood as bastard. experienced vast economic and social change and suffered (and more or less settled) the tumultuous problems of the great European Reformation. Earl of Richmond. especially the gentry. Much of Wales. Consequently. in the English Midlands. the victory of Henry Tudor and his accession to the throne conveniently marks the end of the medieval and the beginning of England's modern period. a battle that was as momentous for the future of England as had been Hastings in 1066. D. The problem of Wales was more easily settled. who posed as the younger of the princes who had been murdered in the Tower. ever conscious of their long history as true Britons and heirs of the illustrious King Arthur. Warbeck foolishly led an army composed mostly of Cornishmen against Henry but was defeated and beheaded. Williams. Little England had become unrecognizable in its unswerving path toward world domination in so many different areas. a name of great historical significance to the people of Wales. and for all intents and purposes. He effectively dealt with the early Yorkist threat to the throne when he defeated a conglomeration of rebels under Lambert Simnel. the kingdom of Britain had become a great sea-power. competent royal administration. Part 6: From Reformation to Restoration by Peter N. and Henry himself. nephew of Edward lV and Richard III. Welshman Owen Tudor. Henry's victory at Stoke. . had been a household clerk of Catherine of Valois. Henry had a lot to think about when he defeated Richard. and thus heir to his throne. he was to begin a dynasty that lasted 118 years. it was generally felt in the principality that a Welsh ruler had now come to the land. now rejoiced in Henry's victory. He had his own son Edward invested as Prince of Wales. Henry had landed in West Wales to begin his march that culminated at Bosworth. after all. a quarter Welsh (a quarter French and half English). had the good sense to marry Elizabeth of York. By the end of t Elizabeth IÍs reign. It didn't help Richard much that even before he took the throne he had denounced the Queen "and her blood adherents. could have been a wellmanaged. he was descended from the offspring of John of Gaunt and his mistress. The rebellion against him started with the defection of the Duke of Buckingham whose open support of the Lancastrian claimant overseas. on his mother's side. Henry Tudor. The people of Wales showed little interest one way or the other. His victory was due as much to the king's allies deserting him on the field of battle as much as it was to Henry's own determination and courage. a desperate gamble. James VI. and in the face of his weak claim to be the legitimate ruler. the last of the Tudors. pushed forward to claim the throne as the supposed Earl of Warwick. whom he married after the death of her husband Henry V. Their son Edmund was granted the title of Earl of Richmond. Ph. Though his claim to the throne was tenuous and few in England could even hope that stability had at last come to that troubled land. Then he dealt with Perkin Warbeck. who seemed proud of his Welsh lineage and showed that he recognized it. but when Henry assumed the throne. thus bringing together the white rose of York and the red of Lancaster. The king was defeated and killed at Bosworth Field in 1485. the problem of the succession was an English one. After all. but revulsion soon set in to destroy what. transformed a situation which had previously favored Richard. It certainly helped that Henry named his son and heir Arthur. His grandfather.46 murder of the young princes. They identified with the new ruler. Along with the support of the King of Scotland. Henry VII (1485-1509) The victor at Bosworth Field was Henry Tudor. in 1487 marked the last battle of the Wars of the Roses. enjoyed an unparalleled growth in literature and drama. Wales and the Marches were quite content to be ruled by the King's Council. It was not easy going for the new king. eldest daughter of Edward lV. for all intents and purposes. The battle ended the Wars of the Roses. At the beginning of Henry VII's reign the Wars of the Roses were still pitting the Houses of York and Lancaster against each other for the throne. brought up in France. specifically barred from the succession.
the most powerful monarch in Europe. the son of an Ipswich butcher began his rapid rise to some of the highest offices in the land. The marriage may not have been consummated.47 The king could now concentrate on his governmental reforms. his use of statutes to raise money raised some hackles. son of the Countess of Salisbury led the opposition to the king. it was unthinkable at the time that a woman should rule England. the colorful "beefeaters" still to be seen at the Tower. John Cabot's voyages put the English flag on the shores of North America. But all this was later. had unforeseen consequences. and was interested in building England's navy. but he always had the excuse of needing extra cash to fight the French (who. His prudence. thus his family was chosen for elimination. All seemed well. . Part 6: From Reformation to Restoration (cont'd. Henry was just as obstinate. Ph. and those who failed to support his efforts to have the marriage annulled were quickly to feel his wrath. the first year of Henry's long reign. The premature death of Prince Arthur. Earl of Surrey. In the meanwhile." showing his bent by getting rid of the Duke of Buckingham. more importantly. but it was not. the great marinerexplorer was supported by the king's grants of money and ships. willing and it was to be hoped. In understanding the spate of executions and the ridding of even those with the slightest of claims to the throne. the grandson of Buckingham. caution and wisdom were praised by historian Polydor Vergil as best suited to his age. duplicitous Henry Tudor. the military arts. soundly supported by adequate finances and backed by a strong legal system. Henry also took control of the government's finances. Right away he began his policy of "dynastic extermination. in any case. and he reinvigorated the system of Justices of the Peace to keep tight control of the towns and parishes and ensure respect for the Crown. Williams. D.) by Peter N. It also meant the eventual unification of the Scottish and English Crowns. but also reinvigorating the administration of law on both the national and local level. the nephew of Catherine and. Henry secured his position as king by firm and effective government. At Westminster. for Henry's daughter Margaret married King James IV of Scotland. Henry had no heir of his own other than Princess Mary. but the subsequent remarriage of the Spanish Princess to Arthur's younger brother (who later became Henry VIII) created a major problem with the Catholic Church. As Henry had married his brother's widow. he revived the Court of the Star Chamber to deal with problems that mostly involved the nobility. Considered by his contemporaries as a true renaissance prince. He then appeared as a legate at the Council of Trent and played no significant part in English affairs until the accession of Mary. the solution seemed simple enough: he would have to get his marriage annulled and marry the young. appointing him Lord Chancellor in 1515. athletic Henry VIII. Henry proved just as ruthless as his father. he left much of the administration in Wolsey's able hands. centred in Westminster. the poet Henry Howard. which was having problems of its own trying to remain independent from the growing power of European monarchies. becoming elected cardinal for his spirited attack on the English monarch. It was Henry who introduced the Yeomen of the Guard. the virtual keeper of the Pope. Pole had earlier gone to Paris in 1529 to seek a favorable opinion of Henry's claims in the matter of the divorce. Thomas Wolsey joined the king's council in 1509. a curse that was to haunt them. Henry was also interested in books and learning. it was a welcome relief when he was succeeded by the amiable. a man who brooked no opposition. As the king enjoyed other pursuits. they were qualities highly sought in a king. attractive. we have to remember the infertility of the Tudors. the Countess of Salisbury (sister to the Earl of Warwick) and in 1546. who had married Catherine of Aragon when both were in their teens. He was a man who loved music. real or imagined. Cardinal Pole. Henry VIII (1509-1547) After the reign of the avaricious. All male children born to Catherine and Henry had died. fertile Anne Boleyn. He later sided with Charles V against the king. the repercussions of Arthur's premature death can be said to have led to the later success of the Reformation in England. paid him handsomely to stay away). In one way. cementing in place not only the combined power of monarch and Parliament. But the king had not reckoned on the obstinacy of Charles V. The country was at peace and able to enjoy a great increase in trade with the Continent.
There was no Catholic uprising in Britain." One month later Archbishop Cranmer declared that the Kings' marriage to Catherine of Aragon was null and void. Henry made it quite plain that he wished for a quick divorce. We have already had an inkling of what was to come when John Wycliffe. In 1533. After 1534. The Pope duly excommunicated both Cranmer and Henry. the king himself had no great desire for a complete separation. was completely undone by his failure to get Henry his divorce from Catherine of Aragon. considered by many to be the architect of the English Reformation. Now. the dissolution of the monasteries in Britain proceeded at a rapid pace. giving birth to Elizabeth but three months later. Henry still considered himself a staunch Catholic. events moved even more rapidly. and William Tyndale was busy translating the New Testament into English. but it is safe to say he probably sneaked in many of his own. in the words of a Venetian ambassador. however. The Act of Supremacy of that year declared that the king was the Supreme Head of the Church of England and the Pope officially designated merely as the Bishop of Rome. but the dilemma of the royal divorce ultimately proved too much for him. appointed Thomas Cranmer to do his bidding in that office. Cromwell was ruthless in carrying out the policies of Henry. however earned. Henry obtained his divorce regardless of Charles V and the Pope. Ann Boleyn was duly crowned Queen. with the teachings of Martin Luther reaching into all corners of Europe. On two occasions. including those of Archbishop of York. Perhaps the break away of England was inevitable. for he had just defeated his major European rival Francis l and taken Pope Clement VII prisoner. it was the Emperor Charles V that presented the biggest obstacle. for they were an easy target to satisfy Henry's need for vast amounts of money for coastal defenses and for the strengthening the navy. he tried to get himself elected Pope. but matters came to a head with the rise to power of Thomas Cromwell. In his passion for the beautiful Anne and his desire for a male heir. Henry married the pregnant Anne Boleyn and upon the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury. with Henry at variance with the imprisoned and demoralized Pope. All his acquisitions of wealth and power had come to nought to the king's benefit. The official break with Rome came in April 1533 with the passing of the Act of Restraint of Appeals that decreed "this realm of England is an empire. a man initially beloved of the king and Bishop Fisher were executed for refusing to acknowledge Henry's claim as Head of the Church in England. out of touch with the vast changes that had been taking place in economics. He died on his way to face the king. Then. His dismissal and the charges against him also point out only too well the declining influence of the universal Church in politics. for the next seven years. Dissenters known as the Lollards were also increasing their attacks on the malpractices of the Catholic bishops. The growth of nation-states independent from Rome would be a recurring theme of Europe for the next few hundred years. retaining his title of "Defender of the Faith" and obviously proud of such an appellation. the floodgates of the Reformation were let loose. but only so far. he was more interested in Italy than what happened to his aunt. effectively destroyed the medieval church in England. He was thus discarded when he was no longer useful to the king. had preached his revolutionary idea that grace could come from a reading of the Bible and not from the benefit of Church and clergy.48 The ambitious Wolsey then acquired other offices in rapid succession. "ruling the kingdom. There was no break with Rome on matters of dogma. Because of Wolsey's failure in the matter he was banished from court and eventually summoned to trial on a charge of treason. politics and social conditions. Cardinal and Papal Legate. but Henry had been given the title "Defender of the Faith" by Pope Clement for his efforts to keep the forces of Protestantism at bay in England. He simply used the authority of the state and the so-named Reformation Parliament that was first called in 1529 and that. during the reign of Edward III. Wolsey. Again. and the Catholic Church in disarray. Wolsey had greatly increased the work of the Court of Chancery and the Star Chamber. Charles was not the only one who obviously felt that monarchs should live up to their titles. but the . The medieval church was moribund. mainly for ready cash to found chanceries and schools." It was in Henry's own interest to give free reign to his chief minister. To be fair to Charles. Wolsey himself had begun the matter. twenty-two other Englishmen were also burned at the stake for refusing to accept Catholicism. a court by which the nobility was kept in check. when fears arose of an expected invasion from France. in a fossilized state. like so many others in the kingdom. Though Sir Thomas Moore.
Henry's chief minister and architect of the Reformation in England issued injunctions stating that every parish church should have an English bible and shrines were to be destroyed. books and architecture meant nothing to those who carried out Cromwell's work and the smashing of holy places even included the shrine of Thomas Becket. to say nothing of their vast herds and flocks and huge swathes of the best arable land in the country. It wasn't only the great scholar Erasmus who decried the obscene wealth of the great religious houses in England. out of date. the English sovereign. Piety seemed notably absent from their magnificent edifices and vast land holdings. the foundations of the great Welsh landed-estates had been laid and much of the day-to-day affairs of the nation were controlled by its landed squires. owing to the harsh penal legislation imposed upon its inhabitants. The picturesque ecclesiastic ruins found all over the English landscape can give but little hint of the former grandeur and wealth of the great monasteries. perhaps the holiest place of pilgrimage in all of Britain. Abbots lived like princes. In three years. thus the monasteries were destroyed and their lands taken over by the Crown. went a long way in dispelling any latent thoughts of independence and helped paved the way for the overwhelming Welsh allegiance to the Tudors. in true "Dic-Sion-Dafydd" style. Many beside the king and his nobles were happy to see the monasteries disappear and the power of the Church diminished. church plate. many of whom had descended from English families and intermarried with their Welsh counterparts. known as the Pilgrimage of Grace was easily suppressed." The term was unknown in 16th century Wales but. in his well-read "Enchiridion" (1504). An orgy of iconoclasm now took place in the land. they were a necessary step for any chance of advancement. The destruction of so much that was a priceless heritage of an ancient nation is to be lamented. and the amount of jewels. An expression that describes a Welshman who pretends to have forgotten his Welsh or who affects the loss of his national identity in order to succeed in English society or who wishes to be thought well of among his friends is "Dic-Sion-Dafydd. Henry was determined to have it all. Thomas Cromwell relished his new duties in seeing that the crown replaced the pope as the arbiter of religious affairs throughout England. writing of them. it had become necessary for many Welshmen to petition Parliament to be "made English" so that they could enjoy privileges restricted to Englishmen. they came to associate the latter with loyalty to the Tudor sovereigns. the nation of Wales also lost any hopes of regaining its independence. Their loyalties were with the Crown or Parliament or both. When Henry Tudor ascended the throne as Henry VII. including the right to buy and hold land according to English law. were too busy enjoying the fruits of cooperation with London. As the long period of monasticism ended in England. all the ingredients for its acceptance had been put in place long before.49 work was willingly carried to a rapid fruition by Cromwell. no longer fighting under Glyndwr for an independent Wales. In 1538." And fall they did. of course. The year 1536 produced no great trauma for the Welsh. Their vast land-holdings were now sold off to those who could afford them and a new. that "the monastic life should not be equated with the virtuous life "and that the monasteries themselves were "a backward-looking anachronism. had been highly sought after by Henry V for his campaigns in France. . the same year that the last monasteries were dissolved. The value of so much art. Such petitions may have been distasteful to the patriotic Welsh. Either the Welsh realized the hopelessness of their position. after the revolt of Owain Glyndwr in the previous century. out of sympathy. or their leaders. relics and gold artifacts they also possessed must have been enormous. two acts of dissolution brought to an end hundreds of years of monastic influence in the island of Britain. In the military. and ripe to fall. but for the ambitious and socially mobile gentry rapidly emerging in Wales and on the Marches. The bishop's house at St. rich landed aristocracy was set in place to dominate England's rural scene for centuries. their dwellings were more like baronial palaces than religious houses. and the skills of the Welsh archers in such battles as Agincourt are legendary. Welsh mercenaries. but not with their native country. A feeble protest from Catholics in the North. Such examples of allegiance to their commander. David's rivaled the cathedral itself in grandeur. Perhaps they had owned as much as one quarter of the arable land of the nation.
as other the King's subjects have. or even a town large enough to attract an opportunistic urban middle class. carried out the king's commands at the local level. not upon what remained as crumbs to be scavenged in Wales itself. Liberties.. James IV had grand ambitions. and saddled with a language "nothing like nor consonant to the natural mother tongue used within this realm. an indication of the rapid rise of the other. it was necessary to create a Welsh ruling class not only fluent in English. by the gentry. including the mighty warship the Great Michael. He believed that Scotland could lead the way in the glorious cause of freeing Constantinople from the Turks. The Pope undertook to excommunicate whoever broke his pledged word. The landed gentry were the beneficiaries in more ways than one. A major part of this decision was to abolish any legal distinction between the people on either side of the new border. More than one historian has pointed out that union with England had really been achieved by the "Statute of Rhuddlan" in 1284. In 1544. Edinburgh. His efforts gave him the title ." which from now on was always ready to challenge the Lords' power (as well as the King's). commercial interests and religious reformers alike. James continued to use his kingdom as peacemaker between England and France. He chose Margaret Tudor. In addition. Much of Henry's need for money came from his wars in Scotland during the years 1542 and 1546 and with Scotland's ally. attended by many dignitaries from England. English law would be the only law recognised by the courts of Wales. of Wales shall have and enjoy and inherit all and singular Freedoms." A language that persistently refused to die. but who would use it in all legal and civil matters.50 The so-called "Act of Union" of that year. and why not? Didn't it state that "Persons born or to be born in the said Principality ." By the Act. It was time to marry. In 1488 in Scotland. Henry continued to increase the powers of the Star Chamber at the national level. for the king's repeated demands upon them for cash. lower house "The House of Commons. Thus inevitably. their eyes were focused on what London or other large cities of England had to offer. James IV had come to the throne at the age of fifteen. His country enjoyed enormous prestige holding the balance of power between constantly warring England and France. From henceforth. enjoy or inherit. following an agreement signed between the two monarchs that promised to be a treaty of perpetual peace.. In order to carry out his grandiose schemes in Eastern Europe. the fourteen yearold daughter of Henry VII. as a start. The rise of the Welsh middle classes was mirrored in England. The Welsh people were without a government of their own. and its corrected version of 1543 seemed inevitable. recruited from the gentry. Accordingly. his powerful neighbor to the south. James was twenty-eight years old. The king's foreign intrigues meant that he was forced to sell off most of his newly acquired monastic possessions. led only to an increase in the powers of parliament at the expense of the Crown. the Welsh ruling class would be divorced from the language of their country. The new legislation was welcomed by many in Wales. where the political privileges of the old nobility were being drastically curtailed and a new class was rising rapidly. James first had to establish peaceable relations with England. But. Privileges and Laws . the name "The House of Lords" first appeared. In 1501. and their repeated insistence on the granting of privileges in return. "finally and for all time" the principality of Wales was incorporated into the kingdom of England. he had a large fleet built. for the placing of the administration of Wales in the hands of the Welsh gentry. He thus began a Scottish ship building industry that would become the envy of the world in a later era. as pointed out earlier. The EarlÍs cronies and conspirators received rich rewards for their services.. One of these was the minor Laird Hepburn of Hailes. with Earl Douglas acting as Regent.. a capital city. Rights. Through his chief ministers. France. The ceremony took place at Holyrood Palace. All seemed well. and saw to it that the Justices of the Peace. We shall read more about the Bothwell later. who became Earl of Bothwell and Lord High Admiral.
"Rex Pacificator." When the Pope, the King of Spain and the Doge of Venice formed a Holy League against France, it was joined by Henry VII of England, the father-in-law of the King of Scotland. James did not join the league, however; he was convinced that the survival of France was essential to the stability of Europe. Thus he renewed the Auld Alliance that had begun in 1422 under the Regency of Albany. When France appealed to Scotland for help, as it had done when Buchan responded so magnificently in an earlier time, James unwisely sent an ultimatum to the English king. Henry's response, though typical of the English monarch, must have startled James and the whole of Scotland. He declared himself to be "the verie owner of Scotland," a kingdom held by the Scottish king only "by homage." This was too much for a proud Scot to bear, and it was answered by James's march on England at the head of a large army in September 1513. So much for the peace treaty that was "to endure forever." The result was Flodden, one of the most disastrous battles in Scottish history. James' own natural son, Alexander, thousands of the best and brightest young men, many of its bravest and strongest Highland chiefs, great Church leaders, and many Earls and Lords lost their lives in the calamitous battle at Flodden. Though no one knows what happened to James's body, a legend quickly developed in Scotland to match those in Wales concerning Arthur and Glyndwr, he was not dead, but one day James would return to lead his country again. Thus a typical Celtic myth grew out of what people saw as the refusal of a Welsh King (Henry VIII) to secure a proper burial for the body of a Scottish king (James IV). Scotland now had no king and no army. As James V was still a baby, Queen Margaret assumed the Regency. However, in 1514, in a move that brought a surprising change of fortune for the country for which she showed little affection, she married the Earl of Angus and was succeeded as Regent by the French-educated Duke of Albany, the nephew of James III. Albany (who headed the National or French Party), continued the alliance with France, a country that had somehow extricated itself from its previous grave danger by the failure of its enemies to formulate a united front. After a series of plots against Albany by Margaret and her husband were foiled, the miserable, unfortunate Queen was forced to flee to England (the couple had planned to kidnap the young James V). This gave Margaret's brother Henry one more excuse to continue his policies of interfering in Scottish affairs. In 1524, Albany returned to France. Chaos returned to Scotland. A series of battles between the Douglases and the Hamiltons, including one fought in the streets of Edinburgh, had left the mighty Douglas clan in control of the young king and thus of Scotland. James, however, who had declared himself ready to rule at the age of fourteen, escaped his captors and arrived at Stirling. He vowed vengeance against Angus Douglas whom he drove out of Scotland to seek refuge with the English king. James V could now begin to restore order to his suffering nation. He started by wisely agreeing to a truce with England. In the meantime the effects of the Reformation were beginning to have their serious and long-lasting effects upon Scotland. In the struggle of Protestantism versus Catholicism, there was a mad scramble for a marriage alliance with the Scottish king. Keeping the idea of the Auld Alliance in mind, he elected for Madeleine, the daughter of the French King Francois I and when she died six months later, he took as his bride another French princess, Marie de Guise-Lorraine. Sadly for future Scottish history, she bore him no sons. Henry VIII of England had the same seeming misfortune in lacking a male heir. He became more and more aggressive in his policies toward Scotland. By 1534 he had broken with Rome, was getting ready to totally absorb Wales into the English realm and had plans to turn Scotland against France by making it into a Protestant nation. When James was offered the crown of Ireland in 1542, Henry took an army north and proclaimed himself Lord Superior of Scotland. He met with and defeated the small, dispirited army of James at Solway Moss. From his retreat at Falkland, the sad King James heard the news that his longed for heir was not to be; his wife had given him a daughter. Upon his consequent death, the young girl was proclaimed Queen of Scotland. So in 1542, Mary, Queen of Scots entered the world in much the same sad circumstances as she was to leave it fortyfive years later. After James' death, Mary's mother, Marie de Guise, was determined to rule with a strong hand, but by her attempts to stamp out Protestantism in Scotland, she only invited further English activities in her
country. Marie failed, for though an invading English army arrived too late to rescue a Protestant garrison holed up at St. Andrew's, it crushed the Royal Scottish army at Pinkie, near Edinburgh. Further hostilities were ended in 1549 by the Treaty of Boulogne between England and France that also effected the withdrawal of English troops from Scotland. By that time, Henry VIII had been dead for two years. Jane Seymour had died soon after giving birth to Edward and Henry had remarried three times. Thomas Cromwell then chose Anne of Cleves as a bride for Henry, a bad choice for the Lord Chancellor and for the king, who despised his plain "Flanders Mare." The marriage was never consummated and quickly annulled by Parliament. Cromwell lost his head over the affair, but he had done his work for his master the king. The Reformation had been firmly established in England and the power of the Catholic Church irrevocably broken. The aging, gout-ridden, obese Henry had then married Catherine Howard, soon to be beheaded for adultery and Catherine Parr, his last wife, who outlived him. Part 6: From Reformation to Restoration (cont'd.)By Peter N. Williams, Ph. D. Edward VI (1547-1553)
Another great "if" for English history was presented by the early death of Edward. At the time, no one could possibly see that the greatest Tudor monarch of them all would turn out to be Princess Elizabeth, daughter of the ill-fated Ann Boleyn. English hopes for a strong monarchy centered on Edward's survival. During his minority, despite Henry's wish that a council of ministers should govern, the Duke of Somerset (Edward's uncle) made himself Lord Protector. He continued the late king's policy of religious changes, furthering the Protestant reforms. Cranmer's "Book of Common Prayer" was made compulsory in all churches and the Latin mass abolished. These acts that were strenuously resisted in many Catholic areas of the country, not to mention Ireland, forever faithful to Rome, and because of this, Ireland was forever suspect in English eyes as a center of rebellion. In England, attempts to impose the new Prayer book led to a serious revolt in Cornwall and Devon. This was joined by another uprising in Norfolk against rising prices and social injustices. To add to Somerset's woes, he embroiled England in a war with Scotland, as ever allied to France, and got himself defeated in battle and deposed and executed at home. Of the state of affairs, Sir Thomas Moore regarded the fight for influence and spoils between the great families of England as nothing more than "a conspiracy of rich men procuring their own commodities under the name and title of a commonwealth." After Somerset's death, however, the country was then run by a much more able administrator, John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and Duke of Northumberland. He extricated his country from the disastrous war with Scotland, returned Boulogne to France and re-established social order in England. Protestantism now became official with the new Prayer book of 1552 and a new Act of Uniformity passed. But sickly Edward was dying.
To Northumberland's great chagrin, the rightful heir to the throne was Mary, Henry's only surviving child by Catherine of Aragon and a committed Catholic. He thus persuaded Edward to declare Mary illegitimate and to name Lady Jane Grey as heir (the granddaughter of Henry VIII's sister and married to his son Dudley). Poor Lady Jane, shy and unsuited for her role, was not supported by the country, who rallied to Mary, a Tudor and thus rightful sovereign. Mary arrived in London to great acclaim to take her throne. Mary Tudor (1553-1558)
Mary took her throne with high hopes of restoring England to Catholicism. It has been said that she took her religion too seriously. In any case, she was too late, the Reformation had taken firm root throughout Northern Europe and in much of England, where her sacred duty to return the country to the Catholic fold was sure to be violently opposed. There were not too many in England who wished to return to a church that, as late as 1514, had condemned a dead man for heresy. To further her aims, Mary, already middle-aged, married Philip of
Spain, the son of Charles V, who had defended her mother Catherine's marital rights. To most Englishmen, this act presaged an inevitable submission of their country to foreign rule. It was not a popular marriage. Pious Mary then set about having Parliament repeal the Act of Supremacy, reinstate heresy laws and petition for reunion with Rome; the Latin Mass was restored and Catholic bishops reinstated. Rebellion was inevitable, and though easily crushed, the peasant uprising of Thomas Wyatt convinced the Queen that obedience to the throne had to be established by fire and sword. The orgy of burnings of heretics began. The fires that Mary ordered to be lit at Smithfield put to death such Protestant leaders and men of influence as Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer and Hooper, but also hundreds of lesser men who refused to adopt the Catholic faith. The entire country became enraged and fearful. Mary's failure as Queen was ensured. Her marriage to Philip only made matters worse for it intensified the English hatred of foreigners, and by this time, of Catholicism in general. Parliament was rushed to declare that should Mary die without an heir, Philip would have no claim to the English throne. The Hapsburg Philip himself spent as little time in "obstinate" England as possible, got himself all involved in war with France in which Calais, England's last continental outpost, was lost forever. Calais hadn't been much of a possession but its loss was a grievous insult to the English nation. When "Bloody Mary" died in November, 1558, it seemed as if the whole country rejoiced. The Virgin Queen, Elizabeth l (1558-1603)
Elizabeth became Queen of England at the age of twenty-five determined to show that it was neither unholy nor unnatural for "a woman to reign and have empire above men." She had many problems to settle, for the whole nation had gone through a period of social discord, political shenanigans and international failures, and was still in a state of revulsion over the Smithfield martyrs. Fortunately, the determined, charismatic and reasoned woman was adequately equipped for the enormous tasks ahead of her. Furthermore, though insistent on restoring royal supremacy and severing the ties with Rome, she was also willing to compromise on certain religious issues, putting her in another league from the late unmourned Mary. The new queen was astute enough to realize that she needed the support of the common people, the majority of whom were overwhelmingly Protestant and anti-Rome. Her own feelings had to be put aside, though she did allow some of the ceremonies associated with Catholicism to remain. The communion service could be a Mass for those who wished. The religious settlement may have not satisfied everyone, but it satisfied most; above all, there was to be no return to the great distress and acrimony of Queen Mary's unfortunate reign. Even the rebellion of the Catholic nobility in the North created no great trauma for the Queen, for her nobles were better Englishmen than Catholics. Loyalty to England, expressed through her Queen, was stronger than loyalty to Rome. Those who bucked the trend, such as the Earls of Northumberland and Westmoreland paid for their insolence with their heads.
