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Title: Great Britain and Her Queen
Author: Keeling, Annie E.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Author of "General Gordon: Hero and Saint," "The Oakhurst
Chronicles," "Andrew Golding," etc.

Second Edition. Revised and Enlarged, 1897

[Illustration: Queen Victoria]

[Illustration: Claremont]















Queen Victoria
The Coronation of Queen Victoria
Kensington Palace
Duchess of Kent
Elizabeth Fry
Rowland Hill
Father Mathew
George Stephenson
St. James's Palace
Prince Albert
The Queen in Her Wedding-Dress
Sir Robert Peel
Daniel O'Connell
Richard Cobden
John Bright
Lord John Russell
Thomas Chalmers
John Henry Newmann
Buckingham Palace
Napoleon III
The Crystal Palace, 1851
Lord Ashley
Earl of Derby
Duke of Wellington
Florence Nightingale
Lord Canning
Sir Colin Campbell
Henry Havelock
Sir John Lawrence
Windsor Castle
Prince Frederick William
Princess Royal
Charles Kingsley
Lord Palmerston
Abraham Lincoln and his son
Princess Alice
The Mausoleum
Dr. Norman Macleod
Prince of Wales
Princess of Wales
Osborne House
Sir Robert Napier
Mr. Gladstone
Lord Beaconsfield
Lord Salisbury
General Gordon
Duke of Albany
Duchess of Albany
Sydney Heads
Robert Southey
William Wordsworth
Alfred Tennyson
Robert Browning
Charles Dickens
W. M. Thackeray
Charlotte Brontë
Lord Macaulay
Thomas Carlyle
William Whewell, D.D.
Sir David Brewster
Sir James Y. Simpson
Michael Faraday
David Livingstone
Sir John Franklin
John Ruskin
Dean Stanley
"I was sick, and ye visited me"
Duke of Connaught
The Imperial Institute
Duke of Clarence
Duke of York
Duchess of York
Princess Henry of Battenberg
Prince Henry of Battenberg
The Czarina of Russia
H. M. Stanley
Dr. Fridtjof Nansen
Miss Kingsley
J. M. Barrie
Richard Jefferies
Rev. J. G. Wood
Dean Church
Professor Huxley
Professor Tyndall
C. H. Spurgeon
Dr. Horatius Bonar
Sir J. E. Millais, P.R.A.
Sir Frederick Leighton, P.R.A.
Wesley preaching on his father's tomb
Group of Presidents:--No. 1
Centenary Meeting at Manchester
Key to Centenary Meeting
Wesleyan Centenary Hall
Group of Presidents:--No. 2
Sir Francis Lycett
The Methodist Settlement, Bermondsey. London, S.E.
Theological Institution, Richmond
Theological Institution, Didsbury
Theological Institution, Headingley
Theological Institution, Handsworth
Kingswood School, Bath
The North House, Leys School, Cambridge
Queen's College, Taunton
Wesley College, Sheffield
Children's Home, Bolton
Westminster Training College and Schools
Group of Presidents:--No. 3

[Illustration: The Coronation of Queen Victoria]


[Illustration: Kensington Palace]



Rather more than one mortal lifetime, as we average life in these
later days, has elapsed since that June morning of 1837, when
Victoria of England, then a fair young princess of eighteen, was
roused from her tranquil sleep in the old palace at Kensington, and
bidden to rise and meet the Primate, and his dignified associates the
Lord Chamberlain and the royal physician, who "were come on business
of state to the Queen"--words of startling import, for they meant
that, while the royal maiden lay sleeping, the aged King, whose
heiress she was, had passed into the deeper sleep of death. It is
already an often-told story how promptly, on receiving that summons,
the young Queen rose and came to meet her first homagers, standing
before them in hastily assumed wrappings, her hair hanging loosely,
her feet in slippers, but in all her hearing such royally firm
composure as deeply impressed those heralds of her greatness, who
noticed at the same moment that her eyes were full of tears. This
little scene is not only charming and touching, it is very
significant, suggesting a combination of such qualities as are not
always found united: sovereign good sense and readiness, blending
with quick, artless feeling that sought no disguise--such feeling as
again betrayed itself when on her ensuing proclamation the new
Sovereign had to meet her people face to face, and stood before them
at her palace window, composed but sad, the tears running unchecked
down her fair pale face.

That rare spectacle of simple human emotion, at a time when a selfish
or thoughtless spirit would have leaped in exultation, touched the
heart of England deeply, and was rightly held of happy omen. The
nation's feeling is aptly expressed in the glowing verse of Mrs.
Browning, praying Heaven's blessing on the "weeping Queen," and
prophesying for her the love, happiness, and honour which have been
hers in no stinted measure. "Thou shalt be well beloved," said the
poetess; there are very few sovereigns of whom it could be so truly
said that they _have_ been well beloved, for not many have so well
deserved it. The faith of the singer has been amply justified, as
time has made manifest the rarer qualities joyfully divined in those
early days in the royal child, the single darling hope of the nation.

Once before in the recent annals of our land had expectations and
desires equally ardent centred themselves on one young head. Much of
the loyal devotion which had been alienated from the immediate family
of George III. had transferred itself to his grandchild, the Princess
Charlotte, sole offspring of the unhappy marriage between George,
Prince of Wales, and Caroline of Brunswick. The people had watched
with vivid interest the young romance of Princess Charlotte's happy
marriage, and had bitterly lamented her too early death--an event
which had overshadowed all English hearts with forebodings of
disaster. Since that dark day a little of the old attachment of
England to its sovereigns had revived for the frank-mannered sailor
and "patriot king," William IV; but the hopes crushed by the death
of the much-regretted Charlotte had renewed themselves with even
better warrant for Victoria. She was the child of no ill-omened,
miserable marriage, but of a fitting union; her parents had been
sundered only by death, not by wretched domestic dissensions. People
heard that the mortal malady which deprived her of a father had been
brought about by the Duke of Kent's simple delight in his baby
princess, which kept him playing with the child when he should have
been changing his wet outdoor garb; and they found something touching
and tender in the tragic little circumstance. And everything that
could be noticed of the manner in which the bereaved duchess was
training up her precious charge spoke well for the mother's wisdom
and affection, and for the future of the daughter.

It was indeed a happy day for England when Edward, Duke of Kent, the
fourth son of George III, was wedded to Victoria of Saxe-Coburg, the
widowed Princess of Leiningen--happy, not only because of the
admirable skill with which that lady conducted her illustrious
child's education, and because of the pure, upright principles, the
frank, noble character, which she transmitted to that child, but
because the family connection established through that marriage was
to be yet further serviceable to the interests of our realm. Prince
Albert of Saxe-Coburg was second son of the Duchess of Kent's eldest
brother, and thus first cousin of the Princess Victoria--"the
Mayflower," as, in fond allusion to the month of her birth, her
mother's kinsfolk loved to call her: and it has been made plain that
dreams of a possible union between the two young cousins, very nearly
of an age, were early cherished by the elders who loved and admired

[Illustration: Duchess of Kent. From an Engraving by Messrs. P. & D.
Colnaghi & Co., Pall Mall East.]

The Princess's life, however, was sedulously guarded from all
disturbing influences. She grew up in healthy simplicity and
seclusion; she was not apprised of her nearness to the throne till
she was twelve years old; she had been little at Court, little in
sight, but had been made familiar with her own land and its history,
having received the higher education so essential to her great
position; while simple truth and rigid honesty were the very
atmosphere of her existence. From such a training much might be
hoped; but even those who knew most and hoped most were not quite
prepared for the strong individual character and power of
self-determination that revealed themselves in the girlish being so
suddenly transferred "from the nursery to the throne." It was quickly
noticed that the part of Queen and mistress seemed native to her, and
that she filled it with not more grace than propriety. "She always
strikes me as possessed of singular penetration, firmness, and
independence," wrote Dr. Norman Macleod in 1860; acute observers in
1837 took note of the same traits, rarer far in youth than in full
maturity, and closely connected with the "reasoning, searching"
quality of her mind, "anxious to get at the root and reality of
things, and abhorring all shams, whether in word or deed." [Footnote]

[Footnote: "Life of Norman Macleod, D.D." vol. ii.]

It was well for England that its young Sovereign could exemplify
virile strength as well as womanly sweetness; for it was indeed a
cloudy and dark day when she was called to her post of lonely
grandeur and hard responsibility; and to fill that post rightly would
have overtasked and overwhelmed a feebler nature. It is true that the
peace of Europe, won at Waterloo, was still unbroken. But already,
within our borders and without them, there were the signs of coming
storm. The condition of Ireland was chronically bad; the condition of
England was full of danger; on the Continent a new period of
earth-shaking revolution announced itself not doubtfully.

It would be hardly possible to exaggerate the wretched state of the
sister isle, where fires of recent hate were still smouldering, and
where the poor inhabitants, guilty and guiltless, were daily living
on the verge of famine, over which they were soon to be driven. Their
ill condition much aggravated by the intemperate habits to which
despairing men so easily fall a prey. The expenditure of Ireland on
proof spirits alone had in the year 1829 attained the sum of

In England many agricultural labourers were earning starvation wages,
were living on bad and scanty food, and were housed so wretchedly
that they might envy the hounds their dry and clean kennels. A dark
symptom of their hungry discontent had shown itself in the strange
crime of rick-burning, which went on under cloud of night season
after season, despite the utmost precautions which the luckless
farmers could adopt. The perpetrators were not dimly guessed to be
half-famished creatures, taking a mad revenge for their wretchedness
by destroying the tantalising stores of grain, too costly for their
consumption; the price of wheat in the early years of Her Majesty's
reign and for some time previously being very high, and reaching at
one moment (1847) the extraordinary figure of a hundred and two
shillings per quarter.

There was threatening distress, too, in some parts of the
manufacturing districts; in others a tolerably high level of wages
indicated prosperity. But even in the more favoured districts there
was needless suffering. The hours of work, unrestricted by law, were
cruelly long; nor did there exist any restriction as to the
employment of operatives of very tender years. "The cry of the
children" was rising up to heaven, not from the factory only, but
from the underground darkness of the mine, where a system of pitiless
infant slavery prevailed, side by side with the employment of women
as beasts of burden, "in an atmosphere of filth and profligacy." The
condition of too many toilers was rendered more hopeless by the
thriftless follies born of ignorance. The educational provision made
by the piety of former ages was no longer adequate to the needs of
the ever-growing nation; and all the voluntary efforts made by clergy
and laity, by Churchmen and Dissenters, did not fill up the
deficiency--a fact which had only just begun to meet with State
recognition. It was in 1834 that Government first obtained from
Parliament the grant of a small sum in aid of education. Under a
defective system of poor-relief, recently reformed, an immense mass
of idle pauperism had come into being; it still remained to be seen
if a new Poor Law could do away with the mischief created by the old

Looking at the earliest years of Her Majesty's rule, the first
impulse is to exclaim:

"And all this trouble did not pass, but grew."

It seemed as if poverty became ever more direful, and dissatisfaction
more importunate. A succession of unfavourable seasons and failing
crops produced extraordinary distress; and the distress in its turn
was fruitful first of deepened discontent, and then of political
disturbances. The working classes had looked for immediate relief
from their burdens when the Reform Bill should be carried, and had
striven hard to insure its success: it had been carried triumphantly
in 1832, but no perceptible improvement in their lot had yet
resulted; and a resentful feeling of disappointment and of being
victims of deception now added bitterness to their blind sense of
misery and injury, and greatly exasperated the political agitation of
the ten stormy years that followed.

No position could well be more trying than that of the inexperienced
girl who, in the first bloom of youth, was called to rule the land in
this wild transitional period. Her royal courage and gracious tact,
her transparent truthfulness, her high sense of duty, and her
precocious discretion served her well; but these young excellences
could not have produced their full effect had she not found in her
first Prime Minister a faithful friend and servant, whose loyal and
chivalrous devotion at once conciliated her regard, and who only used
the influence thus won to impress on his Sovereign's mind "sound
maxims of constitutional government, and truths of every description
which it behoved her to learn." The records of the time show plainly
that Lord Melbourne, the eccentric head of William IV's last Whig
Administration, was not generally credited with either the will or
the ability to play so lofty a part. His affectation of a lazy,
trifling, indifferent manner, his often-quoted remonstrance to
impetuous would-be reformers, "Can't you let it alone?" had earned
for him some angry disapproval, and caused him to be regarded as the
embodiment of the detested _laissez-faire_ principle. But under his
mask of nonchalance he hid some noble qualities, which at this
juncture served Queen and country well.

Considered as a frivolous, selfish courtier by too many of the
suffering poor and of their friends, he was in truth "acting in all
things an affectionate, conscientious, and patriotic part" towards
his Sovereign, "endeavouring to make her happy as a woman and popular
as a Queen," [Footnote] telling her uncourtly truths with a blunt
honesty that did not displease her, and watching over her with a
paternal tenderness which she repaid with frank, noble confidence. He
was faithful in a great and difficult trust; let his memory have due

[Footnote: C. C. F. Greville: "A Journal of the Reign of Queen

Under Melbourne's pilotage the first months of the new reign went by
with some serenity, though the political horizon remained threatening
enough, and the temper of the nation appeared sullen. "The people of
England seem inclined to hurrah no more," wrote Greville of one of
the Queen's earliest public appearances, when "not a hat was raised
nor a voice heard" among the coldly curious crowd of spectators. But
the splendid show of her coronation a half-year later awakened great
enthusiasm--enthusiasm most natural and inevitable. It was youth and
grace and goodness, all the freshness and the infinite promise of
spring, that wore the crimson and the ermine and the gold, that sat
enthroned amid the ancient glories of the Abbey to receive the homage
of all that was venerable and all that was great in a mighty kingdom,
and that bowed in meek devotion to receive the solemn consecrating
blessing of the Primate, according to the holy custom followed in
England for a thousand years, with little or no variation since the
time when Dunstan framed the Order of Coronation, closely following
the model of the Communion Service. Some other features special to
_this_ coronation heightened the national delight in it. Its
arrangements evidently had for their chief aim to interest and to
gratify the people. Instead of the banquet in Westminster Hall,
which could have been seen only by the privileged and the wealthy, a
grand procession through London was arranged, including all the
foreign ambassadors, and proceeding from Buckingham Palace to
Westminster Abbey by a route two or three miles in length, so that
the largest possible number of spectators might enjoy the magnificent
pageant. And the overflowing multitudes whose dense masses lined the
whole long way, and in whose tumultuous cheering pealing bells and
sounding trumpets and thundering cannon were almost unheard as the
young Queen passed through the shouting ranks, formed themselves the
most impressive spectacle to the half-hostile foreign witnesses, who
owned that the sight of these rejoicing thousands of freemen was
grand indeed, and impossible save in that England which, then as now,
was not greatly loved by its rivals. An element which appealed
powerfully to the national pride and the national generosity was
supplied by the presence of the Duke of Wellington and of Marshal
Soult, his old antagonist, who appeared as French ambassador. Soult,
as he advanced with the air of a veteran warrior, was followed by
murmurs of admiring applause, which swelled into more than murmurs
for the hero of Waterloo bending in homage to his Sovereign. A touch
of sweet humanity was added to the imposing scene within the Abbey
through what might have been a painful accident. Lord Rolle, a peer
between seventy and eighty years of age, stumbling and falling as he
climbed the steps of the throne, the Queen impulsively moved as if to
aid him; and when the old man, undismayed, persisted in carrying out
his act of homage, she asked quickly, "May I not get up and meet
him?" and descended one or two steps to save him the ascent. The
ready natural kindliness of the royal action awoke ecstatic applause,
which could hardly have been heartier had the applauders known how
true a type that act supplied of Her Majesty's future conduct. She
has never feared to peril her dignity by descending a step or two
from her throne, when "sweet mercy, nobility's true badge," has
seemed to require such a descent. And her queenly dignity has never
been thereby lessened. "She never ceases to be a Queen," says
Greville _a propos_ of this scene, "and is always the most charming,
cheerful, obliging, unaffected Queen in the world."

[Illustration: Elizabeth Fry]

That "the people" were more considered in the arrangements for this
coronation than they had been on any previous occasion of the sort
was a circumstance quite in harmony with certain other signs of the
times. "The night is darkest before the dawn," and amid all the gloom
which enshrouded the land there could be discerned the stir and
movement that herald the coming of the day. Men's minds were turning
more and more to the healing of the world's wounds. Already one great
humane enterprise had been carried through in the emancipation of the
slaves in British Colonies; already the vast work of prison reform
had been well begun, through the saintly Elizabeth Fry, whose life of
faithful service ended ere the Queen had reigned eight years. The
very year of Her Majesty's accession was signalised by two noteworthy
endeavours to put away wrong. We will turn first to that which
_seems_ the least immediately philanthropic, although the injustice
which it remedied was trivial in appearance only, since in its
everyday triviality it weighed most heavily on the most numerous
class--that of the humble and the poor.

[Illustration: Rowland Hill]

How would the Englishman of to-day endure the former exactions of the
Post Office? The family letters of sixty years ago, written on the
largest sheets purchasable, crossed and crammed to the point of
illegibility, filled with the news of many and many a week, still
witness of the time when "a letter from London to Brighton cost
eightpence, to Aberdeen one and threepence-halfpenny, to Belfast one
and fourpence"; when, "if the letter were written on more than one
sheet, it came under the operation of a higher scale of charges," and
when the privilege of franking letters, enjoyed and very largely
exercised by members of Parliament and members of the Government, had
the peculiar effect of throwing the cost of the mail service exactly
on that part of the community which was least able to bear it. The
result of the injustice was as demoralising as might have been
expected. The poorer people who desired to have tidings of distant
friend or relative were driven by the prohibitory rates of postage
into all sorts of curious, not quite honest devices, to gratify their
natural desire without being too heavily taxed for it. A brother and
sister, for instance, unable to afford themselves the costly luxury
of regular correspondence, would obtain assurance of each other's
well-being by transmission through the post at stated intervals of
blank papers duly sealed and addressed: the arrival of the postman
with a missive of this kind announced to the recipient that all was
well with the sender, so the unpaid "letter" was cheerfully left on
the messenger's hands. Such an incident, coming under the notice of
Mr. Rowland Hill, impressed him with a sense of hardship and wrong in
the system that bore these fruits; and he set himself with strenuous
patience to remedy the wrong and the hardship. His scheme of reform
was worked out and laid before the public early in 1837; in the third
year of Her Majesty's reign it was first adopted in its entirety,
with what immense profit to the Government we may partly see when we
contrast the seventy-six or seventy-seven millions of _paid_ letters
delivered in the United Kingdom during the last year of the heavy
postage with the number exceeding a thousand millions, and still
increasing--delivered yearly during the last decade; while the
population has not doubled. That the Queen's own letters carried
postage under the new regime was a fact almost us highly appreciated
as Her Majesty's voluntary offer at a later date to bear her due
share of the income tax.

It is well to notice how later Postmasters General, successors of
Rowland Hill in that important office, have striven further to
benefit their countrymen. In particular, Henry Fawcett's earnest
efforts to encourage and aid habits of thrift are worthy of

Again, it is during the first year of Her Majesty's reign that we
find Father Mathew, the Irish Capuchin friar, initiating his vast
crusade against intemperance, and by the charm of his persuasive
eloquence and unselfish enthusiasm inducing thousands upon thousands
to forswear the drink-poison that was destroying them. In two years
he succeeded in enrolling two million five hundred thousand persons
on the side of sobriety. The permanence of the good Father's
immediate work was impaired by the superstitions which his poor
followers associated with it, much against his desire. Not only were
the medals which he gave as badges to his vowed abstainers regarded
as infallible talismans from the hand of a saint, but the giver was
credited with miraculous powers such as only a Divine Being could
exercise, and which he disclaimed in vain--extravagances too likely
to discredit his enterprise with more soberly judging persons than
the imaginative Celts who were his earliest converts. But,
notwithstanding every drawback, his action was most important, and
deserves grateful memory. We may see in it the inception of that
great movement whose indirect influence in reforming social habits
and restraining excess had at least equalled its direct power for
good on its pledged adherents. Though it is still unhappily true that
drunkenness slays its tens of thousands among us, and largely helps
to people our workhouses, our madhouses, and our gaols, yet the fiend
walks not now, as it used to do, in unfettered freedom. It is no
longer a fashionable vice, excused and half approved as the natural
expression of joviality and good-fellowship; peers and commoners of
every degree no longer join daily in the "heavy-headed revel" whose
deep-dyed stain seems to have soaked through every page of our
last-century annals. And it would appear as though the vice were not
only held from increasing, but were actually on the decrease. The
statistics of the last decade show that the consumption of alcohol is
diminishing, and that of true food-stuffs proportionally rising.

[Illustration: Father Mathew]

There were other enterprises now set on foot, by no means directly
philanthropic in their aim, which contemplated utility more than
virtue or justice--enterprises whose vast effects are yet
unexhausted, and which have so modified the conditions of human
existence as to make the new reign virtually a new epoch. As to the
real benefit of these immense changes, opinion is somewhat divided;
but the majority would doubtless vote in their favour. The first
railway in England, that between Liverpool and Manchester, had been
opened in 1830, the day of its opening being made darkly memorable by
the accident fatal to Mr. Huskisson, as though the new era must be
inaugurated by a sacrifice. Three years later there was but this one
railway in England, and one, seven miles long, in Scotland. But in
1837 the Liverpool and Birmingham line was opened; in 1838 the London
and Birmingham and the Liverpool and Preston lines, and an Act was
passed for transmitting the mails by rail; in 1839 there was the
opening of the London and Croydon line. The ball was set fairly
rolling, and the supersession of ancient modes of communication was a
question of time merely. The advance of the new system was much
accelerated at the outset by the fact that railway enterprise became
the favourite field for speculation, men being attracted by the
novelty and tempted by exaggerated prospects of profit; and the mania
was followed, like other manias, with results largely disastrous to
the speculators and to commerce. But through years of good fortune
and of bad fortune the iron network has continued to spread itself,
until all the land lies embraced in its ramifications; and it is
spreading still, like some strange organism the one condition of
whose life is reproduction, knitting the greatest centres of commerce
with the loneliest and remotest villages that were wont to lie far
out of the travelled ways of men, and bringing _Ultima Thule_ into
touch with London.

[Illustration: George Stephenson]

Meanwhile the steam service by sea has advanced almost with that by
land. In 1838 three steamships crossed the Atlantic between this
country and New York, the _Great Western_, sailing from Bristol, and
_Sirius_, from Cork, distinguished themselves by the short passages
they made,--of fifteen days in the first case, and seventeen days in
the second,--and by their using steam power _alone_ to effect the
transit, an experiment that had not been risked before. It was now
proved feasible, and in a year or two there was set on foot that
regular steam communication between the New World and the Old, which
ever since has continued to draw them into always closer connection,
as the steamers, like swift-darting shuttles, weave their multiplying
magic lines across the liquid plain between.

The telegraph wires that run beside road and rail, doing the office
of nerves in transmitting intelligence with thrilling quickness from
the extremities to the head and from the head to the extremities of
our State, are now so familiar an object, and their operations, such
mere matters of every day, that we do not often recall how utterly
unfamiliar they were sixty years ago, when Wheatstone and Cooke on
this side the Atlantic, and Morse on the other, were devising their
methods for giving signals and sounding alarms in distant places by
means of electric currents transmitted through metallic circuits.
Submarine telegraphy lay undreamed of in the future, land telegraphy
was but just gaining hearing as a practicable improvement, when the
crown was set on Her Majesty's head amid all that pomp and ceremony
at Westminster. A modern English imagination is quite unequal to the
task of realising the manifold hindrances that beset human
intercourse at that day, when a journey by coach between places as
important and as little remote from each other as Leeds and Newcastle
occupied sixteen mortal hours, with changes of horses and stoppages
for meals on the road, and when letters, unless forwarded by an
"express" messenger at heavy cost, tarried longer on the way than
even did passengers; while some prudent dwellers in the country
deemed it well to set their affairs in order and make their wills
before embarking on the untried perils of a journey up to town. These
days are well within the memory of many yet living; but if the newer
generations that have arisen during the present reign would
understand what it is to be hampered in their movements and their
correspondence as were their fathers, they must seek the remoter and
more savage quarters of Europe, the less travelled portions of
America or of half-explored Australia; they must plunge into Asian or
African wilds, untouched by civilisation, where as yet there runs not
the iron horse, worker of greater marvels than the wizard steeds of
fairy fable, that could, transport a single favoured rider over wide
distances in little time. The subjugated, serviceable nature-power
Steam, with its fellow-servant the tamed and tutored Lightning, has
wonderfully contracted distance during these fifty years, making the
earth, once so vast to human imagination, appear as a globe shrunken
to a tenth of its ancient size, and bringing nations divided by half
the surface of that globe almost within sound of each other's speech.

[Illustration: Wheatstone.]

That there is damage as well as profit in all these increased
facilities of intercourse must be apparent, since there is evil as
well as good in the human world, and increased freedom of
communication implies freer communication of the evil as of the good.
But we may well hope that the cause of true upward progress will be
most served by the vast inevitable changes which, as they draw all
peoples nearer together, must deepen and strengthen the sense of
human brotherhood, and, as they bring the deeds of all within the
knowledge of all, must consume by an intolerable blaze of light the
once secret iniquities and oppressions abhorrent to the universal
conscience of mankind. The public conscience in these realms at least
is better informed and more sensitive than it was in the year of
William IV's death and of Victoria's accession.



[Illustration: St. James's Palace.]

The beneficent changes we have briefly described were but just
inaugurated, and their possible power for good was as yet hardly
divined, when the young Queen entered into that marriage which we may
well deem the happiest action of her life, and the most fruitful of
good to her people, looking to the extraordinary character of the
husband of her choice, and to the unobtrusive but always advantageous
influence which his great and wise spirit exercised on our national

The marriage had been anxiously desired, and the way for it
judiciously prepared, but it was in no sense forced on either of the
contracting parties by their elders who so desired it. Prince Albert
of Saxe-Coburg, second son of the Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, the
Queen's maternal uncle, was nearly of an age with his royal cousin;
he had already, young as he was, given evidence of a rare superiority
of nature; he had been excellently trained; and there is no doubt
that Leopold, king of the Belgians, his uncle, and the Queen's, did
most earnestly desire to see the young heiress of the British throne,
for whom he had a peculiar tenderness, united to the one person whose
position and whose character combined to point him out as the fit
partner for her high and difficult destinies. What tact, what
patience, and what power of self-suppression the Queen of England's
husband would need to exercise, no one could better judge than
Leopold, the widowed husband of Princess Charlotte; no one could more
fully have exemplified these qualities than the prince in whom
Leopold's penetration divined them.

The cousins had already met, in 1836, when their mutual attraction
had been sufficiently strong; and in 1839, when Prince Albert, with
his elder brother Ernest, was again visiting England, the impression
already produced became ineffaceably deep. The Queen, whom her great
rank compelled to take the initiative, was not very long in making up
her mind when and how to act. Her favoured suitor himself, writing to
a dear relative, relates how she performed the trying task, inviting
him to render her intensely happy by making "the _sacrifice_ of
sharing her life with her, for she said she looked on it as a
sacrifice. The joyous openness with which she told me this enchanted
me, and I was quite carried away by it." This was on October 15th;
nearly six weeks after, on November 23rd, she made to her assembled
Privy Council the formal declaration of her intended marriage. There
is something particularly touching in even the driest description of
this scene; the betrothed bride wearing a simple morning dress,
having on her arm a bracelet containing Prince Albert's portrait,
which helped to give her courage; her voice, as she read the
declaration clear, sweet, and penetrating as ever, but her hands
trembling so excessively that it was surprising she could read the
paper she held. It was a trying task, but not so difficult as that
which had devolved on her a short time before, when, in virtue of her
sovereign rank, she had first to speak the words of fate that bound
her to her suitor.

[Illustration: Prince Albert.]

Endowed with every charm of person, mind, and manner that can win and
keep affection, Prince Albert was able, in marrying the Queen, who
loved him and whom he loved, to secure for her a happiness rare in
any rank, rarest of all on the cold heights of royalty. This was not
all; he was the worthy partner of her greatness. Himself highly
cultivated in every sense, he watched with keenest interest over the
advance of all cultivation in the land of his adoption, and
identified himself with every movement to improve its condition. His
was the soul of a statesman--wide, lofty, far-seeing, patient;
surveying all great things, disdaining no small things, but with
tireless industry pursuing after all necessary knowledge. Add to
these intellectual excellences the moral graces of ideal purity of
life, chivalrous faithfulness of heart, magnanimous self-suppression,
and fervent piety, and we have a slight outline of a character which,
in the order of Providence, acted very strongly and with a still
living force on the destinies of nineteenth-century England. The
Queen had good reasons for the feeling of "confidence and comfort"
that shone in the glance she turned on her bridegroom as they walked
away, man and wife at last, from the altar of the Chapel Royal, on
February 10th, 1840. The union she then entered into immeasurably
enhanced her popularity, and strengthened her position as surely as
it expanded her nature. Not many years elapsed before Sir Robert Peel
could tell her that, in spite of the inroads of democracy, the
monarchy had never been safer, nor had any sovereign been so beloved,
because "the Queen's domestic life was so happy, and its example so
good." Only the Searcher of hearts knoweth how great has been the
holy power of a pure, fair, and noble example constantly shining in
the high places of the land.

[Illustration: The Queen in her Wedding-Dress. _After the Picture by_

It was hinted by the would-be wise, in the early days of Her
Majesty's married life, that it would be idle to look for the royally
maternal feeling of an Elizabeth towards her people in a wedded
constitutional sovereign. The judgment was a mistake. The formal
limitations of our Queen's prerogative, sedulously as she has
respected them, have never destroyed her sense of responsibility;
wifehood and motherhood have not contracted her sympathies, but have
deepened and widened them. The very sorrows of her domestic life have
knit her in fellowship with other mourners. No great calamity can
befall her humblest subjects, and she hear of it, but there comes the
answering flash of tender pity. She is more truly the mother of her
people, having walked on a level with them, and with "Love, who is of
the valley," than if she had chosen to dwell alone and aloof.

[Illustration: Sir Robert Peel.]

For some years after her marriage the Queen's private life shows like
a little isle of brightness in the midst of a stormy sea. Within and
without our borders there was small prospect of settled peace at the
very time of that marriage. We have said that Lord Melbourne was
still Premier; but he and his Ministry had resigned office in the
previous May, and had only come back to it in consequence of a
curious misunderstanding known as "the Bedchamber difficulty." Sir
Robert Peel, who was summoned to form a Ministry on Melbourne's
defeat and resignation, had asked from Her Majesty the dismissal of
two ladies of her household, the wives of prominent members of the
departing Whig Government; but his request conveyed to her mind the
sense that he designed to deprive her of all her actual attendants,
and against this imagined proposal she set herself energetically.
"She could not consent to a course which she conceived to be contrary
to usage, and which was repugnant to her feelings." Peel on his part
remained firm in his opinion as to the real necessity for the change
which he had advocated. From the deadlock produced by mere
misunderstanding there seemed at the time only one way of escaping;
the defeated Whig Government returned to office. But Ministers who
resumed power only because, "as gentlemen," they felt bound to do so,
had little chance of retaining it. In September 1841, Lord Melbourne
was superseded in the premiership by Sir Robert Peel, and then gave a
final proof how single-minded was his loyal devotion by advising the
new Prime Minister as to the tone and style likely to commend him to
their royal mistress--a tone of clear straightforwardness. "The
Queen," said Melbourne--who knew of what he was speaking, if any
statesman then did--"is not conceited; she is aware there are many
things she cannot understand, and likes them explained to her
elementarily, not at length and in detail, but shortly and clearly."
The counsel was given and was accepted with equal good feeling, such
as was honourable to all concerned; and the Sovereign learned, as
years went on, to repose a singular confidence in the Minister with
whom her first relations had been so unpropitious, but whose real
honesty, ability, and loyalty soon approved themselves to her clear
perceptions, which no prejudice has long been able to obscure.

We are told that in later years Her Majesty referred to the
disagreeable incident we have just related as one that could not have
occurred, if she had had beside her Prince Albert "to talk to and
employ in explaining matters," while she refused the suggestion that
her impulsive resistance had been advised by any one about her. "It
was entirely my own foolishness," [Footnote] she is said to have
added--words breathing that perfect simplicity of candour which has
always been one of her most strongly marked characteristics.

