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English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Not the World’s Policeman
Music: Johann Baptist Cramer
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

IF it were the province of Great Britain to administer justice to all the people of the earth — in other words, if God had given us, as a nation, the authority and the power, together with the wisdom and the goodness, sufficient to qualify us to deal forth His vengeance then should we be called upon in this case to rescue the weak from the hands of their spoilers.

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Five Posts
The Grievances of the South
Music: Gustav Holst
Victorian MP Richard Cobden believed British politicians supporting the slave-owning American South had been led a merry dance.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

THE members from the Southern States, the representatives of the Slave States, were invited by the representatives of the Free States to state candidly and frankly what were the terms they required, in order that they might continue peaceable in the Union; but from beginning to end there is not one syllable said about tariff or taxation.

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A Nation’s Wealth
Music: Sir George Macfarren
It is not politicians and their policies that create wealth, but the hard work and ingenuity of ordinary people.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

HOW can protection, think you, add to the wealth of a country? Can you by legislation add one farthing to the wealth of the country?

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The Unselfishess of Free Trade
Music: John Playford
Victorian MP Richard Cobden pleaded for Britain to set the world an example as a nation open for business.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

WE have set an example to the world in all ages; we have given them the representative system. The very rules and regulations of this House have been taken as the model for every representative assembly throughout the whole civilised world; and having besides given them the example of a free press and civil and religious freedom, and every institution that belongs to freedom and civilisation, we are now about giving a still greater example; we are going to set the example of making industry free.

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Peace By Free Trade
The blessing of trade free from political interference was one of most important insights in British, indeed world history.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

FREE Trade! What is it?

Why, breaking down the barriers that separate nations; those barriers, behind which nestle the feelings of pride, revenge, hatred, and jealousy, which every now and then burst their bounds, and deluge whole countries with blood. [...]

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Dixie on Thames
Music: Sir William Sterndale Bennett
Victorian MP Richard Cobden offered a startling analogy for the American Civil War.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)

THEY wanted to consolidate, perpetuate, and extend slavery. But, instead of that, what do they constantly say? ‘Leave us alone; all we want is to be left alone.’

And that is a reason that the Conservative Governments of Europe, and so large a section of the upper middle-class of England, and almost the whole aristocracy, have accepted as a sufficient ground on which to back this insurrection.

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AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
page 1
1 Heracles and the Cattle of Geryon
Heracles must get the better of a three-bodied giant and steal his cattle.
2 Heracles and the Girdle of Hippolyte
A princess covets the belt of a warrior-queen, so Heracles is despatched to get it for her.
3 Heracles and the Mares of Diomedes
Eurystheus pits his cousin against a son of Ares and some man-eating horses.
4 Heracles and the Cretan Bull
Heracles seems to be the only one who can keep Poseidon’s rampaging white bull under control.
5 Heracles and the Birds of Lake Stymphalia
Our hero is sent to deal with some man-eating birds, but cannot reach their lakeside refuge.
6 Heracles and the Augean Stables
Heracles shows his capacity for thinking outside the box, but spoils it by trying to be just a little bit too clever.
page 2
7 Heracles and the Erymanthian Boar
Snaring a wild boar turns out to be much less dangerous than keeping centaurs away from their wine.
8 Heracles and the Cerynaean Hind
Eurystheus sends his cousin on another labour, this time hoping the task is too delicate for the big man.
9 Heracles and the Hydra
The Greek hero thinks he has paid off more of his debt to the gods, but an unpleasant surprise awaits him.
10 Heracles and the Nemean Lion
Sending a hero off to ‘certain death’ never seems to work out...

Word Play: Confusables

Compose your own sentences to show the difference between these words:

Lead. Led.

New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Alien’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Newcastle (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘stout’ (6 letters), and ‘gloat’ (4 letters)?
An arithmetical puzzle combining addition, subtraction, division, multiplication and fractions.
An arithmetical puzzle based on the popular TV show.
A word-making game based on the popular board game.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

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numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps Mental arithmetic