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James I slobbered at the mouth and had favourites; he Was thus a Bad King. He had, however, a very logical and tidy mind, and one of the first things he did was to have Sir Walter Raleigh executed for being left over from the previous reign. He also tried to straighten out the memorable confusion about the Picts, who, as will be remembered, were originally Irish living in Scotland, and the Scots, originally Picts living in Ireland. James tried to make things tidier by putting the Scots in Ulsters and planting them in Ireland, but the plan failed because the Picts had been lost sight of during the Dark Ages and were now nowhere to be found.
There were a great many plots and Parliaments in James I's reign, and one of the Parliaments was called the Addled Parliament because the plots hatched in it were all such rotten ones. One plot, however, was by far the best plot in History, and the day and month of it (though not, of course, the year) are well known to be utterly and even maddeningly memorable.
The Gunpowder Plot arose in the following way: the King had recently invented a new table called Avoirduroi, which said:
i New Presbyter = I old priest.
o Bishop = o King.
James was always repeating, 'No Bishop, No King'" to himself, and one day a certain loyal citizen called Sir Guyfawkes, a very active and conscientious man, overheard him, and thought it was the slogan of James's new policy. So he decided to carry it out at once and made a very loyal plan to blow up the King and the bishops and everybody else in Parliament assembled, with gun-powder.* Although the plan failed, attempts are made every year on St Guyfawkes' Day to remind the Parliament that it would have been a Good Thing.
*Recently invented by Francis Bacon, author of Shakespeare, etc.
It was at this time that some very pious Englishmen, known as the Early Fathers, who were being persecuted for not learning Avoirduroi, sailed away to America in a ship called the Mayfly; this is generally referred to as the Pilgrims' Progress and was one of the chief causes of America.
With the ascension of Charles I to the throne we come at last to the Central Period of English History (not to be confused with the Middle Ages, of course), consisting in the utterly memorable Struggle between the Cavaliers (Wrong but Wromantic) and the Roundheads (Right and Repulsive).
Charles I was a Cavalier King and therefore had a small pointed beard, long flowing curls, a large, flat, flowing hat, and gay attire. The Roundheads, on the other hand, were clean-shaven and wore tall, conical hats, white ties, and sombre garments. Under these circumstances a Civil War was inevitable.
The Roundheads, of course, were so called because Cromwell had all their heads made perfectly round, in order that they should present a uniform appearance when drawn up in line.
Besides this, if any man lost his head in action, it could be used as a cannon-ball by the artillery (which was done at the Siege of Worcester).
For a long time before the Civil War, however, Charles had been quarrelling with the Roundheads about what was right. Charles explained that there was a doctrine called the Divine Right of Kings, which said that:
(a) He was King, and that was right.
(b) Kings were divine, and that was right.
(c) Kings were right, and that was right.
(d) Everything was all right.
But so determined were the Roundheads that all this was all wrong that they drew up a Petition called the Petition of Right to show in more detail which things were wrong. This Petition said:
(a) That it was wrong for anyone to be put to death more than once for the same offence.
(b) Habeas Corpus, which meant that it was wrong if people were put in prison except for some reason, and that people who had been mutilated by the King, such as Prynne, who had often had his ears cut off, should always be allowed to keep their bodies.
(c) That Charles's memorable methods of getting money, such as Rummage and Scroungeage, were wrong.
But the most important cause of the Civil War was
Charles I said that any money which was Ship Money belonged to him; but while the Roundheads declared that Ship Money could be found only in the Cinq Ports, Charles maintained that no one but the King could guess right which was Ship Money and which wasn't. This was, of course, part of his Divine Right. The climax came when a villager called Hampden (memorable for his dauntless breast) advised the King to divine again.
This so upset Charles that he went back to Westminster, and after cinquing several ports burst into the House of Commons and asked in a very royal way for some birds which he said were in there. The Parliament, who were mostly Puritans, were so shocked that they began making solemn Leagues and Countenances. Charles therefore became very angry and complaining that the birds had flown raised his standard at Nottingham and declared war against Hampden and the Roundheads.
