By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Ten Englishmen of the Nineteenth Century
Author: Joy, James Richard
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ten Englishmen of the Nineteenth Century" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


By James Richard Joy


My Daughter
With Her Father's Love


The object of this work is to set forth with as much clearness as
possible the more important facts in the history of England in
the nineteenth century. We have chosen to do this through the
medium of biography, in the belief that the lives of a few
representative men would present better opportunities for
interesting and effective treatment than an historical narrative,
which must have been encumbered by a mass of detail not capable
of effective disposition within the limited space at our command.
An introductory chapter serves to give a general view of the
course of events and to show the relations of the men and
movements which are afterward presented in more detail.

With but one exception our "Ten Englishmen" are men in public
life, political or military. Artists, authors, preachers, and
scholars were purposely left out of the account, because they are
to receive prominence in other parts of the course for which this
volume was written. The exception was made in the case of George
Stephenson, because the revolution in transportation, due to his
improvement of the locomotive engine, has had such a powerful
influence upon the industrial development of the nation.

In bringing these great personages before the reader our
intention has been quite as much historical as biographical. Each
name is linked with some conspicuous problem in statesmanship,
and the endeavor has been to set forth the work as well as the
workman. It is hoped that the library notes appended to each
chapter will be of assistance to the earnest student, in
supplementing the meager outlines of this volume with the
abundance of personal detail and wealth of dramatic incident
which give life and action to history.

The appendix should not be overlooked. Its selections from
authentic speeches, letters, dispatches, and other writings bring
the reader into touch with the men who made England great.

One word more. Our "Ten" are not necessarily "THE Ten." They are
the men whose lives lay in line with the writer's plan. If they
serve to accentuate the leading features of the history we are
not disposed to argue with those who would present other
candidates for the honor of inclusion in the list.

     James Richard Joy

     Plainfield, N.J., June 4, 1902.



The opening of the nineteenth century found England in the midst
of a great foreign war, which for almost a generation absorbed
the thought and energy of the nation, and postponed for the time
the vital questions of economic and political reform which
clamored for settlement.


The war began in 1793, when the French nation, having overturned
its ancient throne, and revolutionized its social and political
institutions, set out on a democratic crusade for "Liberty,
Equality, and Fraternity," which involved it in a conflict with
the governments of Europe. William Pitt, who had been Prime
Minister of George III. since 1783, had twice banded the European
states against the French republican armies; but while the
English fleets remained masters of the seas, the enthusiasm of
the French soldiers, and the genius of their young generals, had
thus far proved too strong for the mercenary battalions of
despotism. In the closing month of the year 1800, Pitt's "Second
Coalition" had been shattered by the defeat of the Allies at
Hohenlinden. The Peace of Amiens which shortly ensued (March,
1802, to May, 1803) was but a delusion. England greeted it with
joy and hope, but soon discovered its unreality. From the renewal
of hostilities, in May, 1803, until the final triumph of the
allies, in 1815, the war resolved itself into a struggle between
Napoleon and England. This young Corsican lieutenant had raised
himself by sheer force of genius and unscrupulous ambition to
absolute power. His scheme for the subjugation of Europe beat
down every obstacle except the steady and unbending opposition of
England. Pitt, who had withdrawn from the government because of
the stupid King's refusal to honor his Minister's pledges of
equal rights to the Irish Catholics, was recalled by the
universal voice ot the nation to organize the resistance.
Napoleon had assembled immense armaments upon the Channel coast
of France for a descent on England, and had created a vast
flotilla to transport the force to Kent. Great Britain trembled
with excited apprehension. Three hundred thousand volunteers
offered their services to the government. But, as often in the
past, Britain's best defense was her wooden walls, and the
sagacity, seamanship, and valor of her sailors, who out-
manoeuvered the combined fleets of France and Spain, crushed
their power at Trafalgar (October, 1805), and secured the Channel
against the invader. Pitt's gold had called into existence a
third coalition (England, Russia. Austria, and Sweden), only to
see Napoleon hurl it to the ground on the field of Austerlitz
(December, 1805). England's isolation seemed as complete as the
Emperor's victory. Russia, Austria, and Prussia made humiliating
peace with the victor, who carved his conquests into new states
and kingdoms. Pitt, who, at the news of Austerlitz, had pointed
to the map of Europe with the words "Roll up that map, there will
be no use for it these ten years," survived the calamity scarcely
a month.

Unable to meet, as yet, the English troops in battle on the land
as he had met and defeated those of the Continent, and unequal to
England on the seas, Napoleon devised a more insidious plan of
campaign. Believing that a "nation of shop-keepers" might be
attacked through its trade, he issued from the Prussian capital,
in 1806, the famous Berlin Decree, which was the first note of
that "Continental System," which was intended to close the ports
of Europe to British goods. The British government met this
boycott by its "Orders in Council," which placed a blockade upon
French ports, and authorized the capture of neutral vessels
endeavoring to trade with them. This inconclusive commercial
warfare lasted several years, but was far from being successful
in its object of ruining England. Indeed, it is said that the
most stringent enforcement of the "Decrees" and "Orders" did not
prevent the Napoleonic armies from wearing uniforms of English
cloth and carrying English steel in their scabbards.

England first began to make head against the French conqueror
when that far-sighted minister George Canning sent Sir Arthur
Wellesley to Portugal to take command of the British forces in
the Peninsula. Wellesley had recently returned from India, where
he had achieved a brilliant reputation for thoroughness of
organization, precision of manoeuver, and unvarying success,
qualities which at that time were lamentably rare among British
generals. In Portugal first, and later in Spain, the sterling
qualities of the new commander steadily gained ground for
England, driving out the French marshals, and carrying this
Peninsular War to a triumphant conclusion by the invasion of
France (1814). Created Duke of Wellington for his successes in
the Peninsula, Wellesley held command of the allied forces on the
Belgian frontier when, on the 18th of June, 1815, they met and
routed the French at Waterloo. That day made Napoleon an exile,
and "the Iron Duke" the idol of the English lands in which he
continued to be the most conspicuous personage for nearly half a


Waterloo brought England into new relations with the nations of
Europe. The Congress of Vienna, in which the victors endeavored
to restore the damage wrought by the Corsican intruder, added
Cape of Good Hope, Ceylon, Malta, and a few less important
islands, to the growing colonial empire of Great Britain. The
Holy Alliance, which had been suggested by the Czar in 1815, at
the friendly meeting of the Russian, Austrian, and Prussian
sovereigns at Paris, was in theory a compact between these
powerful rulers--"an intimate union on the basis of morality and
religion"--but it soon degenerated into an unholy league for the
mutual protection of these three despotic dynasties against the
dormant forces of constitutional liberty, which began to stir
again in every European state as soon as the Napoleonic specter
had been laid. The French Revolution had given currency to
opinions which no congress of sovereigns could wholly repress,
and now the policy of the "Alliance," to strangle all
constitutional aspirations and rivet the chains of Bourbonism
upon limbs that had once known the bliss of freedom, led to
fierce intellectual revolt, and sometimes to physical violence.
England had made common cause with Turk and Christian, Kaiser and
King, against Napoleon, and for a time her statesmen viewed with
complacency the Holy Alliance, so reassuring in its name and so
pure in its professions; but when it became evident that this
mighty league was to be thrown against every liberty-loving
people in the Old World and the New, George Canning broke the
irksome bond, and put the land of parliaments and constitutional
liberty in its rightful place as the friend of freedom and the
foe to the oppressor. It was the spirit if not the voice of
Canning which was powerful to save Portugal from the Bourbon, to
recognize the independence of the revolted American colonies of
Spain, and to restrain the enemies of freedom from handing
insurgent Greece back to the Turk. His predecessors had been
accustomed to sink the interests and desires of England in regard
for what the continental power called "the good of Europe." He
was the first statesman of his generation who dared to take an
independent position on "European" questions--"to write
'England,'" as he phrased it, "where it had been the custom to
write 'Europe.'" The policy which he inaugurated marks a turning-
point in the history of British foreign affairs.

Catholic Emancipation

George IV., who had been regent since his father's illness in
1812, reigned in his own name from 1820 to 1830, though his voice
in the affairs of state was small indeed. His Ministers,
Liverpool, Canning, Goderich, and Wellington, were confronted by
serious problems of domestic policy which had sprung up during
the long period of foreign wars and partly in direct consequence
of those disturbing conditions. The one recurrent question which
found definite settlement in this reign was that of Catholic
emancipation. The penal laws against Roman Catholics had
disgraced the English statute-books for two centuries. On the
first of January, 1801, the Legislative Union of Great Britain
and Ireland had gone into effect under the name of the United
Kingdom. The Irish Parliament, which had met in Dublin since
1782, went out of existence, and in the place of "Home Rule"
Ireland was represented in both houses of the Imperial Parliament
at Westminster. Pitt had promised the numerous Catholics of
Ireland that the laws which made them ineligible to represent
their country in Parliament should be repealed, and had abandoned
office in disgust when George III. refused to sanction his
project of Catholic emancipation. In 1807 the Whig ministry
espoused the same cause, and in turn resigned because of the
opposition of the Crown. In Daniel O'Connell the cause at length
found a spokesman whose eloquence, wit, and talent for
"agitation" soon combined his Irish partisans into "The Catholic
Association." Working in conjunction with the Whigs of England,
O'Connell's followers formed a body which could not be neglected.
Soon after Canning's untimely death the Duke of Wellington had
taken office. He was a Tory, with all the prejudices of that
political faith deepened by his birth and training as an Irish
Protestant, but the agitation had reached such proportions that
he saw in it a menace of civil war, to avoid which he was willing
to abandon his most cherished opinions on the Catholic question.
Accordingly, in 1829, the Iron Duke faced about and brought in
the bill which, becoming a law by Whig and Canningite votes,
admitted Roman Catholics to Parliament, and to civil rights only
a little short of complete. But instead of removing the Irish
question from politics, it was only prepared for more strenuous
presentation in a new guise, for O'Connell was returned to
Parliament at the head of some fifty Catholic members to agitate
for Irish independence.


The perfection of the steam locomotive and the inception and
marvelous development of the system of steam railway
transportation marked the second quarter of the century. The name
of the Stephensons, father and son, is inseparably connected with
this work which has affected so deeply the economic and social
life of the nation, and has contributed in a thousand indirect
ways to the expansion and consolidation of the empire. It has
been said that in 1825 the traveler from London to Rome went no
faster than the courier of the Caesars, eighteen hundred years
before. Thanks to George Stephenson's inventive genius, the
traveler of today consumes scarcely more time between London and


The reform of Parliament was the next question to come up for
settlement. In 1830 representation in the House of Commons still
remained upon a basis which had been established centuries
before. Meantime the distribution of the voting population had
been totally transformed. The most populous shires had no more
seats than the least of all. There were decayed boroughs which
had dwindled in population until but a handful of voters
remained, yet these "rotten" boroughs retained their right to
choose one or more members of Parliament, while the great modern
manufacturing towns and seaports were totally unrepresented. The
agitation for parliamentary reform, which rose in the middle of
the eighteenth century, was directed against the sale of seats in
the rotten boroughs, and the shameless bribery. As early as 1770
Lord Chatham had predicted reform or revolution. His son, the
younger Pitt, had proposed remedies, but the deluge which
overwhelmed the government of France in the closing years of the
century stiffened English conservatism for a century against any
radical political change. Meanwhile the rapid industrial
expansion of the kingdom, with its unprecedented increase of
population, and the sudden growth of insignificant hamlets into
teeming factory towns, had emphasized the injustice of existing
arrangements. Earl Grey, who had been an advocate of reform for
forty years, and Lord John Russell, who had championed the cause
for a decade, were united in the Whig ministry which succeeded
Wellington in 1830. Supported by a tremendous popular demand
which seemed to stir the nation to its depths they brought in
their first bill in 1831. It prevailed in the Commons by a bare
majority, but the Tory House of Lords threw it out. This action
by the privileged class was a signal for an indignant outburst
from the nation. The "Radicals," as the advanced Whigs were
already beginning to be called, did not conceal their lack of
respect for the Upper House, and used revolutionary threats
against it as a relic of mediaevalism which should no longer be
tolerated in a free state. But the time had passed when the peers
could flout an aroused nation. When the Third Reform Bill was
ready for passage, the ministers secured the King's promise to
frustrate the opposition of the Lords by filling up the House
with new peers created expressly to vote for reform. The threat
sufficed. Wellington and the most stern and unbending Tories
absented themselves from the decisive division, and allowed the
Reform Bill to become a law in June, 1832.


Great things were expected of the first Parliament which was
chosen on the basis of the new law. The seats gained by the
disfranchisement of the small and corrupt boroughs were
distributed to new constituencies in London, Liverpool,
Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, and the other modern
cities. The more populous counties were subdivided into
districts, and the divisions received additional representation.
The franchise had also been extended and based upon a moderate
property qualification. The result was, that the center of
political power passed from the nobility and landed gentry, with
whom it had resided for centuries, and came to the farmers and
shop-keepers, the so-called middle class, lying between the
ancient aristocracy of birth and landed possessions and the still
unenfranchised masses of mill operatives and agricultural
laborers. That the new Parliament would show a new temper and be
dominated by new ideas was but natural. But those who inferred
from the bitterness of the struggle for reform that the nation
was on the verge of an abyss into which the Lords and the Crown
should shortly topple, greatly deceived themselves.


The reformed Parliaments devoted themselves to certain long-
deferred and intensely practical reforms which were social and
economic in their nature, leaving the constitution alone for the
next twenty years. In these Parliaments and ministries for the
next forty years the Whig party usually had the upper hand. In
1834 Parliament revolutionized the system of public relief to the
needy which had existed for fifty years, to the extreme
demoralization of the poorer working-classes and the frustration
of really benevolent purpose. The old law had assumed that each
parish owed every native a living. A sliding scale was
accordingly provided by which, as the rate of wages declined, the
parish should pay to the workman enough to bring his receipts up
to the standard amount. Employers took advantage of this system
cut wages to a minimum, the parish making up the difference.
Another mischievous clause increased the pauper's dole in
proportion to the number of his children, with the direct result
of early and improvident marriages. To put it bluntly, children
were bred for the bounty. The number of persons receiving parish
aid was enormously increased. The self-respect of the poor was
destroyed, and the poor-rate became a burden of millions of
pounds annually upon the treasury. The act of 1834 put an end to
these abuses by restricting outdoor relief to the aged and
destitute, and requiring all other paupers to go to the union
workhouse. Within two years the poor-rate was diminished fully


In 1834 slavery was abolished throughout the British dominions.
The earnest labors of the Abolitionists, Clarkson, Wilberforce,
Macaulay, and others, had secured the abolition of the slave
trade thirty years before (1807), but the united opposition of
the colonial planters to a reform which would deprive them of the
services of their chattel laborers postponed the consummation of
the humanitarian measure. The reformed Parliament proved less
sensitive to the planters' arguments. It destroyed the system
forever, making a cash compensation to the owners.

A third question, on which Earl Grey's ministry took high moral
ground, was a redress of another of the ancient wrongs of
Ireland. The Church of England was by law established in that
most distressful country, and the people, though mostly Roman
Catholics, were under the necessity of paying tithes for the
support of a church which they detested, and which indeed, in a
large part of the island, had no existence except for purposes of
taxation. The Irish protest, as has often been the case, took the
form of violence and outrage, the so-called "Tithe War," which
postponed rather than hastened the redress of their grievance.
But in 1835 the ministry of Lord Melbourne relieved the peasants
of this part of their many burdens.


The name of Lord Melbourne has been kept green not only by the
Australasian metropolis, but by the fact that it was his duty as
Prime Minister to announce to the Princess Alexandrina Victoria
the fact--to her so momentous--that her uncle, William IV., was
dead (June 20, 1837), and that she, a girl of eighteen, was Queen
of England. Victoria, as she was known thenceforward, lived to
see the dawn of the twentieth century, to witness the enormous
development of the British empire in population, wealth, and
power, and it is perhaps not too much to say, to win all hearts
among her subjects by the simplicity, purity, and strength of her
character. Had she displayed the stubborn stupidity of her
grandfather, George III., or the immorality of some of his sons,
it is not rash to believe that the tide of radicalism might have
thrown down all barriers and swept away the throne on the flood
of democracy. By grace of character she was a model
constitutional sovereign, and her benign reign, the longest in
English annals, contributed more than the policy of any of her
ministers to make the monarchy popular and permanent.

The first decade of the Victorian era witnessed three great
agitations, two of which ended in fiasco and the third in a
triumph which wrought tremendous changes in the kingdom.
"Chartism," "Repeal," and "Free Trade" were the three topics on
which the thought of multitudes was engaged.


Chartism was the name applied to the agitation in favor of a
statement of principles called "The People's Charter." The six
points of Chartism were: (l) annual Parliaments, (2) salaries for
members, (3) universal suffrage, (4) vole by ballot, (5)
abolition of property qualification for membership in the House
of Commons, and (6) equal electoral districts. The demand came
from the workingmen, who were dissatisfied because the Reform
Bill of 1832 had stopped short of their political stratum. The
Chartists copied the method of agitation which O'Connell had
employed in extorting Catholic emancipation. Monster meetings,
mile-long petitions, copious effusions of printer's ink and
oratory, and a National Charter Association were a part of the
machinery. In 1848, when the prevalent hard times increased the
restless discontent of the masses, the movement culminated in a
vast assembly on Kennington Common. A respectful half-million
were to march to Westminster and lay their demands, the six
points backed by six million signatures, before the Commons. The
year 1848 was one of widespread discontent, the revolution year
of the century, and the authorities took pains to guard the peace
of London with especial care, even Wellington being called into
service to direct the military. But nine-tenths of the mob failed
to put in appearance, and the monster petition turned out to be a
monstrous and clumsy fraud. Nothing came of it at the moment. The
return of better times took the heart out of the agitation, and
the progress of orderly political development gradually
incorporated three of the Chartist points in the law of the land
without seriously affecting the constitution.


The second popular war cry was "Repeal." In this agitation, again
O'Connell's was the chief personage, and his eloquence the chief
factor. It was in effect another phase of the Irish demand for
Home Rule. Since the first day of the new century Ireland had
been, for legislative purposes, a part of the United Kingdom. It
was the act which had established this "Legislative Union" and
abolished the Irish Parliament which O'Connell was determined to
repeal. All that monster meetings, soul-moving oratory, secret
associations, printer's ink, could do to influence the government
by parliamentary manoeuver, demonstration of popular feeling,
intimidation, and threats of insurrection was done. As a member
of Parliament, and the dictator to his "tail" of half a hundred
Irish members, the silver-tongued "Irish tribune" exerted a
considerable political power so long as parties were somewhat
evenly divided so as to make his support desirable. But when, in
1841, the Tories came back into office under Sir Robert Peel,
backed by a strong majority, this influence declined. The arrest
of O'Connell, in 1843, for treasonable utterances, discredited
him with his following, which soon fell apart-the more determined
section to carry Ireland's cause to the extreme of violent
outbreak, the milder partisans to await a more opportune moment
to press their agitation for Home Rule.


The names of Sir Robert Peel and Richard Cobden are indissolubly
connected with the legislation which repealed the "Corn Laws" and
placed English commerce upon the basis of free trade--Cobden as
the theorist and untiring agitator, whose splendid talents were
unsparingly devoted to preparing public opinion for the economic
revolution, and Peel as the protectionist Prime Minister, who was
open-minded enough to become convinced of his error in persisting
in the policy in which he had been trained. The necessity for a
change of commercial policy grew out of the altered conditions in
the nation. The agricultural England of the eighteenth century
had in a generation been transformed into a hive of manufacturing
industry. The rapid adoption of steam power and improved
machinery in England on the one hand, and the paralysis of
industry on the Continent during the Napoleonic wars, had wrought
the change, while the commercial marine, guarded by her powerful
navy, had brought the carrying trade of the world under her flag.
The weakest point in the English system was the protective
tariff, which lay heaviest on imports of grain--or "corn," to use
the insular term. The Corn Laws were a body of legislation
enacted from time to time by Parliaments which were controlled by
the great land-owning interests. The land-owner, whose income was
derived chiefly from rents upon agricultural lands, consistently
favored a scale of tariffs which would maintain the price of
cereal grains at the highest figure. At the close of the great
war (1815) the nation was confronted with business disaster. "War
prices" for grain fell rapidly, the markets were stocked with
more manufactured goods than impoverished Europe could absorb,
while the English labor market was glutted by the influx of
several hundred thousand able-bodied soldiers and sailors in
quest of industrial employment. As early as 1821 Mr. Huskisson, a
cabinet colleague of Mr. Canning, had endeavored to lighten the
burden of British manufactures by reducing the import duties upon
the raw material used by the English looms. He was for getting at
the root of the matter and disposing of the Corn Laws, so as to
provide "free food" as well as "free raw materials," but his Tory
companions believed that such legislation would vote the bread
out of their own mouths. In 1838 an Anti-Corn Law Association was
formed at Manchester. Under the direction of Richard Cobden, a
young and successful manufacturer, who had become the most ardent
of free traders, a league of similar clubs was organized
throughout the country, and through it an agitation unsurpassed
in the history of politics was prosecuted until its object was
attained. In Parliament he became one of the most effective
orators, and the chief target of his argument was Peel, the
leader of the protectionists. In 1845-46 a more powerful argument
than Cobden's was thrown into the scale. The failure of the Irish
potato crop, the sole food supply of that unhappy island, "forced
Peel's hand." In the face of two-thirds of his own party, in
opposition to his own life-long political creed, he gave notice
as Prime Minister that he should introduce a bill for the
immediate reduction and ultimate repeal of the laws which were
responsible for the high price of food. He had become a convert
to free trade, and was ready to carry it into practice. The young
Disraeli as the representative of the Protectionist element of
his party, lashed the premier in the speech which first gave him
a following in the Parliament that he was soon to control. But
enough Peelites followed their leader into the camp of the free
traders to carry the bill. The Corn Laws disappeared from the


The sudden and enormous expansion of English industry in the
early part of the century brought special hardship to several
classes in the community. The substitution of the factory system
for cottage industry destroyed home life for thousands of
families, and the pressure of poverty and the greed of
manufacturers ground the poor mill operatives between the upper
and nether millstones. To Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of
Shaftesbury, more than to any other is due the persistent
investigation and disclosure which aroused the public mind to the
prevailing conditions in mine and factory where hours of labor
were excessive, and where women and children were subjected to
degrading tasks and brutal treatment. The Factory Law and kindred
legislation since 1830 are the fruits of the beneficent and
untiring labors of the Earl.


The era which had been marked by such political, social, and
economic reforms and agitations came to a close in the middle of
the century. The Whigs came into power in Parliament in 1846 for
a long term. Foreign affairs supplied the most notable topics for
the next twenty years. The foreign minister during much of this
time was Lord Palmerston. He it was who piloted the nation
without disaster through the rocks of 1848-51, when thrones were
toppling in every European kingdom, and England was being
appealed to for help against despot and democrat.


The "Eastern Question" now came up. The Czar of Russia, an object
of suspicion to England, because of his rivalry with her for the
possession of India, endeavored to secure from the Sultan of
Turkey official recognition of his government as the legitimate
protector of Christians in the Ottoman empire. Such a
responsibility would have afforded many opportunities for
interfering in Turkish affairs. France opposed the demand, and
Palmerston placed England on the side of Napoleon III., against
the Czar, who had invaded Turkey in pursuance of his design to
annex a large part of her European provinces, and advance his
position toward Constantinople. The Crimean War which followed
(1854-56) at least checked Russia for the time. It was the only
European war in which England had borne arms since Waterloo. But
in Asia and Africa the Queen's troops had found almost continual
employment along the frontiers of the now vastly extended empire.
In 1857 Persia had to be chastised for edging toward India by way
of the Afghan possessions. Russia had been at the Shah's elbow.
In 1856, and repeatedly until 1860, the British fleets were
battering open the ports of China and extorting trade
concessions. But the most memorable war in the imperial history
of these years was within the borders of the empire, though in a
distant land. This was the Sepoy Rebellion or Indian mutiny of


The British possessions in India had been more than doubled in
extent since the opening of the century. In 1833 the trade
monopoly of the East India Company had been broken, but its civil
and military servants continued to administer the government.
Their ability was displayed especially in the rapidity with which
they were extending British authority over the native states when
the outbreak came. A conspiracy was laid among the Sepoys, the
native soldiers in the regiments of "John Company." as the great
corporation was called in Asia. To their private grievances was
added the false report that the company intended to force them
into Christianity by serving out to them cartridges which would
defile them, neat's tallow for the Hindoo venerator of the sacred
cow, and hog's lard for the Mohammedan hater of swine! In May,
1857, the mutiny burst into flame. The Sepoys slaughtered their
officers and many other Europeans, and restored the heir of the
ancient race of kings to the throne of his fathers at Delhi. Here
and there, at Cawnpore and Lucknow, a few British troops defended
themselves and the refugees against the hordes of bloodthirsty
rebels. The "Massacre of Cawnpore" and "the Relief of Lucknow,"
phrases which have passed into history, suggest the fate of the
two beleaguered garrisons. The rebellion was over in a twelve-
month, smothered in its own blood. Close upon its suppression
came the death of the East India Company, abolished by act of
Parliament in 1858. Since that year the crown has ruled the
Indian realm through a Secretary of State for India, residing in
London, and a Viceroy holding court at Calcutta. From the defeat
of the mutineers, in 1859, to his own death, in 1865, Lord
Palmerston managed to save the nation from being embroiled to the
fighting-point in the perpetual quarrels of Europe. Italy fought
and won her liberty from the Austrian; Poland rose against the
Russian; Denmark had her damaging Schleswig-Holstein War with
Prussia and Austria. English sympathies were strongly enlisted in
all these troubles, but Palmerston would not allow her to proceed
to the point of breaking the peace. From 1861 to 1865, while the
Civil War was being fought out in America, his government was
prompt to recognize the belligerent status of the Confederacy,
and to favor the South by allowing privateers like the "Alabama"
to be built and manned in English ports. But the actual break
with Mr. Lincoln's government did not come, and the old Whig
statesman lived to see the South overpowered.

Through the middle reaches of the century the political power in
England remained for the most part in the hands of the Whig,
latterly called Liberal, ministries. The impulse for reform--
political, economic, and social--had spent itself before 1850,
and the older statesmen who guided the public policies had no
sympathy with the demands for radical legislation, church
disestablishment, universal suffrage, and what not, which came up
from many parts of the nation. With the death of Palmerston, and
the retirement of Russell, a new era was inaugurated, and new
actors stepped to the front of the stage.


At the head of the Liberals was William Ewart Gladstone, who in
his younger days had followed his master, Peel, out of the old
Tory lines into the camp of the free traders, and had been
Russell's chief lieutenant, and Palmerston's financial minister
for the last half-dozen years. He was a man of splendid
intellectual power, sterling morality, an adept at parliamentary
management, a shrewd financier, and held a deep conviction that
it was the part of statesmanship to embody in law what he
conceived to be the proper demands of the nation. His opponent
for a generation was Benjamin Disraeli, the young Jewish
novelist, who had first won a following in the House of Commons
by voicing the venom of the old-line protectionist Tories against
the recreant Peel. Versatile, shifty, brilliant, this adventurous
politician made himself indispensable to the Conservatives, and
overcame by political moves which were little short of genius,
the leadership of the opposition. Indeed, he may be said to have
transformed Conservatism, giving it a new rallying cry, and
inscribing great achievements upon its banner.


"Whenever that man gets my place we shall have strange doings,"
Palmerston had said toward the end of his life, alluding to the
open-minded Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Gladstone, and had
he remained on earth for another generation, he would indeed have
seen much done by his erstwhile followers under Gladstone's
direction which he would have accounted passing strange.
Admitting the democratic principle that the state owed it to
itself to provide every man's child with an education, Gladstone
inaugurated (1870) a beneficent system of free public schools. An
old popular grievance, the viva voce method of voting at
parliamentary elections, was done away and the secret ballot
substituted (1872), a change which struck a heavy blow at the
prevalent bribery and intimidation. He corrected one of the worst
abuses in the army by abolishing the purchase system, under which
a junior officer was accustomed to buy his promotion by
compensating his seniors, a practice which had closed the higher
grades to men of small means. The extension of the suffrage to
the agricultural laborers was finally reached by his Reform Bill
of 1884, the last class being thus admitted to the body politic.


But it was to the grievances of Ireland that Gladstone bent the
readiest ear, and it was upon that reef that his political career
made shipwreck at the last. In his first ministry he undertook
and carried the disestablishment of the Irish Church, by which
the Irish Catholics were relieved of an odious burden. His Irish
Land Act of 1870 aimed to give the tenant-farmer certain valuable
rights in the land which he rented. The result was rather to
redouble the cry against "landlordism," with its corollary of
agrarian crime. A second Land Act (1881) provided a land court
for adjusting rents. Instead of quieting the disorders this
indulgent legislation was the signal for a fresh outburst of
crime. The Irish Land League was organized to secure the
abolition of landlordism, and when the Irish leader, Charles
Stewart Parnell, was imprisoned he exhorted the tenants to cease
paying rent altogether until the government should grant all
their demands. The Liberals were forced for the moment to use
strong measures to restore order to Ireland, but the Home Rule
party in Parliament, skillfully led by Mr. Parnell, continued to
embarrass legislation and obstruct the ordinary functions of
government. In April, 1886, Mr, Gladstone, having become Prime
Minister for the third time, asked Parliament to grant home rule
to Ireland through an Irish Parliament sitting at Dublin. Parnell
and his following supported the measure, but the Liberal party
was rent in twain. Lord Hartington, Joseph Chamberlain, John
Bright, and others of less note, deserted their old chief. Enough
of these "Liberal Unionists" seceded to defeat the bill. In
August, 1892, the aged Liberal chieftain again carried the
elections and took the seals of office for the fourth time. Home
Rule was again the principal plank in his platform, and all the
energies of the "Grand Old Man" were mustered to carry a new law
differing somewhat from the bill of 1886. Though it passed the
Commons (301 to 267) it was thrown out by the Lords by 419 to 41,
and his successor, Lord Rosebery, had no mind to renew the

The Gladstonian foreign policy was such as might have been
expected from a leader whose motto was "Peace, Retrenchment, and
Reform." It was never aggressive, and in the opinion of many, it
was lacking in the assertion of British rights. Thus, in 1871,
when Russia refused to be bound longer by the treaty stipulations
forbidding her to maintain a war fleet on the Euxine, Mr.
Gladstone did not hold her to her engagement. In England it was
thought to be a sign of weakness in his government to allow the
"Alabama" and "San Juan Boundary" questions to be settled by
arbitrators instead of by diplomacy or a show of force. In 1881,
when the Boers of the Transvaal had worsted the British at Majuba
Hill, they received from Gladstone an honorable peace instead of
extermination. The abandonment of the Egyptian Soudan, in 1883,
which carried with it the massacre of General Gordon, at
Khartoum, was perhaps the heaviest load that the Gladstonian
foreign policy ever had to bear.


Foreign affairs were the field of Disraeli's most brilliant
exploits. "He had two ruling ideas," says the historian Oman,
"the first was the conception of England as an imperial world-
power, interested in European politics, but still more interested
in the maintenance and development of her vast colonial and
Indian empire. This is the notion which friends and enemies now
using the word in different senses call 'imperialism.' The second
ruling thought in Disraeli's mind was the conviction that the
Conservative party ought to step forward as rival to the Liberal
party in commanding the sympathies and allegiance of the masses."
In pursuance of this second idea he took the "leap in the dark,"
in 1867, carrying a reform bill which was but little short of
democratic in its extension of the right to vote. This was
followed up by legislation favoring the English tenant-farmers,
and improving the condition of workingmen in towns. Even after
Disraeli's death, Lord Salisbury continued his domestic policy,
instituting local government by means of county councils in 1888,
making the schools free in 1891, and refunding the national debt
in 1888.

It was a great day for the British empire when Disraeli's
telegram to the hard-pressed Khedive of Egypt, in 1875, bought
for England the controlling interest in the Suez canal, the
water-gate to India. It was a bold stroke of Disraeli's also
which, at the close of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78,
compelled the victor to take his paw from the throat of his
victim and submit the treaty to a congress of the powers at
Berlin, where its terms were modified and England was admitted to
its benefits. The Second Afghan War (1878-80), and the Zulu War
(1878-79), and the Boer War, which brought little glory to
Britain, were the direct result of the Prime Minister's desire to
extend the empire and strengthen its frontiers. It may have been
theatrical, but it was certainly impressive to the assembled
princes of India when Lord Lytton, the Viceroy, proclaimed
Victoria Empress of India in Delhi, the old capital of the
Moguls, on January 1, 1877. And though Disraeli (raised to the
peerage as Lord Beaconsfield) was in his grave, his spirit
dominated the pageantry of 1887 and 1897, when every nation and
tribe and kindred and people of the Greater Britain sent
representatives to London to celebrate the jubilee and diamond
jubilee of the Empress-Queen, to whose aggrandizement he had
contributed so effectively.


The century closes upon another England than that which was
struggling against Napoleon at its dawn. Instead of the "right
little tight little island," a compact and self-contained nation,
it is now the head of an empire comparable in extent and
population with no other since the Rome of Augustus. Canada,
Federal Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa form a Greater
Britain, while the subject lands and islands dot the globe. The
problem which confronts the English at the end of the century is
not whether they can hold their own against a foreign power as in
the days of Waterloo, but whether all these British commonwealths
can be made to work together in some sort of federal union, or
whether the present ties are to dissolve or snap asunder and
girdle the globe with independent states like the American
republic, where each may be free to develop under its peculiar
conditions the genius of the Anglo-Saxon race.