Elizabeth was served well by loyal citizens. One of her greatest assets was her ability to choose the right people to carry out her policies. In this, she had the luck of her father Henry, but unlike him, she was also able to have such men serve her loyally and efficiently for life, rather than carry out their own self-serving policies. She was particularly fortunate in finding William Cecil, who served first as her principal secretary and later as her lord treasurer. He was a man of amazing talents and industry; quite simply, he made governing into an honored profession. It has been astutely pointed out that, unlike Lords Leicester and Essex and the others who flattered the Queen, Cecil was no court ornament. His ability to compromise in matters of religion also stood him in good stead, and put him, like Elizabeth herself, slightly ahead of his time. It was obvious to Elizabeth that in order to govern effectively, she needed to find a middle way between the extremes of Geneva and Rome. As Queen, she insisted on the retention of royal privilege. Her anti-Catholicism was heavily influenced by her desire to keep her country free from domination by Spain, rather than by any personal dictates of conscience. She thus chose the middle way of the Anglican Church, rather than accept the harsh doctrines of such men as Calvin and Knox, who would destroy much that was precious and holy in men's
specially favored by the Queen. that made the Church of England law. Mary Queen of Scots gave up her throne in favor of her baby son. From the teachings and intractability of such men. Elizabeth was naturally delighted when the French were driven out of Scotland. the Reformation in Scotland had taken a much different path than it was to take in England after Mary. Henry Stewart. the Auld Alliance had been immeasurably strengthened when as little Princess Mary. One irritating and persistent problem that Elizabeth had to face was that of Mary. In 1548. Edward VI protestant reforms book of common prayer catholic sir thomas moore john dudley lady jane grey mary tudor act of supremacy bloody mary virgin queen Elizabeth I smithfield martyrs william cecil john knox church of england auld alliance mary queen of scots In 1565. reckless Protestant of considerable charm" James Hepburn. Lord Darnley. for as long as she lived. Heavily implicated in the murder was a "bold. substituted fines and penalties for disobedience. who was immediately crowned as James VI. He had been strangled to death. who had practically nothing to commend him either as husband or king. Mary should have gone to France. upon whom so many hopes had depended. Queen Mary was not so happy. Mary's half-brother James Stewart. She then made another grievous error when she fled to England to seek refuge with the proud and easily jealous Queen Elizabeth who promptly imprisoned her unfortunate cousin. after she had been led in humiliation through the streets of Edinburgh. In 1567. The Queen's sprightly. Elizabeth had far less trouble with Wales. but thoroughly French in outlook and education. Scotland had undergone a major transformation in her absence. Lord High Admiral of Scotland. "France and Scotland. stabbed to death Mary's Italian secretary Riccio in a fit of teenage jealousy. in which Pope Gregory XIII may have been involved. now became Regent. finally ensured her execution in 1587. and when the Protestant Nobles attacked the French-backed government forces of Mary. for his accounts of Prince Madoc's supposed voyages to the New World were eagerly seized by Elizabeth's Court . Mary then made her second grievous error: she married Bothwell. Darnley's body was found in the wreckage of his house at Kirk o Field which had been destroyed in a mysterious explosion. Now it was the turn of Mary's Catholic subjects to be furious. but the small army she managed to raise was defeated by Moray. she was no longer Queen of France. Welshman John Dee played an important part. The Earl of Moray. the fires were lit for a never-ending saga of intrigue and misfortune. impulsive (and apparently highly-sexed) nature quickly put her at odds with the austere. made her escape from Lochleven Castle. Mary's complete lack of foresight caused her to marry her younger cousin. Remaining the head of the Church. The young Queen. her own claim to the English throne made her a potentially deadly rival to Elizabeth l. not the usual burnings and banishment. fourth Earl of Bothwell. Her endless schemes to recover the Scottish throne and to depose Elizabeth. had managed to alienate everybody. Welsh men were found in strategic positions in court. she had ended her period of moving from place to place for safety by going to France as future bride of the Dauphin. Puritan divines who wished to keep a tight hold on the hearts and minds of the newly-converted majority of Scottish people. Widowed at age eighteen. When Darnley. who had been held prisoner by the Scottish lords. It wasn't only Protestants who were furious. peaceably incorporated into the realm of England by the Acts of Union under Henry VIII. Welshman William Cecil and others were included in the partnership that was forming a new and imperial British identity. John Knox had arrived back in Scotland in 1544 carrying his huge two-handed sword along with his Bible. Bothwell's life was saved only by his escape to Norway. In the expansion of England overseas. (reportedly leaping 'for blitheness') are now one country. Mary. We have noted the success of John Knox in Scotland. immature and seemingly completely lacking in wisdom and intelligence. including the Ridolfi Plot that got the unwise Duke of Norfolk executed for complicity. Knox had done his work well. Queen of Scots." Catholic Mary returned to Scotland as Queen in August 1561.54 minds." stated the French King. she promised not to "make windows into men's souls. for Elizabeth was no Calvinist. and the Throgmorton Plot." and her Supremacy Bill and the Uniformity Bills of 1559. A Protestant army was raised to force Mary to abdicate and at age twenty-four.
the Queen of England was lucky. a small strip along the east coast. Hugh O'Neill. and the problem of the religious settlement. despite its large armies and uncountable wealth. a country that formed a natural bulwark between England and the ever-rebellious Ireland." having received the Holy Bible in their own language and any attempts to make the Counter-Reformation productive in Wales failed miserably. it encouraged the Irish to rebellion. Welsh people were proud of their contributions to the nation.55 officials as justification for their war against Spain and proof of their legitimacy of their involvement in the Americas. in return for his loyalty to the Crown. ill-led. one in which time had stood still for centuries. Elizabeth also had the task of defending the realm. Queen of Scots. decadent and moribund. In 1588. unsolvable Irish question. it was a country that resisted all attempts to impose Protestantism. The Queen's response to this threat of an independent Ireland under Spanish patronage was to send the Earl of Essex at the head of a large army. Elizabeth's refusal forced Tyrone to appeal to Philip of Spain for help. . demanded that chieftain rule be preserved and that the Irish people should be allowed freedom of worship as Roman Catholics. It was left to Charles Blount. Besides. The great Irish chieftains were courted by Elizabeth in the hope that they could be used to bridge the gap between the native Irish and those that were sent from England on their "civilizing" mission. where they found a population far less able to withstand these ventures. driving out the English from all their lands except the Pale. modernized state of Ireland. Though the armada sent by Philip was turned back by storms. the defeat of the seemingly-invincible Armada. the Elizabethan dream of creating a loyal. for by this method. He had practically ruined Spain in material resources. It was a country that England did not know how to govern. Wales got her Bible in 1588. grown modern and efficient under Henry VIII was able to run rings around the cumbersome. economically self-sufficient. Yet. though aided by the intolerable English weather. William Salesbury had published his translation of the main texts of the Prayer Book into Welsh in 1551. With its own Bible and its language secure. how to deal with Mary. One of them. This meant a twenty-year war against Spain. the second Earl of Tyrone (who was a personal friend of Sir Philip Sydney). poorly trained forces put out by Philip in his attempt to conquer England. Her navy. was inevitable. loyal to the Catholic Church. Sorrowfully. perhaps in the Welsh model. (A lesson that the later Catholic Stuarts were slow to learn). the brilliant achievement of Bishop William Morgan eleven years after Jesus College had been founded at Oxford to channel the flood of Welsh scholars flocking to the universities. he found a sympathetic audience. for Philip II of Spain had proved his incompetence as a ruler time and time again. fiercely proud and loyal island nation that was England under Elizabeth. there was little need for the Welsh to join in the fight to try to restore England to Catholicism. and his successful attempts at pacification and the surrender of Tyrone in 1603 completed the Elizabethan subjugation of Ireland. almost a different world. Dee claimed that Elizabeth was rightful sovereign of the Atlantic Empire. Protestantism could be firmly established in Wales. to restore the situation. The best we can say about the whole sorry adventure is that those who were busy trying to bring civil order to Ireland used the experience in their planting and colonizing of the New World. Again. Ireland remained a problem. He failed miserably and returned to England in disgrace. When John Penry pleaded with the Queen and her Parliament to have the whole Bible translated. from now on. a return to Rome would be out of the question. England's war with Spain meant that Ireland had to be controlled somehow. They were also people of "the Book. the most powerful nation in Europe. completely failed despite the well-intended efforts of some of her most able men. despite the bounty of wealth streaming in from South and Central America. and it was somehow that Elizabeth extended her authority over a wide area of her Western neighbor. in the Tudors. The difficulties with Wales and Scotland were smoothed out. would prove no match for the vibrant. for it was a country that did not know how to govern itself. they had members of their own national clan in firm charge of the whole nation. Alongside that of the ever-troublesome. The theocracy that was Spain. It was a far different country. Its defeat also sealed the fate of any Catholic revival in England. Fiercely tribal. Lord Mountjoy.
There followed a veritable explosion of English maritime achievements. from the Plymouth family of sailor adventurers. The transition of the English landscape by the enclosures of land (mainly to aid the wool industry) had thrown the traditional life of the yeoman farmer into turmoil. Hawkins was no John Cabot. And in an interesting note. For example. and others of his ilk then turned their attentions to disrupt the Spanish treasure fleets returning from South America. Industry and trade prospered under the guidance of men such as Secretary Cecil (later Lord Burghley). now an experienced mariner grown bold. one of the same family. Sir Walter Raleigh organized his expedition to Virginia four years later. a senior hereditary peer in the House of Lords. one of the most efficient administrators that England was ever privileged to enjoy. her seamen can be seen as its great expanders. It didn't do his economic policies any harm either. Elizabeth's long reign also saw her country undergo a remarkable economic growth. some of Hawkins' ships had been captured in the Gulf of Mexico by the Spanish viceroy. for the bankers and capitalists of Antwerp flocked to London to find a new and more secure international money and credit market. So were those intrepid sailors and merchants who braved the Baltic to establish the Muscovy Company in 1555 to trade with Russia. who made a series of voyages to Canada in the 1570's. John Davis travelled into the northern regions of the world. Compulsory weekly fish days were increased from two to three "so the sea coast should be strong with men and habitations and the fleet flourish. One of them. perhaps we should also point out. The papal grant of 1493 that had divided newlydiscovered lands and oceans between Spain and Portugal was conveniently ignored by Englishmen. he was no more than a slave trader. Drake's search for treasures led to his circumnavigating the globe (1577-78). Cecil became rich and prosperous in the service of the Crown and his loyalty was assured. these seamen laid the foundations of their nation's naval superiority which was to last. . the Royal Exchange." With such encouragement. with few exceptions. in which England thought of herself as divinely favored. If William Cecil can be regarded as the great conservator of the Queen's strength. when the Duke of Alva began his reign of terror in the Netherlands. and it was not too long before the so-called Spanish monopoly in the New World was successfully challenged. Drake. Sir John Hawkins. and a complete sea-change from the financial and political chaos (in addition to the religious quagmire) that had been the norm when she first took the Crown. Only a year after the Northern Rising. Remarkably free from corruption. be they that of Rome or that of Spain (or a combination of both) or even Scotland. Only two ships escaped. On one of his voyages of plunder. Though little more than pirates. was dismissed from the shadow cabinet of that august body by Tory leader William Hague in December. John Cavendish emulated Drake's epic voyage by sailing around the world. the source of England's navy and backbone of its sea power. Cecil also encouraged the fishing industry. English sailors began their mastery of the world's oceans. for centuries and which later led to the acquisition of Britain's vast overseas empire. But so was Martin Frobisher. Thomas Gresham had opened his new institution in London. was the first to show that English mariners could outmatch those of Spain. Lord Cranborne. A Spanish embargo then had the effect of the English rag-tag navy playing havoc with Spanish merchandise and shipping in the English Channel. later to make the city the financial capital of the world. but one of them had young Francis Drake aboard. the East India Company was founded and English culture and ideas spread east and west. that the passage of the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601 showed only too well that in the midst of prosperity and the rise of a wealthy middle class. who had discovered Newfoundland in 1497 in search of a Northwest Passage. 1998 for agreeing to a compromise deal with Labour leader Tony Blair over the reform of the House. and not just for religious reasons.56 It was thus that England was saved from domination by foreign powers. His son Robert was one of the chief ministers responsible for carrying out the policies of James l. poverty was everywhere rearing its ugly head in the land. In the midst of all these successes. Sir Humphrey Gilbert took settlers to Newfoundland in 1583. It can be safely said that whatever Cecil did as pilot of the ship of state was made possible through English sailors. in search of riches.
to mention a few of those who would have been great in any age. Hardwick Hall followed Wolsey's magnificent palace at Hampton Court. It is important to remember that during the reign of James as King of both Scotland and England. James' attempt to impose the Five Articles on the Scots. He went ahead anyway. had their own national church. they could pursue their own foreign policies. It is astonishing that the Queen and her Council were able to ride out the climate in which a major revolt seemed inevitable. they were systematically ignored throughout Scotland. Fear of foreign intervention played its part in keeping England internally peaceful. herself skilled in music and master of more than a few languages. James VI (1603-1625) Elizabeth's reign finally came to an end. In the midst of this outpouring of talent. The mighty Queen was laid to rest in March 1603 with James of Scotland declared as rightful heir." skilled in the military arts. let alone one that had been allied with Spain and France for such long periods in its history. A Golden Age indeed. Under Elizabeth. Francis Bacon and John Donnne. There were great achievements in literature and drama. were nowhere near at an end.) by Peter N. James journeyed to London to claim what he had longed for all his life. marred by the failure to bring Ireland into her fold. Scotland itself was practically two distinct nations. the Scottish king had taken the throne of England without rancor. His troubles with the Scottish Presbyterians. however. Sir Philip Sydney. years of depression brought on by high taxes. Poetry was led by Edmund Spenser (1552-99) whose masterpiece The Faerie Queen was inspired by Elizabeth herself. in which to show off the new paintings. brought in through Antwerp. bore the crosses of St. In addition to producing Spenser. peasant unrest and the resulting growth of parliamentary influence and prestige in becoming the instrument by which the will of the landed classes could not only be heard but carried out against the royal prerogative meant that great political changes were afoot in the land. George. The high costs of wars. the Union Jack. D. the throne of England. Marlowe. Hatfield. her reign was the age of Shakespeare. Traditional medieval music gave way to new forms of composition and performance under the skilled guidance of William Byrd and Orlando Gibbons. He greatly favored a union of the two kingdoms and the new national flag. After the glorious successes enjoyed under Elizabeth. Great houses such as Longleat. deeply interested in music. courtiers became patrons of the arts. new lawyer and gentry class. inviting great European artists such as Holbein and Hillard to paint their portraits. there were many in England who had no wish to merge their identity with what they considered to be yet another inferior nation. the Virgin Queen found herself replacing the Virgin Mary as an object of devotion among many of her English subjects. it was possible to see the end of the Tudor system of government. Whatever the English thought of their northern neighbors. The acquisition of vast land holding became a commercial venture and unemployment became rife. yet at the time of Elizabeth's death in 1603. soaring prices. decorative arts and advances in architectural technique. But though the Estates passed an Act of Union in 1607. Young Henry VIII had been considered a "Renaissance Prince. Andrew and St. Ph. increased the speed of land enclosures. Raleigh. and pushed through his reforms at a in 1618. Williams. their own ways of levying taxes and regulating trade and to a certain extent. it was a hundred years before a treaty was signed. Typically. Thousands of landless peasants were now thronging into the cities and towns looking for handouts. theology and learning. It had also experienced a remarkable artistic renaissance. dealing with matters of worship and religious observances was met with strong opposition. the two nations retained their separate parliaments and privy councils. bad harvests. perhaps made possible by the growth of a large.57 The large market for English cloth on the Continent. James VI was perfectly happy in the seat of power at Whitehall. The Stuarts were to suffer from the increase in Parliamentary power and the diminution of the royal prerogative. . and in which she is portrayed as a symbol of the English nation. They passed their own laws and enjoyed their own law courts. Part 6: From Reformation to Restoration (cont'd.
For the age. he still promised to harry the Puritans out of the land. these were moderate demands indeed. JamesÍ attempts to persuade the clan chiefs to adopt the Protestant faith was a failure. part of which became Nova Scotia (New Scotland). It wasn't only the matter of a religion. as well as to try to establish some sense of order in a country not willing to join Wales and Scotland as part of the British nation. but possessing remarkable administrative and legislative powers of its own." Goodwin had been denied his place in the Commons by the Court of Chancery. When the Commons vigorously protested. There was also the continuing religious problem. He did not wish to have the English state made subordinate to any Church. Moderate as James considered himself in matters of religion. Nationalists and Loyalists. James called an early conference at Hampton Court to listen to their arguments. when they tried to blow up king and Parliament did more than merely ensure the commemoration by burning Guy Fawkes in effigy every November 5th. They clung to the military habits of their ancestors and continued the Gaelic tongue when most of Scotland had abandoned it in favor of English. In the meanwhile. James stated emphatically. the Anglican prayer books. and in 1611 the world received that most magnificent of all its holy books. the Commons were led to state what they considered to be their privileges in "The Form of . The example of Scottish Presbytery still rankled and the English Puritans' demand for a "reduced episcopacy" made him suspicious of their desires. with both Catholic and Protestant factions vying for his support. the concept of the divine right of kings was not a major belief of those who held power at Westminster. Elizabeth had replied most forcibly to the Common's interference on matters touching her prerogative and yet by the end of James' reign. Following the Goodwin case and one concerning another Member of the Commons. beginning in 1610.58 There was a huge division between Highland and Lowland. Their influence gave Ulster that staunchly Presbyterian character that so strongly resists attempts at Irish reunification today. James had to back down from his position that the whole institution of Parliament was dependent upon the royal powers. He carried this idea with him when he came south. In Scotland. no king. the king unwisely encouraged the plantation of Ulster. James had insisted that his powers were divinely bestowed as one way of counteracting the demands of both Presbyterians and Catholics. In particular. or granting such taxes as he needed. a group of Catholics took action. Fortescue. or the Thirty-Nine Articles that had been confirmed by statute in 1571 during Elizabeth's reign. What was more important was the decision to issue a new translation of the Bible. the situation had changed altogether. This was a severe setback to their cause and an increase in the hatred of the Catholic religion in England and those who continued to practice it." Accordingly. it was king and Parliament that was the source of all laws. and in 1630 their voyage from there to the New World. Their failure. but also led to the demands for an oath of allegiance from Catholic recusants. It is to James that we can attribute much of the sorry mess in Ireland that also continues to divide Catholics and Protestants. But England was not Scotland. The House of Commons now not merely being a legislative body performing this task for the monarch. James also encouraged Scottish emigration to Arcadia. It was during his reign that the House of Commons first began to question the rights of the monarchy on matters of privilege. the Catholics in England were not as accommodating. The change had come about gradually but the writing on the wall was set firmly in place even at the very beginning of James' reign in the matter of "Goodwin v. the so-called King James Bible. the convocation of the clergy insisted on excommunicating anyone who impugned the royal authority. whatever its religious preference. James' twenty-year experience as the King of Scotland should have put him in good stead as monarch in London. There. Thousands of Scots settled on lands that rightly belonged to the native Catholic population. Despite such setbacks. in the notorious Gunpowder Plot of 1605. its government had progressed along different lines. When James reintroduced the recusancy laws that meted out penalties for not attending Church of England services. The consequent flight of many so-called Pilgrims to the Netherlands. one of the maritime provinces of Canada. along with many of their compatriots from England. or giving advice. led to the establishment of the New England colonies. nor the vexing problem of what to do with Ireland which James had to deal. the Authorized Version. not the king alone. But more of this later. "No bishop. Anxious to expand Scotland's influence overseas. Sir Thomas Shirley.
remained a magnificent legacy of the James l. The Commons wanted a war with Spain. But as so often in history. using the Crown's emergency powers to raise his revenues until expenses grew too great and Parliament had to be recalled. supported by Spain. Chief Justice Edward Coke thought that the judges should mediate between king and parliament. who continued his disastrous attempts at making war against France and Spain. and in the struggle with Parliament continued in the reign of Charles l. died in 1625. His daughter Princess Elizabeth married Frederick the Elector Palatine of the Rhine. Charles despaired of enforcing his rule on Parliament and from 1629 until 1630. had died in 1612). which James at least had the foresight to end in 1604. politics were dominated by . He ended the wars with France and Spain. In the dispute. concerned the raising of money. Its members promptly drew up a Petition of Right to emphasize the ancient rights of the English people. as well as his own marriage to a Catholic princess. apart from his sexual preferences for men such as George Villiers. The Thirty Years' War began with England's disastrous attempt to recover the Palatinate for Frederick and Elizabeth. It was a sign of things to come in the long struggle between king and parliament that came to a head in the reign of Charles l. drove the Protestant Frederick out of his lands. the unfortunate monarch." but it had to be recalled when the need arose once more to finance England's entry into the snares of the great European conflict. The matter of John Bate." that is the preference of common law (common right and reason) over an act of Parliament." In it. however. His support of Buckingham. The king's extravagance became legendary and the costs of running the Court and the war with Spain. Prince Charles visited Madrid to court the Infanta but returned humiliated along with Villiers. led to the levying of additional customs duties. or call it "addled. to assert that no man could be imprisoned without trial and other clauses that later became the foundation of the United States Bill of Rights. To avoid war. as a foreign king. to the Spanish princess Donna Maria. who urged immediate war. The failures on the Continent. The success of The Authorized Version . a merchant who had refused to pay an imposition caused a deep split between those who believed that impositions were part or the king's absolute power and those who considered them to be a parliamentary privilege. had an enormous effect on the future direction of law both in England and in the American Colonies. but the German Catholic League. he tried to rule without it. and so disappointed by so many failures at the end of his reign. the first ten amendments to the Constitution. so full of promise when he came to the throne. The scholarly and intelligent James. Charles I (1625-1649) At the death of James. where a supreme court could annul legislation or executive acts as contrary to a constitution. who had only himself to blame for the troubles that would later befall him. The king dismissed his Parliament to save his friend. and a new dispute arose as to the exercise of free speech in Parliament when James resisted their efforts to discuss foreign policy. the most learned of all who sat on the throne of England. who refused to grant him money until he got rid of Buckingham. James tried hard to keep the peace in Europe. now Duke of Buckingham. whom he appointed to many high offices. Most of the troubles that beset James in his fight with Parliament. they stated that James. did not understand their rights which they enjoyed by precedent and not by royal favor. His insistence on "a higher law background. James then turned to France to arrange a marriage between Charles and the French Catholic Princess Henrietta Maria (James' oldest son.59 Apology and Satisfaction. The king could dissolve parliament. He also wished to marry his surviving son Charles. did not stand him in good stead with Parliament. the throne passed to Charles l. Prince Henry.
" pledged to maintain the True religion. its theological implications often lost. He won his case against Charles Hampton. By this further example of rashness. more-or-less financially secure and doing quite nicely without Parliament. he knew nothing at all: of the Lowlands. It was as if Charles were deliberately setting out to antagonize everyone north of the border. Though it had been signed "with His Majesty's Authority. but the Lords of the Tables. Popish. restored the lands and titles to the Church which had been distributed among the Scottish nobles during the upheavals of the Reformation. the first reading of the Revised Prayer Book for Scotland was met with nothing more than a riot. Charles once again showed his naivete by brusquely informing the Assembly that all their decisions were invalid. Charles met with the General Assembly in Glasgow. and all the nobles who had resisted its use were to submit to the King's Will. was settled. Charles also increased the power of the clergy. In November 1638. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh in 1633 was sufficiently "high church" to smack of popery to the assembled congregation. A devout Episcopalian. 1637." Copies of the Covenant were carried throughout the country. and to the Scots. Neither did his outright. It did nothing to endure the king to those who could have given him support in Scotland. Even the Privy Council had to seek refuge from the angry mob in Holyroodhouse. Jewish and Armenian. a further exodus to New England took place in the 1630's that became known as the Great Migration. the document. nor did he wish to. outrageous demand of 1629 that religious practice in Scotland conform to the English model. Alexander Leslie. by which the King agreed to refer all disputed questions to the General Assembly or Parliament. the nobles. He didn't know what he was in for. coupled with a serious decline in the cloth trade with the Netherlands. signed on what was called "the great marriage day of this nation with God. and poor harvests in England. he sealed his fate. as it was called. In contrast to the poorly prepared. led to Charles's attempts to enforce the collection of Ship Money over the whole country. decreed by Charles in 1625. not enough. abolished the Prayer Book as "heathenish. The Assembly deposed or excommunicated all bishops. It was an obligation that eventually was to cost him dearly. . poorly led and poorly motivated armies of the English king in the early summer of 1639. including the torture of William Prynne and other divines. they began to renew persecution of the ever-growing Puritan sect. the Stuart Charles had very little understanding of Scottish affairs and even less of prevailing Scottish opinion. he decided on war. Of the Highlands. the gentry and the Scottish burghs. To enforce his commands. In Edinburgh. In July. by the Pacification of Berwick. and when. most unwillingly by Charles (who had no other choice). under Archbishop Laud. It was known as the Tables. but alienated many of the country gentry without the support of whom his later fight with Parliament was doomed. he believed he had the sacred duty to bring the Scottish Kirk in line with the Church of England.60 economics. The Bishop of Brechin was able to conduct only with the aid of a pair of loaded pistols aimed at the congregation. who had refused to pay. The First Bishop's War. Briefly. The Act of Revocation." it served almost as a declaration of independence from English rule. he distrusted the Kirk and Presbyterians and greatly mistrusted democratic assemblies. religious or not. He completely failed to try to understand his Scottish subjects. Although born a Scot. Charles and Archbishop Laud went ahead anyway. and let it be known that it was not Charles' representative in Scotland who made decisions. ironically at the height of his powers in 1637 with an efficient administration. the National Covenant was drawn up by a committee made up of representatives from the clergy. the Scots had great numbers of experienced soldiers returning from overseas campaigns. who had commanded the army of the Swedes after the death of Gustavus Adolphus. And they had a worthy general. As one who ruled by Divine right. The unwise and ill-advised King of England and Scotland had not reckoned with the strength of his opposition. His elaborate coronation as King of Scotland at St." Completely unwilling to compromise his position on the Church. Attempts to bring the Scottish Presbyterians into line spelled the beginning of the end for Charles. All petitioners against the Book were to be dispersed. Charles' answer was simply to demand punishment for those who refused to obey his orders concerning the use of the new Prayer Book. It was the wrong time to raise the question of the liturgy.
but also the agreement that there would be "a reformation of religion in the Kingdoms of England and Ireland in doctrine. it did nothing to please the King: the famous Long Parliament impeached and executed two of his chief supporters. not political. In England. The task was much easier in Scotland. was the heavy defeat of the Royalist forces at Marston Moor by the Parliamentary army under an up-and-coming cavalry officer named Oliver Cromwell. that had been greatly augmented by a large force of disciplined and well-armed Scotsmen. but this time. the Westminster Assembly was summoned to establish uniformity of worship in Scotland. The conditions of the agreement now had to be imposed upon the English Church. where he had more support from the landed gentry. civil war threatened in England. The desires of the Covenanters were theological. the Westminster Confession of Faith continues to serve as the basis for Presbyterian worship. One term of the agreement was that popery and prelacy were to be completely extirpated from the whole realm. Without an effective army. Montrose had been greatly disturbed by the forces of extremism." and the moderates. and the Second Bishops' War began. another landmark in the growth of Parliament. Then an about face took place. and government. managed to completely rout an army of Covenanters led by Lord Elcho at Tippermuir. It was not as easy to implement in England and almost impossible in Ireland. Accordingly. The agreement known as the Solemn League and Covenant. Scotland was again seen as a source of aid. In the land that he had hitherto so blatantly antagonized. and Montrose's army. Strafford and Laud. Because the Covenanters wanted to establish presbytery in Ireland and England. for it stated that no more than three years could pass between Parliaments. It also guaranteed its own existence against periods of personal rule by the monarch. More important. England (and Wales) and Ireland. as well as in Scotland. Cromwell's rag-tag armies had now become the well-trained. Following their success at Marston Moor. Charles was forced to summon the English Parliament to beg for funds. The nationalist spirit was still beating in some Scottish hearts after all. There was also a split developing between the extremists. The Grand Remonstrance presented by Parliament had contained a long list of political and religious grievances. they would receive not only 30. Charles had the audacity to try to arrest five members of Parliament but his attempts to locate them. where even to this day. it stated that the present Parliament could not be adjourned without its own consent. well-armed New Model Army (nicknamed "the Roundheads). however. but also his loyalty to the King. With this further whittling away of royal prerogative. When it met. the Scottish army was to attack the forces of Charles in England. who reaffirmed both his belief in the Covenant. The ancient theory of Divine Right of Kings was being severely tested. In return. who viewed practically anything at all of piety as "popery. and the speaker of the Houses' refusal to disclose their hiding place marked the beginning of the Speaker's independence from the crown. mainly untrained levies from the shires. they . The powerful Lord accordingly. it was the English Parliament. Scotland had no wish to get involved. He then occupied Glasgow. The Royalists in England were not faring as well. Off to Scotland again went Charles to try to gain support against his own Parliament. And in the Highlands of Scotland.61 The Scottish Parliament wasted no time in abolishing episcopacy and freeing itself from the King's control. the king again foolishly took up arms. the offer from the English Parliament was too good to refuse. When it took measures to weaken the Committee of Articles by which Charles had tried to control it. worship. he distributed titles freely and reluctantly agreed to accept the decisions of the General Assembly and the Scottish Parliament. Presbytery did not run deep. and not the king. his obstinacy in resisting the Long Parliament and his stubborn insistence on Divine Right created the conditions for the actual outbreak of war in 1642. however. who made the request. He had no choice. Meanwhile. A good beginning. without cavalry and with no artillery. aided by many in Ireland and a few loyalists from the Lowlands. was signed in the autumn of 1643. raised an army of Highlanders to win Scotland for the King. led by Montrose.000 pounds a month. At first." (Wales was considered as part of England). Charles had gathered enough supporters to gain many early victories against the forces of Parliament.
And regicide was still an act against God. would not admit defeat and on New Year's Day. news came of the King's surrender to the Scottish forces at Newark. and then meted out the same fate to the House of Lords. Charles' joy at this unexpected help soon turned to grief. Despite their military successes. The Scots army. Cromwell invaded Scotland. Perhaps Charles would have been their best chance after all. First called the "Commonwealth and Free-State.62 won a second smashing victory over Charles at Naseby. it was destroying more than a thousand years of English history. but it created an atmosphere that was to haunt his own efforts to build a new godly society. There was to be no room for the king in the post-war settlement. 1651 they crowned Charles II at Scone and raised a sizeable army to defend him. sent a tidal wave of dismay over much of Scotland." he had allowed himself to be crowned by the more powerful Presbyterian faction. it was utterly defeated by . had decided that it was their duty to call Charles Stuart to account for the blood he had shed and the mischief he had done against the Lord's cause. the so-called Levellers wanted more. There was little likelihood that Cromwell would establish Presbytery in England. the Commons passed the final ordinance establishing Presbyterianism. The Rump then proclaimed a republican form of government. the unfortunate man had been king of their country. after having turned Charles over to the English Parliamentary Commissioners. His death may have been thought of by Cromwell as a political necessity. His execution. Part 6: From Reformation to Restoration (cont'd. no doubt trusting that God would preserve their cause. Ph. on the grounds that it was unnecessary. Eventhough. the Rump. left the radical elements in the so-called "Rump Parliament" that created a High Court of Justice to bring Charles to trial for high treason. Cromwell was determined to crush them in a show of force. Mainly composed of Highlanders.) by Peter N. Cromwell had come to Edinburgh to receive a hero's welcome. He also had to deal with the Scots. held in public before a saddened crowd at Charles' own banqueting hall in Westminster. an agreement was made between the Scottish Parliament and the king. Argyll continued the strange alliance of King and Convenanter and had the 18 year-old Prince Charles proclaimed King at Edinburgh. There was little left for Montrose but to take ship for Norway and his followers went back to their homes. The Covenanters. It was utterly defeated by Cromwell at Preston. he quickly and forcibly suppressed any revolts and attempts at challenging his authority. who had assumed the title of Lord Protector. a few days later." and later the "Protectorate. After all. whose only reaction was a loud and mournful groan. Taking immediate action. this was totally unacceptable to Oliver Cromwell. In 1650. whereby he would give Presbyterianism a three-year trial in England in return for an army to help him against the Parliamentarians. So at the end of 1647. was a foregone conclusion. even these measures had not gone far enough." it lasted only eleven years. Republican Government in England (1649-1660) Charles I sincerely believed that he died in the cause of law and the Church. too. Everything seemed settled. Then. a vast increase in the electorate and no established church or doctrine. defeated the Scots under General Leslie at Dunbar and marched on Edinburgh. but the news of the unprecedented execution of Charles. They then turned towards Scotland and stopped the string of successes of Montrose and his Highlanders at Philiphaugh. for being useless as well as dangerous. burdensome and dangerous. in an opportune "conversion. A purge of the moderates in Parliament. After Preston. Yet for many. Charles II duly arrived in Scotland to claim his Kingdom. its leader executed and its followers dispersed. D. Determined to bring in an era of firm government. seething with anger at the execution of their King whom he had promised to preserve and defend by the Solemn League and Covenant of 1644. Cromwell and his officers. The demands of the Levellers put them way ahead of their time. even before the battle. wishing for biennial parliaments with strictly limited powers. When his Parliament. the Covenanters were not happy with the situation. The victorious Scots army. led by the Duke of Hamilton duly came south. abolished the monarchy. also returned north of the border. Williams. in May 1646. however.
interested in the establishment of a lasting democracy that practiced tolerance. He had gained his power through the army. to William. he forced it to accept the authority of the rulers of England. "Old Noll" Cromwell. 1653.63 the more disciplined. the Rump Parliament sent envoys to Holland who were deliberately insulted and thus the opportunity and the excuse was presented for English commercial interests to engage in a trade war. where his cruelty and butchery in reducing the towns of Drogheda and Wexford made his name so hated that it is spoken in a dreaded whisper even today. he even dissolved Parliament. Charles l had married his daughter Mary. He then departed to deal with the Scottish army that had been looking for support in England. better trained Roundheads at Inverkeithing. after he had refused an offer of the Crown. Cromwell was busy setting up an efficient system of government in both kingdoms. It is interesting to note that General George Monck is on record as being "the first professional soldier of the unique school which believes that the military arm should be subordinate to the civil" a doctrine followed by non other than General Dwight D. Cromwell was determined to prevent any of the Stuarts from gaining a foothold in Ireland. A few days earlier. Prince of Orange. Consequently. still regarded as enemies of the realm. many more English landowners were able to take advantage of the confiscation and sale of sizable Irish properties. received the title of Lord Protector. began to . Cromwell caught up with the Scottish army at Worcester on September 3. the Rump passed a Navigation Act in 1654 designed to cripple Dutch trade. a remarkable achievement that lasted until the first quarter of the 20th century. Cromwell now occupied all of Scotland south of the Firth of Forth. Under his protectorate. He saw that a Treaty of Union in 1652 united Scotland with England and made it part of the Commonwealth. in true monarchical fashion. At the beginning of his "reign. War with Spain a year later resulted in the British capture of Jamaica and the destruction of a large Spanish fleet at Tenerife. The resulting war brought forth one of England's great military leaders. England was also able to strengthen its position abroad." as one historian has remarked. He was certainly a man caught between opposing forces. but after the lack of progress of the interim "Barebones" Parliament. Monck had captured the Committee of the Estates (the remnant of the Scottish Parliament and had occupied Dundee). Eisenhower during his presidency of the United States some three hundred years later. virtual dictator of England. He was to return after nine years in exile. He destroyed it. English and Irish MP's into a truly British Parliament. however was that his military successes made it possible to integrate Scottish. Through his ruthless campaigning. leaving General Monck in charge. at odds with the other impression that saw him as a godly man. perhaps to show his commitment to Protestantism. As the signs of civil strife became apparent. In retrospect. the Dutch people were horrified at the news of the king's execution. To propose a union between the two republics. Following the precedent set by James l's land grants at the expense of the native Irish. While the king in exile "went on his travels. a situation that was later to lead to the blight known as "Absentee Landlordism. The Society of Friends or Quakers. Cromwell has been seen as an evil genius." One result. Ireland and Wales. 1651. Many Jewish families were to do much to support later English governments financially. Jews were allowed back into England for the first time since their expulsion under Edward I." as he put it. unable to satisfy the demands of both factions. He instigated a period of government remarkable for its religious tolerance to all except Roman Catholics. Welsh. Admiral Blake. Under Cromwell." sanctioned by the Rump Parliament. He truly found himself "sitting on bayonets. who blockaded the Dutch ports and defeated and killed Admiral van Tromp in a sea battle before peace came in 1654. as Charles II fled to France in the timehonored fashion of so many Scots rulers. On 12 December. he had dealt severely with insurrection in Ireland. Like the Scots. In 1653. yet he wished to rule through a much less radical parliament. he resumed his power as head of the government of a nation that consisted of England and Scotland. The continent now became a refuge for yet another Scottish monarch.