[Footnote: "Greville Memoirs," Third Part, vol. i.]

Though the matter caused a great sensation at the time, and gave rise
to some dismal prophesyings, it was of no permanent importance, and
is chiefly noted here because it throws a strong light on Her
Majesty's need of such an ever-present aid as she had now secured in
the husband wise beyond his years, who well understood his
constitutional position, and was resolute to keep within it, avoiding
entanglement with any party, and fulfilling with equal impartiality
and ability the duties of private secretary to his Sovereign-wife.

The Melbourne Ministry had had to contend with difficulties
sufficiently serious, and of these the grimmest and greatest remained
still unsettled. At the outset of the reign a rebellion in Canada had
required strong repression; and we had taken the first step on a bad
road by entering into those disputes as to our right to force the
opium traffic on China, which soon involved us in a disastrously
successful war with that country. On the other hand, our Indian
Government had begun an un-called-for interference with the affairs
of Afghanistan, which, successful at first, resulted in a series of
humiliating reverses to our arms, culminating in one of the most
terrible disasters that have ever befallen a British force--the
wholesale massacre of General Elphinstone's defeated and retreating
army on its passage through the terrible mountain gorge known as the
Pass of Koord Cabul. It was on January 13th, 1842, that the single
survivor of this massacre appeared, a half-fainting man, drooping
over the neck of his wearied pony, before the fort of Jellalabad,
which General Sale still held for the English. He only was "escaped
alone" to tell the hideous tale. The ill-advised and ill-managed
enterprise which thus terminated had extended over more than three
years, had cost us many noble lives, in particular that of the
much-lamented Alexander Burnes, had condemned many English women and
children to a long and cruel captivity among the savage foe, and had
absolutely failed as to the object for which it was undertaken--the
instalment of Shah Soojah, a mere British tool, as ruler of
Afghanistan, in place of the chief desired by the Afghan people, Dost
Mahomed. When the disasters to our arms had been retrieved, as
retrieved they were with exemplary promptness, and when the surviving
prisoners were redeemed from their hard captivity, it was deemed
sound policy for us to attempt no longer to "force a sovereign on a
reluctant people," and to remain content with that limit which
"nature appears to have assigned" to our Indian empire on its
north-western border. Later adventures in the same field have not
resulted so happily as to prove that these views were incorrect. Our
prestige was seriously damaged in Hindostan by this first Afghan war,
and was only partially re-established in the campaign against the
Sikhs several years later, despite the dramatic grandeur of that
"piece of Indian history" which resulted in our annexation of the
Punjaub in 1846--a solid advantage balanced by the unpleasant fact
that English soldiers had been proved not invincible by natives.

It will thus appear that there was not too much that was glorious or
encouraging in our external affairs in these early years; but the
internal condition of the country was never less reassuring. The
general discontent of the English lower orders was taking shape as
Chartism--a movement which could not have arisen but for the fierce
suspicion with which the working classes had learnt to regard those
who seemed their superiors in wealth, in rank, or in political power,
and which the higher orders retaliated in dislike and distrust of the
labouring population, whom they considered as seditious enemies of
order and property. The demon of class hatred was never more alive
and busy than in the decade which terminated in 1848.

"The Charter," which was the watchword of hope to so many, and the
very war-note of discord to many more, comprised six points, of which
some at least were sufficiently absurd, while others have virtually
passed into law, quietly and naturally, in due course of time; and if
the universal Age of Gold which ignorant Chartists looked for has not
ensued, at least the anarchy and ruin which their opponents
associated with the dreaded scheme are equally non-existent. So fast
has the time moved that there is now a little difficulty in
understanding the passionate hopes with which the Charter was
associated on the one side, and the panic which it inspired on the
other; and there is much to move wondering compassion in the profound
ignorance which those hopes betrayed, and the not inferior misery
amid which they were cherished. Few persons are now so credulous as
to expect that annual Parliaments or stipendiary members would insure
the universal reign of peace and justice; the people have already
found that vote by ballot and suffrage all but universal have neither
equalised wealth nor abrogated greed and iniquity; and though there
be some dreamers in our midst to-day who look for wonderful
transformations of society to follow on possible reforms, there is
not even in these dreamy schemes the same amazing disproportion of
means to be employed and end to be attained as characterised the
Chartist delusion.

[Illustration: Daniel O'Connell.]

In Ireland men were reposing unbounded faith in another sort of
political panacea for every personal and social evil--the Repeal of
the Union with England, advocated by Daniel O'Connell, with all the
power of his passionate Celtic eloquence, and supported by all his
extraordinary personal influence. Apparently he hoped to carry this
agitation to the same triumphant issue as that for Catholic
emancipation, in which he had taken a conspicuous part; but the new
movement did not, like the old one, appeal immediately and plausibly
to the English sense of fair play and natural justice. A competent
and not unfriendly observer has remarked that O'Connell's "theory and
policy were that Ireland was to be saved by a dictatorship entrusted
to himself." Whether any salvation for the unhappy land did lie in
such a dictatorship was a point on which opinion might well be
divided. English opinion was massively hostile to it; but for years
all the political enthusiasm of Ireland centred in O'Connell and the
cause he upheld. The country might be on the brink of ruin and
starvation, but the peril seemed forgotten while the dream lasted.
The agitator was wont to refer to the Queen in terms of extravagant
loyalty, and it would seem that the feeling was largely shared by his
followers. However futile and vainglorious his scheme and methods may
appear, we must not deny to him a distinction, rare indeed among
Irish agitators, of having steadily disclaimed violence and advocated
orderly and peaceable proceedings. He thought his cause would be
injured, and not advanced, by such outrages as before and since his
day have too often disgraced party warfare in Ireland. His favourite
maxim was that "the man who commits a crime gives strength to the
enemy." This opinion was not heartily endorsed by all his followers.
When it became clear that his dislike of physical force was real,
when he did not defy the Government, at last stirred into hostile
action by the demonstrations he organised, there was an end of his
power over the fiercer spirits whom he had roused against the rule of
"the Saxon"--luckless phrase with which he had enriched the
Anglo-Irish controversy, and misleading as luckless. O'Connell died,
a broken and disappointed man, on his way to Rome in 1847; but the
spirit he had raised and could not rule did not die with him, and the
younger, more turbulent leaders, who had outbid him for popular
approval, continued their anti-English warfare with growing zeal
until the year of fate 1848.

Even the Principality of Wales had its own peculiar form of
agitation, sometimes accompanied by outrage, during these wild
opening years. The farmers and labourers in Wales were unprosperous
and poor, and in the season of their adversity they found turnpikes
and tolls multiplying on their public roads. They resented what
appeared a cruel imposition with wrathful impatience, and ere long
gave expression to their anger in wild deeds. A text of Scripture
suggested to them a fantastic form of riot. They found that it was
said of old to Rebecca, "Let thy seed possess the gate of those which
hate them," and ere long "Rebecca and her children," men masking in
women's clothes, made fierce war by night on the "gates" they
detested, destroying the turnpikes and driving out their keepers.
These raids were not always bloodless. The Government succeeded in
repressing the rioting, and then, finding that a real grievance had
caused it, did away with the oppressive tolls, and dealt not too
hardly with the captured offenders; leniency which soon restored
Wales to tranquillity.

[Illustration: Richard Cobden.]

[Illustration: John Bright.]

A peaceful, strictly constitutional, and finally successful agitation
ran its steady course in England for several years contemporaneously
with those we have already enumerated. The Anti-Corn-Law League, with
which the names of Cobden and Bright are united as closely as those
two distinguished men were united in friendship, had in 1838 found a
centre eminently favourable to its operations in Manchester. Its
leaders were able, well-informed, and upright men, profoundly
convinced that their cause was just, and that the welfare of the
people was involved in their success or failure. They were men of the
middle class, acquainted intimately with the needs and doings of the
trading community to which they belonged, and therefore at once
better qualified to argue on questions affecting commerce, and less
directly interested in the prosperity of agriculture, than the more
aristocratic leaders of the nation. Both persuasive and successful
speakers, one of them supremely eloquent, they were able to interest
even the lowest populace in questions of political economy, and to
make Free Trade in Corn the idol of popular passion. Their mode of
agitation was eminently reasonable and wise; but it _was_ an
agitation, exciting wild enthusiasm and fierce opposition, and must
be reckoned not among the forces tending to quiet, but among those
that aroused anxious care in the first nine years of the reign. And
it was a terrible calamity that at last placed victory within their
grasp. The blight on the potato first showed itself in 1845--a new,
undreamed-of disaster, probably owing to the long succession of
unfavourable seasons. And the potato blight meant almost certainly
famine in Ireland, where perhaps three-fourths of the population had
no food but this root. The food supply of a whole nation seemed on
the point of being cut off. A loud demand was made for "the opening
of the ports." By existing laws the ports admitted foreign grain
tinder import duties varying in severity inversely with the
fluctuating price of home-grown grain; thus a certain high level in
the cost of corn was artificially maintained. These regulations,
though framed for the protection of the native producer, did not bear
so heavily on the consumer as the law of 1815 which they replaced;
and the principle represented by them had a large following in the
country. But now the argument from famine proved potent to decide the
wavering convictions of some who had long been identified with the
cause of Protection. The champions of Free Trade were sure of triumph
when Sir Robert Peel became one of their converts; and the Corn Bill
which he carried in the June of 1846, granting with some little
reserve and delay the reforms which the Anti-Corn-Law League had been
formed to secure, brought that powerful association to a quiet end.
But the threatening Irish famine and the growing Irish disturbances
remained, to embarrass the Ministry of Lord John Russell, which came
into power within less than a week of that great success of the Tory
Minister, defeated on a question of Irish polity on the very day when
his Corn Bill received the assent of the House of Lords.

[Illustration: Lord John Russell.]

We must not omit, as in passing we chronicle this singular fortune of
a great Minister, to notice the grief with which Her Majesty viewed
this turn of events. Amid all the anxiety of the period, amid her
distress at the cruel sufferings of her servants in India, in
Britain, in Ireland, and her care for their relief, she had had two
sources of consolation: the pure and simple bliss of her home-life,
and the assistance of two most valued counsellors--her husband and
her Prime Minister. One was inseparably at her side, but one must now
leave it; and she and the Prince met their inevitable loss with the
dignified outward acquiescence that was fitting, but with sorrow not
less real. The Queen would have bestowed on Peel as distinguished an
honour as she could confer--the Order of the Garter; Peel deemed it
best to decline it gratefully. "He was from the people and of the
people," and wished so to remain, content if his Queen could say,
"You have been a faithful servant, and have done your duty to the
country and to myself."

In hapless Ireland, torn by agitation and scourged by pestilence and
famine, the general misery had reached a point where no fiscal
measures, however wise, could at once alleviate it. The potato famine
held on its dreadful way, and the darkest moment of Irish history
seemed reached in the year when one hundred and seventy thousand
persons perished in that island by hunger or hunger-bred fever. The
new plague affected Great Britain also; but its suffering was
completely overshadowed by the enormous bulk of Irish woe, which the
utmost lavishness of charity seemed scarcely to lessen. That there
should be turbulence and even violence accompanying all this
wretchedness was no way surprising; but in most men's minds the
wretchedness held the larger place, and deservedly so, for the
sedition, when ripe enough, was dealt with sharply, though not
mercilessly, in such a way that ere long all reasonable dread of a
civil war being added to the other horrors, had passed away; and the
country had leisure for such recovery as was possible to a land so

[Illustration: Thomas Chalmers.]

There was contemporaneous distress enough and to spare in Great
Britain: failures in Lancashire alone to the amount of £16,000,000;
failures equally heavy in Birmingham, Glasgow, and other great towns;
capital was absorbed by the mad speculations in railway shares; and
even Heaven's gift of an abundant harvest, by at once lowering the
price of corn, helped to depress commerce. Many banks stopped
payment, and even the Bank of England seemed imperilled, saving
itself only by adopting a bold line of policy advised by Government.
At the same time, the Chartist movement was gathering the strength
which was to expend itself in the futile demonstrations of 1848.

[Illustration: John Henry Newman. _From a photograph by_ Mr. H. J.
Whitlock, _Birmingham_.]

But as if it were not enough for every department of political or
commercial life to be so seriously affected, there was now arising
within the English National Church itself a singular movement,
destined to affect the religious history of the land as powerfully,
if not as beneficially, as did the Evangelical revival of the last
century; and the National Kirk of Scotland, after long and stern
contention on the crucial point of civil control in things spiritual,
was ready for that rending in twain from which arose the Free Kirk;
while other religious bodies were torn by the same keen spirit of
strife, the same revolt against ancient order, as that which was
distracting the world of politics. The bitterness of the disruption
in Scotland is well-nigh exhausted, though the controversy enlisted
at the time all the fervid power of a Chalmers; men honour the memory
of the champions, while hoping to see the once sharp differences
composed for ever. But the "Catholic Revival," initiated under the
leadership of Newman, Pusey, and Keble, has proved to be no transient
disturbance: and no figure has in relation to the Church history of
the half-century the same portentous importance as that of John Henry
Newman, whose powerful magnetism, as it attracted or repelled, drew
men towards Romanism or drove them towards Rationalism, his logical
art, made more impressive by the noble eloquence with which he
sometimes adorned it, seeming to leave those who came under his spell
no choice between the two extremes. When he finally decided on
withdrawing himself from the Anglican and giving in his adhesion to
the Roman communion, he set an example that has not yet ceased to be
imitated, to the incalculable damage of the English Establishment.
Happily the massive Nonconformity of the country was hardly touched
either by his influence or his example.

It is pleasant to turn from scenes of doubt and discord, of strife
and sorrow, to that bright domestic life which was now vouchsafed to
the Sovereign, as if in direct compensation for the storms that raved
and beat outside her home--a home now brightened by the presence of
five joyous, healthy children. It is a charming picture of the royal
pair and of the manner of life in the palace--styled by one foreigner
"the one really pleasant, comfortable English house, in which one
feels at one's ease "--that is given us by the finely discerning
Mendelssohn, invited by the Prince to "come and try his organ" before
leaving England in 1842, on which occasion the Queen joined her
husband and his guest at the instrument, enjoying and aiding in their
musical performance, and singing, "quite faultlessly and with
charming feeling and expression," a song written by the great master
who was now paying a farewell visit, with nothing of ceremony in it,
to English royalty. With a few touches Mendelssohn makes us see the
delightful ease and comfort of this royal interior, the Queen
gathering up the sheets of music strewn by the wind over the
floor--the Prince cleverly managing the organ-stops so as to suit the
master while he played--the mighty rocking-horse and the two
birdcages beside the music-laden piano in the Queen's own
sitting-room, beautiful with pictures and richly-bound books--the
pretty difficulty about her finding some of Mendelssohn's own songs
to sing to him, since her music was packed up and taken away to
Claremont--her naïve confession that she had been "so frightened" at
singing before the master,--all are chronicled with not less zest and
affection than the graceful gift of a valuable ring "as a
remembrance" to the artist from the Queen, through Prince Albert. It
is a much more pleasing impression that we thus obtain than can be
given by details of State ceremonial and visits from other
sovereigns. Of these last there was no lack, and the princely
visitors were entertained with all due pomp and splendour; but
neither on account of these costly entertainments nor on behalf of
the royal children did the Sovereign ask the nation for so much as a
shilling, the Civil List sufficing for every unlooked-for outlay, now
that Prince Albert, by dint of persevering effort, had succeeded in
putting the arrangements of the royal household on a satisfactory
footing, sweeping away a vast number of time-honoured, thriftless
expenses, and rendering a wise and generous economy possible.

[Illustration: Balmoral.]

Formerly the great officers of the Crown were charged with the
oversight of the commonest domestic business of the palace. Being
non-resident, these overseers did no overseeing, and the actual
servants were practically masterless. Hence arose numberless
vexations and extravagant hindrances. In 1843 this objectionable form
of the division of labour was brought to an end, and one Master of
the household who did his work replaced the many officials who, by a
fiction of etiquette, had been formerly supposed to do everything
while they did and could do nothing. The long-needed reform could not
but be pleasing to the Queen, being quite in harmony with the upright
principles that had always ruled her conduct, she having begun her
reign by paying off the debts of her dead father--debts contracted
not in her lifetime nor on her account, and which a spirit less
purely honourable might therefore have declined to recognise.

[Illustration: Osborne House.]

Thanks to the Prince's able management, the royal pair found it in
their power to purchase for themselves the estate of Osborne, in the
Isle of Wight--a charming retreat all their own, which they could
adorn for their delight with no thought of the thronging public;
where the Prince could farm and build and garden to his heart's
content, and all could escape from the stately restraints of their
burdensome rank, and from "the bitterness people create for
themselves in London." Before very long they found for themselves
that Highland holiday home of Balmoral which was to be so peculiarly
dear, and in which Her Majesty--whose first visit to the _then_
discontented Scotland was deemed quite a risky experiment--was so
completely to win for herself the admiring love of her Scottish

At Balmoral Mr. Greville saw them some little time after their
acquisition of the place, and witnesses to the "simplicity and ease"
with which they lived, to the gay good humour that pervaded their
circle--"the Queen running in and out of the house all day long,
often going out alone, walking into the cottages, sitting down and
chatting with the old women," the Prince free from trammels of
etiquette, showing what native charm of manner and what high,
cultivated intelligence were really his. The impression is identical
with that conveyed by Her Majesty's published Journal of that
Highland life; and, though lacking the many graceful details of that
record, the testimony has its own value. Happy indeed was the
Sovereign for whom the black cloud of those years showed such a
silver lining! Other potentates were less happy, both as regarded
their private blessings and their public fortunes.

It would be agreeable to English feelings, but not altogether
consonant with historic truth, if we could leave unnoticed the
scandalous attempts on the Queen's life which marked the earliest
period of her reign and have been renewed in later days. The first
attacks were by far of the most alarming character, but Her Majesty,
whose escape on one occasion seemed due only to her husband's prompt
action, never betrayed any agitation or alarm; and her dauntless
bearing, and the care for others which she manifested by dispensing
with the presence of her usual lady attendants when she anticipated
one of these assaults, immensely increased the already high esteem in
which her people held her. The first assailant, a half-crazy lad of
low station named Oxford, was shut up in a lunatic asylum. For the
second, a man named Francis, the same plea could not be urged; but
the death-sentence he had incurred was commuted to transportation for
life. Almost immediately a deformed lad called Bean followed the
example of Francis. Her Majesty, who had been very earnest to save
the life of the miserable beings attacking her, desired an alteration
in the law as to such assaults; and their penalty was fixed at seven
years' transportation, or imprisonment not exceeding three years, to
which the court was empowered to add a moderate number of
whippings--punishments having no heroic fascination about them, like
that which for heated and shallow brains invested the hideous doom of
"traitors." The expedient proved in a measure successful, none of the
later assaults, discreditable as they are, betraying a really
murderous intention. It has been remarked as a noteworthy
circumstance that popular English monarchs have been more exposed to
such dangers than others who were cordially disliked. It is not
hatred that has prompted these assassins so much as imbecile vanity
and the passion for notoriety, misleading an obscure coxcomb to think

                        "His glory would be great
   According to _her_ greatness whom he quenched."



[Illustration: Buckingham Palace.]

It is  necessary now to look at the relations of our Government with
other nations, and in particular with France, whose fortunes just at
this time had a clearly traceable effect on our own.

For several years the Court of England had been on terms of
unprecedented cordiality with the French Court. The Queen had
personally visited King Louis Philippe at the Château d'Eu--an event
which we must go back as far as the days of Henry VIII to
parallel--and had contracted a warm friendship for certain members of
his family, in particular for the Queen, Marie Amélie, for the
widowed Duchess of Orleans, a maternal cousin of Prince Albert, and
for the perfect Louise, the truthful, unselfish second wife of
Leopold, King of the Belgians, and daughter of the King of the
French. It was a rude shock to all the warm feelings which our Queen,
herself transparently honest, had learnt to cherish for her royal
friends when the French King and his Minister, Guizot, entered into
that fatal intrigue of theirs, "the Spanish marriages." Isabella, the
young Queen of Spain, and her sister and heiress presumptive, Louisa,
were yet unmarried at the time of the visit to the Château d'Eu; and
about that time an undertaking was given by the French to the English
Government that the Infanta Louisa should not marry a French prince
until her sister, the actual Queen, "should be married and have
children." The possible union of the crowns of France and Spain was
known for a dream of French ambition, and was equally well known to
be an object of dislike and dread to other European Powers. The
engagement which the French King had now given seemed therefore well
calculated to disarm suspicion and promote peace; but the one was
reawakened and the other endangered when it became known that he had
so used his power over the Spanish court as to procure that the royal
sisters of Spain should be married on one day--Isabella, the Queen,
to the most unfit and uncongenial of all the possible candidates for
her hand; Louisa to King Louis Philippe's son, the Duke of
Montpensier. The transaction on the face of it was far from
respectable, since the credit and happiness of the young Spanish
Queen seemed to have hardly entered into the consideration of those
who arranged for her the _mariage de convenance_ into which she was
led blindfold; but when regarded as a violation of good faith it was
additionally displeasing. Queen Victoria, to whom the scheme was
imparted only when it was ripe for execution, through her personal
friend Louise, Queen of the Belgians, replied to the communication in
a tone of earnest, dignified remonstrance; but apparently the King
was now too thoroughly committed to his scheme to be deterred by any
reasoning or reproaches, and the tragical farce was played out. It
had no good results for France; England was chilled and alienated,
but the Spanish crown never devolved on the Duchess of Montpensier.
Within two little years from her marriage that princess and all the
French royal family fled from France, so hastily that they had
scarcely money enough to provide for their journey, and appeared in
England as fugitives, to be aided and protected by the Queen, who
forgot all political resentment, and remembered only her personal
regard for these fallen princes.

The overthrow of the Orleans dynasty in 1848 was a complete surprise,
and men have never ceased to see something disgraceful in its amazing
suddenness. Here was a great king, respected for wisdom and daring,
and supposed to understand at every point the character of the land
he ruled, his power appearing unshaken, while it was known to be
backed with an army one hundred thousand strong. And almost without
warning a whirlwind of insurrection against this solid power and this
able ruler broke out, and in a few wild hours swept the whole fabric
into chaos. Nothing caused more surprise at the moment than the
extreme bitterness of animosity which the insurgents manifested
towards the king's person, unless it were the tameness with which he
submitted to his fate and the precipitancy of his flight. There was
something rotten in the state of things, men said, which could thus
dissolve, crushed like a swollen fungus by a casual foot. And indeed,
whether with perfect justice or not, Louis Philippe's Administration
had come to be deemed corrupt some time ere his fall. The free-spoken
Parisians had openly flouted it as such: witness a mock advertisement
placarded in the streets: "_A nettoyer, deux Chambres et une Cour_":
"Two _Chambers_ and a _Court_ to clean." A French Government that had
been crafty, but not crafty enough to conceal the fact, that was
rather contemned for plotting than dreaded for unscrupulous energy,
was already in peril. The still unsubdued revolutionary spirit,
working under the smooth surface of French society, was the element
which accomplished the destruction of this discredited Government.

The outbreak in France acted like a spark in a powder magazine; ere
long great part of Europe was shaken by the second great
revolutionary upheaval, when potentates seemed falling and ancient
dynasties crumbling on all sides--a period of eager hope to many,
followed by despair when the reaction set in, accompanied in too many
places by repressive measures of pitiless severity. The contemptuous
feeling with which many Englishmen were wont to view such Continental
troubles is well embodied in the lines which Tennyson put into the
mouth of one of his characters, speaking of France:

   "Yonder, whiff! there comes a sudden heat,
   The gravest citizen seems to lose his head,
   The king is scared, the soldier will not fight.
   The little boys begin to shoot and stab,
   A kingdom topples over with a shriek
   Like an old woman, and down rolls the world
   In mock-heroics--
   Revolts, republics, revolutions, most
   No graver than a schoolboy's barring out;
   Too comic for the solemn things they are,
   Too solemn for the comic touches in them."

In this wild year 1848, which saw Revolution running riot on the
Continent, England too had its share of troubles not less painfully
ridiculous; the insurrection headed by Smith O'Brien, a chief of the
"Young Ireland" party, coming to an inglorious end in the affray
that took place at "the widow McCormick's cabbage-garden,
Ballingarry," in the month of July; the greatly dreaded Chartist
demonstration at Kennington Common on April 10th by its conspicuous
failure having done much to damp the hopes and spirits of the party
of disorder generally.

It would be easy now to laugh at the frustrated designs of the
Chartist leaders and at the sort of panic they aroused in London: the
vast procession, which was to have marched in military order to
overawe Parliament, resolving itself into a confused rabble easily
dispersed by the police, and the monster petition, that should  have
numbered six million signatures, transported piecemeal to the House,
and there found to have but two million names appended, many
fictitious; the Chartist leader, completely cowed, thanking the Home
Office for its lenient treatment; or, on the other hand, London and
its peaceful inhabitants, distracted with wild rumours of combat and
bloodshed, apprehending a repetition of Parisian madnesses, and
unaware how thoroughly the Duke of Wellington, entrusted with the
defence of the capital and its important buildings, had carried out
all needful arrangements. The two hundred thousand special constables
sworn in to aid in maintaining law and order on that day were visible
enough, and had their utility in conveying a certain impression of
safety; the troops whom the veteran commander held in readiness were
kept out of sight till wanted. These rebellious spirits imagining
themselves formidable and free, when caught in an invisible iron
network--these terrified citizens, protected all unconsciously to
themselves against the impotent foe whom they dreaded--might furnish
food for mirth if we did not remember the real, deep, and widespread
misery which found inarticulate but piteous expression in the
movement now coming to confusion under the firm assertion of
necessary authority. The disturbances must needs be quieted; but
hitherto it has been the glory of our Victorian statesmen to have
understood that the grievances which caused them must also be dealt
with. Now that all which could be deemed wise and good in Chartist
demands has been conceded, orderly and quietly, the name "Chartism"
has utterly lost its dread significance.

[Illustration: Napoleon III.]

No cruelly vindictive measures of reprisal followed the collapse of
the agitation; none indeed were needed. The revolutionary epidemic,
which had spread hitherward from France, found our body politic in
too sound a condition, and could not fasten on it; and the subsequent
convulsions which shook our great neighbour hardly called forth an
answering thrill in England. The strange transactions of December
1851, by means of which Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Prince-President of
the new French republic, succeeded in overthrowing that republic and
replacing it by an empire of which he was the head, did indeed excite
displeasure and distrust in many minds; and though it was believed
that his high-handed proceedings had averted much disorder, the
English Government was not prepared at once to accept all the
proffered explanations of French diplomacy; but the then foreign
Secretary, Lord Palmerston, by the rash proclamation of his
individual approval, committed the Ministry of which he was one to a
recognition of the _de facto_ Monarch of France. This step was but
the last of many instances in which Palmerston had acted without due
reference to the premier's or the Sovereign's opinion--a course of
conduct which had justly displeased the Queen, and had drawn from her
grave and pointed remonstrances. The final transgression led to his
resignation; but its effects on our relations with France remained.

Meanwhile the Emperor's consistent and probably sincere display of
goodwill towards England, the apparent complacency with which the
French nation acquiesced in his rule, and the outward prosperity
accompanying it, did their natural work in conciliating approval, and
in making men willing to forget the obscure and tortuous steps by
which he had climbed to power. One day he and France were to pay for
these things; but meanwhile he was a popular ruler, accepted and
approved by the nation he governed, anxious for its prosperity, and
earnest in keeping it friendly with Great Britain, which he had found
a hospitable home in the days of his obscurity, which was again to
offer an asylum to him in a day of utter disaster and overthrow, and
where his life, chequered by vicissitudes stranger than any known to
romance, was to come to a quiet close. It has been the singular
fortune of Her Majesty to receive into the sacred shelter of her
realm two dethroned monarchs, two fallen fortunes, two dynasties cast
out from sovereign power, while her own throne, "broad-based upon her
people's will, and compassed by the inviolate sea," has stood firm
and unshaken, even by a breath. And it has been her special honour to
cherish with affection, even warmer in their adversity, the friends
who had gained her regard when their prosperity seemed as bright and
their great position as assured as her own. Visiting the Emperor
Napoleon in his splendid capital, fêted and welcomed by him and his
Empress with every flattering form of honour that his ingenuity could
devise or his power enable him to show, she did not forget the
Orleans family and their calamities, but frankly urged on her host
the injustice of the confiscations with which he had requited the
supposed hostility of those princes, and endeavoured to persuade him
to milder measures. She visited in his company the tomb of the
lamented Duke of Orleans; and her first care on returning to England
was to show some kindly attention to the discrowned royalties who
were now her guests. In the same spirit, in after years, she extended
a friendly hand to the exiled Empress Eugénie, escaping from new
revolutionary perils to English safety, and altogether declined to
consider her personal regard for the lady, whose attractions had
deservedly gained it in brighter days, as being in any sense
complicated with matters political. The resolute loyalty with which
she at once maintained her private friendships and kept them entirely
apart from her public action compelled toleration from the persons
most inclined to take umbrage at it.

An instance of successful and courageous enterprise on Her Majesty's
part may well close this brief notice of the internal and external
convulsions which for a time shook, though they did not shatter, the
peace of our realm. In the late summer of 1849 a royal visit to
Ireland, now just reviving from its misery, was planned and carried
out with complete success; the wild Irish enthusiasm blazed up into
raptures of a loyal welcome, and the Sovereign, who played her part
with all the graceful perfection that her compassionate heart and
quick intelligence suggested, was delighted with the little tour,
from which those who shared in it prophesied "permanent good" for
Ireland. At least it had a healing, beneficial effect at the moment;
and perhaps more could not have been reasonably hoped. Later royal
visits to the sister isle have been less conspicuous, but all fairly



[Illustration: The Crystal Palace, 1851.]

The "Exhibition year," 1851, appears to our backward gaze almost like
a short day of splendid summer interposed between two stormy seasons;
but at the time men were more inclined to regard it as the first of a
long series of halcyon days. Indeed, the unexampled number and
success of the various efforts to redress injury and reform abuses,
which had signalised the new reign, might almost justify those
sanguine spirits, who now wrote and spoke as though wars and
oppression were well on their way to the limbo of ancient barbarisms,
and who looked to unfettered commerce as the peace-making civiliser,
under whose influence the golden age--in more senses than one might
revisit the earth.

[Illustration: Lord Ashley.]

We have already referred to certain of the new transforming forces
whose action tended to heighten such hopes; there are two reforms as
yet unnamed by us, distinguishing these early years, which are
particularly significant; though one at least was stoutly opposed by
a special class of reformers. We refer to the legislation dealing
with mines and factories and those employed therein, with which is
inseparably connected the venerable name of the late Lord
Shaftesbury; and to the abolition of duelling in the army, secured by
the untiring efforts of Prince Albert, who had enlisted on his side
the immense influence of the Duke of Wellington.

That peculiar modern survival of the ancient trial by combat, the
duel, was still blocking the way of English civilisation when Her
Majesty assumed the sceptre. A palpable anachronism, it yet seemed
impossible to make men act on their knowledge of its antiquated and
barbarous character; legislation was fruitless of good against a
practice consecrated by false sentiment and false ideas of honour;
but when dislodged from its chief stronghold, the army, it became
quickly discredited everywhere, with the happy result noted by a
contemporary historian, that _now_ "a duel in England would seem as
absurd and barbarous as an ordeal by touch or a witch-burning."
Militarism, that mischievous counterfeit of true soldierly spirit,
could not thrive where the duel was discountenanced; and the friends
of peace might rejoice with reason.