1.  How was England situated at the opening of the nineteenth
2.  What did the names Hohenlinden, Trafalgar, and Austerlitz
mean to England?
3.  Sum up briefly the career of Wellesley.
4.  How did Canning's policy mark a turning-point in British
foreign affairs?
5.  What was the result of the Catholic agitation?
6.  How did the locomotive influence England's empire?
7.  How was Parliament changed by the Reform Bill?
8.  What changes in the Poor Laws were at once undertaken?
9.  What action regarding slavery and Irish taxation?
10. What was the Chartist agitation?
11. Describe the agitation for "repeal."
12. Why did the Corn Laws become intolerable?
13. What reforms were wrought through the influence of the Earl
of Shaftesbury?
14. Through what foreign complications did England pass under
15. What important abuses were corrected under Gladstone's
16. Describe his dealings with the Irish question.
17. How were certain great foreign matters dealt with by his
18. What brilliant foreign achievements were accomplished by
19. What is England's problem in the twentieth century?


HISTORY OF ENGLAND SINCE 1815.     By Spencer Walpole.
THE HISTORY OF OUR OWN TIMES.      By Justin McCarthy.
ENGLAND IN THE XIXTH CENTURY.      By Elizabeth Wormely Latimer.
THE GREVILLE MEMOIRS.              Edited by Henry Reeve.
THE REIGN OF QUEEN VICTORIA.       Edited by T. Humphrey Ward.
HISTORY OF ENGLAND.                By W. N. Molesworth.



[ARTHUR WELLESLEY, Duke of Wellington, born in Ireland, 1769;
died Walmer Castle, September 14, 1852; educated at Eton and at
Angers; entered Seventy-third Regiment as ensign, 1787; purchased
lieutenant-colonelcy of Thirty-third Regiment, 1793; served in
Holland expedition, 1794-95; 1796, in India with his regiment;
1803, major-general, commands in Mahratta War, victory at Assaye;
1805,in England; 1806, member of Parliament; 1807, Secretary for
Ireland; 1808, in Portugal; 1809-13, chief in command in
Peninsula, clears Portugal and Spain of the French; 1814, English
Ambassador at Paris; 1815, defeats Napoleon at Waterloo; 1815,
commander-in-chief of allied army in France; 1818, master-general
of the ordnance; 1822, represents England at Congress of Verona;
1828-30, Prime Minister; 1829, grants Catholic emancipation;
1834-35, Foreign Secretary; 1841, commander-in-chief. Buried in
St. Paul's Cathedral.]

In February, 1792, William Pitt, Prime Minister of George III.,
unfolding his annual budget in the House of Commons, declared,
"Unquestionably there never was a time in the history of this
country when, from the situation of Europe, we might more
reasonably expect fifteen years of peace, than at the present
moment." Yet within a twelvemonth after this utterance,
apparently sincere, France and England were plunged into a war
which lasted, with but one brief intermission, until 1815. It
embroiled in succession nearly every nation in Europe. In France
it provided a theater for the genius of Napoleon, who after
conquering in turn the best soldiers of the continent, was to
meet his match in the Duke of Wellington on the field of

The first period of the war mainly antedates the century which we
are considering. In 1793 the Convention, the revolutionary body
which had taken the place of the overturned French monarchy,
declared war on Holland and England. Pitt was still at the head
of King George III.'s ministry, and the conduct of the war
devolved upon him. Her insular position and powerful fleet
rendered England safe from invasion, but her active participation
in the military operations upon the continent was limited in
measure and distressing in outcome. The expeditions which she
landed in the Netherlands were shockingly inadequate in numbers,
and led by high-born generals without knowledge, talent, or
experience. It is little wonder that they accomplished nothing
except to feed the French contempt for English arms.

Successive coalitions were formed by the energetic Pitt with
Prussia, Austria, and other nations to check the advance of the
republican armies in which, after 1795, the figure of Napoleon
Bonaparte leaped into prominence. His victories disintegrated
these alliances, which had been cemented with English gold. At
the same time his victories so strengthened his personal hold
upon the army and the nation that he was able to make himself
absolute master of France.

The Peace of Amiens (March, 1802, to May, 1803) afforded the only
breathing space in all these twenty-two years of warfare.
Napoleon, now first consul, was soon to change that republican
mask for the honest and ambitious title of emperor. The
hollowness of the peace soon became evident. Under its cloak
French ships were building and French armies mustering in the
channel ports for the invasion of England. The character of the
strife had now radically changed. At the outset, ten years
before, England had joined hands with the continental monarchies
to check the spread of the liberal ideas which the French
republican armies were carrying on their bayonets in a species of
crusade in the name of liberty. But with the accession of
Bonaparte to the throne of the Bourbons, England was plunged into
a struggle for existence. Napoleon himself said that peace could
never prevail in Europe so long as England had the power to
disturb it, and all parties in England were resolved to combat to
the last the establishment of a vast and menacing military
despotism beyond the Straits of Dover.

The genius of Admiral Nelson preserved the command of the narrow
seas for England, and forced the Emperor to abandon his project
of invasion which had aroused the English nation to unprecedented
military activity. Pitt's subsidies had again set the continental
armaments in motion, but Napoleon's brilliant dash into Germany
brought these to naught in the battle of Austerlitz, which
destroyed the Third Coalition and brought Austria to terms. It
was this news that the great Prime Minister of George III. took
so to heart. He survived the disaster but a few weeks. But the
ministry of "All the Talents" took up his task with no thought of
abandoning the struggle. The death of Fox soon broke up this
administration, but those of Portland, Perceval, and Liverpool,
which followed, were as dogged in their resolution to spend the
last pound, and the last man, if need were, in ridding Europe of
the conqueror whose existence England had now come to regard as a
threat against her national independence.

As his conquests added state after state to the territory in
which his word was law, Napoleon developed new tactics against
England. He conceived it practicable to crush that commercial and
manufacturing power by excluding her goods from the markets of
Europe. This "continental system" was inaugurated in November,
1806, by the Berlin Decree which closed the ports of Europe to
British vessels, and declared a paper blockade against the
British Isles. This policy he forced upon nation after nation, to
which his conquests extended. England retaliated by the "Orders
in Council," which declared a blockade against the French ports,
and authorized the seizure of neutral vessels found trading with
them. By a naval raid in September, 1807, the British swooped
down on Denmark and carried off the Danish fleet to keep that
weapon from falling into the Emperor's hands. Two months later,
in anticipation of a British descent, French armies seized
Portugal and entered Spain.

Up to the entrance of the French into the Spanish Peninsula, the
protracted hostilities had brought little advantage to the
British arms except on the sea. It was the Peninsular War,
precipitated by this fresh encroachment of Napoleon, which first
gave a laurel to the English arms and prepared Wellington for
Waterloo. Napoleon and the soldier who was to overthrow him were
born in the same year. The babe whom the world was to know as the
Duke of Wellington was christened in Dublin in May, 1769, by the
name of Arthur Wesley. (In 1798 the older spelling of the family
name, Wellesley, was resumed.) He was descended from English
ancestors long resident in Ireland, and was himself the fourth
son of the Earl of Mornington. The death of the Earl when Arthur
was but twelve years old left the family in slender
circumstances. Richard, the eldest son and successor to the
title, had achieved high university honors, but Arthur was a slow
student of everything save music and mathematics. After a brief
residence at Eton he entered a higher institution at Angers, in
France. His mother thought him worth nothing better than "food
for powder," and at eighteen he obtained a commission as ensign
in the Seventy-sixth Regiment of British Foot. Family influence
and the purchase of his "steps" soon made him a lieutenant-
colonel (1793) of the Thirty-third Foot. He had already been
three years a member of the Irish House of Commons where,
however, he did not distinguish himself.

England was now at war with France, and Colonel Arthur
Wellesley's first foreign service was in 1794, when his regiment
was sent to the support of the Duke of York, who was near the end
of his ignominious campaign in the Low Countries. In March, 1795,
he was back in England, disgusted with the incompetency of his
superiors. Of the value of this experience he afterward said,
"Why, I learned what one ought not to do, and that is always
something." At the time, however, he was less philosophical, and
after consulting with his wise elder brother as to the future
possibilities of distinction in military life, he applied for a
civil office under the Lord Lieutenant of England.

Instead of droning out his life in a treasury clerkship,
Wellesley found a more strenuous career abroad. In the autumn of
1795 his regiment was ordered to India, where he arrived in
February, 1797. A year later his already famous brother Richard,
Lord Mornington, came out as Governor-general. The brothers were
sincerely devoted to each other, and co-operated cordially in the
important operations which followed. The English possessions in
India were then limited to the coast regions, the kings and
princes of the states of the interior being variously bound to
the East india Company by treaty engagements. The news of the
victorious progress of the French arms in Europe lost nothing by
repetition in the bazaars of Hindustan, and emissaries of France
were not wanting to stir the native princes against England.
Bonaparte's expedition to Egypt in 1798 revealed his intention to
attack England through her Indian realm. In February, 1799, the
Governor-general declared war against Tippoo, Sultan of Mysore, a
powerful prince, who had been plotting in the French interest.
The younger Wellesley had contributed much to the efficient
organization of the army which was to invade the Sultan's
territory, and after the fall of Seringapatam he distinguished
himself by his firm and orderly administration of the conquered
domain. In 1802, the year of the Peace of Amiens, he was made a
major-general. When the news of the treaty with France reached
him, his opinion was emphatically expressed: "It establishes the
French power over Europe, and when we shall have disarmed we
shall have no security except in our own abjectness." The
conquest of Mysore left only the Mahratta confederacy undominated
by British authority. These states, a vast domain in western and
central India, having quarreled among themselves, applied to the
British for aid. General Wellesley secured the close alliance of
one party, and as commander-in-chief, took the field against the
others. On the 23rd of September, 1803, he found himself with
seven thousand five hundred men in the presence of the Mahratta
host of fifty thousand men with one hundred and twenty-eight
guns. Retreat was difficult, speedy reinforcement impossible. The
young major-general determined an attack immediately, and
handling his little army with great skill and intrepid courage,
he routed the enemy in the great victory of Assaye, which broke
the Mahratta power. For his exploits he received the thanks of
King and Parliament, and was dubbed a Knight of the Bath.

General Sir Arthur Wellesley returned to England in 1805, after
seven years absence in India. On his way he touched at the Isle
of St. Helena, and took note of its beautiful scenery and
salubrious climate. Doubtless the impression then made was
recalled ten years later, when it became necessary to select a
safe residence for his defeated foe. To one who expressed
surprise that a man of his solid achievement should receive but a
subordinate post as that to which he was assigned on his return
to England, General Wellesley said, "I am NIM MUK WALLAH, as we
say in the East. I have eaten of the King's salt and therefore I
conceive it to be my duty to serve with zeal and cheerfulness
when and wherever the King or his government may think fit to
employ me." This expression explains his lifelong attitude toward
the crown. He considered himself its "retained servant."

It was two years before his talents were properly utilized.
Meanwhile he was member of Parliament and secretary to the Lord
Lieutenant of Ireland. The Peninsular War was his opportunity.
Napoleon had sent Marshal Junot to Lisbon with an army to seize
the country and force it into his continental system, the royal
family retiring to Brazil as he advanced. At almost the same
time, by a series of conscienceless machinations, he had
compelled the King of Spain to abdicate, and had occupied Madrid
and the fortresses of the northern provinces. In spite of popular
risings against the French, Napoleon made his brother Joseph King
of Spain. At once revolt flamed out among the common people, and
the insurrection spread through both kingdoms, and was accepted
in England as an invitation to come to their relief.

Pitt had foreseen amid the shadows of the defeat of Austerlitz
that the Iberian Peninsula might be the final field of resistance
to Napoleon, and now events had brought his successors to the
same view. It was accessible by England's ocean highway, its
people were high-spirited, and impatient of foreign domination,
and a successful campaign there would threaten the French flank.
In June, 1808, an expedition was dispatched to the aid of the
Spanish and Portuguese insurrectionists, and the command was
given to Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Wellesley. The night
before he left London he said to the friend who interrupted his
reverie, "Why, I am thinking of the French. . . . 'Tis enough to
make one thoughtful. But no matter; my die is cast. They may
overwhelm me, but I don't think they will out-manueuver me. . . .
I suspect all the continental armies were more than half-beaten
before the battle was begun. I at least will not be beaten

The qualities which fitted this officer for the heavy work in
hand were those which had been developed and tested in India. He
was, first of all, a worker of surpassing industry and the
closest application. Where others were brilliant, he was
thorough. No commander ever left less to chance or to the
inspiration of the moment. He prepared for his campaigns by
subjecting his troops to the most thorough drill and by providing
them properly with all the munitions of war. His troops were
shaped by incessant care and pains into a perfect weapon, the use
of which he perfectly understood. Further than this, his
experience in India, where conditions had made him the
responsible administrator of vast native states, made him the
right man to conduct a campaign in the peninsula, where, between
the French and the Nationalists, civil administration had fallen
into great disorder, and where all sorts of extraordinary tasks
devolved upon the British representative. His management of his
uncertain allies, the guerrilla chiefs, and his relations with
the revolutionary "juntas" called for qualities as rare as those
which defeated one after another of Napoleon's marshals and
finally worsted the great captain himself. Thoroughness of
preparation, the ability to see things as they are, to wait
patiently, decide promptly, and act with energy--these are
perhaps simple military virtues, but they bring success, and they
were in high degree the possession of the young Indian officer,
who was now to undertake a difficult campaign in a foreign
country. The event proved that with such qualities a general may
compass the most difficult tasks, though he may be "cold" in
temperament, and incapable of kindling in the breasts of his men
that passionate personal devotion which some hold to be the true
test of a great soldier.

Wellesley disembarked his expeditionary force in August, at
Mondego Bay, a hundred miles north of Lisbon, which Junot held
with twelve thousand men. Junot advanced to meet the English, and
at Vimiero Wellesley met and defeated the first of Napoleon's
marshals. Before the close of the day the arrival of a superior
officer terminated Wellesley's command. He had, however,
inflicted such a blow that Junot was glad to sign a convention
which permitted him to evacuate the kingdom. Wellesley returned
to England.

In the spring of 1809 Wellesley was back in Lisbon. He had
persuaded the government that Portugal could be defended and made
the base of operations which should eventually clear the entire
peninsula of the French. They had intrusted the chief command to
him, and now left him free for four years to press his campaigns
to the Spanish capital, and thence to the Pyrenees and beyond
upon the very soil of France itself.

He was watched by two French armies. Soult was at Oporto in the
north, and Victor far up the Tagus Valley, between him and
Madrid. By an unexpected movement, having surprised Soult and
sent him headlong beyond the frontier, Wellesley crossed the
border in quest of Victor. The armies clashed at Talavera, in the
last days of June, in one of the most stubbornly contested
engagements of the war. The English kept possession of the field,
and, though Joseph Bonaparte congratulated his soldiers upon the
glory of the "victory," he knew in his heart, as his greater
brother told him to his face, that the battle was a French

Conditions were not yet suited for an advance into Spain, where
the French were gathering in enormous force, with instructions
from Napoleon to "advance upon the English, pursue them without
cessation, beat them, and fling them into the sea." To insure his
forces against the execution of this mandate Wellesley
constructed a crescent of earthworks about Lisbon, "the lines of
Torres Vedras," within which he might take refuge, and under
cover of which, as a last resort, his forces might be safely re-
embarked for retreat. The veteran Massena was selected by the
Emperor to drive the English out of Portugal. As he advanced, in
the summer of 1810, Wellesley retired before him, and just when
the pursuer believed the game was his, he was confronted by the
impregnable lines of Torres Vedras, whose position and strength
was all unsuspected. All winter Massena hovered about the hole,
but the fox was safe in his earth, and in the spring the old
hound again turned his face toward Spain, with the English on his

For another year the English general, who, in honor of Talavera,
had been raised to the peerage as Viscount Wellington, was
engaged in reducing the French garrisons, and forming into useful
auxiliary troops the raw Portuguese who had risen against the
invader. The capture of the fortress of Ciudad Rodrigo (January,
1812) opened the road to Spain. So important was this point that
the captor was rewarded for it with an English earldom, a Spanish
dukedom, and a Portuguese marquisate. In early summer
Wellington's army took the offensive on Spanish soil. Marshal
Marmont's army at Salamanca in the north was his first objective.
The clash came on the 22nd of July. On the second day of the
battle of Salamanca the English infantry crushed the weakened
center of Marmont's line, the marshal was wounded, his army
hurriedly retreated. On the 12th of August the English were in
Madrid. The Bonaparte King fled from his capital, whose citizens,
intoxicated with joy, crowded around the English general, hung on
his stirrups, touched his clothes, and throwing themselves on the
earth, blessed him aloud as the friend of Spain!

The work of deliverance was by no means complete. Wellington's
army was small, and the support of the Spanish auxiliaries was
not to be counted upon. Though the Emperor was in Russia, some of
his best marshals and a powerful army were opposed to the English
in Spain. It was only the most skilful management, in which
caution and audacity were blended, that brought Wellington safely
out of his dangerous position in Spain, and allowed him to retire
to winter quarters on the Portuguese frontier. The effect of the
campaign upon the Spaniards had been to give him the chief
command of the national forces. England realizing that the
general whose coming had been so long awaited was found at last,
made Wellington a marquis, and voted him the thanks of the Lords
and Commons and one hundred thousand pounds, besides sending him
the reinforcements of cavalry which he needed for his broad plan
of operations for the next campaign.

The winter of 1812-13, which Wellington devoted to his
comprehensive preparations, saw the disastrous retreat of
Napoleon from the snows of Russia. From that blow he never
recovered, and thenceforward he could do little to support his
eagles in the peninsula. The recall of Soult further weakened the
resistance. In May, Wellington bade farewell to Portugal and
recrossed the Spanish frontier, advancing on Madrid from the
northwest. The King and his army retired toward France.
Wellington overtook them at Vittoria (June 21) and fought them,
capturing their guns, baggage, and Spanish plunder, though Joseph
and the main French army escaped northward through the passes of
the Pyrenees.

Soult came posthaste from Dresden to resume command. He found the
army of Spain encamped on French soil, led it through the passes
again, but the English could not be dislodged. In October an
English general for the first time since Napoleon came to power
stood on French soil at the head of an invading army. Soult,
forced away from Bayonne, fell back on Toulouse, where Wellington
dealt him another blow on April 14, 1814. That blow was the last.
Just one week earlier Napoleon, driven back from the Rhine to
Paris by the allied armies on the northeast, had abdicated the
throne which had cost so much blood and treasure.

Wellington visited Paris and Madrid, and then returned to London.
Five years earlier he had left England as Sir Arthur Wellesley;
he came back Duke of Wellington. His own remark upon his
campaigns contrasts strangely with the spirit of the Frenchman,
whose best generals he had out-manoeuvered and overwhelmed. He
was "a conqueror without ambition," he said. "All the world knew
that I desired nothing but to beat the French out of Spain and
then go home to my own country, leaving the Spaniards to manage
theirs as they pleased." England lavished honors upon the hero of
the Peninsular War. Parliament thanked him, granted him four
hundred thousand pounds. He carried the sword of state on the
occasion of the peace celebration in St. Paul's Cathedral. London
banqueted him in Guildhall.

For a summer and a winter the Duke represented England at Paris
and Vienna where the states of Europe were wrangling over the
restoration of the continent to its antebellum condition. When
Napoleon escaped from Elba and was welcomed to Paris by his
former marshals, Europe turned to Wellington to deliver her from
the new peril. On the 25th of March, 1815, Austria, Russia,
Prussia, and Great Britain formed the Quadruple Alliance, binding
themselves to maintain the treaty recently signed at Paris, and
not to lay down arms until "Buonaparte should be placed
absolutely beyond possibility of exciting disturbance and
renewing his attempts to possess himself of the supreme power in

The Duke arrived at Brussels on the 4th of April to take command
of the allied army. Instead of the grand armies of the Quadruple
Alliance he found a composite force of some twenty-five thousand
English, Dutch, Belgians, Brunswickers, and Hanoverians. The
Prussians had thirty thousand men within co-operating distance.
In comparison with the thoroughly disciplined army which he had
developed and wielded so skilfully in the peninsula this force
cut a sorry figure. The field-marshal's bitterest complaint was
that his government had not even provided him with the admirable
staff which five years of service had made so familiar with his
methods and desires. On the very verge of the campaign he wrote,
"I have an infamous army, very weak and ill equipped, and a very
inexperienced staff." While the armies of Austria and Russia were
advancing upon France the Emperor was setting an enormous force
in the field. It was his purpose to fall upon the army on the
Belgian frontier before the other allies could enter France. For
the invasion of Belgium he selected one hundred and twenty-five
thousand men. Prince Blucher, commanding the Prussians, now had
as many men, while Wellington, his ally, commanded some ninety-
three thousand, of whom barely one-third were British. Five-
sixths of the British infantry had never been under fire.

Napoleon's plan was to thrust his army between Blucher and
Wellington and defeat them in succession. On the evening of June
15th, news was brought to the Duke at Brussels that the enemy had
passed the frontier and were engaging the Prussian outposts. He
at once gave the necessary orders for the advance, and after
midnight showed himself at the now famous ball of the Duchess of
Richmond. At eleven the next forenoon he was at QuatreBras, where
his army was engaged in beating off an attack by Marshal Ney,
while Blucher was being pounded by Napoleon a few miles to the
eastward at Ligny. Both the allies retreated, but instead of
separating as Napoleon hoped and believed, they retired along
converging lines, the English to Waterloo, the Prussians to
Wavre, the positions being connected by a roadway. Through the
rain of Saturday, June 17th, Wellington disposed his sixty-nine
thousand men and one hundred and fifty-six guns on both sides of
the Brussels highway, along which Napoleon advanced on the morrow
with seventy-two thousand men and two hundred and forty cannon.
The action opened near noon on the 18th, the French making a vain
effort to carry the Château of Hougomont on the British right.
Next an army corps was hurled at the center, only to be stopped
by Wellington's cavalry with appalling loss. In the afternoon the
Emperor delivered a series of cavalry attacks upon the allied
center. Twelve thousand horsemen thundered up the gentle slope
past the English guns, only to break against the bayonet-hedged
squares of the infantry. At the end of eight hours' fighting the
French center had advanced to within sixty yards of the British
position, but the line still held, and Blucher's Prussians were
rapidly coming up on the right flank. Marshal Grouchy having
failed to prevent this fatal manoeuver, Napoleon shot his last
bolt, sending Ney with the Old Guard against the British right.
But "the bravest of the brave had fought his last battle," and as
his ten battalions were flung back in disorder, Wellington gave
the word to his whole line to advance. The rush of his reserves
of horse scattered the remnants of the tired and disheartened
host. The wreck of the grand army drifted back over the border,
and the dispirited Emperor, having risked everything in one bold
experiment and lost, hastened to Paris, and after a vain attempt
to rally the nation once more about his standard, abandoned hope
and sought refuge on board the "Bellerophon," British man-of-war
(July 15, 1815). At nine o'clock in the evening of the memorable
day of Waterloo, Blucher and Wellington met. The grizzled
Prussian kissed the grave Englishman on both cheeks in the
exuberance of his joy. Without the timely support of his Germans,
that day might have had another ending.

Waterloo was the last act of the Napoleonic struggle. The Emperor
went into exile at St. Helena to fret against his prison bars and
curse his keepers. Wellington had already exhausted his country's
sources of honor. All that Parliament could do was to present the
fine estate of Strathfieldsaye to him and his heirs on condition
of presenting a French tri-color flag to the sovereign at Windsor
on each anniversary of the 18th of June.

Wellington was above all a soldier, but for the remaining thirty-
six years of his lifetime his country had little employment for
the sword. Yet the esteem in which he was held, not only for his
military achievements, but for his honesty and common sense, made
him a conspicuous figure in public affairs for most of his long
life. After Waterloo he remained in France, where his moderation
saved Paris from the vengeance of the continental commanders. Of
the allied army of occupation which remained in France until
1818, Wellington was commander-in-chief. As head of the
commission which passed upon the foreign claims for damages
arising from the protracted wars, his fairness again saved France
from her rapacious creditors.

His work on the continent done, Wellington returned to England to
enter the public service as a member of Lord Liverpool's cabinet.
In 1822 he was sent to represent Great Britain at the Congress of
the Powers at Verona, where he frustrated Russia's intention of
interfering in the affairs of Spain. In 1826 he was sent to
Russia on a special mission from Canning to secure the consent of
the new Czar to English intervention in behalf of the insurgent
Greeks. On the death of the King's brother, the Duke of York, he
became commander-in-chief of the army. Disagreement with Canning
led him to withdraw from that premier's cabinet in April, 1827,
but in the following January (1828), he himself became Prime
Minister, with Robert Peel as Home Secretary. With all his Tory
loyalty to the Church his administration broke its ancient
monopoly. In 1828 he allowed the Test and Corporation Acts to
pass, opening the way for Protestant dissenters to hold civil and
military office. In 1829 he concluded that relief of the Roman
Catholics of Ireland from their political disabilities could no
longer be postponed. Peel had been even more reluctant than his
chief--a native of Ireland--to reach this decision, but the
growing power of the "Catholic Association," the popular
organization which the agitator O'Connell had called into
existence, compelled immediate action. The King was reluctantly
brought to see the expediency of the act, which, when proposed by
Pitt a generation before, had so stiffened the neck of his
father, George III. Perhaps no minister whose prestige was less
than that of the hero of Waterloo could have won the consent of
the Hanoverian monarch, whose dynasty had been brought to England
for the defense of the Protestant faith. The bill for the
emancipation of the Catholics slid easily through the Commons,
though the stiff old Tories who had counted Wellington as of
their number voted solidly against it. Even the Lords failed to
make the expected resistance, and accepted the measure by a vote
of two to one despite the known preference of the court and
clergy, and a bombardment of Protestant petitions. One peer had
thus predicted the result to Macaulay, who was in doubt as to how
the Duke would explain the bill and justify his change of front:
"0, that will be simple enough. He'll say, 'My Lords! Attention!
Right about face! Quick march!' and the thing will be done." King
George tried to slip out of his pledges, but the Iron Duke held
him fast, and the 13th of April, 1829, the act became a law. It
is the chief monument of the Wellington administration.

Against the next great question, the reform of Parliament, he set
himself resolutely, expressing his opposition in such
unmistakable terms as to forfeit at once his office and his
popularity. The London mob stoned his windows, but could not
change his attitude toward legislation which he thought
pernicious to the welfare of his country. He carried on his
opposition when the reform bills began to come up from the
Commons into the Peers' chamber. On the 18th of June, 1832, the
seventeenth anniversary of Waterloo, he was pelted with stones
and dirt by a yelling mob in the streets of London, and only
saved from rougher handling by two old soldiers who walked at his
stirrups and held back the ruffians until the police came to the
rescue. The Reform Bill had already become a law, Wellington and
his irreconcilable friends, perceiving the futility of further
obstruction, absenting themselves from the chamber rather than
vote contrary to their consciences. Even after the reformed
Parliament had come into existence this arch aristocrat could see
nothing but evil in the outlook. He complained that the House of
Commons "had swallowed up all the power of the state," and he was
not far wrong. Still his loyalty to the crown, and his
determination that the government should be upheld kept him from
merely factious opposition and made him a useful servant of the
nation. The leader of the majority in the House of Lords, he
declined to use his position to thwart the purposes of the
popular House. "I do not choose," he said, in 1834, when the Poor
Law Bill was up, "I do not choose to be the person to excite a
quarrel between the two Houses of Parliament. The quarrel will
occur in its time; and the House of Lords will probably be
overwhelmed. But it shall not be owing to any action of mine." It
was in this year that a singular occurrence showed his unique
place in the confidence of King and nation. In November the King
dismissed the Melbourne ministry and called on the Duke to form
another. The latter perceived that no Tory but Peel could manage
the Commons, but Peel was then traveling on the Continent. The
Duke accordingly undertook to carry on the government alone until
that leader's return. And for five weeks he was the cabinet,
holding all the high offices--Treasury, Home, Foreign, and
Colonial--himself, so as not to embarrass his successor by making
appointments. The Whigs raised a great outcry against this one-
man power, but the people rather admired the industry of the
veteran who rose at six o'clock in the morning and went the
rounds of the departments performing the routine duties with the
greatest industry and fidelity and steadily refusing to use his
enormous power and patronage for personal or factional rule. Sir
Herbert Maxwell, the Duke's latest biographer, has attempted to
describe the Duke's political creed by coining a term. He was not
"an impracticable Tory," as the Reformers would name him, nor yet
a mere "Tory opportunist," as sterner Tories would have it. "He
was a possiblist rather than an opportunist, prepared to resist
change as long as possible, but to give way rather than throw the
power into the hands of those (Radicals) who, he honestly
believed, would wreck the realm."

Wellington was foreign secretary in Peel's first cabinet (1834-
35), and commander-in-chief in the second (1841-46). His lifelong
political theory is well exemplified by his words when notified
by the Prime Minister, in November, 1845, of his intention to
suspend the Corn Laws, an act most offensive to his party and
social class. "My only object in public life is to support Sir
Robert Peel's administration of the government for the Queen. A
good government for the country is more important than Corn
Laws." In much the same words the aged leader addressed the House
of Lords in behalf of Peel's Corn Bill, and though bitterly
opposed to the measure, they accepted his guidance and gave the
bill their assent. In 1848 there were many who believed that the
country was on the brink of a revolution. The Chartist agitation
was culminating in the presentation of the great petition to
Parliament, and half a million men were to escort it from
Kennington to Westminster. Wellington was nearing his seventy-
ninth birthday, but the government turned to him to organize the
defense of the capital against mob violence. The old warrior-
blood warmed in his veins, and he amazed the ministers by the
clearness of his plans and the energy and decision with which he
carried them out. Though the affair passed off without
disturbance, being at all times under police control, so thorough
were the Duke's preparations as to have made a successful
revolution impossible.

To his latest year the Duke continued to attend the sessions of
the Lords, and his opinions were listened to with respectful
attention. It was fitting that his last speech there should have
been in a military debate, and that in urging the value of
militia organization, he should have drawn upon his experience
with the raw Hanoverian levies in the Waterloo campaign. This was
in the summer of 1852. On the evening of the 13th of the
following September he retired in his usual condition of health.
The next morning he was seized with sudden illness and did not
live the day out.

Enough has been said in this brief sketch of his public career to
show that the Duke of Wellington, though among the greatest of
English soldiers, cannot rank high among English statesmen,
although he served his country in the highest offices. If read in
detail the record of his career in the Cabinet and in the House
of Lords would confirm the reader in the opinion that his only
sure title to greatness rests in his military career. It has
often been said that, had he died in the moment of victory as did
Nelson, it would have been happier for his fame. But it must not
be forgotten that the years of his political action were those in
which England was passing through the stages of a social and
political revolution, in which the democracy was rising to power
and the landed aristocracy was losing prestige and privilege.
That this revolution was accomplished without such a convulsion
as marked this struggle in other European kingdoms may have been
due, in some degree at least, to the fact that the leader of the
aristocratic Party was held in honor by the masses of the nation.
Moments of exasperation there were when the bitterness of popular
feeling against the obstructionists in the House of Lords vented
itself upon the Duke, but the prevailing feeling toward him was
one of pride in his military achievements and confidence in his
honesty. As McCarthy has well said, "His victories belonged to
the past. They were but tradition, even to middle-aged persons in
the Duke's later years. But he was regarded still as the
embodiment of the national heroism and success--a modern St.
George in a tightly buttoned frock coat and white trousers!"


1.  What share had England taken in the French struggle
previous to 1802?
2.  What did the Peace of Amiens prove to be?
3.  In what ways and with what success did England struggle
against Napoleon up to the Peninsular War?
4.  Describe the early life of Wellesley.
5.  What military experience did lie gain in India?
6.  What policy did Napoleon pursue in Spain and Portugal?
7.  What qualities fitted Wellesley to command the Peninsular
8.  Describe Wellington's campaigns up to 1813?
9.  How was the Peninsular War finally closed?
10. Describe the struggle at Waterloo.
11. What important acts relative to church questions were
enacted under Wellington's ministry?
12. What was his attitude toward the Reform Bill?
13. What curious instance of "one-man power" did he illustrate
in 1834?
14. How was his character shown in his position regarding the
Corn Laws?
15. How does he rank among great English leaders?


LIFE OF WELLINGTON.            By W. Herbert Maxwell.
The best recent "Life of Wellington" is by Sir Herbert Maxwell. 2
vols. London. The great "History of the Peninsular War" is by Sir
Wm. Napier.



[GEORGE CANNING, born, London, April II, 1770; died, London,
August 8, 1827; educated at Eton and Oxford; Member of
Parliament, 1793; 1797, editor of Anti-Jacobin periodical; 1807-
09, Secretary for Foreign Affairs; 1809, duel with Castlereagh;
1814-16, Ambassador at Lisbon; 1817-20, President of India Board;
1822, appointed Governor-General of India; 1822-27, Minister for
Foreign Affairs; 1827, Prime Minister and First Lord of the
Treasury. Buried in Westminster Abbey.]

During the first twenty years of the nineteenth century Great
Britain, though possessing the most liberal constitution of any
of the powers, was the consistent ally of the absolute monarchies
of Europe. Strange as the situation at first appears, it is not
difficult to trace the causes which produced it.

For the explanation of most of the phenomena of European history
in the first half of the century the student must turn back to
the French Revolution. The social and political ideas which were
at the bottom of that great upheaval were in part suggested by
the success of free institutions in constitutional England, where
parliamentary government had been highly developed while France
lay bound by her Bourbon despots. A large body of Englishmen
numbering some of the greatest names in politics and literature
sympathized deeply with the earlier manifestations of the
revolutionary spirit.

"Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
But to be young was very heaven"

sang Wordsworth, whose youthful enthusiasm over that dawn was
soon chilled by the crimes which were committed in the name of
Liberty--the slaughter of the royal pair, the reign of the
guillotine, and the enthronement of reason in the place of God.
The tide of opinion in England was turned by these scenes of
lawless license, and when, in 1793, the revolutionary government
of France offered its armed aid to all oppressed peoples,
England, led by William Pitt, joined Austria and Prussia in a war
to suppress the dangerous republic, and restore the Bourbon
dynasty to its ancient throne. Seven successive coalitions were
thus formed by English diplomacy between 1793 and 1815 to meet
the changing phases of the struggle which, after 1803, had ceased
to be monarchy against democracy and had become a universal war
for self-preservation from Napoleon, the military genius who had
made himself the dictator of revolutionary France. When the great
war seemed to have come to an end, in 1814-15, and Napoleon was
finally caged at St. Helena, England found herself naturally
taking a principal part in re-establishing the Bourbon Louis
XVIII. on the throne of France. She had stood with the other
powers so long against a common foe that she continued to stand
with them now in undoing, as far as might be, the work which the
disturbing and renovating conqueror had wrought in the kingdoms
which he had overrun. Not only were the old boundaries generally
restored and the exiled monarchs brought back to replace the
upstart Bonaparte kings, but the constitutional freedom which the
French arms had introduced in many parts of Europe was annulled
wherever possible. The Congress of Vienna, in which the allied
powers formulated their policy, did its best to turn back the
shadow twenty years on the dial of progress, and England either
joined in the effort or stood by consenting to the death of so
many newly won liberties.