he was shrewd enough to change his beliefs when he saw an advantage. Charles was crowned in April 1660 and within the same year married Catherine. The Republic of Great Britain and Ireland came to an abrupt end.P. In any case. nevertheless. Action against them came in the form of the Clarendon Code. but in some districts. though he sired at least fourteen illegitimate children. an unfortunate choice. Congregationalists and Quakers.64 flourish under the inspired leadership of George Fox. . he had courted the Scots Presbyterians. When he retired to his farm in the country. except business. for the young man. an act. England was tired of being without a king." didnÍt have the experience nor the desire to govern the nation. Charles could not. The king got off to a good start. which did nothing to diminish his reputation as a philanderer.'s as Charles l had attempted. Perhaps more remarkable was the permission granted to congregations to choose their own form of worship. led to their dismissal in 1657. A cynic in morals and a pragmatist in politics. but in later life. The unpopularity of these puritanical justices. Charles ll (1660-1685) Though a London mob had thrown down a statue of Charles l outside the Royal Exchange and placed the words "Exit Tyrannus" over the empty space. returned without the shedding of one drop. a collection of different restrictive measures completed during 1664-5. where not only drinking. such an integral part of their history and a source of great national pride when things went well. The Crown could not enforce taxes without the consent of Parliament. The people had never been happy at the interregnum. a period of great confusion between the various political factions and indecisive government resulted in the decision of General Monck to intervene. In his earlier attempts at winning the throne. were allowed to escape punishment. That era in English history had gone forever. nicknamed "Tumbledown Dick. The great diarist Samuel Pepys has adequately described the rejoicing when the monarchy. all of who resisted strenuous efforts to get them to toe the line by conforming to the Act of Uniformity of 1662. nor could it arbitrarily arrest M. it only strengthened the desire of the new and various Protestant sects to worship in the way they pleased. The two houses of Parliament. meant the upswelling of resistance from those outside its embrace. where he quickly assembled a parliament and invited Charles ll to take over the reigns of the kingdom. In 1655. such as the poet John Milton. Always a Cavalier at heart "Old George" Monck brought his army from Scotland to London. Many of these leaders were responsible for the so-called "blue laws" creating a land of joyless conformity. a Royalist uprising forced Cromwell to divide England into eleven military districts to keep down insurrection and to rigidly enforce the laws of the Commonwealth. mostly army colonels. There was still Parliament. known as "regicides" were executed. The restoration of the supremacy of the Anglican Church. that cut off the dissenters from professional advancement in all the professions. of course. the daughter of the King of Portugal. the same mob was to lustily cheer "God Bless King Charles ll" at the arrival of General Monck's army. but he was not able to produce a legitimate heir. swearing and gambling became punishable offences. Perhaps this may have led to the close alliance of Dissent and the world of Business that so characterized later England and has been seen as the foundation for its commercial success. it did not. There were Baptists. Many of those who had plotted against Charles l. "laid aside at the expense of so much blood. even going for a walk on Sundays. The same year saw Parliament nominate Cromwell's son Richard as his successor. he reverted to his Catholic preferences. as was the Church of England and the bishoprics. Sadly enough. Lords and Commons were restored. Protestants were grouped together under many names. however. the Anglican Book of Common Prayer was replaced by the Directory of Worship. but there was no orgy of revenge and many prominent anti-Royalists." Charles must have thought that the tumultuous welcome accorded him gave him carte blanche to govern as he thought fit. claim to rule by divine right. Even these measures were not enough to satisfy everyone.
James Duke of York. Catholics were hunted down and killed. He concluded treaties with Louis XIV of France and agreed to reconcile himself with the "Church of Rome. Those who supported him were called "Tories" after Catholic outlaws in Ireland. he had the intention. not only of strengthening his position in relation to Parliament. humble Quakers were particularly singled out for ridicule and harsh treatment. in constant peril of death or were forced to fall to the Continent. he whipped up public feeling to frenzied heights by graphically embellishing the false tale. Yet even then. he had a reason to execute his opponents. by invitation of God. One third of all Scottish ministers refused and held services . The pious. Charles continued his secret intrigues with the King of France. Those who opposed James were the "Whigs" after Whiggamores. went to prison for twelve years. mostly involving the degree to which Protestantism had taken hold in Britain. one of Charles' illegitimate sons. they had become anathema during the inter-regnum. Great Catholic families had been particularly loyal to Charles l. and not of any bishop. he issued a Declaration of Indulgence allowing freedom of religion for Catholics as well as non-conformists (Dissenters). when Protestant Clergyman Titus Oates. known as an habitual liar. John Bunyan. as he stated so emphatically. the new king had little interest in Scotland. These struggles. Charles began to turn more and more toward the Catholic religion. The failure caused a return of English resentment of Catholics and the passing of the Test Act of 1673 compelling public office holders to take the sacrament of the Church of England. (Note: in World War II. He then joined the French king in a war against the Dutch. Panic swept the land. After 1668. it seems that there was no end to the anti-papal processions in London. fiercely Protestant Scottish drovers. Catholic priests went into hiding. In the orgy created by rumors of plots to kill Charles and burn down Parliament. and most severe recriminations were reserved for the Catholics. and there was little that Charles II could do to restore their former dignity and favor. When he restored James VI's method of choosing the Committee of Articles. who flooded their lands successfully and resisted invasion. During the period known as Carolingian England. it was said. But the worst fears. the author as a small boy remembers the rumors being put about of an invasion of German paratroopers who had. when a Whig plot to murder him and James. His years in exile had taught him very little. after Charles had made his triumphant return from the Continent. but Machiavellian English King." In 1672. the hunting down of Catholic priests. preferring to govern it through a Privy Council situated in Edinburgh and a Secretary at London. Popular opinion then allowed him to bring back James to England where he regained his earlier position as Lord High Admiral. As King of Scotland.65 Unlicensed preachers became a thorn in the side of government who regarded them as something akin to traitors. All ministers chosen since 1649 were required to resign and to reapply for their posts from the bishops and lairds. had been particularly manifest in England's relations with Scotland. "Grace Abounding" and then "Pilgrim's Progress" completed in 1675. In 1678. who preached. Charles had signed two Covenants in 1649 merely to secure his own coronation. like his father. Despite his early support by the Scots Presbyterians. he considered Presbytery as "not a religion for gentlemen. Another civil war seemed imminent before anti-Catholic feelings managed to die down in the absence of the "threatened" invasion. Alas. Charles was then able to live out the rest of his reign in peace mainly free from the political and religious struggles that had occupied so much of his reign. Fortunately for the profligate." It is a constant source of astonishment to the modern reader how little Charles knew about how deep the roots of Presbyterianism had been planted in Scotland and how strongly the Covenanters would fight all attempts to return Scotland to episcopacy. already landed in Scotland: it was probably started when Nazi leader Hess parachuted into Scotland to give himself up to British authorities). was excluded from the throne by Parliament because he was a Catholic. The result was first. the closing of their schools and search for their secret meeting places. The Whigs supported the claim of The Protestant Duke of Monmouth. but also of bringing back the bishops and restoring the system of patronage that chose ministers. the burning of the pope and cardinals in effigy. heard rumors of the possible conversion of England to Catholicism by an invasion of French troops. In 1660. and the legitimate heir.
William of Orange. unhealthy medieval. claiming to be obeying a command from on high. Though it destroyed the massive St. transforming the old. he admitted that had he kept his religion private. the Dutch navy was able to sail with impunity into the Medway at the mouth of the Thames and burn many of the English ships moored at idle anchor. bringing London to a standstill and causing panic at the numbers of dead and the lack of any knowledge as to how to deal with the terrible scourge. all of which took place in three consecutive years. They came to a head during the reign of James II. who could modify his beliefs to suit the occasion and ride the swells of political change. may have helped destroy the dwelling places of the brown rat. and all of which were recorded in graphic detail by diarist Pepys. it gave a chance for architects such as Christopher Wren to rebuild." The troubles continued when Charles died in 1685 to be succeeded by his brother James VIl (James ll of England) an openly-avowed Catholic who was welcomed in the Highlands. and that of his successor. with fine. The government decided to intervene to bring the rebels to heel. An army was sent to deal with them under the command of James. Of his reign. wide streets. some say his high-handedness. The Great Fire of London. Though many of the . had learned nothing from his predecessors. Duke of Monmouth. Paul's cathedral. He was able to get Parliament to grant him adequate finances. prevented him. James could not.66 in defiance of the law. Those who could afford to." Things went well at first. he could have been one of the most powerful kings ever to reign in England. they murdered Archbishop Sharp. Troops were sent to enforce the regulations but made the Calvinist Covenanters even more eager to serve God in their own way. but he would think of nothing "but the propagation of the Catholic religion. He too. His reign lasted only three years. we have to mention the three great disasters that befell the England of Charles: plague. ever true to the legitimate monarch. simply packed up and went to live in the country. Before the accession of James II. The great outbreak of plague began in 1665. The reaction and counter-reactions that followed gave the period of the 1680's the title of "The Killing Time. He recognized the Church of England as the established church and defeated a rebellion led by James. In 1679. James ll (1685-1688) James was yet another of those who have only themselves to blame for their downfall. Unlike Charles II. Paul's. with the Royal Navy mutinous over poor pay and atrocious conditions aboard its ships. the Dutchman. the carrier of the deadly fleas and thus brought the plague to an end. however. The third catastrophe was the continuation of the war against Holland. as springing partly from their attempts to grant to Catholics a greater degree of tolerance than would be countenanced by their other English subjects. After the triumphs of Admiral Blake in the First Dutch War (1652-4). memorable public buildings and above all. the Second Dutch War (1665-7) was a national disgrace. In his own words. fire and war. And thus the seeds were sown for the Jacobite opposition that blossomed under the next king. more than one historian has seen all the political struggles. his morality. This time. its magnificent new churches. for his attempts to re-introduce Catholicism into a country that had become a bastion of Protestantism meant with disaster far worse than any plague or fire or minor skirmishes on the Continent. infested warrens into a city worthy of being a nation's capital. the Duke of Monmouth who had foolishly landed on the southern coast of England and declared himself king. culminating in the Revolution of 1688 and the triumph of Parliament over the Crown. catastrophic as it was to the city. including the present St. He defeated the Covenanters at Bothwell Brig and the survivors were dealt with severely. Charles II died in February 1685 of a heart attack no doubt brought on by a life style that today' medical men (and religious leaders) would style nothing less than debauched.
in a joint monarchy. he did not take into account the anti-Catholic sentiments of much of the British nation. was too anxious to foment change. Catholics. the legislative in England was restricted to a very limited class. as were all Catholics. who had done his best to keep this alliance alive. Catholic. ill health and probably poor advice. not wishing to make the King another English martyr. On the continent. James had chosen the wrong time and the wrong country. 1688. the Protestant ruler. According to Locke." its theory of limited monarchy had vast appeal to the majority of Englishmen. but what that legislative shall enact according to the trust put in it. James. constant wars with continental powers. King James. Non conformists and Anglicans reformed their alliance against the religious policies of the king. Nottingham.67 people of the southwest came to his support. In the meantime. nor under the domination of any will. his forces. King James was misled by his early success. not as a conqueror. twice the size of those of William. thus ensuring that his last years were peaceful ones. but a rapprochement followed the marriage of William and his first cousin Mary. but also. mainly by the English weather which destroyed most of his ships and supplies. rapidly disintegrated. Showing a complete failure of nerve. on the other hand. Hull and Durham declared for William whose army marched towards London. and it was the House of Commons that made the Empire.e. or restraint of any law. Yet it was precisely this weather. a series of provincial uprisings did nothing to bolster the morale of James' forces. the lure of gold perhaps as equally . was an act far ahead of its time. and the strong northeasterly wind. James II and his baby son were debarred from the succession. but especially to Parliament. the Dutch King William III of Orange was engaged in a duel with the French King Louis XIV for military success and diplomatic influence in Western Europe. i. His weak resolve. Monmouth's rag-tag army was defeated at Sedgemoor and soon came to suffer the reprisals handed out by the infamous "Bloody " Judge Jeffries who had hundreds executed and hundreds more transported overseas as convicts. military leaders and in important offices of state. It was widely believed that William allowed James to escape. mainly to the New World. James's eldest daughter in 1677. and increased the fears of. nationalistic British (and Protestant) state. the kingdom of Spain may have had mixed motives in its overseas conquests. became rulers of Britain. He had learned nothing from Charles II. poor judgment. had built a strong. This too. "The liberty of man in society is to be under no other legislative power but that established by consent in the commonwealth. But it was a powerful class indeed that came to dominate the House of Commons. caused him to retreat to London instead of attacking William's vulnerable army. hoping to be seen as a liberator. and especially to." Prior to the great electoral reforms of the later 19th century. despite having numerical strength in soldiers was forced on the defensive. York. Enlightened as this policy seems to us. always anxious to increase its own powers and give special favors to its members. He began to implement policies that not only gave religious toleration to nonconformists. He ignored all Protestant pleas for concessions. James fled to France in mid-December. his efforts to win widespread support for his policies were totally unsuccessful. for it was an empire based on trade. One of the last straws was his 1687 Declaration of Indulgence which aimed at complete religious toleration. but his first invasion attempt in mid-October was easily defeated. James' plans for equal civil and religious rights for Catholics were out of the question. William made his decision to intervene in England in early 1688. the king dug his own grave. By replacing Protestants as heads of universities. it only furthered the resentment of. Derby. the nation's Protestant majority. In what historians have called the "Glorious Revolution" William and Mary. Part 7: The Age of Empire Preparation for Empire Building: The Growth of the Commons In 1690 John Locke published his highly influential "Two Treatises of Civil Government. that later prevented the British fleet from intercepting the Dutch armies of William landing at Brixham on 5 November. While England's great rival. Charles II of England had fought against the Dutch in a series of skirmishes for commercial hegemony.
In the reign of Henry VIII Parliament had become increasingly important in the scheme of government for it gave confirmation and authority to the royal wishes when needed. If the King wished to go slow on his promises of treaties. The Lords seldom resisted the wishes of the Council. Parliament had come a long way since the days of Henry VII. In any case. hundreds of years of abuse of the prisoner by the authorities. though the whip hand remained firmly in the hands of the Queen and Council. be tried no later than the second term and once set free by order of the court. a novelty which the monarchs may have chafed at ever since. but which was made necessary to keep their expenditures under parliamentary control. Members began to speak out. in the struggle with foreign and domestic interests. There were simply too many members in the Lower House who regarded opposition to the Crown as disloyal. Much more than a formality of government and a mere income-generating body. Her determination to reverse the trend of events in religion brought her into conflict with her Parliaments. The Act remains an integral part of the Commonwealth's legal system today and has been widely copied in many other countries including the United States. The Tudors had encountered some opposition from the Commons. and Mary had to go out of her way to dragoon them into acquiescence with her unpopular policies. Yet the Members in Commons could become vociferous. who dutifully followed along. the consent of which was made necessary to raise taxes. They were aided by the constitutional crisis that occurred when James II fled to France in 1688. it was hard for future monarchs to refuse them. should not be imprisoned again for the same offense. it gave him a convenient way of retreat. It was in matters where the Queen expressed no opinion that the House was subtly. a voice that the Tudors may not always have liked. A Bill of Rights was drawn up that guaranteed free speech. then brought to the Commons. able to gain in power. and royally suspend and dispense power. A Convention Parliament offered the throne to William and Mary (elder daughter of James II) as joint sovereigns. The Upper House. and its control by the business and trade oriented middle-class. but during most Parliamentary sessions it had not been enough to cause any great anxiety to the Crown or the Council. Thus at a single stroke. for their seats often depended upon the support of local magnates.68 important as the saving of souls. where something like a Protestant Party began to form to voice its opposition. It is worth while to take a brief look at what had been taking place in the winning of the initiative by the House of Commons. It was during the troublesome reign of Mary Tudor that the Commons became more contentious. The leaders of the House of Lords were usually landed magnates who had often helped the Council in formulating Crown policy. One of the most important milestones in English law had already taken place. those who governed Britain did not disguise their motives. as expected. The Act went on to state that a prisoner should be indicted in the first term of his commitment. Also of considerable interest and lasting importance was the creation of a fixed Civil List for both the Crown's household and administrative expenditures. had been building steadily. came to an end. keep a standing army and proscribe ecclesiastical commissions or courts. was a firm ally of the Council. hereditary succession was replaced by parliamentary succession. it looked for opportunities in whatever part of the world they could be found (and exploited). In short. especially when the Crown asked for money. Henry VIII was ruthless in dealing with those who opposed him. In Elizabeth's long reign. The Puritan element in Parliament began to exert more and more . Parliament began to be recognized as the voice of public opinion. aided and abetted by a rapidly growing stratum of lawyers. Privileges began to be exchanged for promises of ready cash: once granted. but one which they wisely never wholly failed to heed. The "Habeas Corpus Act" of 1679 had obliged judges to issue upon request a writ of habeas corpus directing a gaoler (jailer) to produce the body of any prisoner and to show cause for his imprisonment. often capricious and vengeful. but surely. free elections and frequent meetings of Parliament. it strengthened his hands. and much legislation was put first through the Upper House. the House of Commons grew in leadership. The power of the Commons. the Bill re-affirmed the will of the English people (or at least of those who represented them in Parliament) against the arbitrary powers of the monarchy.
under the strong hand of the Privy Council. but was seen as a dignified profession for wealthy and powerful country gentlemen. without Dundee in command. It was a success that gave them false hopes. they . at Killiecrankie. changes in the day to day business and in the way of doing things. which became increasingly vociferous in expressing its grievances. forceful leaders had made the institution almost unrecognizable from the old. The Commons eventually showed that it not only could decide who could sit on the throne of England. defeated a much larger royal army led by General Mackay. however. Viscount Dundee. Their allegiance was primarily to common law. kept firmly in control by the carefully groomed Speaker. its members were no longer subservient to the Royal Will. many were lawyers who brought new initiatives along with their legal skills into the committee system. In July. not to the whims of their monarch. but the Highlanders' success led the hitherto hesitant clans to flock to James' standard. unlike Elizabeth. The Jacobites in Scotland and Ireland It was all-too-soon apparent that William's success in England did nothing to ensure the compliance of Scotland and Ireland. Jacobus. Almost unnoticed. a great change had taken place in the relation of the Royal Council to the Commons. The Commons could only benefit from the hiatus. the Commons remained quiet. it was especially alarmed at Elizabeth's middle-of-the road religious policies. It also had to deal with Scotland. A new interest in precedent also searched for ways to establish the privileges. acquiescent body that had been afraid to cross the Tudors. both military and political. rights and powers of the Commons on a firm basis. he was not content with staying in the background.69 influence. Privy Councillors had ceased to guide the Lower House. "Bonnie Dundee" was killed in the battle. duly supportive of Royal legislation. and royal prerogative began to be sneered at openly. Parliament had further grown in strength when James I failed to keep a sufficient number of his own men in the Commons. The leadership exercised by Elizabeth's able Councillors was wholly absent during James' reign. Though King James and his supporters controlled parts of Britain including most of Ireland. By the time of the early Stuarts. It continued right up the '45 rebellion. the most active of James' supporters. The first battle against the new King William of England was fought in Scotland. its dynamic. rapidly changing it from a mere ratifying body to one that formulated and passed laws. William succeeded in driving them from their bases in both Ireland and Scotland. The cause of the exiled Stuarts became known as Jacobitism. essential changes had taken place in the growth of the English Constitution. and his constant interference meant that his words lost their weight. It was this leadership that established the real initiative in legislation. The King's penchant for elevating his supporters to the House of Lords also left him with inexperienced. in which there came into power a group of leaders who had no official connection with the government. it could even dispense with the monarchy altogether. Resentment led to opposition. The Commons had become a dominant force in government. For the time being. Their presence ensured that the Commons no longer served as a recruiting ground for the service of the Crown. thus forcing them to become reliant on foreign support. they failed miserably in their cause. and especially during the time of the Cecils. untried members to speak for him in the Commons. The campaigns against William's rule in overwhelmingly-Catholic Ireland began the period of close cooperation of that country with France. Yet even his power had declined by the end of Elizabeth's reign with the dramatic increase in the use of the committee system. In a series of strategically-sound campaigns. 1689. from the Latin for James. James himself was seen as a meddler. Between the time of Elizabeth I and the Long Parliament of Charles I.
and not by the timehonored system of royal dispensation to favorite courtiers. James II left France for Ireland in March 1689. more accessible to French naval power. aided by the Dutch General Ginkel with Hugh Mackay as his second-incommand. His armies soon won most of the country. recognizing William as King of England and his sister-in-law Anne as heiress presumptive. what was left of the Jacobite cause suffered another catastrophic defeat. Yet it was the desire for trade and overseas markets that led to the expansion of the Empire.000 Irishmen. all their forces in Ireland consequently surrendered. James had not given up hope of regaining his kingdom. On the Continent. but catch on it did. having enough of the war against the stubborn Dutch and their allies. for it gave the granting of powers and privileges for carrying on the East India trade to Parliament. made peace at Rijswijk in 1697. The foundation of a society to write marine insurance formed by merchants and sea captains at Lloyd's Coffee House in 1688 was also of enormous importance. He still enjoyed the strong support of Louis XIV. his hopes were raised when a large French naval force managed to defeat an Anglo-Dutch fleet. which became the site of the battle so vividly remembered and celebrated by Ulster's Protestant majority. In June 1690 William marched on Dublin. mainly as a consequence of the resistance of Derry and Enniskillen. The decisive battles involving the Jacobite cause were not fought in Scotland. The method of borrowing money at interest. The loan did not have to be repaid as long as the interest was raised by imports duties. however. and in June 1690.70 were unable to exploit their initial victory. Thus a funded national debt came into being. with about 11. It became one of the ever-increasing problems for the country's government: the interference of trade with legislation and administration was to become an inevitable part of the future. he fled to France. an act regarded by historian Arthur Bryant as . together with the newlyformed Bank of England. The new East India Company came about as one of the first results of these acts. Other successes were enjoyed by John Churchill. the practice of underwriting enormous expenditures in overseas ventures and shipping. And if the trading classes could control Parliament. the costs of the war led to the formation of the Bank of England. going to France to continue the fight for James. French control of the Channel was not exploited and the initiative was soon lost. his fleet was sent packing. a day still celebrated with much pomp and pageantry in Northern Ireland. Starving Derry (Londonderry) was eventually relieved by an English fleet in July 1689. When Louis finally decided to invade England in May 1692. Another revolutionary idea was the granting of monopolies in trade by Parliament. and William easily took Dublin. French King Louis. instead of taking it by taxation for nothing was established as a normal practice. showed only too well the growing power of the British traders and financiers over the state government. dates from this time. the so-called Wild Geese. but in Ireland. a Whig joint-stock company that raised funds from the public and loaned it to the government in exchange for the right to issue bank notes and to discount bills. 1698 was as important as the "Magna Carta" of 1215. it was too late. however. but a prolonged resistance was put up by the people of Derry. they could make their own terms. At Limerick. In 1694. as soon as respective governments saw the advantages. seen by many as the greatest event in the organization of British foreign trade. As so often in the past. For many. James' outnumbered forces were cast aside. This company. came to an end with Louis's recognition of the prince born in 1688 as the future King James III. mostly Danish and Dutch mercenaries. the Jacobite victory was not followed up. Once more showing a failure of nerve. The 1698 Parliament showed its strength by announcing that such grants could no longer be granted as a general rule by royal charter but only though an act of Parliament. occupied Belfast. Earl of Marlborough. William's army. where the Protestant apprentice boys had slammed the city gates shut against the Catholic army. and thus to troops and supplies. It took a while to catch on in other countries. the resolution of May 26. in time-honored fashion for a Scottish ruler. In August. A period of peace between France and England. In a desperate attempt to regain his throne. which is precisely what happened over and over again in subsequent British history. His way was blocked by the Jacobite forces on the banks of the River Boyne. One result of the hostilities was entirely unexpected but had an enormous result on subsequent world history.
" Prospects for the Jacobites. William formed his Grand Alliance against France in 1701. An indication of its eventual triumph in Virginia had been the founding of the College of William and Mary in 1693. The annihilation of the French army at Blenheim was followed by the English capture of Gibralter in 1704. Marlborough went ahead and attacked the French army at Blenheim. John Churchill. the time of Daniel Defoe and Dean Swift and the intense and bitter political between Whigs and Tories. The accession of William. Though the quarrels within and without the Church continued. Princess Anne succeeded him. Part 7: The Age of Empire. gouty Anne that Britain was also fast becoming a nation thoroughly Protestant. he was more concerned with the fate of the Spanish Netherlands that looked likely to fall to France upon the death of the childless Charles II of Spain. England became the leading military power in Europe for the first time since the Hundred Years' War. Anne was an Anglican. Newfoundland and Minorca as well as Gibralter and the sole right to supply slaves to Spanish colonies. Under his leadership as the Duke of Marlborough. the Toleration Act of 1689 had broken the monopoly of English Protestantism hitherto enjoyed by the Established Church. was born in 1874). The war brought forth one of England's great military leaders. a member of the Established Church of England. Churchill succeeded King William as leader of the English and Dutch forces in the Grand Alliance. were not helped by the War of the Spanish Succession which tied up Catholic forces in the Netherlands and forced France to withdraw to its own borders. a name that is remembered in England as one of the greatest victories in its long history. Britain's interests in the New World had begun early. it was the war with France that dominated Queen Anne's reign. William's accession had meant that the island nation of England had become inextricably part of the Continent. however. for it gave her new possessions in Nova Scotia. Queen Anne (1702-14) The Foundations of Empire It was evident during the reign of dull. When William died in 1702 after falling from his horse (young Queen Mary had died of small pox in 1694). . Though the times were not yet ripe for complete religious toleration.71 one of "megalomaniac folly. The victorious Wellington was satirized by Scot John Arbuthnot in his "The History of John Bull" (1712) that introduced the name John Bull as a symbol of England. a direct descendant of John Churchill. The rise of the Dissenters and the spread of Unitarianism accompanied the so-called Scientific Revolution in England associated with the upsetting (to Churchmen) discoveries of such men as Isaac Newton and Robert Boyle. had been instrumental in helping sever that special relationship long enjoyed between Church and Crown. a Dutch Calvinist. After Louis agreed that his grandson Phillip V would rule the Spanish Empire. As important as William's victories were in Scotland and Ireland. in an age noted for the prolific rise in pamphleteering and electioneering chicanery. A grateful nation built Blenheim Palace for the Duke (a sumptuous residence in which Winston Churchill. We have to remember that William's main purpose in taking on the throne of England was to utilize its resources and military forces to defend his beloved Netherlands against the French King. Though the Dutch feared an invasion by France. another smashing victory at Ramillies was then followed by additional successes at Oudenarde and Malplaquet. though the inevitable differences in worship continued. The Established Church no longer played a major role in national politics. continued England and the New World: An Expanding Empire In 1713 the Treaty of Utrecht firmly established England's commercial and colonial supremacy. the war in France continued. the husband of Queen Anne's close friend Sarah. King James had been forced to make a number of concessions to the Nonconformists (or Dissenters) in order to win political support.
Jean Nicot (who gave his name to nicotine) sent seeds and powdered leaves of the tobacco plant to France. Hawkins' exploits. sailing from Bristol. Lawrence River. of the Flemish geographer Mercator's projection map of the world which represented the meridians of longitude by equally spaced parallel lines and which greatly increased the accuracy of navigational maps. who helped finance the Cabot voyages. along with oranges from the Orient. English exploration of North America continued in 1576 when Martin Frobisher discovered Baffin's Land and . tobacco and the potato. took their little fleet along the coasts of what were later called Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. Canada and on lands along the St." tobacco seeds reached Europe. the Muscovy Company was founded by Richard Chancellor to trade with Russia in 1555. England's own era of exploration. along with similar exploits of his fellow mariners. John and Sebastian Cabot. intermingled with the Mandans in the upper Mississippi Valley. Hernando de Soto landed at Tampa Bay and Coronado explored the American southwest. led to England's entering the Slave Trade despite Queen Elizabeth's dramatic speech against it (she later took shares in his company and even lent him a ship). and successor to Madoc. In 1496. a Welsh prince purported to have landed in what later became known as Mobile Bay in the 12th century and whose followers. English mariner Francis Drake then undertook his daring voyage of 1572 to capture the Spanish treasure fleet returning from Peru. Three years later. that described the benefits of a new land. by Jacques Cartier in 1534. Interest in finding new lands may have been initiated by the publication of "Utopia" by Thomas More in 1515. One year later. Yet only five years after Columbus had landed in the Bahamas. Further interest in the New World was surely sparked by the explorations of Franciscan missionary de Niza who returned to Spain in 1539 with glowing accounts of the "seven cities of Cibola. The elder Cabot recorded the vast fishing grounds later known as the Grand Banks. yet in retrospect it seemed extremely rapid. He reached Moscow by way of the White Sea and Archangel in 1553. His 35 day voyage marks the beginning of British domination of North America. Tobacco found its way to England when John Hawkins brought some home from Florida in 1565. John Cabot reached Labrador aboard the Matthew. initiated by the Cabots. It is a sobering fact that the first voyage of Christopher Columbus took place only 20 years after Scotland had finally acquired the Orkneys and Shetlands from Norway. in 1569. all of which they introduced in Europe. Columbus had visited England in 1477 to try to obtain backing for a voyage to discover a new route to the Indies but had been turned down (his brother Bartholomew was also rejected by the English Court in 1485). a Bristol merchant and Customs officer. was expanded by the journeys of Hugh Willoughby to seek a Northeast Passage to China and the spice trade. Much of Britain's investment in North America may have been simply to prevent French influence. It must certainly have been influenced by the Spanish discoveries of maize. David Ingram explored from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada and reported finding vines with grapes as large as a man's thumbs. Dutchman Jo Greenlander discovered that early settlers had been in what was later named Greenland. it was claimed. The efforts of Spain and Portugal in the same area also spurred further English interest in the Americas.72 Success in colonizing North America had not come without its terrible costs. Another deciding factor was the planting of the French flag in the Gaspe Peninsular. A great boost to exploration then came from the publication." One year later. As a result. Some English scholars maintain that the name America comes from Richard Amerik. Such imports to Europe seized the imagination of John Hawkins who began his career of high-jacking Portuguese and Spanish ships in 1562. In 1541 Pizarro completed his conquest of Peru and de Soto discovered the Mississippi. In 1561. It was especially so since the writings of Welshman John Dee had claimed the New World for Elizabeth I as Queen of an Atlantic Empire. in what many non-smokers now consider "a year of infamy. a feat surpassed by his even greater haul one year later. brought from Brazil by a Franciscan monk. Perhaps the most consequential discovery of the century was that of the silver mine at Potosi by the Spanish in 1545 that fueled the commercial activity of Europe during the following century.