At first the King was successful owing to Prince Rupert of Hentzau, his famous cavalry leader, who was very dashing in all directions. After this, many indecisive battles were fought at such places as Newbury, Edge-hill, Newbury, Chalgrove Field, Newbury, etc., in all of which the Cavaliers were rather victorious.
The Roundheads therefore made a new plan in order to win the war after all. This was called the Self-Denying Ordnance and said that everyone had to deny everything he had done up to that date, and that nobody was allowed to admit who he was: thus the war could be started again from the beginning. When the Roundheads had done this they were called the New Moral Army and were dressed up as Ironclads and put under the command of Oliver Cromwell, whose Christian name was Oliver and who was therefore affectionately known as 'Old Nick'. Cromwell was not only moral and completely round in the head but had a large (round) wart on the nose. He was consequently victorious in all the remaining battles such as Newbury, Marston Moor, Edgehill (change for Chalgrove), Naseby, Newbury, etc.
When Charles I had been defeated he was brought to trial by the Rump Parliament - so-called because it had been sitting for such a long time - and was found guilty of being defeated in a war against himself, which was, of course, a form of High Treason. He was therefore ordered by Cromwell to go and have his head cut off (it was, the Roundheads pointed out, the wrong shape, anyway). So romantic was Charles, however, that this made little difference to him and it is very memorable that he walked and talked Half an hour after his Head was cut off.
On seeing this, Cromwell was so angry that he picked up the mace (the new and terrible Instrument of Government which he had invented) and, pointing it at the Head, shouted: 'Take away that Marble,' and announced that his policy in future would be just Blood and Ironclads. In order to carry out this policy he divided the country into twelve districts and set a Serjeant-Major over each of them.
Nothing sickened the people of the rule of the Serjeant-Majors so much as their cruel habit of examining little boys viva-voce. For this purpose the unfortunate children were dressed in their most uncomfortable satins and placed on a stool. The Serjeant-Major would then ask such difficult questions as 'How's your Father ?' or 'Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral ?' and those who could not answer were given a cruel medicine called Pride's Purge. All this was called the Crommon-wealth and was right but repulsive.
The Roundheads at length decided to offer Cromwell the Crown. Cromwell, however, was unwilling and Charles's Spaniards, the most memorable of whom was Catherine of Braganza; but, although married to Catherine, Charles was even fonder of an orange girl called Elinor Gwyn. He was thus a Bad Man.
Charles II was famous for his wit and his inventions. Among the latter was an unbridled and merry way of behaving and writing plays, called the Reformation. This was a Good Thing in the end as it was one of the earliest causes of Queen Victoria's determination to be good.
Most of Charles's witty remarks were of an unbridled nature and are therefore (fortunately) not memorable.
He instituted, however, a number of witty Acts of Parliament. Amongst these were:
(a) The Act of Indemnity and Oblivion, which said that everyone had to pay an indemnity to the King and then forget that he had paid it.
(b) The Act of Uniformity, which said that everyone had to be the same as everyone eke.
(c) The Five Mile Act, which said that no schoolmasters or clergymen were to go within five miles of each other. (This was, obviously, a Good Thing.)
(d) The Corporation Act, which said that everyone had to be as fat as possible (except Nell Glyn).
After each of these Charles became merrier still and though some of them, particularly the Corporation Act, were considered rather unfair, he made up by passing a new Habeas Corpus Act which said that all the people might keep their bodies, and thus everyone was contented. Later, Charles became even merrier and made a Declaration of Indulgence saying that people could do anything they liked and a Test Act was passed soon after to see if they had done it (and, if so, what).
It was at this period that the Navigation Acts were first made by the English. These Acts pointed out to the other countries that no foreign ships knew how to navigate the seas, and that their only chance was to steer for English ports. Although this was really part of the Rule Britannia (see Chap. 2, Freedom of the Seas), it caused some wars against the Dutch who were treacherously attempting to be top nation on the sea at that time. For a short while the Dutch ships were successful under their memorable Admiral, Van Broom, who is famous for blowing his own Trompet up the Medway until the sound was heard in the streets of London. The war, however, soon came to an end, since the Dutch are quite small and can never be top nation really.