When the allied sovereigns were met in Napoleon's capital after
Waterloo, the Czar of Russia conceived a thought which seemed to
him to be an inspiration. In the ecstasy of the hour of
deliverance from the sword which had been the nightmare of the
continent for a generation Alexander proposed to his fellow
potentates a covenant binding them to be governed by the
principles of Christian justice and charity in their dealings
with their own subjects and in their mutual relations. Sincere
and pious as the Czar undoubtedly was, this agreement, which was
accepted by the other monarchs, excepting George IV. of England,
did not produce the results which one might suppose from its
name, the Holy Alliance. It was used not only to stifle the
spirit of liberty in western Europe, but its baleful influence
was felt in Italy, Spain, and Greece. In effect it was a trades-
union in which the allied crowned-heads undertook to stifle
popular liberty wherever it showed signs of life. When Alexander
explained his proposal to the English commissioners at Paris they
could scarcely keep a straight face at its absurdity. Yet though
England refused to become a member of the Holy Alliance, she did
allow herself for a period of several years to be ruled by its
decisions, or at least to allow them to be enforced without a

Such in brief was the chain of events which associated the
foreign policy of England with that of the Holy Alliance. The
brilliant statesman who broke away from this foreign policy and
led England out upon a line of independent action was George

The future Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister was born in
London, April II, 1770. His father was an Englishman from the
north of Ireland, who had read law, but failed to get clients,
and had succeeded at nothing, from pamphleteering to selling
wine. He died on his babe's first birthday. The widow married an
actor and essayed a stage career. What would have become of
little George had he remained in his mother's company is an
interesting speculation. An actor called the attention of his
uncle, a London banker, to the probability that the lad was on
the high road to the gallows--to which in those days more than
one road led. This uncle, Stratford Canning, assumed the
responsibility of the child's education, sent him to Eton and
later to Oxford. At the former he distinguished himself by his
witty contributions to "The Microcosm'--most famous of school-boy
periodicals--and at the University where he was graduated, B.A.,
in 1791 he won some distinction in literature and oratory, taking
the University prize with his Latin poem. At Oxford he passed
through the "blissful dawn" of which Wordsworth sang, and was an
enthusiastic admirer of the French Revolution of 1789 and of the
British Whigs who supported it--Fox, Sheridan, and their sort. He
came up to London as the tide was turning, and his own opinion
was among the first to change. Pitt, the Prime Minister, had been
apprised of his talent, sent for him, and had him "chosen" to the
House of Commons, a simple matter in those unregenerate days,
when the Tory chieftains had their pockets full of boroughs.

Pitt gave Canning a minor government office--he was not yet
thirty years of age--and treated him almost as a son, the young
man reciprocating the regard with a really filial devotion. He
was ambitious for advancement, and discontented with his slow
promotion. In 1797, in company with other choice spirits, he
began the publication of The Anti-Jacobin, a weekly periodical
which for nearly a year held up to merciless ridicule that
section of the British public which still countenanced the ruling
ideas of the French Revolution. When the King's refusal to yield
on the question of Catholic emancipation (1801) compelled Pitt to
resign, Canning went out of office with him. Addington, the
stupid mediocrity who succeeded Pitt, provoked Canning's pen to
fresh lampoons, some of them long remembered for their savage

When Pitt resumed the premiership, in 1804, to direct the new
struggle with Napoleon, he again bestowed office upon Canning,
and when he died, in 1806, Canning became the leader of the group
of Pittites who endeavored to perpetuate his ideas. In 1807 he
entered the cabinet in the important capacity of Foreign

As Foreign Secretary under the spiritless premiership of the Duke
of Portland, Canning was allowed free hand. The two years and a
half during which he directed the foreign office were marked by a
succession of moves which gave a new aspect to the contest with

Canning entered upon his duties just as the Fourth Coalition was
being hammered to pieces, on the same anvil which had destroyed
the others. By the Treaty of Tilsit (July, 1807), Napoleon
prepared to unite the northern nations in his war on British
commerce. Hearing or divining his purpose to further this project
by seizing the fleet of Denmark, Canning dispatched an armed
force to Copenhagen with a demand for the surrender of the Danish
ships. The order was executed, and the Danish vessels were
brought back to England, though at the cost of a bombardment of
the Danish capital. The French Emperor's eye was fastened on the
fleet of Portugal as another auxiliary, and when the Regent
refused to accede to his request, Napoleon dispatched Marshal
Junot to drive him from his kingdom and hold its ports and
fortresses against England.

England now stood almost alone, and Napoleon hoped to complete
her ruinous isolation by destroying her trade with Europe. His
"Continental System," which was to make the continent
commercially independent of Great Britain, was foreshadowed in
his Berlin Decrees. Fresh decrees were now met by fresh Orders in
Council, "shutting out from the continent all vessels which had
not touched at a British port." It was Canning whose genius
caught at the strategic possibilities of a war in the peninsula
(Spain-Portugal) as a practical opening on the French flank for a
final blow at the Napoleonic power. Napoleon's interference in
the government of Spain by dethroning its monarchs and giving the
crown to his brother Joseph had exasperated that proud nation and
provoked the spirited people to arm against the intruder. The
Portuguese were scarcely less bitter against the French
conqueror. Canning perceived the possibility of gaining a
foothold in these kingdoms, which were easily accessible by sea,
and by utilizing the spirit and resources of the aroused nations
to consolidate a power there which would threaten France itself,
whose borders the great soldier had thus far kept inviolate. How
ably Sir Arthur Wellesley fulfilled Mr. Canning's desire the life
of Wellington has already shown.

The Peninsular Campaign was scarcely under way when Canning and
Castlereagh, the War Secretary, quarreled and the former resigned
from the cabinet. Yet from his place in the House the ex-minister
continued manfully to uphold the general who was doing England's
work in Spain. There was need of all the support his genius could
contribute to this task, for parliament was slow to grasp the
deep purpose of the campaign, was impatient for results, and
prone to grumble at the bill of expense. Yet in the end Canning
enjoyed the satisfaction of pointing to the complete verification
of his hopes. He might have been Foreign Minister in the
Liverpool ministry at its outset (1812) had he been willing to
acquiesce in the leadership of Castlereagh in the House of
Commons. This would have given him the direction of English
policy in those critical years in which the Napoleonic empire was
broken up and European affairs rearranged by the powers at
Vienna. He lived to regret this as the greatest error of his
career. He was sufficiently humbled after four years to join the
government forces as president of the India board, resigning in
1820. In 1821, when on the point of going out to India, of which
he had been appointed governor-general, his prospects suddenly
changed. On the death of his rival, Castlereagh, Canning became
Foreign Secretary and leader of the Commons. The prize which he
had long schemed to secure, and had finally given up, suddenly
fell into his hand. Canning's mind could not but revert to the
lost opportunity of 1812. Not in a century would the Foreign
Minister again have a world to set in order. He wrote to a
friend, "Ten years have made a world of difference, and have made
a very different sort of world to bustle in than that which I
should have found in 1812. For fame it is a squeezed orange, but
for public good there is something to do, and I shall try--but it
must be cautiously-- to do it. You know my politics well enough
to know what I mean when I say that for 'Europe' I shall be
desirous now and then to read 'England.'" The closing sentence
was the keynote of his policy. For years it had been customary
for representatives of the powers to treat all important matters
as "European questions," and England had become habituated to a
diplomacy which kept English interests in the background for the
sake of the commonweal of Europe--Europe and the Holy Alliance
being synonymous. "When Castlereagh," said Canning, "got among
princes and sovereigns at Vienna, he thought he could not be too
fine and complaisant."

When Canning began to represent England in her relations with
foreign countries, he found the Holy Alliance in full vigor. In
fact, the Czar, Kaiser, and King had just met at Laybach (1821)
and issued a manifesto declaring that "useful and necessary
changes in legislation and in the administration of states could
only emanate from the free will and from the intelligent and
well-weighed convictions of those whom God has made responsible
for power. Penetrated with this eternal truth, the sovereigns
have not hesitated to proclaim it with frankness and vigor. They
have declared that, in respecting the rights and independence of
legitimate power, they regarded as legally null and disavowed by
the principles which constituted the public right of Europe, all
pretended reforms operated by revolt and open hostilities." In
plain terms the three monarchs, claiming to rule by divine
right, reasserted their determination to interfere in the
private affairs of any state to suppress movements which seemed
to their majesties to be revolutionary. The powers had already
acted according to this program in Piedmont and Naples, and were
preparing to interfere in behalf of the Bourbons in Spain, the
Spaniards in the revolted American republics, and the Turks in
Greece when Canning came to power. To the Congress of Verona,
where these and other questions were to be considered by the
powers, Canning sent Wellington to speak for England. In
accordance with his instructions the duke stood for non-
intervention. Europe had no business to restore the Bourbon to
the throne from which the nation had thrust him; on the same
principle Greece must be allowed to fight out her own cause with
the Turk; as for the Spanish-American colonies, why they were
already lost to Spain, and England had recognized them as
independent states. France undertook to do alone for the Spanish
monarch what the Holy Alliance wished to do in the name of
Europe. In this England acquiesced, but Russia's attempt to
second the French in their Spanish project by military support
was stopped by Canning's threat that such an act would only
result in England's making the Spanish cause her own. "The
admission of the jurisdiction of the Holy Alliance over Europe
was a course which he deemed it vital at almost any cost to
prevent," says Hill. "The time for Areopagus and the like of
that," as Canning put it, "has gone by." And again, "What should
we have thought of interference from foreign Europe when King
John granted Magna Charta, or of an interposition in the quarrel
between Charles I. and his Parliament?" To bring his colleagues
around to his view, Canning showed them that the interference of
the Holy Alliance in the affairs of Ireland might be justified
upon the same grounds on which the argument for intervention in
Spain was based. The King, never too fond of the brilliant
commoner, whose presence in the ministry he considered scarcely
less than a personal affront, had the temerity to criticise the
policy which was so obnoxious to his fellow crowned heads. He
thought that the English recognition of Spanish-American
independence was as wicked as the French alliance in 1778 with
the insurgent English colonists under Washington. Canning's
recognition of Spanish-American independence was a sagacious
stroke. It not only gave strength to his contention that peoples
had a right to decide for themselves who should rule them,
without consulting the despots of Europe, but its timeliness was
masterly. Glorifying his own course in one of his most famous
Parliamentary orations, in December, 1826, he explained why he
had not joined the Spaniards in making armed resistance to the
French invasion. He said: "Is the Spain of the present day, the
Spain of which the statesmen of the time and William and Anne
were so much afraid? Is it, indeed, the nation whose puissance
was expected to shake England from her sphere? No, sir, it was
quite another Spain--it was the Spain within the limits of whose
empire the sun never set; it was Spain with the Indies which
excited the jealousies and alarmed the imaginations of our
ancestors. . . . If France conquered Spain, was it necessary in
order to avoid the consequences of that occupation that we
should blockade Cadiz? No, I looked another way: I sought the
material of compensation in another hemisphere. Contemplating
Spain such as our ancestors had known her, I resolved that, if
France had Spain, it should not be Spain with the Indies. I
called the New World into existence to redress the balance of
the Old!"

Greece began her struggle for independence in 1821. The heroism
which her people displayed in their unequal battle with the
Turks attracted the attention and sympathy of many persons all
over the world, especially those who saw in the modern Greek the
representative of the race which had once been the intellectual
leader of Europe. The powers of the Holy Alliance, however, were
inclined to regard the outbreak with coldness, seeing in it a
fresh manifestation of the then growing disposition of European
peoples to rise against the tyranny of their anointed kings.
England held aloof from their conferences in regard to the
matter, trusting to their discordant interests to break up their
concert of action, since the Russian czar, as the head of the
Greek faith, might be counted upon in the long run to befriend
the Greeks, especially as such a step would carry the Russian
influence into the Balkan Peninsula and mark a full stride
toward Constantinople, then as now the goal of Russian ambition.
Canning employed Wellington to negotiate an agreement at St.
Petersburg for the rescue of Greece. Ultimately England, Russia,
and France signed a protocol which was to establish Greece as a
self-governing state, tributary to the Porte, but free in
matters of commerce and religion. In 1827 the three powers
demanded an armistice looking toward a treaty settlement, and
threatened to use force to compel a cessation of hostilities. The
Porte defied the powers, and his fleet having fired upon the
allied vessels, the battle of Navarino was precipitated in
October, 1827. The result was the expulsion of the Turks from
the country, and the early establishment of the complete
independence of the kingdom of Greece. Canning did not live to
see the consummation of his hopes in Greece. His health, which
had for several years been much enfeebled, gave way completely,
and on August 8, 1827, he died, at the age of fifty-seven. He
had then for six months held the highest office in the gift of
the nation.

In February, 1827, the illness of Lord Liverpool had made it
necessary to reorganize the cabinet and choose a new Prime
Minister. After much hesitation the King sent for Canning. Most
of his former colleagues declined to serve under him because he
was a professed pro-Catholic, and they were still of the opinion
that the Protestant constitution of England would be endangered
if the Irish demand for Roman Catholic emancipation should be
granted. Others were found to take the place of Wellington, Peel,
Eldon, and the other Tory leaders, and the Canning ministry got
under way, only to be abruptly halted at the grave. The remains
of the Prime Minister were deposited in Westminster Abbey, where
a statue by Chantry recalls his manly form and expressive

Even in so slight a sketch as the foregoing, some characteristics
of the man stand forth. Canning's wit, while its mordancy cost
him many friends, distinguishes him among English statesmen. The
talent which had stood him in good stead as boy-editor of "The
Microcosm" at Eton, and which is to be seen in the slings and
arrows of "The Anti-Jacobin," he never quite lost. His pen was
always ready to dash off a scrap of lampooning verse, and
flashes of wit and extended passages of humor enlivened the
brilliant orations by means of which he explained and defended
his policies in Parliament. As an orator his speeches were of
exquisite polish, and the voice, gesture, countenance and entire
bodily presence of the speaker contributed to their tremendous
effect. There were not wanting those who criticised his oratory
as savoring more of the stage than the rostrum, but such persons
were aristocratic political opponents who would not let the
world forget that this man whose genius outshone them all was
the son of a third-rate actress. Be it said to Canning's credit
that he did not forget his mother, but made her comfort in her
declining days the object of his solicitous care.

Mr. Hill, whose study of Canning has been of great assistance in
the preparation of these pages, thus goes to the heart of his
foreign policy: "The principle which made Canning the antagonist
of the propaganda of French principles in Europe during the
early part of his political life made him during his later years
in an equal degree the antagonist of the principles of the Holy
Alliance which it is his great glory as a statesman to have
defeated. The Holy Alliance endeavored to impose upon other
nations principles and a law of life not their own. As Canning
objected to the Holy Alliance, so he would have objected to its
present secular substitute, the Concert of Europe, which simply
means the agreement of the great powers to inflict their will
upon the small ones, not allowing them to develop according to
their native forces and genius, but constraining them to such
forms and confining them within such limits as suits the
convenience of a despotic hexarchy of states, or of a majority
of them. The country which is England at home should be England
abroad, reserving all its freedom of action. Canning's foreign
policy, which was for 'Europe' to read 'England,' and to 'get
rid of Areopagus and all that,' was sound and statesmanlike and
abundantly justified by its results."


1.  How did England join with the rest of Europe in undoing
the work of Napoleon?
2.  Give the chief events in the early life of Canning.
3.  Why did Canning authorize an attack on Denmark?
4.  What was his relation to the Peninsular War?
5.  What was his "lost opportunity" of 1812?
6.  How did he set forth his plans when he became foreign
secretary in 1821?
7.  What interference in the affairs of Europe did the
Holy Alliance attempt?
8.  How did Canning defend his recognition of Spanish-American
9.  What part did England play in the liberation of Greece?
10. What were the personal qualities of Canning?


GEORGE CANNING.             Frank H. Hill.
POETRY OF THE ANTI-JACOBIN. Edited by Charles Edmonds.



[GEORGE STEPHENSON, born, Wylam, near Newcastle, June 9, 1781;
died, August 12, 1848; driver lad in a colliery; at fourteen,
assistant to his father as fireman of colliery engines; at
seventeen, engineman; at eighteen, learned to read in night
school; 1812, enginewright at Killingworth colliery; 1814,
operated his locomotive, "My Lord"; 1822, engineer of Stockton
and Darlington Railroad (opened 1825); engineer of Liverpool and
Manchester Railroad (opened 1830); produced locomotive "Rocket,"
capable of thirty miles an hour.]

In a bare room of a laborer's tenement in the colliery village of
Wylam, in Northumberland, on the 9th day of June, 1781, was born
a babe to whose mind and hand England was to owe as much in
future years as to any high-born minister of the crown. Indeed,
one might trust the world to give a verdict in favor of George
Stephenson, the founder of the steam railway as against his
sovereign, King George III. himself.

The father, the "old Rob" of the village boys, was the fireman of
the pumping engine at the colliery hard by. His father before
him--the Stephensons were no pedigree-hunters, and traced their
line no farther- -was a Scotchman who, so far as anything was
remembered of him, had come into the north of England as a
gentleman's servant. Robert was a favorite with the village
children, to whom he gave the freedom of the fire-room, and was
a boon companion of his own houseful of boys and girls, kindling
their fancy by his headful of tales, and sharpening their
observation of the beauties of nature by making them the
companions of his walks a-field, where the birds and other living
things were the objects of his peculiar interest and love.

As soon as little George was old enough to "take notice" he must
have discovered the railway which ran before his father's door,
and his earliest responsibilities were connected with the
oversight of his younger brothers and sisters lest in their play
they should fall under the wheels of the cars or the hoofs of
the horses that supplied the motive power. The road was a wooden
tramway along which coal cars were dragged from the mines to

The first tramways in the northern coal-fields were made by
laying a track of planking on wooden sleepers. This device was
more than a century old when George Stephenson was born. In some
places this had been improved by plating the planks with iron.
While the Wylam lad was still a barefoot boy, cast-iron rails
were being introduced in Leicestershire, a wheel having been
designed with a flange to keep it on the narrow track. Thus the
railway was brought to a stage which needed only the application
of steam to its motive power to carry it into a new and vastly
enlarged phase.

The fireman's son was set to win his share of the family bread
before he was ten. He tended a widow's cows, led the plow-
horses, and hoed turnips before he entered a colliery as a
breaker-boy, where his task was to pick out stones and other
foreign substances from the fuel. Sixpence a day was the wage.
Soon at twopence more he was promoted to drive the gin-horse
that, circling around a capstan, hoisted the buckets of water
and coals out of the pit. At fourteen he became his father's
assistant in the fire-room at Dewley Burn at a shilling a day. At
fifteen he obtained a foreman's position in another colliery. At
seventeen he had gone over his father's head, and had charge of a
pumping engine at Water-row Pit. When his wages reached twelve
shillings a week he thought he was "a made man for life," but his
ignoble content was soon disturbed. Always fascinated by
machinery, as he was by birds and animals, he made a pet of his
engines, studying them with a singular fondness, and making
himself master of their principles and their parts. This
knowledge prompted him to learn more, especially to find out
something about the improved engines of Boulton & Watt, of which
rumors had reached the enginemen of the north. To do this he
must learn to read, an art which he seems to have considered
superfluous until he was eighteen. Never did student work harder
than Geordie Stephenson at his new task, amazing his teachers
and his mates by his progress at "the three R's." He was now
brakesman of a hoisting engine, dividing his small leisure
between his studies and his cobblery, for he added to his
earnings by mending shoes. His income was now some ninety pounds
a year. He saved his first guinea and felt himself a rich man.
At twenty-one he married a farmer's house-servant and went to
housekeeping in a cottage at Wellington Quay.

It would be a long story, however interesting, to follow the
young mechanic through the experiences by which he won a name in
all the North Country as the cleverest of "engine doctors,"
eking out his wages by making lasts, mending watches, and even
cutting out coats and trousers for the wives of the pitmen to
sew up for their husbands. His desire to provide his motherless
boy Robert with better schooling than he had enjoyed sharpened
his wits and added strength to his arm. Fortunately the son
proved to be not only an apt scholar, but had the rare gift of
being able to teach others. Whatever he learned in the good
schools to which his father sent him, he imparted to his father.
So boy and man progressed together in their educational

When George Stephenson became chief enginewright of the
Killingworth collieries at one hundred pounds a year he thought
he had reached the summit of his ambition. The duties of the
position made less demand upon him for manual labor, and left him
time to carry out some of his mechanical ideas. He devised new
hoists and pumps for the mines, and then applied himself to the
ever-present problem of cheapening the transportation of the
coals between pit mouth and ship side. One of his first
improvements of this sort was a gravity railway, so arranged that
the loaded cars, running down to the river by their own weight,
furnished the power to draw the empty cars to the summit again by
cable. When George Stephenson took up the problem of
perfecting a "traveling steam engine" he had the advantage of
knowing what had been accomplished by other experimenters. For
fifty years inventors had been turning out steam engines of
considerable promise in the model stage, but of little practical
performance. Indeed, about 1803, a Cornishman named Trevithick
had produced a locomotive which was used for a time to transport
metal and ore to the Pen-y-darran iron works in South Wales. The
heavy engine so damaged the tracks that it was soon dismounted
and degraded to the work of a steam pump. In 1812 a cog-wheel
locomotive, invented by a Mr. Blenkinsop, began running in a
colliery a few miles out of Leeds, and served very well its
purpose to haul heavy trains almost as fast as a horse could
walk. The next year a Derbyshire mechanic produced a "Mechanical
Traveler," the legs of which were moved alternately by steam, but
the bursting of its boiler on its trial trip put an end to its
picturesque career of doubtful usefulness.

One Mr. Blackett, an enterprising collier of Wylam, introduced
the ideas of Trevithick and Blenkinsop to the Tyneside and so
brought them under the observant eye of the Killingworth
enginewright, who had such a clever way of smoothing away
difficulties in complicated machinery. After repeated and costly
experiments, Mr. Blackett evolved a type of locomotive which,
though noisy and clumsy, did better work than any of its

After making a careful study of what had been done by others,
George Stephenson came to the conclusion that he could improve
upon the existing locomotive models. This was about 1813, when he
was about thirty-four years old. He said to his friends that
"there was no limit to the speed of such an engine, if the works
could be made to stand." One of his employers, Lord Ravensworth,
advanced the necessary money for constructing his first
"Traveling Engine" at West Moor, the colliery blacksmith
undertaking to carry out his designs. Dr. Smiles's description of
this locomotive may be reproduced: "The boiler was cylindrical of
wrought iron, eight feet in length and thirty-four inches in
diameter, with an internal flue tube twenty inches wide passing
through it. The engine had two vertical cylinders of eight inches
diameter and two feet stroke let into the boiler, working the
propelling gear with cross heads and connecting rods. The power
of the two cylinders was combined by means of spur-wheels which
communicated the motive power to the wheels supporting the engine
on the rail. . . The engine thus worked upon what is termed the
second motion. The chimney was of wrought iron, round which was a
chamber extending back to the feed pumps, for the purpose of
heating the water previous to the injection into the boiler. The
engine had no springs, and was mounted on a wooden frame
supported on four wheels." The engine made its trial trip July
25, 1814, on which occasion it showed a speed of four miles an
hour in drawing a load of thirty tons. This engine was named
"Blucher," after the distinguished Prussian field-marshal.

Blucher was almost immediately improved by its inventor. First he
doubled the steam-making power of its boiler by turning the
exhaust from the cylinders into the smoke-stack, thus creating a
forced draught. Second he built another engine, in which the
tooth-wheel driving gear gave way to a simple and direct
connection between the piston and the driving wheels which rolled
upon the rails. This type of locomotive, developing some six
miles an hour, did its work so well in the colliery that it was
retained, with very slight alterations, for more than half a
century. The report of its success got abroad slowly, and Mr.
Stephenson was commissioned to build a railway and a number of
locomotives for a colliery in another shire. The success of this
piece of engineering encouraged him in sending his son Robert, a
youth of fine promise, to Edinburgh to study physical sciences in
the university, where in his brief residence he took a
mathematical prize.

The year 1823 marked another forward step for George Stephenson
and railroads. Two years before a road had been chartered to
connect the Durham coal-fields with tidewater. Stephenson heard
of the project, and at once proposed to the company to make an
iron railroad of the new wooden tramway and equip it with his
traveling engines. His arguments and demonstrations won over the
skeptical directors. They had their charter amended so as to
authorize the use of steam as motive power for the transport of
passengers as well as merchandise. Thus began the Stockton and
Darlington Railway, the first in the world with a passenger
charter. The chief engineer was George Stephenson, on a salary of
five hundred pounds. At the same time, with the assistance of the
railroad people, he founded the locomotive shops at Newcastle.

The new railroad, the first public line, was opened in September,
1825. As its construction progressed, its engineer had become
increasingly sanguine of success. He said to his son Robert at
this time: "I venture to tell you that I think you will live to
see the day when railways will supersede almost all other methods
of conveyance in this country--when mail coaches will go by
railway, and railroads will become the great highway for the King
and all his subjects. The time is coming when it will be cheaper
for a workingman to travel upon a railway than to walk on foot. I
know there are great and almost unsurmountable difficulties to be
encountered, but what I have said will come to pass as sure as
you live. I only wish I may live to see the day, though that I
can scarcely hope for, as I know how slow all human progress is,
and with what difficulty I have been able to get the locomotive
thus far adopted, notwithstanding my more than ten years'
successful experiment at Killingworth."

The first train over the road was such an one as had never been
seen before. George Stephenson was at the lever when the engine
pulled out with a string of eight cars behind it. One regular
passenger coach--the first ever built--held the directors, and
twenty-one improvised passenger "wagons" carried some six hundred
daring individuals. Coal and flour filled the other cars. The
journey was safely accomplished at a speed which is said at times
to have reached the hitherto unheard of rate of twelve miles an
hour. The road, with its three Stephenson locomotives and many
horses, was successful from the first, and its dividends were
among the chief inducements which led to the next and more
important advance in railroad construction, the Liverpool and
Manchester line.

Manchester was the great manufacturing center of the industrial
England, which the inventions of Arkwright and Watt had called
into existence. Its port was Liverpool. The natural means of
communication between the two cities was quite inadequate to the
changed conditions. In 1821 surveys were made for a tramway, and
before the Stockton road was completed Stephenson had been
selected as chief engineer of the new and more ambitious
enterprise. Yet his assertion that trains could be moved between
the two cities at twenty miles an hour raised serious doubts in
many minds as to his sanity. A writer in the "Quarterly Review"
thought that even though a few foolhardy persons might trust
themselves to a vehicle moving at such speed--twice that of the
swiftest stagecoaches--Parliament for the general welfare should
limit the speed of all railways to eight or nine miles an hour,
as the greatest that could be ventured on with safety.

It was while the grant of a charter to this Liverpool and
Manchester Railway was being discussed in a committee of the
House of Commons that the shrewd North Country engineer first
faced the trained Parliamentary lawyers. He had been cautioned to
keep his figures for speed within the most moderate limits so as
not to prejudice the company's case, but his belief in his own
invention mastered his restraint, though as he afterward said, he
did his best "to keep the engine down to ten miles an hour." In
fact, his daring prediction of twelve miles per hour struck the
learned counsel with horror. They objected that horses would fly
in terror from such a monster. He replied that horses had been
known to shy at wheelbarrows. They tried to make him admit that
the wheels would slip on the smooth rails, but he knew that they
would bite without teeth. One of the committee said, "Suppose
that a cow were to stray upon the line and get in the way of the
engine; would not that be a very awkward circumstance?" To which
the countryman had a ready reply, "Very awkward--for the cow!"
The opposition, which was largely animated by the existing canal
interest, ventured some views which the experience of the next
five years was to make most ridiculous. They declared that the
plan to carry the rails over the surveyed route across Chat Moss,
a wide morass, was impossible; and furthermore, that no
locomotive could make headway against the high winds which at
times prevailed in that region. Experts were brought to testify
that "no engineer in his senses would go through Chat Moss if he
wanted to make a railroad from Liverpool to Manchester." "In my
judgment," said one of them, "a railroad cannot be made over Chat
Moss without going to the bottom." The committee decided against
the bill, but at the next session Parliament granted the company
the power to construct the road, the question whether or not
locomotives should be used upon it being left in abeyance. George
Stephenson was chosen to be chief engineer, at one thousand
pounds a year.

Chat Moss was conquered by an ingenious device which practically
floated the road-bed upon its spongy surface. Tunnels were driven
through the hills, deep cuttings were made wherever needed, a
ravine was crossed by a viaduct of brick and stone, and more than
threescore bridges were thrown across the streams. All the plans
for this complicated work passed under the eye, and many of them
took their first form in the mind of the chief, whose skill as a
mechanic was for the time sunk in his genius for civil
engineering. By dint of the most strenuous application, and by
the dominance of a spirit of perseverance which no discouragement
or obstacle could daunt, Stephenson brought the road to
triumphant completion. The next thing was to convince the
directors that the steam locomotive was the proper equipment for
a public railway. As a beginning, he persuaded the company to
place one of his engines upon its construction trains. The
experts who were employed to investigate the many proposed
applications of power decided, however, that the most feasible
equipment was a series of twenty-one stationary engines located
at intervals along the right of way and hauling the cars stage
after stage by means of a rope wound upon a drum-the principle of
the cable railway which afterwards had its day in our streets.
Still Stephenson would give the directors no peace. Finally, in
order to settle the question of the practical utility of the
traveling engine, the company offered a prize of five hundred
pounds for the best locomotive engine, to be awarded after a
competitive test upon certain conditions, the most notable of
which were:

"2. The engine of six tons weight must be able to draw
after it, day by day, twenty tons weight at ten miles an
hour with a pressure of steam on the boiler not exceeding
fifty pounds to the square inch."

"4. The engine and boiler must be supported on springs and
rest on six wheels, the height of the whole not exceeding
fifteen feet to the top of the chimney."

"7. The engine must be delivered complete and ready for
trial at the Liverpool end of the railway not later than
the 1st of October, 1829."

"8. The price of the engine must not exceed five hundred
and fifty pounds."

George Stephenson and his son Robert threw all their resources
into the production of the locomotive which was to carry their
colors in the contest. The "Rocket" engine, which was built in
their Newcastle shop, was fitted with a tubular boiler six feet
long and three feet four inches in diameter. The fire-box was two
feet wide and three feet high. On each side of the boiler at its
rear end was an oblique cylinder, the piston-rods being connected
with the outside of the two driving wheels, which were in front.
The two rear wheels were about one-half the diameter of the
drivers. The tender, also fourwheeled, was a simple affair, the
water being carried in a large cask.

After a successful trial trip, the "Rocket," which weighed but
four and a half tons, was sent by wagon across England to
Carlisle, and thence to Liverpool. It was one of four steam
engines entered in the competition which attracted wide
attention. Among the entries was the "Novelty," the production of
that talented Swede, John Ericsson, who afterwards, in America,
built the iron-clad "Monitor." The "Novelty" showed fine bursts
of speed, but failed in point of endurance. The "Perseverance"
and "Sanspareil" developed radical defects, but the "Rocket,"
driven by George Stephenson's own hand was prepared for every
turn of the competition, and surpassed all in power, speed, and
general serviceability. To its makers the prize was
unhesitatingly awarded, whereupon the hardy engineer amazed every
beholder by letting out the last link and dashing past the
grandstand at the rate of more than thirty miles an hour. The
forced draft, which had made the Killingworth freight engines so
successful, coupled with the tubular boiler, formed a combination
which won the battle for the locomotive once for all, and made
the name of George Stephenson a household word.

A year later, on the 15th of September, 1830, the Manchester and
Liverpool Railway was formally opened. The Duke of Wellington--
the first citizen of the realm--was present with Sir Robert Peel
and other distinguished personages, together with a vast throng
of sightseers, enthusiastic spectators of the consummation of
George Stephenson's dreams. Though marred by a fatal accident,
the occasion proved the entire practicability of the railway as a
means of transportation. The multitudes who rode in its cars on
that memorable day were but a foretaste of the patronage which
the line was to receive. Although the intention of its projectors
was to limit its traffic chiefly to freight, the road from the
first found its offices besieged by persons eager to ride. Thus
passenger traffic became established as its leading source of
revenue, and thus were the capitalists encouraged to prosecute
the extension of the railway system to points where the outlook
for freight business was much less than between Liverpool and
Manchester. Though these roads were fiercely opposed by the
landowners, the canal-men, and turnpike proprietors, they were
pressed forward in every direction. Robert Stephenson shared with
his father the responsibility of engineering some of the
principal lines, though the two men had the grim satisfaction of
seeing the experts who had ridiculed the initial project now
eagerly bidding for the opportunity of conducting surveys for the
new lines.