But those peaceful agitators, the sagacious, energetic Cobden and his
allies, resented rather sharply the interference of the Lord Ashley
of that day with the "natural laws" of the labour market--laws to
whose operation some of the party attributed the cruelly excessive
hours of work in factories, and the indiscriminate employment of all
kinds of labour, even that of the merest infants. Undeterred by
these objections, convinced that no law which sanctioned and promoted
cruelty did so with true authority, Lord Ashley persisted in the
struggle on which he had entered 1833; in 1842 he scored his first
great success in the passing of an Act that put an end to the
employment of women and children in mines and collieries; in 1844 the
Government carried their Factories Act, which lessened and limited
the hours of children's factory labour, and made other provisions for
their benefit. It was not all that he had striven for, but it was
much; he accepted the compromise, but did not slacken in his efforts
still further to improve the condition of the children. His career of
steady benevolence far outstretched this early period of battle and
endurance; but already his example and achievement were fruitful of
good, and his fellow-labourers were numerous. Nothing succeeds like
success: people had sneered at the mania for futile legislation that
possessed the "humanity-monger" who so embarrassed party leaders with
his crusade on behalf of mere mercy and justice; they now approved
the practical philanthropist who had taken away a great reproach from
his nation, and glorified the age in which they lived because of its
special humaneness, while they exulted not less in the brightening
prospects of the country. Sedition overcome, law and order
triumphant, the throne standing firm, prosperity returning--all
ministered to pride and hope.

In 1850 there had been some painful incidents; the death by an
unhappy accident of Sir Robert Peel, and the turbulent excitement of
what are known as the "No Popery" disturbances, being the most
notable: and of these again incomparably the most important was the
untimely loss to the country of the great and honest statesman who
might otherwise have rendered still more conspicuous services to the
Sovereign and the empire. The sudden violent outburst of popular
feeling, provoked by a piece of rash assumption on the part of the
reigning Pope, was significant, indeed, as evidencing how little
alteration the "Catholic revival" had worked in the temper of the
nation at large; otherwise its historic importance is small. At the
time, however, the current of agitation ran strongly, and swept into
immediate oblivion an event which three years before would have had a
European importance--the 'death of Louis Philippe, whose strangely
chequered life came to an end in the old palace of Claremont, just
before the "papal aggressions"--rash, impolitic, and mischievous, as
competent observers pronounced it, but powerless to injure English
Protestantism--had thrown all the country into a ferment, which took
some months to subside. We are told that Her Majesty, though
naturally interested by this affair, was more alive to the quarter
where the real peril lay than were some of her subjects; but in the
universal distress caused by the death of Peel none joined more
truly, none deplored that loss more deeply, than the Sovereign, who
would willingly have shown her value for the true servant she had
lost by conferring a peerage on his widow--an honour which Lady Peel,
faithful to the wishes and sharing the feeling of her husband, felt
it necessary to decline.

[Illustration: Earl of Derby.]

Amid these agitations, inferior far to many that had preceded them,
the year 1850 ran out, and 1851 opened--the year in which Prince
Albert's long-pursued project of a great International Exhibition of
Arts and Industries was at last successfully carried out. The idea,
as expounded by himself at a banquet given by the Lord Mayor, was
large and noble. "It was to give the world a true test, a living
picture, of the point of industrial development at which the whole of
mankind had arrived, and a new starting-point from which all nations
would be able to direct their further exertions." The magnificent
success, unflawed by any vexatious or dangerous incident, with which
the idea was carried out, had made it almost impossible for us to
understand the opposition with which the plan was greeted, the
ridicule that was heaped upon it, the foolish fears which it
inspired; while the many similar Exhibitions in this and other
countries that have followed and emulated, but never altogether
equalled, the first, have made us somewhat oblivious of the fact that
the scheme when first propounded was an absolute novelty. It was a
fascination, a wonder, a delight; it aroused enthusiasm that will
never be rekindled on a like occasion.

Paxton's fairy palace of glass and iron, erected in Hyde Park, and
canopying in its glittering spaces the untouched, majestic elms of
that national pleasure-ground as well as the varied treasures of
industrial and artistic achievement brought from every quarter of the
globe, divided the charmed astonishment of foreign spectators with
the absolute orderliness of the myriads who thronged it and crowded
all its approaches on the great opening day. Perhaps on that day the
Queen touched the summit of her rare happiness. It was the 1st of
May--her own month--and the birthday of her youngest son, the
godchild and namesake of the great Duke. She stood, the most justly
popular and beloved of living monarchy, amid thousands of her
rejoicing subjects, encompassed with loving friends and happy
children, at the side of the beloved husband whose plan was now
triumphantly realised; and she spoke the words which inaugurated that
triumph and invited the world to gaze on it.

"The sight was magical," she says, "so vast, so glorious, so
touching...God bless my dearest Albert! God bless my dearest country,
which has shown itself so great to-day! One felt so grateful to the
great God, Who seemed to pervade all and to bless all. The only event
it in the slightest degree reminded me of was the coronation, but
this day's festival was a thousand times superior. In fact, it is
unique, and can bear no comparison, from its peculiar beauty and
combination of such striking and different objects. I mean the slight
resemblance only as to its solemnity; the enthusiasm and cheering,
too, were much more touching, for in a church naturally all is

The Exhibition remained open from the 1st of May to the 11th of
October, continuing during all those months to attract many thousands
of visitors. It had charmed the world by the splendid embodiment of
peace and peaceful industries which it presented, and men willingly
took this festival as a sign bespeaking a yet longer reign of
world-tranquillity. It proved to be only a sort of rainbow, shining
in the black front of approaching tempest. When 1854 opened, the
third year from the Exhibition year, we were already committed to war
with Russia; and the forty years' peace with Europe, finally won at
Waterloo, was over and gone.

[Illustration: Duke of Wellington.]

In the interval another great spirit had passed away. The Duke of
Wellington died, very quietly and with little warning, at Walmer
Castle, on the 14th of September, 1852, "full of years and honours."
He was in his eighty-fourth year, and during the whole reign of Queen
Victoria he had occupied such a position as no English subject had
ever held before. At one time, before that reign began, his political
action had made him extraordinarily unpopular, in despite of the
splendid military services which no one could deny; now he was the
very idol of the nation, and at the same time was treated with the
utmost respect and reverent affection by the Sovereign--two
distinctions how seldom either attained or merited by one person! But
in Wellington's case there is no doubt that the popular adoration and
the royal regard were worthily bestowed and well earned. He had never
seemed stirred by the popular odium, he never seemed to prize the
popular praise, which he received; it was not for praise that he had
worked, but for simple duty; and his experience of the fickleness of
public favour might make him something scornful of it. To the honours
which his Sovereign delighted to shower on him--honours perhaps never
before bestowed on a subject by a monarch--he _was_ sensitive. The
Queen to him was the noblest personification of the country whose
good had ever been, not only the first, but the only object of his
public action: and with this patriotic loyalty there mingled
something of a personal feeling, more akin to romance in its paternal
tenderness than seemed consistent with the granite-hewn strength and
sternness of his general character. A thorough soldier, with a
soldier's contempt for fine-spun diplomacy, he had been led into many
a blunder when acting as a chief of party and of State; but his
absolute single-minded honesty had more than redeemed such errors;
"integrity and uprightness had preserved him," and through him the
land and its rulers, amid difficulties where the finest statecraft
might have made shipwreck of all.

He had his human failings; yet the moral grandeur of his whole career
cast such faults into the shade, and justified entirely the universal
grief at his not untimely death. The Queen deplored him as "our
immortal hero"--a servant of the Crown "devoted, loyal, and faithful"
beyond all example; the nation endeavoured by a funeral of
unprecedented sumptuousness to show its sense of loss; the poet
laureate devoted to his memory a majestic Ode, hardly surpassed by
any in the language for its stately, mournful music, and finely
faithful in its characterisation of the dead hero--

           "The man of long-enduring blood,
     The statesman-warrior, moderate, resolute,
     Whole in himself, a common good;...
     ...The man of amplest influence,
     Yet clearest of ambitious crime,
     Our greatest yet with least pretence,
     Great in council and great in war,
     Foremost captain of his time,
     Rich in saving common-sense.
     And, as the greatest only are.
     In his simplicity sublime;...
     Who never sold the truth to serve the hour,
     Nor paltered with Eternal God for power;
     Who let the turbid streams of rumour flow
     Through either babbling world of high and low;
     Whose life was work, whose language rife
     With rugged maxims hewn from life;
     Who never spoke against a foe;
     Whose eighty winters freeze with one rebuke
     All great self-seekers trampling on the right:
     Truth-teller was our England's Alfred named;
     Truth-lover was our English Duke;
     Whatever record leap to light
     He never shall be shamed."

When, within so short a period after Wellington's death, the nation
once more found itself drawn into a European war, there were many
whose regret for his removal was quickened into greater keenness.
"Had we but the Duke to lead our armies!" was the common cry; but
even _his_ military genius might have found itself disastrously
fettered, had he occupied the position which his ancient subordinate
and comrade, Lord Raglan, was made to assume. It may be doubted if
Wellington could have been induced to assume it.

Whether there ever would have been a Crimean war if no special
friendliness had existed between France and England may be fair
matter for speculation. The quarrel issuing in that war was indeed
begun by France; but it would have been difficult for England to take
no part in it. The apple of discord was supplied by a long-standing
dispute between the Greek and Latin Churches as to the Holy Places
situated in Palestine--a dispute in which France posed as the champion
of the Latin and Russia of the Greek right to the guardianship of the
various shrines. The claim of France was based on a treaty between
Francis I and the then Sultan, and related to the Holy Places
merely; the Russian claim, founded on a treaty between Turkey and
Catherine II, was far wider, and embraced a protectorate over all
Christians of the Greek Church in Turkey, and therefore over a great
majority of the Sultan's European subjects. Such a construction of
the treaty in question, however, had always been refused by England
whenever Russia had stated it; and its assertion at this moment bore
an ominous aspect in conjunction with the views which the reigning
Czar Nicholas had made very plain to English statesmen, both when he
visited England in 1844 and subsequently to that visit. To use his
own well-known phrase, he regarded Turkey as "a sick man"--a
death-doomed man, indeed--and hoped to be the sick man's principal
heir. He had confidently reckoned on English co-operation when the
Turkish empire should at last be dismembered; he was now to find, not
only that co-operation would be withheld, but that strong opposition
would be offered to the execution of the plan, for which it had
seemed that a favourable moment was presenting itself. The delusion
under which he had acted was one that should have been dispelled by
plain English speech long before; but now that he found it to be a
delusion, he did not recede from his demands upon the Porte: he
rather multiplied them. The upshot of all this was war, in spite of
protracted diplomatic endeavours to the contrary; and into that war
French and English went side by side. Once before they had done so,
when Philip Augustus and Richard Coeur de Lion united their forces to
wrest the Holy Places from the Saracens; that enterprise had been
disgraced by particularly ugly scandals from which this was free; but
in respect to glory of generalship, or permanent results secured, the
Crimean campaign has little pre-eminence over the Fourth Crusade.

Recent disclosures, which have shown that Lord Aberdeen's Ministry
was not rightly reproached with "drifting" idly and recklessly into
this disastrous contest, have also helped to clear the English
commander's memory from the slur of inefficiency so liberally flung
on him at the time, while it has been shown that his action was
seriously hampered by the French generals with whom he had to
co-operate. From whatever cause, such glory as was gained in the
Crimea belongs more to the rank and file of the allied armies than to
those highest in command. The first success won on the heights of the
Alma was not followed up; the Charge of the Six Hundred, which has
made memorable for ever the Russian repulse at Balaklava, was a
splendid mistake, valuable chiefly for the spirit-stirring example it
has bequeathed to future generations of English soldiers, for its
illustration of death-defying, disciplined courage; the great fight
at Inkerman was only converted from a calamitous surprise into a
victory by sheer obstinate valour, not by able strategy; and the
operations that after Lord Raglan's death brought the unreasonably
protracted siege of Sebastopol to a close did but evince afresh how
grand were the soldierly qualities of both French and English, and
how indifferently they were generalled.

If the allies came out of the conflict with no great glory, they had
such satisfaction as could be derived from the severer losses and the
discomfiture at all points of the foe. The disasters of the war had
been fatal to the Czar Nicholas, who died on March 2nd, 1855, from
pulmonary apoplexy--an attack to which he had laid himself open, it
was said, in melancholy recklessness of his health. His was a
striking personality, which had much more impressed English
imaginations than that of Czar or Czarina since the time of Peter the
Great; and the Queen herself had regarded the autocrat, whose great
power made him so lonely, with an interest not untouched with
compassion at the remote period when he had visited her Court and had
talked with her statesmen about the imminent decay of Turkey. At that
time the austere majesty of his aspect, seen amid the finer and
softer lineaments of British courtiers, had been likened to the
half-savage grandeur of an emperor of old Rome who should have been
born a Thracian peasant. It proved that the contrast had gone much
deeper than outward appearance, and that his views and principles had
been as opposed to those of the English leaders, and as impossible of
participation by such men as though he had been an imperfectly
civilised contemporary of Constantine the Great. Since then he had
succeeded in making himself more heartily hated, by the bulk of the
English nation, than any sovereign since Napoleon I; for the war,
into which the Government had entered reluctantly, was regarded by
the people with great enthusiasm, and the foe was proportionately

Many anticipated that the death of the Czar would herald in a
triumphant peace; but in point of fact, peace was not signed until
the March of 1856. Its terms satisfied the diplomatists both of
France and England; they would probably have been less complacent
could they have foreseen the day when this hard-won treaty would be
torn up by the Power they seemed to be binding hand and foot with
sworn obligations of perdurable toughness; least of all would that
foresight have been agreeable to Lord Palmerston, Premier of England
when the peace was signed, and quite at one with the mass of the
people of England in their deep dislike and distrust of Russia and
its rulers.

The political advantages which can be clearly traced to this war are
not many. Privateers are no longer allowed to prey on the commerce of
belligerent nations, and neutral commerce in all articles not
contraband of war must be respected, while no blockade must be
regarded unless efficiently and thoroughly maintained. Such were the
principles with which the plenipotentiaries who signed the Treaty of
Paris in 1856 enriched the code of international law; and these
principles, which are in force still, alone remain of the advantages
supposed to have been secured by all the misery and all the
expenditure of the Crimean enterprise.

[Illustration: Florence Nightingale.]

But other benefits, not of a political nature, arose out of the
hideous mismanagement which had disgraced the earlier stages of the
war. It is a very lamentable fact that of the 24,000 good Englishmen
who left their bones in the Crimea, scarce 5,000 had fallen in fair
fight or died of wounds received therein. Bad and deficient food,
insufficient shelter and clothing, utter disorganisation and
confusion in the hospital department, accounted for the rest. These
evils, when exposed in the English newspapers, called forth a cry of
shame and wrath from all the nation, and stirred noble men and women
into the endeavour to mitigate at least the sufferings of the unhappy
wounded. Miss Florence Nightingale, the daughter of a wealthy English
gentleman, was known to take a deep and well-informed interest in
hospital management; and this lady was induced to superintend
personally the nursing of the wounded in our military hospitals in
the East. Entrusted with plenary powers over the nurses, and
accompanied by a trained staff of lady assistants, she went out to
wrestle with and overcome the crying evils which too truly existed,
and which were the despair of the army doctors. Her success in this
noble work, magnificently complete as it was, did indeed "multiply
the good," as Sidney Herbert had foretold: we may hope it will
continue so to multiply it "to all time." The horrors of war have
been mitigated to an incalculable extent by the exertions of the
noble men and women who, following in the path first trodden by the
Crimean heroines, formed the Geneva Convention, and have borne the
Red Cross, its most sacred badge, on many a bloody field, in many a
scene of terrible suffering--suffering touched with gleams of human
pity and human gratitude; for the courageous tenderness of many a
soft-handed and lion-hearted nursing sister, since the days of
Florence Nightingale, has aroused the same half-adoring thankfulness
which made helpless soldiers turn to kiss that lady's shadow, thrown
by her lamp on the hospital wall.

The horrors thus mitigated have become more than ever repugnant to
the educated perception of Christendom, because of the merciful
devotion which, ever toiling to lessen them, keeps them before the
world's eye. In every great war that has shaken the civilised world
since the strife in the Crimea broke out, the ambulance, its
patients, its attendants, have always been in the foreground of the
picture. Never have the inseparable miseries of warfare been so well
understood and so widely realised, thanks in part to that new
literary force of the Victorian  age, the _war correspondent_, and
chiefly, perhaps, to the new position henceforth assumed by the
military medical and hospital service. To the same source we may
fairly attribute the  great improvements wrought in the whole conduct
of that distinctively Christian charity, unknown to heathenism, the
hospital system: the opening of a new field of usefulness to educated
and devoted women of good position, as nurses in hospitals and out;
and the vast increase of public interest in and public support of
such agencies. Even the Female Medical Mission, now rising into such
importance in the jealous lands of the East, may be traced not very
indirectly to the same cause.

The Queen, whose enthusiasm for her beloved army and navy was very
earnest, and frankly shown, who had suffered with their sufferings
and exulted in their exploits, followed with a keen, personal,
unfaltering interest the efforts made for their relief. "Tell these
poor, noble wounded and sick men that _no one_ takes a warmer
interest, or feels more for their sufferings, or admires their
courage and heroism more than their Queen. So does the Prince," was
the impulsive, heart-warm message which Her Majesty sent for
transmission through Miss Nightingale to her soldier-patients. Her
deeds proved that these words were words of truth. Not content with
subscribing largely to the fund raised on behalf of those left
orphaned and widowed by the war, she took part in the work of
providing fitting clothing for the men exposed to all the terrors of
a Russian winter; and her daughters, enlisted to aid in this pious
work, began that career of beneficence which two of them were to
pursue afterwards to such good purpose, amid the ravages of wars
whose colossal awfulness dwarfed the Crimean campaign in the memories
of men.

Many of the injured being invalided home while the war was in
progress, Her Majesty embraced the opportunity to testify her
sympathy and admiration, giving to them in public with her own hands
the medals for service rendered at Alma, at Balaklava, and at
Inkerman. It would not be easy to say whether the Sovereign or the
soldiers were more deeply moved on this occasion. Conspicuous among
the maimed and feeble heroes was the gallant young Sir Thomas
Troubridge, who, lamed in both feet by a Russian shot at Inkerman,
had remained at his post, giving his orders, while the fight endured,
since there was none to fill his place. He appeared now, crippled for
life, but declared himself "amply repaid for everything," while the
Queen decorated him, and told him he should be one of her
aides-de-camp. Her own high courage and resolute sense of duty moved
her with special sympathy for heroism like this; and she obeyed the
natural dictates of her heart in conspicuously rewarding it. With a
similar impulse, on the return of the army, she made a welcoming
visit to the sick and wounded at Chatham, and testified the liveliest
appreciation of the humane services of Miss Nightingale, to whom a
jewel specially designed by the Prince was presented, in grateful
recognition of her inestimable work. The new decoration of the
Victoria Cross, given "for valour" conspicuously shown in deeds of
self-devotion in war time, further proved how keenly the Queen and
her consort appreciated soldierly virtue. It was the Prince who first
proposed that such a badge of merit should be introduced, the Queen
who warmly accepted the idea, and in person bestowed the Cross on its
first wearers, thereby giving it an unpurchasable value.



Lord Aberdeen, who did not hope very great things from the war which
had initiated during his Ministry, had yet deemed it possible that
Eastern Europe might reap from it the benefit of a quarter of a
century's peace. He was curiously near the mark in this estimate; but
neither he nor any other English statesman was unwary enough to risk
such a prophecy as to the general tranquillity of the Continent. In
fact, the peace of Europe, broken in 1853, has been unstable enough
ever since, and from time to time tremendous wars have shaken it.
Into none of these, however, has Great Britain been again entrapped,
though the sympathies of its people have often been warmly enlisted
on this side and that. A war with China, which began in 1857, and
cannot be said to have ended till 1860, though in the interim a
treaty was signed which secured just a year's cessation of
hostilities, was the most important undertaking in which the allied
forces of France and England took part after the Crimea. In this war
the allies were victorious, as at that date any European Power was
tolerably certain to be in a serious contest with China. The closing
act of the conflict--the destruction of the Summer Palace at Pekin,
in retaliation for the treacherous murder of several French and
English prisoners of distinction--was severely blamed at the time,
but defended on the ground that only in this way could any effectual
punishment of the offence be obtained. That act of vengeance and the
war which it closed have an interest of their own in connection with
the late General Gordon, who now entered on that course of
extraordinary achievement which lacks a parallel in this century, and
which began, in the interests of Chinese civilisation, shortly after
he had taken a subordinate officer's part in the work of destruction
at Pekin.

From this date England did not commit itself to any of the singular
series of enterprises which our good ally, the French Emperor, set on
foot. A feeling of distrust towards that potentate was invading the
minds of the very Englishmen who had most cordially hailed his
successes and met his advances. "The Emperor's mind is as full of
schemes as a warren is full of rabbits, and, like rabbits, his
schemes go to ground for the moment to avoid notice or antagonism,"
were the strong words of Lord Palmerston in a confidential letter of
1860; and when he could thus think and write, small wonder if calmer
and more unprejudiced minds saw need for standing on their guard.
Amid all the flattering demonstrations of friendship of which the
French court had been lavish, and which had been gracefully
reciprocated by English royality, the Prince Consort had retained an
undisturbed perception of much that was not quite satisfactory in the
qualifications of the despotic chief of the French State for his
difficult post. Thus it is without surprise that we find the Queen
writing in 1859, as to a plan suggested by the Emperor: "The whole
scheme is the often-attempted one, that England should take the
chestnuts from the fire, and assume the responsibility of making
proposals which, if they lead to war, we should be in honour bound to
support by arms." The Emperor had once said of Louis Philippe, that
he had fallen "because he was not sincere with England"; it looked
now as though he were steering full on the same rock, for his own
sincerity was flawed by dangerous reservations.

England remained an interested spectator, but a spectator only, while
the French ruler played that curiously calculated game of his, which
did so much towards insuring the independence of Italy and its
consolidation into one free monarchy. It was no disinterested game,
as the cession of Nice and Savoy to France by Piedmont would alone
have proved. It was daring to the point of rashness; for as a French
general of high rank said, there needed but the slightest check to
the French arms, and "it was all up with the dynasty!" Yet the "idea"
which furnished the professed motive for the Emperor's warlike action
was one dear to English sympathies, and many an English heart
rejoiced in the solid good secured for Italy, though without our
national co-operation. There was a proud compensating satisfaction in
the knowledge that, when a crisis of unexampled and terrible
importance had come in our own affairs, England had perforce dealt
with it single-handed and with supreme success.

Those who can remember the fearful summer of 1857 can hardly recall
its wild events without some recurrence of the thrill of horror that
ran through the land, as week after week the Indian news of mutiny
and massacre reached us. It was a surprise to the country at large,
more than to the authorities, who were informed already that a spirit
of disaffection had been at work among our native troops in Bengal,
and that there was good reason to believe in the existence of a
conspiracy for sapping the allegiance of these troops. Later events
have left little doubt that such a conspiracy did exist, and that its
aim was the total subversion of British power. Our advance in
Hindostan had been rapid, the changes following on it many, and not
always such as the Oriental mind could understand or approve. Early
in the reign, in 1847, an energetic Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie,
went out to India, who introduced railways, telegraphs, and cheap
postage, set on foot a system of native education, and vigorously
fought the ancient iniquities of suttee, thuggee, and child-murder.
Perhaps his aggressive energy worked too fast, too fierily; perhaps
his peremptory reforms, not less than his high-handed annexations of
the Punjaub, Oude, and other native States, awakened suspicion in the
mind of the Hindoo, bound as he was by the immemorial fetters of
caste, and dreading with a shuddering horror innovations that might
interfere with its distinctions; for to lose caste was to be outlawed
among men and accursed in the sight of God.

[Illustration: Lord Canning.]

Lord Canning, the successor of Lord Dalhousie, entered on his
governor-generalship at a moment full of "unsuspected peril"; for the
disaffected in Hindostan had so misread the signs of the times as to
believe that England's sun was stooping towards its setting, and that
the hour had come in which a successful blow could be struck, against
the foreign domination of a people alien in faith as in blood from
Mohammedan and Buddhist and Brahmin, and apt to treat all alike with
the scorn of superiority. A trivial incident, which was held no
trifle by the distrustful Sepoys, proved to be the spark that kindled
a vast explosion. The cartridges supplied for use with the Enfield
rifle, introduced into India in 1856, were greased; and the end would
have to be bitten off when the cartridge was used. A report was
busily circulated among the troops that the grease used was cow's fat
and hog's lard, and that these substances were employed in pursuance
of a deep-laid design to deprive every soldier of his caste by
compelling him to taste these defiling things. Such compulsion would
hardly have been less odious to a Mussulman than to a Hindoo; for
swineflesh is abominable to the one, and the cow a sacred animal to
the other. Whoever devised this falsehood intended to imply a subtle
intention on the part of England to overthrow the native religions,
which it was hoped the maddened soldiery would rise to resist. The
mischief worked as was desired. In vain the obnoxious cartridges were
withdrawn from use; in vain the Governor-General issued a
proclamation warning the army of Bengal against the falsehoods that
were being circulated. Mysterious signals, little cakes of unleavened
bread called _chupatties_, were being distributed, as the spring of
1857 went on, throughout the native villages under British rule,
doing the office of the _Fiery Cross_ among the Scotch Highlanders of
an earlier day; and in May the great Mutiny broke out.

Some of the Bengal cavalry at Meerut had been imprisoned for refusing
to use their cartridges; their comrades rose in rebellion, fired on
their officers, released the prisoners, and murdered some Europeans.
The British troops rallied and repulsed the mutineers, who fled to
Delhi, unhappily reached it in safety, and required and obtained the
protection of the feeble old King, the last of the Moguls, there
residing. Him they proclaimed their Emperor, and avowed the intention
of restoring his dynasty to its ancient supremacy. The native troops
in the city and its environs at once prepared to join them; and thus
from a mere mutiny, such as had occurred once and again before, the
rising assumed the character of a vast revolutionary war. For a
moment it seemed that our hard-won supremacy in the East was
disappearing in a sea of blood. The foe were numerous, fanatical, and
ruthless; we ourselves had trained and disciplined them for war; the
sympathies of their countrymen were very largely with them. Yet, with
incredible effort and heroism more than mortal, the small and
scattered forces of England again snatched the mastery from the hands
of the overwhelming numbers arrayed against them.

[Illustration: Sir Colin Campbell.]

One name has obtained an immortality of infamy in connection with
this struggle--that of the Nana Sahib, who by his hideous treachery
at Cawnpore took revenge on confiding Englishmen and women for
certain wrongs inflicted on him in regard to the inheritance of his
adopted father by the last Governor-General. But many other names
have been crowned with deathless honour, the just reward of
unsurpassed achievement, of supreme fidelity and valour, at a crisis
under which feeble natures would have fainted and fallen. Of these
are Lord Canning himself, the noble brothers John and Henry Lawrence,
the Generals Havelock, Outram, and Campbell, and others whom space
forbids us even to name.

The Governor-General remained calm, resolute, and intrepid amidst the
panic and the rage which shook Calcutta when the first appalling news
of the Mutiny broke upon it. He disdained the cruel counsels of fear,
and steadily refused to confound the innocent with the guilty among
the natives; but he knew where to strike, and when, and how. On his
own responsibility he stayed the British troops on their way to the
scene of war in China, and made them serve the graver, more immediate
need of India, doing it with the concurrence of Lord Elgin, the envoy
responsible for the Chinese business; and he poured his forces on
Delhi, the heart of the insurrection, resolving to make an end of it
there before ever reinforcement direct from England could come. After
a difficult and terrible siege, the place was carried by storm on
September 20th, 1857--an achievement that cost many noble lives, and
chief among them that of the gallant Nicholson, a soldier whose mind
and character seem to have made on all who knew him an impression as
of supernatural grandeur.

Five days later General Havelock and his little band of heroes--some
one thousand Englishmen who had marched with him from Allahabad,
recaptured by Neill for England, and on to ghastly Cawnpore--arrived
at Lucknow, and relieved the slender British force which since May
had been holding the Residency against the fierce and ever-renewed
assaults of the thousands of rebels who poured themselves upon it. He
came in time to save many a brave life that should yet do good
service; but the noblest Englishman of them all, the gentle,
dauntless, chivalrous Sir Henry Lawrence, Governor of Oude, had died
from wounds inflicted by a rebel shell many weeks before, and lay
buried in the stronghold for whose safe keeping he had continued to
provide in the hour and article of death. His spirit, however, seemed
yet to actuate the survivors. Havelock's march had been one
succession of victories won against enormous odds, and half
miraculous; but even he could work no miracle, and his troops might
merely have shared a tragic fate with the long-tried defenders of
Lucknow, but for the timely arrival of Sir Colin Campbell with five
thousand men more, to relieve in his turn the relieving force and
place all the Europeans in Lucknow in real safety. The news was
received in England with a delight that was mingled with mourning for
the heroic and saintly Havelock, who sank and died on November 24th.
A soldier whose military genius had passed unrecognised and almost
unemployed while men far his inferiors were high in command, he had
so more than profited by the opportunity for doing good service when
it came, that in a few months his name had become one of the dearest
in every English home, a glory and a joy for ever. It is rarely that
a career so obscured by adverse fortune through all its course blazes
into such sunset splendour just at the last hour of life's day.

[Illustration: Henry Havelock.]

Those months which made the fame of Havelock had been filled with
crime and horror. The first reports of Sepoy outrages which
circulated in England were undoubtedly exaggerated, but enough
remains of sickening truth as to the cruelties endured by English
women and children at the hand of the mutineers to account for the
fury which filled the breasts of their avenging countrymen, and
seemed to lend them supernatural strength and courage, and, alas! in
some instances, to merge that courage in ferocity. Delhi had been
deeply guilty, when the mutineers seized it, in respect of inhuman
outrage on the helpless non-combatants; but the story of Cawnpore is
darker yet, and is still after all these years fresh in our memories.
A peculiar blackness of iniquity clings about it. That show of amity
with which the Nana Sahib responded to the summons of Sir Hugh
Wheeler, the hard-pressed commanding officer in the city, only that
he might act against him; those false promises by which the little
garrison, unconquerable by any force, was beguiled to give itself up
to mere butchery; the long captivity of the few scores of women and
children who survived the general slaughter, only, after many dreary
days of painful suspense, to be murdered in their prison-house as
Havelock drew near the gates of Cawnpore: all these circumstances of
especial horror made men regard their chief instigator rather as one
of the lower fiends masquerading in human guise than as a
fellow-creature moved by any motives common to men. It was perhaps
well for the fair fame of Englishmen that the Nana never fell into
their hands, but saved himself by flight before the soldiers of
Havelock had looked into the slaughter-house all strewn with relics
of his victims and grimly marked with signs of murder, or had gazed
shuddering at the dreadful well choked up with the corpses of their
countrywomen. It required more than common courage, justice, and
humanity, to withstand the wild demand for mere indiscriminating
revenge which these things called forth. Happily those highest in
power did possess these rare qualities. Lord Canning earned for
himself the nickname of "Clemency Canning" by his perfect
resoluteness to hold the balance of justice even, and unweighted by
the mad passion of the hour. Sir John (afterwards Lord) Lawrence, the
Chief Commissioner of the Punjaub, who, with his able subordinates,
had saved that province at the very outset, and thereby in truth
saved India, was equally firm in mercy and in justice. The Queen
herself, who had very early appreciated the gravity of the situation
and promoted to the extent of her power the speedy sending of aid and
reinforcement from England, thoroughly endorsed the wise and clement
policy of the Governor-General. Replying to a letter of Lord
Canning's which deplored "the rabid and indiscriminate vindictiveness
abroad," Her Majesty wrote these words, which we will give ourselves
the pleasure to quote entire:--

[Illustration: Sir John Lawrence.]

"Lord Canning will easily believe how entirely the Queen shares his
feelings of sorrow and indignation at the unchristian spirit, shown,
alas! also to a great extent here by the public, towards Indians in
general, and towards Sepoys _without discrimination!_ It is, however,
not likely to last, and comes from the horror produced by the
unspeakable atrocities perpetrated against the innocent women and
children, which make one's blood run cold and one's heart bleed! For
the perpetrators of these awful horrors no punishment can be severe
enough; and sad as it is, _stern_ justice must be dealt out to all
the guilty.

"But to the nation at large, to the peaceable inhabitants, to the
many kind and friendly natives who have assisted us, sheltered the
fugitive, and been faithful and true, there should be shown the
greatest kindness. They should know that there is no hatred to a
brown skin--none; but the greatest wish on their Queen's part to see
them happy, contented, and flourishing."