Sir Richard Hawkins recommended orange and lemon juice as antiscorbutics. In 1585. Smith also explored the New England coast and renamed a native village. Ireland. Maryland received its charter by a grant from King Charles to Cecil Calvert. renamed the Golden Hinde after the gallant ship had passed through the Straits of Magellan. providing a further impetus to would-be settlers. English sailor Bartholomew Gosnold explored what was later to be called "New England. and the first American day of Thanksgiving was celebrated on the English ship Margaret at the mouth of the James River. Coffee joined tobacco as a London fad. During the same year. John Smith published his "Description of New England". the Mayflower arrived off Cape Cod with 100 Pilgrims and two children born at sea. During the same year. Next. mistakenly called "Indians. the first black slaves arrived in Virginia. This was also a year in which small pox ravaged the native population of the English North American colonies. Sir Richard Cavendish became the third man to circumnavigate the globe when his ship the Desire reached England after a voyage of over two years. In 1632. but left smallpox behind to decimate many of the native peoples. arrived in Europe. William Baffin sailed farther north than any other explorer for the next 236 years. but the colonists did not entertain their Indian guests at the dinner until the following year. In 1594. Drake arrived back in Plymouth having circumnavigated the globe in the Pelican. the Virginia House of Burgesses. When the Portuguese closed its spice market in Lisbon to Dutch and English traders. . which eventually managed to produce an extremely profitable export commodity in tobacco. James Lancaster dosed his sailors with lemon juice to make them the only crew in the entire fleet not decimated by scurvy. when he ventured to a latitude of over 77 degrees north to seek the Northwest Passage. In 1628 John Endicott arrived as the first Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony." He brought sassafras back. One year later. In 1610. the first legislative body in the New World convened at Jamestown." After James I had made peace with Spain in 1604. Four years later. Virginia was founded in 1607." The search for the famed Northwest Passage continued unabated. Drake was then knighted by the Queen after capturing the richest prize ever taken at sea. The Virginia colony was established in 1584 at Roanoke by Sir Walter Raleigh. Thousands more English settlers went to the American colonies during the reign of Charles l. In 1612. The Plymouth Colony celebrated its first Thanksgiving Day. and Virginia Dare was born on Roanoke Island. he re-directed England's efforts at colonizing North America. Canada. In 1586. and the Plymouth and London Companies sent ships and colonists. The smoking of tobacco became fashionable in London this year. When the first spice fleet leaving for the Orient arrived at the Cape of Good Hope. receiving a bonus when Richard Hakluyt produced a recognizable map in 1599. the Honourable East India Company was chartered to make annual voyages to the Indies and to challenge Dutch control of the spice trade. and Harvard College came into existence.73 Frobisher's Bay on his search for a Northwest Passage to China. the first oriental spice to be grown in the New World. In 1620. It eventually became standard practice in the Royal Navy to add citrus juice to the diet (conquest of scurvy played a big part in England's later domination of the seas). Two years later Queen Elizabeth gave a patent to Sir Humphrey Gilbert to "inhabit and possess at his choice all remote and heathen lands not in the actual possession of any Christian prince. In 1600. Raleigh planted potatoes on his estate near Cork. Gilbert then tried unsuccessfully to create the first English settlement in the New World at Newfoundland. after deaths from scurvy in the Royal Navy had become epidemic. In 1602. the first English child to be born in North America. calling it Plymouth. In 1580. Chesapeake Bay was discovered by Ralph Lane and Davis Strait by John Davis. Henry Hudson sought a route to China and sailed round the Eastern Shore of Greenland to reach Spitzbergen. including Chief Powhatan. John Smith published his "Map of Virginia" describing the colony. Hudson's ship Discovery reached the strait later to be known as Hudson Bay. In 1616. Jamestown. In 1614. English exploration of the New World continued. One year later. the Dutch East India Company was created to obtain spices directly from the Orient. Providence was founded as a Rhode Island settlement by Roger Williams. Jamaican ginger. In 1618.
" a history of New England designed to show that God was at work in the colonies. Parliament opened the slave trade to British merchants who began their triangular trade from taking rum from New England to Africa. as the US Constitution itself later came to be. the New Jersey Colony was founded by English colonists. Anne's exiled Catholic half-brother. thus allowing many thousands of Irish peasants and Scots Highlanders to join the forces that would be needed to expand and control England's ever-growing empire. 1707 James II's youngest daughter Anne. supplying Britain with a substitute for honey. the Quaker William. In 1649. leaving the East Indies to the Dutch. In 1664. In 1681. Princess Anne did not survive. the Scottish Parliament passed the Act of Security that provided for a Protestant Stuart succession upon Anne's death. The manufacture of Rum from sugar cane was established in Barbados. who wished to call it New Wales. "Voyage Round the World. the country might choose James Edward Stuart. William Dampier published his general survey of the Pacific. England readmitted Roman Catholics to the army in 1686.74 In 1639 the first Smithfield hams arrived in England from Virginia. London was afraid that unless a formal. She was succeeded by Hanover's Prince George Louis. thus there was no direct successor to the throne." One year later. Britain began to concentrate on the West Indies and the Americas. Further emigration from England to the American Colonies was encouraged during Queen Anne's reign by the 1702 publication of Cotton Mather's "Magnalia Christi Americana. freeing the English to expand their trade and grow prosperous on it. In 1696. now rare after the dissolution of the monasteries. political union with Scotland was firmly in place. he was succeeded by Queen Anne. and the last monarch of the ill-fortuned House of Stuart. a true daughter of the last legitimate monarch. But first came political union with Scotland. after the defeat of the armies of King Charles l. Nieuw Amsterdam was renamed New York after its capture from the Dutch. In 1655. The English Parliament passed the Act of Settlement in 1701 to ensure that Anne's heir was to be the Electress Sophia of Hanover. A French-Indian attack on Deerfield. sugar cane was grown for profit. however. as distinct from the existing dynastic union (which had been established with the accession of the Stuart James VI of Scotland as James I of England in 1603). In the West Indies. During her reign. when William died in 1702. died in 1714. developments had taken place in England that were to shortly make it the world's leading industrial power. Massachusetts. Consequently. granddaughter of James l. whose last surviving child. was a precursor of the later war to come. Massachusetts Bay Colony began to export codfish. Admiral Penn captured Jamaica from the Spanish. now starting to thrive. an innovation that made it a self-adjusting constitution. In 1698. The Frame of Government for the new colony contained an explicit clause that permitted amendments. but competing with France (and to some extent the Dutch) for North America. unless the Scottish government was freed from "English or any foreign influence. The Treaty of Westminster of 1674 returned New York and Delaware to England. of a most "ordinary" character. and the following year. In 1703. but settled for the Welsh word for head (Pen) and the Latin for woods (Sylvania). Pennsylvania had its beginning in the land grant given to Admiral Penn's son. a greatgrandson of James I. On William's deathbed he had recommended union with Scotland. many Royalists emigrated to Virginia. James II. Queen Anne. In a move that has been ignored by many historians." . Dampier sailed on his Pacific expedition to explore the West Coast of Australia. A year later. slaves to the Caribbean and sugar and molasses to New England. which had produced most of British honey for centuries. The Act of Union with Scotland: May 1.
however foreign and dull it appeared. Union with Scotland became official on May 1. they reasoned. the Stuarts were not yet finished. In this period of rapid Anglicization of Scotland and the acceptance. Part of the feeling of superiority came from the acquisition of so much overseas territory. The Act proclaimed that there would be "one United Kingdom by the name of Great Britain" with one Protestant ruler. Much of the blame was cast upon "Dutch William" and his English advisors. Perhaps it would be better.75 The English Parliament responded with an Alien's Act that prohibited all Scottish imports to England unless the Scots accepted the Hanoverian succession. Disease and Spanish interference brought a quick and sad end to the scheme. one legislature and one system of free trade. in which practically the whole Scottish nation had shown interest. died the same year as Anne. who was James III to his supporters was persuaded to undertake an invasion of England. were held together simply because they felt different from people in other countries. the Scots reluctantly acquiesced in order to gain the advantage of free trade with the new British common market. to give up a separate and divergent economic policy in favor of a merger that would be of equal benefit to both Parliaments. the restoration would have to be accomplished by a foreign (and Catholic) army of occupation. The Scottish Parliament's grandiose scheme to finance a rival to the East India Company and its attempt to found a colony on the isthmus of Darien. not of affection. there were many who wished a restoration of the Stuart monarchy. In particular. Britain's most obvious and strongest enemy. The British press was full of the horrors of life in the Catholic states of Europe and the blessings that the island nation enjoyed under its Protestant rulers. but Scottish mercantile interests were forced by the experience to find a workable solution. their hopes were raised once again when an invasion of Scotland. launched from France managed to avoid the British fleet. Despite the nostalgia and the romanticism . but gave up its Parliament in exchange for 45 seats in the House of Commons and 16 seats in the House of Lords. the troops landed too far north to be effective in taking Edinburgh. For another." It had been highly apparent that attempts at restoring the Stuarts would have meant the replacement of a Protestant monarchy. met with hostility from the English Parliament. with a Roman Catholic dynasty. Sometimes overlooked while discussing the reasons for Scotland's agreeing to the union is the terrible beating taken by that unfortunate nation in the Darien affair. Sophia. the Act of Union merely cemented what had been a growing interdependence between the two countries. seen in retrospect as an act of policy. For its part. Scotland kept its legal system and the Presbyterian Kirk. part came from technical advances that already heralded the coming of both the agricultural and industrial revolutions. for one thing. the nation had to balance the loss of its ancient independence against the need to open itself up to a wider world and greater opportunities than it could provide by itself. and it was far too late for that. the opportunity was lost. in 1715. James Edward Stuart. The mercantile interests in Edinburgh did not represent the whole nation. cultures and languages. Then. Eighteenth Century England The Electress of Hanover. When union was strongly urged by Lord Godolphin. The people of the Highlands certainly were not consulted in the matter. through the Union. and by now predictably. better housed and better governed. Unfortunately. or Panama. part came from government propaganda and the need to suppress dissent. 1707 by act of Parliament. James II's son. Not all on either side were happy with the Union that many historians see as a result of "judicious bribery". they were constantly being compared with those of other countries in Europe as being better fed. The people of Britain also felt superior. The Act of Union settled the boundaries of a state known as Great Britain whose people. When her son George left Hanover to come to England. "the fifteen. for no longer could European powers use Scotland as a base for an attack on its southern neighbor. knowing but a few words of the English language. a Popish enemy at that. England gained a much-needed security. The Stuarts were backed by France. In 1708. There were advantages for both countries in the Union. despite their differences in traditions. of the political and economic situation that prevailed in Protestant England.
At the Act of Settlement of 1701. gave him such influence that he is remembered as England's first Prime Minister (The title originated as a term of abuse when his opponents mockingly used it to describe his extraordinary power). Walpole rose to a position of chief minister. John Hadley invented the reflecting quadrant that made it possible to determine latitude at noon or by night. As "German George" knew little English. The other crisis that affected the reign of the first Hanoverian monarch of England was known as the South Sea Bubble. being rewarded with the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer and leading the House of Commons for 20 years. and an even smaller group. King George reduced it to 30. Harrison presented his ship's chronometer to London's Board of Longitude. Parliament had insisted that there should be a Privy Council of 80 members. and not the Bank of England. there were two that were to have a profound influence. Walpole straightaway reduced import and export duties to encourage trade and took care of the financial crisis by amalgamating the South Sea Company stock with that of the Bank of England and the East India Company. involving many government ministers. He was lucky that his nation was in no mood for another civil war. continued George I (1714-1727) The first great crisis of the reign of George I. had acquired a monopoly in the lucrative Spanish slave trade and other trading ventures in South America. He continued his leading role after the death of George I in 1727. Dozens of irrational schemes came into being as the result of the ridiculously high prices of company shares. Charles Edward to try again during the reign of George II. (In 1676. The fiasco. and the right person appeared in Robert Walpole. many investors were ruined. how to make the accurate determining of longitude possible. The first of these events began in 1728 when Yorkshire carpenter John Harrison created a working model of a practical. Part 7: The Age of Empire. In 1730. the South Sea Company. not only upon his kingdom of Britain. and their wide support in Scotland. understood practically nothing of the English constitution and stayed away from cabinet meetings. It was left to the Young Pretender. was the Jacobite Rebellion. Walpole's day-to-day supervision of the administration of the country. Briefly. The attempt of the Pretender to regain the throne for the Stuarts in 1715 thus fizzled out like a damp squib. but upon much of the world outside its borders. the inner cabinet. unhampered by royal interference. it seemed as if the struggle of Whig against Tory that had brought the country to the verge of civil war had exhausted everyone. Made weatherproof and placed aboard ships. Prices of its shares increased dramatically when the government announced that the company. Extremely accurate.76 attached to the exiled Stuarts. And it was here that the important decisions were made. and from these. who defended the ministers and the Crown. it was unthinkable for most Britons to contemplate their return. George II (1727-1760) Among the many events that took place during the reign of George II. along with the observations of astronomer . should finance the National Debt. accurate to with one-tenth of a second per day. In addition. spring-driven timekeeper that would win the prize offered by the London's Board of Longitude to solve a centuries-old puzzle. They all crashed in October of 1720 when shares began to tumble. An astute business man. needed someone to straighten things out. The majority of people in the nation were not in the mood for what surely would be a bloody and prolonged civil war. They certainly did not welcome the idea of a Jacobite army that would be mainly composed of French troops marauding through their land. it was quickly adopted by the admiralty. that fool of a king (who was ridiculed for his eccentric behavior and poor English). In 1736. James Stuart was sent back to France after failing to rally Scotland behind him. founded in 1711. a smaller group formed the cabinet. he kept England at peace and he increased the powers and privileges of Parliament. the Greenwich Observatory had been established to study the position of the moon among the fixed stars and to set a standard time to help sailors fix their longitude).
By September. 22 years later. was aided by the Provost's who had secretly left a gate open and had taken the city of Edinburgh (where he assured the Presbyterian clergy of religious toleration). captured Carlisle. At Dettingen. and defeated a small . Caroline of Anspach. spread rapidly. whose influence ensured that Walpole keep his position as prime minister in the new regime. Walpole had coined the term "balance of power" in a speech in Parliament in June 1741. He was encouraged by promise of support from France. the chronometer was to revolutionize the world's shipping. the notorious British weather helped destroy a French invasion fleet in 1744. It was now time for the Jacobite Cause to resurrect itself. To the dismay of the jingoistic Parliament. in the conflict with Britain for control of trade. When a certain Captain Jenkins presented the sight of his sun-dried (or pickled) ear. At a time when George II was away in his beloved Hanover and the bulk of the British Army fighting in Flanders and Germany. it gave expression to the principle that was to guide British foreign policy for decades to come. new lands to settle her surplus criminals and poor. Brother John was to begin preaching Methodism at Bristol in 1739. When France declared war on England in 1744. At the same time. Charles Edward seized his opportunity. The new religious ideas were to take root in North America where ideas of political independence from Britain were to merge with ideas of religious independence from the Church of England. had sponsored an abortive raid on Scotland. The first conference of Methodists was held in 1744. published in 1763 that calculated longitude at sea from lunar distances. Charles had rallied thousands of Highlanders. and indeed some ships did reach Scotland with supplies and artillery. The second major event began at Oxford University. Parliament was enraged and demanded action. It was to prove of particular importance to English navigators in their constant. after the farce of the last attempt to regain the throne. also in 1728. The Last Gasp of the Jacobites Incredibly enough. At home. new trading centers and eventually. he personally led his forces. the movement. Parliament was forced on the defensive.77 Nevil Maskelyne. the Spanish government. Though the attempt ended in a defeat for the Highlanders at Glenshiel.. an English newspaper argued in 1723 that the people of the Scottish Highlands "will never fail to join with foreign Popish powers. Charles was to help found a holy club with his brother John and others for strict observance of sacrament and the Sabbath. Because George II feared a French invasion of his beloved Duchy of Hanover. he could be controlled by his wife. it was increasingly difficult for Walpole to keep England out of war with Spain." As if to fulfill this prophecy. of her possessions. the War of the Austrian Succession had broken out on the Continent. supported by France. however. he had to fight." because of his methodical study habits. George signed a treaty with France to protect Hanover. supposedly cut off by the Spanish in 1731. believing that she was the cause of most of her troubles. as strong-willed as George II seemed to be. From then on. when a group of students began to call divinity student Charles Wesly a "Methodist. Despite King George's attempts to stay neutral in the European conflict. the Stuart prince landed in the Hebrides in July 1745. the Jacobite cause was still powerful enough to be considered the greatest threat to Britain in mid-century.. unemployed citizens. along with reading the New Testament and undergoing fasting. In 1718. aided by his indefatigable preaching and wide spread travels in the British Isles. to despoil Maria Theresa. Despite having endured so many years of ill-fortune. As so many times before in the island nation's history. the Stuarts were to try again. Walpole was unable to effect a compromise and England went to war in 1739. England was forced to involve itself in the war that primarily involved the coalition of Central European powers. (The chronometer was proved to be a success aboard HMS Deptford in 1761). Walpole was held responsible and defeated in Parliament after losing support of the Commons. and won a great victory over the French. the new Arch Duchess of Austria. brought about by the continual harassment of British trading ships by the Spanish. unending search for new markets for English products. When Caroline died in 1737.
was finished. This was not forthcoming. the wars went badly. only strengthened the resolve of the pursuing troops under Cumberland. The enormous casualties suffered by the Highlanders in their futile charges against the entrenched infantry. and ten years later The . Scottish success. Then William Pitt took over. a concentrated Highland charge managed to dislodge British dragoons. the French occupied Hanover. uneven pasture lands of Culloden in April 1745 with a considerable distance to cover under fire before they could reach the ranks of the English troops. Interests of commerce overrode those of patriotism. at first. West Africa and the West Indies. hoping to rally support all along the way." Charlie's Year to the Gaelic-speaking Highlanders. the person described by Frederick the Great as having been "a man brought forth by England's labor. In addition. In North America. In particular. "Bliadna Thearlaich. the country was led by William Pitt ("the elder"). England's ally Prussia was relied upon to conduct operations against France and Austria in Europe. Robert Clive won important victories to establish British presence at the expense of the French. Flushed with victory over the obviously ill-trained and ill-prepared British force of General Cope. in Europe. India. a man who believed that the strength of the nation's economy depended upon overseas expansion as well as the defence of its trading outposts. however. Once again. The Prince reluctantly admitted the lack of support from English Jacobites. In other areas. An New Role for the Island Kingdom The War of the Austrian Succession was ended by the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. the Scottish army marched south to England. who began Fort Duquesne. Thus Britain found itself at war with France again. the fighting qualities and heroic traditions of the Highlanders were put to good use in British armies sent to fight in Europe and further afield. only the theatres of war were now primarily in North America and India. the British colonists suffered defeats at the hands of the French. his countries' armed forces began a string of victories that made them seem invincible. The Seven Years War (1756-63) that closely followed the failure of the Jacobite Rebellion was the most dramatically successful war ever fought by Britain. But Britain was still anxious to fight for possession of new lands and trade routes. After Walpole's resignation. Even in the Scottish Lowlands. for struggles in Europe were shifting to those for control of North America. support had not been forthcoming. world empire in which the Scots played a leading part. The battle also led to a feeling among the Highlanders that they were invincible in a charge involving hand-tohand fighting. the bravery of the charging Highlanders would not be enough. An English force that caught up with the retreating Scottish army was soundly defeated at Clifton. who was determined to use his superior fire power and strength of numbers to his advantage the next time." and under his direction of Parliament. Lord Murray argued for a return to Scotland. it soon became apparent that Charles Edward was not going to be successful in raising the men and money necessary to sustain the invasion. In 1747 James Lind had reported on the success of citrus juice in combating scurvy. After Culloden. In the subcontinent of India. and the slaughter of their wounded was followed by a brutal aftermath.78 British force at Prestonpans where his soldiers employed their broadswords in the famous Highland charge. In the Seven Years War. the last battle to be fought on English soil. Admiral Byng was disgraced when he lost Minorca to the French in 1757. and the tiny North Atlantic island of Britain found itself at the head of a vast. Scotland was ready to play a major role in the expansion of the British Empire. On the bumpy. Yet. The Jacobites were left without any hope of reorganizing. Despite Charles Edward's bold plans to advance on London. They were almost correct. though they still hoped for support from the Bourbons in Spain and France. misleading reports about the strength of the English forces convinced the majority of the Council to return to Scotland. Success followed success (mostly at the expense of France) in Canada.
France then turned to Spain for an alliance to help her regain her North American possessions. Cape Breton. Captain James Cook received a medal from the Royal Society for finally conquering scurvy. A new leisured class was rapidly developing that would eventually demand its say in government. England was growing rich from profits made in sugar. Pitt gathered all power into his own hands. British troops captured Fort Duquesne and renamed it Fort Pitt (later Pittsburgh).79 Royal Navy received the new sextant created by John Campbell. Florida (from Spain). His successor in Parliament. George III (1760-1820) The new king saw himself as a kind of savior. Pitt refused to desert Prussia. He understood fully the threat from France for hegemony in North America. St. Thus France's naval power had been left untouched. Seen by historian Carlyle. Besides. received Havana. France was appeased with the islands of St. he had brought 118 men "through all climates for three years and 18 days with the loss of only one man. General Wolfe captured Louisburg and then Quebec. one who was perfectly capable of choosing his own ministers. "thoroughly English" monarch. the king wished to end what he called " a bloody and expensive war. Dominica and Tobago in the West Indies. Britain did gain Canada. he controlled finance. Minorca. and in Europe. other victories occurred at Senegal. fishing rights off Newfoundland (the nursery of the French navy. Britain was later to pay dearly in the loss of its American colonies. England was forced to declare war on Spain. the West Indian Islands of Grenada. In North America. islands in the Gulf of St. the centre of the French West African slave trade and at Guadeloupe in the West Indies. It took a considerable amount of political chicanery and bribery to ensure the ratification of the treaty by Parliament. It also reflected the indomitable energy and initiative of William Pitt. To Pitt's dismay and fears for the future. (In 1775. His war with France has been seen by many historians as the First World War. tobacco. Nova Scotia. Bute did not wish to further antagonize a severely weakened France and Spain. Senegal in Africa. a true statesman with a vision expanding far beyond the political boundaries of England. but despite a series of overwhelming victories. he appointed four different men to lead the country in the . It also took considerable toll on England's resources and a general war-weariness gave fodder to those enemies of Pitt who worked for his downfall. it certainly involved more than a mere redistribution of strategic forts and a re-shuffling of frontiers. the right to navigate the Mississippi." William Pitt undoubtedly was one of England's great leaders. sea-island cotton and other products produced by slave labor. in 1759. and he took the vital steps to counter it. Lawrence. in turn. Lord Bute was more to his liking than William Pitt. As George insisted on picking his own ministers. Only months after Pitt's resignation. had nothing of Pitt's political acumen. a center of the trade with China. as "King of England for four years. Lord Bute. freeing the country from the tyranny of a corrupt Parliament and restoring it into the hands of a virtuous. which controlled the sea-going trade in the Caribbean and Manila. Pierre and Miquelon. for it was denounced by Pitt as giving too much away and for containing the seeds of future war.) He had succeeded with sauerkraut: the Royal Navy ordered all its ships to give out lime juice as a daily ration in 1795. and the preservation in India of the East India Company's monopoly. that made her mistress of the world and master of the seas." Britain gained handsomely at the Treaty of Paris of 1763. upon his return from the Pacific. Spain. including those by Admiral Rodney in the Caribbean. Pitt's urging of war with Spain met with fierce resistance in the Commons and he was forced to resign. a victory that was followed up by General Amherst to complete the surrender of Canada to Britain. it reflected the growing influence of the mercantile classes in Parliament. Vincent. In Canada. yet France and Spain came off rather well. Britain's prosperity had come about despite the favoring of Hanover by King George. honorable. administration and the military. later to play such a decisive role in the American War of Independence) and the rich sugar islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. wide-ranging vision or experience. When peace negotiations began with France. At the time of King George II's death in 1760.
In 1651. a Second Navigation Act forbade English colonists to trade with other European countries. sugar. In 1750. molasses and many other essential items of American livelihood. ideas of breaking away from the Mother Country were sure to follow the pioneers as they moved over the mountains in search of new lands to settle. they lost America. In 1763. wool yarn. after a visit to England. But these taxes were only the latest in a long history of repressive measures that were designed solely to benefit England's mercantile. and the Elder Pitt. European goods bound for America had to be unloaded at English ports and reshipped. wool. This was passed to help the nation's merchant navy in their struggle against the Dutch. His last choice. further resentment came with the Woolens Act of 1699 that prevented any American colony from exporting wool. In 1672." Trading restrictions continued in 1733 when the Molasses Act taxed British colonists on the molasses. industrial and agricultural interests. the raising of the bounty on whales by the English government in 1750 did much to encourage the New England fishing industry. it was mostly restricted to their individual homes. his personal favorite. In 1757. a drink heavily favored because of its supposed therapeutic properties increased dramatically in the Colonies. the Navigation Act forbade importation of goods into England or her colonies except by English vessels or by vessels of the countries producing the goods. Part 7: The Age of Empire. not to be overlooked in the growing aspirations for independence. rum and sugar imported from non-British West Indian islands. Colonists could now break out of their relatively narrow coastal areas and move westward. Even though not many colonists were engaged in the woolen industry. In addition. farther away from English interests. and the protection of the Colonies from the designs of France. George Grenville. Export duties and profits to middlemen then made prices of the goods prohibitive in the Colonies. the Mississippi River was recognized as the boundary between the British colonies and the Louisiana Territory. The enormous expense of the Seven Years War. the population of the American Colonies was enjoying a rapid population increase. due to the high birth rate and high rates of immigration. Meanwhile. was Lord North. Parliament imposed customs duties on goods carried from one American colony to another. especially from Germany. led Parliament to insist that Americans should pay for their own defence. The price of rum. In 1663. A hint of later rebellion was provided in 1741 when Salem sea captain Richard Derby avoided the British Navigation Acts by sailing his schooner Volante under Dutch colors. but large profits were made by American merchantmen carrying cod from the Newfoundland banks. These articles include tobacco. especially in Virginia. Benjamin Franklin was able to report to the Colonies just how far American importers could safely go in flouting London's mercantile acts. In the meantime. Between them. the Marquee of Rockingham. By 1763. Six years later. the Cumberland Gap through the Appalachians was discovered by English physician Thomas Walker. A rolling iron mill established in New Hampshire also gave notice that the colonists could engage in an industry that had hitherto been an English monopoly. continued The American War of Independence The final revolt of Britain's American colonies was a long time coming: it certainly could have been foreseen and better prepared for by the intransigent London government. there was an angry reaction to George III's decree that Colonists must remain east of the sources of rivers that flow into the Atlantic. the result was widespread economic distress and political unrest.80 1760's: the Earl of Bute. Charles I sought to strengthen the Navigation Acts in that certain "enumerated articles" from the American colonies may be exported only to the British Isles. The decree was honored only in the breach and further intensified the Colonists' growing desires for independence from the . It was still too early to be a bone of contention with the Colonies. It therefore could justify the infamous sugar tax of 1764 and the stamp duty one year later. Ireland and other countries not disposed to favor keeping ties with Britain. London marine insurance companies began to charge exorbitant rates on ship and cargo from New England to Caribbean ports. or wool cloth to any place whatsoever. In 1660.
In May. When delegates from 28 towns in Massachusetts met at Faneuil Hall. but the Townsend Act would be on the minds of the merchant classes. It required revenue stamps on all newspapers. it seemed that reconciliation was in the offing when Parliament. Exports of tobacco. had become the second largest city in the British Empire. Boston merchants organized a boycott of British luxury goods and initiated a policy of non-importation. They were now beginning to despair of bringing the British Government to reason through limited resistance. playing cards. as were lands of the Iroquois between the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. Parliament passed the Quartering Act ordering colonists to provide barracks and supplies to British troops (quite fair considering the expense of maintaining the defence of the Colonies). later to become the College of Physicians and Surgeons. Parliament passed the Sugar Act and sent customs officials to order colonial governors to enforce it. In 1767. the land-hungry Colonists were indifferent. where the Sons of Liberty formed clubs to show their resistance. by and with the consent of Parliament. where merchants complained that it was contrary to the true commercial interests of the Empire. in the Virginia House of Burgesses. In May. In commerce. a Bill that imposed duties on American imports of paper. the Currency Act then forbade the Colonies from printing paper money. Boston in September to draw up a statement of grievances. almanacs and legal documents. Patrick Henry stood up to denounce the Act. Two years later he was emulated by a party of Virginians moving into what later became Tennessee (10 years later. partly in response to the persuasive powers of visiting Benjamin Franklin. Another pioneering journey was that of a fleet of American whalers into the Antarctic Ocean to begin a new and most profitable industry. The Stamp Act. In the meantime. Early in 1766. for it declared that the King. showed only too well that the fledgling nation could develop its own institutions. Philadelphia. Cherokee lands were ceded to the Crown in the Carolina and Virginia Colonies. During the same month. received a great boost by the invention of Pennsylvania mechanic James Davenport that could spin and card wool. As the colonists had contributed little tax support to England. repealed the Stamp Act. passed in March. with over 25. completely out of touch with the aspirations of the American Colonists. pamphlets. Rebellion may not have been immediately on the minds of the Colonists and John Dickinson's "Letters from a Farmer" advised caution and loyalty to King and Empire. his powers were no longer as effectual. had the authority to make laws and to bind the British colonies in all respects. the Declaratory Act rekindled the flames of colonial resentment. the greatest protest against the Act came. infantry regiments were brought in from Canada. not in the Colonies. indigo and wheat were streaming out of the ports of Boston. shipping interests were booming. Though William Pitt had returned as Prime Minister. rice.81 dictates of London. but in England. Also in May. thus defying the 1763 decree of King George. dice.000 inhabitants. in the meanwhile. In October a Stamp Act Congress convened in New York to protest taxation without representation and resolved to import no goods that required payment of duty. The Act was also denounced in Boston. following anti-British riots. Daniel Boone took his party through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. despite cries of "Treason" from other delegates. Self-confident American colonials were beginning to flex their muscles. glass. the government decided at this juncture to take a harder line American industry. Boston lawyer James Otis denounced "taxation without representation. More riots broke out in Boston the following June when Customs officials seized a sloop belonging to John Hancock. The king had not wished to antagonize Spain and France. lead and tea. . However in March. New York and Providence.000 pioneers pouring into the new territories of Western Tennessee and Kentucky). Ironically. Boone led a party to break the Wilderness Road to be used by more than 10. bread and flour. fish. First. and the arrogant Lord Townsend introduced the infamous Townsend Act." and urged the colonies to unite to oppose Britain's new tax laws. Events started moving to a head in 1765. In April 1763. In Philadelphia the opening of the first American medical school. was particularly resisted: it was the first measure to impose direct taxes in the Colonies.
completely freed from its political links with Britain. a huge step towards independence was taken by the Virginia House of Burgesses that issued its resolutions rejecting Parliament's right to tax British colonists. the so-called "Boston Massacre" further inflamed passions. At first. the first blood was shed between British troops and the colonists. However. whose smuggling of contraband tea had been made unprofitable by the measures passed in Parliament. outrage by many of its members produced its coercive acts in a failed attempt to bring the colonists to heel. however. when news of the Bostonian's "tea-party" reached Parliament. The so-called Boston "Tea-Party" in December 1773 had protested British taxes on American imports and in September 1774.. 1776. Boston Harbor was closed until the East India Company was reimbursed for its lost tea and until trade could be resumed and duties collected. at this juncture. The war began in April 1775 when a force of redcoats. 1774 can be called the year of the pamphlets. The first Continental Congress quickly adopted a Declaration of Rights and Grievances. 1770. In March. the colonists were no match for the better trained. the war started well for the government. The acts were a fatal blunder by the Prime Minister. Yet even with these crippling burdens. The publication of The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson which was signed by 56 delegates was no doubt influenced by the publication of Thomas Paine's Common Sense written in July 1776. arguing the pro's and con's of independence. Lord North. In June. but they were aided enormously by incompetent English generals. Events moved fitfully towards an inevitable conclusion. The repeal of the Townsend Acts by newly-appointed Prime Minister Lord North. In January. no thinking man in all of North America desires independence. deplored the actions of those who staged the "Boston Tea-Party" and it is safe to say. It is interesting to note that the protest was organized by Samuel Adams." Benjamin Franklin also cautioned against a break with the mother country. the Second Continental Congress had followed after the urging of Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to make foreign alliances and form a confederation. supported by John Hancock. New York. that the majority of the colonists opposed independence. for despite its unkindness "of late. better armed and better disciplined regulars of the British army. they united the colonies against the government. When the governor dissolved the assembly." the link was worth preserving. The strong determination of the colonists to make themselves completely independent would surely have succeeded in the long run. In addition. Patrick Henry made his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech. and many colonies sent supplies to help the Bostonians survive the closing of its port. were not willing to fight Britain to gain it. One George Washington in charge of English redcoats would have quickly ended the rebellion. The resolutions were adopted on July 2. at the Battle of Golden Hill. The resulting skirmishes of Lexington and Concord meant that there would be no turning back for either side. Other "tea-parties" followed Boston's example. sent to seize war material stored at Concord. or at least.82 In 1769. but no less than George Washington himself wrote that ". already being incited to rebellion by radicals in many of the Colonial governments (aided by such Whig newspapers as "The Massachusetts Spy"). The War of Independence can be summarized briefly. were met by a force of patriots. One of its immediate effects was to create a will and strength to see the thing . its members met in private and agreed not to import any duty-liable goods. Efforts to end the war by negotiation broke off. came too late to assuage those who had already made up their minds that the future of their country was as an independent nation. It created a major shift in political emphasis. 1775.. despite the incompetence of its generals. the Royal Navy would have surely held the seas against the French relief forces. "Men of Sense and property" such as George Washington. not to force its hand. In March. and the dye had been cast. with huge amounts of tracts being written and distributed throughout the American Colonies. The radicals were still few in number and all measures taken by the Colonies were undertaken to pressure the British Government to listen to their grievances. augmented by King George's Hessians. without the notoriously corrupt Earl of Sandwich in charge at the Admiralty. As nothing else. the first Continental Congress of twelve colonies met in Philadelphia.