A mania for building railroads seized the world. The Stephensons
were in demand not only throughout Great Britain, but even on the
Continent. They had already made a market for their engines
abroad, when, in 1835, they were summoned by the King of Belgium
to assist in laying out a system of railways for that kingdom.
For his services here the engineer was knighted by the King and
banqueted at the royal table. Honored at home and abroad; happy
in the general adoption of the ideas to which he had clung
through opposition and adversity; proud of the son Robert, for
whose education he had worked like a slave, and whom he now saw
hailed as one of the great engineers of the world; fortunate in
business; respected and beloved by men of every class, George
Stephenson spent the closing years of his life in affluence and
ease. He had earned his peace, for he had fought and won the
battle of the locomotive, and so, by improving the means of
communication, had advanced the interests of trade, and promoted
the welfare of England and of mankind. George Stephenson died in
1848. His son Robert outlived him but eleven years, and was
buried in Westminster Abbey as one of the great men of the
century. The boldness of his engineering projects, the skill and
daring with which he flung his railway bridges and viaducts
across rivers, valleys, and straits, had caught and held the
imagination of the world. Together the two men wrote the name of
Stephenson large and lasting in the record of nineteenth-century

Had the nineteenth century nothing else to show save the
improvement in transportation, its fame would be secure. Within a
dozen years after the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester
Railway, Great Britain was covered with railways or railway
surveys, establishing all the trunk-lines which now exist. The
thirty and a half miles of the original line grew by leaps and
bounds to a system of nearly two thousand miles, the property of
a single company, whose property is valued at five hundred
million dollars. Twenty-five years after the day of the
"Rocket's" victory eight thousand miles of railway were in
operation in the United Kingdom. Another twenty-five years
brought the total up to eighteen thousand miles, which had cost
for construction nearly four billion dollars. At the same time
(1883) the number of locomotives was 14,469, of cars, 490,661.
Before Manchester and Liverpool were connected by railway thirty
stage-coaches sufficed for the passenger traffic. The railway
carried seven hundred thousand passengers between the two cities
in its first year and one-half. Fifty years later the passengers
on all the English lines numbered six hundred million, of whom
eighty-five per cent traveled third-class. The freight traffic in
the same year was two hundred and twenty-six million tons. Robert
Stephenson lived to see one per cent of the entire population of
the United Kingdom employed on the railways. In 1884 the number
of such employees was 367,793. These few figures are sufficient
to suggest the magnitude of the economic changes which took place
in England, and indeed throughout the civilized world, as the
direct result of the talent, industry, and perseverance of George
Stephenson, the Northumbrian plowboy.


1. Describe the early life of George Stephenson.
2. What attempts at locomotives had been made prior to his time?
3. What success of Stephenson's led to the Stockton-Darlington
4. How did the " Quarterly" comment on the proposed Liverpool
5. What was the view of the Parliamentary committee?
6. Describe Stephenson's work on the Liverpool & Manchester line.
7. What competitors had the "Rocket"?
8. Describe the later work of the two Stephensons.
9. Contrast Stephenson's England with that of to-day.


LIFE OF STEPHENSON. Samuel Smiles. ("Lives of the Engineers.")



[JOHN RUSSELL, Earl Russell, born, London, August 18, 1792; died,
Pembroke Lodge, Richmond Park, May 28,1878; educated at
Westminster School and Edinburgh University; Member of
Parliament, 1813; favored Catholic emancipation; 1830-34,
paymaster general; 1831, introduced the first Reform Bill; 1832,
carried the third Reform Bill; 1835-39, Home Secretary; 1839-41,
Colonial Secretary; 1846-52, Prime Minister; 1852-53, Foreign
Secretary; 1854-55, President of the Council; 1855, Colonial
Secretary; 1859-65, Foreign Secretary; 1865-66, Prime Minister.]

The Parliament of England is one of the most ancient of political
institutions. Constitutional historians find its germs in the
council of the wise men--"The Witenagemot"--which was summoned to
give advice to the early Anglo-Saxon kings. In the thirteenth
century Simon de Montfort had added to the assembly of the nobles
certain representatives of the counties, cities, and boroughs.
The monarchs found this gathering of the estates of the nation a
useful instrument of taxation and the Parliament in turn acquired
certain legislative rights. In time the nobles or peers began to
sit by themselves, leaving the chosen representatives to meet in
a House of Commons. The story of the increasing influence of
Parliament is in great part the history of the English nation.
Before the close of the seventeenth century the power of
Parliament had become the leading force in the state. Yet much
remained to be done in the nineteenth century to bring this
supreme governing body into living touch with the heart of the

The conservative habit of the English had left the constitution
of the House of Commons untouched for so many years that it had
lost all but the semblance of a representative body. No uniform
qualification for the voter existed. In one locality the
franchise was closely restricted, in others every man, however
poor, might exercise the right to vote. There were all manner of
variations in these "fancy franchises," which had been conferred
by special charters at long separated intervals. Neither was
there any existing relation between population and
representation. Strange as the statement will appear to American
readers, accustomed to the reapportionment of congressional
representation after every federal census, it is a fact that
there had been no radical change in the boundaries of election
districts in England for centuries. The population had meanwhile
undergone enormous changes. Not only had it increased manifold,
but the rise of modern industry had occasioned a redistribution
of the people. London had become a swarming hive. Liverpool docks
and warehouses were surrounded by a crowded city. Manchester,
Birmingham, Leeds, and other places scarcely known to the England
of Tudor and Stuart, were centers of busy industrial life,
attracting to themselves multitudes of the inhabitants of the
countryside. The counties, large and small, continued to have
equal representation in Parliament, though some of them were many
times more populous than others. In the boroughs the inequalities
were most flagrant. Where a goodly village had been in Tudor
times there might now be nothing visible but the crumbling tower
of the parish church, yet the place still retained its right to
representation in the House of Commons. Such decayed or "rotten"
boroughs existed in considerable numbers. Their few voters were
controlled by the land-owning nobility. McCarthy says, "The case
of Old Sarum is famous. It returned members to Parliament in the
days of Edward III., and from that period down to the time of the
Reform Bill. But the town of Old Sarum gradually disappeared.
Owing to the rise of New Sarum (Salisbury) and to other causes
the population gradually deserted it. The town became practically
effaced from existence; its remains far less palpable or visible
than those of any Baalbec or Palmyra. Yet it continued to be
represented in Parliament. It was at one time bought by Lord
Chatham's grandfather, Governor Pitt. It was coolly observed at
the time that "Mr. Pitt's posterity now have an hereditary seat
in the House of Commons as owners of Old Sarum," just as any earl
had a seat in the House of Lords by virtue of his hereditary
peerage. When the Reform Bill was passed the member of Parliament
for the borough of Ludgershall was himself the only voter in the
borough and had chosen himself to Parliament on his own
nomination. Another place with two members had only seven
qualified voters. McCarthy is quite within the truth when he
asserts that two-thirds of the House of Commons was made up of
the nominees of the peers and great landlords "who owned their
boroughs and members just as they owned their parks and their
cattle." Thus the power of the landed aristocracy, which was the
House of Lords, lacked but little of being the House of Commons
as well. The mass of the nation, which was now rapidly gaining in
education and wealth, had no way of making its influence felt in
Parliament except by the power of public opinion, to which the
periodical and pamphlet press was beginning to give expression.

The condition of the representation, the rotten boroughs, as
those in decay were called, and the pocket boroughs, a name
applied to those which were the property of individuals, opened
the way for shameless corruption. Where the electorate was small
and the secret ballot unknown bribery had free rein. Seats were
openly bought and sold. As early as 1770 the elder Pitt (Lord
Chatham) had placed his finger upon this ailing spot in the
English body politic, and had said, "Before the end of this
century, either the Parliament will reform itself from within, or
be reformed with a vengeance from without." His prediction was
falsified by the reactionary effect of the French Revolution,
which not only made the English aristocracy cautious about
readjusting political arrangements, but kept the minds and hands
of Englishmen so fully occupied with foreign affairs as to divert
attention from their own domestic troubles. At the close of the
long struggle with Napoleon the question came rapidly to the
front. Financial distress and industrial depression made the
populace restless and discontented. The glowing principles which
had inspired the French Revolution in its early days with its
watchwords of "Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity," gained a deep
lodgment in the popular mind. The dissatisfaction vented itself
in attacks upon a political system which denied the right of
representation to so large a proportion of the wealth-producing

The government at first turned a deaf ear to these appeals, then
tried to suppress the agitation which swept through the great
manufacturing towns. It was one of these bungling attempts to
silence free speech in Manchester on August 16, 1819, which led
to the trampling and sabring of many innocent persons by
cavalrymen, the "Peterloo massacre," which the populace long
cherished as a bloody score against, their aristocratic
oppressors. For ten years more the democratic press continued to
agitate even more bitterly for reform, and a lonely "radical"
member of Parliament would bring forward his motions only to have
them contemptuously thrust aside. In 1830, however, a ministry
came into power which allowed nothing to stand in the way until
the long awaited bill had become a law. The condition which
contributed to its success, the incidents of the tremendous
parliamentary struggle, and the men who carried it through, are
all worthy of the most careful attention of the student of human

The death of George IV. (June 26, 1830) made way for his brother,
William IV., and made necessary a general parliamentary election.
The summer had seen a liberal revolution in Paris. The Bourbons
had been thrust out and Louis Philippe had been accepted as the
citizen-king of the French, governing under a liberal
constitution. This revolution, and simultaneous movements
throughout western Europe, touched an answering chord in the
breasts of Englishmen, and the Tories found themselves in a
minority when the new Parliament assembled in November. The Duke
of Wellington was Prime Minister, the last man from whom the
popular cause could expect to receive any concessions. At the
opening of the session the premier took occasion to declare his
disbelief "that the state of representation could be improved or
be rendered more satisfactory to the country at large than at the
present moment." "I am fully convinced," he said, "that the
country possesses a legislature which answers all the good
purposes of legislation, and this to a greater degree than any
legislature has answered in any other country whatever." He
flatly declared his determined opposition to any measure of
reform. Within a fortnight his government met its Waterloo and he

Earl Gray, the Whig premier who succeeded Wellington, came into
office fully resolved to pass a Reform Bill. The responsibility
of drafting the measure was intrusted to a young Whig commoner,
Lord John Russell, a younger son of the Duke of Bedford, and a
scion of one of the great Whig houses. Lord John Russell had
entered Parliament in 1813, at the age of twenty-one, for one of
the family boroughs. He was now in his thirty-seventh year, and
his parliamentary career, if not brilliant for oratory, had at
least been marked by intelligent devotion to high ideals. In
1819, before the echoes of Peterloo had died away, he had asked
Parliament to disfranchise all boroughs of proved corruption, and
transfer their representation to more deserving constituencies. A
little later he proved to the House the corruption existing at
Gram-pound, and secured the disfranchisement of that borough and
the transfer of its voting rights to the great county of York.
This was but a small step, but it opened the way to tremendous
changes. He was determined, he said, to strip "the dead bones of
a former state of England" of their political influence and give
it to the "living energy of England of the nineteenth century,
with its steam engines and its factories, its cotton and woolen
cloths, its cutlery and its coal mines, its wealth and its
intelligence." Session after session he returned to this text
only to be as often defeated by the Tories. He was more
successful in 1828 when he carried the repeal of the Test and
Corporation Acts, relics of a bygone age when it was thought
necessary to the safety of the nation to exclude from military or
civil office all persons who did not take the communion in
accordance with the ritual of the Established Church. "Lord
John," as he came to be called in the course of his half-century
of parliamentary life, would have advanced from the relief of
Protestant dissenters to the emancipation of the Catholics, had
not the Tories, in their dread of civil war in Ireland,
forestalled him, and made the measure their own (April, 1829).

The first Reform Bill, which had been drafted by Russell, and
worked over by Lord Durham and other ministers, was presented to
the Commons on March 1, 1831. Its provisions had been kept
profoundly secret, and the house was thronged to hear them
explained in the low and measured tones of Lord John Russell. The
nation was as eager as the immediate auditory to know how far the
government would go in granting the popular demand. Touching upon
some of the existing anomalies the speaker imagined a foreigner
visiting England; having been impressed with British wealth,
civilization, and renown, "Would not such a foreigner," he
queried, "be much astonished if he were taken to a green mound
and informed that it sent two members to the British Parliament?
. . . . or if he walked into a park without the vestige of a
dwelling and was told that it, too, sent two members to the
British Parliament? But if he was surprised at this, how much
more would he be astonished if he were carried into the north of
England, where he would see large, flourishing towns, full of
trade, activity, and intelligence, vast magazines of wealth and
manufactures, and were told that these places sent no
representatives to Parliament!"

By the provisions of the bill sixty boroughs with less than two
thousand members were to lose both members, and forty-seven
boroughs were to be reduced to a single member. Of the seats thus
vacated eight were to be given to London, thirty-four to large
towns, fifty-five to English counties, five to Scotland, three to
Ireland, one to Wales. The franchise was to be extended to
inhabitants of houses taxed at ten pounds a year, and to
leaseholders and copyholders of counties. The changes added about
half a million to the number of voters in the United Kingdom.

The country followed the progress of the debate with intense
interest night after night. The bill passed to its second reading
by a majority of one in the fullest house on record and the
country gave itself up to illuminations and other expressions of
joy. But the bill got no farther. The majority was too close for
the comfort of the ministers, and having been defeated on a
matter of detail, they confidently appealed to the country. The
King dissolved Parliament, and writs were issued for a general
election. It was at this juncture, when London was illuminating
to show its satisfaction over the prospect for a reform victory,
that the darkened windows of the Duke of Wellington's town house
were stoned by the populace. The rallying cries of the Whigs were
"The bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill," and
"Reform, Aye or No?" Popular agitation by associations,
newspapers, speech-making, monster meetings, etc., reached an
unprecedented height, and the force of public opinion was shown
at the polls. In spite of pocket boroughs, family influence, and
flagrant corruption, the reformers came back to Parliament with
their majority increased to fully one hundred. Of the eighty-two
members for the counties where the popular feeling had its freest
expression, only six were opposed to Lord Russell's scheme of

Lord Russell's second Reform Bill was introduced on June 24th.
The minority, hopeless of success in a stand-up fight, resorted
to the obstructive tactics now known as "filibustering." After
wasting three months in tedious obstruction the Commons passed
the bill by a majority of one hundred and nine, and Lord Grey
laid it before the House of Lords in the most impressive speech
of his career. He endeavored to persuade the aristocrats before
him that only by such concessions could the Constitution of
England be saved. Already there were wide-spread evidences of
popular discontent in the "nightly alarms, burnings, and popular
disturbances." The rotten boroughs could no longer be tolerated
with safety to the state. "This gangrene upon our representative
system bade defiance to all remedies but that of excision." Deaf
to his arguments, and blind to everything but their own privilege
and immediate interest, the peers pronounced against the bill.

The rejection of the second Reform Bill by the House of Lords
brought England to the brink of revolution. As it was, the
newspapers were full of signs that the patience of the nation was
exhausted. Mobs and incendiary fires were reported in many
districts, and the abolition of the House of Lords found
strenuous advocates. It was at one of the numerous indignation
meetings that Sydney Smith hit off the attempt of the Lords to
stay the progress of reform by comparing it with Mrs.
Partington's attempt to check the high tide at Sidmouth with a
mop. "The Atlantic was roused. Mrs. Partington's spirit was up.
But I need not tell you that the contest was unequal. The
Atlantic Ocean beat Mrs. Partington. Gentlemen, be at your ease;
be quiet and steady; you will beat Mrs. Partington!"

As soon as the Parliament reassembled in December, Lord John
Russell offered the third Reform Bill. It was identical in
principle with the others, though the number of the affected
boroughs had been slightly altered. It passed its successive
stages by ample majorities and was in due order presented to the
House of Lords. The ministers were prepared to play their last
card. They found the peers determined to mutilate the proposition
in disregard of the popular demand, now louder than ever, for
"The bill, the whole bill, and nothing but the bill." Earl Grey
and his chancellor, Lord Brougham, thereupon requested King
William to overcome the opposition by sanctioning the creation of
new peers sufficient to insure a majority for the act. But the
King held back. The ministers offered their resignations, and the
King commissioned the Iron Duke to form a government. But no Tory
government could stand a day in the face of the hosts of reform
in the Commons and in the nation, as Wellington had reluctantly
to confess. The monarch had to yield, and so doing, helped
establish the principle more firmly than ever before that the
chief power in the English Constitution is lodged in the House of
Commons, acting through its ministers. In this case it was
Commons against King and Lords, and the Commons had their way. To
save themselves from an inundation of new peerages the Lords
whose hostility to the bill was irreconcilable absented
themselves from Westminster when the vote was taken--"skulked in
clubs and country houses" as Lord Russell sharply phrased it. The
Duke of Wellington's words will show the temper with which the
hide-bound Tories received the act. "Reform, my Lords, has
triumphed. The barriers of the Constitution are broken down, the
waters of destruction have burst the gates of the temple, and the
tempest begins to howl. Who can say where its course should stop?
Who can stay its speed? For my own part I sincerely hope that my
predictions may not be fulfilled, and that my country may not be

The immediate effect of the reform was to admit the tradesmen and
tenant-farmers, the sturdy English middle class, to a share in
the government. Thirty-five years later, after Lord Russell had
made three or four futile endeavors to carry still further the
principle of reform, his opponents, the Conservatives, led by
Lord Derby and Mr. Disraeli, passed the Reform Bills of 1867-68,
greatly reducing the property qualification of voters, and
rectifying inequalities in borough representation. Under this act
most of the mechanic and artisan class gained the right to vote.
Finally, in 1884, Mr. Gladstone carried the reform another stage,
conferring the franchise upon two millions of poor men, including
the class of agricultural laborers.

His contribution to the success of reform identified Lord John
Russell with the cause of liberty, and made him a leading man. It
is not within the scope of this sketch to follow him through the
shifting scenes of the honorable career in politics and
statesmanship which now opened out before him, and which
continued until, when at nearly four-score, the party leadership
passed from him to his able associate, William Ewart Gladstone.
Among the notable measures in which he had a leading hand was the
Municipal Reform Act of 1835, which put the government of cities
in the hands of the taxpayers and did away with the effete and
corrupt corporations which had exercised it. His "Edinburgh
letter," in 1845, hastened Peel's conversion to free trade. He
was ever concerned in religion and education. After the overthrow
of Peel's government, in 1846, he was raised to the premiership.
He held the position until 1852, and again, from October, 1865,
to June, 1866. His retirement in the latter year removed from
British politics a conspicuous figure. It was a figure which had
filled a large place in the affairs of the world, and for the
most part filled it well, though never again in his career was it
his lot to become such a popular hero as he was during the early
battles for reform. Russell's death, in 1878, brought up the varied
panorama of his life. McCarthy, in reviewing it, touches upon
some of its points of interest. "He had a seat in the
administration at his disposal when another young man might have
been glad of a seat in an opera box. He must have been brought
into more or less intimate association with all the men and women
worth knowing in Europe since the early part of the century. He
was a pupil of Dugald Stewart at Edinburgh, and he sat as a youth
at the feet of Fox. He had accompanied Wellington in some of his
peninsular campaigns; he measured swords with Canning and Peel
successively through years of parliamentary warfare. He knew
Metternich and Talleyrand. He had met the widow of Charles
Stuart, the young chevalier, in Florence; and had conversed with
Napoleon in Elba. He knew Cavour and Bismarck. He was now an ally
of Daniel O'Connell, and now of Cobden and Bright. He was the
close friend of Thomas Moore; he knew Byron. Lord John Russell
had tastes for literature, for art, for philosophy, for history,
for politics, and his aestheticism had the advantage that it made
him seek the society and appreciate the worth of men of genius
and letters. Thus he never remained a mere politician like Pitt
or Palmerston."

No one will now claim that Earl Russell--he was raised to the
peerage with this title--is to be ranked with the few greatest of
English statesmen, but that he served his country devotedly,
honorably, and courageously will not be denied. His contemporary,
Lord Shaftesbury, noted his death in his own journal with this
just comment: "To have begun with disapprobation, to have fought
through many difficulties, to have announced and acted on
principles new to the day in which he lived, to have filled many
important offices, to have made many speeches and written many
books, and in his whole course to have done much with credit and
nothing with dishonor, and so to have sustained and advanced his
reputation to the very end, is a mighty commendation." And the
Queen, in a letter to his widow, wrote: "You will believe that I
truly regret an old friend of forty years' standing, and whose
personal kindness in trying and anxious times I shall ever
remember. 'Lord John,' as I knew him best, was one of my first
and most distinguished ministers, and his departure recalls many
eventful times."


1.  In what ways did Parliament fail to be "representative"
at the opening of the nineteenth century?
2.  What circumstances favored agitation of this condition?
3.  What was the "Peterloo Massacre"?
4.  Who was Lord Russell, and what his early relation to the
reform movement?
5.  What was the Test and Corporation Act, and when repealed?
6.  Describe the first Reform Bill, and its effect upon the
House of Commons?
7.  How was the second bill treated by the Commons and by the
8.  What circumstances attended the passage of the third bill?
9.  How was the principle of reform extended in later years?
10. What peculiar privileges did Lord John Russell enjoy?
11. How is his character shown in the use which he made of them?


LIFE OF EARL RUSSELL.          S. J. Reid.
THE EPOCH OF REFORM.           Justin McCarthy.



[RICHARD COBDEN, born, 1804, at Dunford, near Midhurst, Sussex;
died, London, 1865; after grammar school education, entered
mercantile house in London, soon becoming a traveling salesman;
about 1830 became founder of a cotton-printing concern at
Manchester; traveled in Europe and America; wrote pamphlets on
commercial and economic questions; 1838, became an ardent
supporter of the Anti-Corn Law League; 1841, Member of Parliament
for Stockport; advocate of free trade in the House of Commons;
received popular testimonial of £79,000 in recognition of his
services to the free trade cause; 1847-57, Member of Parliament
for West Riding of York; advocate of arbitration and diminished
expense for military purposes; 1849, Member of Parliament for
Rochdale; 1860, negotiated commercial treaty with France.]

The Reform Bill of 1832 invaded the privileges of the landed
aristocracy by destroying in some measure their control of the
House of Commons through the pocket boroughs. Sixteen years
later a second blow was struck at this class through the repeal
of the Corn Laws.

The Corn Laws aimed to secure to English agriculturists a
monopoly of the home market for grain. The wars with Napoleon,
which paralyzed continental industries, stimulated those of
England to abnormal prosperity. Food advanced in price, but labor
was in great demand and well paid. The prospect of approaching
peace in Europe, in 1813, precipitated hard times in Great
Britain. The price of wheat fell and manufactures declined. The
land-owning classes, then supreme in Parliament, enacted the Corn
Law of 1815 for their own protection. By its provisions the
importation of grain from foreign countries was practically
prohibited until the price in England reached eighty shillings
per quarter. Ten members of the House of Lords protested against
the measure on the grounds that all restraint of trade was
improper; that the restraint of trade in food was especially
iniquitous; that the law would not steady or cheapen prices; and
that "such a measure levied a tax on the consumer in order to
give a bounty to the grower of corn,"--principles which have a
modern sound.

England was at that time living under a system of high protective
tariffs upon imported articles of manufacture as well as of food.
But in 1823-25 Mr. Huskisson succeeded in having most of the
tariffs upon raw materials reduced to a fraction of the former
figures, with the result that production was enormously
stimulated and valuable foreign markets were opened to English
commodities. His only modification of the Corn Law (in 1822) was
to reduce by ten shillings the figure at which importations might
begin. Later he and Canning made some progress with a "sliding
scale" bill, a principle which the Duke of Wellington enacted
into law in 1828. This interesting device provided that when the
price in the home market reached sixty-four shillings the quarter
the duty should be 23s 8d. As the price rose the duty fell. When
wheat was 69s, the duty was 16s 8d, and when the price reached
73s, foreign corn might come in on payment of one shilling per

As has been shown in a foregoing chapter, the past half-century
had witnessed a great transformation in the industrial complexion
of England--from a nation chiefly agricultural it had become the
center of the world's manufactures. Tens of thousands of families
had removed from the farms to the cities, "following the work" in
the mills and factories, and hundreds of thousands of pounds had
been invested in a great diversity of industrial enterprises. The
manufacturer and the mill-hand were alike interested in low
prices for food. The manufacturer also saw in the high tariff on
grain a barrier against the free exchange of commodities. As his
output increased it became necessary for him to enlarge his
market, but when he attempted to sell his goods to America and
Russia the law interposed to block the bargain by excluding those
grain-producing countries from selling their superfluous food-
stocks in England. Apparently here was a clash between the
interests of manufacturer and agriculturist.

In 1836 a few thoughtful men in London, who were opposed to any
restraint of trade, formed an Anti-Corn Law Association. But the
metropolis was stony soil for such a plant. In 1838 a similar
association was organized in Manchester, one of the new
industrial cities dominated by modern ideas, crowded with
factories, and populous with laboring men and women, a fit center
for such an agitation as was to precede the downfall of the tax
on food. In Manchester, too, in the person of a calico-printer
named Richard Cobden, the agitation found its mainspring and its
clear and persuasive voice.

Richard Cobden sprang from a long line of plain Sussex yeomen.
His father was a farmer who became bankrupt in 1813, and the lad
Richard, one of twelve children, was sent by a well-meaning
relative to a Yorkshire boarding-school--a sort of Dotheboys
Hall. From such a rough school he passed into the rougher one of
life, becoming the lad of all work in the London warehouse of the
same kinsman, later a clerk, and at twenty-one a traveling
salesman, or "drummer," a position for which his untiring energy
and engaging sociability were high qualifications. A great
reader, he was also a superior converser and a "mixer" as the
present-day phrase goes, adapting himself to his company with
unusual facility. John Morley records that all his friends agree
that "they have never known a man in whom this trait of a sound
and rational desire to know and to learn was so strong and so
inexhaustible." "To know the affairs of the world was the master-
passion of his life," and the knowledge which he gained and
assimilated not merely in his early contact with men in his
business, but in the wider journeys of observation to which he
treated himself in later years, contributed much to the
enrichment of his speeches and writings.

At the age of twenty-four, with two other young men, whose
capital like his own was little more than energy, probity, and
business knowledge, he founded a firm in London for the sale of
Manchester cotton prints on commission. Soon the firm was
printing its own goods in Lancashire, and Mr. Cobden, prospering
greatly from the first, took up his residence in Manchester, to
watch over that end of the business. Though as full of affairs as
any man in that hive of industry, Cobden found time to store his
mind by reading and by reflection upon the knowledge gained by
intercourse with his fellowmen. He visited France, Switzerland,
and in 1835, America, where he foresaw a growing market for his
wares, and where, as he wrote, he fondly hoped "would be realized
some of those dreams of human exaltation if not of perfection"
with which he loved to console himself. In 1836-37 he visited the
Mediterranean countries, and on his return was an unsuccessful
candidate for a seat in the House of Commons.

In May, 1838, Richard Cobden wrote to his brother concerning the
political outlook in the nation, the Chartist agitation, the
Radical demands, and the general disorganization which existed
among the opponents of Tory government. The letter includes these
significant words: "I think the scattered elements may yet be
rallied round the question of the Corn Laws. It appears to me
that a moral, and even a religious, spirit may be infused into
that topic, and if agitated in the same manner that the question
of slavery has been, it will be irresistible."

The purposes of the Manchester Anti-Corn Law Association are thus
stated by Morley: "To obtain by all legal and constitutional
means, such as the formation of local associations, the delivery
of lectures, the distribution of tracts, and the presentation of
petitions to Parliament, the total and immediate repeal of the
Corn and Provision Laws." Mr. Cobden became a member of the
executive committee, and his mind, voice, and pen were active in
the service of the society until its object was attained. In
response to his appeal for a campaign fund ("Let us invest part
of our property in order to save the rest from confiscation") six
thousand pounds poured into the treasury within a month. The
local societies, which sprang up like wildfire in the
manufacturing towns, were affiliated with that at Manchester,
which soon became the headquarters of a far-reaching league.

The leaguers carried political agitation to a point of
thoroughness beyond anything which had yet been reached by
O'Connell or the abolitionists. They issued a newspaper organ
which enunciated its principles and denounced the enemies of free
trade. Vast editions of tracts and leaflets were scattered
broadcast throughout the land, and a staff of carefully
instructed speakers was maintained to itinerate through the rural
districts and preach the gospel of free corn in tavern, market-
place, and town hall.

In Parliament the battle must be won, and the league soon began
its work of capturing seats in the House of Commons. Cobden
himself was chosen, in 1841, as member for Stockport. Almost
immediately he exercised his gift as a speaker, securing at once
the attention of his colleagues by his style of oratory, which,
with little formal eloquence or rhetorical elaboration, was
powerfully persuasive, enriched by many happy illustrations drawn
from life, and infused with a pure and lofty spirit. Whatever the
topic under discussion, he was always able to show its relation
to the obnoxious tariff, and to point out that the only sure
remedy for the prevalent national ills was by way of the repeal
of "the tax on bread." At first the young calico-printer--he was
but thirty-seven--who embodied the opposition to the Corn Laws,
was looked upon as an intruder by the young aristocrats of the
House. They made fun of his classical allusions, and magnified
his lack of education, attempting to laugh down his logic. But
Cobden was not long in proving his ability to take care of
himself on the floor of the House. It was no mere politician who
caught the ear of the country with words like these: "When I go
down to the manufacturing districts, I know that I shall be
returning to a gloomy scene. I know that starvation is stalking
through the land, and that men are perishing for the want of the
merest necessaries of life. When I witness this, and recollect
that there is a law which especially provides for keeping our
population in absolute want, I cannot help attributing murder to
the legislature of this country; and wherever I stand, whether
here or out-of-doors, I will denounce that system of legislative

Out-of-doors Mr. Cobden had the strong support of the most
eloquent Englishman of his generation, John Bright. The two men
had been drawn together early by a common interest in the welfare
of the manufacturing classes, and especially in popular
education. In September, 1841, Cobden visited his friend in his
house, and found him plunged in sadness by the death of his young
wife. After words of condolence, he said, with great earnestness,
"John, there are thousands of houses in England at this moment
where wives, mothers, and children are dying of hunger. Now when
the first paroxysm of your grief is passed, I would advise you to
come with me and we will never rest until the Corn Law is

"For seven years," Mr. Bright afterward said, "the discussion on
that one question--whether it was good for a man to have half a
loaf or a whole loaf--for seven years the discussion was
maintained, I will not say with doubtful result, for the result
was never doubtful and never could be in such a cause; but for
five years or more (1841-46), we devoted ourselves without stint;
every working hour almost was given up to the discussion and to
the movement in connection with this question."

Mr. Morley's description of the two orators and their mission is
memorable: "The public imagination was struck by the figures of
the pair who had given themselves up to a great public cause. The
picture of two plain men leaving their homes and their business
and going over the length and breadth of the land to convert the
nation, had about it something apostolic; it presented something
so far removed from the stereotyped ways of political activity,
that this circumstance alone, apart from the object for which
they were pleading, touched and affected people, and gave a
certain dramatic interest to the long pilgrimages of the two men
who had only become orators because they had something to say
which they were intent on bringing their hearers to believe, and
which happened to be true, wise, and just.....In Cobden, as in
Bright, we feel that there was nothing personal or small, and
that what they cared for so vehemently were great causes. ....
Mr. Bright had all the resources of passion alive within his
breast. He was carried along by vehement political anger, and
deeper than that there glowed a wrath as stern as that of an
ancient prophet. To cling to a mischievous error seemed to him to
savor of moral depravity and corruption of heart. What he saw was
the selfishness of the aristocracy and the landlords and he was
too deeply moved by the hatred of this to care to deal very
patiently with the bad reasoning which their own self-interest
inclined his adversaries to mistake for good. His invective was
not the expression of mere irritation, but a profound and
menacing passion. Hence he dominated his audiences from a height,
while his companion rather drew them along after him as friends
and equals. Cobden was by no means incapable of passion, of
violent feeling, or of vehement expression. His fighting
qualities were in their own way as formidable as Mr.
Bright's..... Still it was not passion to which we must look for
the secret of his oratorical success. In one word, it was
persuasiveness. Cobden made his way to men's hearts by the union
which they saw in him of simplicity, earnestness, and conviction,
with a singular facility of exposition. This facility consisted
in a remarkable power of apt and homely illustration, and a
curious ingenuity in framing the argument that happened to be
wanted.....In such an appeal to popular sentiment and popular
passion as the contemporary agitation of O'Connell for repeal, he
could have played no leading part. Where knowledge and logic were
the proper instruments, Cobden was a master." Nor did his
efficiency cease when the audience dispersed. In council chamber
and work-room his alert and inventive mind and persuasive
conversational eloquence had free scope. His hopeful enthusiasm,
his clever devices for stimulating the jaded interest of the
masses, and his unfailing good humor made him the chief engineer
of the highly complex machinery of the league.

His enthusiasm led to the formation of associations in all the
centers of industry; it redoubled the efforts and efficiency of
the lecturers who carried the doctrines of the league into the
agricultural counties--the enemy's country; it replenished the
treasury of the league with thousands of pounds by subscriptions
and by grand bazaars, one of which netted ten thousand pounds; it
gave life and variety to the newspaper organ of the agitation;
and in Parliament it met the government by a constant fire of
questions, a bombardment of solid fact, and a harassing
recurrence to the necessity of total and immediate repeal as the
only salve for the economic sores of the kingdom.