These words well became the sovereign who, by serious and cogent
argument, had succeeded in inducing her Ministers to strike strongly
and quickly on the side of law and order, they having been at first
inclined to adopt a "step-by-step" policy as to sending out aid,
which would not have been very grateful to the hard-pressed
authorities in India; while the Queen and the Prince shared Lord
Canning's opinion, that "nothing but a long continued manifestation
of England's might before the eyes of the whole Indian empire,
evinced by the presence of such an English force as should make the
thought of opposition hopeless, would re-establish confidence in her

The necessary manifestation of strength was made; the reputation of
England--so rudely shaken, not only in the opinion of ignorant
Hindoos, but in that of her European rivals--was re-established
fully, and indeed gained by the power she had shown to cope with an
unparalleled emergency. The counsels of vengeance were set aside, in
spite of the obloquy which for a time was heaped on the true wisdom
which rejected them. We did not "dethrone Christ to set up Moloch";
had we been guilty of that sanguinary folly, England and India might
yet be ruing that year's doing. On the contrary, certain changes
which did ensue in direct consequence of the Mutiny were productive
of undoubted good.

It was recognised that the "fiction of rule by a trading company" in
India must now be swept away; one of the very earliest effects of the
outbreak had been to open men's eyes to the weak and sore places of
that system. In 1858 an "Act for the better Government of India" was
passed, which transferred to Her Majesty all the territories formerly
governed by the East India Company, and provided that all the powers
it had once wielded should now be exercised in her name, and that its
military and naval forces should henceforth be deemed her forces. The
new Secretary of State for India, with an assistant council of
fifteen members, was entrusted with the care of Indian interests
here; the Viceroy, or Governor-General, also assisted by a council,
was to be supreme in India itself. The first viceroy who represented
the majesty of England to the Queen's Indian subjects was the
statesman who had safely steered us through the imminent, deadly
peril of the Mutiny, and whom right feeling and  sound policy alike
designated as the only fit wearer of this honour. Under the new
regime race and class prejudices have softened, education is
spreading swiftly, native oppression is becoming more difficult, as
improved communications bring the light of day into the remoter
districts of the immense peninsula. The public mind of England has
never quite relapsed into its former scornful indifference to the
welfare of India; rather, that welfare has been regarded with much
keener interest, and the nation has become increasingly alive to its
duty with regard to that mighty dependency, now one in allegiance
with ourselves. There was much of happy omen in the reception
accorded by loyal Hindoos to the Queen's proclamation when it reached
them in 1858. While the mass of the people gladly hailed the rule of
the "Empress," by whom they believed the Company "had been hanged for
great offences," there were individuals who were intelligent enough
to recognise with delight that noble character of "humanity, mercy,
and justice," which was impressed by the Queen's own agency on the
proclamation issued in her name. We may say that the joy with which
such persons accepted the new reign has been justified by events, and
that the same great principles have continued to guide all Her
Majesty's own action with regard to India, and also that of her
ablest representatives there.

We may not leave out of account, in reckoning the loss and gain of
that tremendous year, the extraordinary examples of heroism called
forth by its trials, which have made our annals richer, and have set
the ideal of English nobleness higher. The amazing achievements and
the swiftly following death of the gallant Havelock did not indeed
eclipse in men's minds the equal patriotism and success of his noble
fellows, but the tragic completeness of his story and the antique
grandeur of his character made him specially dear to his countrymen;
and the fact that he was already in his grave while the Queen and
Parliament were busy in assigning to him the honours and rewards
which his sixty years of life had hitherto lacked, added something
like remorse to the national feeling for him. But the heart of the
people swelled high with a worthy pride as we dwelt on his name and
those of the Lawrences, the Neills, the Outrams, the Campbells, and
felt that all our heroes had not died with Wellington.

Other anxieties and misfortunes had not been lacking while the fate
of British India still hung in the balance. The attitude of some
European Powers, whom the breaking forth of the Mutiny had encouraged
in the idea that England's power was waning, was full of menace,
especially in view of what the Prince Consort justly called "our
pitiable state of unpreparedness" for resisting attack. Prompted by
him, the Queen caused close inquiry to be made into the state of our
home defences and of the navy--the first step towards remedying the
deficiencies therein existing. Also a "cold wave" seemed to be
passing over the commercial community in England; the year 1857 being
marked   by very great  financial  depression, which affected more or
less every department of our industries. In connection with this
calamity, however, there was at least one hopeful feature: the very
different temper which the working classes, then, as always, the
greatest sufferers by such depression, manifested in the time of
trial. They showed themselves patient and loyal, able to understand
that their employers too had evils to endure and difficulties to
surmount; they no longer held all who were their superiors in station
for their natural enemies: a happy change, testifying to the good
worked by the new, beneficent spirit of legislation and reform.

It is under the date of this year that we find Mr. Greville, on the
authority of Lord Clarendon, thus describing the very thorough and
"eminently useful" manner in which the Queen, assisted by the Prince,
was exercising her high functions:--

"She held each Minister to the discharge of his duty and his
responsibility to her, and constantly desired to be furnished with
accurate and detailed information about all important matters,
keeping a record of all the reports that were made to her, and
constantly referring to them; _e.g._, she would desire to know what
the state of the navy was, and what ships were in readiness for
active service, and generally the state of each, ordering returns to
be submitted to her from all the arsenals and dockyards, and again,
weeks or months afterwards, referring to these returns, and desiring
to have everything relating to them explained and accounted for, and
so throughout every department....This is what none of her
predecessors ever did, and it is, in fact, the act of Prince Albert."

We turn from this picture of the Sovereign's habitual occupations to
her public life, and we find it never more full of apparently
absorbing excitements--splendid hospitalities exchanged with other
Powers, especially with Imperial France, alternating with messages of
encouragement, full of cordiality and grace, to her successful
commander-in-chief in India, Sir Colin Campbell, with plans for the
conspicuous rewarding of the Indian heroes at large, with public
visits to various great English towns, and with preparations for the
impending marriage of the Princess Royal; and we realise forcibly
that even in those sunny days, when the Queen was surrounded with her
unbroken family of nine blooming and promising children, and still
had at her right hand the invaluable counsellor by whose aid England
was governed with a wisdom and energy all but unprecedented, her
position was so far from a sinecure that no subject who had his daily
bread to gain by his wits could have worked much harder.



[Illustration: Windsor Castle.]

IT has been the Queen's good fortune to see her own true-love match
happily repeated in the marriages of her children. One would almost
say that the conspicuous success of that union, the blessing that it
brought with it to the nation, had set a new fashion to royalty.
There is quite a romantic charm about the first marriage which broke
the royal home-circle of England--that of the Queen's eldest child
and namesake, Victoria, Princess Royal, with Prince Frederick
William, eldest son of the then Prince of Prussia, whose exaltation
to the imperial throne of Germany lay dimly and afar--if not
altogether undreamed of by some prophetic spirits--in the future. The
bride and bridegroom had first met, when the youth was but nineteen
and the maiden only ten, at the great Peace Festival, the opening of
the first Exhibition. Already the charming grace and rare
intelligence of the Princess had attracted attention; and it is on
record that at this early period some inkling of a possible
attraction between the two had entered one observer's mind, who also
notes that the young Prince, greatly interested by all he saw of free
England and its rulers, was above all taken with the "perfect
domestic happiness which he found pervading the heart, and core, and
focus of the greatest empire in the world." Four years later the
Prince was again visiting England, a guest of the royal family in its
Scottish retreat of Balmoral, where they had just been celebrating
with beacon fires and Highland mirth and music the glad news of the
fall of Sebastopol. He had the full consent of his own family for his
wooing, but the parents of his lady would have had him keep silence
at least till the fifteen-year-old maiden should be confirmed. The
ease and unconstraint of that mountain home-life, however, were not
very favourable to reserve and reticence; a spray of white heather,
offered and received as the national emblem of good fortune, was made
the flower symbol of something more, and words were spoken that
effectually bound the two young hearts, though the formal betrothal
was deferred until some time after the Princess, in the following
March, had received the rite of Confirmation; and "the actual
marriage," said the Prince Consort, "cannot be thought of till the
seventeenth birthday is past." "The secret must be kept _tant bien
que mal_," he had written, well knowing that it would be a good deal
of an open secret.

[Illustration: Prince Frederick William.]

[Illustration: Princess Royal.]

The engagement was publicly announced in May, 1857, and though, when
first rumoured, it had been coldly looked on by the English public,
now it was accepted with great cordiality. The Prince was openly
associated with the royal family; he and his future bride appeared as
sponsors at the christening of our youngest Princess, Beatrice; he
rode with the Prince Consort beside the Queen when she made the first
distribution of the Victoria Cross, and was a prominent and heartily
welcomed member of the royal group which visited the Art Treasures
Exhibition of Manchester. The marriage, which was in preparation all
through the grim days of 1857, was celebrated with due splendour on
January 25th, 1858, and awakened a universal interest which was not
even surpassed when, five years later, the heir to the throne was
wedded. "Down to the humblest cottage," said the Prince Consort, "the
marriage has been regarded as a family affair." And not only this
splendid and entirely successful match, but every joy or woe that has
befallen the highest family in the land, has been felt as "a family
affair" by thousands of the lowly. This is the peculiar glory of the
present reign.

[Illustration: Charles Kingsley. _From a Photograph by_ Elliott &

Happy and auspicious as this marriage was, it was nevertheless the
first interruption to the pure home bliss that hitherto had filled
"the heart of the greatest empire in the world." The Princess Royal,
with her "man's head and child's heart," had been the dear companion
of the father whose fine qualities she inherited, and had largely
shared in his great thoughts. Nor was she less dear to her mother,
who had sedulously watched over the "darling flower," admiring and
approving her "touching and delightful" filial worship of the Prince
Consort, and who followed with longing affection every movement of
the dear child now removed from her sheltering care, and making her
own way and place in a new world. There she has indeed proved
herself, as she pledged herself to do, "worthy to be her mother's
child," following her parents in the path of true philanthropy and
gentle human care for the suffering and the lowly. So far the ancient
prophecy has been well fulfilled which promised good fortune to
Prussia and its rulers when the heir of the reigning house should wed
a princess from sea-girt Britain. But the wedding so propitious for
Germany seemed almost the beginning of sorrows for English royalty.
Other betrothals and marriages of the princes and princesses ensued;
but the still lamented death of the Prince Consort intervened before
one of those betrothals culminated in marriage.

Another event which may be called domestic belongs to the year
following this marriage--the coming of age of the Prince of Wales,
fixed, according to English use and wont, when the heir of the crown
completes his eighteenth year. Every educational advantage that
wisdom or tenderness could suggest had been secured for the Prince.
We may note in passing that one of his instructors was the Rev.
Charles Kingsley, whom Prince Albert had engaged to deliver a series
of lectures on history to his son. This honour, as well as that of
his appointment as one of Her Majesty's chaplains, was largely due to
royal recognition of the practical Christianity, so contagious in its
fervour, which distinguished Mr. Kingsley, not less than his great
gifts; of his eagerness "to help in lifting the great masses of the
people out of the slough of ignorance and all its attendant suffering
and vice"--an object peculiarly dear to the Queen and to the Prince,
as had been consistently shown on every opportunity.

When the time came that the youth so carefully trained should be
emancipated from parental control, it was announced to him by the
Queen in a letter characterised by Mr. Greville or his informant as
"one of the most admirable ever penned. She tells him," continues the
diarist, "that he may have thought the rule they adopted for his
education a severe one, but that his welfare was their only object;
and well knowing to what seductions of flattery he would eventually
be exposed, they wished to prepare and strengthen his mind against
them; that he was now to consider himself his own master, and that
they should never intrude any advice upon him, although always ready
to give it him whenever he thought fit to seek it. It was a very long
letter, all in that tone; and it seems to have made a profound
impression on the Prince.... The effect it produced is a proof of the
wisdom that dictated its composition."

We have chosen this as a true typical instance of the blended
prudence and tenderness that have marked the relations between our
Sovereign and her children. Aware what a power for good or evil the
characters of those children must have on the fortunes of very many
others, she and her husband sedulously surrounded them with every
happy and healthy influence, never forgetting the supreme need of due
employment for their energies. "Without a vocation," said the Prince
Consort, "man is incapable of complete development and real
happiness": his sons have all had their vocation.

It was the same period, marked by these domestic passages of mingled
joy and sorrow, that became memorable in another way, through the
various troublous incidents which gave an extraordinary impetus to
our national Volunteer movement, which were not remotely connected
with the War of Italian Independence, and for a short time overthrew
the popular Ministry of Lord Palmerston, who was replaced in office
by Lord Derby. The futile plot of Felice Orsini, an Italian exile and
patriot, against the life of Louis Napoleon, provoked great anger
among the Imperialists of France against England, the former asylum
of Orsini. A series of violent addresses from the French army,
denouncing Great Britain as a mere harbour of assassins, did but give
a more exaggerated form to the representations of French diplomacy,
urging the amendment of our law, which appeared incompetent to touch
murderous conspirators within our borders so long as their plots
regarded only foreign Powers. The tone of France was deemed insolent
and threatening; Lord Palmerston, who, in apparent deference to it,
introduced a rather inefficient measure against conspiracy to murder,
fell at once to the nadir of unpopularity, and soon had no choice but
to resign; and the Volunteer movement in England--which had been
begun in 1852, owing to the sinister changes that then took place in
the French Government--now at once assumed the much more important
character it has never since lost. The immense popularity of this
movement and its rapid spread formed a significant reply to the
insensate calls for vengeance on England which had risen from the
French army, and which seemed worthy of attention in view of the vast
increase now made in the naval strength of France, and of other
preparations indicating that the Emperor meditated a great military
enterprise. That enterprise proved to be the war with Austria which
did so much for Italy, and which some observers were disposed to
connect with the plot of Orsini--a rough reminder to the Emperor,
they said, that he was trifling with the cause of Italian unity, to
which he was secretly pledged. But Englishmen were slow to believe in
such designs on the part of the French ruler. "How should a despot
set men free?" was their thought, interpreted for them vigorously
enough by an anonymous poet of the day; and they enrolled themselves
in great numbers for national defence. With this movement there might
be some evils mixed, but its purely defensive and manly character
entitles it on the whole to be reckoned among the better influences
of the day.

[Illustration: Lord Palmerston.]

Palmerston's discredit with his countrymen was of short duration, as
was his exile from office; he was Premier again in the June of 1859,
and was thenceforth "Prime Minister for life." His popularity, which
had been for some time increasing, remained now quite unshaken until
his death in 1865. Before Lord Derby's Government fell, however, a
reform had been carried which could not but have been extremely
grateful to Mr. Disraeli, then the Ministerial leader of the House of
Commons. The last trace of the disabilities under which the Jews in
England had laboured for many generations was now removed, and the
Baron Lionel de Rothschild was able quietly to take his seat as one
of the members for the City of London. The disabilities in question
had never interfered with the ambition or the success of Mr.
Disraeli, who at a very early age had become a member of the
Christian Church. But his sympathies had never been alienated from
the own people, with whom indeed he had always proudly identified
himself by bold assertion of their manifold superiority. There are
still, undoubtedly, persons in this country whose convictions lead
them to think it anything but a wholesome change which has admitted
among our legislators men, however able and worthy, who disclaim the
name of _Christian_. But the change was brought about by the
conviction, which has steadily deepened among us, that oppression of
those of a different faith from our own, either by direct severities
or by the withholding of civil rights, is a singularly poor weapon of
conversion, and that the adversaries of Christianity are more likely
to be conciliated by being dealt with in a Christlike spirit;
further, that religious opinion may not be treated as a crime,
without violation of God's justice. On the point as to the claim of
_irreligious_ opinion to similar consideration, the national feeling
cannot be called equally unanimous. In the case of the English Jews,
it may be said that the tolerant and equal conduct adopted towards
them has been well requited; the ancient people of God are not here,
as in lands where they are trampled and trodden down, an offence and
a trouble, the cause of repeated violent disturbance and the object
of a frenzied hate, always deeply hurtful to those who entertain it.

Other changes and other incidents that now occurred engrossed a
greater share of the public attention than this measure of relief.
The rapid march of events in Italy had been watched with eager
interest, divided partly by certain ugly outbreaks of Turkish
fanaticism in Syria, and by our proceedings in the Ionian islands,
which finally resulted in the quiet transfer of those isles to the
kingdom of Greece. The commercial treaty with France effected,
through the agency of Mr. Cobden, on Free Trade lines, and Mr.
Gladstone's memorable success in carrying the repeal of the paper
duty, and thereby immensely facilitating journalistic enterprise,
were hailed with great delight as beneficial and truly progressive
measures. But events of a more gigantic character now took place,
which at the moment affected our prosperity more directly than
any fiscal reform, and appealed more powerfully to us than the
savagery of our Turkish _protégés_ or even than the union of
Italy under Victor Emmanuel into one free and friendly State. The
long-smouldering dissensions between the Northern and Southern States
of the American Union at last broke into flame, and war was declared
between them, in 1861.

The burning question of slavery was undoubtedly at the bottom of this
contest, which has been truly described as a struggle for life
between the "peculiar institution" and the principles of modern
society. The nobler and more enthusiastic spirits in the Northern
States beheld in it a strife between Michael and Satan, the Spirit of
Darkness hurling himself against the Spirit of Light in a vain and
presumptuous hope to overpower him; and their irritation was great
when an eminent English man of letters was found describing it
scornfully as "the burning of a dirty chimney," and when English
opinion, speaking through very many journalists and public men,
appeared half hostile to the Northern cause. Indeed, it might have
been thought that opinion in England--England, which at a great cost
had freed its own slaves, and which had never ceased by word and deed
to attack slavery and the slave-trade--would not have faltered for a
moment as to the party it would favour, but would have declared
itself massively against the slave-holding South. But the contest at
its outset was made to wear so doubtful an aspect that it was
possible, unhappily possible, for many Englishmen of distinction to
close their eyes to the great evils championed by the Southern
troops. The war was not avowedly made by the North for the
suppression of slavery, but to prevent the Southern States from
withdrawing themselves from the Union: the Southerners on their side
claimed a constitutional right so to withdraw if it pleased them, and
denounced the attempt to retain them forcibly as a tyranny.

[Illustration: Abraham Lincoln and his son.]

This false colouring at first given to the contest had mischievous
results. English feeling was embittered by the great distress in our
manufacturing districts, directly caused up the action of the
Northern States in blockading the Southern ports, and thus cutting
off our supply of raw  material in the shape of cotton. On its side
the North, which had calculated securely on English sympathy and
respect, and was profoundly irritated by the many displays of a
contrary feeling; and the exasperation on both sides more than once
reached a point which made war appear almost inevitable--a war above
all others to be deprecated. First came the affair of the
_Trent_--the English mail-steamer from  which two  Southern envoys
were carried off by an American naval commander, in contempt of the
protection of the British flag. The action was technically illegal,
and on the demand of the English Government its illegality was
acknowledged, and the captives were restored; but the warlike and
threatening tone of England on this occasion was bitterly resented at
the North, and this resentment was greatly increased when it became
known that various armed cruisers, in particular the notorious
_Alabama_, designed to prey on the Northern commerce, were being
built and fitted  by English  shipbuilders in English dockyards under
the direction of the Southern foe, while the English Government could
not decide if it were legally competent for Her Majesty's Ministers
to interfere and detain such vessels. The tardy action at last taken
just prevented the breaking out of hostilities. Out of these
unfortunate transactions a certain good was to ensue at a date not
far distant, when, after the restoration of peace, America and
England, disputing as to the compensation due from one to the other
for injuries sustained in this matter, gave to the world the great
example of two nations submitting a point so grave to peaceful
arbitration, instead of calling in the sword to make an end of it--an
example more nearly pointing to the possible extinction of war than
any other event of the world's history.

Yet another hopeful feature may be noted in connection with this time
of trouble. While the Secession war lasted, "the cotton famine" had
full sway in Lancashire; unwonted and unwelcome light and stillness
replaced the dun clouds of smoke and the busy hum that used to tell
of fruitful, well-paid industry; and the patient people, haggard and
pale but sadly submissive, were kept, and just kept, from starving by
the incessant charitable effort of their countrymen. Never had the
attitude of the suffering working classes shown such genuine
nobility; they understood that the calamity which lay heavy on them
was not brought about by the careless and selfish tyranny of their
worldly superiors, but came in the order of God's providence; and
their conduct at this crisis proved that an immense advance had been
made in kindliness between class and class, and in true intelligence
and appreciation of the difficulties proper to each. It was
significant of this new temper that when at last peace returned,
bringing some gleam of returning prosperity, the workers, who greeted
with joyful tears the first bales of cotton that arrived, fell on
their knees around the hopeful things and sang hymns of thanksgiving
to the Author of all good.

Such were the fruits of that new policy of care and consideration for
the toilers and the lowly which had increasingly marked the new
epoch, and which had been sedulously promoted by the Queen, in
association with her large-thoughted and well-judging husband.

It was in the midst of the troubles which we have just attempted to
recall that a new and greater calamity came upon us, affecting the
royal family indeed with the sharpest distress, but hardly less felt,
even at the moment, by the nation.

The year 1861 had already been darkened for Her Majesty by the death
in the month of March, of her mother, the Duchess of Kent, to whose
wise guardianship of the Queen's youth the nation owed so much, and
who had ever commanded the faithful affection of this her youngest
but greatest child, and of all her descendants. This death was the
first stroke of real personal calamity to the Queen; it was destined
to be followed by another bereavement, even severer in its nature,
before the year had closed. The Prince Consort's health, though
generally good, was not robust, and signs had not been wanting that
his incessant toils were beginning to tell upon him. There had been
illnesses, transitory indeed, but too significant of "overwork of
brain and body." In addition to personal griefs, such as the death of
the Duchess of Kent and of a beloved young Coburg prince and kinsman,
the King of Portugal, which had been severely felt, there were the
unhappy complications arising out of "the affair of the _Trent_,"
which the Prince's statesmanlike wisdom had helped to bring to a
peaceful and honourable conclusion. That wisdom, unhappily, was no
longer at the service of England when a series of negligences and
ignorances on the part of England's statesmen had landed us in the
_Alabama_ difficulty.

All these agitations had told upon a frame which was rather
harmoniously and finely than vigorously constituted. "If I had an
illness," he had been known to say, "I am sure I should not struggle
for life. I have no tenacity of life." And in the November of 1861 an
illness came against which he was not able to struggle, but which
took all the country by surprise when, on December 14th, it
terminated in death. Very many had hardly been aware that there was
danger until the midnight tolling of the great bell of St. Paul's
startled men with an instant foreboding of disaster. _What_ disaster
it was that was thus knelled forth they knew not, and could hardly
believe the tidings when given in articulate words.

At first it had been said, the Prince had a feverish cold; presently
the bulletin announced "fever, unattended with unfavourable
symptoms." It was gastric fever, and before long there _were_
unfavourable symptoms--pallid changes in the aspect, hurried
breathing, wandering senses--all noted with heart-breaking anxiety by
the loving nurses, the Queen and Princess Alice--the daughter so
tender and beloved, the "dear little wife," the "good little wife,"
whose ministerings were so comfortable to the sufferer overwearied
with the great burden of life. He was released from it at ten minutes
to eleven on the night of Saturday, December 14th; and there fell on
her to whom his last conscious look had been turned, his last caress
given, a burden of woe almost unspeakable, and for which the heart of
the nation throbbed with well-nigh unbearable sympathy. Seldom has
the personal grief of a sovereign been so keenly shared by subjects.
Indeed, they had cause to lament; the removal of the Prince Consort,
just when his faculties seemed ripest and his influence most assured,
left a blank in the councils of the nation which has never been
filled up. "We have buried our _king_" said Mr. Disraeli, regretting
profoundly this national loss; but for once the English people forgot
the public deprivation in compassionating her who was left more
conspicuously lonely, more heavily burdened, than even the poor
bereaved colliers' wives in the North for whom _her_ compassion was
so quick and so sharply sympathetic. Something remorseful mingled
then, and may mingle now, with the affection felt for this lost
benefactor, who had not only been somewhat jealously eyed by certain
classes on his first coming, but who had suffered much silently from
misunderstanding and also from deliberate misrepresentation, and only
by patient continuance in well-doing had at last won the favour which
was his rightful due.

    "That which we have we prize not to the worth
    While we enjoy it; but being lacked and lost,
    Why, then we rack the value, then we find
    The virtue that possession would not show us
    While it was ours."

A peculiar tenderness was ever after cherished for Princess Alice,
who in this dark hour rose up to be her mother's comforter,
endeavouring in every way possible to save her all trouble--"all
communications from the Ministers and household passed through the
Princess's hands to the Queen, then bowed down with grief.... It was
the very intimate intercourse with the sorrowing Queen at that time
which called forth in Princess Alice that keen interest and
understanding in politics for which she was afterwards so
distinguished. The gay, bright girl suddenly developed into a wise,
far-seeing woman, living only for others."

[Illustration: Princess Alice.]

This ministering angel in the house of mourning had been already
betrothed, with her parents' full approval, to Prince Louis of Hesse;
and to him she was married on July 1st, 1862, at Osborne, very
quietly, as befitted the mournful circumstance of the royal family.
Many a heartfelt wish for her happiness followed "England's
England-loving daughter" to her foreign home, where she led a
beautiful, useful life, treading in her father's footsteps, and
continually cherished by the love of her mother; and the peculiarly
touching manner of her death, a sort of martyrdom to sweet domestic
affections, again stirred the heart of her own people to mournful
admiration. A cottager's wife might have died as Princess Alice died,
through breathing in the poison of diphtheria as she hung, a
constant, loving nurse, over the pillows of her suffering husband and
children. This beautiful _homeliness_ that has marked the lives of
our Sovereign and her children has been of inestimable value, raising
simple human virtues to their proper pre-eminence before the eyes of
the English people of to-day, who are very materially, if often
unconsciously, swayed by the example set them in high places.

In the May after Prince Consort's death the second International
Exhibition was opened, amid sad memories of the first, so joyful in
every way, and a certain sense of discouragement because the golden
days of universal peace seemed farther off than ten years before.

        "Is the goal so far away?
        Far, how far no tongue can say;
        Let us dream our dream to-day."

Far indeed it seemed, with the fratricidal contest raging in America,
and shutting out all contributions to this World's Fair from the
United States.

[Illustration: The Mausoleum.]

The Queen had betaken herself that May to her Highland home, whose
joy seemed dead, and where her melancholy pleased itself in the
erection of a memorial cairn to the Prince on Craig Lorigan, after
she had returned from Princess Alice's wedding. But in May she had
sent for Dr. Norman Macleod, who was not only distinguished as one of
her own chaplains, but was also a friend already endeared to the
Prince and herself; and she found comfort in the counsels of that
faithful minister and loyal man, who has left some slight record of
her words. "She said she never shut her eyes to trials, but liked to
look them in the face; she would never shrink from duty, but all was
at present done mechanically; her highest ideas of purity and love
were obtained from the Prince, and God could not be displeased with
her love.... There was nothing morbid in her grief.... She said that
the Prince always believed he was to die soon, and that he often told
her that he had never any fear of death." It seemed that in this
persuasion the Prince had made haste to live up to the duties of his
difficult station to the very utmost, and "being made perfect in a
short time fulfilled a long time [Footnote]."

[Footnote: Inscription on the cairn on Craig Lorigan.]

"The more I learn about the Prince Consort," continues Dr. Macleod,
"the more I agree with what the Queen said to me about him: 'that he
really did not seem to comprehend a selfish character, or what
selfishness was.' And on whatever day his public life is revealed to
the world, I feel certain this will be recognised."

[Illustration: Dr. Norman Macleod.]

The Queen, by revealing to the world, with a kind of holy boldness,
what the Prince's public and private life was, has justified this
confidence of her faithful friend.

Early in 1863, Dr. Macleod was led by the Queen into the mausoleum
she had caused to be raised for her husband's last resting-place.
Calm and quiet she stood and looked on the beautiful sculptured image
of him she had lost: having "that within which passeth show," her
grief was tranquil. "She is so true, so genuine, I wonder not at her
sorrow; it but expresses the greatest loss that a sovereign and wife
could sustain," said the deeply moved spectator.

An event was close at hand which was to mingle a little joy in the
bitter cup so long pressed to our Sovereign's lips. The Prince of
Wales had formed an attachment to the Princess Alexandra of Denmark,
a singularly winning and lovely lady, whose popularity, ever since
her sweet face first shone on the surging crowds that shouted her
welcome into London, has seemed always at flood-tide. Faithful to her
experience and convictions, the Queen smiled gladly on the marriage
of affection between this gentle princess and the heir to the throne,
and was present as a spectator, though still wearing her sombre
weeds, at the splendid show of her son's wedding on March 10th, 1863.
"Two things have struck me much," writes Dr. Macleod, from whose
Journal we again quote: "one was the whole of the royal princesses
weeping, though concealing their tears with their bouquets, as they
saw their brother, who was to them but their 'Bertie' and their dear
father's son, standing alone waiting for his bride. The other was the
Queen's expression as she raised her eyes to heaven while her
husband's _Chorale_ was sung. She seemed to be with him alone before
the throne of God."

[Illustration: Prince of Wales. _From a Photograph by W. & D. Downey,
Ebury Street, W._]

"No possible favour can the Queen grant me, or honour bestow," said
the manly writer of these words, "beyond what the poor can give the
poor--her friendship." It is rarely that one sitting amid "the fierce
light that beats upon the throne" has been able to enjoy the simple
bliss of true, disinterested friendship with those of kindred soul
but inferior station. Such rare fortune, however, has been the
Queen's; and it is worthy of note that her special regard has been
won by persons distinguished not less by loftiness and purity of
character than by mental power or personal charm. She has not escaped
the frequent penalty of strong affection, that of being bereaved of
its objects. She has outlived earlier and later friends alike--Lady
Augusta Stanley and her husband, the beloved Dean of Westminster; the
good and beautiful Duchess of Sutherland; the two eminent Scotchmen,
Principal Tulloch and Dr. Macleod himself; and the Archbishop of
Canterbury, Dr. Tait, with his charming wife. To these might be
added, among the more eminent objects of her regard, the late poet
laureate, who shared with Macaulay the once unique privilege of
having been raised to the peerage more for transcendent ability than
for any other motive--a distinction that never would have been so
bestowed by our early Hanoverian kings, and which offers a marked
contrast to the sort of patronage with which later sovereigns have
distinguished the great writers of their time. A new spirit rules
now; of this no better evidence could be given than this recently
published testimony to the relations between Queen and poet: "Mrs.
Tennyson told us that the poet laureate likes and admires the Queen
personally very much, and enjoys conversation with her. Mrs. Tennyson
generally goes too, and says the Queen's manner towards him is
childlike and charming, and they both give their opinions freely,
even when those differ from the Queen's, which she takes with perfect
good humour, and is very animated herself [Footnote]."

[Footnote: "Anne Gilchrist: her Life and Writings." London: 1887.]

[Illustration: Princess of Wales. _From a Photograph by Walery._]



With the death of Lord Palmerston in 1865, a sort of truce in the
strife of parties, which his supremacy had secured, came to an end.
That supremacy had been imperilled for a moment when the Government
declined to make an armed intervention in the struggle between
Denmark and the German Powers in 1864. Such an intervention would
have been very popular with the English people, who could hardly know
that "all Germany would rise as one man" to repel it if it were
risked. But the English Premier's rare command of his audience in
Parliament enabled him to overcome even this difficulty; and the
gigantic series of contests on the Continent which resulted in the
consolidation of the German empire, the complete liberation of Italy,
the overthrow of Imperialism in France and of the temporal power of
the Pope even in Rome itself, went on its way without our
interference also, which would hardly have been the case had we
intermeddled in the ill-understood contention between Denmark and its
adversaries as to the Schleswig-Holstein succession.

[Illustration: Sir Robert Napier.]