In January. but sympathetic (and profit-hungry) British merchants. they had been betrayed by the incompetence of their officers as much as by the determination of the Colonists under Washington's inspired leadership. it was their Protestantism (and perhaps their representatives in Parliament) that held them together. mainly through the conflicting aims of trade and religious conversion (the latter always second to the former) to the far corners of the earth. religious and moral people. General Washington appointed Polish military expert Kosciusco to help train the volunteers. Spain and Holland. 1776 which provided a stirring impetus to continue. the Welsh and Scots and English thought of themselves as British. In Parliament. Washington followed up his victory at Trenton by defeating Cornwallis at Princeton. who followed up its policy of aiding the Colonists with money and supplies by recognizing American independence and forming an alliance with the fledgling nation. Later in the year. Following many early defeats. The victory at Saratoga galvanized into action the French government. 1783. When the British forces. This indeed was a cause worth fighting for. continued The Growth of Empire The long struggle between Britain and France for world supremacy continued to be fought all over the globe. they saw their fight as necessary to protect their natural rights as free men against a tyrannical and out-of-touch king. after foolishly digging in where he had no natural defences except the sea. which was blocked the French fleet. The anarchy and confusion that prevailed in France during its Revolution were looked on with revulsion in England. when he lost the Battle of Brandywine and retreated to Valley Forge. General Howe failed to consolidate his victory. To aid in the fight. Before the Declaration. supplies and military hardware. Britain's great age of Empire. it was the beginning of the end for the valiant redcoat armies.83 through. for reasons of their own. dispersed over hundreds of miles of unknown territory and harassed every step of the way. The French fleet was to prove decisive in the struggle and ultimate victory of the Americans. surrendered one of its armies under Burgoyne at Saratoga. Poorly led. led by its great military genius Napoleon. Signed on September 3rd. to impose a New Order on the whole of Europe by force and to vindicate Britain's equally firm resolve to not only resist. Part 7: The Age of Empire. the Treaty of Paris recognized the independence of the American Colonies. the revolutionaries had seen their cause as mainly fighting for their rights as British subjects against a stubborn English Parliament. United in their Protestantism more than anything else. Its results were to destroy the ambitions of the French dictator. Not only that. Britain was at war with the greatest military power on earth. The British armies in North America were exhausted. "the citizen-soldiers" who made up the bulk of the American armies. who returned to England. however. no further military operations of any consequence took place. and the American army was miraculously able to recover. it was a surprising victory over the Hessians at Trenton on Christmas Day. after the Declaration. For 23 years. Lord North expressed his dismay at the poor leadership shown by the British commanders in America. On the Continent. preferring to sit out the winter in Philadelphia. they thought of themselves as a united. When Cornwallis surrendered his troops at Yorktown. paradoxically was just about to begin. In 1779. the armies of France crushed those of Austria. also provided aid in the form of money. were engaged in smuggling arms and provisions to the Americans through the West Indies. forced to march and counter-march through untracked wildernesses. repelled those of Prussia and helped establish . including Robert Walpole. now having come to terms with the loss of its American colonies and having become more of a united kingdom in the painful process. The War was over. Thus it was only right for them to go out as bringers of enlightenment. but to uphold the imposition of order only through international law.
When British ships bombarded Copenhagen in September for joining the Continental system. Wellesly continued his success in Spain against the French armies. Early in 1805. His escape from Elba and consequent defeat at Waterloo in June. however. Austria renewed its enmity with France. Viscount Nelson blockaded a French fleet intent on invading England. promoted to Duke of Wellington. All French pretensions as a great sea power were effectively ended by this decisive battle during which Nelson was mortally wounded. soon to succeed Sir John Moore as British Commander. and Wellesly continued his successes in Spain to cross the borders into France. Napoleon once more contemplated invading England by assembling a fleet at Boulogne and negotiating with Robert Emmet to lead a rebellion in Ireland. the French armies continued their string of victories. Prussia now joined the fight against Napoleon's grandiose ambitions. England was now poised to assume the mantle of world leadership in many areas. was utterly defeated at Leipzig. 1815 at the hands of Blucher and Wellington finally ended his European dreams. made the Pope a prisoner and the same year assembled an army to invade England. the same year that Britain and the United States began a 30 month war over issues that included the impressment of US seamen. with Napoleon defeating the Austrians and Russians at the Battle of Austerlitz in December. during the following year gave Britain control of Trinidad and Ceylon in exchange for its other maritime conquests.) When France invaded the Netherlands. in May 1804. with their British allies at Abukir. but a temporary peace signed at Amiens in March. leading to the Treaty of Schonbrunn that ended hostilities between the two countries. Denmark allied with France and Russia declared war on Britain. He went to Egypt instead.84 a French Republic. A renewal of hostilities and the need for France to find adequate finances led to the doubling of the United States by its "Louisiana Purchase" in 1802. 1791: King Louis XVI was executed in January. he found the Russian armies had prudently withdrawn and the city almost empty. French troops then marched into Spain to prevent occupation by Britain. With her armies victorious in Europe. It was the beginning of the end for the armies of Napoleon despite a costly victory over the Austrians at Wagram. who invaded Portugal under Sir Arthur Wellesly. Napoleon invaded Russia. The war came to an end during the same year when the Congress of Vienna rewrote the map of Europe. 1793. In India. the Treaty of Ghent ended the ''War of 1812' between Britain and the United States. England was asked to help protect the navigation rights to the Dutch. Early in 1806. (The monarchy was abolished by the National Convention in September. An alternating series of defeats and victories then followed for the French armies. On land. Napoleon won at Dresden. Holland and Spain who formed an alliance. defeating the Austrians at Marengo. (It is to be noted that the British crews were now free of scurvy which continued its deadly toll on enemy ships). The European war then seesawed back and forth. On October 21. The French Republic then declared war on Britain. he defeated the Turks. Napoleon's Berlin Declaration inaugurated the Continental system designed to cut off food and supplies reaching Britain from the Continent. In France. and when Napoleon reached Moscow. Napoleon Bonaparte occupied Rome in 1796. now opposed by the formidable Prussian leader Marshall von Blucher as well as Wellesly. In March 1810. where his forces captured Alexandria and Cairo from the Mamelukes. No-one in Paris witnessing the construction of the Arc de Triomphe could have guessed the fate soon to overtake their triumphant Emperor. Leadership implied responsibility and created a dilemma as to which side England should support in the . In 1812. another British victory was achieved by Arthur Wellesly over native forces. 1800. Similarly. He then left to take command of his armies in Europe as first consul and dictator of France. Spain then declared war on Britain. Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor. Napoleon continued his victories in Europe. Two years later. Napoleon's abdication was followed by his internment at Elba. 1805 one of the greatest sea victories in England's long history took place at Trafalgar. when Admiral Nelson defeated a combined French and Spanish fleet near Gibralter. the Holy Roman Empire came to an end after a thousand years when the Confederation of the Rhine was set up under French control. Napoleon married the Austrian Archduchess Maria Luisa.
The Opium War ended with the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 that opened up five "Treaty Ports" for trade and gave Hong Kong to Britain. His government also compensated the United States for the mischief caused by the Confederate raider Alabama built on Merseyside." The war ended when the allies took Sebastopol after a costly siege and Russia. the known. land enclosures had been taking place steadily since the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII. The second war with China came in 1857 out of an incident involving the Arrow. clothing and shelter.85 conflicts of Europe. Palmerston won an election on the issue. typhus and scurvy as well as the lack of adequate food. and the enclosures continued apace. . The refusal of the Duke of Wellington to initiate reforms in the army. The result was the costly muddle known as the Crimean War that began in 1854 and that solved nothing. Palmerston continued his "gun-boat" policy by later aiding Garibaldi's invasion of Sicily and the Neapolitan mainland by sending warships. The Chinese forbade the opium trade. won concessions from the Chinese. There. but a war with China over British export of opium from India in exchange for silks and tea. the general incompetence of the military leaders such as Lord Cardigan of the Light Brigade fame. In 1600 "Theatre d'agriculture des champs" had been published in France by Huguento Ollver de Serres recommending revolutionary changes in crop growing methods. but there were some in England who took notice. where they had to deal with the great mutiny. the unknown. send reinforcements and ensure adequate training created disaster after disaster in the field. Florence Nightingale and her gallant nurses did their best to remedy the appalling hospital conditions and the army's resentment at their "interference. common interests brought Britain and France together in defense of the crumbling Empire of Turkey against the ever-increasing aggressiveness of Russia. in particular. rashly fired on a British warship and were bombarded by a Royal Navy squadron. however. It had been mainly ignored by all. the lack of an efficient central authority to manage supplies. wanted to keep Russia out of the Straits and away from the Mediterranean. Massive numbers of peasants and small landowners were displaced. with the great barons amassing huge swathes of the best agricultural lands when the king sold them off." gained diplomatic representation and the right for Christian missionaries to practice their trade in China. the more dangerous rival? In 1854. to prevent Austria from joining the allies. including more "treaty ports. agreed to the peace terms. but the numbing cold aided by cholera. The horrors of the War have been well documented. An Anglo-French force captured forts leading to Tientsin and Peking. A riot against the enclosures in Elizabeth's reign was severely dealt with. a Hong Kong schooner sailing under a British flag. vowing to punish the insolent Chinese for arresting the ship on a piracy charge. his countrymen were at the forefront of creating changes in the way the land was farmed and livestock raised that would dramatically change the face of agriculture. The Agricultural Revolution King George III had shown such a great interest in the agricultural improvements taking place in England that he was known as "Farmer George. an undertaking that had for so long been traditionally conservative and opposed to change." He had much to be proud of. dysentery. Was France. Britain. The main enemy proved to not be the incompetent Russian armies. Notorious winter weather continued to plague a system that was reluctant to introduce major changes except to increase the amount of land available for the raising of sheep and cattle. Potatoes had been planted in the German states as early as 1621 though much of Europe remained in fear of the tubers' spreading leprosy but their food value was too great to be ignored. Other areas in which English soldiers were involved included India. or Russia.
It was simply a matter of the nation being better fed. an industrial revolution was taking place that would also change the world forever. This was of little use. The early part of the 17th century brought a new emphasis on coal mining though effective methods of extracting it had to wait until developments in the steam engine took place and mines could be drained of their ever-present water. The enormous increase in the price of firewood fueled a rush to find and extract more coal. Edward Somerset had invented a crude steam engine. the killing disease began to be eliminated in England. Newcastle was producing half a million tons a year. population growth had been more or less increasing at the same slow rate for hundreds of years. both of which. Secretary of State under George II and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. but began a rapid rise in the 18th century. In 1709 a major breakthrough occurred when Abraham Darby. farmers had realized that beef and mutton would be more profitable than powers of draught and quantities of wool. In 1733 he invented the two-wheeled plough and the four-coulter plough. Coal was a ready substitute as fuel and it was abundant." At Holkham. allowed for selective breeding of stock and experiments with fertilization and machinery that produced better crops. Farm animals became fatter. In addition. In particular. no beasts: no beasts. whose manure in turn fertilized his fields. Townsend also studied foreign methods of land use and introduced the practice of crop rotation into England. even under the most primitive mining conditions. Progress in agriculture was to be dwarfed by what took place in industry. potato production in Europe was so great that a population explosion ensued. In 1701 Jethro Tull's seed-planting drill had enormously increased crop production and lessened waste. A further advance came in 1705. developed in 1784 by James Small). Even as early as 1707. following the publication of Lady Montagu's "Inoculation Against Smallpox" in 1718. English engineer Thomas Savery improved matters with his crude steampowered "miner's friend" to pump water out of coal mines. It is to Robert Bakewell. Tull had studied farming methods on the continent and was not reluctant to introduce them into England. who made iron boilers for the Newcomen engine. In the latter part of the century.86 By 1631. when Cornish blacksmith Thomas Newcomen produced his steam engine to pump water out of mines. Land enclosures may have been protested vigorously by the peasantry. Coke continually worked on ways to improve crop yield. Bakewell pioneered methods of selection and the secret of breeding. no crops. including breeding the new Leicester sheep. In 1786. that most of England's outstanding success in producing better breeds of sheep and cattle is to be attributed. strenuously resisted at first by his labourers. In 1627. however. using turnips and clover to revitalize land left fallow and to provide winter feed for livestock. and after the work of Edward Jenner in the 1790's. hardier and healthier. but it also enjoyed better and more reliable supplies of bread and vegetables. England was enjoying the fruits of its explorations and settlements in India. In England. The opening of Fortnum and Mason's in London in that year attests to the increased demand for foreign delicacies. Another great pioneer was "Turnip" Townsend. By 1655. Arthur Young's tenure as Secretary of the Board of Agriculture ensured that the new farming methods were accepted throughout the nation (though it took many years for English farmers to utilize the iron plow. But coal was expensive and dangerous to mine. Hand in hand with the vast improvements in agriculture and medicine. had a great impact on future methods of cultivation. Britain became a meat-eating nation. contributing greatly to better breeds of both cattle and sheep. Scotsman Andrew Meilde developed the first successful threshing machine. The Industrial Revolution The progress of the industrial revolution is a long catalog of mechanical inventions by which the labor and skill of the human worker was replaced by machines. but in 1698. no manure. no manure. It had its beginnings in the depletion of England's forests in Elizabethan times to provide timber to build its great navies. but they did result in better management. discovered . English farmers having produced sufficient basic necessities. Townsend was followed by Thomas Coke who worked on the principle "No fodder.
A single worker could now operate a number of spindles to produce several threads at once. In 1739. The 1780's saw the introduction of steam to power riverboats. . It was used to drive machinery of all kinds. James Rumsey and Robert Fulton and the Scot William Syminton led the way. at first furnished by the rapidly flowing streams of the North. especially in Yorkshire. Sporadic riots against the employment of the new machinery did nothing to halt their proliferation and with the increase came a shift in the way industry was financed. or water power. In 1754. a centre of manufacturing. In 1779. a landmark in the industrial revolution. the same year that the Society for the Encouragement of Arts and Manufacture was formed. Samuel Crompton devised his spinning mule. Labor costs had been halved by the invention of Kay's flying shuttle in 1733. James Watt produced his steam engine. The steam engine also affected and completely transformed transportation and though the canals had their glorious years. In 1805. In 1765. the Golden Age of domestic industry was now over. The factory system was responsible for the development of the joint capitalist enterprise that became such a powerful force in the nation's economic affairs. made from coal. a great improvement on his earlier invention. Watt entered into partnership with Mathew Boulton to produce his steam engines which would revolutionize industry and the world. Both English and US economies were to benefit from Eli Whitney's cotton gin of 1792. The woolen industry was also to benefit enormously from the new machinery. English ironmaster Henry Cort perfected his process of puddling iron. quick execution of their leaders brought the movement to an end with only sporadic outbreaks). and the lines of the factory system laid down. Scotsman Patrick Clark developed a cotton thread that was to replace linen thread on Britain's looms.87 that coke. (The Luddites began their activities in earnest in 1811 to no avail. the first of the inventions by which the textile industry was transformed. In 1769. In the 1760's the Bridgewater Canal was opened to link Liverpool. At the same time that coal mining and iron manufacturing were making such rapid progress. In 1804. In 1765. During the same year. totally freeing it from its dependence upon charcoal for fuel. the textile industry was also changing English society. for it allowed enough thread to be produced for the weavers. English cotton mills began to proliferate in Lancashire and Yorkshire. joining cities and towns all over the nation and enabling manufactured goods and raw supplies to be shipped anywhere they were needed. Trevithick carried 10 tons of iron and 70 men by steam engine run on rails at Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. the first iron rolling mill was established in Hampshire. they were soon to be eclipsed by the railroad. and giving further impetus to the search for coal. wind. In 1782. It heralded an era of rapid canal building. soon to become a major British steel producer. The same year saw the invention of a spinning machine by Wyatte and Paul that redressed the gap between spinning and weaving. in a trial run. England's major port (which had profited enormously from the slave trade) with Leeds. With the steam engine replacing animal. in which the work US inventors John Fitch. a far more efficient source of power than that of Newcomen. Brindley's Grand Truck Canal began construction to link the western and eastern coastal ports of Britain. The move away from cottage industry to the factory system was further hastened in 1769 with Arkwright's invention of a frame that could produce cotton thread hard and firm enough to produce woven fabric. James Watt patented his double-acting rotary steam engine in 1782. The adaptation of Richard Trevithick's high pressure steam engine to propel a road vehicle in 1800 is a major milestone in the development of the railroad. beginning two years later at a textile factory in Nottinghamshire. Hargreave's spinning jenny completed the balance. Benjamin Huntsman rediscovered the ancient method of making crucible steel at Sheffield. Women and children now left their homes and their spinning wheels and looms to work in the mills. the whole process being geared to producing for profit and ushering in a totally new economic system. could substitute for wood in a smelting furnace to make pig and cast iron. The locomotive had arrived on the world's scene. but more and more powered by steam. The mining industry benefited greatly from Humphrey Davy's invention of a safety lamp for miners in 1815. completely changing the way wrought iron is produced. The industrial revolution was on its way.
continued England's Role in the Slave Trade Only two years after Columbus discovered the New World. The nefarious business played a crucial role in the development of Britain's mercantile interests. the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. One year later. Hawking sold a cargo of Black slaves in Hispaniola and the floodgates were opened. In September 1825. the first iron railroad bridge was completed by George Stephenson for the pioneering Stockton-Darlington line. English inventor George Stephenson ran his steam locomotive on the Killingworth colliery railway in 1814. The introduction of the hot blast by Scot James Neilson in 1828 made it possible not only to use coal without having it coked first. used as slave labor and increased the importation of African slaves to replace them.S. he brought back more than 500 Caribbean's to Spain to be sold as slaves. Siemens invented the regenerative furnace. In 1830. African slaves were taken to Cuba. The nasty business had begun in earnest. Though Queen Elizabeth spoke out against the dark business. (Ironically. using horses for power (It lasted until 1960 when its electric trams were discontinued). Hawkins traded the slaves at Hispaniola for ginger. though the biggest gains came in Pennsylvania when Welsh iron master David Thomas built his first furnace on the Lehigh in 1839. South Wales. English participation in the lucrative slave trade seems to have begun when John Hawkins hijacked a Portuguese ship carrying Africans to Brazil in 1562. began its challenge to the Erie Canal). The snowball effect of all these inventions continued throughout the century. During the same year. African slaves were first introduced into Hispaniola by Spanish settlers. In the meantime. making a huge profit which could not be ignored by his countrymen. Portugal also imported slaves into Brazil to replace native labor in the sugar plantations. this was the same year that the Erie Canal opened in the US to link the Great Lakes with the Hudson and the Atlantic: only two years later. the invention of the flanged T-rail by Robert Stevens in New Jersey laid the foundations of all future railroad track developments. improving the strength and durability of steel. the world's first steam locomotive passenger service began as the Stockton and Darlington Railway. and a new industry was given to England and the world. Part 7: The Age of Empire. road transportation began to benefit enormously through the improvement of highways brought about by the experiments of Scot MacAdam after 1815. she later took shares in Hawkins'' ventures. pearls and sugar. using rolling stock and rails imported mainly from Wales. needed for the vast networks of railroads sprouting up all over England. it is sad to relate that so many of its leading citizens made their fortunes from the slave trade. 1822 but it took many years for iron to displace wood in the world's navies. In 1560. In 1856 Bessemer introduced his revolutionary steel-making process.88 Only three years later the first paying passengers were taken on the mineral railroad world linking Mumbles with Swansea. Huge coal fields were thus made available in Scotland and Wales. the natives had already been severely decimated. In 1879. an important advance came when Gilchrist-Thomas was able to remove phosphorous from the ores used in smelting (Germany and the US with great deposits of iron ore were particularly grateful for this invention). resulting in a labor shortage in the plantations. Aaron Manby. In 1511. By 1518 huge numbers of African slaves were arriving at Santo Domingo to harvest sugar cane. but also to use anthracite to smelt iron. During Britain's rise to world supremacy in so many areas. The 1545 discovery of the Potosi silver mines as well as epidemics of typhus and smallpox hastened the decline of the natives. the world's first iron steamship was launched in April. the first to go into regular service. In 1864. The S. In 1501. even lending him one of her ships in the .
a whole new leisured class had been created in England from profits gained mainly from island cotton. and the Netherlands (It was Hawkins who introduced tobacco into England in 1565). In Europe a growing appetite for sugar as a sweetener for the newly introduced beverage. the new. A turning point in British toleration of slavery occurred in 1772 when James Somerset escaped from his master. after 1773. a booming stock exchange appeared. more and more investment took place in the slave trade. and as a preservative for fruit. By the 1750's. including the giants Barclays and Lloyds. sugar and tobacco grown with slave labor. Britain's Lord Chief Justice William Murray ruled that "as soon as any slave sets foot in England he becomes free. introduced into Africa from Brazil that ensured a steady food crop that fueled the population growth to furnish a steady supply of slaves. and from there. but insurrections in some of the islands prevented a motion from being passed in 1781 that forbade the practice. speedy Baltimore clipper ships continued to deliver cargoes of slaves. A new triangular trade began. despite American protests.89 enterprise that pitted her adventurous navigators against those of Spain. meant a great increase in sugar plantations in the Caribbean and thus the need for more slaves. British slavers began taking Xhosa (Bantu) slaves to Virginia plantations in 1719. Parliament opened the slave trade to British merchants who began the triangular trade. In 1830. in which cotton was sent to West Africa. tea (begun to be drunk in earnest in England in the mid-1600's). In the North American Colonies. all the elements of the anti-slavery movement in England coalesced when William Wilbeforce and Thomas Buxton formed an antislavery society in London. In 1672. where it was sold for slave. from there West Indian sugar and molasses was shipped to New England to produce more rum.000 Black slaves a year to the Caribbean. formed expressly to take slaves from Africa to the Americas. The Virginia colony received its first Black slaves in 1619. English Quakers did not follow the practices of their Friends in the American Colonies who excluded slave traders from their Society." The first motion to outlaw slavery in Britain and her colonies was heard in the Commons in 1776. As the industrial and agricultural revolutions in England began to show enormous profits for many individuals. In 1627 English settlers colonized Barbados and soon began to transform into the largest sugar grower in the islands. Perhaps the beginnings of public protest against the slave trade in England began in 1763 when the badly beaten slave that Granville Sharp nursed back to health was kidnapped and sold (three years later.500 slaves a year into Spain's New World colonies for the next thirty years. A speech in the Commons by William Wilberforce in 1789 strongly condemned the practice of shipping Africans to the West Indies. none other than George Washington exchanged an unruly slave for rum). Prominent Welsh reformer and factory owner Robert Owen also publicly advocated the abolition of slavery. especially after "King Philip's War" of 1676. where they were sold for raw cotton which was taken back to Liverpool to be processed in the mills of Lancashire. Ironically it was maize. English privateers in the slave trade gave way to the Royal company. the fast-swindling supply of native slaves was augmented by Africans who were bought and sold at enormous profits. By 1709. British cotton manufactures were also profiting greatly from slave labor in the American South that gained enormous benefits from the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1792. In 1570 large scale exports of slaves to the Americas began. English Quakers were also very active in their denunciation of the trade. In 1698. In 1823. slaves to the Caribbean. but a drop in sugar prices had made slavery unprofitable on the . However. British authorities in the Bahamas declared that slaves from the wrecked schooner Comet were free. mainly centered in Liverpool. Though the US and Britain had agreed to cooperate in suppressing the slave trade in the Treaty of Ghent (that ended the War of 1812). it failed. taking rum from New England to Africa. At this time. the most active period in its participation in the trade began when the South Sea Company received a grant to import 4. Portugal. The slaves were then taken to the American South. The business of cotton helped create hundreds of banks in England. perhaps due to pre-occupation of the House with the American War of Independence. From this time on they began to play a role in the North American economy. Sharp's rebellion in Jamaica took place in 1831. and. Britain was taking as many as 20.
When the Catholic Emancipation Bill became law. As members of the so-called Romantic Movement. The brilliant landscape artist John Constable died the same year that Victoria became queen. Dutch sailors had landed on the coast of Australia in 1606. St. Samuel Johnson. Laurence Sterne and James Boswell. only reluctantly agreeing to prevent civil war in Ireland. but they were driven off by natives.W." 1776. England produced the painters Gainsborough and Reynolds and crrated a climate for musicians such as Handel to receive Royal patronage." could only have come about however. J. Progress in the Arts The first half of the 18th century had given us the "Augustans. Parliament finally ordered the abolition of slavery in the British colonies to take effect by August 1. The transition was most apparent in the writings of philosopher David Hume "Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. George threatened to abdicate. The throne thus went to his third brother. England was ruled first by the Prince Regent. Shelley and Byron all followed in rapid succession bringing a new depth to English literature. James' Park and Regent's Park laid out. John Gay. and hitherto unknown lands. 1834 (three days after the death of Wilberforce). and politician Edmund Burke "Reflections on the Revolution in Francem" 1791.M. Samuel Richardson. Political Reform Between the death of George III in 1820 and the accession of Victoria to the throne in 1837. the Factory Act forbade the employment of children under 9 and proscribed the number of hours children were to work in the textile mills. they had been part of an astonishing artistic revolution that accompanied the topsy-turvy develpments in politics and the gradual displacement of the aristocracy by the middle class trading interests in the seat of power." began to follow the brilliant explorations of poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827). during the dotage George of then under his own rule as George IV ending in 1830 and by his Uncle. After considering the coasts of Africa. continued Expansion of Empire: Australia One result of the separation of the American colonies was that the British legal system lost one of the places to which convicts could be transported (Canada's climate was too severe for plantations and thus slave or convict labor)." Instinct and emotion took the place of the old rationalism. in their revolt against "common sense. Daniel Defoe. There is not much to say about George IV except that he suffered from a disastrous marriage and that he exercised a fine artistic taste. Turner was still alive. when England's explorers and missionaries journeyed to new." 1748. his daughter had died in 1817. Henry Fielding. During his reign. Keats. During the same year. Alexander Pope led the school that included Jonathan Swift. and the "common sense" philosophy of Dr. Part 7: The Age of Empire. and his second brother was childless. It wasn't until . The idealization of the "noble savage. English poets and painters. changing it from one concerned primarily with "reason" to one that we now call "romantic. England and its empire was at last free from its terrible curse. who became William IV who ruled from 1830-1837. The new class of poets included William Cowper and Robert Burns.90 island and news of the savage reprisals shocked British consciences. and the extravagant Royal Pavilion built at Brighton. George had no male children." following the ideals of classical Rome. the British government decided that the lands called Botany Bay would be suitable and in 1788. William IV from 1830 to 1837. the historian Edward Gibbon "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace were renovated and extended and under the architect John Nash. the first shipload of 750 convicts arrived in that most inhospitable area of Australia. Wordsworth and Coleridge.
so much so that a feeling of alarm spread through government ranks. New Zealand In 1642 Dutch captain Abel Tasman discovered what he named Van Diemen's Land after the governor general of the Dutch East Indies. Perhaps the easiest solution was emigration. Tasman discovered the islands of New Zealand. Increasing pauperism and distress. attempts were made to put his plans into practice. Van Diemen's Land (later named Tasmania). the Swan River Colony (later part of Western Australia). In 1769. It was eagerly read and avidly discussed by M. He reported ." Following the peace of 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. Though most of the emigrants chosen for governmentassisted passages in these early years were Irish (one way to get rid of those troublesome Catholics) many Scots were attracted by the offers of free land overseas. Captain Cook arrived to charter the coasts and to discover that the country consisted of two main islands.000 natives at that time. an awareness of the potential awaiting them in Australia. especially because the Government wished to settle British people in new lands that could be contested by other nationalities. The whole of Australia may have had no more than 250. transformed by the discovery of gold at Ballarat and Bendigo and Queensland." McConochie's "A Summary View" of 1818 gave the people of power in Scotland. and drastic remedies were sought by the folks in Westminster. in the colony now named New South Wales. in the very early years of the 19th century. Four months later. Victoria. In 1822. he named his landfall Botany Bay on account of the great variety of plants he found there. who spent quite a few years of his time in the House of Commons trying to convince his colleagues of the merits of his emigration schemes. There simply were too many people to feed (and control).25. in Ireland "there were neither enough tenements nor enough potatoes. the island continent of Australia had more and more begun to appear as a practical proposition for settlement. A Parliamentary Committee condemned the convict system and gradually each Australian colony banned their importation. Australia offered an alternative to the vast wildernesses of loyalist Canada. The introduction of the merino sheep was to lay the foundation for the great Australian wool industry. There just were not enough jobs to go around. He particularly advocated a settlement of New South Wales that would open up new markets as well as absorb what he termed Scotland's "superabundant population. an interior suited to sheep farming.'s such as Robert Horton. Queensland and Western Australia soon followed suit. There was lots of room to accommodate British convicts. In the years 1823. further shiploads of which caused the early settlement to move to an area to be named Sydney. A growing population which had hitherto been regarded as one of the strengths of the nation now found itself looked on as something of a curse. By 1815. and from 1820-60 new colonies were established. an article by James Mill on "Colonization" in the "Encyclopedia Britannica" offered emigration as a remedy for over-population. It wasn't just land to resettle criminals that Britain needed. The native Aborigines were ignored. Despite its reputation as a penal colony.91 1770 that Captain James Cook explored the eastern coast of what was then called "New Holland. and as one historian has pointed out. In 1856 all four colonies were granted constitutions which gave them responsible self-government. created in 1859 out of New South Wales. along with monstrously bad harvests. severely strained the limited resources available. massive unemployment and public debt. Attitudes in Parliament began to shift with the publication of Captain Alexander McConochie who recommended that Britain look to the Pacific Ocean to expand its commerce. Thousands of convicts continued to arrive each year. especially the commercial interests. there was a great increase in the population of the British Isles. These new colonies included : South Australia. especially in Tasmania.P." Cook took possession of the island continent in the name of George III. The rapid increase in the number of free settlers led to demands for some kind of self-government as had been granted to Canada. where they were hunted down and killed off for possession of their lands. the Blue Mountains had been crossed and the vast interior revealed. Both the agricultural and industrial revolutions had contributed to an enormous growth in population.
