| Our Island Story|
|by H. E. Marshall|
|A child's history of England from earliest legendary times delightfully retold. Beginning with the stories of Albion and Brutus, it relates all the interesting legends and hero tales in which the history of England abounds through the end of the reign of Queen Victoria. Ages 9-12 |
JAMES II. OF ENGLAND AND VII. OF SCOTLAND—THE STORY OF KING MONMOUTH
 A FEW days after Argyle reached Scotland, the Duke of
Monmouth sailed from Holland and landed in England. He was
received with great joy. The common people flocked to his
standard, many of them armed only with scythes, and
pruning-hooks fastened to poles. Nine hundred young men
marched before him, twenty beautiful girls gave him a Bible
splendidly bound and a banner which they had themselves
embroidered. The roads wherever he went were lined with
cheering crowds. "A Monmouth! A Monmouth! the Protestant
religion!" they cried as he passed.
The Duke's followers begged him to take the title of king,
so, on 20th June 1685 A.D., the same day on which Argyle was
led captive through Edinburgh, Monmouth was proclaimed king
at Taunton, a little town in the south of England. But like
the real King, he was named James so, instead of calling him
King James, his followers called him King Monmouth.
King Monmouth did not enjoy his title long. In the dark of
the early morning of the 6th July, a battle was fought
between King James's men and the followers of Monmouth, on
the plain of Sedgemoor. Monmouth fought bravely, but when he
saw that his men were being
 defeated, he turned and fled
away leaving them leaderless and hopeless. This was the last
real battle ever fought on English ground.
Monmouth tried to escape in disguise. He changed clothes
with a poor shepherd, but the country was so full of the
King's soldiers that he found it impossible to get away. For
several days he lived in the fields, hiding in ditches and
having nothing to eat but raw peas and beans. At last,
miserable and ragged, half starving from cold and hunger, he
was discovered by the soldiers and taken prisoner to London.
Bound with a cord of silk he was led before King James, and
falling upon his knees he begged for mercy and forgiveness.
But James never forgave. Monmouth, like so many other men,
good and bad, was beheaded.
The anger and vengeance of the King did not end with the
death of Monmouth. His soldiers, under a dreadful man called
Kirke, tortured and murdered, in a terrible manner, the poor
rebels who escaped from Sedgemoor. Judge Jeffreys followed
next, and so many people did he kill, such terrible things
did he do, that his journey through the country was for ever
after called the Bloody Assize.
Assize means Court of Justice. At certain times in England
judges make what is called a circuit or journey through the
country, when they hear what wrong things people have done,
and when they judge and punish. But on this dreadful journey
Judge Jeffreys did not do justice. He did wrong and murder,
and King James praised and rewarded him for it.
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