That strange crime, the murder of President Lincoln, in America just
when the long contest between North and South had ended and the cause
of true freedom had triumphed, was actually fruitful of good as
regarded this country and the United States. A cry of horror went up
from all England at the news of that "most accursed assassination,"
which seemed at the moment to brand the losing cause, whose partisan
was guilty of it, with the very mark of Cain. Expressions of sympathy
with the outraged country and of admiring regret for its murdered
head were lavished by every respectable organ of opinion; while the
Queen, by writing in personal sympathy, as one widow to another, to
the bereaved wife of Lincoln, made herself, as she has often done,
the mouthpiece of her people's best feeling. Again and again has it
been manifested that America and England are in more cordial
relations with each other since the tremendous civil war than before
it. It is no matter of statecraft, but a better understanding between
two great English-speaking peoples, drawn into closer fellowship by
far more easy communication than of old.

A little war with Ashantee, not too successful, a difficulty with
Japan, some more serious troubles with New Zealand, exhaust the list
of the warlike enterprises of England in the last years of
Palmerston. In a year or two after his death we were engaged in a
brief and entirely successful campaign against the barbaric King
Theodore of Abyssinia, "a compound of savage virtue and more than
savage ambition and cruelty," who, imagining himself wronged and
slighted by England, had seized a number of British subjects, held
them in hard captivity, and treated them with such capricious cruelty
as made it very manifest that their lives were not worth an hour's
purchase. It fell to the Ministry of Mr. Disraeli, Premier on the
resignation of his colleague Lord Derby, who had displaced Earl
Russell in that office, to bring this strange potentate to reason by
force of arms. Under Sir Robert Napier's management the work was done
with remarkable precision; no English life was lost; and but few of
our soldiers were wounded; Magdala, the mountain eyrie of King
Theodore, was stormed and destroyed, and the captives, having been
surrendered under dread of the British arms, were restored to freedom
and safety. The honour of our land, imperilled by the oppression of
our subjects was triumphantly vindicated; other good was not
achieved. Theodore, unwilling to survive defeat, was found dead by
his own hand when Magdala was carried, and he was afterwards
succeeded on the Abyssinian throne by a chief who had more than all
his predecessor's vices and none of his virtues. For this
well-managed campaign Sir Robert Napier was raised to the peerage as
Lord Napier of Magdala. The swift success, the brilliant promptitude,
of his achievement are almost painful to recall to-day, in face of
another enterprise for the rescue of a British subject, conducted by
a commander not less able and resolute, at the head of troops as
daring and as enthusiastic, which was turned into a conspicuous
failure by unhappy delayings on the part of the civil authorities, in
the fatal winter of 1884-5.

[Illustration: Mr. Gladstone.]

Turning our eyes from foreign matters to the internal affairs of the
United Kingdom, we see two great leaders, Mr. Disraeli and Mr.
Gladstone--whose "long Parliamentary duel" had begun early in the
fifties of this century--outbidding each other by turns for the
public favour, and each in his different way ministering to the
popular craving for reform. With Mr. Disraeli's first appearance as
leader of the house of Commons, this rivalry entered on its most
noticeable stage; it only really ceased with the life of the
brilliant, versatile, and daring _litterateur_ and statesman who died
as Earl Beaconsfield, not very long after his last tenure of office
expired in 1880. In 1867 Mr. Disraeli, as Leader of the Lower House,
carried a measure for the reform of the franchise in England, and the
year following similar measures with regard to Ireland and Scotland.
In 1869 it was Mr. Gladstone's turn, and he introduced and carried
two remarkable Bills--one for the disestablishment of the Irish
Church, and one for the amendment of land tenure in Ireland, the
latter passing into law in August, 1870. It had long been felt as a
bitter grievance by the mass of Irishmen that the Church established
in their country should be one which did not command the allegiance
of one-sixth of its people and though opinion in England was sharply
divided as to the question of Irish disestablishment, the majority of
Englishmen undoubtedly considered the grievance to be something more
than a sentimental one, and deserving of removal. Another startling
measure of reform was the abolition of purchase in the army, carried
in the face of a reluctant House of Lords by means of a sudden
exercise of royal prerogative under advice of the Government; the
Premier announcing "that as the system of purchase was the creation
of royal regulation, he had advised the Queen to take the decisive
step of cancelling the royal warrant which made purchase legal"--a
step which, however singular, was undoubtedly legal, as was proved by
abundant evidence.

A measure which may not improbably prove to have affected the
fortunes of this country more extensively than any of those already
enumerated was the Education Bill introduced by Mr. Forster in 1870,
and designed to secure public elementary education for even the
humblest classes throughout England and Wales. Hitherto the teaching
of the destitute poor had been largely left to private charity or
piety, and in the crowded towns it had been much neglected, with the
great exception of the work done in Ragged Schools--those gallant
efforts made by unpaid Christian zeal to cope with the multitudinous
ignorance and misery of our overgrown cities. It was very slowly that
the national conscience was aroused to the peril and sin of allowing
the masses to grow up in heathen ignorance; but at last the English
State shook off its sluggish indifference to the instruction of its
poor, and became as active as it had been supine. Mr. Forster's Bill
is the measure which indicates this turning of the tide. We do not
propose now to discuss the provisions of this Act, which were sharply
canvassed at the time, and which certainly have not worked without
friction; but we may say that the stimulus then given to educational
activity, if judged by subsequent results, must be acknowledged to
have been advantageous. The system of schools under the charge of
various religious bodies, which existed before the Education Act, has
not been superseded; that indeed would have been a deep misfortune,
for it is more needed than ever; the masses of the population have
been, to an appreciable extent, reached and instructed; and we shall
not much err in connecting as cause and effect the wider instruction
with the diminution of pauperism and crime which the statistics of
recent years reveal.

The same member who honoured himself and benefited his country by
this great effort to promote the advance of the "angel Knowledge"
also introduced, in 1871, the Ballot Bill, designed to do away with
all the violence and corruption that had long disgraced Parliamentary
elections in this free land, and that showed no symptom of a tendency
to reform themselves. The new system of secret voting which was now
adopted has required, it is true, to be further purified by the
recent Corrupt Practices Bill and its stringent provisions; but no
one, whose memory is long enough to recall the tumultuous and
discreditable scenes attendant on elections under the old system,
will be inclined to deny that much that was flagrantly disgraceful as
well as dishonest has been swept away by the reforming energy of our
own day.

It is to the same period, made memorable by these internal reforms,
that we have to refer the final settlement of the long-standing
controversy between Great Britain and the United States as to the
_Alabama_ claims. We have already referred to these claims and the
peaceful though very costly manner of their adjustment. That the
award on the whole should go against us was not very grateful to the
English people; but when the natural irritation of the hour had time
to subside, the substantial justice of the decision was little
disputed. While England was thus busied in strengthening her walls
and making straight her ways, her great neighbour and rival was
passing through a very furnace of misery. The colossal-seeming
Empire, whose head was rather of strangely mingled Corinthian metal
than of fine gold, and whose iron feet were mixed with miry clay, was
tottering to its overthrow, and fell in the wild days of 1870 with a
world-awakening crash. Again it was a dispute concerning the throne
of Spain which precipitated the fall of a French sovereign. It would
seem as if interference with the affairs of its Southern neighbour
was ever to be ominous of evil to France. The first great Napoleon
had had to rue such interference; it had been disastrous to Louis
Philippe; now Louis Napoleon, making the candidature of Leopold of
Hohenzollern for the Spanish crown a pretext for war with Prussia,
forced on the strife which was to dethrone himself, to cast down his
dynasty, and to despoil France of two fair provinces, Alsace and
Lorraine, once taken from Germany, now reconquered for United
Germany. With that strife, which resulted in the exaltation of the
Prussian King, our Princess Royal's father-in-law, as German Emperor,
England had absolutely nothing to do, except to pity the fallen and
help the suffering as far as in her lay; but it awakened profoundest
interest, especially while the long siege of Paris dragged on through
the hard winter of 1870-71; hardly yet is the interest of the subject

A certain fleeting effect was produced in England by the erection of
a New Republic in France in place of the fallen Empire, while the
family of the defeated ruler--rejected by his realm more for lack of
success than for his bad government--escaped to the safety of this
country from the angry hatred of their own. A few people here began
to talk republicanism in public, and to commend the "logical
superiority" of that mode of government, oblivious of the fact that
practical Britain prefers a system, however illogical, that actually
works well, to the most beautifully reasoned but untested paper
theory. But the wild excesses of the Commune in Paris, outdoing in
horror the sufferings of the siege, quickly produced the same effect
here that was wrought in the last century by the French Reign of
Terror, and English republicanism relapsed into the dormant state
from which it had only just awakened. The dangerous illness that
attacked the Prince of Wales in the last days of 1871, calling forth
such keen anxiety throughout the land that it seemed as if thousands
of families had a son lying in imminent peril of death, showed at
once that the nation was yet loyal to the core. True prayers were
everywhere offered up in sympathy with the mother, the sister, the
wife, who watched at the bedside of the heir to the throne; and when,
on the very anniversary of the Prince Consort's death, the life that
had seemed ebbing away turned to flow upward again; a sort of sob of
relief rose from the heart of the people, who rejoiced to be able, at
a later day, to share with their Queen her solemn act of thanksgiving
for mercy shown, as she went with her restored son, her son's wife,
and her son's sons, to worship and give praise in the great cathedral
of St. Paul's.

Princess Alice, who had shared and softened the grief of her mother
ten years before, had been again at her side during all the
protracted anxiety of this winter, and had helped to nurse her
brother. The Princess's experience of nursing had been terribly
increased during the awful wars, when she had been incessantly busied
in hospital organisation and work, suffering from the sight of
suffering as a sensitive nature must, but ever toiling to lighten it;
and she had come with her children to recover a little strength in
her mother's Highland home. Thus it was that she was found at
Sandringham when her brother's illness declared itself, "fulfilling
the same priceless offices" of affection as in her maiden days, and
endearing herself the more to the English people, who grieved for her
when, in the ensuing year, a mournful accident robbed her of one
darling child, and who felt it like a personal domestic loss when in
1878 the beautiful life ended. Other royal marriages have from time
to time awakened public interest, and one, celebrated between the
Princess Louise and the Marquis of Lorne, heir of the dukedom of
Argyll, had just preceded the illness of the Prince and was regarded
with much more attention because no British subject since the days of
George II's legislation as to royal alliances had been deemed worthy
of such honour. But not even the more outwardly splendid match
between the Queen's sailor son, Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, and the
daughter of the Czar Alexander, could eclipse in popularity the quiet
marriage, overclouded with sorrow, and the tranquil, hard-working
life of the good and gifted lady who was to die the martyr of her
true motherly and wifely devotion.

[Illustration: Lord Beaconsfield.]

[Illustration: Lord Salisbury.]

From these glimpses of the joys and troubles affecting the household
that is cherished in the heart of England, we return to the more
stormy records of our public doings. A sort of link between the two
exists in the long and very successful tour which the Prince of
Wales, some time after his restoration to health, made of the vast
Indian dominions of the crown. Extensive travels and wide
acquaintance with the great world to which Britain is bound by a
thousand ties have entered largely into the royal scheme of education
for the future King. No princes of England in former days have seen
so much of other lands as the sons of Queen Victoria; and this
particular journey is understood to have had an excellent political

Mr. Gladstone's five years' lease of power, which had been signalised
by so many important changes, came to an end in 1874, just before the
time when Sir Garnet Wolseley, sent to bring the savage King of
Ashantee to reason, returned successful to England, having snatched a
complete victory "out of the very jaws of approaching sun and fever"
on the pestilent West Coast of Africa in the early days of 1874. The
last Ministry of Mr. Disraeli, who now assumed office, was marked by
several noticeable events: the proclamation of the Queen as "Empress
of India," in formal definite recognition of the new relation between
little England and the gigantic, many-peopled realm which through
strange adventure has come directly under our Sovereign's sway; the
Russo-Turkish war, following on the evil doings in Turkey known as
the "Bulgarian atrocities," and terminating in a peace signed at
Berlin, with which the English Premier, now known as Lord
Beaconsfield, had very much to do; and the acquisition by England of
the 176,000 shares in the Suez Canal originally held by the Khedive
of Egypt--a transaction to which France, also largely interested in
the Canal, was a consenting party. To this period belong the
distressful Afghan and Zulu wars, the latter unhappily memorable by
the tragic fate that befell the young son of Louis Napoleon, a
volunteer serving with the English army. Deep sympathy was felt for
his imperial mother, widowed since 1873, and now bereaved of her only
child; and by none was her sorrow more keenly realised than by the
Queen, who herself had to mourn the loss of the beloved Princess
Alice, the first of her children to follow her father into the silent
land. The death of the Prince Louis Napoleon at the hands of savage
Zulus was severely felt by the still strong Bonapartism of France;
but Englishmen, remembering the early melancholy death of the heir of
the first Napoleon, were struck by the fatal coincidence, while they
could honestly deplore the premature extinction of so much youth,
gallantry, and hope-fulness, cast away in our own ill-starred

An agitation distinctly humanitarian and domestic had been going on
during the early years of this Ministry, which resulted in the
passing of the Merchant Shipping Bill, intended to remedy the many
wrongs to which our merchant seamen were subject, a measure almost
entirely procured by the fervent human sympathy and resoluteness of
one member of Parliament, Samuel Plimsoll; and other measures
belonging to this period, and designed to benefit the toilers of the
land principally, were initiated by the energy of the Home Secretary,
Mr. Cross. But neither the imposing foreign action of Lord
Beaconsfield's Government, nor the domestic improvements wrought
during its period of power, could maintain it in public favour. There
was great and growing distress in the country; depression of trade,
severe winters, sunless summers, all produced suffering, and
suffering discontent. An appeal to the country, made in the spring of
1880, shifted the Parliamentary majority from the Conservative to the
Liberal side. Lord Beaconsfield resigned, and Mr. Gladstone returned
to power.

The history of the Gladstone Ministry does not come well within the
scope of this work. Certain very memorable events must be touched
upon; there are dark chapters of our national story, stains and blots
on our great name, which force themselves upon us. But to follow the
Government through its years of struggle with the ever-growing bulk
of Irish difficulty, and to track it through its various enactments
designed still further to improve the condition of the English
people, would require a small volume to itself. England still
remembers the thrill, half fury, half anguish, which ran through her
at the tidings that the new Chief Secretary for Ireland, charged with
a message of peace and conciliation, had been stabbed to death within
twenty-four hours of his landing on that unhappy shore. She cannot
forego the deep instinctive feeling--so generally manifested at the
time of Lincoln's murder--that the lawless spilling of life for any
cause dishonours and discredits that cause; nor have various
subsequent efforts made to terrorise public opinion here been
differently judged.

But it was a far more cruel shock that was inflicted through the
series of ill-advised proceedings that brought about the great
disaster of Khartoum. Before we deal with these, we must glance at
the African and Afghan troubles, again breaking out and again
quieted, the first by a peace with the Boers of the Transvaal that
awakened violent discussion not yet at an end, and the second, after
some successes of the British arms, by a judicious arrangement
designed to secure the neutrality of Afghanistan, interposed by
nature as a strong, all but insurmountable, barrier between India and
Central Asia. These transactions, the theme of sharp contention at
the time, were cast into the shade by events in which we were
concerned in Egypt, our newly acquired interests in the Suez Canal
making that country far more important to us than of yore. Its
condition was very wretched, its government at once feeble and
oppressive, and, despite the joint influence which France and England
had acquired in Egyptian councils, an armed rebellion broke out,
under the leadership of Arabi Pasha. France declining to act in this
emergency, the troops and fleet of England put down this revolt
single-handed; and in their successes the Queen's third son, Arthur,
Duke of Connaught, took his part, under the orders of Sir Garnet
(afterwards Lord) Wolseley. There were again rejoicings in Balmoral,
where the Queen, with her soldierly son's young wife beside her, was
preparing to receive another bride--Princess Helen of Waldeck, just
wedded to our youngest Prince, Leopold, Duke of Albany.

But this gleam of brightness was destined to be followed by darker
disaster far than that which seemed averted for the moment. A
mightier rebellion was arising in the Soudan, a vast tract of country
annexed by the ambition of Ismail, the former Khedive of Egypt, to be
ill governed by his officials and ravaged by the slave-trade. These
evils were checked for a few years by the strong hand of Charles
George Gordon, already famous through his achievements in China, and
invested with unlimited power by Ismail; but, that potentate being
overthrown, the great Englishman left his thankless post, no longer
tenable by him. Then it seemed that chaos had come again; and a bold
and keen, though probably hypocritical, dervish, self-styled the
_Mahdi_, or Mohammedan Messiah, was able to kindle new flames of
revolt, which burned with the quenchless fury of Oriental fanaticism.
His Arab and negro soldiers made short work of the poor Egyptian
fellaheen sent to fight them, though these were under the command of
Englishmen. The army led by Hicks Pasha utterly vanished in the
deserts, as that of Cambyses did of old. The army under Baker Pasha
did not, indeed, disappear in the same mysterious manner, but it too
was routed with great slaughter.

The English Government, willing to avoid the vast task of crushing
the revolt, had counselled the abandonment of the Soudan, and the
Khedive's Ministers reluctantly acquiesced. But there were Egyptian
garrisons scattered throughout the Soudan which must not be abandoned
with the country. Above all, there was Khartoum, an important town at
the junction of the Blue and the White Nile, with a large European
settlement and an Egyptian garrison, all in pressing danger, loyal as
yet, but full of just apprehension. These troops, these officials,
these women and children, who only occupied their perilous position
through the action of the Khedive's Government, had a right to
protection--a right acknowledged by Her Majesty's Ministers; but they
wished to avoid hostilities. General Graham, left in command on the
Red Sea littoral, was allowed to take action against the Mahdi's
lieutenant who was threatening Suakim, and who was driven back with
heavy loss; but he might not follow up the victory.

[Illustration: General Gordon.]

The English Government hoped to withdraw the garrisons in safety,
without force of arms. They had been for some time urging on the
Khedive that the marvellous influence which Gordon was known to have
acquired in his old  province should now be utilised, and that to
_him_ should be entrusted the herculean task of tranquillising the
Soudan, by reinstating its ancient dynasties of tribal chiefs and
withdrawing all Egyptian and European troops and officials. Their
plan was at last accepted; then Gordon, hitherto unacquainted, like
the public at large, with the Government designs, was informed of
them and invited to carry them out. He consented; and, with the
chivalric promptitude which essentially belonged to his character, he
departed the same night on his perilous errand. Passing through
Cairo, he received plenary powers from the Khedive, and went on
almost alone to Khartoum, where he was received with an overflowing
enthusiasm. But, with all his eager haste, he was too late to bring
about the desired results by peaceful means. "He should have come a
year ago," muttered his native well-wishers. Week after week and
month after month, his position in Khartoum became more perilous;
the Mahdi's power waxed greater, and his hordes drew round the city,
which long defied them, while garrison after garrison fell into their
hands elsewhere. It was in vain that General Gordon urged the
despatch of British troops, a few hundred of whom would at one time
have sufficed to turn the tide, and insure success in his enterprise.
They were still withheld; and he would not secure his own safety by
deserting the people whom his presence had induced to stand out
against the impostor and his hosts. The city endured a long, cruel
siege, and fell at last, reduced by hunger and treachery, just as a
tardily despatched British force was making its way to relieve it--a
force commanded by Lord Wolseley, who half a year before had been
protesting against the "indelible disgrace" of leaving Gordon to his
fate. He was not able even to bury his friend and comrade, slain by
the fanatic enemy when they broke into the city in the early morning
of January 26th, 1885.

[Illustration: Duke of Albany. _From a Photograph by A. BASSANO, Bond
Street, W._]

"I have done my best for the honour of our country," were the parting
words of the dead hero. His country felt itself profoundly
dishonoured by the manner in which it had lost this its famous son--a
man distinguished at once by commanding ability, unsullied honour,
heroic valour; a man full of tenderest beneficence towards his
fellows, and of utter devotion to his God; "the grandest figure,"
said an American admirer, "that has crossed the disc of this planet
for centuries." Him England had fatally delayed to help, withheld by
the dread of costly and cruel warfare; and then just failed to save
him by a war enormously costly and cruelly fatal indeed. A general
lamentation, blent with cries of anger, rose up from the land. Her
Majesty shared the common sorrow, as her messages of sympathy to the
surviving relations of Gordon testified. Various charitable
institutions, modelled on the lines which he had followed in his work
among the poor, rose to keep his memory green; and thus the objects
of his Christlike care during his life are now profiting by the
world-famous manner of his death. But there is still a deep feeling
that even time itself can hardly efface the stain that has been left
on our national fame. An English expedition, well commanded, full of
ardour and daring, sent to accomplish a specific object, and failing
in that object; its commander, entirely guiltless of blame, having to
abandon the scene of his triumphs to a savage, fanatic foe as was now
the case--this was evil enough; but that our beloved countryman, a
true knight without fear and without reproach, should have been
betrayed to desertion and death through his own magnanimity and our
sluggishness, added a rankling, poisonous sense of shame to our
humiliation. That the same year saw further electoral privileges
extended to the humble classes in England, beyond what even the last
Reform Bill had conferred, which might prove of advantage afterwards,
but was an imperfect consolation at the time. Another grief fell upon
the Queen in this year in the early death of Leopold, Duke of Albany,
a Prince whose intellectual gifts were nearly allied to those of his
father, but on whom lifelong delicacy of health had enforced a life
of comparative quietude. His widowed bride and infant children have
ever since been cared for tenderly by his royal mother.

[Illustration: Duchess of Albany. _From a Photograph by A. BASSANO,
Bond Street, W._]



[Illustration: Sydney Heads.]

If now we turn our eyes a while from the foreign and domestic
concerns of Great Britain proper, and look to the Greater Britain
beyond the seas, we shall find that its progress has nowise lagged
behind that of the mother Isle. To Lord Durham, the remarkable man
sent out in 1838 to deal with the rebellion in Lower Canada, we owe
the inauguration of a totally new scheme of colonial policy, which
has been crowned with success wherever it has been introduced. It has
succeeded in the vast Canadian Dominion, now stretching from ocean to
ocean, and embracing all British North America, with the single
exception of the Isle of Newfoundland. In 1867 this Federation was
first formed, uniting then only the two Canadas with New Brunswick
and Nova Scotia, under a constitution framed on Lord Durham's plan,
and providing for the management of common affairs by a central
Parliament, while each province should have its own local
legislature, and the executive be vested in the Crown, ruling through
its Governor General. It had been made competent for the other
provinces of British North America to join this Federation, if they
should so will; and one after another has joined it, with the one
exception mentioned above, which may or may not be permanent. The
population of the Dominion has trebled, and its revenues have
increased twenty-fold, since its constitution was thus settled.

The same system, it may be hoped, will equally succeed in that
wonderful Australasia where our colonists now have the shaping of
their destinies in their own hands, amid the yet unexplored amplitude
of a land where "in the softest and sweetest air, and in an
unexhausted soil, the fable of Midas is reversed; food does not turn
to gold, but the gold with which the land is teeming converts itself
into farms and vineyards, into flocks and herds, into crops of wild
luxuriance, into cities whose recent origin is concealed and
compensated by trees and flowers."

In such terms does a recent eye-witness describe the splendid
prosperity attained within the last two or three decades by that
Australia which our fathers thought of chiefly as a kind of far-off
rubbish-heap where they could fling out the human garbage of England,
to rot or redeem itself as it might, well out of the way of society's
fastidious nostril, and which to our childhood was chiefly associated
with the wild gold-fever and the wreck and ruin which that fever too
often wrought. The transportation system, so far as Australia was
concerned, came virtually to an end with the discovery of gold in the
region to which we had been shipping off our criminals. The colonists
had long been complaining of this system, which at first sight had
much to recommend it, as offering a fair chance of reformation to the
convict, and providing cheap labour for the land that received him.
But it was found, as a high official said, that convict labour was
far less valuable than the uncompelled work of honest freemen; and
the contagious vices which the criminal classes brought with them
made them little welcome. When to these drawbacks were added the
difficulties and dangers with which the presence of the convict
element in the population encumbered the new gold-mining industry,
the question reached the burning stage. The system was modified in
1853, and totally abolished in 1857. Transports whose sentence were
unexpired lingered out their time in Tasmania, whence the aborigines
have vanished under circumstances of cruelty assuredly not mitigated
by the presence of convicts in the island; but Australia was
henceforth free from the blight.

The political life of these colonies may be said to have begun in the
same year--1853--when the importation of criminals received its first
check. New South Wales, the eldest of the Australian provinces,
received a genuine constitution of its own; Victoria followed in
1856--Victoria, which is not without its dreams of being one day "the
chief State in a federated Australia," an Australia that may then
rank as "a second United States of the Southern Hemisphere." Western
Australia, South Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, and New Zealand,
one after another, attained the same liberties; all have now
representative governments, modelled on those of the mother country,
but inevitably without the aristocratic element. Such an aristocracy
as that of England is the natural growth of many centuries and of
circumstances hardly likely to be duplicated--a fact which the Prince
Consort once had occasion to lay very clearly before Louis Napoleon,
anxious to surround himself with a similar nobility, if only he could
manage it. But though the aristocratic element be lacking, the
patriotic passion and the sentiment of loyalty are abundantly
present; nor has the mother country any intellectual pre-eminence
over her colonies, drawn immeasurably nearer to her in thought and
feeling as communication has become rapid and easy.

There is something almost magical at first sight in the
transformation which the Australian colonies have undergone in a very
limited space of time; yet it is but the natural result of the
untrammelled energy of a race sovereignly fitted to "subdue the
earth." It is curious to read how in 1810 the convict settlement at
Botany Bay--name of terror to ignorant home criminals, shuddering at
the long, dreadful voyage and the imagined horrors of a savage
country--was almost entirely nourished on imported food, now that the
vast flocks and herds of Australia and New Zealand contribute no
inconsiderable proportion of the food supply of Britain.

The record of New Zealand is somewhat less brilliant than that of its
gigantic neighbour. This is due to somewhat less favourable
circumstances, to a nobler and less manageable race of aborigines;
the land perhaps more beautiful, is by the very character of its
beauty less subduable. Its political life is at least as old as that
of the old Australian colony, its constitution being granted about
the same time; but this colony has needed, what Australia has not,
the armed interference of the Home Government in its quarrels with
the natives--a race once bold and warlike, able to hold their own
awhile even against the English soldiers, gifted with eloquence, with
a certain poetic imagination, and no inconsiderable intelligence. It
seemed, too, at one moment as if these Maoris would become generally
Christianised; but the kind of Christianity which they saw
exemplified in certain colonists, hungry for land and little
scrupulous as to the means by which they could gratify that hunger,
largely undid the good effected through the agency of missionaries,
the countrymen of these oppressors, whose evil deeds they were
helpless to hinder. A superstition that was nothing Christian laid
hold of many who had once been altogether persuaded to embrace the
teachings of Jesus, and the relapsed Maoris doubtless were guilty of
savage excesses; yet the original blame lay not chiefly with them;
nor is it possible to regard without deep pity the spectacle
presented at the present day of "the noblest of all the savage races
with whom we have ever been brought in contact, overcome by a worse
enemy than sword and bullet, and corrupted into sloth and
ruin, ...ruined physically, demoralised in character, by drink."
Nobler than other aborigines, who have faded out before the invasion
of the white man, as they may be, their savage nobility has not saved
them from the common fate; they too have "learned our vices faster
than our virtues," aided by the speculative traders in alcoholic
poison, who have followed on the track of the colonist, and who,
devil's missionaries as they are, have counteracted too quickly the
work of the Christian evangelists who preceded them.

The extraordinary natural fertility of the country, whose volcanic
nature was very recently terribly demonstrated, is yet very far from
being utilised to the utmost, the population of the islands, not
inferior in extent to Great Britain, being yet a long way below that
of London. Probably this "desert treasure-house of agricultural
wealth" may, under wise self-government, yet rise to a position of
magnificent importance.

Of all our colonies that in Southern Africa has the least reason to
be proud of its recent history, which has not been rendered any
fairer by the discovery of the great Diamond Fields, and the rush of
all sorts and conditions of men to profit thereby. Into the entangled
history of our doings in relation to Cape Colony--originally a Dutch
settlement--and all our varied and often disastrous dealings with the
Dutch-descended Boers and the native tribes in its neighbourhood, we
cannot well enter. Our missionary action has the glory of great
achievement in Southern Africa; of our political action it is best to
say little.

A more encouraging scene is presented if we turn to the Fijian Isles,
whose natives, once a proverb of cannibal ferocity, have been
humanised and Christianised by untiring missionary effort, and by
their own free-will have passed under British domination and are
ruled by a British governor. The extraordinary change worked in the
people of these isles, characterised now, as even in their heathen
days, by a certain bold manliness, that hitherto has escaped the
usual deterioration, is so great and unmistakable that critics
predisposed to unfriendliness do not try to deny it.

In consequence of the immensely increased facilities of communication
that we now enjoy, our own great food-producing dependencies and the
vast corn-growing districts of other lands can pour their stores into
our market--a process much aided by the successive removal of so many
restrictions on commerce, and by the practical science which has
overcome so many difficulties connected with the transport of slain
meat and other perishable commodities. England seems not unlikely to
become a wonderfully cheap country to live in, unless some new turn
of events interferes with the processes which during the last two
decades have so increased the purchasing power of money that, as is
confidently stated, fifteen shillings will now buy what it needed
twenty shillings to purchase twenty years ago. To this result, as a
matter of course, the enormous development of our manufacturing and
other industries has also contributed.

There is another side to the medal, and not so fair a one. The
necessaries of life are cheaper; wages are actually higher, when the
greater value of money is taken into account; more care is taken as
to the housing of the poor; the workers of the nation have more
leisure, and spend not a little of it in travelling, being now by far
the most numerous patrons of the railway; the altered style of the
conveyances provided for them is a sufficient testimony to their
higher importance. All this is to the good; so, too, is the
diminution in losses by bankruptcy and in general pauperism, the
increasing thrift shown by the records of savings banks, the
lengthening of life, the falling off in crime, which is actually--not
proportionally--rarer than ten years ago, to go no further back.

Against this we have to set the facts that the terrible malady of
insanity is distinctly on the increase--whether due to mere physical
causes, to the high pressure at which modern society lives, or to the
prevalent scepticisms which leave many wretched men so little
tranquillising hope or faith, who shall say?--that all trades and
professions are more or less overcrowded; and that there is a
terrible amount, not of pauperism, but of hard-struggling poverty,
massed up in the crowded, wretched, but high-priced tenements of
great towns, and maintaining a forlorn life by such incessant, cruel
labour as is not exacted from convicted criminals in any English
prison. London, where this kind of misery is inevitably at its
height, receives every week an accession of a thousand persons, who
doubtless, in a great majority of cases, simply help to glut the
already crowded labour market and still further lower the wages of
the workers; and the other great towns in like manner grow, while the
rural population remains stagnant or lessens. Agricultural distress,
which helps to keep the tide of emigration high, also accounts in
part for this singular, undesirable displacement of population; while
recent testimony points to the fact that the terribly unsanitary and
inefficient housing of the rural poor does much to drive the best and
most laborious members of that class away from the villages and
fields which might otherwise be the homes of happy and peaceful
industry. For this form of evil, in town and country, private
greed--frequently shown by small proprietors, who have never learnt
that property has duties as well as rights--is very largely
responsible; for how many other of the evils we have to deplore is
not the greed of gain responsible?

The sins of the age are still much the same sins that the Laureate
roughly arraigned when the Crimean war broke our long peace;
denouncing the race for riches which turned men into "pickpockets,
each hand lusting for all that is not its own;" denouncing the cruel
selfishness of rich and poor as the vilest kind of civil war, being
"underhand, not openly bearing the sword." We had made the blessings
of peace a curse, he told us, in those days, "when only the ledger
lived, and when only not all men lied; when the poor were hovelled
and hustled together, each sex, like swine; when chalk and alum and
plaster were sold to the poor for bread, and the spirit of murder
worked in the very means of life." Yet those very days saw the
uprising of a whole generation of noble servants of humanity,
resolute to tight and overcome the rampant evils that surrounded
them. And though we would avoid the error of praising our own epoch
as though it alone were humane, as though we only, "the latest seed
of Time, have loved the people well," and shown our love by deeds;
though we would not deny that to-day has its crying abuses as well as
yesterday; yet it is hardly possible to survey the broad course of
our history during the past sixty years, and not to perceive, amid
all the cross-currents--false ambitions, false pretences,
mammon-worship, pitiless selfishness, sins of individuals, sins of
society, sins of the nation--an ever-widening and mastering stream of
beneficent energy, which has already wonderfully changed for the
better many of the conditions of existence, and which, since its flow
shows no signs of abating, we may hope to see spreading more widely,
and bearing down in its great flood the wrecks of many another
oppression and iniquity.