His parliamentary opponents attacked him fiercely. They accused
him of hypocrisy in carrying on an agitation professedly for the
general good, but really intended to help the cotton
manufacturers at the expense of the landowners and
agriculturists. They laid at Cobden's door the miseries of the
mill-hands of Manchester, crying "Physician, heal thyself." So
strongly intrenched was "monopoly" in the House of Commons that
it was slow work for the Anti-Corn Law League with its weapons of
peaceful agitation to drive it out. Year after year the orators
traveled through the three kingdoms, addressing thousands, tracts
were distributed by the ton, and enormous sums of money were
subscribed (the amount for 1844 being nearly a hundred thousand
pounds). In order that the popular opinion thus carefully
cultivated might be brought effectively to bear at the next
parliamentary election, the league took care that every qualified
free trader was registered on the polling lists. At Cobden's
suggestion large numbers of workingmen qualified by becoming

The eloquence of Bright, the cogent reasoning of Cobden, and the
long campaign of education were steadily doing their work. The
number of professed free traders in Parliament was still small,
but the thoughtful leaders of the great parties, the men who
studied the sentiment of the country, and watched the signs of
the times, and weighed well the masses of evidence which the
league continually brought forward-these men were being converted
to the Manchester idea. What Cobden said in a popular assembly in
the summer of 1845 was truer than even he may have believed.
"What," he asked, "if you could get at the minds of the people
would you find them thinking as to the repeal of the Corn Laws? I
know it as well as if I were in their hearts. It is this: they
are all afraid that this Corn Law cannot be maintained--no, not a
rag of it--during a period of scarcity prices, of a famine
season, such as we had in '39, '40, and '41. They know it. They
are prepared when such a time comes to abolish the Corn
Laws.....They are going to repeal it--mark my words--at a season
of distress. That distress may come; aye, three weeks of showery
weather, when the wheat is in bloom or ripening, would repeal
these Corn Laws." He had already shown the precarious condition
of the Irish people, whose only food was the potato, and whom the
high price of grain kept on the edge of famine. The autumnal
rains of 1845 precipitated the crisis, and fulfilled Cobden's
prediction. The failure of the potato harvest plunged Ireland
into dire distress for food. The league in crowded meetings
denounced the tax on bread while men starved. The government of
Sir Robert Peel hesitated as to the proper course. To suspend the
food tariff might prove a concession to free trade which could
never be regained. While Peel's cabinet hung back Lord John
Russell, the leader of the Whigs, issued (November 22) his famous
Edinburgh letter to his constituents, declaring that the time had
come for the repeal of the baneful legislation. Peel was of the
same mind, but some of his Tory colleagues resisted. None were
more stubborn than Wellington, whose action at this juncture led
Cobden to say, "Let me remind him that, notwithstanding all his
victories in the field, he never yet entered into a contest with
Englishmen in which he was not beaten." The effort of the Whigs
to form a ministry having failed, Peel resumed the premiership
which he had resigned. Parliament assembled on January 26, 1846,
and the Prime Minister's speech foreshadowed his conversion to
the policy of Cobden. The next day he explained his program. The
Corn Laws were to be totally repealed by gradual reductions of
the duty extending over a period of three years. Despite the
mockery of Disraeli and the protectionists the bill passed the
Commons by a great majority, and bowing to superior power, the
Duke of Wellington helped it to pass the House. On June 26th
Cobden carried the news to his wife: "Hurrah! Hurrah! The corn
bill is law, and now my work is done!"

Cobden's utter consecration of himself for eight years to the
Anti-Corn Law agitation had cost him severely. The constant
travel, exposure, and hardship of speaking in the open air had
seriously impaired his health. His business had been neglected
until he had been only saved from bankruptcy by the generosity of
friends. The league into which he had poured his best thought and
effort honored him by a popular subscription amounting to nearly
eighty thousand pounds as a testimonial to his public-spirited
devotion. He might have entered the government, but preferred
otherwise. During the twenty years of life which remained to him
he was the advocate of numerous reforms. Ever a lover of peace,
he was a strong champion of the principle of international
arbitration, and of the reduction of armaments. The most
conspicuous achievement of his later years was his successful
negotiation of more liberal commercial treaties between France
and England, a service for which he received the thanks of both
governments. During the American Civil War his sympathies were
strongly enlisted for the North against the cause of the slave-
holders, and his speeches helped to restrain the hostile feeling
of the aristocracy. Though sometimes exposing himself to ridicule
and obloquy by running counter to the popular current, Mr.
Cobden's honesty and sincerity were such that his opponents must
admit his purity of motive and nobility of soul. His death, in
1865, was recognized as a national loss.

No eulogium pronounced over his grave by Bright, the companion of
his labors and triumphs, or by Disraeli and Gladstone, great
converts to his economic doctrines, is so memorable as the brief
passage in which Sir Robert Peel, in the last hours of his
premiership, gave to the free-trade agitator the credit for the
great reform: "In reference to our proposing these measures," he
said, "I have no wish to rob any person of the credit which is
justly due to him for them. But I may say that neither the
gentlemen sitting on the benches opposite, nor myself, nor the
gentlemen sitting round me--are the parties who are strictly
entitled to the merit.....Sir, the name which ought to be, and
which will be, associated with the success of these measures is
the name of a man who, acting, I believe from pure and
disinterested motives, has advocated their cause with untiring
energy, and by appeals to reason, expressed by an eloquence the
more to be admired because it was unaffected and unadorned, the
name which ought to be, and will be, associated with the success
of these measures is the name of Richard Cobden. Without scruple,
sir, I attribute the success of these measures to him."

The commercial policy which England inaugurated, in 1846, under
the lead of Richard Cobden, continued in force throughout the
century. Under its workings the commercial supremacy of England
in the markets of the world has been achieved.


1.  What conditions brought about the Corn Laws?
2.  What was the object of the "sliding scale"?
3.  How did the Corn Laws work against both mill-hand and
4.  Give an account of the early life of Richard Cobden.
5.  Describe the organization of the Anti-Corn Law Association.
6.  What impression did Cobden make in the House of Commons?
7.  How was John Bright enlisted in the agitation?
8.  Compare the oratorical qualities of the two men.
9.  In what varied ways did Cobden's enthusiasm make itself felt?
10. What events fulfilled Cobden's prediction and brought about
the repeal of the Corn Laws?
11. What were the chief events of the last twenty years of Cobden's
12. What tribute did Sir Robert Peel pay to him?


LIFE OF RICHARD COBDEN.       John Morley.
CORN LAW RHYMES.           Ebenezer Elliott.



[ROBERT PEEL, born February 5, 1788, near Bury, Lancashire; died,
London, July 2, 1850; educated at Harrow and Christ Church,
Oxford, B.A., 1808 (double first); Member of Parliament, 1809;
1811, Under-Secretary for the Colonies; 1812-18, Secretary for
Ireland; 1817, Member of Parliament for Oxford University; 1819,
advocated return to specie payment; 1820, married Julia, daughter
of General Sir John Floyd; 1822-27, Home Secretary, Leader of
House of Commons; 1826, proposed reform of Criminal Law; 1828,
Home Secretary and Leader of the House; 1829, proposed Catholic
emancipation; 1834-35, Prime Minister; 1841-46, Prime Minister;
1842, carried Income Tax; 1846, repealed the Corn Laws; 1846-50,
without office.]

When the Reform Bill of 1832 was passed, the Duke of Wellington
bluntly declared his conviction that the result would be the
speedy overthrow of the British Constitution. More sagacious
observers than the great field-marshal were of the opinion that a
radical change must ensue, and that the Tory party, long the prop
of Church and Throne, having lost control of legislation in the
House of Commons through the abolition of the close and rotten
boroughs, could never regain the seat of power by electing a
majority of members. That these forebodings and prophecies did
not come true was largely due to the consummate political skill
of Sir Robert Peel.

In reviewing a life so rich in public activity as Peel's it is
impossible to point to any one important question as his
particular contribution to the history of his time. There was
scarcely a single great parliamentary battle in which he did not
bear a hand on one side or the other. Indeed, hostile criticism
has censured him for having in not a few instances carried to
ultimate success the very measures of which, when first proposed,
he had been the stoutest enemy. This is true of the Resumption of
Specie Payments, the Catholic Emancipation Acts, and most notably
of all the repeal of the Corn Laws. The characteristics which
resulted so strangely may be accounted for in part at least by
some knowledge of the early life of the great parliamentary

The Peels were weavers and printers of calicoes. The father of
the Prime Minister was one of the wealthiest manufacturers in his
generation, a thorough-going Tory, and an ardent admirer of Mr.
Pitt. He was sent to Parliament in 1790, and his support of the
government by his vote there, and by his contribution of fifty
thousand pounds to the war fund, won for him, in 1800, a
baronetcy. There had been Robert Peels before his day, but now
for the first time there was a Sir Robert.

Sir Robert's most loving care was lavished upon the training of
his eldest son and namesake, who from the day of his birth,
February 5, 1788, the patriotic father had prayerfully
consecrated to the service of his country. Many stories are told
of the pains which the great calico-printer bestowed on the lad's
training for a public career. We see the little lad standing on a
table to declaim or recite to his parental mentor, and read of
the rigor of cross-examination to which this lad of twelve was
subjected after hearing a sermon or public address. A current
anecdote represents the doting father as saying, " Bob, you dog,
if you're not prime minister, I'll disinherit you." At Harrow, as
a schoolboy he reflected credit upon his father's training, and
at Christ Church, Oxford, he achieved the unusual honor of a
double first class (classics and mathematics). When he left the
university at the age of twenty-one his father provided him with
a seat in Parliament, and so, with every favoring circumstance of
youth, health, education, friends, and wealth, he began his
eventful career in the House of Commons which was to be the scene
of his best labors until the day of his death.

Old Sir Robert and his son sat on the same side of the House, but
the alert and active mind of the young man could not accept
untested his father's political creed of hide-bound Toryism. The
first question upon which the son and father parted company was
on the subject of the resumption of specie payments, which had
been discontinued in 1797 under the financial stress of the war
with France. In 1811 the two Peels voted together against a
resolution looking toward resumption, but the younger man's mind
was fascinated with the economic aspects of the problem, and half
a dozen years later, when the subject again pressed for
settlement, he brought forward the act which placed England on a
gold basis. The father openly bewailed the son's misguided
course, but Peel's act became the law (1819).

Before he was thirty, the younger Robert Peel had gained a
valuable experience in administrative work by a term of six years
(1812-1818) as Chief Secretary for Ireland. Here, as in the
preparation of his studies at Oxford and of his speeches for the
House of Commons, he was painstaking, methodical, thorough, and
energetic. In fact he applied to the public business the same
sterling qualities which had made his father and grandfather
successful merchants and manufacturers. His most notable reform
in Ireland, which was then in a sad condition of disorder, was
the replacement of military rule by a well-organized civil force
of police, acting under the orders of the magistrates. He favored
a more liberal scheme of popular education for the unhappy
island, but his Tory prejudices stood in the way of relieving the
Catholics of their disabilities. Because of his avowed opposition
to this demand, and his bitter hostility to O'Connell, the
champion of the cause, Mr. Peel--"Orange" Peel, as the Catholic
Irish nicknamed him--had the satisfaction of being returned to
Parliament in 1817 for the University of Oxford, perhaps the most
ultra-Tory constituency in the three kingdoms.

In January, 1822, Peel entered the cabinet of Lord Liverpool as
Home Secretary. From the first he showed that his mind was not
impenetrable to the legal reforms which earnest men had long been
advocating, but to which the Tories had turned a deaf ear. The
reform of the criminal law, which still carried the harsh
statutes of an unquiet age, had been ably championed by Romilly,
Mackintosh, and others, but it was Peel's way first to oppose,
then to admit the principle of the reform, and finally to enact
it into enduring law. On his initiative, in 1823, "nearly one
hundred felonies were removed from the list of capital crimes,
and judges were empowered to withhold the death penalty in all
cases except murder, when the culprit appeared deserving of
mercy." Other acts originating with him consolidated and unified
the vast and complex body of criminal statutes so as to simplify
procedure, and facilitate the ends of justice. Some conception of
his services in this particular may be gained from the fact that
"he secured the repeal of two hundred and seventy-eight acts
relating to the criminal law, embodying their useful provisions
in eight acts."

On Catholic emancipation Peel's process of conversion was slower.
He steadily fought the proposals for relief in the House of
Commons as long as Lord Liverpool lived, and when Canning
succeeded to the premiership (1827), he resigned rather than
serve under a pro-Catholic chief. When the Tories came back to
power under Wellington, in 1828, Peel resumed the Home
Secretaryship, with the leadership of the House of Commons, a
position for which he possessed incomparable qualifications. His
second administration of the home department was distinguished by
a series of radical improvements in the criminal laws. One law
for the punishment of offenses against the person took the place
of fifty-seven existing acts. In 1829 he replaced the ridiculous
London watch with the police force which has served as a model
for many other large cities. Many who speak familiarly of the
blue-coated guardians of the peace as "Bobbies" and "Peelers"
would be surprised to know that these sobriquets constitute a
popular tribute to the name of Robert Peel, the creator of the
model force.

These legal and administrative reforms, beneficent as they were,
were not great party questions like the two others which the
Wellington government had to face, and gained so little credit in
the facing. The Whigs, under John Russell, urged the demand for
the relief of Protestant dissenters from their political
disabilities by the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts. Peel
argued against the change, but it was carried, nevertheless, and
the Tories accepted the measure with the best grace they could
summon. Their resistance to Catholic emancipation cost them more
dearly. O'Connell, master of all the arts of agitation, fanned
the excitement in Ireland into flame. His Catholic Association
made itself heard, and felt, and feared. In June, 1828, a member
of the government standing for election for County Clare was
soundly defeated by O'Connell himself, a man whom the anti-
Catholic laws disqualified from sitting in Parliament. The
government knew not which way to turn, and O'Connell, perceiving
his advantage, lashed his followers to the verge of an
insurrection. This was the question on which George III. had
broken with William Pitt a generation before, and now it was only
by the most vehement arguments, and even by threats of
resignation, that the ministers could obtain his son's consent to
the inevitable. In a speech of four hours' duration Peel
explained the measures to the House of Commons, confessing that
the necessity under which he acted "was the severest blow it had
ever been his lot to experience." The speech was an admission of
defeat, and an elaboration of the measures by which the
government, in the hour of concession, proposed to limit the
"dangerous power of the Roman Catholics." The bill became a law,
and the Irish Catholic members began to sit in Parliament--with
some of the disturbing consequences which no one foresaw better
than Peel himself.

The Wellington ministry barely survived the strain of carrying
Catholic emancipation. The year 1830 found Sir Robert Peel--the
elder baronet having died--the leader of the opposition. In this
character he led his party against the Reform Bills of 1831-32.
Their weak points were mercilessly laid bare, and the excellences
and past glories of the existing system were effectively
displayed. But nothing at that day could stop the progress of
reform, as the King and peers soon learned.

The defeat of the Tories in the first general election under the
Reform Act was overwhelming. They mustered less than one-fourth
of the House of Commons. It seemed to most cool political
observers that the Whigs who now assumed office could not be
displaced for a decade at least. The spirit of change was alive
in all the nations of western Europe, and in England there seemed
to be small need of a political party whose steady resistance to
innovation was relieved only by the exceptions in which the party
had espoused reform in extremity to save its own existence.
Wellington and the rigid Tories of his stripe saw no hope for
their party, and little enough for England in the way along which
she was plunging. Peel, however, was supremely suited to the
times. Bound to the party of Church and Crown by the traditions
of his father, he nevertheless was endowed with a mind which was
not quite dominated by prejudice. The study of facts, the
examination of conflicting claims, the weighing of argument, had
their full effect upon him, and he had the courage of his
convictions. At this juncture, when so much was shifting which
had anchored England to the past, Sir Robert Peel, with his
clear-eyed vision, his trained judgment, his honesty, and his
moderation, formed a rallying point for those Tories who had no
other leader, and attracted to him moderate and enlightened men
of whatever party who feared the unbalanced radicalism of the
day, and who were bent on preserving or conserving the best
elements which remained of the ancient Constitution of England.
From such accretions grew up a party which gradually dropped the
name of Tory and adopted that of Conservative. One of Peel's
biographers, writing of this period as Peel's opportunity, says:
"Since Conservatism, like Liberalism, is an imperishable instinct
in human nature, every society must contain a Conservative party,
and such a party speedily develops, even amid the wildest storm
of revolution. The Reform Act of 1832 had made room for a
Conservative party suited to the age. The Tories had been weak
because their strength was confined to the landed interest.
Possessed by a panic-dread of change, bred by the events of the
French Revolution, they had refused to admit any new interests to
a share of power. In their despite the Reform Act had transferred
the control of politics from the aristocracy to the middle class.
But the English middle class was naturally Conservative. It was
orderly, it was rich, it was sensitive to social influence, it
was devout and serious in a stiff, unbending way. Some reforms
certainly it required; an effective administration for the great
towns where it lived and traded; the amendment of a poor law
which shocked all its economic maxims; the abolition of negro
slavery which revolted its religion; the abolition of laws which,
pressing hardly upon non-conformists, revolted its sense of
justice. It had not yet declared for free trade, although it
might be expected to do so. The ameliorations which the middle
class at this time desired, Peel was ready to approve, and these
ameliorations once granted, the middle class would tend to be
Conservative. But theirs would not be the conservatism of squires
and rectors. They would incline to a conservatism of their own,
and they would want a leader of their own to formulate it and to
organize them. They would want a statesman who was bone of their
bone, and flesh of their flesh; a good man of business, cautious,
but open to practical suggestions, one who would satisfy their
ideal of industry and economy; one who would always be grave and
decorous, never puzzle them with epigrams or alarm them with
rhetoric; in short, such a great man as they could conceive. Such
Sir Robert Peel was. There never breathed a politician more truly
congenial to them. He represented their virtues and their
failings; he shared their talents and their prejudices; he was
always growing in their confidence; and when he died lamented by
all his fellow-citizens, he was most deeply lamented by them."

With such tact and such mastery of the political situation did
Peel conduct himself in the years of opposition--now mildly
criticising the government's policy, now joining forces with it,
and now tearing its policies to pieces--that he constantly grew
in the national esteem, and began to be looked upon as the
inevitable successor of the Whigs. His turn came sooner than any
one expected, in December, 1834. It was too soon, in fact, for
the first Peel ministry could maintain itself but a few months,
failing to secure a majority of Parliament. Yet in this brief
lease of power Peel gave evidence of his fitness to govern. He
undertook the reform of the ecclesiastical courts, gratified the
Dissenters by proposing to remove the regulations which required
all marriages to be celebrated according to the rites of the
Established Church. He even addressed himself to the delicate
question of settling the temporalities of the Established Church
in Ireland, where the collection of church tithes was accompanied
with much disorder and distress, arising from the fact that the
vast majority of the tithe-payers were hostile to the Protestant
bishops and clergy whom they were taxed to support. The
opposition, led by John Russell, took advantage of the prejudices
surrounding this subject and forced a succession of adverse
votes, in consequence of which the Peel ministry abandoned office
in April, 1835, after one hundred days of power--a period
sometimes considered the most brilliant in Peel's whole career.

For six years Sir Robert Peel remained in opposition, conducting
himself so sagaciously as to gather about him all disaffected
elements of the disintegrating majority. Peel saw to it that
whatever popular measures of reform were carried by the Melbourne
ministry should be credited largely to Conservative support.
Wellington still survived as a great national figure, but his
political influence was gone, and there was no one in the Whig or
Liberal camp who could dispute Peel's position as the leading
public man of England. Of his course at this time he said himself
(1838): "My object is that by steadily attending to our duty, by
censuring the government on all occasions when they deserve it,
enforcing our principles by aiding them to carry those measures
which we think right, even though by so doing we may be rescuing
the government, we may establish new claims upon the approbation
of the country."

The majority of the House of Commons was made up of incongruous
elements, whose interests were at variance on many questions.
Peel actually came to the rescue of the ministers not once, but
so many times as to give bitterness to the taunt hurled at them
by a Radical orator: "Why! the right honorable member for
Tamworth (Peel) governs England. The honorable and learned member
for Dublin (O'Connell) governs England. The Whigs govern nothing
but Downing Street. The right honorable member for Tamworth is
contented with power without place or patronage, and the Whigs
are contented with place and patronage without power!"

Hard times came on and the nation faced an annual deficit.
Distress was widespread among the people, nourishing the Chartist
agitation on the one hand, and giving point to the arguments of
the Anti-Corn Law orators on the other. There was pressing need
for a wise and energetic Prime Minister, and hope of such
qualities in Lord Melbourne had long since failed. The general
elections of 1841 showed a clear majority for the Conservatives,
and in August Sir Robert Peel came back to power, backed by a
consolidated party and trusted by the nation.

The most pressing problems were financial. Peel proposed a
modification of the Corn Law duties, at the same time defending
the system of protection, not in the interests of the
agriculturist class, but to make England independent of foreign
countries for its food supplies. His proposals were enacted into
law. His first budget attempted to turn the customary deficit
into a surplus by means of an income tax of seven pence in the
pound on incomes of one hundred and fifty pounds and upward. His
revision of the tariff on imports introduced important changes
looking toward increased freedom of trade, especially in the raw
materials of manufacture. The times improved; revenue exceeded
expenditure; consols were quoted at only a fraction below par,
and two hundred and fifty million pounds of the national debt was
converted from three and one-half per cent into a loan paying
three and one-fourth per cent for ten years and three per cent
thereafter. By another far-reaching measure--the Bank Charter
Act--Peel placed salutary restrictions upon the issue of paper
money, and increased his reputation as a master of financial

From year to year, as the surplus revenue increased, the
government employed it to cut down the duties upon imports. From
wool, cotton, and glass, and many minor items they were entirely
removed, and there were reductions throughout the schedules. The
grants in aid of education were trebled in the face of bitter
protest from his own party. Education in Ireland was aided by
grants to the Catholic College at Maynooth and by the
establishment of other "Queen's colleges" in affiliation with the
university at Dublin.

In one way and another Ireland played a great part in the history
of this administration. In 1843 the agitation of O'Connell, for
the repeal of the union of Ireland with England, culminated in
immense and angry meetings which threatened the public peace. The
government then took the matter in hand, "proclaimed" the
gatherings and arrested O'Connell. It was the failure of the
potato crop of 1845, and the consequent Irish famine which forced
Peel to abandon the last stronghold of protection and recommend
the total and absolute repeal forever of all duties on all
articles of subsistence. The history of the repeal of the Corn
Laws, in 1846, has already been given. On the day on which the
bill passed to its third reading in the House of Lords, all the
enemies of the government, led by Tory protectionists who
considered themselves betrayed by their own Prime Minister
combined to overthrow him. On a bill for the protection of life
in Ireland Peel was defeated by seventy-three votes. Four days
later, on relinquishing his place at the head of the government
he pronounced his memorable valedictory. He should leave a name,
he said, severely censured by many who deeply regretted the
severance of party ties, censured also by all sincere
protectionists. "I shall leave a name execrated by every
monopolist who, from less honorable motives, clamors for
protection because it conduces to his own individual benefit. But
it may be that I shall leave a name sometimes remembered with
expressions of good will in the abodes of those whose lot it is
to labor and to earn their daily bread by the sweat of their
brow, when they shall recruit their exhausted strength with
abundant and untaxed food, the sweeter because it is no longer
leavened by a sense of injustice."

Peel never returned to office. His conversion to free trade had
split his party, and the Whigs, under John Russell, succeeded to
the direction of affairs. He remained in the House of Commons,
and with such personal following as yet remained to him,
supported the administration. The protectionists were rallied and
led by George Bentinck and Benjamin Disraeli, whose star waxed as
Peel's began to wane. Death put a sudden end to his activity. He
was thrown from his horse while riding up Constitution Hill in
London, and died on the second of July, 1850. In accordance with
his expressed wish, his family declined the honors of a public
funeral, and he was buried without ostentation in the family tomb
at Drayton Bassett. His statue, voted by the House of Commons,
was placed in Westminster Abbey.

The Duke of Wellington, in his simple way, said of his late
associate: "I never knew a man in whose truth and justice I had a
more lively confidence, or in whom I saw a more invariable desire
to promote the public service. In the whole course of my
communication with him I never knew an instance in which he did
not show the strongest attachment to truth; and I never saw in
the whole course of my life the smallest reason for suspecting
that he stated anything which he did not firmly believe to be the
fact." Remarkable testimony this, concerning a great politician.
From Disraeli, who would perhaps be less drawn to this
qualification of a statesman, comes this word of praise, with
many of detraction: "Nature had combined in Sir Robert Peel many
admirable parts. In him a physical frame incapable of fatigue was
united with an understanding equally vigorous and flexible. He
was gifted with the faculty of method in the highest degree, and
with great powers of application, which were sustained by a
prodigious memory, while he could communicate his acquisitions
with clear and fluent elocution. Such a man under any
circumstances and in any sphere of life would probably have
become remarkable. Ordained from his youth to be busied with the
affairs of a great empire, such a man, after long years of
observation, practice, and perpetual discipline, would have
become what Sir Robert Peel was in the latter portion of his
life--a transcendent administrator of public business and a
matchless master of debate in a popular assembly."

The masterly debater never rose to heights of eloquence. His
thorough and practical mind enabled him to study, sift, and give
form and substance to the broad political and economic
conceptions of more idealistic men. Inheriting the narrow
political creed of his father, he can scarcely be blamed if his
mind came slowly to advanced positions. Rather shall he not be
commended who, with such prepossessions and prejudices, and with
such party co-workers, keeps his mind open to conviction? "The
resumption of cash payments, the amendment of the criminal law,
the institution of the Irish constabulary and the London police,
Catholic emancipation and the emancipation of trade, and a host
of reforms only less beneficial than these make up a record of
useful labor which has seldom been surpassed."


1.  What unusual preparation had Peel for his public career?
2.  Upon what political question did he and his father separate?
3.  Describe his relations to Ireland as Chief Secretary.
4.  What services did he render to criminal law?
5.  What police reform is due to him?
6.  What two famous party questions did he resist, but finally
of necessity accept?
7.  Why was Peel especially fitted to lead the new Conservative
party, formed after 1832?
8.  What fitness to govern did Peel show in his first ministry?
9.  How did he serve his country as a member of the opposition?
10. How did he meet the financial needs of England in his
second ministry?
11. How did his enemies finally overthrow him?
12. Why is Peel's life, in view of his inheritance, especially
worthy of honor?


SIR ROBERT PEEL.    J. R. Thursfield.
SIR ROBERT PEEL.    Justin McCarthy.



[ANTONY ASHLEY COOPER, Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, born April
28, 1801; died October 1, 1885; educated at Harrow and Christ
Church, Oxford (first-class in classics, 1822); Member of
Parliament 1826; bore a leading hand in legislation for improving
condition of laboring classes; President of Ragged School Union,
etc.; succeeded to the earldom on the death of his father, in

The industrial expansion of England in the nineteenth century was
not a blessing unalloyed. It built great cities and created
enormous wealth, and gave employment at advanced wages to a
vastly increased population. But it brought with it changes in
the social condition of the laboring classes which were
productive of severe hardship.

The England of the olden time had been an agricultural country
whose laborers, though poorly paid, either worked under mild
conditions in the fields, or followed their trades in their
cottages and workshops. The introduction of the steam engine
brought with it a demand for fuel which forced thousands of men,
women, and children to delve in the mines, and the use of
machines and the adoption of the factory system shut up other
thousands of both sexes, and all ages, to labor for excessive
hours in crowded cities under unsanitary conditions. At the
present time the system of legislation regarding the employment
of women and minors, and the regulation of unsanitary conditions
of labor is so thorough that it is difficult to conceive that it
has all been of recent growth. When the enemies of the abuses in
mine and factory first raised their voices in the British
Parliament, they were even told that such things were not proper
subjects of legislation. In the opening years of the century the
elder Robert Peel had attacked one of the foulest of industrial
abuses--the "apprentice system." Under this system the pauper
children of London and the south of England were rented out to
the tender mercies of the avaricious cotton manufacturers of the
north. From the age of seven they were compelled to work in the
mills at long hours, under unhealthful conditions, and without
opportunity of education or proper recreation. When not at work
they were huddled in comfortless barracks little better than
slave-pens. No wonder they grew up to be hopeless and brutalized,
if they were so unfortunate as to survive the arduous period of
their industrial bondage--for it was no less than that. Peel's
act of 1802, and other remedial legislation which supplemented
it, did away with the worst features of this white slavery, but
the general condition of the women and children in the English
factories and mines continued to be such as to move deeply the
sympathies of the humane.

In the year 1833 the little group of humanitarian leaders who had
succeeded in turning the attention of the nation to the
disgraceful condition of child labor, were striving to get a
hearing in the House of Commons for their "short time" proposal--
a law framed by Michael Thomas Sadler, for the purpose of
limiting the hours of child labor in textile factories to ten
hours a day. Sadler had lost his seat in Parliament, and a new
spokesman was needed for the cause. The committee ventured to ask
Lord Ashley to take charge of the bill, and his acceptance
enlisted in the humanitarian movement a young man who was
destined to be its champion for half a century.

Antony Ashley Cooper, then sitting in the House of Commons under
the name of Lord Ashley, and after 1851 known to the world as the
seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, was one of the most remarkable
Englishmen of the century. This new-found champion of the
working-classes was born in London, April 28, 1801. His father
was the sixth Earl of Shaftesbury, and his mother was a daughter
of the third Earl of Marlborough. The father's preoccupation in
public life and his mother's social duties left the early home
training of the lad to a pious domestic, an earnest Christian,
whose precepts and example did more than anything else to give
bent to his life. In later years the Earl freely owned his
mother's housekeeper to be the best friend he had ever had. He
did little to distinguish himself as a schoolboy at Harrow, but
Oxford appealed to him, and he applied himself to classical
studies at the university with a zeal which won for him a degree
with the first honors.

Parliament was the natural place for a peer's son in those days
of pocket boroughs, and into the House of Commons he went as Lord
Ashley at the age of twenty-five. In his diary he recorded his
devout purpose to use his position "for the success of religion
and true happiness," and on taking the oaths he "breathed a
slight prayer for assistance in thoughts and deeds." A man of
profound introspection, intense religious feeling, and sincere
purpose to be of service to his kind, had some difficulty in
adjusting himself to the selfish politics of the House. The first
subject upon which he found voice was the reform of the laws for
the care of lunatic paupers, a class whose pitiable state might
have moved the most stolid heart. To this merciful project he
addressed himself with a zeal and persistency which were to
characterize his later efforts for other downtrodden classes.

When the labor leaders turned to him, in 1833, to champion their
cause, he took the question into consideration over night,
obtained his wife's cordial approval, consulted his Bible,
resorted to prayer, and the next day gave himself unreservedly to
the cause. His friends of the aristocratic families shunned him,
his parents discountenanced his design and closed their doors
against him for many years, but, said he, in dedication of
himself to the work, "I believe it is my duty to God and to the
poor, and I trust He will support me."

The manufacturers sought to side-track the Ten-Hours Bill by
proposing that nothing should be done until a committee of
Parliament should make thorough inquiry into the alleged
conditions in the mills. But the very commission which they asked
for could not go against the evidence of their own eyes in the
factory towns, swarming with ignorant, ragged child-operatives,
prematurely old. The commission reported: (1) that the work hours
of children and adults were the same; (2) that such labor was
resulting in the permanent physical and intellectual
deterioration of the young; (3) that these maltreated children
were not free agents, but hired out by parents or guardians; and
finally, "that a case was made out for the interference of the
legislature on behalf of the children employed in factories."

In place of the radical measure of Lord Ashley the government
carried a substitute, the Factory Law of 1833. "Night work was
prohibited to persons under eight even in cotton, wool, worsted,
hemp, flax, tow, and linen spinneries and weaving mills; children
from nine to thirteen were not allowed to work more than forty-
eight hours a week, and young persons thirteen to eighteen were
restricted to sixty-eight hours a week. In silk factories
children might be admitted under nine, and children under thirteen
were to be allowed ten hours a day. Provision was made for a
certain amount of school attendance, and factory inspectors were
provided to inquire into violations of the statute." At the time
Ashley and his friends bewailed the passage of the Factory Act as
a defeat, though the former eventually admitted that "it
contained some humane and highly useful provisions, and
established for the first time the great principle that labor and
education should be combined."

Defeat, if that be a defeat, which forces your foe to adopt your
own principles in order to win, only proved Lord Ashley's
superior fitness for the leadership of the cause. Instead of
abandoning the contest he began to prepare for a fresh assault by
collecting information touching every part of the question. He
visited the workrooms and lodgings of the operatives in every
part of the land, examining at first hand their condition, and
studying the problem in all its bearings with the same
persistency and intellectual force which had won him his "first-
class" at the university. Nothing which could subserve his cause
escaped his searching inquiry, and when he arose to address
Parliament his mastery of his subject was so complete as to
baffle the skill of the few who durst ask him questions.

As the Anti-Corn Law gained ground the labor reformers met with a
new form of opposition. Lord Ashley was taunted with
inconsistency in seeking the welfare of the factory workers,
while neglecting to remedy the no less servile condition of the
agricultural laborers. Manufacturers as high-minded as Cobden and
Bright did not scruple to say--as doubtless they believed--that
the outcry against the manufacturers sprang from the desire of
the landowners to harass the opponents of "the tax on bread."
John Bright answered Lord Ashley's arguments for the ten hours'
clause in the bill of 1844 in a speech as vindictive as it was
eloquent. Though Ashley was again defeated, at this time the new
Factory Act, which was passed, carried farther the principles of
the original law. In 1845 his calico print-works measure brought
relief to thousands of weary little hands, and in 1847 the long-
worked-for and earnestly prayed-for Ten-Hours Bill became a law.
Lord Ashley had resigned his seat in Parliament, but had not
relaxed his efforts in behalf of the bill which he had borne on
his heart for fourteen years. When the news came that the bill,
after going through the Commons with flying colors, had passed
the critical stage in the Upper House, Lord Ashley's feelings
found vent in this entry in his journal: "I am humbled that my
heart is not bursting with thankfulness to Almighty God--that I
can find breath and sense to express my joy. What reward shall we
give unto the Lord for all the benefits he hath conferred upon
us? God, in his mercy, prosper the work and grant that these
operatives may receive the cup of salvation, and call upon the
name of the Lord! Praised be the Lord! Praised be the Lord in
Christ Jesus!" The operatives received the news with tumultuous
joy, for the act brought substantial relief to fully three
hundred and sixty thousand persons, more than two-thirds of all
the operatives then employed in the textile industries of the

The manufacturers who attributed Ashley's professions of
friendship for their employees to his class hatred of their
masters little knew the man. His sympathies were engaged in
behalf of the poor and weak in every calling, and the mill-hands
were only the first whose cause he championed. The manufacturers
had sometimes sought to divert attention from their own
shortcomings by pointing to the greater hardship of the colliery
workers, and in 1840 Lord Ashley took up this subject by moving
for a parliamentary commission to inquire into the employment of
the children of the poorer classes in mines and collieries. The
first report of this commission, issued in 1842, is one of the
most appalling of public documents. Sworn testimony was presented
to show that much of the underground labor was performed by
children under thirteen years of age, and that little boys and
girls were set to work in the dark and noisome tunnels at the age
of five. First as "trappers" these child laborers opened and shut
the trap-doors in the passages of the mine. The stronger
children, boys and girls alike, dragged and pushed the little
coal wagons along the narrow passages--the roofs too low for them
to stand upright, often so low as to compel them to creep on all-
fours in the black slime of the floors. Some with laden baskets
on their backs climbed many times a day up steep ascents. Some
stood ankle-deep in water from morning till night in the depths
of the pit, wearing out their little lives at the hand- pumps.