forced them to accept its terms. native lands and possessions received some kind of protection. Gradual penetration by settlers. equally committed to protecting the small farmers against encroachment by the large landowners. England presented an ultimatum to the Spanish whose lack of allies. The Treaty of Waitingo was signed by many Maori chiefs. In Scotland he had developed a deep antagonism towards the power of the landlords to dispossess small farmers. There were many more Scots of influence in the islands. Because the Chinese were very interested receiving fur in exchange for the tea. they did much to make the country prosperous. and an effective navy. Mackenzie used his political clout to promote scientific methods of agriculture. Many thousands of Empire loyalists left the United States after its independence to settle in Canada. a phenomenon that was destroying much of the traditional life of the Highlands. Mainly due to missionary activity anxious to protect the native Maori population from exploitation. and for almost twelve years. The Spanish recognition of British trading and fishing rights in the area opened the way for the establishment of British Columbia and the creation of a British North America stretching from ocean to ocean. The same year. He also sponsored a plan to use the unemployed to clear and then lease land holdings. a military police action against them eventually led to their being granted full citizenship rights. as well as keeping it closely tied with and proud of its association with. It has been suggested that their victory at Quebec was sweet revenge for France's general indifference to and failure to help the Jacobite cause. Ross-shire in 1860 to become a farmer in his new country. He was elected to Parliament in 1881 as a Liberal. but after a confrontation at Vancouver between the two countries. An amendment in 1894 compelled the owners of large estates to sell parts of their lands. . Scots settlers stripped millions of acres of lush. in 1840 Captain William Hobson was sent out from London to negotiate with the Maori chiefs for the cessation of sovereignty to the Crown. The Maori had banded together in the face of increasing immigration from Britain and elsewhere. New Zealand began to export huge quantities of frozen mutton and lamb to Britain. In 1788. There were many land disputes between the Maori and the white settlers. In 1892. In addition to his sponsorship of legislation to aid the small farmers and break up the large estates (something that had never been achieved in his native Scotland). sub-tropical forests to create their sheep pastures. this process began to flood the English market. Mackenzie won passage of the Lands for Settlement Act. There still remained the thorny question of the borders with the United States. and in 1813 the islands were proclaimed as dependencies of New South Wales under British protection. Also to his credit was the laying of the foundation of the New Zealand ministry of agriculture. Alas. it remains an important symbol for the equal partnership between the races that is the foundation of New Zealand's national identity. the Advances to Settlers Act greatly expanded the supply of credit available for small farmers. and the ruinous effects of the subsequent soil erosion are still very much in evidence. Mackenzie entered politics to prevent it from happening in his adopted land. mainly in the eastern Maritime Provinces. silks and porcelain in so much demand in Europe. but under the leadership of Sir George Grey. opening up Crown land for leasing. Great Britain. whalers. 1845-53. Spain still claimed the whole West Coast of America up to the boundary of what is now Alaska. including fair prices for their land and equal treatment under the law. convicts and missionaries followed. Witnessing the same kind of activity in New Zealand. Many of the kilted soldiers who conquered Quebec for Britain had been Jacobites and followers of Prince Charles Edward. the lucrative fur trade beckoned further English interest. who had left Ardross. By l902. who number about 12 percent of the country's population.92 that they were fertile and well-suited for colonization. and though some resentments linger among the Maori people. a group of English traders settled on Vancouver Island (discovered by Cook 10 years before). Canada Captain James Cook had made three exploratory voyages to the West Coast of Canada between 1768 and 178l. New Zealand particularly owes a great debt to John Mackenzie. becoming Minister of Lands and Immigration in 1891 under Prime Minister John Ballance. In l880.
The treaty was extended in 1828 for an indefinite period. It was crushed after some desultory skirmishes. was granted a charter in 1621. but frontiersmen on both sides were intent on territorial gains in many disputed areas. the Oregon Treaty granted land south of the 49th parallel to the US. in his Report on the Affairs of British North America. In 1847. Prince Edward Island was captured from the French by Lord Rollo. Other settlers from the US arrived in the Columbia River Valley. making the 49th parallel the boundary to the Rockies while Thompson continued his survey. the US-Canadian border was established by a convention. including many Scots. Other Maritime Provinces were also heavily influenced by Scottish settlers. in 1758 and parceled out among a number of landed proprietors. By the 1860's. who had led the federation movement became the first premier. it received official English lyrics in 1908. In 1809. who conceived the idea of sending Highlanders out to Nova Scotia on a grand scale after Culloden. in 1613. One year later. the Earl of Durham proposed a union of Upper and Lower Canada and the granting of selfgovernment. friend of the king. led by Papineau and Mackenzie took place in 1837. Over 300 years later. Their numbers were swelled by the arrival of thousands of loyalists of Scottish origin. first settled in 1827. which received thousands of American immigrants after John Fremont mapped the Oregon Trail guided by Kit Carson. claimed by Britain. making it possible for the addition of the two prairie provinces to join in 1905. The vast territory of Acadia was seized by Captain Argall in the name of James VI of Scotland (James I of England). the Dominion was joined by Manitoba. In June. seven eighths of its people acknowledge British ancestry. British Columbia and Prince Edward Island (Newfoundland joined in 1949). John Alexander Macdonald. both during and after the American Revolution. A Scots-Canadian. In his book describing the colony. The land had been discovered by John Cabot in 1497 and claimed for Britain. Quebec. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the Dominion of Canada with its capital at Ottawa. Durham argued for putting the government of Canada into the hands of the Canadians. Lord Elgin was made Governor of the newly united colony of Canada. In 1867 the British North America Act united Ontario. Back east however. The two countries agreed to a joint occupation of the Northwest Territories for a 10-year period. The Union Act was passed in July. Two years later. One was John Macdonald of Glenaladale. A continual influx of immigrants from Scotland and Ulster meant that by 1843. Sir William deplored the ancient proclivity of Scotsmen to expend their energies in foreign wars and encouraged them instead. Within six years. mainly Scottish. The surrounding lands surveyed by Captain Bruce in 1762 attracted many Scotch traders when William Davidson of Caithness arrived to settle two years later. Welsh-born fur trader David Thompson surveyed and mapped more than 1 million square miles of territory between Lake Superior and the Pacific. The RushBagot Treaty of 1817 limited US and British naval forces on the Great Lakes.93 Perhaps the Canadian province most closely connected with Scotland is Nova Scotia New Scotland. The West was still unknown territory. a French Canadian rebellion against British rule.000 Scots in New Brunswick. Part of this lovely land became the first permanent North American settlement north of Florida when Scotsman Sir William Alexander. the anthem "Oh Canada" was sung for the first time in Quebec. the Webster-Ashburton Treaty finalized the Maine-Canadian border. thus extending the frontier to the Pacific and granting British Columbia and Vancouver to Britain. to send swarms of emigrants "like bees" to New Scotland. 1840. a Scottish Peer. the fear of economic and political subordination to the US stimulated the movement to combine the eastern Maritime Provinces to the rest of Canada. Still in dispute was the boundary of the Oregon Territory. 1880. The naval battles on Lake Erie showed only too well US interest north of the established borders. . The War of 1812 seems to have begun over the impressment of US seamen. In 1839. Alberta and Saskatchewan. In 1761. The Canadian Pacific Railway begun in 1880 then became a crucial link in the chain of confederation. In 1846. there were over 30. Fort Frederick was garrisoned by a Highland regiment. New Brunswick also became the home for many Scots.
Robert Clive had defeated pro-French forces at Arcot in 1751 thus helping his East India Company to monopolize appointments." Unemployment and suffering that followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars caused the British government to reverse its former policies and to actively encourage emigration. In 1815. land and power. the Glengarry Settlement in what is now Ontario. Under his leadership.94 A large group of Scots chiefly from Ross-shire arrived in 1802 on the Nephton to settle in the Quebec province. We can only mention a few more who contributed in so many different areas. Much of the country. there were simply too many differences in social and religious customs between the two countries. was closely studied in January 1999 by members of the US Senate in their own impeachment proceedings against President Clinton. They were joined by many Highlanders during the Revolution. they were joined by many soldiers from the disbanded regiments. Hastings was impeached by Parliament for enriching himself unduly in India. who led the revolt in Upper Canada against the Canadian government in 1858. opportunist Clive defeated the local Nabob at Plassey to become virtual ruler of Bengal and opened up much of the country to further exploitation and control by the East India Company. Warren Hastings took over to strengthen British interests in India and to establish a basic pattern of government that remained virtually unchanged for 100 years. In 1816. simmering discontent flared into a great mutiny. William Lyon Mackenzie. even overthrowing native Indian princes. The great centre of the Scottish Loyalists. three loaded transports thus set sail from Greenock for Upper Canada: the Atlas. The British victory led to the withdrawal of the French East India Company. many of the early settlers had come from Tryon County in New York State. the dominion expanded to include Manitoba. and after the War had ended. Many of their descendents have become prominent in the business. In 1857. faced with native opposition. The list of Scots who influenced Canada's history is indeed a long one. where he introduced the two-party system of government and worked tirelessly on behalf of the extension of the railroad. Sir John Macdonald (1815-91). Part 7: The Age of Empire. however. . finances. When Clive was recalled to England. however. After the end of the War of 1812. Sir Richard McBride (1870-1917) was Premier of British Columbia from 1903 to 1915. financial and religious activities of Montreal ever since. when sections of the army of Bengal attacked British settlers. was not in Quebec. leading the country through its period of early growth. by a whole regiment of the "King's Royals. in which he refused to admit his mistakes. Many Perth families became prominent in both state and national governments. became the first Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada. The list seems endless. continued British India In India. further arrivals from Ulster helped swell the Scottish element in what was at first a military settlement. Immigrant Alexander Mackenzie was the first Liberal Prime Minister of Canada (187378). John Sandfield Macdonald (1812-72) became Prime Minister of the province of Canada in 1862 and the first Prime Minister of Canada in 1867. Its finances and its troops were used to protect British interests. Explorer Alexander Mackenzie completed the first known transcontinental crossing of America north of Mexico. Then. His rebellion dramatized the need for a reform of the country's outmoded constitution and led to the 1841 Confederation of Canadian provinces. India was regarded as the "jewel in the crown" of the British Empire. six years later. became a symbol of Canadian radicalism. Another Scot. the Baptiste Merchant and the Borothy. who emigrated in 1820. His trial. British Columbia and Prince Edward Island. Here. was chafed under English practices. but in Upper Canada. over two thirds of the vast sub-continent was ruled by the East India Company. in what was then wilderness.
Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India in 1877 by Prime Minister Disraeli. Britain then repulsed the Boers and made Natal a British colony in the pretense of protecting the natives. In 1854. In 1856. They were to found Natal. In 1834. The Boers demanded a restoration of their independence and fully expected it from British Prime Minister Gladstone. annexing the district to Cape Colony in 1871.000 Boers (Dutch colonists) moved to new lands beyond the Vaal River. Haarlem. Using his great wealth. railroads and telegraphs (in addition to the ubiquitous civil servant) helped unite the sprawling subcontinent. in getting a reluctant Parliament to act led to the Boers taking up arms.95 After atrocities on both sides. The British arrived in 1820 when the Albany settlers founded Grahamstown in the eastern coastal region. Britain made Natal a Crown colony. the Treaty of Pretoria gave independence to the Boer Republic but under British suzerainty. Rhodes with other imperialists established British colonies to the north of the Boer territories. who flocked to the gold fields soon began to outnumber the Boers (sometimes called Afrikaners). Joseph . back in Holland. building a railroad from the Cape to Cairo but the Boers were in the way. Transvaal and the Orange Free State. always concerned with doing what was right and moral. His slowness. Both Northern and Southern Rhodesia (settled by English workers for Rhodes's British South Africa Company who founded Salisbury in 1890) were granted charters by London. The British government then took over the administration of India from the East India Company and the British Governor General became the Viceroy of India to represent the Crown. India did not gain its independence until after the Second World War when it fought alongside other countries of the British Empire. In 1815. A proclamation from the Queen then ensured the Indian people that their religious practices and customs would not be interfered with. In 1652. Britain annexed the South African Republic in violation of the Sand River Convention of 1852 that recognized the independence of the Transvaal. After a British defeat at Majuba Hill a year later. however. they were forced to defeat the Zulu at the Battle of Blood River in Natal. some 10. The Outsiders (Uitlanders. South Africa South Africa came to the attention of Europeans when a Dutch ship. controlling the key areas of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Events came to a head between Boers and Brits when diamonds were discovered in the Orange Free State. Britain's Cape Colony had extended its borders to the Orange River. amassed in the diamond and gold fields. Britain gained its long-desired "half-way house" on the sea route to India when the Dutch ceded the Cape of Good Hope. By 1826. involving British. a network of roads. Dutch cattlemen in South Africa began their great Trek north and east of the Orange Rivers. In the next two years. The seeds of later conflict. the revolt was finally crushed by November 1858. Dutch and native Africans were sown. English speaking elite emerged to further westernize its peoples. Cecil Rhodes (who had founded the De Beers Mining Corporation in 1880) was determined that the riches being discovered in South Africa were not going to the Boer farmers. When gold was discovered in the Transvaal in 1886." late in 1895. urged authorities to establish a settlement for provisioning their East India fleets. When Colonial Secretary. In 1838. who took retaliatory measures which included excessive laws against the newcomers that led to Rhodes intervening in the abortive "Jameson Raid. however. a small group of Dutch settlers founded Cape Town. In December 1880 a Boer Republic independent of Britain's Cape Colony was proclaimed by Paul Kruger. At the same time. Soon after Britain abolished slavery in its Empire in 1834. that the titles of their Indian princes would be recognized and that in the future they would be able to participate in the government of their country. Six years later. and an educated. The British disregarded Boer claims to the territory. having remained loyal. the drive to annex the Boer republics began in earnest. the majority of Indians. Rhodes dreamed of extending British rule in Africa. broke up at Table Bay in 1648 and the survivors. and the Boers established the South African Republic (Transvaal) with Pretoria as its capital. the British withdrew from lands north of the Orange River and the Boers seized the Orange Free State. Xhosa tribesmen revolted against Dutch encroachments on their lands but were defeated.
burning their farms and crops and removing masses of farming families to concentration camps. to Australia and New Zealand and Disraeli persuaded his government to buy the khedive of Egypt's majority shares with a loan from the Rothschild banking house. The Suez Canal. or areas in which their missionaries and explorers (mostly Scots such as selfpromoting David Livingstone or English brave hearts such as Richard Burton and John Speke) had established their outposts.000 mile shortcut from Britain to India and the east. an error they repeated in the sieges of Kimberley and Mafeking (of Baden-Powell fame). Kruger went into exile and the two Boer republics were annexed to the British crown in 1900. . The red jackets of English soldiers had made them easy targets for Boer marksmen on the high Veldt. offered a 5. Yet the war dragged on. Botha and Smuts.96 Chamberlain tried to get Kruger to accept British supremacy. such as Australia. Victory for Britain only came when Buller's replacement. in the Zulu War two years later and in the ill-fated attempt to support the ruler of Afghanistan against Russia in 1878. the attempt ended in yet another humiliation for his government. It was also Disraeli who backed British military intervention in the Transvaal in 1877. but also to spread British ideas of democracy and law. and their lack of knowledge of how to survive on the land was to lead Baden-Powell to found the Boy Scout movement primarily as a form of early outdoor military training for youths born and bred in the unhealthy cities spawned by the industrial revolution. The capture of Bloemfontein and Pretoria effectively ended the gallant efforts of the Transvaal Field Army of the Boers. Deaths from disease greatly outnumbered those from bullets. operational planning. Because of Britain's control of Egypt it got involved in the war against the Mahdi. training. but especially the British. and a series of defeats showed only too clearly the deficiencies in leadership. The war was costly for both sides. The highly mobile guerrilla units of the Boers were immediately successful in defeating much larger units of the British Army. was not to invade Natal. Lord Roberts took the war into the enemy heartland. and the defeat of General Gordon at Khartoum. and one that may have cost them the war. Yet overwhelming Boer victories occurred when British commander Redvers Buller split up his forces. but to lay siege to a large British force penned up in Ladysmith. opened in 1869. War began in 1899 as a result of British diplomatic pressure and a military build up on the borders of the Transvaal. the Boers utilized commandos to strike at British lines of communication in determined efforts to fight to the last for their independence. Losses to attrition and demands from Liberals in the government at Westminster to stop the barbarism led to negotiations and the Peace of Vereenigning in May 1902. Under skilful leaders such as de Wet. as well as the Christian (and Protestant) religion. The British resorted to a scorched earth policy to deny the Afrikaners food and supplies. putting the Boers on the defensive. equipping and supplying of troops that had been so evident in the Crimean War. preaching a holy war in the Sudan (a dependency of Egypt). Not only was she now head of the self-governing colonies. New Zealand (mostly settled by British newcomers in addition to the relatively tiny native populations). so successful in small engagements but heavily outgunned an out numbered in larger battles. Most of these had been acquired somehow to protect the merchants and traders of England. Their big error. Canada. The Boers accepted British sovereignty with a promise of future self-government. but also the vast Empire of India and a veritable host of dependent territories all over the world's oceans. Further Expansion of Empire Britain's rise to a world power meant that she found interests everywhere. Benjamin Disraeli became Prime Minister in 1874 with the idea of expanding the Empire and taking up the "White Man's Burden" (as Rudyard Kipling described it) to not only create trade and bring profit.
Queen Victoria celebrated her diamond jubilee. William IV's had two daughters die in infancy and disease was rampant in the squalid slums of the rapidly growing cities and manufacturing towns. Yet there were many cracks in the wall and skeletons in the closet. Victoria's uncle. a hereditary peer in the House of Lords was not the only one to speak out against the evils of industrialization. industrial productivity was booming. The government was forced to step in. rampant in London due to its tainted water supplies. which dominated in Parliament from 1812 to 1827 and under the dynamic Robert Peel as Home Office Minister. It was time for major changes. As the first formal change in electoral law. Reforms were greatly needed in every sector of British society. continued 1901: The End of an Era In 1897. the nation led the world in manufacturing. Part 7: The Age of Empire. An attempt by the British government to control the mountainous land in 1839 by placing a pretender on the Afghan throne proved a complete disaster. to many of its inhabitants. exports were soaring. the Empire had expanded across the globe. Britain had undergone enormous changes in the 60 years of her reign. Increasing enclosures of land had thrown hundreds of thousands of small landowners onto the mercy of the Parish or drawn them into the fast-growing cities to replenish the stock of poor and unemployed. Not everyone had benefited from the improvements in agriculture and industry. abolished the death penalty for over 100 offences. Not much was learned from the experience. the Duke also had to acquiesce in the passing of the great Reform Bill of 1832 that. improved prison conditions and created the London Police force. . such as Robert Owen. the so-called "Bobbies. when the expansion of Russian power in the Near and Middle East in the 1820's and 30's alarmed the East India Company. The Northwest frontier between the Punjab and Afghanistan was finally drawn up in 1901 under the British viceroy in India. it heralded further inevitable changes in the relationship between the old aristocratic oligarchy and the new men from the boroughs and manufacturing towns. while doing nothing for the poorer classes. only law could change the intolerable conditions. She died in 1901. the future was uncertain. The great movement in population from the countryside to the towns and the urban squalor and poverty it created has been well-documented by such writers as Charles Dickens. were few and far between. Commerce was flourishing. Lord Curzon. that graveyard of so many foreign troops.97 Britain had become involved in Afghanistan. It was a right long overdue. the days of prosperity and optimism were over. The poor had no representation in Parliament. In 1832. In a further attempt to control the northwest approaches to India. since an Act of 1430. The constant refusal of landlords to improve their properties. install proper sanitary facilities and relieve the burden of high rents was matched by the indifference of the factory and mine owners to the terrible working conditions of those they employed. Reforms had tentatively begun under the Tory Party. the puppet ruler assassinated and the British envoys murdered. Not even the Royal family could escape the dreaded cholera." It was only a beginning. Peel reformed the criminal code. A whole British army was destroyed. Those who did care about their workers. for the system had long ago failed to represent anyone except a small privileged class. It managed to extricate itself after dealing with rival claimants to the throne. however. It had become the workshop of the world. The murder of the British Resident in Kabul brought another British force to remedy the situation under General Roberts. Lord Byron. another British invasion against the legitimate ruler (considered too friendly to Russia) took place in 1880 under Gladstone's government. yet. at long last recognized the right of the new manufacturing magnates and the middle-classes to govern England. Their agitation was their demand to be admitted into the elite of the ruling set. for the manufacturers and merchants had long been the chief factors in the economic life (and success) of England.
who drafted a bill known as "The People's Charter" in May 1838. The Continuing Problem of Ireland One of the major cracks in Britain's armor was Ireland. where thousands of marchers. nearly one million voters were added to the register. which remained rural and agricultural. but sold commercially by the London firm of Donkin-Hall in 1814 that eventually helped alleviate shortages caused by bad harvests (the industry took advantage of the vacuum pan recently invented by Edward Howard). Primarily due to the obstinacy of George III. and the failure of the Jacobite rebellions had not helped matters. In 1791 Wolfe Tone and others established The Society of United Irishmen to follow the lead of the Americans to agitate for independence from Britain. created for the Royal Navy. becoming a martyr for the Welsh workers. coming into the town in columns from the coal-mining valleys. Not to be overlooked. Early attempts at forming workers' unions had failed miserably. The problem could not be continually put on the back burner by the Parliament in London. was fading by the late 1850's. this time by troops under Cornwallis. 1801. 1793 to aid the Irish rebels. no Catholic could be a Member of Parliament. however. nor become a minister or servant of the Crown. The workers then turned to violence. were shattered by well-directed volleys from a body of troops (chiefly recruited in Ireland) stationed in the Westgate Hotel. with its massive unemployment and wage cuts led to the great Merthyr Rising in South Wales. and the first great democratizing point of the Charter had been conceded by the government. From henceforth. their leaders denounced as "gin-swilling degenerates" and their members expelled from their work places. unable to understand the depth of nationalist (and Catholic) feeling that kept their neighboring island out of the mainstream of the Empire in so many ways. governments had to heed the voice of the middle and lower classes. The Chartists hoped to bring about a democratic parliament and an enfranchised working class. Once again. They staged demonstrations in many towns and when the government refused to consider the six points of the Charter presented in June 1839 took to arms. they were defeated. . Forty-five new seats were created. The biggest demonstration took place in South Wales. A French fleet set sail for Ireland in December. The Ulster Plantations of James I. a country so near and yet so far. Anglo-Irish relations had been bitter ever since the ruthless policies of Cromwell. In 1867. The great depression of 1829. but the French tried again in 1795. now heavily industrialized and influenced by many of its Irish immigrants. forming groups such as the "Scotch Cattle" that destroyed property and threatened workers. In 1857 an Act declared that property qualifications were no longer necessary for a seat in Parliament.98 The British working classes were still without representation in Parliament: they turned to Chartism to redress their grievances. but only for Protestant candidates. Order was brought into the area by the military and punishment was severe. not just the privileged few. and the vote given to many working men as well as tenants of small farms. establishing one single Parliament. Even the revolutionary effects of the coming of industry to Britain had little effect upon Ireland. Catholics could vote in elections. for in that year. The Chartist Movement. On January 1. who did not wish to give full emancipation to Irish Catholics. the Act of Union of 1801 created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. after the Battle of Vinegar Hill had broken Irish resistance to British rule. the union had little chance of success. its resources had to be used to benefit all of society. The repeal of the infamous Corn Laws in 1846 and the consequent availability of cheap bread meant that people were less inclined to revolution. the work of Daniel O'Connell saw to that. A mighty storm dispersed the ships and no invasion took place. The movement was named after the radical London reformer William Levett. and the State came to play a leading part in the lives of Britain's citizens. The Chartists now began to recruit in earnest. was the introduction of canned foods. A country that remained an enigma to most Britons. Dic Penderyn was hanged for wounding a soldier. nearly doubling the electorate. at Newport. faced with the might of the British military and a recalcitrant government. the Great Reform Bill finally ended the Chartist Movement.
Gladstone's desire to give the Irish Catholics their own university was defeated by a narrow margin in Parliament. and in 1823 a Catholic Relief Bill was passed by the Commons. In the 1860's a new force entered Irish politics. to demand repeal of the Union of 1801 and the restoration of an Irish Parliament at Dublin. It was supported by 59 Home-Rulers elected to the Commons in 1874. over one half the Irish potato crop. The Prime Minister responded to the resulting violence by the Coercion Acts that further antagonized the poor Irish. A greater tragedy came with the second failure a year later. In 1870. For the majority of the Irish. O'Connell wanted nothing less than the restoration of an Irish Parliament. Its rejection by the Lords. an increase that was most dramatic after 1800. their value as a food source had helped fuel a population increase in many parts of Europe but especially in Ireland. easily stored. A Bill introduced in 1845 to give Irish tenants the right to compensation for improvements to their holdings was opposed in Parliament. bereft of their lands in the Great Clearances. the INLL was . Gladstone enacted a Land Act to prevent eviction of tenants (except for non-payment of rent). In 1868. so dependent upon the weather. sent troops to Ireland to quell disturbances. they were sold publicly in London. and in timehonored fashion. they did not remain loyal to the Empire. he founded the Catholic Association. The Act settled one grievance. In 1770. he had less sympathy to the people of Ireland. Peel's proposals to alleviate the problems in Ireland. another movement began: the Irish National Land League was founded by Michael Davin to boycott landlords and to work for ownership of all Irish land by Irish peasant farmers. Disraeli was not married to a Welsh girl as was Gladstone. and the peasants saw their winter food supplies go to rot. were met with hostility from both Protestants and Catholics alike. the Catholic Emancipation Bill was pushed through Parliament by the Duke of Wellington over strong Tory opposition. the "Problem of Ireland" intensified for successive British governments during the second half of the century. however. In 1845. there were almost eight and a half million people in Ireland depending upon potatoes. but the verdict was reversed on appeal. They were easily grown. he died in 1847. The repeal of the Corn Laws (passed to aid the British farmer) in 1846 did practically nothing to solve the problem. Like the Home Rule League. planted on his estate near Cork by Sir Walter Raleigh. but as early as 1830 William Cobbett had warned of over reliance on the crop. and to give compensation for the improvements made to land or property. When Parnell took over the reigns. mostly grown on nearly 2 million acres in spade-cultivated plots of less than one acre. the League became a powerful political force. Potatoes had come to their country in 1586. The British government did very little. founded in the USA. O'Connell's activities had him convicted for conspiracy. There had been many warnings of the problems that could result for the Irish from their reliance on a single food crop. The only problem was that landlords consequently raised their rents (and could thus have an excuse for evictions). Gladstone promised to "pacify Ireland. easily cooked. By 1841. meant further agitation by O'Connell who returned unopposed from County Clare." and began a program of moderate reforms including the disestablishment of the Protestant Church of Ireland. the Irish Revolutionary Brotherhood. the answer was starvation or emigration. and between 1848 and 1851 over a million left for the United States. It also promoted violence as a means to achieve its aims. In less than one hundred years. Despite the Irishman's eloquent oratory and strong support in Parliament. His influence waning. was lost to a fungus. In 1879. taking with them their resentment of the British government and its feeble attempts to solve the mass starvation in Ireland. Meanwhile. and in 1829. it believed that economic forces must work themselves out with as little interference as possible and threw the burden of relief onto the local Irish Poor Law authorities. In 1823.99 O'Connell gave voice to the political aspirations of the Irish people. The Great Famine prevented its implementation for over thirty years. but it did nothing to settle the major one: that of the unpopular Union of 1801. Its aims went a lot further than those of O'Connell. for it sought nothing less than complete separation from Britain and the setting up of an independent republic. the Irish Home Rule League was founded. The Bill opened up the right to sit in Parliament and to hold any public office (with few exceptions) to Catholics. They seemed to be an admirable food to supplant wheat. to provide the funds for a national movement. Unlike the Scots. Meanwhile. The harvest failed. that became known as the Fenians. however. During his 1874-80 ministry. Robert Peel refused to budge on the question.
and under John Fisher. was completely unable to prevent the inevitable. there had been ominous warnings before 1910. the formation of the Amalgamated Association of Miners led to fierce resistance from the coal owners and was forced to disband. Italian and German to good advantage. A united front against the unionists was then forged by the . their constant side switching in an attempt gain their aims led to the Irish Home Rule Crisis of 1886 which split the Liberal Party in two and kept the Conservatives in power. In Wales.100 backed by huge sums of money raised in the US by Fenian societies. To prepare for the future. Balfour. Workers had been fired for trying to form unions. the balance of power in so many areas was shifting in a Europe in which the decisive factor was the rise of a united Germany. when Robert Owen had attempted to improve factory conditions and the lives of the workers through his Grand National Consolidated Trade Union. Yet the image of splendid and carefree easy living portrayed by the King was in direct contrast to the growing forces of discontent and resentment felt by too many members of British society. Ireland's problems. In Lancashire.P. at the height of its imperial powers. Spanish. England in the Edwardian Age existed in a twilight zone. Part 8: England in the 20th Century Changes in Empire and at Home The popular. avuncular Prince of Wales had waited a long time to accede to the throne. six English farm laborers were sentenced to deportation for secretly forming a branch of the GNCTU (they were the famous Tolpuddle Martyrs). Britain suffered the humiliation of having four out of six governments being defeated as a direct result of Irish affairs. feeling secure as the head of the largest empire the world had ever known. Between 1880 and 1895. mostly unsuccessful because of determined resistance from the mine and factory owners. Determined to press for Home Rule for Ireland. he used his knowledge of French. the government implemented strict measures to try to improve law and order in Ireland. Though many historians see the death of King Edward as marking the dividing line between the security and stability of the 19th century and the uncertainties of the twentieth. however. This helped to create an "education ladder" by which abler children were able to win scholarships to enter the secondary grammar schools (the mis-named Public Schools continued as private enclaves for the rich and very rich). There had been many earlier attempts to form unions. popular. myopic House of Lords. Matters seemed fine in the island kingdom of Britain. His Education Bill of 1902 abolished the School Boards and placed primary. and in a world in which the United States would soon dominate. despite their passage of a Land Purchase Act in 1891.'s was a crucial factor. Known as Edward the Peacemaker for his diplomacy in Europe. The Committee also improved Britain's naval defenses. all of which were vigorously opposed by Parnell." In 1834. and the inability of the English government to deal with them continued well into the next century. one politician. and one in which its mighty empire disintegrated. Parnells' power block of 80 or so Irish M. conditions in the tin plate industry had been severely depressed by the 1891 McKinley Tariff of the United States. in 1869. he also concentrated the Royal Navy in home waters instead of having it dispersed all over the world. Arthur Balfour.aged Victoria was succeeded by Edward VII. The Civil Service was thus able to find itself enriched by a steady stream of educated. To further meet the threat from the new German fleet. Unfortunately. who reigned for nine years (1901-10). After Parnell's disgrace in 1891 (over an affair with a divorcee). qualified young men (and later young women). one in which the accomplishments of Britain began to be matched by other countries. His final attempt passed the Commons in 1893 but was rejected by the stubborn. saw that Britain needed to advance its educational system and to strengthen its defenses. Prime Minister 1902-5. technical and secondary education under the control of local authorities. Balfour made effective the Committee of Imperial Defence to carry out the reforms made necessary after the humiliations of the Boer War. The jovial. the deplorable conditions endured by coal miners led to the creation of a new force in British politics: the trade union. their leaders were once denounced by the leading Welsh newspaper as "gin-swilling degenerates. Gladstone continued to press for a Home Rule Bill. the Admiralty began building the Dreadnought a new type of heavily-armed warship.