[Illustration: Robert Southey.]

"Man doth not live by bread alone." The enormous material progress of
this country during the last sixty years--imperfectly indicated by
the fact that during the last forty years the taxable income of the
United Kingdom has been considerably more than doubled--would be but
a barren theme of rejoicing, if there were signs among us of
intellectual or spiritual degeneracy. The great periods of English
history have been always fruitful in great thinkers and great
writers, in religious and mental activity. Endeavouring to judge our
own period by this standard, and making a swift survey of its
achievements in literature, we do not find it apparently inferior to
the splendours of "great Elizabeth" or of the Augustan age of Anne.
Our fifth Queen-regnant, whose reign, longer than that of any of her
four predecessors, is also happier than that of the greatest among
them, can reckon among her subjects an even larger number of men
eminent in all departments of knowledge, though perhaps we cannot
boast one name quite equal to Newton in science, and though assuredly
neither this nor any modern nation has yet a second imaginative
writer whose throne may be set beside that of Shakespeare.

[Illustration: William Wordsworth.]

[Illustration: Alfred Tennyson. _From a Photograph by Elliott & Fry_]

We excel in quantity, indeed; for while, owing to the spread of
education, the number of readers has been greatly increased, the
number of writers has risen proportionately; the activity of the
press has increased tenfold. Journalism has become a far more
formidable power in the land than in the earlier years when, as our
domestic annals plainly indicate, the _Times_ ruled as the Napoleon
of newspapers. This result is largely due to the removal of the
duties formerly imposed both on the journals themselves and on their
essential paper material; and it would indeed "dizzy the arithmetic
of memory" should we try to enumerate the varied periodicals that are
far younger than Her Majesty's happy reign. Of these a great number
are excellent in both intention and execution, and must be numbered
among the educating, civilising, Christianising agencies of the day.
They are something more and higher than the "savoury literary
_entremets_" designed to please the fastidious taste of a cultured
and leisured class, which was the just description of our periodical
literature at large not so very long ago. The number of our
imaginative writers--poets and romancers, but especially the
latter--has been out of all proportion great. We give the place of
honour, as is their due, to the singers rather than to the
story-tellers, the more readily since the popular taste, it cannot be
denied, chooses its favourites in inverse order as a rule.

[Illustration: Robert Browning. _From a Photograph by Elliott &

When Her Majesty ascended the throne, one brilliant poetical
constellation was setting slowly, star by star. Keats and Shelley and
Byron, none of them much older than the century, had perished in
their early prime between 1820 and 1824; Scott had sunk under the
storms of fortune in 1832; the fitful glimmer of Coleridge's genius
vanished in 1834, and a year later "the gentle Elia" too was gone.
Southey, who still held the laureate-ship in 1837, had faded out of
life in 1843, and was succeeded in his once-despised office by
William Wordsworth, who, with Rogers and Leigh Hunt and Moore, lived
far into the new reign, uniting the Georgian and the Victorian school
of writers. Thomas Hood, the poet of the poor and oppressed, whose
too short life ended in 1845, gives in his serious verse such
thrilling expression to the impassioned, indignant philanthropy,
which has actuated many workers and writers of our own period, that
it is not easy to reckon him with the older group. His song rings
like that of Charles Kingsley, poet, novelist, preacher, and
"Christian socialist," who did not publish his "Saint's Tragedy" till
three years after Hood was dead.

There has, indeed, been no break in the continuity of our great
literary history; while one splendid group was setting, another as
illustrious was rising. Tennyson, who on Wordsworth's death in 1850
received at Queen Victoria's hand the "laurel greener from the brows
of him that uttered nothing base," had published his earliest two
volumes of poems some years before Her Majesty's accession; and of
that rare poetic pair, the Brownings, each had already given evidence
of the great powers they possessed, Robert Browning's tragedy of
"Strafford" being produced on the stage in 1837, while his future
wife's translation of the "Prometheus Bound" saw the light four years
earlier. The Victorian period can boast no greater poetic names than
these, each of which is held in highest reverence by its own special
admirers. The patriotic fervour with which Lord Tennyson has done
almost all his laureate work, the lucid splendour of his style, the
perfect music of his rhythm, and the stinging sharpness with which he
has sometimes chastised contemporary sins, have all combined to win
for him a far wider popularity than even that accorded to the fine
lyrical passion of Mrs. Browning, or to the deep-thoughted and
splendid, but often perplexing and ruggedly phrased, dramatic and
lyric utterances of her husband. All three have honoured themselves
and their country by a majestic purity of moral and religious
teaching--an excellence shared by many of their contemporaries, whose
powers would have won them a first place in an age and country less
fruitful of genius; but not so conspicuous in some younger poets,
later heirs of fame, whose lot it may be to carry on the traditions
of Victorian greatness into another reign.

There are not a few writers of our day whose excellent prose work has
won more of popular favour than their verse, which notwithstanding is
of high quality. Such was the "unsubduable old Roman," Walter Savage
Landor, a contemporary of Byron and Wordsworth, who long outlived
them, dying in 1864. Such--to bring two extremes together--are the
critic and poet Matthew Arnold, the poet and theologian John Henry
Newman. Intimately associated in our thought with the latter, who has
enriched our devotional poetry with one touching hymn, is Keble, the
singer _par excellence_ of the "Catholic revival," and the most
widely successful religious poet of the age, though only very few of
his hymns have reached the heart of the people like the far more
direct and fervent work of the Wesleys and their compeers. He is even
excelled in simplicity and passion, though not in grace and
tenderness, by two or three other workers in the same field, who
belong to our day, and whose verse is known more widely than their

We have several women-poets who are only less beloved and less well
known than Mrs. Browning; but so far the greatest literary
distinction gained by the women of our age and country,
notwithstanding the far wider and higher educational advantages
enjoyed by them to-day, has been won, as of yore, in the field of
prose fiction. More than a hundred years ago a veteran novelist,
whose humour and observation, something redeeming his coarseness,
have ranked him among classic English authors, referred mischievously
to the engrossing of "that branch of business" by female writers,
whose "ease, and spirit, and delicacy, and knowledge of the human
heart," have not, however, availed to redeem their names from
oblivion. For some of their nineteenth-century   successors at least
we may expect a more enduring memory.

Numerous as are our poets, they are far outnumbered by the novelists,
whose works are poured forth every season with bewildering profusion;
but as story-tellers have always commanded a larger audience than
grave philosophers or historians, and as our singers deal as much in
philosophy as in narrative, perhaps in seeking for the cause of this
overrunning flood of fiction we need go no further than the immensely
increased number of readers--a view in which the records of some
English public libraries will bear us out. We may therefore be
thankful that, on the whole, such literature has been of a vastly
purer and healthier character than of yore, reflecting that higher
and better tone of public feeling which we may attribute, in part at
least, to the influence of the "pure court and serene life" of the

[Illustration: Charles Dickens. _From a Photograph by Elliott &

[Illustration: W.M. Thackeray. _From a Drawing by Samuel Lawrence_.]

This nobler tone is not least perceptible in the eldest of the great
masters of fiction whom we can claim for our period--Dickens, who in
1837 first won by his "Pickwick Papers" that astonishing popularity
which continued widening until his death; Thackeray, who in that year
was working more obscurely, having not yet found a congenial field in
the humorous chronicle that reflects for us so much of the Victorian
age, for _Punch_ was not started till 1841, and Thackeray's first
great masterpiece of pathos and satire, "Vanity Fair," did not begin
to appear till five years later. Each of these writers in his own way
held "the mirror up" to English human nature, and showed "the very
age and body of the time his form and pressure," with manly boldness
indeed, but with due artistic reticence also; each knew how to be
vivid without being vicious, to be realistic without being revolting;
and despite the sometimes offensive caricature in which the one
indulged, despite the seeming cynicism of the other their influence
must be pronounced healthy. Thackeray did not, like Dickens, use his
pen against particular glaring abuses of the time, nor insist on the
special virtues that bloom amid the poor and lowly; but he attacked
valiantly the crying sins of society in all time--the mammon-worship
and the mercilessness, the false pretences and the fraud--and never
failed to uphold for admiration and imitation "whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honourable, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever thing are pure, whatsoever things are lovely." And though
both writers were sometimes hard on the professors of religion,
neither failed in reverence of tone when religion itself was

[Illustration: Charlotte Brontë.]

The sudden death of both these men, in the very prime of life and in
the fulness of power, was keenly felt at the time: each had a
world-wide fame, and each awakened a blank, distressful sense of
personal loss in his many admirers as he was suddenly called away
from incomplete work and faithful friendship. Contemporary literature
has not benefited by the removal of these two men and the gradual
diminishing of the influence they so strongly exerted while yet they
"stood up and spoke." The work of Charlotte Brontë--produced under a
fervent admiration for "the satirist of Vanity Fair," whom she deemed
"the first social regenerator of his day"--is, with all its
occasional morbidness of sensitive feeling, far more bracing in moral
tone, more inspiring in its scorn of baseness and glorifying of
goodness, than is the work of recent Positivist emulators of the
achievements of George  Eliot. Some romances of this school are vivid
and highly finished pictures of human misery, unredeemed by hope, and
hardly brightened by occasional gleams of humour, of the sardonic
sort which may stir a mirthless smile, but never a laugh. Herein they
are far inferior to their model, whose melancholy philosophy is half
hidden from her readers by the delightful freshness and truth of her
"Dutch painter's" portraying of every-day humanity, by her delicately
skilful reproduction of its homely wit and harmless absurdity.
Happily neither these writers, nor the purveyors of mere sensation
who cannot get on without crime and mystery, exhaust the list of our
romancers, many of whom are altogether healthful, cheerful, and
helpful; and it is no unreasonable hope that these may increase and
their gloomier rivals decrease, or at least grow gayer and wiser.

[Illustration: Lord Macauley.]

There are many other great writers, working in other fields, whom we
may claim as belonging altogether or almost to the Victorian age.
Within that period lies almost entirely the brilliantly successful
career of Macaulay, essayist, poet, orator, and historian. For the
last-named _rôle_ Macaulay seemed sovereignly fitted by his
extraordinary faculty for assimilating and retaining historical
knowledge, and by the vividness of imagination and mastery of words
which enabled him to present his facts in such attractive guise as
made them fascinating far beyond romance. His "History of England
from the Accession of James II," whereof the first volumes appeared
in 1849, remains a colossal fragment; the fulness of detail with
which he adorned it, the grand scale on which he worked, rendered its
completion a task almost impossible for the longest lifetime; and
Macaulay died in his sixtieth year. Despite the defects of
partisanship and exaggeration freely and not quite unjustly charged
upon his great work, it remains a yet unequalled record of the period
dealt with, just as his stirring ballads, so seemingly easy of
imitation in their ringing, rolling numbers, hold their own against
very able rivals and are yet unequalled in our time.

[Illustration: Thomas Carlyle.]

Macaulay was not the first, and he is not the last, of our
picturesque historians. It was in 1837 that Carlyle, who four years
before had startled the English-reading public by his strangely
worded, bewildering "Sartor Resartus," brought out his astonishing
"History of the French Revolution"--a prose poem, an epic without a
hero, revealing as by "flashes of lightning" the ghastly tragedy and
comedy of that tremendous upheaval; and in 1845 he followed up the
vein thus opened by his lifelike study of "Oliver Cromwell," which
was better received by his English readers than the later "History of
Friedrich II," marvel of careful research and graphic reproduction
though it be. To Carlyle therefore and to Macaulay belongs the honour
of having given a new and powerful impulse to the study they adorned;
dissimilar in other respects, they are alike in their preference for
and insistent use of original sources of information, in their able
employment of minute detail, and in the graphic touch and artistic
power which made history very differently attractive in their hands
from what it had ever been previously. Mr. Froude and Mr. Green may
be ranked as their followers in this latter respect; hardly so Mr.
Freeman or the philosophic Buckle, Grote, and Lecky, who by their
style and method belong more to the school of Hallam, however widely
they may differ from him or from each other in opinion. But in
thoroughness of research and in resolute following of the very truth
through all mazes and veils that may obscure it, one group of
historians does not yield to the other.

[Illustration: William Whewell, D.D.]

[Illustration: Sir David Brewster.]

And the same zealous passion for accuracy that has distinguished
these and less famous historians and biographers has shown itself in
other fields of intellectual endeavour. Our Queen in her desire "to
get at the root and reality of things" is entirely in harmony with
the spirit of her age. In scientific men we look for the ardent
pursuit of difficult truth; and it would be thankless to forget how
numerous beyond precedent have been in the Victorian period faithful
workers in the field of science. Though some of our _savants_ in
later years have injured their renown by straying outside the sphere
in which they are honoured and useful and speaking unadvisedly on
matters theological, this ought not to deter us from acknowledging
the value of true service rendered. The Queen's reign can claim as
its own such men as John Herschel, worthy son of an illustrious
father, Airy, Adams, and Maxwell, Whewell and Brewster and Faraday,
Owen and Buckland and Lyell, Murchison and Miller, Darwin and Tyndall
and Huxley, with Wheatstone, one of the three independent inventors
of telegraphy, and the Stephensons, father and son, to whose ability
and energy we are indebted for the origination and perfection of our
method of steam locomotion; it can boast such masters in philosophy
as Hamilton and Whately and John Stuart Mill, each a leader of many.
It has also the rare distinction of possessing one lady writer on
science who has attained to real eminence--eminence not likely soon
to be surpassed by her younger sister-rivals--the late Mrs. Mary
Somerville, who united an entirely feminine and gentle character to
masculine powers of mind.

[Illustration: Sir James Simpson.]

[Illustration: Michael Faraday.]

Only to catalogue the recent discoveries and inventions we owe to men
of science, from merciful anæsthetics to the latest applications of
electric power, would occupy more space than we ought here to give.
All honour to these servants of humanity! We rejoice to find among
them many who could unite the simplest childlike faith with a wide
and grand mental outlook; we exult not less to find in many Biblical
students and commentators the same patience, thoroughness, and
resolute pursuit of the very truth as that exemplified by the
devotees of physical science. God's Word is explored in our day--the
same clay which has seen the great work of the Revised Version of the
Scriptures begun and completed--with no less ardour than God's world.
And what vast additions have been made to our knowledge of this
earth! We have seen Nineveh unburied, the North-West Passage
explored, and the mysterious Nile stream at last tracked to its
source. To compare a fifty-years-old map of Africa with one of the
present day will a little enable us to estimate the advances made in
our acquaintance with the Dark Continent alone; similar maps
including the Polar regions of North America will testify also to a
large increase of hard-won knowledge.

[Illustration: David Livingstone.]

[Illustration: Sir John Franklin.]

Exploration--Arctic, African, Oriental and Occidental--has had its
heroic devotees, sometimes its martyrs. Witness Franklin, Burke and
Wills, and Livingstone. The long uncertainty overhanging the fate of
the gallant Franklin, after he and the expedition he commanded had
vanished into the darkness of Arctic winter in 1845, and the
unfaltering faithfulness with which his widow clung to the search for
her lost husband, form one of the most pathetic chapters of English
story. The veil was lifted at last and the secret of the North-West
Passage, to which so many lives had been sacrificed, was brought to
light in the course of the many efforts made to find the dead
discoverer. As Franklin had disappeared in the North, so Livingstone
was long lost to sight in the wilds of Africa, and hardly less
feverish interest centred round the point, so long disputed, of his
being in life or in death--interest freshly awakened when the remains
of the heroic explorer, who had been found only to be lost again,
were brought home to be laid among the mighty dead of England. The
fervent Christian philanthropy of Livingstone endeared him yet more
to the national heart; and we may here note that very often, as in
his case, the missionary has served not only Christianity, as was his
first and last aim, but also geographical and ethnological science
and colonial and commercial development. We have briefly referred
already to some of the struggles, the sufferings, and the triumphs of
missionary enterprise in our day: to chronicle all its effort and
achievement would be difficult, for these have been world-wide, and
often wonderfully successful. Nor has much less success crowned other
agencies for meeting the ever-increasing need for religious
knowledge, which multiply and grow in number and in power. Witness,
among many that might be named, the continuous development of the
Sunday School system and the immensely extended operations of the
unsectarian Bible Society.

[Illustration: John Ruskin. _From a Photograph by Elliott & Fry_.]

Great advances have been made during this reign in English art and
art-criticism, and more particularly in the extension of real
artistic education to classes of the community who could hardly
attain it before, though it was perhaps more essential to them than
to the wealthy and leisurely who had previously monopolised it. The
multiplication of Schools of Design over the country, intended to
promote the tasteful efficiency of those engaged in textile
manufactures and in our decorative and constructive art generally, is
one remarkable feature of the time, and the sedulous cultivation of
music by members of all classes of society is another, hardly less
hopeful. In all these efforts for the benefit and elevation of the
community the Prince Consort took deep and active interest, and the
royal family themselves, from Her Majesty downwards, highly cultured
and accomplished, have not failed to act in the same spirit. But the
history of English nineteenth-century art would be incomplete indeed
without reference to two powerful influences--the rise and progress
of the new art of photography, which has singularly affected other
branches of graphic work; and the career, hitherto unexampled in our
land, of the greatest art-critic of this, perhaps of any, age--John
Ruskin, the most eminent also of the many writers and thinkers who
have been swayed by the magic spell of Carlyle, whose fierce and
fervid genius, for good or for evil, told so strongly on his
contemporaries. Ruskin is yet more deeply imbued with his master's
philosophy than those other gifted and widely influential teachers,
Maurice and Kingsley; and yet perhaps he is more strongly and
sturdily independent in his individuality than either, while the
unmatched English of his prose style differs not less widely from the
rugged strength of Carlyle than from the mystical involution of
Maurice and the vehement and, as it were, breathless, yet vivid and
poetic, utterance of Kingsley. When every defect has been admitted
that is chargeable against one or all of this group of sincere and
stalwart workers, it must be allowed that their power on their
countrymen has been largely wielded for good. Particularly is this
the case with Ruskin, whose influence has reached and ennobled many a
life that, from pressure of sordid circumstances, was in great need
of such help as his spirituality of tone, and deeply felt reverential
belief in the Giver of all good and Maker of all beauty, could

[Illustration: Dean Stanley.]

[Illustration: "I was sick, and ye visited me."]

We have preferred not to dwell on one department of literature which,
like every other, has received great additions during our
period--that of religious controversy. A large portion of such
literature is in its very nature ephemeral; and some of the disputes
which have engaged the energies even of our greatest masters in
dialectics have not been in themselves of supreme importance; but
many points of doctrine and discipline have been violently canvassed
among professing Christians, and attacks of long-sustained vigour and
virulence have been made on almost every leading article of the
Christian creed by the avowed enemies or the only half-hostile
critics of the Church, which the champions of Scripture truth have
not been backward to repel. Amid all this confusion and strife of
assault and resistance one thing stands out clearly: Christianity and
its progress are more interesting to the national mind than ever
before. It has been well, too, that through all those fifty years a
large-minded and fervent but most unobtrusive and practical piety has
been enthroned in the highest places of the land--a piety which will
escape the condemnation of the King when He shall come in His glory,
and say to many false followers, "I was an hungred, and ye gave Me no
meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and
ye took Me not in; naked, and ye clothed Me not; sick, and in prison,
and ye visited Me not."

These dread words are not for those who have cared as our Sovereign
Lady and her beloved ones have cared for the sick and the suffering
and the sad; who have bound up the heart-wounds of the widow and the
orphan and ministered to their earthly needs; who, like our lost
Princess Alice and her royal elder sister, have tended the victims of
war, shrinking from no ghastliness or repulsiveness, no horrors of
the hospital where victor and vanquished lay moaning in common
misery; or, like their queenly mother, have shed the sunshine of
royal smiles and soothing words and helpful alms upon the obscurer
but hardly less pitiable patients who crowd our English infirmaries.
In her northern and southern "homes" of Osborne and Balmoral the
Queen, too, has been able to share a true, unsophisticated friendship
with her humble neighbours, to rejoice in their joys and lighten
their griefs with gentle, most efficient sympathy. It was of a
Highland cottage that Dr. Guthrie wrote that "within its walls the
Queen had stood, with her kind hands smoothing the thorns of a dying
man's pillow. There, left alone with him at her own request, she had
sat by the bed of death--a Queen ministering to the comfort of a
saint." It was in a cottage at Osborne that the same gentle and
august almsgiver was found reading comfortable Scripture words to a
sick and aged peasant, quietly retiring upon the entrance of the
clerical visitant, that _his_ message of peace might be freely given,
and thus allowing the sufferer to disclose to the pastor that the
lady in the widow's weeds was Victoria of England. These are
examples, which it would be easy to multiply, of that true oneness of
feeling between the lofty and the lowly which is the special, the
unique glory of Christ's kingdom. May our land never lack them; may
they multiply themselves to all time.

The best evidence of the truth of the Gospel is admittedly its
unequalled power of lifting up humanity to higher and yet higher
levels. In many and mighty instances of that power our age is not
barren. And in despite of the foes without and within that have
wrought her woe--of the Pharisaism that is a mask for fraud, of the
mammon-worship cloaked as respectability, of scepticism lightly
mocking, of the bolder enmity of the blasphemer--we cannot
contemplate the story of Christianity throughout our epoch, even in
these islands and this empire, without seeing that the advance of the
Faith is real and constant, the advance of the rising tide, and that
her seeming defeats are but the deceptive reflux of the ever-mounting



[Illustration: Duke of Connaught.]

Resuming our pen after an interval of ten years, we have thought it
well, not only to carry on our story of the Sovereign and her realm
to the latest attainable point, but also to give some account of the
advance made and the work accomplished by the Methodist Church,
which, youngest of the greater Nonconformist denominations, has acted
more powerfully than any other among them on the religious and social
life, not only of the United Kingdom and the Empire, but of the
world. This account, very brief, but giving details little known to
outsiders, will form a valuable pendant to the sketch of the general
history of Victoria's England that we are now about to continue.

[Illustration: The Imperial Institute.]

Many thousands who rejoiced in the Queen's Jubilee of 1887 are glad
to-day that the close of the decade should find the beloved Lady of
these isles, true woman and true Queen, still living and reigning.

On September 23, 1896, Queen Victoria had reigned longer than any
other English monarch, and the desire was general for some immediate
celebration of the event; but, by the Queen's express wish, all
recognition of the fact was deferred until the sixtieth year should
be fully completed, and the nation prepared to celebrate the "Diamond
Jubilee" on June 22, 1897, with a fervour of loyalty that should far
outshine that of the Jubilee year of 1887.

In the personal history of our Queen during those ten years we may
note with reverent sympathy some events that must shadow the festival
for her. The calm and kindly course of her home-life has again been
broken in upon by bereavement. All seemed fair in the Jubilee year
itself, and the Queen was appearing more in public than had been her
wont--laying the foundations of the Imperial Institute; unveiling in
Windsor Park a statue of the Prince Consort, Jubilee gift of the
women of England; taking part in a magnificent naval review at
Spithead. But a shadow was already visible to some; and early in 1888
sinister rumours were afloat as to the health of the Crown Prince of
Germany, consort of the Queen's eldest daughter. Too soon those
rumours proved true. Even when the prince rode in the splendid
Jubilee procession, a commanding figure in his dazzling white
uniform, the cruel malady had fastened on him that was to slay him in
less than a year, proving fatal three months after the death of his
aged father had called him to fill the imperial throne. The nation
followed the course of this tragedy with a feverish interest never
before excited by the lot of any foreign potentate, and deeply
sympathised with, the distress of the Queen and of the bereaved

[Illustration: Duke of Clarence. _From a Photograph by Lafayette,

But the year 1892 held in store a blow yet more cruelly felt. The
English people were still rejoicing with the Queen over the betrothal
of the Duke of Clarence, eldest son of the Prince of Wales, to his
kinswoman Princess May of Teck, when the death of the bridegroom
elect in January plunged court and people into mourning. That the
Queen was greatly touched by the universal sympathy with her and hers
was proved by the pathetic letter she wrote to the nation, and by the
frank reliance on their affection which marked the second letter in
which, eighteen months later, she asked them to share her joy in the
wedding of the Duke of York, now heir-presumptive, to the bride-elect
of his late brother. This union has been highly popular, and the
Queen's evident delight in the birth of the little Prince Edward of
York in June, 1894, touched the hearts of her subjects, who
remembered the deep sorrow of 1892.

[Illustration: Duke of York. _From a Photograph by Russell & Sons,
Baker Street, W_.]

[Illustration: Duchess of York. _From a Photograph by Russell & Sons,
Baker Street, W_.]

Once more they were called to grieve with her, when the husband of
her youngest daughter Beatrice, Prince Henry of Battenberg, who for
years had formed part of her immediate circle, died far from home and
England, having fallen a victim to fever ere he could distinguish
himself, as he had hoped, in our last expedition to Ashanti. The
pathos of such a death was deeply felt when the prince's remains were
brought home and laid to rest, in the presence of his widow and her
royal mother, in the very church at Whippingham that he had entered
an ardent bridegroom. Not all gloom, however, has been Her Majesty's
domestic life in these recent years; she has taken joy in the
marriages of many of her descendants; and the visits of her
grandchildren--of whom one, Princess Alice of Hesse, daughter of the
well-beloved Alice of England, became Czarina of Russia only the
other day--are a source of keen interest to her.

[Illustration: Princess Henry of Battenberg. _From a Photograph by
Hughes & Mullins, Ryde, Isle of Wight_.]

[Illustration: Prince Henry of Battenberg. _From a Photograph by
Hughes & Mullins, Ryde, Isle of Wight_.]

[Illustration: The Czarina of Russia.]

But there is no selfish absorption in her own family affairs, no
neglect of essential duty. The Prince of Wales and "the Princess"
relieve the Queen of many irksome social functions; but she does not
shun these when it is clear to her that her people wish her to
undertake them. Witness her willingness to take part in the Jubilee
Thanksgiving services and pageant, despite the feebleness of her
advanced age.

We need not dwell long on the rather stormy Parliamentary history of
the last decade, on the divisions and disappointments of the Irish
Home Rule party, once so powerful, or on the various attacks aimed at
the Welsh and Scottish Church establishments and at the principle of
"hereditary legislation" as embodied in the House of Lords. Some
useful legislation has been accomplished amid all the strife. We may
instance the Act in 1888 creating the new system of County Councils,
the Parish Councils Act, the Factory and Workshops Amendment Act, and
the Education Act of 1891--measures designed to protect the toiling
millions from the evils of "sweating," and to assure their children
of practically free education.

Substantial good has been done, whether the reins of power have been
held by Mr. Gladstone or by Lord Salisbury--whose long tenure of
office expiring in 1892, the veteran statesman whom he had displaced
again took the helm--or by Lord Rosebery, in whose favour the great
leader finally withdrew in 1894 into private life, weary of the
burden of State. In 1897 we again see Lord Salisbury directing the
destinies of the mighty empire--a task of exceptional difficulty, now
that the gravest complications exist in Europe itself and in Africa.
The horrors suffered by the Armenian subjects of the Turk have called
for intervention by the great powers; but no sooner had Turkish
reforms been promised in response to the joint note of Great Britain,
France, and Russia, than new troubles began in Crete, its people
rising in arms to shake off the Turkish yoke.

Meanwhile our occupation of Egypt is compelling us to use armed force
against the wild, threatening dervishes in the Soudan, and
well-grounded uneasiness is felt as to the position and action of our
countrymen in Southeastern Africa in connexion with the Boer republic
of the Transvaal. The British South Africa Chartered Company, formed
in 1889, adventurous and ambitious, loomed large in men's eyes during
1896, when the historic and disastrous raid of Dr. Jameson and his
followers startled the civilised world. The whole story of that
enterprise is yet to unfold; but it has added considerably to the
embarrassments of the British government. Hopes were entertained in
1890 that the British East Africa Company, by the pressure it could
put on the Sultan of Zanzibar, had secured the cessation of the slave
trade on the East African shore; these hopes are not yet fulfilled,
but it may be trusted that a step has been taken towards the
mitigation of the evil--the "open sore of the world."

If we turn to India, we see it in 1896-7 still in the grip of a cruel
famine, aggravated by an outbreak of the bubonic plague too well
known to our fathers, which, appearing three years ago at Hong-Kong,
has committed new ravages at Bombay. Government is making giant
efforts to meet both evils, and is aided by large free-will offerings
of money, sent not only from this country, but also from Canada. "Ten
years ago such a manifestation would have been unlikely. The sense of
kinship is stronger, the imperial sentiment has grown deeper, the
feeling of responsibility has broadened." Kinship with a starving
race is felt and shown by the Empress on her throne, and her subjects
learn to follow her example.

But the sense of brotherhood seems somewhat deficient when we look at
the continual labour wars that mark the period in our own land. From
the Hyde Park riots of socialists and unemployed, in the end of 1887,
to the railway strikes of 1897, the story is one of strikes among all
sorts and conditions of workers, paralysing trade, and witnessing to
strained relations between labour and capital; the great London
strike of dock labourers, lasting five weeks, and keeping 2,500 men
out of work, may yet be keenly remembered. There seems an imperative
need for the wide diffusion of a true, practical Christianity among
employers and employed; some signs point to the growth of that
healing spirit: and we may note with delight that while never was
there so much wealth and never such deep poverty as during this
period, never also were there so many religious and charitable
organisations at work for the relief of poverty and the uplifting of
the fallen; while not a few of the wealthy, and even one or two
millionaires, have shown by generous giving their painful sense of
the contrast between their own wealth and the destitution of others.

It has been a period of sharp religious disputes, and every religious
and benevolent institution is keenly criticised; but great good is
being done notwithstanding by devoted men and women. The centenary of
the Baptist Missionary Society, observed in 1892, recalled to mind
the vast work accomplished by missions since that pioneer society
sent out the apostolic "shoemaker" Carey, to labour in India, and
reminds us of the great change wrought in public opinion since he and
his enterprise were so bitterly attacked. The heroic missionary
spirit is still alive, as is proved by the readiness of new
evangelists to step into the place of the missionaries to China,
cruelly murdered at Ku-Cheng in 1895 by heathen fanatics.

The immense development of our colonies during the reign has already
been noticed; some of them have made surprising advances during the
last ten years. In southern and eastern Africa British enterprise has
done much to develop the great natural wealth of the land; but the
frequent troubles in Matabeleland and the complications with the
Transvaal since the discovery of gold there may be regarded as
counterbalancing the material advantages secured. Ceylon has a
happier record, having more than regained her imperilled prosperity
through the successful enterprise of her settlers in cultivating the
fine tea which has almost displaced China tea in the British market,
Ceylon exporting 100,000,000 lbs. in 1895 as against 2,000,000 lbs.
ten years previously. Canada also now takes rank as a great maritime
state, and the fortunes of Australia, though much shaken a few years
ago by a great financial crisis, are again brilliant; in the world of
social progress and democracy it is still the colonial marvel of our

[Illustration: H. M. Stanley.]

The last census, taken in 1891, in Great Britain and Ireland showed a
vast increase of population, sixty-two towns in England and Wales
returning more than 50,000 inhabitants, and the total population of
the United Kingdom being 38,104,975. Alarmists warned us that, with
the ratio of increase shown, neither food nor place would soon be
found for our people; and a great impetus being given to emigration,
our colonies benefited. But despite such alarms, articles of luxury
were in greater demand than ever, the tobacco duty reaching in 1892
the sum of £10,135,666, half a million, more than in the previous
year; and the consumption of tea and spirits increased in due
proportion. The same year saw great improvements in sanitation put
into practice as the result of an alarm of cholera, that plague
ravaging Hamburg.

[Illustration: Dr. Fridtjof Nansen.]

[Illustration: Miss Kingsley.]