A great deal of excitement was caused in this reign by Titus Oates, the memorable Quaker, who said that a Roman Catholic plot had been made with the objects
(a) of murdering the King, (6) of blowing up the people, (c) of restoring the Roman Catholic religion instead.
These would probably have been a Bad Thing, if they had been achieved, and the King was so enraged that he immediately introduced a Disabling Act which said that everyone except the heir to the throne was to be disabled. Later when he had relented, he had another Habeas Carpus Act passed, saying that the disabled people might keep their bodies.
During Charles IPs reign the Great Plague happened in London. This was caused by some rats which had left a sinking ship on its way from China, and was very fortunate for the Londoners, since there were too many people in London at the time, so that they were always in bad health.
In the following year, therefore, London was set on fire in case anyone should have been left over from the Plague, and St Paul's Cathedral was built instead. This was also a Good Thing and was the cause of Sir Christopher Wren, the memorable architect.
Among the famous characters of the period were Samuel Pepys, who is memorable for keeping a Dairy and going to bed a great deal, and his wife Evelyn, who kept another memorable Dairy, but did not go to bed in in it.
Although a Good Man, James II was a Bad King and behaved in such an irritating and arbitrary way that by the end of his reign the people had all gone mad.
One of the first things that happened was a rebellion by Monmouth, an indiscriminate son of Charles II who, landing incorrectly in Somerset, was easily defeated at Newbury, Sedgehill, Marston Moor, Newbury, etc. (see Civil War). The Rebels were ferociously dealt with by the memorable Judge Jeffreys who was sent out by
James as a Justice in Ire in the West, where he made some furious remarks about the prisoners, known as 'The Bloody Asides'.
James II further enraged his subjects by
(a) attempting to repeal the Habeas Corpus Act, saying that nobody might have a body after all, and
(b) claiming the Dispensing Power which was a threat to revive Pride's Purge and do the dispensing of it himself;
(c) suspending (probably a modified form of hanging) the Vice-Chancellor at Cambridge, who was apparently mad too, for refusing to have a Benedictine.
The final and irreparable madness of the people was brought on by James's action in bringing to trial Seven Bishops (Bancroft, Sancroft, and Sacheveral others) for refusing to read Charles IPs Declaration of Indulgence (which they thought would be dangerous under the circumstances), and when in addition it became known that James had confined his infant son and heir in a warming-pan the people lost control of themselves altogether and, lighting an enormous number of candles, declared that the answer was an Orange. James was thus compelled to abdicate.
Williamanmary for some reason was known as The Orange in their own country of Holland, and were popular as King of England because the people naturally believed it was descended from Nell Glyn. It was on the whole a good King and one of their first Acts was the Toleration Act, which said they would tolerate anything, though afterwards it went back on this and decided that they could not tolerate the Scots.
The Scots were now in a skirling uproar because James II was the last of the Scottish Kings and England was under the rule of the Dutch Orange; it was therefore decided to put them hi charge of a very fat man called Cortez and transport them to a Peak in Darien, where it was hoped they would be more silent.
The Scots, however, continued to squirl and hoot at the Orange, and a rebellion was raised by the memorable Viscount Slaughterhouse (the Bonnie Dundee) and his Gallivanting Army. Finally Slaughterhouse was defeated at the Pass of Ghilliekrankie and the Scots were all massacred at Glascoe, near Edinburgh (in Scotland, where the Scots were living at that time); after which they were forbidden to curl or hoot or even to wear the Kilt. (This was a Good Thing, as the Kilt was one of the causes of their being so uproarious and Scotch.)