"The young lambs are bleating in the meadows,
The young birds are chirping in the nest;
The young fawns are playing with the shadows,
The young flowers are blowing toward the west.
But the young, young children, O my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly!
They are weeping in the playtime of the others,
In the country of the free."

So sang Elizabeth Barrett of the sorrows of the children of the
mines and mills in those dismal days, and it must be said for the
great heart of England that its beat was still true. The coal-
owners made the pitiful plea in extenuation of all the misery and
indecency of the mines that without the labor of women and
children the collieries must shut down, not only for lack of
profit, but for the cogent reason that the flexible vertebra of
childhood were especially adapted to the constrained positions
required in the tunnels, and that there could be no good colliers
unless as children they became inured to the privations and
hardships of the life. The government tried to keep the report
out of the hands of the indignant public, but "by a most
providential mistake," as Lord Ashley believed, it got into
circulation, to the horror and disgust of all right-minded
persons. The press joined in the cry for remedial legislation.
Ashley's speech in support of his Mines and Collieries Bill made
an unusual impression in the House of Commons. Even Cobden, who
had been ready to sneer at the "philanthropists" who opposed the
repeal of the tax on bread, came over to the orator's side at the
conclusion of his two hours' plea, and wringing his hand
heartily, declared, "I don't think I have ever been put into such
a frame of mind in all my life." From this time he no longer
entertained doubts of Ashley's sincerity. The Queen and Prince
Albert added their personal support. The government threw
obstacles in the way of the bill, and the peers mutilated it, but
Ashley's persistency carried it at last. Henceforth women and
girls and boys under ten were excluded from underground work, and
a system of mine inspection was established to secure the
observance of the law. Such a triumph for morality and humanity
was worth more to England than many battles won by force of arms.

There has been no retreat from the positions to which Lord Ashley
carried the legislative protection of the working-classes. From
time to time the Factory Laws were extended to cover the special
demands of other industries, until the state had literally taken
under its protection the whole class of children and young
persons employed in manufacturing industries. It has done this in
the name of the moral and physical health of the community. The
general laws governing factories and workshops now cover a very
wide scope. It is required that the building must be kept clean
and sanitary; that dangerous machinery must be boxed and fenced;
the hours of labor and meal-time for women and children are
fixed, and children under ten may not be employed; certain
holidays and half-holidays must be allowed to all "protected"
persons; child-workers must go to school a certain proportion of
the week; medical certificates of fitness for employment are
required in the case of children; and notice of accidents causing
loss of life or bodily injury must be sent to the government
inspector. Many co-operated to bring about these results, but the
chief advocate of all the beneficent reforms which have
reinvigorated the English working-classes, saved the women from
slavish toil and given them opportunity to make homes for their
families, rescued the children from benumbing toil, and given
them time for healthful recreation and mental improvement, is, by
the common award of all, this simple-hearted Christian, Antony
Ashley Cooper.

On the fly-leaf of a book in his library the Earl of Shaftesbury
noted in pencil some of the obstacles which beset his progress
when seeking the good of the distressed children: "I had to break
every political connection, to encounter a most formidable array
of capitalists, mill-owners, doctrinaires, and men who by natural
impulse hate all 'humanity mongers' (tell it riot in Gath!) among
the Radicals, the Irishmen, and a few sincere Whigs and
Conservatives.....Peel was hostile.....Fielden and Brotherton
were the only 'practical' men who supported me, and to practical
prophecies of overthrow of trade, of ruin to the operatives
themselves, I could only oppose 'humanity' and general
principles. The newspapers were on the whole friendly. Out of
Parliament there was in society every form of 'good-natured' and
compassionate contempt.....In few instances did any mill-owner
appear on a platform with me; in still fewer the ministers of any
religious denomination--so cowed were they (or in themselves so
indifferent) by the overwhelming influence of the cotton-lords."

Among his opponents Shaftesbury reckoned Peel, who continually
sought to silence him by giving him government offices; Bright,
whose malignant opposition has already been noticed; Cobden,
though latterly a convert; O'Connell, Brougham, and even
Gladstone, "the only member who voted to delay the bill which
delivered women and children from the mines and pits."

It is foreign to the purpose of this sketch to pursue the later
labors of Lord Shaftesbury; his zeal for education; his warm
espousal of the cause of ragged schools for the instruction of
the waifs of the London streets; his successful agitation in
favor of the pitiable chimney-sweeps; in short, his support of
every cause which appealed to his sympathy for the neglected
classes, or which promised to benefit humanity physically,
morally, intellectually, or spiritually. He was the president of
scores of organizations devoted to Christian and philanthropic
work, and until the close of his long and useful life, his voice
and influence could always be counted on to assist such worthy
causes. As his end approached his only regret was "I cannot bear
to leave the world with all the misery in it." The Dean of
Westminster's suggestion that the Abbey should be his last
resting-place, he brushed aside in favor of the parish church of
St. Giles, where his boyhood had been passed. He died on the 1st
of October, 1885, at Folkestone, where he had been taken for the
invigorating sea breezes. Perhaps the old Abbey Church of
Westminster never saw a funeral where so many classes of English
society gathered to pay respect to a dead earl. Costermongers,
climbing-boys, boot-blacks, cripples, flower-girls sat with
royalty, bishops, peers, and commoners in sincere mourning for a
nobleman who was indeed a noble man.


1.  What social changes accompanied the industrial expansion of
2.  What was the "apprentice system"?
3.  Under what influences did Lord Ashley pass his childhood and
4.  How was the Factory Law of 1833 secured, and what did it
5.  How did Lord Ashley prepare for a new Factory Act?
6.  What opposition did he meet from the Anti-Corn Law workers?
7.  How was the passage of the "Ten-Hours Bill" in 1847 received?
8.  What conditions were revealed by the report on mines and
9.  Describe the events which led to the passage of Ashley's bill?
10. What factory laws have since been enacted?
11. What various kinds of opposition did Shaftesbury meet in his
efforts for reform?
12. To what other needy causes did he devote the remaining years
of his life?





[HENRY JOHN TEMPLE, Viscount Palmerston, born October 20, 1784,
near Romsey, Hampshire; died October 18, 1865, Brocket Hall;
succeeded to the title and the Irish peerage in 1802; educated at
Harrow and Cambridge; Member of Parliament, 1807; at once made a
Junior Lord of the Admiralty; 1809-1828, Secretary at War; about
1830 joined Whig party; 1830-41,1846-51, Secretary for Foreign
Affairs; 1852-55, Home Secretary; 1855-58, 1859-65, Prime
Minister and First Lord of the Treasury. Buried in Westminster

The Peace is the accepted name for the condition which succeeded
in England the generation which had been spent in the wars with
France and the first Napoleon. For forty years after the Battle
of Waterloo (1815), this condition was unruffled by actual
hostilities between England and any European power, unless that
"untoward event" the Battle of Navarino (1827) and the
bombardment of Antwerp (1832) should be so considered. Petty wars
with the native princes of India and on the Afghan frontier
occurred from time to time, it is true, and the infamous Opium
War was waged against China (1839-42), but until the Crimean
Campaigns (1853-56) and the Indian Mutiny (1857) the war spirit
of the nation was never stirred to its depths. Continental Europe
during these years passed through many convulsions. Bloody
revolutions shook many states, and Prussia, Austria, Denmark,
Turkey, and Italy were involved in wars. The hand that piloted
England among the rocks of the tortuous channel of foreign
politics for nearly a generation was that of Lord Palmerston, for
nearly twenty years Foreign Secretary and twice Prime Minister of
the Queen's government.

Henry John Temple was the descendant of an historic English
family, and was born on the Temple estates at Broadlands in
Hampshire, October 20, 1784. He was, therefore, four years older
than Sir Robert Peel, whom he long survived, and twelve years the
senior of his sometime colleague, Lord John Russell. From Harrow,
where he was reckoned the jolliest boy in the school, and the
pluckiest fighter, he was sent to Edinburgh in charge of Dugald
Stewart, one of the great Scottish teachers of the time, and
thence, after three years under exceptional educative influences,
to Cambridge. His father's death had given him the title of
Viscount Palmerston in the Irish peerage, and before receiving
his degree, his ambition led him to offer himself to the
university as its candidate for the House of Commons. Though
rejected there, a pocket borough was provided for him, and in
1807, at the age of twenty-three, he took his seat as a member
for Newtown, a borough in which he had never set foot. An office
was soon found for him in the Perceval government as Secretary at
War, a post which was charged with the supervision and control of
military expenditure and accounts--no small responsibility at
this juncture. During his score of years in this capacity the
young Palmerston gave evidence of superior abilities as a bureau
chief, while on the floor of the House his speeches marked him as
a stanch asserter of the power of England, and a dangerous man to
trifle with--so quick and powerful was his gift of repartee.
During the brief ministries of Canning and Goderich he received
flattering offers of advancement, leaving the cabinet in May,
1828, with Canning's followers, who opposed the government of

The young aristocrat who had impressed some of his school-fellows
as having no ambitions higher than to be a courtier, had forsaken
"pigtail Toryism," as he called it, and was developing along
liberal lines. He had been a consistent advocate of Catholic
emancipation, an admirer of Canning's broad views, and hospitable
to moderate propositions for the reform of Parliament. When Lord
Grey's government was formed, in 1830, he naturally accepted
office under it, becoming what he had long wished to be,
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Except for a few months
he was the spokesman of England in the world's councils until the
downfall of the Whigs, in 1841.

For the duties of his office Palmerston had many qualifications.
His long training in public business; his familiarity not only
with the languages of western Europe, but with foreign public
men, and the national customs and peculiar modes of thought and
feeling; his social faculty which gave him ready access to the
minds of others; and his unfailing confidence in his country and
in himself, brought him well off from a hundred diplomatic
battles. As time went on the nation recognized in him some of its
own most striking characteristics, and his popularity at last
transcended party lines. In Lord Palmerston "John Bull"
recognized himself.

Of the governing principles of his foreign policy Palmerston's
own statement, made in 1848, is as good as can be given. It was
not based upon any permanent alliance with other states, but
provided for such freedom of action as should secure the
"balance of power" in Europe, lest any single state should
become a menace, like France in the Napoleonic era. Palmerston's
statement was, "As long as England sympathizes with right and
justice she will never find herself alone. She is sure to find
some other state of sufficient power, influence, and weight to
support and aid her in the course she may think fit to pursue.
Therefore I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this
country or that is marked out as the perpetual ally or the
perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we
have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and
perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow. And if
I might be allowed to express in one sentence the principle
which I think ought to guide an English minister, I would adopt
the expression of Canning, and say that with every British
ministry the interests of England ought to be the shibboleth of

The achievement of Belgian independence was the first and almost
greatest success of the new Foreign Secretary. When the powers
at Vienna, in 1815, were rearranging the map of Europe they had
joined Belgium with Holland as the kingdom of the Netherlands,
with the idea of forestalling any further advance of France in
that quarter. The union was unnatural. Race, language, and
religion were opposed to it, and in 1830, the Belgians revolted.
A congress of the powers met in London to labor for a peaceful
solution. Between the claims of Holland and the aggressive
policy of France, a rupture was with difficulty avoided. But
eventually, by tact and firmness, Palmerston had his way, and
Belgium became an independent state, without precipitating a
general European war.

The formation of the Quadruple Alliance was the next incident in
this vigorous foreign policy. Portugal and Spain were plunged in
civil wars, the pretenders, Don Miguel and Don Carlos,
attempting to wrest the scepter from the hands of the
constitutional queens. Austria, preparing to interfere in behalf
of despotism, was met, in 1834, by the announcement that a
treaty of alliance had been signed by the four powers-- England,
France, Spain, and Portugal. Though it remained in force but a
short time it served its purpose.

The Eastern Question next took on threatening form. Mehemet Ali,
Pasha of Egypt, rose against the Turkish Sultan, and his son,
Ibrahim, invaded Syria and threatened Constantinople itself. The
Turkish empire seemed about to break in two, France supporting
the Pasha, and so gaining a foothold in Egypt, and Russia
befriending the Porte, and advancing her frontier to the
Bosphorus. Such a consummation would have interposed two hostile
powers between England and her Indian empire. In July, 1840,
Palmerston completed the Quadrilateral Alliance, by which
England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia agreed to restore peace in
the Porte's dominions. This bold stroke, backed by England's
warlike attitude, and Palmerston's characteristic threat that
"Mehemet Ali will just be chucked into the Nile" took the spirit
out of the French government. Mehemet Ali was left to make the
best terms he could with the Quadrilateral, and the crisis was
at an end. This was in July, 1841. The next month the Whig
ministry fell, and Sir Robert Peel returned to power. Palmerston
went out of office with flying colors. "He had created Belgium,
saved Portugal and Spain from Absolutism, rescued Turkey from
Russia, and the highway to India from France." It is true that
the picture had another side, and that the very brilliancy of
his moves, the cleverness with which he played the game of
diplomacy, and his recklessness of the interests of foreign
courts left feelings of bitterness and defeat in the hearts of
many European and American statesmen. His enemies called him a
bully, and denounced his methods as "high handed," but his
countrymen were satisfied.

From 1841 to 1846, as a member of the opposition, the ex-
Minister exercised his functions as a critic of the spiritless
foreign policy of Lord Aberdeen, for which he could find no
better name than "antiquated imbecility." Upon Peel's overthrow,
after the repeal of the Corn Laws (1846), he resumed the foreign
portfolio in the Cabinet of Lord John Russell.

At once the question of the "Spanish marriages" became acute.
King Louis Philippe of France, and his Minister, Guizot, had
been plotting to marry the child-queen, Isabella of Spain, to
her worthless cousin, Don Francisco, and her sister, the
Infanta, to the Duc de Montpensier, Louis Philippe's brother,
with results most promising to the King and to France, but most
distasteful to England, as Palmerston was prompt to declare,
"Such an objection on our part may seem uncourteous and may be
displeasing, but the friendships of states and governments must
be founded on natural interests and not upon personal likings."
Yet despite these protests, the marriages were celebrated.
France seemed to have outwitted Palmerston for once. But
vengeance was not long delayed. The "Citizen King" had few
friends among the monarchical states of the Continent, and in
forfeiting the friendship of England he kicked away one of the
props of his own throne. Within two years came the Revolution
of 1848, which cost him his crown.

Eighteen hundred and forty-eight was a year of revolutions.
Throughout western Europe the popular aspirations were
struggling for expression. Constitutional government was
clamorously demanded, and the despotism which had ground the
Italian states under the heel of Hapsburg and Bourbon was for
the moment shaken. Through her outspoken Foreign Secretary
England let her liberal sympathies be known, but even Palmerston
was careful to keep within the bounds of peaceful protest,
avoiding all provocation to war.

In April, 1847, at Athens, the house of Don Pacifico, a
Portuguese Jew born on British soil at Gibraltar, was destroyed
by a mob of Jew-baiters. As a British citizen he put in a claim
for damages and asked the foreign office to collect it.
Palmerston had other scores to settle with Greece, and when his
demands met with slow response, he sent a British fleet to the
Piraeus to lay hands on Greek shipping. Greece appealed to
France and Russia for protection. The trouble grew to such
proportions that the British Parliament took it up. The Lords
censured the government for its harsh and unjust treatment of a
friendly state. In the Commons a vote of confidence in the
foreign policy was moved, and on this question Lord Palmerston
delivered the greatest speech of his life. It was an exposition
and defense of his entire official career, and no argument could
break the force with Englishmen of the triumphant sentence in
which it culminated. "I fearlessly challenge the verdict which
this House, as representing a political, a commercial, a
constitutional country, is to give on the question before it;
whether the principles on which the foreign policy of this
country has been conducted, and the sense of duty which has led
us to think ourselves bound to afford protection to our fellow-
subjects abroad, are proper and fitting guides for those who
are charged with the government of England, and whether as the
Roman in the days of old held himself free from indignity when
he could say 'Civis Romanus sum,' so also a British subject, in
whatever land he be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye
and the strong arm of England shall protect him against
injustice and wrong!"

This "Civis Romanus" speech raised the orator to the highest
pitch of popular regard. But the premier had found him a very
troublesome colleague on account of his confirmed practice of
committing the government on important matters without
consulting with his chief. He was warned by the Queen's personal
memorandum that this habit must cease, but an unpardonable case
occurred in 1851. Prince Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, president of
the French republic, executed his coup d'etat and overthrew the
constitutional government. Without consulting Queen or Premier,
and contrary to their express desire, Palmerston, in
conversation with the French ambassador, approved the bold
stroke of the Prince-President. For this indiscretion Lord
Russell summarily dismissed him.

When Lord Palmerston again took a portfolio, it was to be Home
Secretary in the coalition cabinet of Lord Aberdeen (1852-55).
He had become the warm friend and admirer of Lord Shaftesbury,
whose mother-in-law, Lady Cowper, was now Lady Palmerston, the
most gracious and skilful helpmeet that any statesman could wish
to have. His inclination and his position enabled him to put
through much legislation suggested by the philanthropic peer for
the welfare of the working- classes. His knowledge of foreign
affairs was at the service of the government, and came into
active play when the Czar's claim to a protectorate over all
Greek Christians in the Turkish empire brought the Eastern
Question again to a fever heat, in 1853. The Czar Nicholas had
said in a conversation with the British Minister concerning the
political weakness of Turkey, "We have on our hands a sick man-
-a very sick man; it will be a great mistake if one of these
days he should slip away from us before the necessary
arrangements have been made." His idea of "arrangements" was
that Turkey in Europe should fall under Russian protection,
leaving England free to control her direct route to India by way
of Cyprus and Egypt. English diplomacy encouraged the Sultan to
reject the Russian claim to the uttermost. The result was war.
Turkey first declared it against the Russians, who had already
invaded her Danubian principalities. Palmerston held that it was
the duty of Europe to preserve the balance of power by
preventing Russia from aggrandizing herself at the expense of
Turkey, and when the Czar refused to withdraw from the
principalities England joined with France in declaring the war,
which, from the scene of its chief operations against Russia,
has since been called the Crimean. Forty years had passed since
Waterloo and war was an exciting novelty for British youth.
England plunged into it with enthusiasm, but the feeble and
incompetent prosecution of the campaign against Sebastopol, with
the mismanagement of commissary and hospitals, evoked a storm of
opposition, before which the Aberdeen ministry collapsed. Lord
Palmerston was the natural choice of Queen and nation to succeed
him. He became Prime Minister in February, 1855, and though past
his seventieth year, his energy put a new face on the military
situation, and his diplomacy gained a substantial advantage over
Russia in the Treaty of Paris (March, 1856), which closed the
inglorious conflict, and postponed for twenty years her advance
toward the Bosphorus. The Queen, who had many reasons to dislike
the personality of her chief minister, honored him with the
Garter, in recognition of his services to the state.

Palmerston's government held together until early in 1858,
handling with vigor the various problems of Eastern policy which
grew out of the Crimean War, waging the brief expeditionary wars
with China and Persia, and dealing with characteristic decision
and pluck with the great Sepoy Mutiny in India, in 1857. To
Palmerston belongs the credit of selecting the right person in
Sir Colin Campbell to restore the British power in the revolted
provinces, and his ready optimism helped to nerve the nation in
this year of trial. John Bull felt a new pride in "Old Pam"
when, in his Mansion House speech, in this time of national
foreboding, he served notice on any foreign nation whom it might
concern that "it would not be a safe game to play to take
advantage of that which is erroneously imagined to be the moment
of our weakness."

Palmerston's willingness to alter the English conspiracy laws
for the sake of the Emperor of the French, whose life had been
attempted by the assassin Orsini, cost him his official head in
February, 1858. The second Derby administration which ensued
lasted but fifteen months, giving way, in June of the following
year, to Palmerston's second and last government, with a
brilliant array of advisers; Earl Russell as Foreign Secretary,
and Mr. William Ewart Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The lifelong determination to spare nothing which might be
required for the defense of his country was still strong within
him, as is shown by his strenuous advocacy of increased
armaments, better coast defenses, and more and more powerful
ships. "He never ceased for a single moment to keep before the
nation the great lesson that empires are kept as they are
gained, by courage and self-reliance."

The Civil War in America afforded one of the latest opportunities
for the display of his characteristics in dealing with foreign
affairs. The sentiment of the ruling class in England, the class
to which Lord Palmerston was allied by birth, interest, and
lifelong political association, openly showed its sympathy with
the Southern side. Moreover, the English cotton-mills were shut
down for lack of the raw staple, and English merchants looked
longingly at the blockaded markets of the Confederacy. The Prime
Minister, true to his guiding principle, made "the interests of
England" the watchword of his policy. He was prompt to recognize
the "belligerent rights" of the revolted states against an angry
protest from the Union side; he was strenuous in his demand for
apology and restitution in the case of the Confederate envoys
whom Captain Wilkes, U.S.N., seized on board the British steamer
"Trent"; and he taxed the endurance of Mr. Lincoln's government
to the uttermost by allowing the "Alabama" and other Confederate
commerce-destroyers to be built and outfitted in British ports.
Not even the heavy bill of damages which his country had to pay
at Geneva for this breach of neutrality has softened the
bitterness of feeling which his action at that time engendered
in the United States. If Lord Palmerston was the embodiment of
"John Bull," he here exhibited the national character at its

The "evergreen" premier, vigorous almost to the last, died at
Brocket in October, 1865. He had outlived many of the traits
which had laid him open to attack and criticism in his younger
days, and had gained in weight and dignity. The knowledge of
what he had done for England, how he had stood for her interests
in the Commons, and won victories for her in foreign courts,
and had penetrated and frustrated the designs of her enemies,
gave him a splendid position in the esteem of English patriots.
They even looked kindly upon his foibles, his foppish attire,
his fondness for the turf, and his frivolous gayety, which shone
undaunted when the national gloom was blackest. When he died
there was a general belief that England had lost a son who had
spared nothing in laboring for her aggrandizement, and he went to
his last resting-place in Westminster Abbey as one who had
earned a place among her most useful servants.


1.  Describe the early career of Palmerston.
2.  How was he especially qualified for the position of Secretary
of Foreign Affairs?
3.  What was the chief principle of his foreign policy?
4.  How was the independence of Belgium brought about?
5.  What was the work of the Quadruple Alliance?
6.  How did Palmerston deal with the Egyptian revolt and why?
7.  What was England's attitude toward the "Spanish Marriage"?
8.  Describe the "Civis Romanus" speech and the reasons for it.
9.  Why was Lord Palmerston dismissed from the Cabinet?
10. What conditions brought on the Crimean War and what was
England's share in it?
11. What was Palmerston's attitude in the American Civil War?
12. How did England regard the premier in the last years of his


VISCOUNT PALMERSTON.         L. C. Sanders.
HENRY HAVELOCK.             (English Men of Action Series.)
THE INDIAN MUTINY.           G. B. Malleson.
THE WAR IN THE CRIMEA.       Gen. Sir Edward Hamley.



[WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE, born, Liverpool, December 29, 1809;
died, Hawarden, Flintshire, Wales, May 19, 1898; educated at
Eton and Christ Church College, Oxford University (double first-
class, 1831); Member of Parliament for Newark as a Tory, 1832
46; wrote, 1838, "The State in its Relations with the Church";
held minor financial offices in Peel administration; 1843-45,
President of Board of Trade; 1847-65, Member of Parliament for
Oxford University; 1852, Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord
Aberdeen; 1858, Commissioner to the Ionian Islands; 1859,
Chancellor of the Exchequer under Lord Palmerston; 1865,
defeated as candidate for Oxford but returned for South
Lancashire as a Liberal; leader of House of Commons; proposes
radical Reform Bill; 1868, Member of Parliament for Greenwich;
1868-74, Premier (I.); Disestablishes Irish Church; carries
National Educational Law, Ballot Law, Irish Land Act; abolishes
purchase in the army; resigns Liberal leadership in 1875, and
publishes works on ecclesiastical controversy; 1876, attacks
Disraeli's Eastern policy in letters on Bulgarian atrocities;
1880, Member of Parliament for Midlothian; 1880-85, Premier
(II.); Irish Coercion Acts; new Land Acts; Arrears of Rent Act;
Franchise and Redistribution Acts; 1886, Premier (III.); First
Home Rule Bill Fails; 1892-94, Premier (IV.); 1893, Second Home
Rule Bill carried through the Commons, thrown out by the Lords;
retires from public life March, 1894; buried in Westminster

From the first day of the nineteenth century to the last the
statesmen of England have had one standing problem to face. It
might come up under various forms and disguises, and it might
seem to demand various remedies, but in some shape or other the
woes of Ireland have always furnished the test of practical
statesmanship, and have often been the rock on which proud
administrations have met with disaster.

By nature Ireland would seem formed for peace and plenty.
Happily located with the protecting bulwark of Great Britain
between their emerald isle and foreign foes, blessed with a mild
and equable climate, and inhabiting an island of singular
fertility, the Irish would seem to have been marked for
fortune's favors. Yet such has been the misgovernment of the
English that the Irish have seen their paternal acres pass into
the hands of aliens and absentees, their religion made a brand
of shame and outlawry, their Parliament corrupted and done away,
their industries crippled and bound down, and themselves reduced
to wretched poverty.

At the outset of the century the Act of Union went into effect,
abolishing the Irish Parliament and admitting Irish (Protestant)
Lords and Commons to the Parliament at Westminster. Pitt
believed that the change would strengthen the empire and help
Ireland as well, but it was brought to pass by means of lavish
bribery, and sorely against the wish of the Irish patriots.
Furthermore, the determination of Pitt to commend the act to
Ireland by removing the political disabilities which barred
Catholics from membership in Parliament was thwarted by the
stiff-necked George III., who had got it into his head that such
a concession would do violence to the Protestantism of his
coronation oath. Pitt resigned in disgust, and Catholic
emancipation had to await until England had finished Napoleon's
European business and could turn her hand to the troubles nearer
home. It was finally carried, in 1829, by Wellington and Peel,
the reform being fairly forced upon them by the tremendous
agitation in its behalf by the eloquent Daniel O'Connell and his
comrades of the Catholic Association. To save the nation from
civil war the government yielded with scant grace, and O'Connell
and his "tail" of Irish Catholics came into Parliament to form
a new and perplexing element in all subsequent political

From his vantage-ground as a member of Parliament O'Connell led
a fresh agitation for the "Repeal," meaning the repeal of the
Act of Union which had destroyed the Dublin Parliament. His
oratory, which in its power over vast multitudes of his
emotional countrymen has never been surpassed, made him the idol
of his party. To boisterous congregations of tens of thousands he
declaimed his bitter harangues on Saxon injustice to the Celt.
But when the people had been brought to fever heat the agitation
failed because the orator proved to be a voice and nothing more.
He yielded meekly to the proclamation of the government
forbidding further meetings, and his followers forsook him when
they saw that he would not cross the Rubicon and take arms after
words had failed. The society called "Young Ireland," formed
about 1840, took up the agitation for Irish nationality, and
carried it to greater lengths than O'Connell had dared. Its
fiery young leaders, Smith O'Brien, Meagher, and Mitchel,
preached sedition with voice and newspaper press, and in 1848,
only by the vigorous exertion of physical force was open
rebellion averted. The principal men of the Young Ireland party
were seized and condemned to death for high treason, though they
ultimately got off with transportation to Australia, whence most
of them eventually found their way to America, whither
thousands of their countrymen had emigrated since the famine
year of 1846.

The famine marks a turning-point in the history of the relations
of England and Ireland. As has been narrated in another place,
it was the dearth of food in Ireland which forced the government
of Sir Robert Peel to do what the Cobdenites had been demanding
for ten years, and repeal the Corn Laws. Probably the
distressful plight of the Irish peasant had never been brought
so strongly to the attention of Englishmen as by the reports
which now reached England from the agents of the relief
committees who visited every part of the island ascertaining
conditions and distributing food. From this time a considerable
number among the English Liberals carried the sad state of
Ireland upon their heart and conscience. Another result of the
famine which was to exercise enduring influence upon Irish
politics was the emigration to America. The hundreds of
thousands who came to the free republic at this time soon made it
the asylum of Irish patriots, the hot-bed of anti-English
conspiracies, and the source of a swelling stream of revenue for
the Irish nationalist treasury.

It was in America that the next alarm was sounded after two
unquiet decades. A widely ramified secret society, the Fenian
Brotherhood, sprang up among the Irish exiles and emigrants in
the United States about 1857, its members swearing "to free and
regenerate Ireland from the yoke of England." The movement
spread to Ireland, and Fenian lodges were organized even on
British soil. The close of the American Civil War set loose many
Irish veterans who eagerly enlisted in the cause of "the Irish
Republic." The reports of vast enlistments and contributions in
America alarmed the British government. In February, 1866, the
Habeas Corpus Act was suspended in Ireland, and scores of
suspects were thrown into jail. In May an armed band of Irish-
American Fenians crossed the Niagara River to invade Canada. The
attempt failed miserably, as did the plans for a general rising
in Ireland. But a succession of surprises, jail deliveries,
gunpowder plots, and the like, kept the English government in a
flutter for several years, and gave the name of Fenian a place
in the somber side of the century's history. The most notable
result of the Fenian outbreak, beyond its obvious one of
embittering the feeling between the governing nation and the
subject race, was that it aroused one man--and he the greatest
statesman of his time--to the need of providing some far-
reaching and sufficient remedy for the disease which showed such
virulence. "We know," says McCarthy, the historian of the epoch,
"that even the worst excesses of the movement impressed the mind
of Mr. Gladstone with a conviction that the hour was appropriate
for doing something to remove the causes of the discontent that
made Ireland restless.....While many public instructors lost
themselves in vain shriekings over the wickedness of Fenianism,
and the incurable perversity of the Irish people, one statesman
was already convinced that the very shock of the Fenian
agitation would arouse public attention to the recognition of
substantial grievance, and to the admission that the business of
statesmanship was to seek out the remedy and provide redress."

The statesman who accomplished the disestablishment of the Irish
Church, reformed the Land Laws, and devoted the closing decade
of a great career to a fruitless endeavor to secure to Ireland
the benefits of self- government, certainly ranks among the
century's foremost Englishmen. In length of parliamentary
service, in the frequency and duration of his terms as premier,
in administrative ability, in moral force, and moving eloquence,
it would be difficult to find in the long history of English
statesmanship a name which shines with a purer ray than that of
William Ewart Gladstone.

The family name was anciently Gledstane, and the ancestry on
both sides of the house was purely Scotch. Sir John Gladstone
made his own way in life, amassed a fortune as a corn merchant
in Liverpool, and became a member of Parliament and a follower
of Peel. His gentle and pious wife admirably supplemented his
masterful nature, and the sons of the household were brought up
in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. At the age of eleven
the third son, William Ewart Gladstone, was sent away to Eton,
where his two brothers were already at school. Here his piety
and studious habits militated against his popularity, but here
his intellectual ambition was aroused and his soul was enriched
by the closest intimacy with Arthur Hallam, whom Tennyson's "In
Memoriam" has eulogized. Like Canning he was a precocious
orator, and edited the school paper with an ability which led
some of his contemporaries to predict a great future for him. "I
am confident," said Arthur Hallam, "that he is a bud that will
bloom with a richer fragrance than almost any whose early
promise I have witnessed." At Christ Church, Oxford, he
justified the hopes of his friends- -a quiet, abstemious, reading
man, mighty in debate, learned and devout in theology, and a
tower of strength in examinations. He graduated with a double
first class (classics and mathematics) in 1831, as Robert Peel
had done a generation earlier. His choice of a career would have
taken him into the clergy of the Church of England, but his
father saw in him the making of a parliamentary leader, and to
the House of Commons he was accordingly returned in 1833,
entering the first Reformed Parliament as a Tory.

Sir Robert Peel was then engaged in rallying the shattered
forces of Toryism under the new name of Conservatives, and
building up a working opposition. He welcomed the eloquent young
Oxonian, and when he became Prime Minister in December, 1834, he
gave William Gladstone one of the minor offices in his
shortlived government. In the spring of 1835 he was again a
private member of the House, free to devote himself to the
religious and literary pursuits which appealed so strongly to
him. In 1838, when the Tractarian movement was at its height,
Gladstone wrote his book on "The State in its Relations with the
Church." Reviewing the work Macaulay described the author as
"the rising hope of the stern and unbending Tories," words often
quoted in later years, when his political bedfellows were of
quite another sort. The book increased the author's reputation.
In 1839 he was married to Miss Catharine Glynne of Hawarden
Castle, Flintshire. In 1840 his second important book, a
vindication of High Church principles, came from the press. The
next year his leader, Peel, came back to power, giving
Gladstone, of course, a post in the government (vice-president
of the Board of Trade). Gladstone was then a protectionist like
his party chief. He bore a hand in the preparation of the tariff
legislation of that epoch-making administration, and though
temporarily not a member of the House of Commons when the bill
for the repeal of the Corn Laws was carried, in 1846, he helped
to frame it, and to secure its passage. He had been fully
converted to the principles of free trade as preached by Richard
Cobden and the Manchester school, and remained true to that
principle to the last.