Vast engineering works, of which the Manchester Ship Canal is the
most familiar instance, have been carried on. This great waterway,
thirty-five miles long, and placing an inland town in touch with the
sea, was begun in 1887 and finished in 1894. Numerous exhibitions, at
home and abroad, have stimulated industrial and æsthetic progress;
and science has continued to advance with bewildering rapidity,
developing chiefly in practical directions. The bacteriologist has
unveiled much of the mystery of disease, showing that seed-germs
produce it; the photographer comes in aid of surgery, for the
discovery of the X or Röntgen rays, by the German professor whose
name is associated with them, now enables the surgeon to discover
foreign bodies lodged within the human frame, and to decide with
authority their position and the means of removing them. Burial
reforms, in the interests of health and economy, have been
introduced, and nursing, elevated into a science, has become an
honourable profession for cultured women. In 1894 that eminent
_savant_ Lord Rayleigh brought before the British Association his
discovery of a hitherto unknown constituent in the atmosphere. The
use of steam as a motive power, almost contemporaneous with the
Queen's reign, has bound our land in a network of railways: now it is
electricity which is being utilised in the same sense, and to the
telephone and the telegraph as means of verbal communication is added
the motorcar as a means of rapid progression, 1896 seeing its use in
streets sanctioned by Parliament. It may not yet supersede the
bicycle, which in ten years has greatly increased in favour. Electric
lighting, in the same period, has become very general; and further
adaptations of this mysterious force to man's service are in the air.

[Illustration: J. M. Barrie.]

[Illustration: Richard Jefferies.]

This is an age of great explorers. Stanley has succeeded to
Livingstone, Nansen to Franklin; but it has been only within
comparatively recent years that women have emulated men in
penetrating to remote regions. Within the decade we have seen Mrs.
Bishop a veteran traveller, visiting south-west Persia; Mrs. French
Sheldon has shown how far beyond the beaten track a woman's
adventurous spirit may lead her; and Miss Mary Kingsley, a niece of
the late Charles Kingsley, has intrepidly explored the interior of
Africa, her scientific observations being welcomed by British
_savants_. In 1896 women, who had long sought the privilege, were
permitted to compete for the diploma of the Royal College of
Surgeons, and in many other walks of usefulness the barriers
excluding women have been removed, with benefit to all concerned. It
is not other than natural that under the reign of a noble woman there
should arise women noble-minded as herself, cherishing ideas of life
and duty lofty as her own, and that their greatest elevation of
purpose should tent to raise the moral standard among the men who
work with them for the uplifting of their fellow subjects. Such signs
of the times may be noticed now, more evident than even ten years

[Illustration: Professor Huxley. _From a Photograph by the London
Stereoscopic Co_.]

[Illustration: Professor Tyndall. _From a Photograph by Alexander
Bassano, Ltd_.]

The educational progress of the last decade has been very great,
especially as regards the instruction of women; yet the period has
not been noticeably fruitful of literature in the highest sense. In
the world of fiction there is much that looks like degeneration; the
lighter magazines and serials have multiplied past computation, and
form all the reading of not a few persons. To counteract the
unhealthy "modern novel" has arisen the Scottish school, the
"literature of the kailyard," as it has been termed in scorn; yet a
purer air breathes in the pages of J. M. Barrie, "Ian Maclaren," and
Crockett. Their many imitators are in some danger of impairing the
vogue of these masters, but still the tendency of the school is
wholesome. Other artists in fiction assume the part of censors of
society, and write of its doings with a bitterness that may or may
not profit; the unveiling of cancerous sores is of doubtful advantage
to health.

[Illustration: C. H. Spurgeon.]

[Illustration: Dr. Horatius Bonar.]

The death-roll from 1887 to 1897 is exceptionally heavy; in every
department of science, art, literary and religious life, the loss has
been great. Many musicians have been taken from us since the
well-beloved Jenny Lind Goldschmidt; Canon Sir E. A. Gore Ouseley,
Sir G. Macfarren, Principal of the Royal Academy of Music,
Rubinstein, Carrodus, and others.

[Illustration: Rev. J. G. Wood.]

[Illustration: Dean Church.]

English letters have suffered by the removal of many whose services
in one way or another have been great: the prose-painter Richard
Jefferies; the pure and beneficent Mrs. Craik, better known as Miss
Muloch; Matthew Arnold, poet, educationalist, critic, whose verse
should outlive his criticisms; the noble astronomer Richard Proctor;
Gustave Masson, the careful biographer of Milton; Laurence Oliphant,
gifted and eccentric visionary; the naturalist J. G. Wood; the
explorer and orientalist Burton; the historians Kinglake, Froude, and
Freeman; the great ecclesiastics Bishop Lightfoot, Canon Liddon,
Archbishop Magee of York, Dean Church, Dean Plumptre, and the
Cardinals Newman and Manning; Tennyson and Browning, poets whose
mantle has yet fallen on none; Huxley and Tyndall, eminent in
science; the justly popular preacher and writer Charles H. Spurgeon;
the orator and philanthropist John Bright, whose speeches delight
many in book-form; and Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, essayist,
poet. To these we may add Eliza Cook and Martin Tapper, widely
popular a generation ago, and surviving into our own day; Lord
Lytton, known as "Owen Meredith," a literary artist, before he became
viceroy of India and British ambassador at Paris; and Professor Henry
Drummond, dead since 1897 began, and widely known by his "Natural Law
in the Spiritual World." Even so our list is far from complete.

[Illustration: J. E. Millais, P.R.A. _From a Photograph by Elliott &

Of painters and sculptors we have lost since 1887 Frank Holl; Sir
Edgar Boehm, buried in St. Paul's by express wish of the Queen; Edwin
Long; John Pettie; Sir Noel Paton; Sir Frederick Leighton; and Sir
J. E. Millais. The last two illustrious painters were successively
Presidents of the Royal Academy, Millais, who followed Leighton in
that office, surviving him but a short time. Sir Frederick had been
raised to the peerage as Lord Leighton only a few days before he
died, the patent arriving too late for him to receive it.

[Illustration: Sir Frederick Leighton, P.R.A. _From a Photograph by
J. R. Mayall, Piccadilly, W_.]

The English world is the poorer for these many losses, some of which
took place under tragic circumstances; yet hope may well be cherished
that amongst us are those, not yet fully recognised, who will nobly
fill the places of the dead. Some hymn-writer may arise whose note
will be as sweet as that of the much loved singer, Dr. Horatius
Bonar, some painter as spiritual and powerful as Paton, some poet as
grandly gifted as the late laureate and his compeer Browning. We do
not at once recognise our greatest while they are with us; therefore
we need not think despairingly of our age because the good and the
great pass away, and we see not their place immediately filled. Nor,
though there be great and crying evils in our midst, need we tremble
lest these should prevail, while there is so much earnest and
energetic endeavour to cope with and overcome them.


UNDER QUEEN VICTORIA, 1837-1897. [Footnote]


[Illustration: Wesley preaching on his father's tomb.]

When the Queen ascended the throne Wesleyan Methodism in this country
was recovering from the effects of the agitation occasioned by Dr.
Warren, who had been expelled from its ministry; the erection of an
organ in a Leeds chapel had caused another small secession. But the
Conference of 1837, assembled in Leeds under the presidency of the
Rev. Edmund Grindrod, with the Rev. Robert Newton as secretary, had
no reason to be discouraged. Faithful to the loyal tradition of
Methodism, it promptly attended to the duty of congratulating the
young Sovereign who had ascended the throne on June 20, a few weeks

[Footnote: The writer desires to acknowledge special obligation to
the Rev. J. Wesley Davies for invaluable aid rendered by him in
collecting and arranging the material embodied in this chapter.]

We may read in its Minutes of the vote in favour of an address, which
should assure the Queen of the sincere attachment cherished by her
Methodist subjects for her person and government, and of their
fervent prayers to Almighty God "for her personal happiness and the
prosperity of her reign." By a singular coincidence, it will probably
be one of the first acts of a Leeds Conference in 1897 to forward
another address, congratulating Her Majesty on the long and
successful reign which has realised these aspirations of unaffected
devotion. The address of 1837 had gracious acknowledgment, conveyed
through Lord John Russell.

[Illustration: Group of Presidents Number One]

At this time Methodism had spread throughout the world. Its
membership in Great Britain and Ireland numbered 318,716; in foreign
mission stations 66,007; in Upper Canada 14,000; while the American
Conferences had charge of 650,678 members; thus the total for the
world, exclusive of ministers, was 1,049,401.

Of ministers there were 1,162 in the United Kingdom and 3,316
elsewhere. It will be obvious that British and Irish Methodism even
then formed a body whose allegiance was highly valuable.

The 1837 Conference had to discuss the subject of the approaching
Centenary of Methodism, which had for years been anticipated with
great interest. With Mr. Butterworth--a Member of Parliament and a
loyal Methodist and generous supporter of our funds--originated the
idea of commemorating God's goodness in a fitting manner, not in a
boastful spirit; a committee which had been appointed reported to the
next Conference "that the primary object of the said celebration
should be the religious and devotional improvement of the centenary";
and that there should also be "thank-offering to Almighty God" in
money contributions for some of the institutions of the Church. The
Conference approved these suggestions, and appointed a day of united
prayer in January, 1839, "for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit" on
the Connexion during the year.

[Illustration: Centenary meeting at Manchester.]

There had been some difficulty in fixing the date of the birth of
Methodism; but 1739 was determined on, because then the first
class-meetings were held, the first chapel at Bristol was opened, the
first hymn-book published; then the United Societies were formed,
then field-preaching began, and then Whitefield, Charles Wesley, and
others held that historic lovefeast in Fetter Lane when the Holy
Spirit came so mightily on them that all were awed into silence, some
sank down insensible, and on recovering they sang with one voice
their Te Deum of reverent praise.

The centenary year being decided, a three days' convention of
ministers and laymen was held at Manchester to make the needful
arrangements; its proceedings were marked by a wonderful enthusiasm
and liberality.

The Centenary Conference assembled at Liverpool in 1839. It could
report an increase of 13,000 members. On August 5 it suspended its
ordinary business for the centenary services--a prayer-meeting at six
in the morning being followed by sermons preached by the Rev. Thomas
Jackson and the President, the Rev. Theophilus Lessey. A few weeks
later came the festal day, October 25, morning prayer-meetings and
special afternoon and evening services being held throughout the
country. Never had there been such large gatherings for rejoicing and
thanksgiving; there were festivities for the poor and for the
children of the day and Sunday schools. These celebrations, in which
the whole Methodist Church joined, aroused the interest of the
nation, and called forth appreciative criticism from press and

[Illustration: Wesleyan Centenary Hall.]

When the idea of this first great Thanksgiving Fund was originally
contemplated, the most hopeful only dared look for £10,000; but when
the accounts were closed the treasurers were in possession of
£222,589, one meeting at City Road having produced £10,000; and the
effort was made at a time of great commercial depression. This
remarkable liberality drew the attention of the Pope, who said in an
encyclical that _the heretics were putting to shame the offerings of
the faithful_.

Not a few meetings took the form of lovefeasts, where generous giving
proved the reality of the religious experiences; for there has ever
been an intimate connexion between the fellowship and the finance of
Methodism. Part of the great sum raised went to the Theological
Institution, part to Foreign Missions; Wesleyan education was helped
by a grant, £1,000 were paid over to the British and Foreign Bible
Society; and the laymen desiring to help the worn-out ministers and
their widows and children, £16,000 were set aside to form the
Auxiliary Fund for this purpose.

It was now that the Missionary Committee were enabled to secure the
Centenary Hall, the present headquarters of the Missionary Society.
The remaining sums were given to other useful purposes.

Methodism in 1839 in all its branches [Footnote] reckoned more than
1,400,000 members, with 6,080 itinerant preachers and 350
missionaries; 50,000 pupils were instructed in the mission schools,
and there were upwards of 70,000 communicants and at least 200,000
hearers of the gospel in Methodist mission chapels. In England alone
the Wesleyan Methodists owned 3,000 chapels, and had many other
preaching places; there were 3,300 Sunday schools, 341,000 scholars,
and 4,000 local preachers. These figures, when, compared with those
given at the end of our sketch, will furnish some idea of the
numerical advance of Methodism throughout the world during the
Queen's reign.

[Footnote: "Methodism in all its branches" must be understood of
_all_ bodies bearing the name of Methodist, including the New
Connexion and the Primitive Methodists. The membership of Wesleyan
Methodism alone throughout the world, according to the _Minutes of
Conference_ for 1839, was 1,112,519; and the total ministry,
including 335 missionaries, 4,957.]

The centenary celebrations marked the high flood-tide of spiritual
prosperity for many ensuing years, for a time of great trial
followed. Gladly would we forget the misunderstandings of our
fathers; yet this sketch would be incomplete without reference to
unhappy occurrences which caused the loss of 100,000 members, and
allowance must be made for this terrible loss in estimating the
progress of Wesleyan Methodism. The troubles began when certain
anonymous productions, known as "Fly Sheets," severely criticised the
administration of Methodism and libellously assailed the characters
of leading ministers, especially Dr. Bunting, who stood head and
shoulders above all others in this Methodist war. He was chosen
President when only forty-one, and on three other occasions filled
the chair of the Conference. He became an authority on Methodist
government and policy. Dr. Gregory says, "As an administrator, he was
unapproached in sagacity, aptitude, personal influence, and
indefatigability... his character was spotless." He was a born
commander. The "Liverpool Minutes," describing the ideal Methodist
preacher, are his work.

Dr. Bunting volunteered to be tried by the Conference as to the
anonymous charges against him, but no one came forward with proofs to
sustain them. Three ministers, Messrs. Everett, Dunn, and Griffiths,
supposed to be the chief movers of this agitation, refused to be
questioned on the matter, and defying the Conference, were expelled.
Thereafter the agitation was kept up, and caused great disaffection
in the Societies, resulting in the loss we have referred to. The
seceders called themselves "Reformers"; many of them eventually
joined similar bodies of seceders, forming with them the "United
Methodist Free Churches." These in 1857 reported a membership of
41,000, less than half that which was lost to Wesleyan Methodism. But
now they may be congratulated on better success, the statistics for
1896 showing, at home and abroad, a total of nearly 90,000 members,
with 1,622 chapels, 417 ministers, 3,448 local preachers, 1,350
Sunday schools, and 203,712 scholars. It may be noted with pleasure
that the leaders of the movement outlived all hostility to the mother
Church; one of them attended the Ecumenical Conference of 1881, and
took the sacrament with the other delegates.

With great regret we speak of this painful disruption, now that so
much better feeling animates the various Methodist Churches.
Practically there is no difference of doctrine among them. It has
been well said, "Our articles of faith stand to-day precisely as in
the last century, which makes us think that, like Minerva from the
brain of Jupiter, they were born full-grown and heavily armoured."

An influential committee has been appointed to ascertain how
concerted action may be taken by the Methodist Churches; and the hope
is cherished that their suggestions may lead to the adoption of
methods which will prevent strife and friction and unworthy rivalry.
The New Connexion and Methodist Free Church Conferences also
appointed a joint committee to consider the same subject. The
brotherly desire for spiritual fellowship and mutual help and counsel
thus indicated must be held as a very hopeful token of something
better than numerical advance.

[Illustration: Group of Presidents Number Two.]

The bitter experiences through which the Church passed called
attention to the need for modification and expansion of Wesleyan
Methodist polity. The Conference of 1851 appointed a committee of
ministers to consider the question; 745 laymen were invited to join
them. Their recommendations led Conference to adopt resolutions
defining the proper constitution of the quarterly meeting, and to
provide for special circuit meetings to re-try cases of discipline,
which had been brought before the leaders' meeting, when there was
reason to think that the verdict had been given in a factious spirit.
The chairman of the district, with twelve elected by the quarterly
meeting, formed a tribunal to re-try the case. From this decision
there was an appeal to the district synods, and also to the
Conference. Provision was made for the trial of trustees, so that
every justice should be done them. Local Church meetings were
guaranteed the right of appeal to Conference, and circuits were
allowed to memorialise Conference on Connexional subjects, within
proper limits. The quarterly meetings, having considered these
resolutions, gave them a cordial reception, and they were confirmed
by the Conference of 1853.

No new rule is enforced by Conference until opportunity is given to
bring it before all the quarterly meetings, and it is not likely to
become Methodist law if the majority object. The enlarged district
synods are an additional safeguard for the privileges of the people.
By ballot the circuit quarterly meetings may now elect one, or in
some cases two gentlemen, who, with the circuit steward, shall
represent the circuit in the district synod.

In 1889, Conference sanctioned the formation of Methodist councils,
composed of ministers and laymen, to consult on matters pertaining to
Methodist institutions in the towns. Their decisions of course do not
bind any particular Society.

The disaffection so fruitful of suffering had been due to a suspicion
that men were retained in departmental offices when they no longer
had the confidence of the people. Now such officials are only elected
for six years, though eligible for re-election. One-sixth of the
laymen on Connexional committees retire yearly; they may be
re-elected, but must receive a four-fifths vote. Visitors may be
present when the President is inducted into office, and during the
representative session, when also reporters other than ministers are
now allowed to take notes.

It was the year 1878 which witnessed that most important development
of Methodist economy, the introduction of lay representatives to take
part with ministers in the deliberations of Conference. This was no
sudden revolution; laymen had long had their share in the work of
quarterly meetings, district synods, and great Connexional
committees; in 1861 they were admitted to the Committees of Review,
which arranged the business of Conference; they sat in the nomination
committee each year, and had power to scrutinise, and even to alter,
the lists of names for the various committees. Now in natural
sequence they were to be endowed with legislative as well as
consultative functions; it might be said they had been educated to
this end.

The committee appointed to consider the matter having done its work,
the report was submitted to the district synods and then to
Conference. Long, earnest, animated, but loving was the debate that
ensued; the assembled ministers, by a large majority, determined that
the laity should henceforth share in their deliberations on all
questions not strictly pastoral.

It was resolved that there should be a representative session of 240
ministers and 240 laymen. The ministerial quota was to consist of
President and secretary, members of the Legal Hundred, assistant
secretary, chairmen of districts not members of the Hundred, and
representatives of the great departments; six ministers stationed in
foreign countries, but visiting England at the time; and the
remainder elected by their brethren in the district synods; the
laymen to be elected in the synods by laymen only. A small proportion
at one Conference is chosen to attend the next.

Such were the new arrangements that came into force in 1878, causing
no friction, since they secured "a maximum of adaptation with a
minimum of change"; there was no difficulty in deciding what business
should belong to either session of Conference. It is needless to
dwell here on minor alterations, introduced in the past, or
contemplated for the future, as to the order of the sessions; it may
amply suffice us to remark that Wesleyan Methodism, thanks to the
modifications of its constitution which we have briefly touched upon,
is one of the most truly popular Church systems ever devised. For, as
the Pastoral Address of 1896 puts it, "Methodism gives every class,
every member, all the rights which can be reasonably claimed, listens
to every complaint, asserts no exclusive privilege, but insures that
all things are done 'decently and in order.'"

The great change just described, being the work of the ministers
themselves, and accomplished by them before there was any loud demand
for it, was effected with such moderation and discretion as not to
entail the loss of a single member or minister. This was justly held
a cause for great thankfulness; and it was determined to raise a
thanksgiving fund for the relief of the various departments.

Great central meetings, extending over two years (1878--1880), were
held throughout the country, and were characterised by enthusiasm and
wonderful generosity. At a time when the country was suffering almost
unheard of commercial depression, the sum of £297,500 was raised, to
be apportioned between Foreign Missions, the Extension of Methodism
in Great Britain, Education, Home Missions, Methodism in Scotland,
the Sunday-school Union, a new Theological College, the "Children's
Home," the Welsh and German chapels in London, a chapel at Oxford,
the relief of necessitous local preachers, and the promotion of
temperance. The missionary debt was paid, and the buildings for
soldiers and sailors at Malta and Aldershot were cleared of debt.

Such work could not be done if the circuits acted independently; but
united as they are, and forming one vast connexion, much which would
otherwise be impossible can be achieved by means of the great
Connexional funds. Of these funds not a few have been established
since 1837; but the most important among them, the Foreign Mission
fund, can boast an earlier origin.

Wesleyanism, indeed, is essentially missionary in spirit, her
original aim being to spread scriptural holiness throughout the
world. "The world is my parish," said Wesley though he himself could
never visit the whole of that parish, his followers have at least
explored the greater part of it, causing the darkness to flee before
the radiance of the lamp of truth.

British Methodism has now missions in almost every quarter of the
globe--in Asia, in Africa, on the Continent of Europe, in the Western
Hemisphere. Her mission agencies include medical missions, hospitals,
schools for the blind, homes for lepers, orphanages, training and
industrial schools, etc.

In Europe we have set on foot missions in countries that are
nominally Christian, where the people are too often the victims of
ignorance, wickedness, vice, scepticism, and superstition; France,
Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Portugal have all been objects of
our missionary enterprise during the present reign, and in some
instances conspicuous success has been attained. Witness the good
work still going on in Italy, and the independent position attained
by the _Conférence, Méthodiste de France_.

In India, Ceylon, China, and Burma, our agents are working amongst
races in which they have to combat heathenism strong in its
antiquity. The progress is necessarily slow, but a point has been
reached where great success may be prophesied, as the result largely
of the work of the pioneers. The schools are turning out many who, if
they do not all become decided Christians, are intellectually
convinced that Christianity is right, and will put fewer difficulties
in the way of their children than they themselves had to contend
with. This educational work prepares the way for the gospel;
observers declare that nearly all converts in Ceylon have been
trained in our schools.

The important missions in Southern and Western Africa must not be
forgotten, nor those in Honduras and the Bahamas.

The present policy throughout our actual mission-field is as far as
possible to raise up native agents. Probably the heathen lands will
be won for the great Captain of salvation by native soldiers; but for
a long time they will need officers trained in countries familiar for
generations with the blessings of the gospel. The number of our
missionaries may be stated at 400, more than half being native
agents; there are 2,680 other mission workers, 52,058 Church members;
84,113 children and young people having instruction in the schools.
But these figures would give a false idea of the progress of the work
if compared with the statistics of 1837; for _then_ our missions
included vast regions that have now their own Conferences. When the
Queen ascended the throne Fiji was a nation of cannibals. Two years
before her accession our Missionary Society commenced operations in
those islands. John Hunt laboured with apostolic zeal, and died
breathing the prayer, "God, for Christ's sake, bless Fiji, save
Fiji." The prayer is already answered. All these islands have been
won for Christ, and are trophies of Wesleyan missionary toil. There
are 3,100 native preachers under the care of nine white missionaries;
1,322 chapels, 43,339 members and catechumens, and more than 42,000
scholars. Fiji has become almost a nation of Methodists. But it were
vain to look for traces of this vast achievement in the "Minutes of
Conference" of 1896; for a special feature of our missionary policy
is the establishment of affiliated Conferences, which in course of
time become self-supporting. In 1883 all the branches of the Canadian
Methodists united to form one Canadian Conference. The first French
Conference met in 1852. In 1855 the Conference of Eastern British
America was formed. The same year the first Australian Conference
met, and took charge of the Missions in Fiji, the Friendly Isles, and
New Zealand. The first South African Conference met in 1882, and the
two West Indian Conferences in 1884. Although more or less
independent of the mother Conference, they still retain the
characteristics of Methodism. A distinct branch of Mission work,
known as the Women's Auxiliary, has been established, and sends forth
ladies to engage in educational, zenana, and medical work. They are
doing good service in India, China, and other parts of the world. In
1896 they expended more than £10,000.

The total expenditure last year (1896) was £124,700, incurred by our
own Mission work and by grants to the affiliated Conferences. It is
satisfactory to note that in the districts helped, including those
covered by these Conferences, an additional £185,000 was raised. We
have magnificent opportunities; and with full consecration of our
people's wealth there would be glorious successes in the future.
Foreign Missions have been the chief honour of Methodism, and it is
to be hoped the same affection for them will be maintained; for
wherever Methodism is found throughout the world, it is the result of
mission work.

Meanwhile there has been no sacrificing of home interests. Never were
greater efforts made by Methodism for the evangelisation of the
masses in Great Britain. The Home Mission Fund, first instituted in
1756, was remodelled in 1856. Its business is to assist the dependent
circuits in maintaining the administration of the gospel, to provide
means for employing additional ministers, and to meet various
contingencies with which the circuits could not cope unassisted. Our
needs as a Connexion demand such a Contingent Fund. One-third of the
amount raised by the Juvenile Home and Foreign Missionary Association
is devoted to Home Missions. The income, which in 1837 was less than
£10.000, is now more than £36,000; an increase witnessing to a spirit
of aggression and enterprise in modern Methodism. This fund provides
for the support of the Connexional evangelists and district

In the year 1882, under the head "Home Missions," there was a new and
important departure, by the appointment of the first "Connexional
evangelists," of whom there are now four; they have already been the
means of great blessing throughout the country, showing that the old
gospel, preached as in the old days, is still mighty to awaken and

Under the direction of the Home Mission Committee, commissioners
visit certain districts, to give advice and discover the best methods
for improving the condition of Methodism where it appears to be low.

Special attention is given to the villages. The "Out-and-Out Band"
subscribed for four Gospel Mission vans, each carrying two
evangelists, and a large quantity of literature, to the villages; the
evangelists in charge conducting services in the village chapels and
in the open air. The sale of books and the voluntary contributions of
the people help to defray the expenses. This agency is now under the
direction of the Home Mission committee, and the gospel cars will be
known as "Wesleyan Home Mission Cars."

Another new movement, helpful to village Methodism, is the "Joyful
News" mission, originating with the Rev. Thomas Champness, who has
been set free from ordinary circuit work to manage it. He trains lay
agents, for whose services there is a great demand in villages where
the people are too poor to maintain additional ministers, and where
the supply of local preachers is deficient. Some of these agents are
at work abroad.

The energetic Home Mission Committee has also set on foot missions
where Methodism was feeble. Nor are those forgotten who "go down to
the sea in ships, and do business in great waters." As far as means
permit, efforts are made for the spiritual benefit of our sailors in
all the great ports of the world; our soldiers, too, are equally
cared for. Methodism has always been interested in the army, in which
some of Wesley's best converts were found; yet there was no
systematic work in it before 1839, when an order by the
commander-in-chief permitted every soldier to attend the church of
his choice. Some years afterwards, the Rev. Dr. Rule strove hard to
secure the recognition of the rights of Wesleyans, and after much
struggle the War Office recognised Wesleyan chaplains. The work and
position of Wesleyan Methodism are now thoroughly organised
throughout the world. The government allows a capitation grant for
all declared Wesleyans, and it amounts to a large sum of money every
year. In 1896 there were, including the Militia, 22,663 declared
Wesleyans in the army and 1,485 Church members. There are 28 Sailors'
and Soldiers' Homes, providing 432 beds, and these Homes have been
established at a cost of £35,000. In them are coffee bars, libraries,
lecture halls, and, what is most appreciated by Christian soldiers,
rooms for private prayer. The officiating ministers, who give the
whole or part of their time to the soldiers and their families,
number 195.

There are many local preachers among the soldiers, and at least two
have left the ranks to become ministers.

On the Mission field, soldiers render valuable aid to the missionary
in building chapels, distributing tracts, and often teaching and
preaching to the natives and others. Thus, whilst helping to hold the
empire for their Queen, they are hastening on the day when all the
kingdoms of the world shall be the kingdom of our Lord and of His

This deeply interesting work in the Army and Royal Navy is
appropriately mentioned in connexion with our Home and Foreign
Missions, both intimately concerned in its maintenance and
management. It is right to mention that the Soldiers' and Sailors'
Homes described are free to all members of H.M.'s sea and land
forces, irrespective of religious denomination.


One great event in Methodist history since 1837 now calls for
notice--the assembling of the first Oecumenical Conference in
Wesley's Chapel, City Road, London, in 1861. This idea was in strict
keeping with the spirit Wesley discovered when, five weeks before his
death, he wrote to his children in America: "See that you never give
place to one thought of separating from your brethren in Europe. Lose
no opportunity of declaring to all men that the Methodists are one
people in all the world, and that it is their full determination so
to continue,

       "'Though mountains rise, and oceans roll,
            To sever us in vain.'"

The growing affection among Methodists of all branches made the idea
of an Oecumenical Conference practicable.

[Illustration: Sir Francis Lycett.]

The suggestion took form at the Joint Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church of America in 1876. The American Methodists sent a
delegate to the British Conference, proposing a United Conference
which should demonstrate to the world the essential oneness in
doctrine, spirit, and principle of all the Churches which
historically trace their origin to John Wesley; such a manifestation,
it was hoped, would strengthen and perpetuate that unity.

Further, the Conference was to discover how to adjust our mission
work so as to prevent waste and friction; suggesting also modes and
agencies for the most successful work of evangelisation. Nor was this
all; its promoters trusted to gain light on the relation of universal
Methodism to education, civil government, other Christian bodies, and
missionary enterprise at large, and looked for a vast increase in
spiritual power and intelligent, enthusiastic activity among the
various branches of Methodism, whose gathering together might well
draw "the attention of scholars and reformers and thinkers to the
whole Methodist history, work, and mission," while a new impulse
should be given to every good work, and a more daring purpose of
evangelisation kindled. The British Conference pointed out the need
of frankly recognising the not unimportant differences amongst the
various Methodist bodies, so as to rule out of discussion any points
which had a suggestion of past controversies. The American Conference
accepted this.

[Illustration: The Methodist Settlement, Bermondsey, London, S.E.]

The smaller Methodist bodies being invited to join, the four hundred
delegates were sent up by the various branches of the Methodist
Church as nearly as possible in proportion to their numerical
strength; seven sections of British Methodism and thirteen from the
United States and the Mission fields, numbering probably twenty
millions, were represented. It was fitting that the first Oecumenical
Conference should meet in City Road, the cathedral of Methodism.
Bishop Simpson preached the opening sermon; the delegates then
partook of the sacrament together, and Dr. Osborn, President of the
Conference, gave the opening address. The Oecumenical Conference did
not aim at determining any debated condition of Church membership, or
at defining any controverted doctrine, or settling any question of
ritual; it met for consultative, not legislative purposes. As such,
the gathering brought about the thing which is written: "Thy watchmen
shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they
sing... Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall
fear, and be enlarged."

By a happy coincidence, that largehearted son of Methodism, the late
Sir William M'Arthur, was then Lord Mayor of London, and he gave a
congratulatory welcome to the delegates at a magnificent reception in
the Mansion House.

The next important event in Methodist history during the Queen's
reign is the rise and progress of the great Wesleyan Missions in the
towns--a vast beneficent movement, in which some at least of the
aspirations cherished by the promoters of the first Oecumenical
Conference appeared to have been realised.

The tendency of our day is towards a steady flow of population from
the villages to the towns, especially to London. In 1837, there was
only one London district, covering a very wide area, and including
six circuits, whose total membership was only 11,460, after a hundred
years of Methodism. The various branches of the recently established
London Mission report more than a third of this number after less
than ten years' labour.

[Illustration: Theological Institution, Richmond.]

The success of London Methodism in late years is largely due to the
establishment of the Metropolitan Chapel Building fund in 1862. The
late Sir Francis Lycett gave £50,000, on condition that an equal
amount should be raised throughout the country, and that ten chapels,
each seating at least a thousand persons, should in ten years be
built in the metropolitan area. The noble challenge called forth a
fit response. In his will he left a large sum to the same fund, so
the committee could offer an additional £500 pounds to every chapel
commenced before the end of 1898, with a proportionate grant to
smaller chapels; aid will also be given by the committee in securing
additional ministerial supply. Such offers should stimulate chapel
building for the two years. Already, since the establishment of the
fund, more than ninety chapels have been built in London at a cost of
£630,000, towards which the fund contributed in grants and loans
£213,000. Before 1862, there were only three important chapels south
of the Thames, and now there are thirty-seven. During the last ten or
twelve years unprecedented prosperity has been shown, not only in
chapel building, but in chapel filling, and the establishment of
successful missions.