Meanwhile the Orange increased its popularity and showed themselves to be a very strong King by its ingenious answer to the Irish Question; this consisted in the Battle of the Boyne and a very strong treaty which followed it, stating
(a) that all the Irish Roman Catholics who liked could be transported to France,
(b) that all the rest who liked could be put to the sword,
(c) that Northern Ireland should be planted with Blood-Orangemen.
These Blood-Orangemen are still there; they are, of course, all descendants of Nell Glyn and are extremely fierce and industrial and so loyal that they are always ready to start a loyal rebellion to the Glory of God and the Orange. All of which shows that the Orange was a Good Thing, as well as being a good King.
After the Treaty the Irish who remained were made to go and live in a bog and think of a New Question.
It was Williamanmary who first discovered the National Debt and had the memorable idea of building the Bank of England to put it in. The National Debt is a very Good Thing and it would be dangerous to pay it off, for fear of Political Economy.
Finally the Orange was killed by a mole while out riding and was succeeded by the memorable dead queen, Anne.
1. Stigmatize cursorily (a) Queen Mary, (fr) Judge Jeffreys's asides. (Speak out.)
2. Outline joyfully (i) Henry VIII, (2) Stout Cortez.
3. Who had what written on whose what ?
4A. What convinces you that Henry VIII had VIII wives ?
Was it worth it?
4B. Conjugate briefly Ritzio and Mary Queen of Scots.
5. In what ways was Queen Elizabeth a Bad Man but a Good Queen ?
6. 'To the exercise of Despotic Monarchy the Crown is more essential than the Throne.' (Refute with special reference to anything you know.)
7A. Which do you consider was the stronger swimmer,
(a) The Spanish Armadillo, (b) The Great Seal ?
7B. Who was in whose what, and how many miles awhat ?
7C. Cap'n, art thou sleeping there below ?*
8. Deplore the failure of the Gunpowder Plot, stating the day and month (but not, of course, the year) usually assigned to it.
9. Examine the state of mind of
(1) Charles I, half an hour after his head was cut off
(2) Charles II, half a moment after first sighting Nell Gwyn.
10. Why on earth was William of Orange? (Seriously,
11. How can you be so numb and vague about Arabella
12. Estimate the medical prowess of the period with clinical reference to (a) Pride's Purge, (V) The Diet of Worms, (c) The Topic of Capricorns.
*n.b. - Do not attempt to answer this question.
Queen Anne was considered rather a remarkable woman and hence was usually referred to as Great Anna, or Annus Mirabilis. Besides being dead she was extremely kind-hearted and had a very soothing Act passed called the Occasional Conformity Act which said that people only had to conform with it occasionally: this pleasant trait in her character was called Queen Anne's Bounty. (The Occasional Conformity Act was the only Act of its kind in History, until the Speed limit was invented.) The Queen had many favourites (all women), the
most memorable of whom were Sarah Jenkins and Mrs Smashems, who were the first Wig and the first Tory. Sarah Jenkins was really the wife of the Duke of Marl-borough, the famous General, inventor of the Ramillies Whig, of which Sarah wore the first example.
All through the eighteenth century there was a Succession of Wars, and in Queen Anne's reign these were called the Spanish Succession (or Austrian Succession) because of The Infanta (or The Mariatheresa); they were fought mainly on account of the French King L/XIV (le grand Monomarque) saying there were no more Pyrenese, thus infuriating the Infanta who was one herself.
Probably the Wars could never have been fought properly but for the genius of Marlborough, who could always remember which side the Bavarians and the Elector Pantomime of the Rhine were supposed to be on: this unique talent enabled him to defeat his enemies in fierce battles long before they could discover which side he himself was on. Marlborough, however, was a miser in politics and made everyone pay to go into his party; he was therefore despised as a turnstyle.
In this reign also occurred the memorable Port Wine Treaty with Portugal, directed against Decanters (as the Non-Conformists were now called), as well as a very clever Act called the Schism Act which said that everybody's religion was to be quite different from everybody else's. Meanwhile the Whigs being the first to realize that the Queen had been dead all the time chose George I as King.
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