Going out of office, in 1846, with the fall of the Peel
ministry, Mr. Gladstone continued to occupy a prominent place in
Parliament, acting with the group of Peelites, so called, who
kept alive the name and principles of the lost leader. Though
still accounted as of the Tory party, Mr. Gladstone's alert and
open mind led him to make fresh and independent studies of
current political questions and to decide them according to his
own enlightened judgment. The result was to weaken by degrees
the ties which bound him to the Tories and to knit more closely
the bonds which were to unite his fortunes with the Liberals. In
1852, the Peelites having joined the Liberal coalition to
overthrow the Derby-Disraeli ministry, Mr. Gladstone's services
were rewarded with the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, in which
office he delivered the first of the many budget speeches for
which he was so celebrated. From 1855 to 1859 he was again out
of office, and without party affiliations, "a roving iceberg,"
to use his own description. The latter year found him again at
the head of the Exchequer, this time in the Liberal Cabinet of
Lord Palmerston, where he served with distinction, becoming, in
1865, the leader of the House of Commons, when the death of
Palmerston raised his colleague, Lord John Russell, to the
premiership. With his chief--one of the heroes of the first
successful struggle for parliamentary reform--he now drew up the
Reform Bill of 1866 which was intended so to modify the
qualifications for the franchise as to admit four hundred
thousand new voters to the electorate. Though the government was
defeated and went out of office on the question, the principle
scored a singular victory, for in the following year Disraeli,
bidding high for democratic support, carried by Tory votes an
even more liberal measure of reform. By this bill, which some
one called his "leap in the dark," Disraeli boasted that he had
"dished the Whigs." The taunt was thrown at him which he had cast
at Peel "that he had caught his opponents bathing and run off
with their clothes." Rumor imputed to him the boast that by this
move he had got the best of Gladstone and "would hold him down
for twenty years," yet, within a twelvemonth, Gladstone had
attacked and defeated the government in the Commons, and before
the end of the next year was himself Prime Minister, backed by
a powerful majority of the Reformed Parliament.

It was an Irish question which caused the overthrow of the
Conservatives and swept the Liberals into their seats, and
though this Gladstonian administration (1868-74) and its
successors (1880-85, 1886, 1892-94) were rich in progressive
measures, they are pre- eminent for what they did and attempted
to do for Ireland. The three grievances of Ireland since the
granting of Catholic emancipation have related to the Established
Church, the tenure of land, and self- government. Mr. Gladstone
took them up in succession, removing the first, ameliorating the
second, and giving his closing years to a tremendous
parliamentary struggle to secure the third.

The Church of Ireland, as established by law and maintained by
taxation, was an absurdity. Its doctrines were offensive to
five-sixths of the Irish people, whose voluntary offerings went
to support the Roman Catholic priests, while the absentee
Anglican Protestant rectors lived luxuriously in England or the
Continent upon the revenues of their Irish parishes. The
situation was anomalous. In 1867 Mr. Gladstone, ardent Anglican
though he was, espoused the cause of Irish disestablishment, and
went to the country on the issue, winning the parliamentary
elections by a splendid majority. There was loud outcry from the
British Tories, who professed to fear for the existence of the
Church of England itself. The majority of the English clergy
denounced the proposition, and some even declared its author a
madman; but Mr. Gladstone pursued his chosen way with energy and
directness. In one of those elevated speeches with which he was
accustomed to ennoble debate, he laid the details of his plan
open to the Commons. The Irish Church was to be disestablished
and disendowed, its bishops were to lose their seats in
Parliament, and it was to become a free and independent
ecclesiastical body, like the Presbyterian, Wesleyan, or
Catholic churches, without further aid from the state. "I
trust," said the impassioned advocate, "that when instead of the
fictitious and adventitious aid on which we have too long taught
the Irish establishment to lean, it shall come to place its trust
in its own resources, in its own great mission, in all that it
can draw from the energy of its ministers and its members, and
the high hopes and promises of the Gospel that it teaches, it
will find that it has entered upon a new era of existence--an
era bright with hope and potent for good." The Lords did not
seriously oppose a measure for which the country had spoken so
distinctly, and the bill became a law, July 26, 1869. One
standing grievance of Ireland had thus received radical remedy.

In 1870 Mr. Gladstone laid the ax at the root of another tree
whose fruit had cursed the Irish peasantry. This was the system
of land tenure which prevailed in the southern and western
counties. In the province of Ulster, in the north of Ireland, the
tenantry were of another sort, and there were other means of
livelihood than agriculture. Out of this condition had sprung the
so-called "Ulster tenant-right," the vital principle of which was
that a tenant could not be evicted so long as he paid his rent,
and "could sell the good will of his farm for what it would fetch
in the market." This tenant-right was what Palmerston dismissed
with the scornful remark that it was another name for "landlord's
wrong." It did not exist elsewhere in Ireland, where a landlord
might raise the rent and throw a tenant into the street at will.
The Land Act, which Gladstone carried in 1870, gave legal force
to the old Ulster custom and applied it to the whole island.
Provision was made by which the tenant whose improvements had
increased the value of his holding might receive compensation.
The Irish landlords and the same class in England made a
clamorous protest against such "state interference with freedom
of contract," but without avail. Of what the Land Act of 1870
accomplished, Mr. Justin McCarthy is a competent judge. He says:
"It was a first and an experimental measure, and no first and
experimental measure ever does quite succeed in its object. It
has had to be amended and expanded over and over again.....But it
introduced a new principle, which no one since has ever attempted
to abolish. That new principle was that the Irish tenant was
entitled to some share and property in the improvements which he
himself had made in his farm. It was, therefore, in the best
sense of the word, a revolutionary measure. It created a new
principle, and that principle has since been settled. It did not
go nearly far enough in the right direction, but it showed the
direction in which legislation ought to go, and it was on that
account the opening of a new era for Ireland."

The same wave of reforming zeal which brought these blessings to
Ireland gave the English nation its first system of free schools
(1870), abolished the purchase of commissions in the army (1871),
agreed to the principle of arbitrations in international disputes
(the Geneva award on the "Alabama Claims" 1872), and introduced
the vote by ballot (1872). The effort to establish university
education in Ireland upon a basis broad enough to afford equal
opportunities for Roman Catholic and Protestant youth was
defeated (1873). A few months later, when the national election
had pronounced against the liberal policy, Mr. Gladstone yielded
his place to his rival, Disraeli.

In the spring of 1874 Mr. Gladstone formally resigned the
leadership of his party, then in opposition, and withdrew to a
considerable degree from active participation in parliamentary
affairs, devoting himself with his accustomed zeal to his
studies, which at that time were concerned with ecclesiastical
subjects. From his retirement he emerged, in 1876, to write that
trenchant series of letters on the "Bulgarian Atrocities," which
so stirred the indignation of the English people that Disraeli
was unable to carry them into an armed alliance with the red-
handed Turk against the Russians. His fierce and persistent
onslaughts upon the foreign policy of the government at length
carried the nation with him and drove Disraeli (now Lord
Beaconsfield) from power.

No one but Mr. Gladstone could be thought of to head the
ministry, and in 1880, he came in for his second term as Prime
Minister. The state of Ireland again concerned him deeply. He
carried an improved Land Act, but the Lords threw out his bill to
relieve the special difficulties which the famine of 1880 had
brought upon the Irish tenantry, and the exasperated tenantry
resorted to reprisals upon the persons and property of the
landlords. The Irish Land League, under the direction of Charles
Stewart Parnell, resisted the operation of the new Land Act until
its worth should have been tested. Mr. Gladstone and the Irish
leaders worked at cross purposes, and thoroughly distrusted one
another. The government found it necessary to exert force in
order to suppress the agrarian disorders. Mr. Parnell and his
associates were thrown into jail, and the Land League was
proclaimed as an unlawful association. Parnell, whose word was
law with the Leaguers, retaliated by forbidding the tenantry to
pay rent. In the spring of 1882, when better feeling was
beginning to prevail, some Irish conspirators (Invincibles)
assassinated Lord Frederick Cavendish and his secretary in
Phoenix Park, Dublin. Cavendish was the newly appointed secretary
for Ireland, and appears to have been mistaken for W. E. Forster,
his predecessor, who was held responsible for the rigorous
measures of the past winter. The National League was formed to
take the place of the proscribed Land League, and Irish distress
and crime continued with little abatement. The "boycott" was
applied in its most oppressive form, rents remained unpaid, and
evictions were frequent and distressing.

Cabinet dissensions over Irish measures and general criticism of
the foreign policy which had made a generous peace with the Boers
of South Africa, and was accused of abandoning General Gordon to
his fate at Khartoum, weakened its hold upon the people and their
representatives. The Irish members held the balance of power in
the Commons, and when, in the spring of 1885, they joined forces
with the Conservatives, the Liberals were again unseated.

Lord Salisbury and Lord Randolph Churchill, the Conservative
leaders who came into power in 1885, enjoyed a brief and troubled
tenure of office. The general election of 1885 was the first to
be held under the Reform Law of the previous year, which had
given to Ireland the same freedom of electoral franchise which
had existed in the English and Scottish boroughs since 1869. The
result was a great increase in the number of Nationalist members
in Parliament. Of the one hundred and three members for Ireland
no less than eighty-four were returned as Home Rulers, a compact
and formidable body acting as a unit under the leadership of Mr.

The first leader of the little company of Irish Home Rulers that
had appeared in Parliament in the early '70's was Isaac Butt. His
repeated attempts to have the subject considered were as often
rejected with derision. In his own party he was opposed by an
element which desired to resort to aggressive measures to compel
the English to heed Ireland's demand for local self-government.
Prominent in this radical wing was a young Protestant, Charles
Stewart Parnell, the grandson of Commodore Stewart of the United
States Navy. In 1880 he was recognized as the chairman of the
Irish Home Rulers in Parliament. For many years he continued to
exercise a control over this party and over the Irish people such
as no one, save perhaps O'Connell himself, had ever attained. He
conceived and enforced the obstructive policy which so
embarrassed the second Gladstone administration. By exasperating
tactics, which we Americans call "filibustering," the
obstructionists, unable to secure what they wanted for Ireland,
succeeded in paralyzing the law-making branch of the British
constitution. It was only by adopting new and arbitrary rules for
choking off debate that any legislation could be passed in the
stormy decade beginning with 1881. Arrests, suspensions, and
expulsions of Irish members repeatedly disturbed the dignity of
the House of Commons, and kept ever present before the English
representatives the temper of the subject kingdom.

A statesman as earnest as Mr. Gladstone, as little bound by
precedent, and as surely impelled in his later years by a purpose
to enact into law the wishes of the people, could not but be
profoundly impressed by the unanimity with which, in 1885, the
Irish used their new gift of the ballot to send men to Parliament
who were pledged to work for Home Rule. It was no sudden
conversion but the result of a long consideration which led to
his open profession, in 1885, of his determination to crown his
efforts for the relief of the Irish nation by giving them the
separate legislative body for which they had asked with such
persistent clamor. It is possible, in reviewing his statements
for a dozen years previous, in the light of the final
declaration, that his mind had been dwelling on the subject as
his old political mentor, Peel, dwelt upon the question of free
trade in the years before he renounced protectionism utterly.

No sooner did Gladstone come into office, in 1886, than he
concentrated his energies upon his Home Rule project. His chief
lieutenant, John Morley, the English Radical, was sent to Ireland
as chief secretary. In April, in one of the greatest speeches of
a career remarkable for its eloquence, Mr. Gladstone introduced
to the House of Commons his first Home Rule Bill, "An act to make
better provision for the government of Ireland." It proposed to
establish at Dublin a Parliament of Peers and Commons, under a
lord-lieutenant appointed by the crown, and an independent privy
council. The Irish Parliament was to have control of local
finances except customs duties, and it was excluded from
interference with army and navy, foreign or colonial affairs, or
with religious endowments. An essential provision was that after
the establishment of the Dublin Parliament Ireland should no
longer be represented in the "imperial" Parliament at
Westminster. A week later a "purchase of land" bill was
introduced by the Prime Minister to provide funds for buying out
the Irish landlords and distributing their holdings among the
tenants. The Home Rule Bill split the Liberal party in twain.
Lord Hartington, the Whig, Joseph Chamberlain, the Radical, and
John Bright, the hero of the non-conformists, broke away from
their old leader and helped to organize the "Liberal Unionist"
party, rallying those Liberals who remained true to the Act of
Legislative Union of the three kingdoms. Ninety-three rallied
under this banner on April 14th, when the bill was killed on its
second reading by a vote of 343 to 313. The nation was appealed
to in vain. In July the Gladstonian government gave up the fight
against the Conservative and Liberal-Unionist coalition and Lord
Salisbury resumed the premiership.

For Ireland a new era began, characterized by agrarian crime,
anti-rent agitation under the "Plan of Campaign," and Parnellite
obstruction at Westminster.

In 1893 the "Grand Old Man," now Prime Minister for the fourth
time, and in his eighty-fourth year, made a final endeavor to
bring order into Ireland, by enabling her to regulate her own
affairs. The Home Rule Bill of 1893 differed from the earlier
measure chiefly in respect to the Irish representation at
Westminster. Ireland, in addition to her local Parliament at
Dublin, was granted eighty seats in the "imperial" House of
Commons, though the Irish members might not vote on exclusively
British measures. "This was to get over two objections: The first
was the objection of those who complained of Ireland's being
taxed by the imperial Parliament without representation. The
second was the objection of those who complained that whereas
English members could not interfere in the affairs of Ireland,
Irish members might come over to the imperial Parliament and
interfere in the affairs of England." The Old Man Eloquent, now
backed by an overwhelming majority, carried the bill triumphantly
through the Lower House only to meet defeat by a majority of ten
to one in the Lords, the stronghold of Conservatism, where every
progressive measure of reform has to encounter resistance at the
outset. Though the Lords have learned to yield when the nation
reiterates its determined demand for a law, they were spared on
this occasion. Mr. Gladstone did not renew the bill. In March,
1894, he withdrew forever from public life, which he had adorned
so long and so conspicuously, his last words in Parliament taking
the form of an impressive warning against the assertion of
authority by the Upper House. In his last interview with the
leader of the Irish Home Rulers he assured them of his belief in
the ultimate triumph of their cause--a cause whose success was
mentioned in his prayers.

The Queen offered her aged public servant an earldom on his
retirement, but his was not an ambition to be pleased with such
empty rewards. In his beautiful castle of Hawarden, surrounded by
his books and his family, he spent the years which remained to
him in a graceful old age. To the last his mind remained alert
and active. He busied himself with the classical and theological
studies which had been the delight of his young manhood, and the
relaxation of his active years. His translations, his
controversial pamphlets, his letters on public questions, showed
the refinement and vigor of his remarkable intellect. When he
died the English-speaking world paid a universal tribute of
respect to his memory.

In linking these biographies with certain public questions or
events, the name of Gladstone has been connected with the cause
of Ireland--a "lost cause," as some may say, because Home Rule,
which was to have been the capstone of his edifice, was rejected
by the builders. But it must not be forgotten that it was
Gladstone who swept away the burdensome Irish Church and improved
the land laws, the franchise, and the opportunities of education
in Ireland, and made an English statesman's name beloved in the
Emerald Isle for the first time since Charles James Fox. Nor
should his great work for Ireland obscure the grand achievements
of the earlier years when he led the Liberal party through its
wonderful program of reform in England; nor should any prejudice
against the friend of Ireland dull our perception to the clear
voice which so often pleaded the cause of ignorance and
oppression at home and abroad, and touched the best that was in
the conscience of his countrymen. A good, great, learned,
eloquent statesman, William Ewart Gladstone towers in moral
grandeur above his fellows like a mountain peak above the
foothills, and the far-surrounding plain.


1.  Why has Ireland menaced the peace of England for more than a
2.  What events led up to the organization of the "Young Ireland"
3.  What results had the Irish famine of 1846?
4.  Describe the Fenian agitations.
5.  Give an account of the early career of Gladstone.
6.  What two important books did he write on church affairs?
7.  What view did he take of the Anti-Corn Law bill?
8.  How did he clash with Disraeli on the reform movement of 1866?
9.  To what three grievances of Ireland did he devote himself?
10. Describe the events connected with the disestablishment of
the Irish church.
11. What did he secure to Ireland by the Land Act of 1870?
12. What other reforms were carried through about the same time?
13. What did he accomplish by his letters on the "Bulgarian
14. What difficulties beset his attempts at reform in Ireland in
15. How did the policy of Gladstone's cabinet toward the Boers
and General Gordon weaken its influence?
16. How did the Irish wing of Parliament make itself fell under
the new Conservative cabinet?
17. Describe Gladstone's Home Rule Bill of 1886 and its defeat?
18. What new attempt at Home Rule was made in 1893, and
with what result ?
19. Sum up the chief services of Gladstone to his countrymen.


LIFE OF W. E. GLADSTONE.    Justin McCarthy. LIFE OF
GLADSTONE.                  G.W.E. Russell. W
YOUNG IRELAND.              C. G. Duffy.
DANIEL O'CONNELL.           J.A. Hamilton.
IRELAND.                    T. D. Ingram.



[BENJAMIN DISRAELI, Earl of Beaconsfield; born, London, December
21, 1804; died, London, April 19, 1881; baptized in the Church of
England, 1817; privately educated; studied law in a solicitor's
office, 1821-24; 1825, published his first novel "Vivian Grey";
1830-31, traveled in Europe and the Levant; his novel "Contarini
Fleming" attracts notice 1832; after defeats becomes Member of
Parliament for Maidstone 1837; marries Mrs. Wyndham Lewis 1839;
leads the "Protectionist" attack on Peel 1846; leader of
opposition 1849-52, 1852-58, 1859-66, 1868-74; Chancellor of
Exchequer 1852, 1858-59, 1866-68; Premier 1868, 1874-80.]

The expansion of the English domain by discovery and colonization
or by war and conquest has been one of the distinguishing
features of the nineteenth century. The movement may be said to
have begun with the planting of the North American colonies two
hundred years before. A century later the victories of Lord Clive
and the administration of Warren Hastings, the empire-builder,
laid a broad foundation for British dominion in India. Before the
dawn of the nineteenth century the voyages of Captain James Cook
in the South Pacific had opened new doors to Anglo-Saxon
expansion in Australia, New Zealand, and the neighboring islands.
In 1806 England wrested from the Dutch the sovereignty of Cape
Colony at the southern extremity of Africa, the strategic half-
way station on the main traveled sea-road to India and the East.
Gibraltar, Malta, and Cyprus in the Mediterranean, Aden,
Singapore, and Hong Kong in the Far Eastern seas were acquired
and fortified in order to protect British commerce. It could be
said with truth that the sun never set upon the flag of England,
and that the morning drum-beat of her garrisons saluted the sun
in his daily journey around the world. At the close of the
century the foreign possessions of Great Britain amounted in area
to ten million square miles, and in population to three hundred
and fifty million souls.

The problems which have sprung from this vast colonial empire
have been among the most serious which English statesmen have
been compelled to face. The colonies in America and Australia
were English in blood, language, and institutions. In South
Africa a large proportion of the inhabitants were Dutch "Boers,"
transferred without their consent and against their will to a
foreign sovereignty. In India and Burma the English established
their authority and maintained it by force of arms over teeming
native populations of another race and religion. How to hold
together an empire so vast and various; how to adapt
administrative methods to its novel and changing needs; how, if
possible, to organize the incongruous multitude of dependencies,
colonies, and protected states into some sort of federal empire--
these are among the newer problems of British statesmanship.

Americans know how imperfectly the ministers of George III. were
prepared to deal with such problems, and how their blundering
resulted in the independence of the United States. The lesson of
1776 has not been forgotten, as the history of England's
conciliatory policy toward Canada and the Australasian
commonwealth abundantly testifies. Lord Tennyson's verses,
written in the year of the Queen's jubilee, give expression to
the altered relation of the mother-country toward her colonial

"Britain fought her sons of yore,
Britain failed; and nevermore,
Careless of our growing kin,
Shall we sin our fathers' sin;
Men that in a narrower day -
Unprophetic rulers they-
Drove from out the eagle's nest
That young eagle of the West
To forage for herself alone;
Britons, hold your own!
"Sharers of our glorious past,
Brothers, must we part at last?
Shall we not thro' good and ill
Cleave to one another still?
Britain's myriad voices call,
Sons be welded each and all
Into one imperial whole,
One with Britain, heart, and soul!
One life, one fleet, one flag, one throne!
Britons, hold your own."

Although as yet no statesman has arisen who has been able to
frame a plan of federation which should weld all into "one
imperial whole," the idea is abroad, and has occupied many minds.
Perhaps the man whose powerful imagination first grasped the
"imperial" idea and began to look upon Greater Britain as having
common interests, and being capable of assuming common
responsibilities, was Lord Beaconsfield, or Benjamin Disraeli--to
use the name by which he first came into public notice. Death
hushed his active mind before he could give form and substance to
his great concept, and it was left to others trained in his
school to propagate the idea, and just at the century's close to
demonstrate its significance and worth. Yet what he did for
England through a long life spent in conspicuous public service
renders it impossible to exclude him from any list of Ten Great
Englishmen of the nineteenth century. Nor is there in the entire
group a personality more interesting than that of the ambitious,
determined, witty, eloquent, and amazingly clever Israelite who
raised himself by sheer force of intellect from an object of
ridicule and contempt to the leadership of the hereditary
aristocracy, membership in the House of Lords, chief minister of
England, friend of the sovereign, and arbiter of the destinies of
nations. On that January night in 1846, when Sir Robert Peel, as
Prime Minister, confessed to the House of Commons his conversion
to the theory of free trade, and his purpose to repeal the Corn
Laws, he was answered by Benjamin Disraeli in a speech which for
bitterness of sarcasm, brilliancy of wit, and savagery of
denunciation, has seldom been equaled in parliamentary history.
(See Appendix.) He denounced Peel as "a man who never originates
an idea; a watcher of the atmosphere; a man who takes his
observations, and when he finds the wind in a particular quarter
turns his sails to suit it.....Such a man may be a powerful
minister, but he is no more a great statesman than the man who
gets up behind a carriage is a great whip!" Such an attack,
voicing the feelings of the Tory protectionists, and coming from
Peel's own side of the House, at that critical moment, made the
political fortune of the speaker. From that hour Benjamin
Disraeli was looked upon as the hope of the remnant of the Tory
party, which could no longer follow Peel.

Disraeli was in his tenth year of membership in the House of
Commons. He was a descendant of a line of Spanish and Venetian
Jews who had sought refuge in England and prospered there. His
father, Isaac Disraeli, had broken with the family traditions,
devoting himself to literature instead of getting gain, and had
renounced the faith of his fathers. The son, Benjamin, was
baptized into the Church of England at the age of thirteen,
educated among his father's books and in private schools, and at
seventeen articled to a firm of London solicitors. Instead of
practicing law the young clerk practiced authorship so cleverly
as to make a sensation in his twenty-first year with a novel
"Vivian Grey" (1826), the first of eleven ("Young Duke," 1831;
"Contarini Fleming," 1832; "Alroy," 1833; "Henrietta Temple,"
1836; "Venetia," 1837; "Coningsby," 1844; "Sybil," 1845;
"Tancred," 1847; "Lothair," 1870; "Endymion," 1880), besides
several long poems, burlesques, and political pamphlets, and "The
Life of Lord George Bentinck." "Vivian Grey" was very smartly
done, and fashionable London was captivated by its clever satire
and witty dialogue. On the profits of his earlier books he
traveled extensively in Europe and the Levant, where his Oriental
imagination was strongly stimulated. Before he was thirty he had
won his way into the most exclusive circles of London society,
the vogue of his novels and the brilliancy of his conversational
powers commending him to the "smart set" of the metropolis. His
determination "to be somebody" in spite of the disadvantages of
blood, birth, and lack of money led him to ridiculous
affectations--yet, however ridiculed at the time, they served his
turn, and brought him the notice that he craved. N. P. Willis,
who saw the much-talked-about young Israelitish novelist at Lady
Blessington's, wrote of the strange vision: "He was sitting in a
window looking on Hyde Park, the last rays of sunlight reflected
from the gorgeous gold flowers of a splendidly embroidered
waistcoat. Patent leather pumps, a white stick with a black cord
and tassel, and a quantity of chains about his neck and pockets
served to make him a conspicuous object. He has one of the most
remarkable faces I ever saw. He is lividly pale, and but for the
energy of his actions and the strength of his lungs, would seem
to be a victim of consumption. His eye is black as Erebus, and
has the most mocking, lying-in-wait sort of expression
conceivable. His mouth is alive with a kind of working and
impatient nervousness; and when he has burst forth as he does
constantly with a particularly successful cataract of expression,
it assumes a curl of triumphant scorn that would be worthy of
Mephistopheles. His hair is as extraordinary as his taste in
waistcoats. A thick, heavy mass of jet-black ringlets falls on
his left cheek almost to his collarless stock, which on the right
temple is parted and put away with the smooth carefulness of a
girl." A lady who met him at dinner described him as appareled in
a black velvet coat lined with satin, purple trousers with a gold
stripe on the outside seam, a scarlet waistcoat, lace wristbands
to his finger tips, white gloves with flashy rings worn outside.
Add to these the flowing black ringlets, and do not wonder that
his hostess told the young man that he was making a fool of
himself. Froude says he dressed in this fantastic guise to give
the impression of folly so that his sudden displays of brilliancy
might have the more striking effect coming from such an unlikely

Self-esteem was abounding in the young Hebrew, and he did not
hesitate to compare himself with others to his own advantage. At
twenty-nine he wrote his sister after an evening in the gallery
of the House of Commons, "Heard Macaulay's best speech.....but
between ourselves I could floor them all!" Egotism it doubtless
was, but it sprang from no empty confidence in himself. The time
was not distant when he was the acknowledged master of the House
which looked so tempting from the galleries. He had offered
himself as a Tory with Radical ideas--a combination as unusual as
his style of apparel--to the electors of High Wycombe in June,
1832, but was beaten, as he was again in the autumn. It was said
that in one of his early candidacies he replied to an elector,
who had asked him on what he intended to stand, in the
sententious phrase "on my head!" In 1834 he stood for Taunton,
only to be defeated a third time. O'Connell, who had helped him
in his first campaign, was mortally offended by Disraeli's
allusion to his "bloody hand" in the Taunton canvass. The Irish
orator, in a bitter rejoinder at Dublin, denounced Disraeli as a
Jewish traitor, "the heir at law of the blasphemous thief that
died upon the cross."

After many fruitless struggles the coveted seat was won, and in
1837 Benjamin Disraeli entered the House of Commons for
Maidstone, his colleague being Wyndham Lewis, the friend whose
good offices had gained him the nomination. Not long after the
death of Mr. Lewis, in 1838, Mr. Disraeli married his lively
widow, a woman to whose devotion not less than to her ample
fortune he owed a debt of gratitude which he never failed to

Welcomed to the ranks of the Tory opposition by Sir Robert Peel,
the ambitious recruit plunged at once into oratory--only to have
his maiden effort drowned by the jeers of his hostile hearers,
led by O'Connell's "tail" of Irish members. They mocked at his
appeals for a hearing, and though the Tories cheered his pluck,
he could not make it go. "At last, losing his temper, which until
now he had preserved in a wonderful manner, he paused in the
midst of a sentence, and looking the Liberals indignantly in the
face, raised his hands and opening his mouth as widely as its
dimensions would admit, said, in a remarkably loud and almost
terrific tone, 'I have begun, several times, many things, and I
have often succeeded at last; aye, sir, and though I sit down
now, the time will come when you will hear me.'"

Nor did he ever again fail to get a hearing. He spoke often and
to the point, enlivening his solid argument with touches of wit
and gleams of imagination which light up the dreary pages of the
parliamentary journals. At the first he was the steady supporter
of Peel, but this clever man of ideals, imagination, and insight,
could have little in common with that prosy, plodding man of
business, whose stronghold was in the esteem of the plodding
middle classes. When the Tories came into power in 1841, with
Peel as Prime Minister, he found no place in his government for
the supporter whose talent all parties had now begun to
recognize. The slight bred coolness, and as Peel began to veer
towards free trade principles, Disraeli, gathering a few ardent
Tory protectionists about him, made himself a thorn in the
premier's side. His caustic sayings about Peel's acceptance of
the principles of the opposition were the talk of the clubs. "The
right honorable gentleman," he said, "caught the Whigs bathing
and he walked away with their clothes." He characterized the
premier's genius as "sublime mediocrity," amid shouts of
applause, and his government, raised to office by protectionist
votes, yet steadily promoting free trade measures, he branded as
"organized hypocrisy." His hostility to the repeal of the Corn
Laws was based not so much upon economic argument superior to
that of Cobden, as upon his fundamental belief that the greatness
of the English nation in all past centuries had been derived from
the wise rule of the aristocratic, land-owning class, and a fond
belief that the retention of the tariff upon imported
agricultural produce would support this ancient pillar of the
constitution. Furthermore, his contention that England's adoption
of free trade would be met by rival nations with high tariffs
against imports of English goods has been borne out by the facts
of subsequent history, against the confident assertion of Cobden
and the Manchester school of economists that the world would soon
follow the lead of England in throwing down all artificial
barriers to the exchange of commodities. Peel carried his bill,
as we have seen, but the protectionists wreaked their vengeance
by overthrowing his government in the moment of victory.

From the hour of his defeat, in 1846, Sir Robert Peel was no
longer a party chief. The Tory aristocracy who had lent their aid
to the fatal coalition against him were led at first by Lord
George Bentinck, but the real director of the organization was
Disraeli. In 1849 he succeeded to the formal leadership of the
Conservative opposition in the House of Commons, and in 1852,
when the Russell ministry went out, he took office under Lord
Derby as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and leader of the House of
Commons. The Free Trade League bristled up at this resurgence of
the protectionist champions, but Disraeli was too wise to invite
a renewal of that contest which the voice of the nation had
settled, and the subject was left to lapse into innocuous
desuetude for half a century. Representing but a minority in
Parliament, the ministry could maintain itself but a few months.
December, 1852, found the Whigs again in power, where they
remained until 1859, Disraeli using his talents the while to
build up and consolidate the Tory opposition and to disintegrate
the discordant elements, Free Trade, Liberal, Peelite, and
Radical, who rallied under the government banner.

In 1858-59 the Derby-Disraeli ministry enjoyed a second brief
lease of office, and after the long Whig administration of
Palmerston and Russell (1859-66), they succeeded to the direction
of affairs for the third time.

Out of office Disraeli continued to entertain Parliament with the
audacious, brilliant, and often masterly speeches which he alone
of his generation could deliver, and his short-lived experiences
as the director and spokesman of the government policy equally
evidenced his administrative ability, his control of his
followers, and his knowledge of the spirit and temper of the
Commons and the nation.

When Benjamin Disraeli, the young novelist, was presented to Lord
Melbourne at a social gathering in the early '3O's his lordship
had graciously asked how he could serve him. To which the
flippant young man had replied that he would like to be Prime
Minister. In February, 1868, the resignation of Lord Derby raised
Mr. Disraeli to the height of his youthful ambition. He was
premier until December, 1868, when his great rival and former
party-associate, Gladstone, wrested the honor from his grasp.

During the third Derby-Disraeli ministry, the Reform Bill of 1867
was passed. Thirty-five years before the Grey-Russell Whigs had
disfranchised the rotten boroughs and admitted the middle class
people of the towns to citizenship and parliamentary
representation. As years passed the demand increased for a
further extension of the electoral franchise. The Chartists of
1848 demanded universal suffrage and were sternly repressed.
After nearly a score of years the Gladstonian Liberals were
prepared to gratify this demand in considerable measure, but
before they could fully develop their policy, they were out and
the Conservatives were in. It was at this juncture that Disraeli
took "the leap in the dark," carrying, in 1867, an act "which, in
its inevitable developments must give the franchise to every
householder in the United Kingdom; and he gained for his party
the credit, if credit it was, of having passed a more completely
democratic measure than the most radical responsible statesman
had yet dared to propose." His accession to the premiership
evoked fresh testimony to his popularity. Mr. Froude makes no
concealment of the attacks which were made upon him by open foes,
or the disguised contempt of members of the aristocracy whose
pride of birth had nevertheless allowed them to avail themselves
of his talent for leadership. "Yet," says the same biographer,
"when he went down to Parliament for the first time in his new
capacity, he was wildly cheered by the crowds in Palace Yard. The
shouts were echoed along Westminster Hall and through the
lobbies, and were taken up again warmly and heartily in the House
itself, which had been the scene of so many conflicts-the same
House in which he had been hooted down when he first arose to

When Gladstone's first administration (1868-74) had exhausted its
volcanic energies, Disraeli for a second time became the chief
minister of the Queen, this time not to finish out a weakened
term, but with a clear majority at his back, and with the
confidence of the Crown and the nation. Internal reforms had gone
far enough for the time, and foreign affairs for which Mr.
Gladstone had shown less aptitude needed attention from some one
who could reproduce the spirit of a Canning, a Palmerston, or a
John Bull.

The statesmen who had directed the affairs of the nation for the
past thirty years, had seen little to be thankful for in the
extensive colonial possessions of England. They had for the most
part been "Little Englanders," to use a term of recent coinage,
and while using the military power of the government to put down
armed resistance to English sovereignty and to defend the
integrity of the boundaries of the distant colonies, had done
little else to hold the fabric together. Some of the most eminent
among them were of the opinion that the possession of the
colonies was an element of weakness. In the pursuance of such
theories the English commonwealths of British America, Australia,
and New Zealand were allowed to develop forms of local government
but slightly removed from independence. Their constitutions,
approved by English Liberal cabinets, allowed them to impose
duties against the mother country, and exempted them from most of
the burdens of taxation and military service which are the
natural incidents of dependence.

Disraeli's view of all this was vigorously expressed in 1872.
"Gentlemen, if you look to the history of this country since the
advent of Liberalism, forty years ago, you will find that there
has been no effort so continuous, so subtle, supported by so much
energy, and carried on with so much ability and acumen, as the
attempts of Liberalism to effect the disintegration of the empire
of England. And, gentlemen, of all its efforts, this is the one
which has been the nearest to success.....Not that I, for one,
object to self-government.....But self-government when it was
conceded ought to have been conceded as part of a great policy of
imperial consolidation. It ought to have been accompanied with an
imperial tariff, by securities for the people of England for the
enjoyment of the unappropriated lands which belonged to the
sovereign as their trustee, and by a military code which should
have precisely defined the means and the responsibilities by
which the colonies should be defended, and by which, if
necessary, this country should call for aid from the colonies
themselves. It ought further to have been accompanied by some
representative council in the metropolis, which would have
brought the colonies into constant and continuous relations with
the home government. All this, however, was omitted because those
who advised that policy looked upon the colonies of England,
looked even upon our connection with India as a burden on this
country, viewing everything in a financial aspect, and totally
passing by those moral and political considerations which make
nations great." Further on in the same speech he had declared,
"in my opinion no minister in this country will do his duty who
neglects any opportunity of reconstructing as much as possible
our colonial empire, and of responding to those distant
sympathies which may become the source of incalculable strength
and happiness to this land." Yet his own ministry either had no
such opportunity, or neglected it, and this far-seeing view of
imperial relations was bequeathed unfulfilled for the guidance of
those who were to come after.

