English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

A to Z Index

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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Six Posts
The Re-rediscovery of America
Music: Matthew Locke
John Day of Bristol did not want Christopher Columbus to labour under a misapprehension.

ON 24th June 1497, the Feast of St John the Baptist, Venetian captain John Cabot and his crew of Englishmen landed at Cape Bonavista, Newfoundland, after leaving Bristol aboard the ‘Matthew’ towards the end of May. Cabot did not venture far inland or found any settlements, but took careful notes and charted the coastline.

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The Battle of Flamborough Head
Music: John Hebden
An American revolutionary harassed British commercial shipping off the Yorkshire coast, with mixed results.

IN September 1779, John Paul Jones, a commander in the American Continental Navy, led a makeshift flotilla of French ships around Scotland and down into the North Sea, harassing commercial shipping as far as Bridlington.

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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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The ‘Jay Treaty’
The Jay Treaty of 1794 can be seen as the start of the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and America.

IN 1783, the American Revolutionary War came to an end with the Treaty of Paris. Six years later, the French people overthrew their own King, and many in America, especially the Jeffersonians, saw the new republican France as a more natural ally than Britain.

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The Boston Tea Party
The people of Boston, Massachusetts, gave Britain a sharp reminder that Parliament is there not to regulate the people, but to represent them.

THE Tea Act of 1773 grudgingly allowed American companies to import tea, but deliberately weighed them down with burdensome regulation and taxes unless they dealt with the East India Company in London.

The colonists could do nothing about this, because they had no representatives in the English Parliament.

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The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
Music: Muzio Clementi
When Parliament sent the Army against American colonists, people still calling themselves ‘British’ had to decide very quickly what that meant to them.

FOLLOWING Samuel Adams’s ‘Boston Tea Party’ protest in 1773, London quartered some three thousand soldiers from the Regular army all around the port, with orders to destroy the rebels’ stockpile of weapons at Concord, and arrest Adams and John Hancock, then in Lexington.

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All Posts
Tagged American History (8 posts)
page 1
1 The Grievances of the South
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Victorian MP Richard Cobden believed British politicians supporting the slave-owning American South had been led a merry dance.
2 Dixie on Thames
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Victorian MP Richard Cobden offered a startling analogy for the American Civil War.
3 The Battle of Flamborough Head
An American revolutionary harassed British commercial shipping off the Yorkshire coast, with mixed results.
4 The Re-rediscovery of America
John Day of Bristol did not want Christopher Columbus to labour under a misapprehension.
5 The Pig-and-Potato War
In 1859, peaceful co-existence on the Canadian border was severely tested by a marauding pig.
6 The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere
When Parliament sent the Army against American colonists, people still calling themselves ‘British’ had to decide very quickly what that meant to them.
page 2
7 The ‘Jay Treaty’
The Jay Treaty can be seen as the start of the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and America.
8 The Boston Tea Party
In the time of King George III, Parliament forgot that its job was not to regulate the people, but to represent them.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Adjectives

By Ethel Smyth
(1858-1944)
Composer Ethel Smyth buys a new-fangled ladies’ bicycle, and scandalises the neighbours.
By Lewis Carroll
(1832-1898)
Alice meets Humpty Dumpty, and it turns out that she has been using words wrong all her life.
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
Cut
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.
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.
Polyword ‘Arch’
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
Do you know ‘outrage, public disgrace’ (7 letters), and ‘King David of Israel’s third wife’ (7 letters)?
Do you know ‘move in a zig-zag fashion’ (4), and ‘a 1711 opera by Handel’ (7)?
Practise your twelve times table against the clock.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
Suggest opposites for these words, and illustrate them with example sentences.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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History (375)
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letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

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

More like this: ‘Scrabble’ letters game Games with Words

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