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Charles Dickens > A Child's History of England > Chapter XXXVII

A Child's History of England

Chapter XXXVII

I HAVE now arrived at the close of my little history. The events
which succeeded the famous Revolution of one thousand six hundred
and eighty-eight, would neither be easily related nor easily
understood in such a book as this.

William and Mary reigned together, five years. After the death of
his good wife, William occupied the throne, alone, for seven years
longer. During his reign, on the sixteenth of September, one
thousand seven hundred and one, the poor weak creature who had once
been James the Second of England, died in France. In the meantime
he had done his utmost (which was not much) to cause William to be
assassinated, and to regain his lost dominions. James's son was
declared, by the French King, the rightful King of England; and was
called in France THE CHEVALIER SAINT GEORGE, and in England THE
PRETENDER. Some infatuated people in England, and particularly in
Scotland, took up the Pretender's cause from time to time - as if
the country had not had Stuarts enough! - and many lives were
sacrificed, and much misery was occasioned. King William died on
Sunday, the seventh of March, one thousand seven hundred and two,
of the consequences of an accident occasioned by his horse
stumbling with him. He was always a brave, patriotic Prince, and a
man of remarkable abilities. His manner was cold, and he made but
few friends; but he had truly loved his queen. When he was dead, a
lock of her hair, in a ring, was found tied with a black ribbon
round his left arm.

He was succeeded by the PRINCESS ANNE, a popular Queen, who reigned
twelve years. In her reign, in the month of May, one thousand
seven hundred and seven, the Union between England and Scotland was
effected, and the two countries were incorporated under the name of
GREAT BRITAIN. Then, from the year one thousand seven hundred and
fourteen to the year one thousand, eight hundred and thirty,
reigned the four GEORGES.

It was in the reign of George the Second, one thousand seven
hundred and forty-five, that the Pretender did his last mischief,
and made his last appearance. Being an old man by that time, he
and the Jacobites - as his friends were called - put forward his
son, CHARLES EDWARD, known as the young Chevalier. The Highlanders
of Scotland, an extremely troublesome and wrong-headed race on the
subject of the Stuarts, espoused his cause, and he joined them, and
there was a Scottish rebellion to make him king, in which many
gallant and devoted gentlemen lost their lives. It was a hard
matter for Charles Edward to escape abroad again, with a high price
on his head; but the Scottish people were extraordinarily faithful
to him, and, after undergoing many romantic adventures, not unlike
those of Charles the Second, he escaped to France. A number of
charming stories and delightful songs arose out of the Jacobite
feelings, and belong to the Jacobite times. Otherwise I think the
Stuarts were a public nuisance altogether.

It was in the reign of George the Third that England lost North
America, by persisting in taxing her without her own consent. That
immense country, made independent under WASHINGTON, and left to
itself, became the United States; one of the greatest nations of
the earth. In these times in which I write, it is honourably
remarkable for protecting its subjects, wherever they may travel,
with a dignity and a determination which is a model for England.
Between you and me, England has rather lost ground in this respect
since the days of Oliver Cromwell.

The Union of Great Britain with Ireland - which had been getting on
very ill by itself - took place in the reign of George the Third,
on the second of July, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-eight.

WILLIAM THE FOURTH succeeded George the Fourth, in the year one
thousand eight hundred and thirty, and reigned seven years. QUEEN
VICTORIA, his niece, the only child of the Duke of Kent, the fourth
son of George the Third, came to the throne on the twentieth of
June, one thousand eight hundred and thirty-seven. She was married
to PRINCE ALBERT of Saxe Gotha on the tenth of February, one
thousand eight hundred and forty. She is very good, and much
beloved. So I end, like the crier, with


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