Young Folks' History of England eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 165 pages of information about Young Folks' History of England.

CHAPTER XLII.

George II.  A.D. 1725—­1760.

The reign of George II. was a very warlike one.  Indeed he was the last king of England who ever was personally in a battle; and, curiously enough, this battle—­that of Fontenoy—­was the last that a king of France also was present in.  It was, however, not a very interesting battle; and it was not clear who really won it, nor are wars of this time very easy to understand.

The battle of Fontenoy was fought in the course of a great war to decide who would be emperor of Germany, in which France and England took different sides; and this made Charles Edward Stuart, the eldest son of James, think it was a good moment for trying once again to get back the crown of his forefathers.  He was a fine-looking young man, with winning manners, and a great deal more spirit than his father:  and when he landed in Scotland with a very few followers, one Highland gentleman after another was so delighted with him that they all brought their clans to join him, and he was at the head of quite a large force, with which he took possession of the town of Edinburgh; but he never could take the castle.  The English army was most of it away fighting in Germany, and the soldiers who met him at Prestonpans, close to Edinburgh, were not well managed, and were easily beaten by the Highlanders.  Then he marched straight on into England:  and there was great terror, for the Highlanders—­with their plaids, long swords, and strange language—­were thought to be all savage robbers, and the Londoners expected to have every house and shop ruined and themselves murdered:  though on the whole the Highlanders behaved very well.  They would probably have really entered London if they had gone on, and reached it before the army could come home, but they grew discontented and frightened at being so far away from their own hills; and at Derby.  Charles Edward was obliged to let them turn back to Scotland.

The English army had come back by this time, and the Scots were followed closely, getting more sad and forlorn, and losing men in every day’s march, till at last, after they had reached Scotland again, they made a stand against the English under the king’s second son, William, Duke of Cumberland, at the heath of Culloden.  There they were entirely routed, and the prince had to fly, and hide himself in strange places and disguises, much as his great uncle, Charles II., had done before him.  A young lady named Flora Macdonald took him from one of the Western Isles to another in a boat as her Irish maid, Betty Bourke; and, at another time, he was his in a sort of bower, called the cage, woven of branches of trees on a hill side, where he lived with three Highlanders, who used to go out by turns to get food.  One of them once brought him a piece of ginger-bread as a treat—­for they loved him heartily for being patient, cheerful, and thankful for all they did for him; and when at last he found a way of reaching France, and shook hands with them on bidding the farewell, one of them tied up his right hand, and vowed that no meaner person should ever touch it.

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