packed with its hereditary peers. Six years later the Miner's Federation of Great Britain began at Newport. rather than a party of organized labor. The Fabian Movement began in 1884. Prince Albert Victor had died in 1892. a change that the House of Lords was slow to accept. The question of tariff reform divided the Conservatives. and thus they needed representation in Parliament. George V (1910-1936) The new King. Abraham was elected Lib-Lab M. In that year. One group wished to use the tariff to protect British industries and boost inter-imperial trade and co-operation. fearing the social and political consequences that higher food prices would bring as a result of the tariff. was particularly upset by what it considered the socialistic and confiscatory nature of the budget and rejected it. but it took many years before it could muster enough strength to offer a worthy challenge to the Liberal and the Conservative Parties. Their disciplined behavior won them widespread support When their demands were finally conceded. women over thirty were granted the right to vote. following their efforts as factory workers taking the places of men called up for the military). The rapid rise of such men as Lloyd George from humble origins to high positions in the government showed only too clearly the changing nature of political life in the country. the huge costs levied against the union practically ensured the creation of a new party in British politics. newspapers (and later television) all added to the mystique and prestige of the royal family when so much more was in a state of flux. In 1934. Radio. however. a successful strike of girls in the sweated trade of match-box making occurred. Welshman David Lloyd George became Chancellor of the Exchequer and pushed through Parliament his "People's Budget" that proposed a tax on the rich to pay for reforms and the rebuilding of the Royal Navy. and old traditions were being challenged everywhere. The pre-War years saw major changes in England's domestic policies. the other. he did much to continue the popularity of the monarchy. With his wife Mary. The Upper House. the Dockers Union gave considerable stimulus to recruiting for other trade unions. was in favor of Free Trade. the Independent Labour Party was formed in 1893. who were quick to see the strike as a means to solve their grievances. George began his broadcasts to Britain and the Empire. The workers persisted in their attempts to form unions. (The Lib-Labs represented an informal agreement with local Liberal organizations to run a number of trade union candidates. A crisis occurred in 1906. left-wing Liberal. It was George who changed his family name from the German Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to that of the English Windsor.101 formation of the Monmouthshire and South Wales Coal Owners Association in which 85 companies owned over 200 mines. South Wales. When judgement was given in favor of the owners and against the striking workers in the Taff Vale Railway Company dispute of 1900. In 1918. A strike by London Dock workers the same year was equally successful. George was the second son of Edward VII and Queen Alexander.P. One year later the Gas Workers Union secured a reduction from twelve to eight hours in their working day. The unions saw clearly that they had to have legislation to guarantee their rights. it became known as the Labour Party. for Rhondda in 1885 and kept the peace between owners and miners for twenty years. .) In 1888. The Federation argued for the creation of a Board of Arbitration to replace the infamous sliding scale and the restriction of the work day to eight hours (also that year the Women's Social and Political Union was formed by Emmeline Pankhurst with the goal of achieving voting rights for women. its composition of middle-class intellectuals (including dramatist and critic George Bernard Shaw) giving it considerable weight as an instrument in bringing forth political and social reform. The Labour Representative Committee answered their needs: in 1906. and in 1877 the Cambrian Miners Association began in the Rhondda Valley under the inspired leadership of William Abraham (Mabon). As a response to poor working conditions. They were helped enormously by the advent of the BBC in 1922 which probably did more to perpetuate the national sense of common identity than any other factor save war.
there could be little advantage. where Britain was forced to stay. To the Conservatives. Many reforms took place in a veritable flood of "socialist experiment. both in and out of government. A major civil war loomed in Ireland. railway men and miners brought the country to a standstill. From now on. though he recognised what was going on in Ireland. that Germany's support of the Boer farmers. led Baden-Powell. but the outbreak of the Great War pushed everything else aside. He had noticed. All this cost a great deal of money. the Lords could no longer reject bills outright and there was to be a general election every five years (instead of seven). and the British Army regulars made it clear in the so-called "mutiny" at the Curragh. once involved. the Lords continued to reject the Budget. Irish M. until the middle of the next century. Nationwide strikes of dock workers. the idea of Britain splitting up (in the face of increasing German hostility) seemed ludicrous. however. Sadly.102 Two general elections were held to resolve the deadlock. Britain's strength lay in its own people. that they would not fight against their brothers in Ulster. in the way of arms and guns. He had been proved right in the costly adventures in Afghanistan.'s allowed the entry of working class members to Parliament. they wanted their reward in Home Rule. It also introduced a measure of unemployment benefits. More than one historian has pointed out that the German navy was floated on a . and old-age pensions inaugurated as the first installment of social security.) In the heady day of Empire. For him. in particular. in contrast to the imperialist Disraeli." Part 8: England in the 20th Century World War I (1914-1918) By the turn of the century. which finally passed in 1911 when the Commons approved the Parliament Bill to limit the delaying power of the House of Lords. Foreign adventures could only waste the nation's resources. the Sudan and South Africa. sick pay.'s had helped the Liberals gain power. eighty-three labor exchanges set up. had the wisdom (and the courage) to admit that though the Empire was a duty and responsibility that could not be shrugged off. free meals for school children as well as periodic medical exams. in their own land. They were further incensed by the Home Rule Bill of 1912. The year 1911 saw the greatest industrial unrest in Britain's history. sorely needed to aid its own people. it came from the pockets of the rich. In the interim. however. that the possession of an Empire would not be enough to cure Britain's domestic problems. the trade unions were freed from the liability for strike damage and allowed to use their funds in politics. who had successfully defended Mafeking. four years after being defeated in Parliament. he had failed to see that a genuine nationalist movement had surfaced in Egypt. In 1914. The Liberals were able to win a landslide victory and remained in power until the wartime coalition government was formed in 1915." The introduction of a salary for M. hence his support of Home Rule for Ireland. the Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain. the Home Rule Bill was finally pushed through. He respected the rights of small nations to seek their own forms of government. disability and maternity benefits. the employer and the government all contributed to a general fund to pay for free medical treatment. and possibly only future problems. A new rivalry developed over their respective navies. to be avoided at all costs. Hours and conditions of labor were regulated. Through the efforts of Winston Churchill there had been the setting up of Labour Exchanges where the unemployed worker could sign on for vacant jobs. They were aided by the Protestant forces of Ulster (most of Northern Ireland). He had relentlessly condemned the Conservative government's overseas policies. He died in 1898. the poor physical condition of the British soldiers in South Africa during the fight against the Boer farmers. The government was forced to respond. and later. slum clearances effected. it was said that "the public had forgotten the Irish for the Belgians. boded ill for future relations between the two countries. to found the Boy Scout Movement in 1908. in expanding it. it had become increasingly apparent to many. equally alarmed at the prospect of being ruled from Dublin. William Ewart Gladstone had believed in peace with justice. Gladstone.P.P. (As a sideline. Foundations were being laid for a veritable sea of change in the way the state was to assume responsibility for the welfare of its citizens. The National Insurance Act was passed to ensure that the worker.
she now became friendly towards France and Russia and hostile to Germany. In the meantime. It was thus that Britain's foreign policy. the war produced one large-scale battle and a few smaller engagements. mainly over their respective interests in Egypt and Morocco. The action at Jutland. Austria declared war on Serbia. Britain was not willing to see Germany defeat France again. 1914. her own empire contained many Slavic peoples. and Germany were all hungry for spoils in the area. to supply new fronts in the Eastern Mediterranean (with limited successes). With the Kaiser's support. An Anglo-French agreement in 1904. The decision to aid Belgium. allowing the Royal Navy to continue to dominate the sea routes. the allies decided to strike at Turkey and the rear of Austria-Hungary by . too. had dictated foreign policy decisions. The question now arose of what would be Britain's response should Germany attack France over a dispute concerning Morocco. domestic problems. Germany. alarmed the Germans. Trouble in the Balkans precipitated the outbreak of hostilities. changed drastically. The troubles began in Bosnia. Its reply was to build up its navy. In any case. resulted in the German fleet heading for home. Germany declared war on Russia and on France. as much as the crisis in the Ottoman Empire. who were at war with one another in 1905).the bad judgment of a number of individual politicians. A conference in London in 1913 failed to pacify the region. was completely unpredicted. but they had been stewing for a long time. Serbia's successes further alarmed empire of Austria-Hungary. despite British losses. and to impose an economic blockade upon Germany and her allies." marked the beginning of the end for his country's world dominance. In reply. Germany also felt humiliated by the Treaty of Algeciras that temporarily settled the Morocco question. Lord Grey. Russia. Britain went to war on the side of France. The new Liberal government's Foreign Secretary. A German plan for a rapid victory in the West was thwarted by the combined French-British armies at the Marne. The years of trench warfare then began in a costly war of attrition with neither side gaining any real advantage. a feeling that grew alarmingly after the 1906 Anglo-Russian Entente. When Greece allied with Serbia and Bulgaria (all satellites of Russia). feared Russian expansion in the Balkans. The answer can be found in the summer maneuvers of the English army that assumed Germany. when Germany declared war on Russia. but at heavy cost. creating a huge dilemma for Britain: should she give full military support to France and her allies or to stay out of Europe altogether in a policy of complete neutrality. nor did she want to lose her position as the world's leading power. At sea. When the German offensive began down the North Sea coast of Belgium. The length of the war. In England. and its enormous toll on life and resources. had enormous consequences for the later stages of the war. during the first few years of the new century. and when that country violated the neutrality of Belgium in August.103 tide of Anglophobia. The military chiefs of many nations were all ready to go to war. Perhaps it was inevitable -. however. all hell broke loose. The latter policy would have opened the door for Germany.the result of the profound economic changes that had been at work that had caused a "structural failure" of European society. the consequent German submarine campaign showed only too well the strengths of this new kind of weapon. including the Dreadnought. in order to aid rapidly weakening Russia. Austria became alarmed. the battles at Ypres managed to stem their advance. Ireland in May 1915. With the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in June. Italy then took Tripoli. to defeat the Turks. Historians have succinctly pointed out that an inexorable military machine quickly overwhelmed the improvisations of diplomacy. Instead of the old cordiality towards Germany and fear of a combined France and Russia. in which the late victorious Balkan states were now quarrelling among themselves. Austria-Hungary. not France. one of small-statured Lloyd George's "little 5-foot-5 nations. a threat to England's long-held supremacy at sea. Perhaps the War came about as the result of a breakdown in the European diplomatic system -. and felt surrounded by hostile powers. World War I broke out in August 1914. The sinking of the Lusitania off Kinsale Head. Cyrenaicia and some islands to show that Turkey could no longer defend what was left of her empire in Europe. would be the enemy. had no intention of dissolving its association with France (and with Japan and Russia. however. Austria seized Bosnia in 1908.
who lost around 600." set forth in an address to Congress. the capitulation of Turkey. 1917. as well as the onset of revolution in Russia. It was followed by an equal failure of Haig's offensive in Flanders and the misery of the mud at Passchendaele Ridge. Further allied successes on the Eastern front. had a great impact on world opinion at the time when all belligerents except the US were exhausted by the war effort. The German attack at Ypres. The conduct of the war. the new Russian revolutionary government made peace with Germany. a mutiny of the German fleet at Kieland a revolt by the German people against their military leaders. Military deadlock. British forces turned the tide at Amiens. and the Battle of the Somme ended in disaster for the allies. attrition had taken its heavy toll. In spite of early successes. and the failure of the British counteroffensive. where gas was used for the first time. failure to co-ordinate their activities. needed drastic measures. a victory by the Italians at Vitoria Veneto. one whose contribution to national life was to be sadly missed during the political mismanagement of the postwar years. German intrigue with Mexico (still simmering over the loss of much of its territory to its powerful northern neighbor) along with the unrestricted submarine warfare of 1917 brought the USA into the war. Secretary of the Labour Party was admitted to the Cabinet. The cost to Britain was the loss of an entire generation. the defeat of the Bulgarians. the Germans planned their great offensive to capture the Channel ports. In the spring of 1918.000 men in futile attacks against a firmly entrenched enemy. Things then began to change. Aided by their new weapon the tank. All the objectives of the bold but totally mismanaged campaign were lost (much hostility resulted in the attitude of Australia and New Zealand that is still evident today in their progress towards republican status. what had been the costliest war in human history was over. At the same time. the losses incurred. however. however. To make matter worse for the allies. provided a new test of character of the British people. They were accepted on November 11. left great numbers of British. British efforts were rewarded by the entry of the United States into the War in April. 1916. Lloyd George took charge of a coalition ministry in which he showed the energy and capacity for getting things done in a time of great crisis. A German offensive at Verdun then blunted the allied plans for a simultaneous attack. freeing nearly fifty German divisions for service on the Western front. 1917 that favored the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. the Russian state began to show signs of collapse. a battle that German Commander Ludendorf decided was critical.104 way of the Balkans. brought a government crisis in Britain. despite lingering affection for the mother country). all convinced the German high command to enter into peace negotiations. The campaign was designed to attack weaker spots of the enemy's front by combining military and naval forces. the successful U-boat offensive. allied losses also caused great concern. In the campaign. In late December. 1918. was followed by the Balfour Declaration of November 11. The Italians were then overwhelmed by the German-Austrian army at Caporetto before stabilizing their line with help from British and French troops. and bring Greece into the side of the allies. to force Turkey to abandon her support of Germany. and the difficulties in Ireland (where the brutal suppression of the Easter Rising almost certainly turned that nation against Britain when a more just solution may have kept the nation loyal to the Crown). Britain's seizure of Palestine from the Ottoman Turks (aided by the successes of the famed Lawrence of Arabia). most of whom . a decision that clearly showed the growing importance of organized labour. The introduction of an organized convoy system put a huge dent in the success rate of the German submarines in sinking allied supply ships. New Zealand and Australian troops stranded on the Gallipoli Peninsular unable to break through the Turkish defenses. The great French offensive early 1917 failed hopelessly. President Wilson's "Fourteen Points. circumvent Bulgaria's entry into the war. The blood baths of the Somme and Passchendaele could never be adequately described by the nation's poets and prose writers. The abdication of the Kaiser was followed by the imposition of severe armistice terms by the allies at Compiegne. Lloyd George became minister of Munitions and Arthur Henderson. On the Western front. Both Lloyd George and Winston Churchill argued for the Gallipoli campaign of 1915.
confident morning" of Scottish socialism. had ceased to exist. 1920. A rapid increase in population due to a declining death rate meant that farmers were unable to meet the increasing demand for butter. Fuel shortages in 1916 motivated Parliament to pass a "summer time" act. During the War. pressing for severe penalties against the Germans. John Wheatley. there was also unrest at home. Bulgaria. The introduction of salaries for M. It utilized the product of fast. As noted earlier. The US did not ratify the treaty. however. Scotsman Keir Hardie. the USA. who wished for even more severe recriminations against Germany. almost on the scale of the Jacobite rebellion. Lloyd George represented Britain. imports of US pork. he defiantly chose to wear his cloth deer-stalker hat (transmogrified by legend into a working man's cloth cap) in place of the usual top hat. Turkey and Hungary). Japan and to a lesser extent Russia) was to hammer out the peace terms to be presented to the defeated powers (Germany. first test marketed in Northern England by the American Heinz Company in 1905. margarine and lard (used for cooking until the switch to vegetable oil right up until the 1960's). produced such well-known activists as James Maxton. the first order of the day for the victorious allies (Britain. and Clemenceau of France. near London. as a fighting force. English farmers turning to market gardening and fruit growing. they later became an excuse for Herr Hitler to begin his efforts to countermand them. A new addition to the British diet was baked beans. 1919. The matter of Ireland then became a serious source of hemorrhage to the confidence of a seemingly-united Great Britain. Argentine beef and New Zealand lamb continued to rise. The conflicts. particularly in the industrial belt of Scotland where Intense labor conflict gave the name "Red Clyde" to its shipbuilding region. he came up against the idealism of US President Wilson.'s in 1911l meant that the Labour Party could now field many candidates from the ranks of the trade unions. the socialist ex-miner. Italy. In addition. So many of Britain's physical and intellectual best were killed off in the endless fighting to gain a few yards of muddy ground.P. The war had presented the opportunity the Irish nationalists had been waiting for since the postponement of the Home Rule Act of 1914. To meet domestic demand. cheese. deep-sea trawlers that packed their catch in ice and rapidly shipped it to British markets. but which became a staple of British diets beginning in 1928 when the first canning factory began at Harlesden. When they seized their opportunity to attack British rule in . advancing clocks one hour to make the most of available light. the United States and Russia did not join the League of Nations that met for the first time in Geneva in November. pitting management's use of semi. In the hallowed halls of Westminster.or unskilled labor against the militant unions. The troubles culminated in the George Square riot in Edinburgh of 1919 that practically ensured the Labour Party's national victory in the General Election of 1922. anxious to have his plans for a League of Nations implemented. The reparations and "war-guilt" clauses were later seen by English economist John Maynard Keynes as a future cause of discontent. Part 8: England in the 20th Century Between the Two World Wars Following the Armistice of 1918. John Maclean and Emmanual Shinwell. The final treaty came in June. Farmers protested in vain. It wasn't only conditions in industry that were being transformed by the growth of Labour. and the disunity that prevailed after its signing did not bode well for the future of Europe. had been elected to Parliament by the Merthyr constituency (South Wales) in 1891. Austria. and a reliance grew upon Denmark for these products. France. it was the Liberal Party under Lloyd George that was most effective in bringing needed changes to Britain.105 had been conscripted into the army when the regulars. A series of episodes took place there that have since assumed legendary proportions. They have been regarded by many in the Labour Movement as forming part of the "glad. At Versailles. but a significant contribution to raising protein levels of urban English diets came with the introduction of the fish and chip shop. There were also many changes taking place in British agriculture during the early years of the century.
ordered a cease fire. In 1918. coal mining and shipbuilding. Eamon De Valera (one of the participants in the Easter Rising. Many countries which had been dependent upon British manufactured goods were now making their own. it proved ineffective to handle the nation's . which had done so much to alleviate conditions of poverty and had made so many significant strides in improving social conditions in general. began to lose its standing in the polls after 1922. there was simply too much reliance on the traditional industries of cotton. Eire was finally declared a republic in April 1948. The productivity rate was falling rapidly behind that of other nations. It began a bitter civil war in which Collins. As had Labour. made reconciliation between the two countries impossible. A basic British condition was that the six counties of Northern Ireland. The political program of the Labour Party advocated increased social security measures. the other 32 counties. the successful Sinn Feiners refused their seats at Westminster and formed the Dail Eireann that proclaimed the Irish Republic on January 21. railways and electricity. The war against British rule then began. and the Irish Free State came into being. A great slump in which millions were unemployed was left to work itself out when planned government expenditure would have helped mobilize the unused resources of the economy. giving both parts Home Rule. there had been a major downturn in the British economy since the end of the World War. lasting until December 1920 when atrocities and counter atrocities by both sides (not only those committed by the infamous "Black and Tans. including Michael Collins (later to become Director of Intelligence as well as chief organizer) and Richard Mulcahy (later to become Chief of Staff).") finally led to the Government of Ireland Act. mainly Protestant (who equated Home Rule with Rome Rule) should not be coerced into a united Ireland. the execution of many of their leaders following the Easter Monday Rising in Dublin. but who had escaped from Lincoln Gaol) objected to the oath of allegiance to the Crown and formed a new party. all of which were finding it difficult to compete in world markets and all of which were managed by those who could not adapt to more modern methods. It seemed that no one in Ireland was satisfied and guerrilla warfare intensified. Government promises of a better society in which there would be a higher standard of living and security of employment had not been fulfilled. The Great Depression In the meantime. The bloody civil war ended in April 1923 when De Valera. The British government failed to separate its important Irish prisoners. who had been elected President of the Irish Free State in 1919. Labour had become the chief challenger to the Conservative Party. led by Michael Collins. later known as "Sinn Fein " University. in North Wales. to accept the offer of Dominion status within the Commonwealth rather than hold out for an independent republic.106 Ireland. however. 1921 was followed by the AngloIrish Treaty of December. Prisoners were inspired by hearing the Welsh language all around the camp declare a republic in which Gaelic would be the national language. following the General Election. leader of the Dail's military forces and a much revered Irish patriot lost his life leading the Free-State forces against the Republicans. The coalition government in London was finally convinced that a policy of reconciliation was needed and a truce in July. brought together many who would later become key figures in the fight for independence. In October of that year. but reserving taxation powers for the Westminster Parliament. mainly Catholic. Lloyd George somehow managed to persuade the Irish delegation. including a national minimum wage. and formed its first government in 1924 under James Ramsey MacDonald. The Liberal Party. and the imposition of higher taxation to pay for social welfare and to reduce the burden of the National Debt. The "dole" (unemployment benefit) allowed workers to survive while unemployed (it was probably the reason why there was not greater social unrest or even revolution). the Republican Party against the government of Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins. with Northern Ireland remaining as part of the United Kingdom. An internment camp at Frongoch. 1919. Britain once more turned to the Conservatives under Stanley Baldwin. Mainly through a threat of an all-out war. the nationalization of basic industries such as coal. however. The Act divided Ireland into Northern Ireland (containing the largest part of Ulster) and Southern Ireland.
A building boom followed the increase in population that new health measures made possible. King George initiated the Christmas Day radio broadcasts that served to link the Commonwealth countries in a common bond with England. In the 1930's things improved a little under a national government comprised of members from all parties. and Britain's share of the world export market declined rapidly. however. The return was made at the old pre-war gold and dollar value of the pound. Britain agreed to abandon free trade. steel. electrical manufactures. came to power at the beginning of a world-wide depression triggered by the Wall Street Crash. led by Ramsey MacDonald.107 industrial problems. At the conference. and the gradual wearing away of the resistance of the miners by the coal owners eventually ended the stoppage. cargo rates and other goods and services) became over-priced. A general strike took place in 1926. A showdown came about when the government indicated that it would not continue negotiations under the threat of a general strike. imposing a 10 percent tariff on most imported goods. machinery. steel. only a modest program of social reform took place. Simpson). cars and telecommunications equipment (thereby discouraging innovation in many industries. In April of that year. In turn. The Widows." The mine owners refused to compromise. George had come to the throne in 1936 after the abdication of his older brother Edward VIII (tradition ensured that the Edward had to renounce the throne if he were to marry the American divorcee Mrs. and chemicals. textiles. The colonies had come of age. In 1928. they were to provide markets for British exports. the white-settled colonies of Canada. elected in 1929. Canada in July 1932 to hash out the problems of Dominion economic policies and to settle the matter of their exports to Britain. The abandonment of the gold standard and the decision to let the pound find its own value against the US dollar made British export prices more competitive in world markets. coal. steel. cotton and ship building suffered the most. The Imperial Economic Conference met in Ottawa. Under the Conservative government of Stanley Baldwin. the pound was devalued. Further mass unemployment resulted when Chancellor of the Exchequer Winston Churchill returned Britain to the gold standard in 1925. Old industries were replaced by newer ones such as automobiles. Iron. passed in November. the conference showed only too well that Britain was no longer a magnet for Commonwealth goods. British goods (coal. The independence of the Dominions was now established. the Local Government Act of 1929 reduced the number of local government authorities and extended the services they provided. but like the Conservative government before it. where strikes became common. but exempting Commonwealth nations. the very industries that Britain's free trade economy relied upon to provide the bulk of the consumer and capital goods exported to provide for the large imports of food and raw materials. As a result. mainly to appease working class opinion. Orphans and Old Age Health Contributory Pension schemes extended the Act of 1911 and insured over 20 million people. Their loyalty was to be proven in World War II during the reign of George VI. But grievous harm had been done to the miners. the use of volunteers to keep essential services going. A Labour government. the miners' leader. Under Health Minister Neville Chamberlain. which was to put Britain further behind other countries). The Crown remained as a symbol of the free association of the members of the British Commonwealth. In 1932. the government's refusal to nationalize the coal industry and the setting of wages by the pit-owners triggered the unrest. the Equal Franchise Act gave the parliamentary vote to all women over twenty one. There were also changes made in the relationship of Britain to her colonies. the intransigence of the government. 1926 the great strike went into effect. 1931. A. Australia. A huge drop in coal exports. removed much legal inferiority not addressed in 1839. Since the Durham Report of 1839. ships. The resulting unemployment and wage cuts caused serious repercussions in the industrial areas. who came out of the business with longer hours and less pay. Agriculture was aided by the adoption of a protective tariff and import quotas in 1931. There was still lacking a coherent policy to deal with the relief of unemployment. On May 4. could do little to remedy the situation at home. not a minute on the day. The Statute of Westminster. Cook coined the phrase "not a penny off the pay.J. . but lack of support for the unions. New Zealand and South Africa had been virtually independent of Britain. including textiles.
their implications were not fully grasped. In 1887 the Italian-Ethiopian War began. In August.108 In the late 1930's Britain's foreign policy stagnated. Chamberlains finally saw what Germany intended. Lack of British resolve against the ambitions of Mussolini may have spurred Hitler to act. to hand over the Sudetenland to Germany. however. in their efforts to appease. Fearing a catastrophic war. Also in March. Mussolini had led his black-shirts Fascists into Rome. in defiance of the conditions laid down at Versailles. in November 1922. the Nazis opened their first concentration camp for Jews. he sent his armies into the Rhineland. The League of Nations proved totally ineffective to prevent this seizure of the last bastion of native rule in Africa. While the aggressive moves by Germany. it was vainly hoped that the League of Nations would keep the peace. Three years later. It seems incredible. In Germany. After he proclaimed the Third Reich in March. After his troops had occupied Addis Abbaba. He thought he had bought "peace with honor. Italy made Assab the basis of an Eritrean colony. Hitler's next move was first to surround Bohemia and then to demand modifications to the Czech frontier. Hitler became President of the Reich at the death of Hindenburg. Italy and Japan may not have been totally ignored in Westminster. France was afraid to react without British support. and his extension of a guarantee to Poland practically ensured war. 1934 on a rising tide of nationalism and economic unrest. a Tripartite Pact declared the independence of Ethiopia but divided the country into British. While domestic policies still had to find a way out of the unemployment mess. along with the French Premier. they protested but did nothing except to embolden Hitler even further. He announced open conscription early in 1935. he announced the annexation of Ethiopia and joined Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to create Italian East Africa. Italy and Japan may not have been totally ignored in Westminster. Both leaders then supported General Franco's fascists in the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). Britain and France stood back for fear of precipitating a general European war. Unencumbered by obsolete equipment and even more obsolete thinking that hindered the British and the French. His troops marched into Austria in March. In March. When Italian and Ethiopian troops clashed on the frontier between Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia in 1934. in . and Italian spheres of interest. their implications were not fully grasped. It proceeded to fortify its Maginot Line as Hitler began to fortify the Rhineland. at the height of the crisis in Ethiopia. there were too many problems to worry about at home. to dominate Europe. and with the vivid memory of the carnage of World War I in mind. there were too many problems to worry about at home. 1938. 1936. By 1896. The dictators of Germany and Italy then signed the pact known as the Rome-Berlin Axis. Mussolini had an excuse to invade Ethiopia. They were soon to be used in a bid to dominate Europe." Hitler then showed his true intention by seizing the rest of Czechoslovakia. it was vainly hoped that the League of Nations would keep the peace. how all the signs of a forthcoming major war were conveniently ignored. Italy had entered the scramble for Africa in 1881 by taking over Assab in northern Ethiopia. In 1906. a series of defeats led to the Italians withdrawing from their protectorate. in retrospect. his regime was given dictatorial powers. He secured his fascist Dictatorship the following year through political chicanery and began protesting the terms of Versailles in 1930. gypsies and political prisoners. It seems incredible. and while the aggressive moves by Germany. Earlier in the year. It then expanded its holdings in the East African highlands. While domestic policies still had to find a way out of the unemployment mess. In Italy. Hitler had become Chancellor in July 30. French. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain then agreed. including the Sudetenland (with a large German population). Part 8: England in the 20th Century World War II In the late 1930's Britain's foreign policy stagnated. the German republic was able to rebuild her army and airforce from scratch. general fears of communism led King Victor Emmanuel to summon Benito Mussolini to form a ministry in which he would be given dictatorial powers to restore order and bring about reforms.