In 1885 the earnest attention of the Churches was directed to
"outcast London." The deepest interest was aroused, especially in
Methodist circles; and that year great meetings were held in City
Road, to initiate a movement that should benefit London's outcasts. A
large sum of money was raised, and the London Mission formed. The
West London Mission at St. James's Hall, the East End branch, and the
almost deserted chapel in Clerkenwell became notable centres. Thus at
one time efforts were put forth to reach the rich, the artisans, and
the outcasts. The success has abundantly justified the enterprise. In
addition to evangelistic work, the missions make strenuous efforts to
improve the social condition of the people, for Methodism realises
that she is called to minister not only to the souls, but also to the
bodies of men. Already, as a result of the London Mission, a new,
fully organised circuit has grown up; the West London Mission alone
reporting a membership which is one-tenth of the whole membership of
London in 1837.

The latest and most novel branch of the work is the "Bermondsey
Settlement," established six years ago in the poorest district of
south-east London. In this hall of residence live devoted workers who
have been trained in our universities or in our high-class schools,
and who spend their leisure in benefiting their poor neighbours by
religious, educational, and social effort. A home for women, in which
about ten ladies reside, is connected with the settlement, which is
in special connexion with Wesleyan schools throughout the country.
The programme of work is extensive, and in addition the settlement
takes an increasing part in local administration and philanthropy,
many non-resident workers assisting.

[Illustration: Theological Institution, Didsbury.]

To support the London Mission, appeal is made to Methodists
throughout the country and the world. The meetings held on its behalf
in the provinces have greatly blessed the people, stimulating them to
fresh efforts in their own localities. Similar agencies had
previously been established in various great trading centres, where
the tendency is for the people who can afford it to leave the towns
and to live in the suburbs. Thus many chapels have become almost
deserted. The Conference decided that the best method of filling
these chapels would be to utilise them as Mission halls, for
aggressive evangelistic and social effort; which has been done with
surprising success in Manchester, Leeds, Hull, Birmingham, and many
other large towns. In Manchester there are from ten to twelve
thousand people reached by the Mission agencies, and already a new
circuit has been formed, the members of its Society having been
gathered in from the army of distress and destitution. It would be
impossible here to enumerate the thousand ways in which the Mission
workers toil for the redemption of the downfallen, or to tell half
the tale of their success. But all this work could not be so well
carried on without the assistance of another important department.
The Wesleyan Chapel Building Committee, instituted in 1818, was
reconstituted in 1854; it meets monthly in Manchester to dispose of
grants and loans, to consider cases of erections, alterations,
purchases, and sales of Wesleyan trust property, and to afford advice
in difficult cases. It has also to see that all our trust property is
duly secured to the Connexion. The erection of the Central Hall in
Manchester, to be at once the headquarters of our Chapel Committee
and of the great Mission, marked a most important era in Methodist
aggressive enterprise. The income of the Chapel Fund from all sources
last year was £9,115. It was reported that the entire debt discharged
or provided for during the last forty-one years was £2,389,073, and
the total debt remaining on trust property is not more than £800,000;
while £9,000,000 had been expended on chapel buildings during the
thirty years preceding 1893.

[Illustration: Theological Institution, Headingley.]

The Extension of Methodism Fund was established in 1874, to
supplement the ordinary funds of the Connexion and the local
resources of the people, by aiding in the increase of chapel
accommodation throughout the country, and in the extension of
Methodism by Home Mission and similar agencies. At first the building
of a thousand chapels was contemplated; but already 1,796 cases have
been helped, with grants and loans amounting to £122,999. In 1867 a
fund was started for the relief and extension of Methodism in
Scotland; a Chapel Fund for the North Wales District was instituted
in 1867, and for South Wales in 1873. There are now in Great Britain
10,000 Wesleyan chapels, which will accommodate 2,156,209 hearers,
more than four times the number of members returned; for there is
something misleading, as far as the general public is concerned, in
the published statistics of Methodism, which take account of
class-meeting membership only. Estimating the other Methodist bodies
at the same rate, Methodist chapels provide accommodation for
3,000,000 people; so that the united Methodist Church in this country
is second only to the Established Church of England.

The Wesleyan Methodist Trust Assurance Company was established in
1872, for the insurance of Methodist Trust property only. The Board
of Trustees for Chapel Purposes was formed in 1866, which undertakes
to invest money intended for the chapel trust and for Methodist
objects. Seeing that there are so many funds in Methodism, and that
while some have a balance, others might be obliged to borrow at a
high rate of interest, it was suggested that a Common Cash Fund
should be established, making it possible for the committees to
borrow from and lend to one another, the borrowers paying the
ordinary bank rate of interest, and the profits being equally divided
among the funds.

[Illustration: Theological Institution, Handsworth.]

A passing reference must be made to another committee, instituted in
1803--the Committee of Privileges and Exigency: and in 1845 an acting
special committee for cases of great emergency was formed. Between
the sessions of the Conference this committee often renders great
service, safeguarding Methodist interests when they would be
endangered by proposed government measures, or in any other way. At
present it is engaged in trying to get through Parliament several
measures in the interests of Nonconformity generally.

The subject of education drew the anxious attention of Wesley; his
followers were less alive to its importance, until just before the
Queen came to the throne. The training of the ministry was neglected,
and the young ministers had to educate themselves. Though Wesley
approved the idea of a seminary for his preachers, it was only three
years before the Queen's accession that the first Theological
Institution was opened at Hoxton. The Centenary Fund provided for one
such institution at Richmond, and another at Didsbury. The Headingley
branch was opened in 1868, and the Birmingham branch, built with part
of the Thanksgiving Fund, in 1881. Our ministers are now far better
trained than were the old Methodist preachers, and, taking them as a
whole, they do not come short of their predecessors in any necessary
qualification for their work.

[Illustration: Kingswood School, Bath.]

Their culture must not be judged by the scantiness of their literary
production. The empress Catherine once said to a French _savant_, "My
dear philosopher, it is not so easy to write on human flesh as on
paper." Much more difficult is the task of our ministers, whose
religious, social, and financial work leaves them little of that
learned leisure enjoyed by Anglican divines, who by their masterly
works have made the entire Christian Church their debtor. But in the
period we are reviewing, despite the demands made on the time of the
ministers, many have written that which will not easily be forgotten.
The Church that nurtured Dr. Moulton, whose edition of Winer's "Greek
Grammar" is a standard work, used by all the greatest Greek New
Testament scholars, need not be ashamed of her learning. Dr. Moulton
and Dr. Geden were on the revision committee which undertook the
fresh translation of the Old and New Testaments. Other Wesleyan
ministers have made their mark as commentators, apologists, scholars,
and scientists in the last few decades. The _Fernley Lectures_ have
proved the ability of many Methodist preachers; we lack space to
refer to the many able writers who have ceased from their labours.

The _London Quarterly Review_ has kept up the literary reputation of
Methodism: nor are we behind any Nonconformist Church in journalistic
matters. Two newspapers represent the varying shades of opinion in
Methodism, and give full scope to its expression. A high level of
excellence is seen in the publications of the Book Room, and our
people when supporting it are also helping important Connexional
funds, to which the profits are given.

[Illustration: The North House, Leys School, Cambridge.]

While increasing care has been taken with the training of the
ministry, lay education has not been neglected. Kingswood School,
founded by Wesley, continues, as in his day, to give excellent
instruction to ministers' sons. In 1837 a Methodist school, Wesley
College, was opened at Sheffield, and a few years later one at
Taunton, well known as Queen's College. The Leys School at Cambridge,
under the head-mastership of Dr. Moulton, was opened in 1874, and has
shown "the possibility of reconciling Methodist training with the
breadth and freedom of English public school life." There are in
Ireland excellent colleges at Belfast and Dublin.

In 1875, a scheme for establishing middle-class schools was adopted,
resulting in the opening of such schools at Truro, Jersey, Bury St.
Edmunds, Woodhouse Grove, Congleton, Canterbury, Folkestone,
Trowbridge, Penzance, Camborne, and Queenswood; all report

Elementary education, which has made such great progress during the
Queen's reign, engaged the anxious attention of our authorities long
before the initiation of the School Board system, under which the
average attendance in twenty-five years increased almost fourfold.
Methodism has been in the forefront of the long battle with

The establishment of "week-day schools" in connexion with this great
Church owed its origin to the declaration of the Conference in 1833.
that "such institutions, placed under an efficient spiritual control,
cannot fail to promote those high and holy ends for which we exist as
a religious community." The object was to give the scholars "an
education which might begin in the infant school and end in heaven,"
thus subserving the lofty aim of Methodism, "to fill the world with
saints, and Paradise with glorified spirits"; a more ambitious idea
than that expressed by Huxley when he said, "We want a great highway,
along which the child of the peasant as well as of the peer can climb
to the highest seats of learning."

[Illustration: Queen's College, Taunton.]

In 1836 the attention of the Conference was directed to education in
general, and especially to Wesleyan day schools; the Pastoral Address
of 1837, regretting that children had to be trained outside the
Church or be left untaught, expressed the hope that soon, in the
larger circuits, schools might be established which would give a
scriptural and Wesleyan education. Already some schools had been
commenced; and the plan was devised which has been the basis of all
subsequent Methodist day-school work.

In 1840 it was decided to spend the interest of the £5,000 given from
the Centenary Fund for the training of teachers, work which was at
first carried on at Glasgow. The determination of Conference to
perfect its plan of Wesleyan education was quickened when an unfair
Education Bill, not the last of its kind, was introduced into
Parliament in 1843, proposing to hand over the children in factory
districts to the Church of England. An Education Fund was
established. Government, in 1847, offered grants for the training of
elementary school teachers; and in 1851 the Westminster Training
College was opened, with room for 130 men students. In 1872, in
response to an increased demand for Wesleyan teachers, a separate
college for mistresses was opened at Southlands, Battersea. Already
four thousand have been trained in these institutions. Many hold
positions in Board schools. In 1896 the number in Wesleyan and Board
schools was 2,400.

The system thus inaugurated met a great and real need, and under it
excellent work has been done on the lines laid down by the Department
at Whitehall; for, receiving State aid, the training colleges and all
the schools, like other similar denominational institutions on the
same footing, are inspected and in a measure controlled by the
national educational authority. In 1837 there were only 31 Wesleyan
day schools; to-day there are 753 school departments, and on their
books 162,609 scholars. But the introduction of free education has
made it difficult for the Methodist Church to maintain her schools,
efficient though they be. Since 1870, when school boards were
introduced, the number of Wesleyan day schools has only increased by
10, while 9,752 Board schools have arisen, and the Church of England
schools have increased from 9,331 to 16,517; the Roman Catholic
schools actually trebling in number and attendance.

[Illustration: Wesley College, Sheffield.]

In view of these changed conditions, Conference has expressed itself
anxious for such a complete national system of education as might
place a Christian unsectarian school within reasonable distance of
every family, especially in rural districts, with "adequate
representative public management"; it has most earnestly deprecated
the exclusion of the Bible, and suitable religious instruction
therefrom by the teachers, from the day schools; but, so long as
denominational schools form part of the national system, it is
resolved to maintain our schools and Training Colleges, in full
vigour. Difficulties, undreamed of sixty years ago, surround this
great question; but assuredly Methodism will be true to its trust and
its traditions.

The cost of Wesleyan schools last year was £215,634, and was met by
school fees, subscriptions, and a government grant of £185,780. The
Education Fund of 1896, amounting to £7,115, was spent on the
Training Colleges, grants to necessitous schools, etc.

Wesley approved of Sunday schools as means of giving religious
instruction to the children of the poor, and Hannah Ball at High
Wycombe, a good Methodist, and Silas Told, teaching at the Foundery,
both anticipated the work of Raikes by several years. In 1837 there
were already 3,339 Sunday schools, with 341,442 scholars. Today the
schools number 7,147, the officers and teachers 131,145, and there
are in the schools 965,201 children and young people. The formation
in 1869 of the Circuit Sunday-school Union, and in 1874 of the
Connexional Sunday-school Union, has done much for the schools, in
providing suitable literature for teachers and scholars, and in
organising their work. An additional motive to Scripture study is
furnished by the "Religious Knowledge Examinations" instituted by
Conference; certificates, signed by the President, being granted to
teachers and scholars who succeed in passing the examinations. In
recognition of the value of so important a department of the Church,
adequate representation at the quarterly meetings is now accorded to
the Sunday schools.

It is not in our day only that the pastoral oversight of the young
has been deemed worthy of attention; the duty has always been
enforced on ministers; but in 1878 there were first formed junior
Society classes, to prepare children for full membership. There are
now seventy-two thousand in such classes.

In 1896 we note a new effort to bring young people into the kingdom,
in the foundation of the "Wesley Guild," of which the President of
Conference is the head, with four vice-presidents, two being laymen.
The guild is "a union of the young people of a congregation. Its
keynote is comradeship, and its aim is to encourage the young people
of our Church in the highest aims of life." The story of its origin
may be briefly told.

The Rev. Charles H. Kelly introduced the subject in the London
Methodist Council, and then brought the matter before the Plymouth
Conference of 1895, dwelling on the desire existing to form a Wesley
Guild that should do for Britain what the Epworth League does for
American Methodism, and secure the best advantages not only of that
league, but of the Boys' Brigade, Bands of Hope, Christian Endeavour
and Mutual Improvement Societies, which it should federate. The
Liverpool Conference of 1896 therefore sanctioned the formation of
the "Wesley Guild." Its three grades of members include young people
already attached to the Church, with others not yet ripe for such
identification, and "older people young in heart," who all join in
guild friendship, and aid in forming this federation of the existing
societies interesting to young people.

By periodical meetings, weekly if possible, for devotional, social,
and literary purposes, a healthy common life and beneficent activity
are stimulated, and the rising generation is happily and usefully
drawn into relation with the older Church workers, whom it aids by
seeking out the young, lonely, and unattached, and bringing them into
the warm circle of youthful fellowship.

Such in brief is the programme of the Guild, which may yet greatly
enrich the Church with which it is connected.

We turn now to one of the most notable changes in Methodism during
the Queen's reign--the wonderful advance in the temperance movement.
Wesley himself was an ardent temperance reformer, but his preachers
were slow to follow him. A few prominent men strove long to induce
Conference to institute a temperance branch of our work, and finally
succeeded, their efforts having effected a great change in opinion.
For many years our theological students, though not compelled
thereto, have almost all been pledged abstainers. 1873 saw Conference
appoint a temperance committee "to promote legislation for the more
effectual control of the liquor traffic--and in general for the
suppression of intemperance." In 1879 a scheme was sanctioned for the
formation of Methodist Bands of Hope and Circuit Temperance Unions;
and a special Sunday, the last in November, is devoted to considering
"the appalling extent and dire result" of our national sin, one of
the greatest obstacles to that "spread of scriptural holiness" which
is the aim of the true Wesleyan Methodist, whose chosen Church, with
its manifold organisation, has unequalled facilities for temperance
work. In 1896 the report showed 1,374 temperance societies, with
80,000 members--figures that do not include all the abstainers in
Methodism; some societies have no temperance association, and some
Methodists are connected with other than our own temperance work. The
4,393 Bands of Hope count 433,027 members.

[Illustration: Children's Home, Bolton.]

We have already spoken of the growth and development of social
philanthropic work in connexion with the great Methodist missions in
towns; there remains one most important movement in this direction to
notice--the establishment of the "Children's Home," which, begun in
1869 by Dr. Stephenson, received Conference recognition in 1871. It
has now branches in London, Lancashire, Gravesend, Birmingham, and
the Isle of Man, and an emigration depot in Canada. Over 900 girls
and boys are in residence, while more than 2,900 have been sent forth
well equipped for the battle of life; some of them becoming
ministers, local preachers, Sunday-school workers, and in many ways
most useful citizens. The committee of management has the sanction of
Conference. This "powerful arm of Christian work" not only rescues
helpless little ones from degradation and misery; it undertakes the
special training of the workers amongst the children in industrial
homes and orphanages; and hence has arisen the institution in 1895 of
the order of Methodist deaconesses, which is recommended by
Conference to Connexional sympathy and confidence, the deaconesses
rendering to our Church such services as the Sisters of Mercy give to
the Church of Rome. One example may suffice. A London superintendent
minister describes the work of one of the Sisters during the past
twelvemonth as "simply invaluable. She has visited the poor, nursed
the sick, held services in lodging-houses, met Society classes and
Bible-classes, gathered round her a godly band of mission-workers,
and in a hundred ways has promoted the interests of God's work."

Two events made 1891 memorable for Methodists, the centenary of
Wesley's death and its commemoration being the first.

The Conference decided that suitable memorial services should be
held, and an appeal made to Methodists everywhere for funds to
improve Wesley's Chapel and the graveyard containing his tomb.
Universal interest was aroused; all branches of Methodism were
represented; the leading ministers of Nonconformist Churches also
shared in the services. Crowded and enthusiastic congregations
assembled in City Road when on Sunday, March 1, the Rev. Charles H.
Kelly, Ex-President, preached on "The Man, his Teaching, and his
Work," and when the Rev. Dr. Moulton delivered the centenary sermon.
On March 2, a statue of Wesley was unveiled--exactly one hundred
years after his death--Dean Farrar and Sir Henry H. Fowler addressing
the meeting.

[Illustration: Westminster Training College.]

The Allan Library, the gift of the late Thomas R. Allan, containing
more than 30,000 books and dissertations, was opened by the
President; it has since been enriched by gifts of modern books from
the Fernley Trustees and others, and a circulating library is now
connected with it. Accessible on easy terms to ministers and local
preachers, and within the reach of many others, this library should
be a useful stimulus to the taste for study among ministers and

The other event of the year was the meeting of the second Oecumenical
Conference in October, at Washington, in the country where Methodism
obtained great triumphs. The Conference lasted twelve days, like its
predecessor; the opening sermon, prepared by the Rev. William Arthur,
was read for him, Mr. Arthur's voice being too weak to be heard; and
the President of the United States gave a reception at the Executive
Mansion, and also visited the Conference. Many topics of deep
interest were discussed on this occasion, and not the least
attractive subject was the statistical report presented. The
difficulty of estimating the actual strength and influence of
Methodism is very great.

In the present year the membership of the Wesleyan Methodists, for
Great Britain and Ireland, is estimated at 494,287; of other
Methodist bodies in the United Kingdom at 373,700; the affiliated
Conferences of Wesleyan Methodists in France, South Africa, the West
Indies, and Australasia at 212,849, being 1,942 for France, 62,812
for South Africa, 50,365 for the two West Indian, and 97,730 for the
Australasian Conferences. American Methodism in all its branches,
white and coloured, returns a membership of 5,573,118, while the
united Methodism of Canada shows 272,392, and the foreign missions of
British Wesleyan Methodism 52,058 members. These figures, giving a
total of 6,978,404 members, exclusive of the ministers, estimated at
43,368, are sufficiently gratifying; yet they do not represent the
real strength of the Church at large, and give only a faint idea of
its influence.

The Oecumenical Report gave the number of Methodist "adherents" as
24,899,421, intending, by the term _adherents_, those whose religious
home is the Methodist chapel, though their visits to it be irregular.
For the British Wesleyans the two millions of sittings were supposed
to represent the number of adherents (yet should all the occasional
worshippers wish to attend at once, it may be doubted if they could
be accommodated); for the other branches of Methodism in the United
Kingdom, four additional persons were reckoned to each member
reported. The statistics for Ireland and Canada were checked by the
census returns. Probably in the case of missions the adherents would
be more than four times the membership. Varying principles were
adopted for the United States, and the adherents reckoned at less
than four times the members reported. Should we to-day treat the
returns of membership on the same principle (Sunday scholars being
now as then included in the term "adherents "), we should find nearly
thirty millions of persons in immediate touch with Methodism and
strongly bound to it. Compare these figures with those of 1837, and
we must exclaim, "What hath God wrought!"

Estimating the increase of British Methodism, we have to remember
that the population has almost doubled in the sixty years, while
British Wesleyan Methodism has not doubled; but the great losses
occasioned by the agitations must be taken into account, and also the
curious fact that the ratio of increase for Methodism at large, in
the ten years between the two Oecumenical Conferences, was thirty per
cent--twice as great as the increase of population in the countries
represented; the Methodist Church in Ireland actually increasing
thirteen per cent, while the population of the country was
diminishing and the other Protestant Churches reported loss.

If the increase in Great Britain be proportionally smaller, this need
not cause surprise, in view of that vast development of energy in the
Established Church which is really due to the reflex action of
Methodism itself; that Church, with all the old advantages of wealth
and prestige and connexion with the universities and grammar schools
which she possessed in the days of her comparative supine-ness, with
her clergy roll of 23,000, and her many voluntary workers, having in
twenty-seven years almost doubled the number of her elementary
schools, largely attended by Methodist children. But the indirect
influence of Methodism is such as cannot be represented in our
returns; figures cannot show us the true spiritual status of a
Church. The total cost of the maintenance of our work in all its
branches can be estimated; and so able an authority as the Rev. Dr.
H. J. Pope stated it at from £1,500,000 to £1,750,000 pounds
annually, a sum more than equal to a dividend on fifty millions of
consols; but it is impossible to compute the profit to the human race
from that expenditure and the work it maintains. This may be said
with certainty, that other Churches have been greatly enriched
thereby. We may just refer to that remarkable religious movement, the
Salvation Army, of Methodist origin, though working on new lines;
doing such work, social and evangelistic, as Methodism has chosen for
its own, and absorbing into its ranks many of our own trained
workers. "The Salvationists, taught by Wesley," said the late Bishop
of Durham, "have learned and taught to the Church again the lost
secret of the compulsion of human souls to the Saviour."

"The Methodists themselves," says John Richard Green, "are the least
result of the Methodist revival"; the creation of "a large and
powerful and active sect," numbering many millions, extending over
both hemispheres, was, says Lecky, but one consequence of that
revival, which exercised "a large influence upon the Established
Church, upon the amount and distribution of the moral forces of the
nation, and even upon its political history"; an influence which
continues, the sons of Methodism taking their due part in local and
imperial government. Eloquent tributes to the work of Wesley are
frequent to-day, the _Times_, in an article on the centenary of his
death, saying: "The Evangelical movement in the Church of England was
the direct result of his influence and example, and since the
movements and ideas which have moulded the Church of England to-day
could have found no fitting soil for their development if they had
not been preceded by the Evangelical movement, it is no paradox to
say that the Church of England to-day is what it is because John
Wesley lived and taught in the last century.... He remains the
greatest, the most potent, the most far-reaching spiritual influence
which Anglo-Saxon Christianity has felt since the days of the
Reformation." So far the _Times_, of him whom it styles "the restorer
of the Church of England." Many impartial writers, some being ardent
friends of the English Church, have also recognised a gracious
overflow from Methodism which has blessed that Church, the
Nonconformist bodies, and the nation at large. If a man would
understand "the religious history of the last hundred years," that
"most important ecclesiastical fact of modern times," the rise and
progress of Methodism, must be studied in relation to the Anglican
and the older Nonconformist Churches, and the general "missionary
interests of Christianity": so we are taught by Dr. Stoughton, who
has traced the influence of Methodism in the general moral condition
of the country and the voluntary institutions of our age. The
doctrines once almost peculiar to Wesley and his followers--such as
entire sanctification--are now accepted and taught by many Churches,
and the religious usages of Methodism are imitated, watchnight
services being held, and revival mission services and prayer-meetings
being conducted, in Anglican churches; while the hymns of Charles
Wesley, sung by all English-speaking Protestants, and translated into
many languages, enrich the devotional life of the Christian world.

It was a fit tribute to the benefits which the English Church has
derived from the Methodist movement, when the memorial tablet to the
brothers John and Charles Wesley was unveiled in Westminster Abbey by
the late Dean Stanley, in 1872.

"The bracing breezes," said Dr. Stoughton, "came sweeping down from
the hills of Methodism on Baptist meadows as well as upon Independent
fields." We may give some few instances that will show what blessings
have come to Nonconformist Churches by the agency of Methodism.

A remarkable incident that occurred in 1872 was recorded in the
_Wesleyan Methodist Magazine_. Dr. Jobson had invited five eminent
ministers to meet the President of Conference at his house. After
breakfast their conversation quite naturally took the form of a
lovefeast, all being familiar with Methodist custom; when Dr. Allon,
Dr. Raleigh, and Dr. Stoughton all said they were converted in
Methodist chapels, and began Christian work as Methodists. Thomas
Binney said that "the direct instrumentality in his conversion was
Wesleyan," and Dr. Fraser was induced to enter the ministry by a
Wesleyan lady. Charles H. Spurgeon was converted through the
instrumentality of a Primitive Methodist local preacher; William Jay
of Bath was converted at a Methodist service; John Angell James
caught fire among the Methodists; and Thomas Raffles was a member of
the Wesleyan Society; Dr. Parker began his ministrations as a
Methodist local preacher; while Dr. Dale has shown the indebtedness
of Nonconformity to Methodism. In France and Germany Methodist agency
has been one of the strongest forces in re-awakening the old
Protestant Churches; the services held by our Connexional evangelists
send many converts to swell the fellowship of Churches not our own.
And the same effects followed the great Methodist revival in America;
out of 1,300 converts, 800 joined the Presbyterian and other
denominations. But while calling attention to the spiritual wealth
and the beneficent overflow of Methodism, we would not be unmindful
of the debt which Methodism owes to other Churches, and in special of
its obligations to those Anglican divines of our day who have
enriched the whole Church of Christ by their scholarly contributions
to sacred literature; and we would ascribe all the praise of
Methodist achievement to the almighty Author of good, whom the spirit
of ostentation and vain glorifying must displease, while it would
surely hinder His work.

The great desire of Methodism to-day--its great need, as Dr. Handles
expressed it in his presidential address--is "fulness of spiritual
life." If this be attained, the actual resources of the Church will
amply suffice to carry on its glorious future mission; it will not
fail in its primary duties of giving prominence to the spirituality
of religion, of maintaining strict fidelity to scriptural doctrine,
of giving persevering illustration of the fellowship of believers,
nor in upholding the expansion of home and foreign missions, nor in
ceaseless efforts to promote social advancement. "There is no rigid
system of Church mechanism, nor restraining dogma," to hinder

[Illustration: Group of Presidents Number Three.]

At present four-sevenths of the human race are in heathen darkness.
To win the world for Christ demands that Methodists should unite with
all His true soldiers. Wesley said: "We have strong reason to hope
that the work He hath begun He will carry on until the day of the
Lord Jesus; that He will never intermit this blessed work of His
Spirit until He has fulfilled all His promises, until He hath put a
period to sin and misery, infirmity and death, re-established
universal holiness and happiness, and caused all the inhabitants of
the earth to sing, 'Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.'"
If Methodism be faithful to her mission, this prophecy may be

When the second temple was built, Haggai exhorted Zerubbabel and
Joshua to be strong, and all the people to be strong, and to work,
for the Lord was with them. Let Methodists be strong in God's
strength, and work with the consciousness that the Lord of hosts is
with them, and they will insure success to the great mission of their

We will conclude with the last paragraph of the Rev. Charles H.
Kelly's sermon at the celebration of the centenary of Wesley's death
in 1891.

"Surely the lesson to the Methodists of to-day is clear enough. Let
us cherish the memory of our forefathers, let us emulate their
spirit, let us cling to their God-given doctrines, let us cultivate,
as they did, communion with the Master and fellowship with each
other. Let us aim to be one, to do our duty. Let us strive to make
our Church a greater power for evangelism among the people of the
earth than ever, let us look to the Holy Spirit for the richer
baptism of grace, and Methodism, so blest of the Lord in the past,
will yet be blest. Her mission is not accomplished, her work is not
done; long may she live and prosper. Peace be within her walls, and
prosperity within her palaces. For my brethren and companions' sake,
the faithful living and the sainted dead, I will now say, Peace be
within her; peace be within her."


The last days of the half-century are fleeting fast as we write, and
we are yet at peace with Europe, as when Victoria's reign began. How
long that peace shall last, who shall say? who can say how long it
may be ere the elements of internal discord that have threatened to
wreck the prosperity of the empire, shall be composed to a lasting
peace, and leave the nation free to follow its better destiny? But
foes within and foes without have many times assailed us in vain in
past years; many times has the political horizon been shadowed with
clouds portending war and strife no less gloomily than those which
now darken it, and as yet the Crimean war is the only war on which we
have entered that can be called European; many times have grave
discontents broken our domestic peace, but wise statesmanship has
found a timely remedy. We need not, if we learn the lessons of the
past aright, fear greatly to confront the future. Not to us the glory
or the praise, but to a merciful overruling Providence, ever raising
up amongst us noble hearts in time, that we are found to-day

        "A nation yet, the rulers and the ruled,"

not quite bankrupt in heart or hope or faith, but possessing

        "Some sense of duty, something of a faith,
        Some reverence for the laws ourselves have made,
        Some patient force to change them when we will;"

and we may justly acknowledge, in thankfulness not vainglorious, the
happier fate that has been ours above many another land, that may
still be ours, "if England to itself do rest but true."

We have seen during these sixty years the map of Europe remodelled to
an undreamed of extent. Fair Italy, though still possessing her fatal
gift of beauty, though still suffering many things, is no longer the
prey of foreign unloved rulers, but has become a nation, a mere
"geographical expression" no longer; Germany, whose many little
princedoms were once a favourite theme of British mockery, is now one
great and formidable empire; the power of Russia has, despite the
Crimean check, continued to expand, while desperate internal
struggles have shaken that half-developed people, proving fatal to
the gentle successor of Nicholas, the emancipator of the Russian
serfs, and often threatening the life of _his_ successors; and the
once formidable American slave-system has been swept away, with
appalling loss of human life; a second President of the United States
has fallen by the hand of an assassin; and new difficulties, scarce
inferior to those connected with slavery, have followed on its
abolition. Our record shows no calamity comparable to the greatest of
these, if we set aside the Indian horrors so terribly avenged at the
moment, but by their teaching resulting ultimately in good rather
than evil.

Besides the furious strife and convulsion that have rent other lands,
how inconsiderable seem the disturbances that disfigure our home
annals, how peaceful the changes in our constitutional system,
brought about orderly in due form of law, how purely domestic the
saddest events of our internal history! We wept with our Sovereign in
her early widowhood, a bereavement to the people as well as to the
Queen; we trembled with her when the shadow of death hung over her
eldest son, rejoicing with her when it passed away; we shared her
grief for two other of her children, inheritors of the noble
qualities of their father, and for the  doom which took from us one
whom we had loved to call "our future king"; we deplored the other
bereavements which darkened her  advancing years; we have lamented
great  men taken from us, some, like the conqueror of Waterloo, "the
great world-victor's victor," in the fulness of age and honour,
others with their glorious work seemingly half done, their career of
usefulness mysteriously cut short; we have shuddered when the hateful
terrorism, traditional pest of Ireland through centuries of wrong and
outrage, has once and again lifted its head among ourselves; we have
suffered--though far less severely than other lands, even than some
under our own rule--from plague, pestilence, and famine, from dearth
of work and food. But what are these woes compared to those that
other peoples have endured, when it has been said to the sword,
"Sword, go through the land," and the dread word has been obeyed;
when war has slain its thousands, and want its tens of thousands; or
when terrible convulsions of nature have shaken down cities, and
turned the fruitful land into a wilderness?

Events have moved fast since the already distant day when the
Colonial and Industrial Exhibition was ministering exultation to many
a British heart by its wonderful display of the various wealth of our
distant domains and their great industrial resources. We were even
then tempted--as have been nations that are no more--to pride
ourselves on having reached an unassailable height of grandeur. Since
then our territory has expanded and our wealth increased; but with
them have increased the evils and the dangers inseparable from great
possessions, and the responsibilities involved in them. We can only
"rejoice with trembling" in this our second year of Jubilee.
Remembering with all gratitude how we have been spared hitherto, and
mindful of the perils that wait on power and prosperity, let it be
ours to offer such sacrifices of thanksgiving as can be pleasing to
the almighty Ruler of the ways of men, whom too often in pride of
power, in selfish satisfaction with our own achievements, we forget.

Many are the works of mercy, well pleasing in His sight, with which
we can associate ourselves, even in this favoured land, whose ever
increasing wealth is balanced by terrible poverty, and its affluence
of intellectual and spiritual light by grossest heathen darkness. Day
by day, as our brief account has shown, are increasing efforts put
forth by our Christian men and women to overcome these evils; and
through such agencies our country may yet be saved, and may not
perish like other mighty empires, dragged down by its own
over-swollen greatness, and by neglect of the eternal truth that
"righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any

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