Young Folks' History of England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 195 pages of information about Young Folks' History of England.

One of the people who had wanted to marry her was her brother-in-law, Philip of Spain, but she was far too wise, and he and she were bitter enemies all the rest of their lives.  His subjects in Holland had become Protestants, and he persecuted them so harshly that they broke away from him.  They wanted Elizabeth to be their queen, but she would not, though she sent Lord Leicester to help them with an army.  With him went his nephew, Sir Philip Sydney, the most good, and learned, and graceful gentleman at court.  There was great grief when Sir Philip was struck by a cannon ball in the thigh, and died after nine days pain.  It was as he was being carried from the field, faint and thirsty, that some one had just brought him a cup of water, when he saw a poor soldier, worse hurt than himself, looking at it with longing eyes.  He put it from him untasted, and said, “Take it, thy necessity is greater than mine.”

After the execution of Mary of Scotland, Philip of Spain resolved to punish Elizabeth and the English, and force them back to obedience to the pope.  He fitted out an immense fleet, and filled it with fighting men.  So strong was it that, as armada is the Spanish for a fleet, it was called the Invincible Armada.  It sailed for England, the men expecting to burn and ruin all before them.  But the English ships were ready.  Little as they were, they hunted and tormented the big Spaniards all the way up the English Channel; and, just as the Armada had passed the Straits of Dover, there came on such dreadful storms that the ships were driven and broken before it, and wrecked all round the coasts—­even in Scotland and Ireland—­and very few ever reached home again.  The English felt that God had protected them with His wind and storm, and had fought for them.

Lord Leicester died not long after, and the queen became almost equally fond of his stepson, the Earl of Essex, who was a brave, high-spirited young man, only too proud.

The sailors of Queen Elizabeth’s time were some of the bravest and most skilful that ever lived.  Sir Francis Drake sailed round the world in the good ship Pelican, and when he brought her into the Thames the queen went to look at her.  Sir Walter Raleigh was another great sailor, and a most courtly gentleman besides.  He took out the first English settlers to North America, and named their new home Virginia—­after the virgin queen—­and he brought home from South America our good friend the potato root; and, also he learnt their to smoke tobacco.  The first time his servant saw this done in England, he thought his master must be on fire, and threw a bucket of water over him to put it out.

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Young Folks' History of England from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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