When Italian and Ethiopian troops clashed on the frontier between Italian Somaliland and Ethiopia in 1934. at the height of the crisis in Ethiopia. Stalin also took advantage of the situation to attack Finland. coming to a marriage of convenience with Hitler in which Poland became a pawn in the hands of both. There was no resistance. along with the French Premier. clouds of barrage balloons filled the English skies. Three years later. two days after Hitler's armies had invaded Poland. In Britain. his regime was given dictatorial powers. housewives turned in their pots and pans for scrap." Hitler then showed his true intention by seizing the rest of Czechoslovakia. Hitler's next move was to surround Bohemia and then demand modifications to the Czech frontier. rationing was imposed and rigidly enforced. By 1896. he sent his armies into the Rhineland. but Stalin had ideas of his own. iron fences. general fears of the spread of Communism led King Victor Emmanuel to summon Benito Mussolini to form a ministry in which he would be given dictatorial powers to restore order and bring about reforms. Earlier in the year. After he proclaimed the Third Reich in March. German armies swept through Poland in 18 days. how all the signs of a forthcoming major war were conveniently ignored. it was a totally unprepared Britain that declared war on Germany on September 3. including the Sudetenland (with a large German population). In Italy. In 1906. The League of Nations proved totally ineffective to prevent this seizure of the last bastion of native rule in Africa. though there were two million unemployed. Italy had entered the scramble for Africa in 1881 by taking over Assab in northern Ethiopia. 1934. and with the vivid memory of the carnage of World War I in mind. It then expanded its holdings in the East African highlands. Both leaders then supported General Franco's fascists in the Spanish Civil War (1936. It proceeded to fortify its Maginot Line as Hitler began to fortify the Rhineland. but things were generally looking prosperous following the slump of the Great Depression.39). in their efforts to appease. a country which geography he was incapable of aiding. His troops marched into Austria in March 1938. 1939. on a rising tide of nationalism and economic unrest. In August. the German republic was able to rebuild her army and airforce from scratch. and his extension of a guarantee to Poland. He announced open conscription early in 1935. France was afraid to react without British support. After his troops had occupied Addis Abbaba. a series of defeats led to the Italians withdrawing from their protectorate. The allies turned to Russia for support. They were to be used soon in a bid to dominate Europe. Hitler had become Chancellor on July 30. In March 1936. Unencumbered by obsolete equipment and even more obsolete thinking that hindered the British and the French. Lack of British resolve against the ambitions of Mussolini may have spurred Hitler to act. In Germany. railing and gateposts disappeared into . Also in March. children from the larger cities were moved into the countryside. the Nazis opened their first concentration camp for Jews. however. French and Italian spheres of interest. Somewhat better prepared France followed Britain by declaring war on Germany. Cities were blacked out. He secured his fascist dictatorship the following year through political chicanery and began protesting the terms of Versailles in 1930. Nevertheless. in November 1922. He thought he had bought "peace with honor. practically ensured war. Hitler became President of the Reich at the death of Hindenburg. Italy made Assab the basis of an Eritrean colony. in defiance of the conditions laid down at Versailles. Conscription was ordered for all men 20 years and older. Fearing a catastrophic war. he announced the annexation of Ethiopia and joined Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to create Italian East Africa. Mussolini had led his black-shirt Fascists into Rome. Britain and France stood back for fear of precipitating a general European war. Mussolini had an excuse to invade Ethiopia. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed. to hand over the Sudetenland to Germany. gypsies and political prisoners. Britain then prepared for total war. Chamberlain finally saw what Germany intended to dominate Europe. a Tripartite Pact declared the independence of Ethiopia but divided the country into British. The dictators of Germany and Italy then signed the pact known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.109 retrospect. they protested but did nothing except to embolden Hitler even further. In 1887 the Italian-Ethiopian War began.
the French could not hold back the German tide. All Britain could do was to hang on. the British army was forced to evacuate the continent at Dunkirk. and the new weapon of war. The 65-year-old veteran of many a political campaign was to prove a remarkable leader. he had a decided advantage in the number of planes and in trained pilots. One of the strangest fleets in history had rescued the bulk of the British Expeditionary Force from the burning beaches of Dunkirk. believing that Britain was doomed and that he could pick up rich spoils in Africa. tank traps and other obstacles to invading forces appeared everywhere. July 10. Soviet troops entered the Baltic States of Estonia. the Netherlands. After the complete collapse of France in June 1940. At a time when the war at sea was rapidly turning in Germany's favor. While the country waited to see if the French could successfully resist the Nazi armies. Realizing that she would not come to terms. leaving Britain alone in the West to face the Nazi hordes. The task seemed easy enough. In one of the most successful campaigns in the history of war. if it did not involve nearly every country on earth. total blackout was imposed and rigorously enforced by air Ðraid wardens. Even the old and retired were called on to play their part as plane spotters. but Britain precariously held out (those of us who were living in Britain at the time realize just how near to collapse we were). Trapped behind their so-called "impenetrable" Maginot Line. Luxembourg. Belgium. The country quickly rallied behind him to expend its "blood. New Prime Minister Winston Churchill informed the British people that the Battle for France was over: the Battle for Britain was about to begin. managed to save most of its cadre to train millions of new soldiers it needed to defend its Empire. bloody war that. gas masks were issued to every single person. the English coast was only a few minutes away. but Churchill's defiant riposte was that he wasn't on speaking terms with Adolph Hitler. swept all through it. Latvia and Lithuania to incorporate them into the USSR. Denmark. Norway and Romania. When France formed a "Vichy" government under Marshal Petain. mechanics. when it signed an armistice. even the retired. after they had easily bypassed the Maginot Line. In the meantime. Mussolini entered the war on the side of Germany. toil. including babies. but first he would have to destroy the Royal Air Force. In the Atlantic. truck drivers and pilots in non-combat roles. certainly affected them. They then raced forward at lightning speed to capture Paris. Hitler then planned an invasion of England. German forces soon controlled France. German forces took only five days to take Holland. to fight on until the situation might eventually change. air-raid wardens and night watchmen. From airfields in conquered France. Hitler expected Britain to come to terms. Beginning their march to the Channel in the Ardennes. Hitler's legions first occupied Denmark and then brushed aside a Franco-British force sent to help Norway. German U-boats were destroying thousands upon thousands of tons of allied shipping. protected by barbed wire. not even the United States. 1940 and artillery began shelling the English coast. Norway. Women also entered the armed services by the thousands. British beaches were mined. the Blitzkrieg. They had to report immediately to work in war industries or to work on the nation's farms in the socalled Women's Land Army. to work as radar operators. He stressed that Hitler would have to break Britain in order to win the war. and that no nation would be safe from sinking into the resulting darkness. But single women played a major role. but somehow halting a German division at Arras. the Royal Navy destroyed the French fleet anchored at Oran in North Africa. The final assault .110 blast furnaces. the Battle of Britain began with an attack of German bombers on England. a humiliated Chamberlain (who had earlier crowed that "Herr Hitler had missed the boat") resigned in favor of Winston Churchill. In May 1940. after a disastrous British attempt to force the Germans out of Narvik. British industry mobilized every person not on military service into production. air raid shelters were dug in back gardens and London subway stations prepared for their influx of nightly sleepers. tears and sweat" to eventually emerge victorious in what was to become a long. When France fell.
There was great fear throughout Britain during that late summer. the frustrated German dictator decided to ignore Goering's pleas for just a few more days to destroy Britain's air forces and turned eastward. The oncoming winter would prove to be a deciding factor in the holocaust that ensued. the US then provided Britain with Lend-Lease supplies in addition to handing over to the Royal Navy 50 much-needed destroyers. it was a colossal mistake. had delayed his assault on Russia. Murrow) had a profound effect upon American opinion.500. In September.000 rifles. " a lesson.000 men ashore by the end of the second day. His involvement in the Balkans. These were called "the happy times" for German U-boat crews. to attack Russia. the Imperial Air force crippled the US Navy at Pearl Harbor. concentrating mainly on airfields and radar installations. When British planes bombed Berlin to retaliate for bombs dropped on London (the German pilots had lost their way and missed their intended targets). Instead of keeping up the pressure. To meet the U-boat challenge. More important. where he feared a British attack against his flank from Greece. Hitler postponed the invasion of Britain. church bells rang in the mistaken belief that the invasion had begun.000 tons of British shipping. Hong Kong and Singapore.000 men in Britain had joined the Home Guard. President Roosevelt came to the aid of the beleaguered island nation. even the Royal Family was issued ration books). During the early air war. Their defiance of the might of the German air force. they had only 70. Though almost exhausted and down to its last few pilots. the great symbol of the British Empire. putting it. In November. Mussolini's grand boast of dominating what he called "mare nostrum" was defeated. like most of the French fleet before it. . On the "day of infamy" so strongly proclaimed by Roosevelt. (In a time of great food shortages. Britain breathed a huge sigh of relief. ranging from Hong Kong to Australia. Though 1. their airfields (and pilots) were given a much-needed respite to rebuild. Hitler planned to have 125. It was a grave error. Hitler determined to teach the British people. the RAF fought on in what was becoming a war of attrition in the air. He ordered his fleet to sink German submarines on sight. On December 7. Insisting on a thousand-fold revenge. British ships destroyed the Italian fleet at Taranto. then gave them a decided advantage over incoming German airplanes. Radar. In opposition to many in America who still thought that Britain's total defeat was only a mater of time. On September 17. The British people. he ordered the Luftwaffe to destroy London. they conserved what was left of their strength. idolized by adoring crowds as they set out into the Atlantic to wreak havoc on merchant ships bringing supplies from America. In June 1941 when the German armed divisions poured into the east. In many villages. They then advanced practically unopposed to the borders of India in the West and Australia in the South. The Royal Navy managed to keep control of the Mediterranean throughout the war. U-boats sank 160. Germany declared war on the US. 1941 she seized her opportunity to attack. Hitler's second-in-command Herman Goering miscalculated the resilience of the Royal Air Force. especially upon the President. the regular army had left most of its hardware behind in the evacuation from France. Eventually. In September 1940. the heavy losses sustained by the Luftwaffe put an end to any real chances of German forces crossing the Channel. There wasn't much to stop the invader. All that stood between the German armies and the planned invasion of Britain was the Fighter Command of the Royal Air Force. Plans were meticulously drawn up for the government of a conquered Britain. following decisive losses. Japanese forces then captured the British possessions of Malaya. Japan had concluded a pact with the Axis powers in order to fulfil her designs on the Pacific. Skilled use of a secret new weapon. their courage in carrying on "business as usual" and their slogan "London can Take it"" (relayed to the United States by radio commentators such as Edward R. Burma. those "night gangsters.111 was planned for August 13th. On December 11. out of action for the rest of the war. The British Air Force did not rise to the bait to defend London. and a very short time at that. huddled in their air-raid shelters awaited the worst. following a total blockade of the British Isles ordered by Hitler. the German Air Force conducted over 1500 missions a day over England. Hitler's hatred of Communism blinded him to the risks involved.
By May 6. It was now time for the allies to invade fortress Europe. Later in the year. The whole country had been taken by the spring of 1945. 1945.392 airplanes at the decisive Battle of Kursk. he had mixed loyalties. Members of British armed forces were considerably better educated than they had been in World War I. In the east. 1945. The soldier returning from the war was no longer in awe of his leaders. He was resentful of unemployment. "D-Day" the invasion of the Continent by allied forces in Operation Overlord marked the beginning of the end of the war in the West. 1945. where British forces under William Slim had stopped the Japanese efforts to invade India through Assam. notably the efforts of Montgomery to end an early stalemate in Normandy by the airborne attempt to capture bridges over the Rhine. Allied forces recaptured Sicily to invade Southern Italy. and all through the year. The fall of Saipan in July had the same effect in the East. The War in the Pacific came to an end on August 14. There. The re-conquest was the most successful of all the campaigns British forces had undertaken during the whole war. On May 7.112 The Turn of the Tide It seemed that the Japanese were unstoppable. French and American forces into Germany. Part 8: England in the 20th Century The Post-War Years The great social-leveling influence of the War meant that Britains were anxious for change. wishing for a greater share in the nation's post-war restructuring. Back home. east met west as allied forces met with the Russians at the Elbe. but it was beaten back with heavy German losses. The tide of war had turned irrevocably on the side of the allies. It was still heavy going in Italy. An expected German counterattack at the landing beaches did not come. Canadian. Japan surrendered only after the American Airforce dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Burma had been retaken. the British Eighth Army (the "Desert Rats") under Montgomery destroyed a German fighting machine of 250. the allies crossed the Rhine. despite determined German resistance.000.000 tanks and 1. in February 1943.000 men at the Battle of El Alamein in October 1942. Germany surrendered. a huge German army surrendered at Stalingrad. and he did not trust a Conservative government to . Hitler's exhausted forces in the west were finally brushed aside. but steady progress brought British. A failure of allied intelligence to spot 24 Nazi divisions gave the enemy temporary success in the Ardennes. a new Russian offensive began with 3. On the sixth of June 1944. Deceptive messages had led the Germans to concentrate their forces around the port of Calais. but bit by bit allied armies advanced up the peninsular. but as had the Germans. It was the climax of a most difficult but brilliantly executed campaign. In April. at the Battle of the Bulge. Years of meticulous planning and careful preparation paid off and hundreds of thousands of allied soldiers were landed within a few days with their equipment. Germany still had enough resources to produce a thousand V-2 rockets a month. suffered its first defeat when Hitler underestimated the strategic importance of Egypt. recapturing Rome to bring Italy out of the war. Germany too. The War in Europe came to an end on May 8. Londoners were once again forced into their underground shelters as V-1 rockets began to fall upon the city with terrifying effects. who lost over 2. The news eclipsed the news from Burma. most of which were directed toward London. Only defeat of Germany would end the threat. After being blocked by the winter snows and the fierce resistance of the Russians. In March 1945. Russian troops continued to inflict heavy casualties on the Germans. they over-reached themselves. A string of successes was halted in May 1942 when they sustained heavy losses in the Battle of the Coral Sea. Some failures in the re-conquest of western Europe inevitably ensued.000 men polishing off one German division after another on an inexorable march to Berlin. Countless thousands of returning soldiers and sailors wanted a turn-around in the status quo. By September 1944.
Under the Parliament of Clement Attlee. Nationalization of the hospitals made nationwide care available for the injured and seriously ill. In 1951. the balance of payments deficit had become a surplus. was now a major undertaking in peacetime. It was achieved under terribly adverse economic conditions. along with road. especially in the undeveloped areas of Scotland and Wales. it provided milk for babies. 1946. and to keep of its overseas bases. the new government began some of the greatest changes in Britain's long history---nothing less than a reconstruction of the nation. Britain was even able to join with the US in ferrying supplies to Berlin in the famous "Airlift" that began in July of that year. the government operated its first atomic pile. who led Britain to victory during the war. By 1950. to maternity and child welfare services. (In August." close the trade gap. The much-heralded Festival of Britain. Central control of the economy. Along with the devaluation of the pound and an expansion of world markets. however. monstrous gales and floods wiped out farms and destroyed agricultural products. A total of 20 percent of all British industry had been taken into public ownership by 1950. rail and waterways. caused undue hardship that was only made worse by one of the worst winters on record. During the dark early days of the War. the coal industry. Though the Labour Government did very little to develop the private sector." led by the aging Winston Churchill. the government introduced the National Health Service to proved free medical treatment for all. from the spectacles and false teeth. economic prospects seemed to be on the upturn. relief appeared in the form of the Marshall Plan. It succeeded in these aims remarkably well. though not until 1954 was meat rationing abolished. rationing began to be phased out. 1947. which had proved so successful in wartime. A fuel shortage severely curtailed exports. Britain's pre-war industrial strength was severely weakened. In 1947. air transport. and in 1948 even bread and potatoes were rationed (both had been exempt during the War). The introduction of the Land-Rover to world markets in 1948 was a godsend for British exports. electricity and gas. Stringent financial measures.113 tackle the enormous social economic and political problems. it can take credit for the building of giant hydro-electric schemes in the later 1940's. held in London in 1951 has been seen by many in retrospect. Another crisis occurred in 1947. and a two-year period beginning in 1946. The Government had taken on an emergency welfare responsibility. at Harwell). there was a revival of the spirit that had united the country during the War. As a consequence. The author remembers well the little ditty "It had to B. economist William Beveridge had put forward proposals for postwar "cradle-tograve" social security. In 1948. was to take control of industry and public utilities. The second major change brought about by the Labour Government. imposed to meet the enormous war debt. that they had done very little to solve between the wars. A National School Lunch Act was passed in June. under Attlee. not as a demonstration of the nation's . Under its slogan "You've Never Had It So Good. saw the nationalization of the Bank of England. the Conservatives resumed control of the government. It was now time for Labour to put the Beverage Plan into full operation. food was still severely rationed. introduced by the US to help the European Economy recover.U. found himself as a member of the opposition when the election of 1945 returned the Labour Party to power with a huge majority. The Labour Government struggled heroically to deal with the problems: to improve standards of living. The "Welfare State" had begun. maintain its armed forces in sufficient strength to meet a new threat from Communist Russia. Family allowances had already been introduced before the War's end. He wished for a change. move to a "mixed economy." that parodied a popular song of the time by referring to the Bread Unit. orange juice and cod-liver oil for children. Winston Churchill. Compared to those of the developing nations of Southeast Asia and the rebuilt economies of Japan and Germany. In less than one year.
1971 when Rolls-Royce declared bankruptcy. committed to union with Eire and Protestants. Britain entered a period of depression in the 1970's. in 1982. scale down social services and reduce the role of the state in daily life had wide appeal and gave her a large majority. Since 1962. The IRA brought their violence to Britain. Her promises to cut income taxes. killing a leading Conservative M. In 1985 the Anglo-Irish Agreement was an attempt to end it. inflation spiraled and economic decline continued despite the social contract between the government and the trade unions. In 1974. Great expansion of the oil fields then took place in the 1970's so that in 1979. She was the first female Prime Minister in the nation's history and gained her reputation as "the iron lady" for her tight control of Britain's monetary policy. A tremendous blow to British pride came in February. Glasgow and East London. hard-working and thrifty. claiming sovereignty over the small group of islands they called the Islas Maldivas in the South Atlantic that was home to a few thousand British settlers. In 1974. 1972). and full-scale activities had begun in 1964. in March. the country's oil production exceeded its imports for the first time. but her cutting back of expenditures on health. forcing the government to bail out the company to avoid job losses and to restore national prestige. the first oil find came five years later. led to the Government imposing direct rule over Northern Ireland. had done much to bring back dignity and honor to the monarchy. to shock both sides into realizing that governments could do little. Then.P.114 strength. spelling the end for such great traditional ports as Liverpool. like the Festival's Skylon. Britain's ports also adapted to the new container vessels. 1979 Prime Minister Callaghan lost a vote of confidence by one vote in the House of Commons and Conservative leader Margaret Thatcher became the nation's first woman Prime Minister in May. but hopes for peace were shattered on "Bloody Sunday" when British troops opened fire on protesters at Londonderry (January 30. The Nation and the Commonwealth mourned the death of King George VI. Bitter confrontation between unions and government continued to escalate. Margaret Thatcher was perceived as a grocer's daughter. A strike by London dock workers idled hundreds of ships and prevented goods from being exported. with both Britain and the Irish Republic agreeing to confer over the problems and to work together against terrorism. In March. who along with his queen Elizabeth. the whole of Britain felt itself under siege from a vicious bombing campaign. violence continued and Lord Mountbatten was killed by an IRA bomb in August. almost out of control. Britain's post-war lead in the production of motor-cycles had long been surrendered to the Japanese. Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. she had been conducting seismic prospecting for oil and natural gas in the North Sea. committed to retaining their British identity. . Many in Britain also wished to curb the power of the unions. peace had to come from the initiatives of the people themselves. Margaret Thatcher Though married to a millionaire. but as a product of British postwar weakness and a signal pointing to further decline. Yet there was a mood of optimism that received an another upturn with the coronation of the young queen Elizabeth. Continuing violence between Catholics. In Ireland. a complete no-nonsense person. however. Part 8: England in the 20th Century Something of a miracle occurred just when the world's oil producing nations doubled the cost of their product: Britain herself became a major oil producer. Her emphasis on "self-help" encouraged private enterprise. It took the outrage of the Inniskillen bombing in 1998. Along with most of the industrialized nations of the world. the first such ceremony to be televised. the country had no visible means of support. A fashionable joke at the time was that. Violence continued almost unabated. which they believed had grown into a monster. the great strike by the country's coal miners (over the government's "freeze" on wages) caused the Conservatives to lose the general election but under Labour. social services and education made her extremely unpopular with the masses.
The British were. which made each voter bear a full share of the costs incurred by prodigal spending). The number of videos acquired by British families was far greater than those in the US or Europe. made impressive gains in the world market in competition with Nike. Mrs. cleaner and warmer than at any time in their history. the miners also protested against overtime work. In 1981. at the bottom of the social scale. the privatization of industry and "dismantling" (when possible) of the Welfare State. despite riots in the deprived areas of some of England's biggest cities. better fed. (essential for organ transplants). at 4. mainly with income derived from the sale of Beatles records. British doctors at London's Oldham Hospital created the world's first "test tube baby" Louis Brown. In addition. Its legislation. In 1974. Privatization of British Gas. The nation was jubilant. General optimism. the Humber Bridge was completed. and continued IRA terrorist attacks. and in 1990. British television projected an image of quality throughout the world. retained their control of the government. the Iron Lady's imposition of the "Poll Tax" caused unrest and street demonstrations. Inflation and interest rates also remained alarmingly high." Then. and Mrs. Thatcher's decision to send British land and sea forces into the Gulf to participate in the United Nations multi-national task force raged against the government of Iraq divided the country. however. the computed axial tomography scanner was developed in England. The Conservatives. The problems resulting from the country fast-becoming multi-national. Thatcher's government was also helped by the splitting off of some Labour members to the Social Democratic Party. British scientists retained their lead. Spirits were also warmed in July. and the switch to oil. who later joined with the Liberals in "the Alliance. dress. once again helped by a split in opposition ranks. especially when it was learned that English casualties came mostly from "friendly" (i. Thatcher was regarded as something of a national hero. Mrs. a transgenic animal produced through cloning. with whole areas of the larger cities occupied by those whose religion. aided by its highly maneuverable airplanes (launched from carriers). Britain was also busy creating its own "silicon valleys" adapting the new micro-chip technology to replace traditional industries. (The tax was an attempt to reform local government and finance by replacing household rates. the closing of so many pits. better clothed. The 1990's saw the birth of the famous sheep Dolly (the first mammal produced from a donor cell taken from an adult rather than from an embryo). The bitterness caused by the strikes and the insensitivity of the government to their demands deeply divided the whole of British society. revolutionizing diagnostic medicine in immunology. especially those from the West Indies and some African states would disagree). the Water Authorities. Mrs. had defeated the unions. better housed. The 1980's indeed. British Airways and the electricity industry (termed by Macmillan as 'the family silver") proved a godsend to government revenues and also created a new class of British shareholders. now named Reebok. the miners went on strike to protest the closing of many pits deemed unprofitable. many promising development in science occurred. Thatcher's second government. won the day. on the whole.e. Thatcher continued her policies of tight economic control. In addition. The world's longest high-speed optical fiber link connected Birmingham with London. were a decade of prosperity (many immigrants. British Telecom. the better-trained and disciplined British infantry.626 feet the world's longest Suspension Bridge. The government was mainly split by the question of integration into Europe. US) fire. Under their dynamic and outspoken leader Arthur Scargill. 1981 when Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer (and another kind of spirit benefited from the "real-ale" campaign that protested against the mass production of pasteurized beer). in Mrs. and then Polly. food and social mores were considered "anti-British" were swept aside in a euphoria of jingoism. No wonder the Labour opposition was in complete disarray. 1978. begun on such an optimistic note. In July. one of Britain's oldest shoe companies. with some prominent members . and after two months. was tempered with distrust of one who was acquiring almost dictatorial powers.115 Prime Minister Thatcher sent a task force to recapture the islands.
The warm afterglow of the Gulf War had dissipated rapidly and continuing economic problems and uncertain leadership ate away Major's popularity. accounting and other service industries. For many. Its motto "It's Time for a Change" seemed to appeal to most Britons. the winds of change were blowing strong. embraced the European community and purged from within the unrepresentative labor bosses. Major. over-regulation. Hayek (first published in 1944). Many Conservative M. it was apparent that Britain was beginning to come to terms with the loss of much of its heavy industry and the increasing reliance on finance. it was the restoration of British pride in the victory in the Falklands. Why should they force Britain to enter a stagnant Europe? In addition. the main achievement of the Iron lady was to free her country from the iron grip of the trade unions. insurance. forgotten that it had preached in favor of public ownership of the means of production and exchange. Hundreds of Tory candidates were in open rebellion over Major's fence straddling on Europe. But once again.'s were in open rebellion over Europe. vacillating government policies and a foolish disdain toward enterpreneurship). tourism. continuing revelations in the daily newspapers about scandals involving leading Tories doomed Mr. the sale of tens of thousands of public housing (at bargain prices). For most. heightened by what Sir Geoffrey Howe (deputy leader of her own party) called her anti-European paranoia.A. oil. He was committed to keeping "Thatcherism" alive. Mrs. it had glorified the Victorian values of self-help and nationalism. John Major was returned to power. 1990. despite public sentiment in favor of the miners and as debatable as the benefits of privatization had proved.P. When Major was first elected. For others. The longest ministry of the century. they feared that British industry would be subject to European regulations in working conditions and labor relations.116 disagreeing with the purchase of the Westland Helicopter by Americans rather then Europeans. there was no going back to the old days of nationalized industries (and council houses. perhaps the greatest gift of wealth to the working class in British history. Yet as early as 1993. Labour won a landslide victory in 1997. Part 8: England in the 20th Century John Major & Tony Blair John Major then took over the reigns of the Conservative Party as Prime Minister. brought a challenge to Thatcher's leadership. Britain was still saying "No" to socialism." As a result of reading the book. Despite the fact that the economy was recovering and inflation was at a 30-year low. communications. leading magazines (particularly in the US) wrote of the death of the Labour Party eventhough it had abandoned its policy of nuclear disarmament. the Euro-skeptics determined to sabotage their leader. the Thatcher Era came to an end. and in November. What must not be overlooked in the polices of "Thatcherism" was the influence upon intellectuals and government policymakers alike of "The Road to Serfdom" by F. . By the mid-90's. Thatcher wrote that none of what her government had achieved would have been possible without the values and beliefs "that set us on the right road and provide the right sense of direction. putting the country far ahead of the US and Europe in the percentage of housing units owneroccupied. Other such issues. They were told to support Major's European policy or bring down the government. there was very little to divide the Labour and Conservative parties on the central principles of economic management. Leading Tories wanted to scuttle any deals Britain had made at Maastricht. Tony Blair was thus able to inherit an economy free from the dreaded "British disease" (militant trade unions. The unions were not going to regain their former powers. On Hayek's 90th birthday. By the general election of 1992. which had been offered for sale to private owners). and despite the highest growth rate and the lowest unemployment in Europe. not a single poll showed the Conservatives winning. Anthony Fisher founded the Institute of Economic Affairs in London which was to be the most important source of free-market ideas in Britain. the desire for continuity overrode the desire for change.
monetary and fiscal matters. Japan. Korea and others during the 16 years of Conservative rule.'s as Neil Kinnock (with his eyes on the Prime Minister's job) was done only too well. (the Scottish National Party) SNP had begun to build its organizational skills and work on political strategy. by a small majority. For the people of Wales and Scotland (and no less. The reasons are given at length in my "Brief History of Scotland. On September 11. led by such influential Welsh M." Hollywood movie star. called the results a step in the process of "modernizing Britain. despite heavily financed campaigns against it. the people of Wales chose an Assembly of their own. Scotland. Eighteen years later. and by the fervent and some say overzealous and destructive activities of the Welsh Language Society Cymdeithas yr Iaith Cymraeg. its share of the vote steadily grew. with powerful voices being raised in Scotland and Wales for more self-government. This time. whose Labour Party had actively campaigned for passage of the devolution bill. voted overwhelmingly in favor of its own Assembly. and social security). and the seemingly insoluble problem of Northern Ireland casting a deep shadow over the entire so-called United Kingdom. led by Tony Blair. border controls. On March 1. David's Day) the people of Wales voted overwhelmingly against devolution. The new brand of socialism was hardly distinguishable from that of Mrs. Labour. and national security. invoking the 1370 Declaration of Arbroath. It would have no revenue raising powers and sovereignty would be retained in Westminster. three voices will be heard instead of one: three equal voices. four days after the trauma of Lady Diana's funeral. Thatcher but the move of Labour to the center was expedited by the popularity of its leaders. The question of just how much should Britain integrate itself into Europe remained a thorny issue with the new government. The reasons were many (they are discussed in full in my "Brief History of Wales" and "The Referendum of 1979.117 The election took place only two years after Labour had rid itself of the clause in its constitution that called for the "common ownership of production. the decision to approve the Labour Government's plans for separate assemblies. "It is not for glory. which no good man loses but with his life. This was also a period of intense activity in Wales by members of Plaid Cymru. unlike the much weaker "talking-shop" that the Welsh are going to be saddled with as the result of their own (barely) successful referendum. the referendum resulted in the decision to give back a Parliament to Scotland by a 3-1 margin. meanwhile. It was now joined by a much more ancient problem: that of devolution with the British Isles. The government's program was bound to fail: the Bill was headed for defeat. the work of the anti-devolutionists. Scotsman Sean Connery (who did not appear in "Braveheart") campaigned hard and contributed a great deal of cash to the campaign. defense." It was particularly anxious to keep the billions of dollars that had been invested annually in the UK by the US. but each proud of its own distinctiveness as cultural and political units. and still suffering from the stigma attached to the very idea of nationalism during war years. sharing a unique British heritage. 1997. The government published its proposals for a devolved Scottish assembly in November 1975. but Westminster has the right to "reserve" or "withhold" many powers (constitutional matters. the wide range of competing priorities for government attention took away the time needed for the Callaghan government to devote to the issue." Too many feared changes in the statues quo. they had been supported by the Labour Party. foreign policy. distribution and exchange. In the councils of Europe. 1979 (St. fearing loss of support in Scotland to the SNP." The decision gives Scotland an Assembly with tax-levying powers. But in 1997 a new referendum was held in which. but only for liberty. discontent in both areas of Britain led to a feverish proliferation of committees soon at work in Westminster looking at further measures of devolution for Scotland and Wales. common markets for goods and services. was also still deeply divided on the question and the extent of devolution. Though prospects for passage looked good. the Party of Wales. The Scots will be given the broad authority to legislate in a host of sectors. Westminster . the results were reversed. may prove to be one of the most important ones in their long histories. the people of England). employment law. In any case." but are also summarized below: Though very much a minority party.P. British Prime Minister Tony Blair. riches or honours we fight.
politics. Their defense of ancient privilege had often blinded them to the realities of British political life since the time of Oliver Cromwell. faced the old difficulty of "the paralysing perplexity of so many alternatives. there was the age-old question of what to do about the House of Lords. literature. in the difficult art of compromise. Would the Irish question follow the same road? The problem of Europe remained for Tony Blair. to allow him to resign his peerage. The old arguments about the need for a second chamber to act as a brake on any impetuousness showed by the government of the day had long since disappeared. In 1922. Yet all attempts at reform eventually died down lacking a concerted opinion as to what kind of second chamber the country should support. it was willing to compromise in the uncertainly of what was to replace the second chamber. While England my no longer Rule the waves. The days of complacency were over. . however. It took four years of contentious debate to settle the matter. was defeated. The past two thousand years have shown a resilient people.118 must have breathed a sigh of relief that the problems of devolution for Wales and Scotland were settled so amicably. it is perfectly capable of putting its own house in order. was duly elevated to the peerage upon the death of his father (who had been appointed as a Labour peer only twenty years before). exploration. Lloyd George threatened to swamp them with five hundred new peers.P. Many Labour M. hereditary legislators seemed ridiculous in a country that prided itself on its democratic institutions.P. social welfare and sport. the government of Tony Blair and is centrist Labour Party. Time and time again the Lords had obstructed legislation that would have surely benefited the nation. proud and independent. it was the budget of Lloyd George in 1909 that really stirred up the pot. In many ways. A conference held in 1917. The newcomers proved just as anxious to preserve their newly-gained privileges as their hereditary colleagues. The landed aristocracy saw his attempts to tax the rich as the beginning of the end of all rights of property. in art. but their powers of delay would be reduced to two years: it continued to remain a powerful revising chamber.'s wished to abolish the Upper House altogether. As a peer. In 1967. the younger Benn was refused admission to the Hose of Commons when he came to take his usual seat. The very idea of non-elected." The Commons also feared that an elected upper chamber would offer a serious challenge to its own powers. The Parliament Bill of 1911 was thus a weak compromise: all the hereditary peers and bishops would stay in the House. but it could be matched by many other areas in which they had excelled in their obstinacy. with their obstruction of Home Rule Bills. science and technology. as Wales and Scotland have shown. the Labour Party announced its plans to reduce the powers of the Lords and to eliminate its hereditary basis. A private bill. a problem that perhaps exemplifies the struggle of Britain to adjust itself to the modern world. the Upper Chamber had become an anachronism. Leaving aside century after century of attacks on the privileges (and power) enjoyed by the Lords. Lloyd George became notorious for selling lordships to the highest bidder. In the late 1990's. in addition. but it was evident that the House of Lords needed some drastic changes. Once again. however. The advent of the First World War postponed the move to exclude hereditary peers from the Upper House. When the Lords rejected his bill. but a compromise was reached: only minor changes were effected. and the old aristocracy found itself rapidly outnumbered by the new captains of industry and leading financiers on the benches of the chamber. a promising and ambitious Labour M. Their record on Ireland was appalling. a people who will continue to give so much to the world. but above all. There is nothing in the nation's proud past that would prevent a satisfactory solution to the problem of the privileges enjoyed by the House of Lords. Another crisis occurred in 1960 when Antony Edgwood Benn. is still grappling with the problem of the Lords.
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