| 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 |
ANNE—HOW THE UNION JACK WAS MADE
 WILLIAM and Mary had no children, so Mary's sister, Anne,
the younger daughter of James II., succeeded to the throne.
From the very beginning of her reign Britain was at war with
France, and indeed not only Britain, but all Europe was
fighting on one side or the other. The British troops were
led by a famous soldier called Marlborough. He won many
battles, the chief of which were called Blenheim and
Ramillies. This War of the Spanish Succession went on for
more than ten years, till all Europe was weary of fighting,
and many places, where there had been houses and gardens and
green fields, were nothing but deserted wildernesses.
At last a peace was made called the Peace of Utrecht. By
this treaty Louis acknowledged Anne as the rightful Queen of
Britain, and also promised to send James the Pretender, as
the son of James VII. was called, out of his kingdom, and
not to help him any more. Once before, Louis had promised
something very like this to William, and he did not keep his
promise. There were other agreements in this treaty, one of
them being that Britain should keep the strong fortress of
Gibraltar in Spain, which has belonged to the British ever
Marlborough was a famous soldier, but he was also a great
statesman, and indeed he and his wife, the Duchess of
Marlborough, ruled the Queen for many years. He
 was brave
and clever, but he was greedy and not quite honest. He made
many enemies, who succeeded at last in having him disgraced,
and both he and his wife were sent away from court.
The Duchess had a very bad temper, and she was so angry when
she had to leave court that she smashed all the furniture in
her rooms, and threw the Queen's keys at the Duke's head,
when he was sent to ask for them. It was no wonder that the
Queen, who was gentle and kind, had been afraid of the
Duchess, and had been ruled by her.
Other clever men succeeded Marlborough, and another clever
woman succeeded the Duchess, for Queen Anne was not a
strong-minded woman, and she allowed herself to be ruled and
led by favourites and statesmen. Like Queen Elizabeth she had
many great men around her, and although they thought more
perhaps of making themselves famous and powerful than of
what was best for the country, still the country prospered.
The greatest thing that happened in the reign of Anne was
the union of the Parliaments of England and Scotland.
Since 1603 A.D., when James VI. of Scotland became King of
England, there had been very little real union between the
two countries. For union means "oneness," and although there
had been only one King there had been two Parliaments, one
in England, and one in Scotland, each making laws. Sometimes
the Scottish Parliament would make laws which the English
Parliament thought were dangerous; sometimes the English
Parliament would make laws which the Scottish Parliament did
not like. It almost seemed at times as if the union of the
crowns had done no good at all, and the two countries were
ready to quarrel and separate.
 Wise men saw that there could be no real union until there
was only one Parliament, until English and Scots met and
discussed the laws together. Cromwell indeed had called
English, Scottish, and Irish members to his Parliament, but
it had been for so short a time, and in such troubled days
that people had almost forgotten about it.
Even now it was not an easy thing to do, but at last all
difficulties were smoothed away. It was agreed among other
things that each country should keep its own law courts and
its own religion, but that they should have the same King,
the same Parliament, the same money, and the same flag, and
that the country should be called Great Britain.
The English flag was a red St. George's cross on a white
ground. The Scottish flag was a white St. Andrew's cross on
a blue ground. So to make one flag, the two crosses were
placed one on the top of the other, and they made something
very like the Union Jack; but not quite. The Union Jack was
not complete until the Irish cross of St. Patrick (which is
the same as a St. Andrew's cross, but was red on a white
ground) was added to the other two. Then the flag we love
The reason we call our flag the Union Jack is because James
VI. used to sign his name in French—Jacques—which
sounds very like Jack. His two flags, the English and the
Scottish, came to be called the Jacks, and when the two were
made one the flag was called the "union" Jack.
When the Queen gave her consent to the act of union, as it
was named, she called both Lords and Commons together, and
made a speech to them. "I desire and expect from all my
subjects of both nations, that from henceforth they act with
all possible respect and kindness
 to one another, that so it
may appear to all the world they have hearts disposed to
become one people. This will give me great pleasure." Then
the last English Parliament rose, and, on 23rd October 1707
A.D., the first British Parliament met.
It was a great state ceremony. Each Scottish lord was led to
his place by two English lords. The Queen in her royal robes
made a speech from the throne in which she heartily welcomed
the new members, and ever since that day, in spite of
difficulties and troubles, England and Scotland have really
been one country.
Queen Anne died on 1st August 1714 A.D. She was not a great
Queen, yet her reign will always be remembered as great.
Like Elizabeth, she had clever men as her soldiers and
advisers; and, as in the time of Elizabeth too, there were
many writers whose books are still remembered and read.
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