Disraeli's six years of government were, however, signalized by a
series of exploits which restored the tarnished prestige of
England in the councils of Europe and doubtless served, however
indirectly, to increase the pride of the colonies in the mother

When the ship canal was constructed by de Lesseps, connecting the
Mediterranean with the Red Sea and shortening by one-half the
route to India, the project had been frowned on by England. In
1875 the Khedive of Egypt, the largest stockholder in the canal,
became hard-pressed for funds, and a telegram from Disraeli
bought the entire block of shares for the English government for
four million pounds. This stroke secured English control of the
waterway, and was immensely popular with the nation. The Prince
of Wales was sent with great pomp on a tour of India, and in 1876
the Queen's title was made more imposing by the addition of the
words "Empress of India." The latter move may be viewed as a
counter-stroke against recent advances of the Russians, whose
disposition to raise the Eastern Question was irrepressible. The
revolt of certain Christian states of Turkey in Europe had
revived the animosities which had smouldered since the Crimean
War, and while Russia prepared to support the claims of the
Christians, Disraeli again ranged England on the side of the
Turk. The Queen-Empress, as if to give personal support to the
policy of her Prime Minister, raised him to the peerage with the
title of Earl of Beaconsfield (1876).

The hatreds and intrigues in the Balkan peninsula led to a bloody
war between Russia and Turkey. It soon became evident that unless
saved by English intervention, Constantinople must fall into the
hands of the Czar. Beaconsfield's spirited language at this
crisis was paraphrased in the London music-halls in the famous

"We don't want to fight, but, by Jingo, if we do,
We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money,

a song which gave the name of "Jingo" to the war policy of the
Conservatives. An English fleet was sent to Constantinople, and
England refused to recognize the terms of the treaty of San
Stephano, which Russia had extorted from her conquered foe, and
demanded that the Eastern Question should be submitted to a
congress of the powers. That congress was held at Berlin in the
summer of 1878. Prince Bismarck presided, and Lord Beaconsfield
attended in person, accompanied by the Foreign Secretary, Lord
Salisbury (since premier). The provisions of the Berlin treaty
are too complex to be explained here, but they removed the grip
of Russia from the throat of the Sultan, and established a group
of Balkan principalities of varying degrees of autonomy. "Peace
with honor" Beaconsfield announced as the outcome of his mission
to Berlin, while the majority of the nation applauded.

Beaconsfield's star culminated at the Congress of Berlin. The
efforts of his administration to defend India on the side of
Russia by strengthening English hold on Afghanistan, led to the
second Afghan War with its bloody massacres and humiliating
episodes. In South Africa the imperial policy gave offense to
blacks as well as whites, and led to wars which reflected little
honor upon British arms. Hard times and consequent hardship among
the agricultural classes at home combined with the petty but
distressing occurrences in Asia and Africa to bring about a
Liberal victory at the general election of 1880, and in April of
that year Beaconsfield resigned his portfolio and seals to his
great rival, Mr. Gladstone.

It was characteristic of the man's indomitable energy to
signalize the year of his fall by writing another novel,
"Endymion," a remarkable feat for a man of seventy-six years. He
continued to appear in Parliament until near the day of his
death, which took place in London, April 19, 1881, on the night
following Easter Day.

Among the eulogies pronounced in Parliament upon the fallen
leader none was more satisfactory in its explanation of
Disraeli's remarkable career than that of the Marquis of
Salisbury, who, at his death, succeeded to the chieftancy in the
Conservative party. "To me," he said, "as I believe to all others
who have worked with him, his patience, his gentleness, his
unswerving and unselfish loyalty to his colleagues and fellow-
laborers, have made an impression that will never leave me so
long as life endures. But these feelings could only affect a
limited circle of his immediate adherents. The impression which
his career and character have made on the vast mass of his
countrymen must be sought elsewhere. To a great extent, no doubt,
it is due to the peculiar character of his genius, to its varied
nature, to the wonderful combination of qualities he possessed,
and which rarely reside in the same brain. To some extent also
there is no doubt that circumstances--that is, the social
difficulties which opposed themselves to his early rise and the
splendid perseverance by which they were overcome--impressed his
countrymen who love to see exemplified that career open to all
persons, whatever their initial difficulties may be, which is one
of the characteristics of the institutions of which they are most

"Zeal for the greatness of England was the passion of his mind.
Opinions might, and did, differ deeply as to the measures and
steps by which expression was given to the dominant feelings, and
more and more, as life drew near its close, as the heat and
turmoil of controversy were left behind, as the gratification of
every possible ambition negatived the suggestion of any inferior
motives and brought out into greater prominence the purity and
strength of this one intense feeling the people of this country
recognized the force with which this desire dominated his
actions. In the questions of interior policy which divided
classes, he had to consider them, he had to judge them, and to
take his course accordingly. It seemed to me that he treated them
always as of secondary interest compared to the one great
question--how the country to which he belonged might be made
united and strong!"

The party to which Disraeli's genius gave direction and victory
came again to power after the defeat of the Gladstonian schemes
for the relief of Ireland, and reinforced by the Liberal-Unionist
contingent under Joseph Chamberlain it has governed England for
nearly twenty years. Its head, Lord Salisbury, one of
Beaconsfield's most trusted lieutenants, has been true to the
ruling ideas of his brilliant chief. The idea of an English
empire, its parts inspired with a common purpose, has been
zealously nourished. The jubilee (1887) and diamond jubilee
(1897), of Queen Victoria's reign, were seized upon to give
prominence and honor to the colonial representatives. The
premiers of the colonies have met in conference at London and the
whole vast and complex problem of federal empire has come under
discussion. The problem is still far from solution, but that the
relation has passed beyond the stage of mere sentiment is shown
in many ways. The joy of the colonies over the diamond jubilee
(1897), their united grief at Victoria's passing (1901), their
welcome to the son of Edward VII., upon his progress around the
world, and the unanimity with which volunteers sprang to the aid
of England in the South African War--this response of English
hearts in Canada, Australia, and elsewhere to the drum-beat of
the empire was the fulfillment of one of Beaconsfield's
imaginative dreams. A writer in the "Spectator" two years earlier
had made the prophecy which in the century's end came to be

"The night is full of darkness and doubt,
The stars are dim and the Hunter's out:
The waves begin to wrestle and moan;
The Lion stands by his shore alone,
And sends to the bounds of Earth and Sea
First low notes of the thunder to be.
Then East and West through the vastness grim,
The whelps of the Lion answer him."


1.  What different elements make up the present British Empire?
2.  What prominence did Disraeli gain from his speech against
Peel in 1846?
3.  Describe his early life and personal appearance.
4.  What unsuccessful attempts did he make to enter Parliament?
5.  Describe his maiden speech in the House.
6.  How did he regard Peel and the Corn Laws?
7.  What was "the leap in the dark," which he took in 1867?
8.  How had the statesmen immediately preceding Disraeli looked
upon English colonial possessions?
9.  What was his point of view as expressed in 1872?
10. How did England secure control of the Suez Canal?
11. What position did England take with reference to the Russo-
Turkish War?
12. What circumstances led to the overthrow of Disraeli's party?
13. What was Lord Salisbury's estimate of Disraeli?
14. How have Disraeli's ideas been recognized under the Salisbury
15. What is "jingoism"?


LIFE OF BEACONSFIELD.         J. A. Froude.
CONINGSBY.                    Benjamin Disraeli.
IMPERIAL FEDERATION.          George R. Parkin.





[This dispatch by the Duke of Wellington touching upon the battle
of Waterloo is in his usual plain and straightforward manner.]

To Marshal Lord Beresford, G. C. B.: You will have heard of our
battle of the 18th. Never did I see such a pounding match. Both
were what the boxers call "gluttons." Napoleon did not manoeuver
at all. He just moved forward in the old style in columns, and
was driven off in the old style. The only difference was, that he
mixed cavalry with his infantry, and supported both with an
enormous quantity of artillery.

I had the infantry for some time in squares, and I had the French
cavalry walking about as if they had been our own. I never saw
the British infantry behave so well.



[In the House of Lords in the course of the debate on the King's
Speech, Nov. 2, 1830, the Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington,
spoke in part as follows. The inflexible Toryism of the speech
disgusted the country and led to the defeat of the ministry. Earl
Grey came into power and carried the Reform Bill.]

This subject brings me to what noble lords have said respecting
the putting the country in a state to overcome the evils likely
to result from the late disturbances in France. The noble Earl
has alluded to the propriety of effecting parliamentary reform.
The noble Earl has, however, been candid enough to acknowledge
that he is not prepared with any measure of reform, and I can
have no scruple in saying that his Majesty's government is as
totally unprepared with any plan as the noble Lord. Nay, I, on my
own part, will go further, and say, that I have never read or
heard of any measure up to the present moment which can in any
degree satisfy my mind that the state of the representation can
be improved, or be rendered more satisfactory to the country at
large than at the present moment. I will not, however, at such an
unseasonable time, enter upon the subject, or excite discussion,
but I shall not hesitate to declare unequivocally what are my
sentiments upon it. I am fully convinced that the country
possesses at the present moment a legislature which answers all
the good purpose of legislation, and this to a greater degree
than any legislature ever has answered in any country whatever. I
will go further, and say, that the legislature and the system of
representation possess the full and entire confidence of the
country--deservedly possess that confidence--and the discussions
in the legislature have a very great influence over the opinions
of the country. I will go still further, and say, that if at the
present moment I had imposed upon me the duty of forming a
legislature for any country, and particularly for a country like
this, in possession of great property of various descriptions, I
do not mean to assert that I could form such a legislature as we
possess now, for the nature of man is incapable of reaching such
excellence at once; but my great endeavor would be to form some
description of legislature which would produce the same results.
The representation of the people at present contains a large body
of the property of the country, and in which the landed interests
have a preponderating influence. Under these circumstances, I am
not prepared to bring forward any measure of the description
alluded to by the noble Lord. I am not only not prepared to bring
forward any measure of this nature, but I will at once declare
that as far as I am concerned, as long as I hold any station in
the government of the country, I shall always feel it my duty to
resist such measures when proposed by others.


[The feeling of the English nation toward the Duke of Wellington
was nobly expressed by Tennyson in his great "Ode," published in
1852, the year of the Duke's death.]


Bury the Great Duke
With an empire's lamentation;
Let us bury the Great Duke
To the noise of the mourning of a mighty nation-
Mourning when their leaders fall,
Warriors carry the warrior's pall,
And sorrow darkens hamlet and hall.


Where shall we lay the man whom we deplore?
Here in streaming London's central roar.
Let the sound of those he wrought for,
And the feet of those he fought for
Echo round his bones forevermore.


Lead out the pageant, sad and slow,
As fits a universal woe;
Let the long, long procession go,
And let the sorrowing crowd about it grow,
And let the mournful martial music blow;
The last great Englishman is low.


Mourn, for to us he seems the last,
Remembering all his greatness in the past.
No more in soldier fashion will he greet
With lifted hand the gazer in the street.
O friends, our chief state-oracle is mute;
Mourn for the man of long-enduring blood,
The statesman-warrior, moderate, resolute,
Whole in himself, a common good.
Mourn for the man of amplest influence,
Yet clearest of ambitious crime;
Our greatest, yet with least pretense,
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.
O good gray head which all men knew,
O voice from which their omens all men drew,
O iron nerve to true occasion true,
O fall'n at length that tower of strength,
Which stood four-square to all the winds that
Such was he whom we deplore!
The long self-sacrifice of life is o'er,
The great world-victor's victor will be seen no more.

. . .


Who is he that cometh like an honored guest,
With banner and with music, with soldier and with priest,
With a nation weeping and breaking on my rest?
Mighty seaman, this is he
Was great by land as thou by sea.
Thine island loves thee well, thou famous man,
The greatest sailor since our world began.
Now to the roll of muffled drums
To thee the greatest soldier comes;
For this is he
Was great by land as thou by sea;
His foes were thine; he kept us free;
O give him welcome, this is he
Worthy of our gorgeous rites,
And worthy to be laid by thee;
For this is England's greatest son,
He that gained a hundred fights
Nor ever lost an English gun;
This is he that far away
Against the myriads of Assaye
Clashed with his fiery few and won;
And underneath another sun,
Warring on a later day,
Round affrighted Lisbon drew
The treble works, the vast designs
Of his labored rampart-lines,
Where he greatly stood at bay,
Whence he issued forth anew,
And ever great and greater grew,
Beating from the wasted vines
Back to France her banded swarms,
Back to France with countless blows,
Till o'er the hills her eagles flew,
Beyond the Pyrenean pines;
Followed up in valley and glen
With blare of bugle, clamor of men,
Roll of cannon and clash of arms,
And England pouring on her foes.
Such a war had such a close.
Again their ravening eagle rose
In anger, wheel'd on Europe shadowing wings,
And barking for the thrones of kings;
Till one that sought but duty's iron crown,
On that loud Sabbath shook the spoiler down;
A day of onsets, of despair!
Dashed on every rocky square
Their surging charges foamed themselves away;
Last the Prussian trumpet blew;
Thro' the long tormented air
Heaven flashed a sudden jubilant ray,
And down we swept and charged and overthrew.
So great a soldier taught us there
What long-enduring hearts could do
In that world-earthquake, Waterloo!
Mighty seaman, tender and true,
And pure as he from taint of craven guile,
O savior of the silver-coasted isle,
O shaker of the Baltic and the Nile,
If aught of things that here befall
Touch a spirit among things divine,
If love of country move thee there at all,
Be glad because his bones are laid by thine!
And thro' the centuries let a people's voice
In full acclaim,
A people's voice,
The proof and echo of all human fame,
A people's voice, when they rejoice,
At civic revel and pomp and game,
Attest their great commander's claim
With honor, honor, honor, honor to him,
Eternal honor to his name.


A people's voice! We are a people yet,
Tho' all men else their nobler dreams forget,
Confused by brainless mobs and lawless powers;
Thank Him who isled us here, and roughly set
His Briton in blown seas and storming showers,
We have a voice with which to pay the debt
Of boundless love and reverence and regret
To those great men who fought and kept it ours.
And keep it ours, O God, from brute control;
O statesmen, guard us, guard the eye, the soul
Of Europe, keep our noble England whole,
And save the one true seed of freedom sown
Betwixt a people and their ancient throne,
That sober freedom, out of which there springs
Our loyal passion for our temperate kings;
For, saving that, ye help to save mankind
Till public wrong be crumbled into dust,
And drill the raw world for the march of mind,
Till crowds at length be sane and crowns be just.
But wink no more in slothful overtrust.
Remember him who led your hosts;
He bade you guard the sacred coasts.
Your cannons molder on the seaward wall;
His voice is silent in the council hall
Forever; and whatever tempests lour
Forever silent; even if they broke
In thunder, silent; yet remember all
He spoke among you, and the man who spoke;
Who never sold the truth to serve the hour,
Nor paltered with Eternal God for power;
Who let the turbid streams of rumor flow
Thro' 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.
. . .


Peace, his triumph will be sung
By some yet unmolded tongue,
Far on in summers that we shall not see;
Peace, it is a day of pain
For one about whose patriarchal knee
Late the little children clung;
O peace, it is a day of pain
For one upon whose hand and heart and brain
Once the weight and fate of Europe hung.
Ours the pain, be his the gain!
More than is of man's degree
Must be with us, watching here
At this, our great solemnity.
Whom we see not, we revere;
We revere, and we refrain
From talk of battles loud and vain,
And brawling memories all too free.
For such a wise humility
As befits a solemn fame:
We revere, and while we hear
The tides of music's golden sea
Setting toward eternity,
Uplifted high in heart and hope are we,
Until we doubt not that for one so true
There must be other nobler work to do
Than when he fought at Waterloo;
And Victor he must ever be,
For tho' the Giant Ages heave the hill
And break the shore, and evermore
Make and break and work their will;
Tho' world on world in myriad myriads roll
Round us, each with different powers,
And other forms of life than ours,
What know we greater than the soul?
On God and godlike men we build our trust.
Hush, the Dead March wails in the people's ears;
The dark crowd moves, and there are sobs and tears:
The black earth yawns; the mortal disappears;
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
He is gone who seemed so great--
Gone; but nothing can bereave him
Of the force he made his own
Being here, and we believe him
Something far advanced in state,
And that he wears a truer crown
Than any wreath that man can weave him.
Speak no more of his renown,
Lay your earthly fancies down,
And in the vast cathedral leave him,
God accept him, Christ receive him!




["The Needy Knife-Grinder," which follows, was one of the most
notable contributions which appeared in "The Anti-Jacobin." It is
scarcely necessary to point out its satire upon the humanitarian
sympathies of those Englishmen who had been carried away by the
ideas of the French Revolution. The verses--a parody of Stanley's
"Sapphics"--were the joint production of George Canning and John
Hookham Frere.]



Needy knife-grinder! Whither are you going?
Rough is the road; your wheel is out of order;
Bleak blows the blast; your hat has got a hole in't,
So have your breeches!

Weary knife-grinder! little think the proud ones
Who in their coaches roll along the turnpike
Road, what hard work 'tis crying all day "Knives and
Scissors to grind O!"

Tell me, knife-grinder, how you came to grind knives?
Did some rich man tyrannically use you?
Was it some squire? or parson of the parish?
Or the attorney?

Was it the squire for killing of his game? Or
Covetous parson, for his tithes distraining?
Or roguish lawyer, made you lose your little
All in a lawsuit?

Have you not read the "Rights of Man," by Tom Paine?
Drops of compassion tremble on my eyelids,
Ready to fall as soon as you have told your
Pitiful story.


Story, God bless you, I have none to tell, sir;
Only last night a-drinking at the Chequers,
This poor old hat and breeches, as you see, were
Torn in a scuffle.

Constables came up for to take me into
Custody; they took me before the justice;
Justice Oldmixon put me in the parish
Stocks for a vagrant.

I should be glad to drink your honor's health in
A pot of beer, if you will give me sixpence;
But for my part I never love to meddle
With politics, sir.


I give thee sixpence; I will see thee damned first,
Wretch! whom no sense of wrongs
Can rouse to vengeance!
Sordid, unfeeling, reprobate, degraded,
Spiritless outcast!

[Kicks the K-g, overturns his wheel, and exit in a transport of
republican enthusiasm and universal philanthropy.]


[The following extract from a speech on Parliamentary Reform
affords an excellent example of his style of eloquence.]

Other nations, excited by the example of the liberty which this
country has long possessed, have attempted to copy our
Constitution; and some of them have shot beyond it in the
fierceness of their pursuit. I grudge not to other nations that
share of liberty which they may acquire; in the name of God, let
them enjoy it! But let us warn them that they lose not the object
of their desire by the very eagerness with which they attempt to
grasp it. Inheritors and conservators of national freedom, let
us, while others are seeking it in restlessness and trouble, be a
steady and shining light to guide their course; not a wandering
meteor to bewilder and mislead them.

Let it not be thought that this is an unfriendly or disheartening
counsel to those who are either struggling under the pressure of
harsh government, or exulting in the novelty of sudden
emancipation. It is addressed much rather to those who, though
cradled and educated amidst the sober blessings of the British
Constitution, pant for other schemes of liberty than those which
that Constitution sanctions, other than are compatible with a
just equality of civil rights, or with the necessary restraints
of social obligations; of some of whom it may be said, in the
language which Dryden puts into the mouth of one of the most
extravagant of his heroes, that

"They would be free as nature first made man,
Ere the base laws of servitude began,
When wild in the woods the noble savage ran."

Noble and swelling sentiments! but such as cannot be reduced into
practice. Grand ideas! but which must be qualified and adjusted
by a compromise between the aspirings of individuals, and a due
concern for the general tranquility; must be subdued and
chastened by reason and experience before they can be directed to
any useful end! A search after abstract perfection in government
may produce in generous minds an enterprise and enthusiasm to be
recorded by the historian and to be celebrated by the poet; but
such perfection is not an object of reasonable pursuit, because
it is not one of possible attainment; and never yet did a
passionate struggle after an absolutely unattainable object fail
to be productive of misery to an individual, of madness and
confusion to a people. As the inhabitants of those burning
climates which lie beneath a tropical sun sigh for the coolness
of the mountain and the grove, so (all history instructs us) do
nations which have basked for a time in the torrid blaze of
unmitigated liberty too often call upon the shades of despotism,
even of military despotism, to cover them--a protection which
blights while it shelters; which dwarfs the intellect and stunts
the energies of man, but to which a wearied nation willingly
resorts from intolerable heats and from perpetual danger of

Our lot is happily cast in the temperate zone of freedom, the
clime best suited to the development of the moral qualities of
the human race, to the cultivation of their faculties, and to the
security as well as the improvement of their virtues; a clime,
not exempt, indeed, from variations of the elements, but
variations which purify while they agitate the atmosphere that we
breathe. Let us be sensible of the advantages which it is our
happiness to enjoy. Let us guard with pious gratitude the flame
of genuine liberty, that fire from heaven, of which our
Constitution is the holy depository; and let us not, for the
chance of rendering it more intense and more radiant, impair its
purity or hazard its extinction.



[The bill for the charter of the Liverpool and Manchester railway
was referred to the Committee of the House of Commons, March 21,
1825. The canal companies had employed able counsel to oppose it.
A month was consumed before the company's engineer, Mr. George
Stephenson, was called by the Committee. The following account of
his first day's examination is from his fascinating biography by
Dr. Samuel Smiles.]

On the 25th George Stephenson was called into the witness-box. It
was his first appearance before a committee of the House of
Commons, and he well knew what he had to expect. He was aware
that the whole force of the opposition was to be directed against
him; and if they could break down his evidence, the canal
monopoly might yet be upheld for a time. Many years afterward,
when looking back at his position on this trying occasion, he
said: "When I went to Liverpool to plan a line from thence to
Manchester, I pledged myself to the directors to attain a speed
of ten miles an hour. I said I had no doubt the locomotive might
be made to go much faster, but that we had better be moderate at
the beginning. The directors said I was quite right; for that if,
when they went to Parliament, I talked of going at a greater rate
than ten miles an hour, I should put a cross upon the concern. It
was not an easy task for me to keep the engine down to ten miles
an hour, but it must be done, and I did my best. I had to place
myself in that most unpleasant of all positions--the witness-box
of a parliamentary committee. I was not long in it before I began
to wish for a hole to creep out at! I could not find words to
satisfy either the committee or myself. I was subjected to the
cross-examination of eight or ten barristers, purposely, as far
as possible, to bewilder me. Some member of the committee asked
if I was a foreigner, and another hinted that I was mad. But I
put up with every rebuff, and went on with my plans, determined
not to be put down."

George Stephenson stood before the committee to prove what the
public opinion of that day held to be impossible. The self-taught
mechanic had to demonstrate the practicability of accomplishing
that which the most distinguished engineers of the time regarded
as impracticable. Clear though the subject was to himself, and
familiar as he was with the powers of the locomotive, it was no
easy task for him to bring home his convictions, or even to
convey his meaning, to the less informed minds of his hearers. In
his strong Northumbrian dialect, he struggled for utterance, in
the face of the sneers, interruptions, and ridicule of the
opponents of the measure, and even of the committees, some of
whom shook their heads and whispered doubts as to his sanity when
he energetically avowed that he could make the locomotive go at
the rate of twelve miles an hour! It was so grossly in the teeth
of all the experience of honorable members, that the man "must
certainly be laboring under a delusion!"

And yet his large experience of railways and locomotives, as
described by himself to the committee, entitled this "untaught,
inarticulate genius," as he has been described, to speak with
confidence on the subject. Beginning with his experience as a
brakesman at Killingworth in 1803, he went on to state that he
was appointed to take the entire charge of the steam engines in
1813, and had superintended the railroads connected with the
numerous collieries of the grand allies from that time downward.
He had laid down or superintended the railways at Burradon, Mount
Moor, Springwell, Bedlington, Helton, and Darlington, besides
improving those at Killingworth, South Moor, and Derwent Crook.
He had constructed fifty-five steam-engines, of which sixteen
were locomotives. Some of these had been sent to France. The
engines constructed by him for the working of the Killingworth
Railroad, eleven years before, had continued steadily at work
ever since, and fulfilled his most sanguine expectations. He was
prepared to prove the safety of working high-pressure locomotives
on a railroad, and the superiority of this mode of transporting
goods over all others. As to speed, he said he had recommended
eight miles an hour with twenty tons, and four miles an hour with
forty tons; but he was quite confident that much more might be
done. Indeed he had no doubt they might go at the rate of twelve
miles. As to the charge that locomotives on a railroad would so
terrify the horses in the neighborhood that to travel on
horseback or to plow the adjoining fields would be rendered
highly dangerous, the witness said that horses learned to take no
notice of them, though there were horses that would shy at a
wheelbarrow. A mail-coach was likely to be more shied at by
horses than a locomotive. In the neighborhood of Killingworth,
the cattle in the fields went on grazing while the engines passed
them, and the farmers made no complaints.

Mr. Alderson, who had carefully studied the subject, and was well
skilled in practical science, subjected the witness to a
protracted and severe cross-examination as to the speed and power
of the locomotive, the stroke of the piston, the slipping of the
wheels upon the rails, and various other points of detail.
Stephenson insisted that no slipping took place, as attempted to
be extorted from him by the counsel. He said, "It is impossible
for slipping to take place so long as the adhesive weight of the
wheel upon the rail is greater than the weight to be dragged
after it." There was a good deal of interruption to the witness's
answers by Mr. Alderson, to which Mr. Joy more than once
objected. As to accidents, Stephenson knew of none that had
occurred with his engines. There had been one, he was told, at
the Middleton Colliery, near Leeds, with a Blenkinsop engine. The
driver had been in liquor, and put a considerable load on the
safety-valve, so that upon going forward the engine blew up and
the man was killed. But he added, if proper precautions had been
used with that boiler, the accident could not have happened. The
following cross-examination occurred in reference to the question
of speed:

"Of course," he was asked, "when a body is moving upon a road,
the greater the velocity the greater the momentum that is
generated?" "Certainly." "What would be the momentum of forty
tons moving at the rate of twelve miles an hour?" "It would be
very great." "Have you seen a railroad that would stand that?"
"Yea." "Where?" "Any railroad that would bear going four miles an
hour; I mean to say, that if it would bear the weight at four
miles an hour, it would bear it at twelve." "Taking it at four
miles an hour, do you mean to say that it would not require a
stronger railway to carry the same weight twelve miles an hour?"
"I will give an answer to that. I dare say every person has been
over ice when skating, or seen persons go over, and they know
that it would bear them better at a greater velocity than it
would if they went slower; when they go quick, the weight in a
measure ceases." "Is not that upon the hypothesis that the
railroad is perfect?" "It is; and I mean to make it perfect."

It is not necessary to state that to have passed through his
severe ordeal scatheless needed no small amount of courage,
intelligence, and ready shrewdness on the part of the witness.
Nicholas Wood, who was present on the occasion, has since stated
that the point on which Stephenson was hardest pressed was that
of speed. "I believe," he says, "that it would have lost the
company their bill if he had gone beyond eight or nine miles an
hour. If he had stated his intention of going twelve or fifteen
miles an hour, not a single person would have believed it to be
practicable." Mr. Alderson had, indeed, so pressed the point of
"twelve miles an hour," and the promoters were so alarmed lest it
should appear in evidence that they contemplated any such
extravagant rate of speed, that immediately on Mr. Alderson
sitting down, Mr. Joy proceeded to re-examine Stephenson, with
the view of removing from the minds of the committee an
impression so unfavorable, and as they supposed, so damaging to
their case. "With regard," asked Mr. Joy, "to all those
hypothetical questions of my learned friend, they have been all
put on the supposition of going twelve miles an hour; now that is
not the rate at which, I believe, any of the engines of which you
have spoken have traveled?" "No," replied Stephenson, "except as
an experiment for a short distance." "But what they have gone has
been three, five, or six miles an hour?" "Yes." "So that those
hypothetical cases of twelve miles an hour do not fall within
your general experience?" "They do not."

The committee also seem to have entertained some alarm as to the
high rate of speed which had been spoken of, and proceeded to
examine the witness farther on the subject. They supposed the
case of the engine being upset when going at nine miles an hour,
and asked what, in such a case, would become of the cargo astern.
To which the witness replied that it would not be upset. One of
the members of the committee pressed the witness a little
farther. He put the following case: "Suppose, now, one of these
engines to be going along a railroad at the rate of nine or ten
miles an hour, and that a cow were to stray upon the line and get
in the way of the engine; would not that, think you, be a very
awkward circumstance?" "Yes," replied the witness, with a twinkle
in his eye, "very awkward-for the cow!" The honorable member did
not proceed farther with his cross-examination; to use a railway
phrase, he was "shunted." Another asked if animals would not be
very much frightened by the engine passing at night, especially
by the glare of the red-hot chimney? "But how would they know
that it wasn't painted?" said the witness.




[About the year 1816 Lord Russell's health being delicate he was
rarely in his seat in the House of Commons, and even expressed
his determination to withdraw from public life altogether. This
"Remonstrance" from the poet Thomas Moore is valuable at least
for the view which it gives of the considerations which impelled
the scion of the great Whig house to serve his country.]

What! thou, with thy genius, thy youth, and thy name!
Thou, born of a Russell, whose instinct to run
The accustom'd career of thy sires is the same
As the eaglet's to soar with his eyes on the sun;
Whose nobility comes to thee, stamp'd with a seal
Far, far more ennobling than monarch e'er set;
With the blood of thy race offer'd up for the weal
Of a nation that swears by that martyrdom yet!
Shalt thou be faint-hearted, and turn from the strife,
From the mighty arena, where all that is grand,
And devoted, and pure, and adorning in life
Is for high-thoughted spirits like thine to command?
Oh no! never dream it; while good men despair
Between tyrants and traitors, and timid men bow,
Never think for an instant thy country can spare
Such a light from her dark'ning horizon as thou!
With a spirit as meek as the gentlest of those
Who in life's sunny valley lie shelter'd and warm,
Yet bold and heroic as ever yet rose
To the top cliffs of Fortune, and breasted her storm;
With an ardour for liberty, fresh as in youth
It first kindles the bard and gives light to his lyre,
Yet mellow'd e'en now by that mildness of truth,
Which tempers, but chills not, the patriot fire;
With an eloquence, not like those rills from a height,
Which sparkle and foam, and in vapour are o'er,
But a current that works out its way into light
Through the filt'ring recesses of thought and of lore:
Thus gifted, thou never canst sleep in the shade;
If the stirring of genius, the music of fame,
And the charm of thy cause have not power to persuade,
Yet think how to freedom thou'rt pledged by thy name.
Like the boughs of that laurel, by Delphi's decree,
Set apart for the fame and its service divine,
All the branches that spring from the old Russell tree
Are by liberty claim'd for the use of her shrine.


[After his unsuccessful contest for a seat in the House of
Commons for Huntingdon in 1826, Lord John Russell drafted a
measure for the prevention of bribing and sent it to Lord Althorp
with a letter which was published in "The Times " and attracted
much notice. The following passages are extracted.]

Bribery is clearly forbidden by the law, and it is competent for
every British subject to petition the House of Commons, praying
them to inquire into any particular instance of that offense
which may have occurred under his own observation. The House may,
if it thinks fit, refer such a petition to the Committee of
Privileges, or to any other committee it may choose to appoint
for the purpose.

Bribery in a candidate, however, makes void the election, and a
petition complaining of bribery committed, with a view to the
last election in a borough, is properly an election petition. But
a term of fourteen days is the limited period within which a
petition of this nature can be presented, and various onerous
duties are imposed upon the petitioner--he must enter into a
recognizance to pursue his complaint, and must incur an expense
of some hundreds or even some thousands in prosecuting the

Still this mode of inquiry is now so established that when upon
two or three occasions complaints have been sent to me of bribery
in a particular borough, I feared to bring them before the House
of Commons lest I should be told that the petition was an
election petition which could not otherwise be entertained.

. . .

From this state of things great impunity has been allowed to
gross acts of corruption. A gentleman from London goes down to a
borough of which he scarcely before knew the existence. The
electors do not ask his political opinions; they do not inquire
into his private character; they only require to be satisfied of
the impurity of his intentions. If he is elected no one, in all
probability, contests the validity of his return. His opponents
are as guilty as he is and no other person will incur the expense
of a petition for the sake of a public benefit. Fifteen days
after the meeting of Parliament a handsome reward is distributed
to each of the worthy and independent electors.

This is the practice against which the resolutions of the late
House of Commons were directed. They pledge the House to inquiry
not on a question between two rivals contending for a seat, but
on a question affecting the character and purity of Parliament.
They allow complaints to be made not only against the sitting
member, but against the borough; they enlarge the time within
which such complaints may be made, and instead of deterring
petitioners by expense, they provide that a specific complaint,
if fit to be inquired into, shall be inquired into for the sake
of the public at the public cost.

Such is the proposition approved by the late House of Commons,
and which I venture to think not unworthy of being countenanced
by a Whig reformer. There are many other abuses in our present
mode of elections, to which local remedies might, I think, be
successfully applied; nor is there any one more fit or more able
than yourself to conduct such measures. Undoubtedly many
obstacles would be raised to delay our progress, especially on
the part of "the presiding genius of the House of Lords." But I
am persuaded that reformers in general have never made a
sufficient estimate of the support they would receive, or set a
sufficient value on the objects they might attain, by a vigorous
attack on particular abuses.


[Lord John Russell's share in carrying the Reform Act of 1832 was
celebrated by Lord Lyttleton in the following lines.]

In England's worst days, when her rights and her laws
Were spurned by a Prince of the fell Stuart line,
A Russell stood forth to assert her lost cause,
And perish'd a martyr at liberty's shrine.
The smell of that sacrifice mounted to heaven;
The cry of that blood rose not thither in vain;
The crime of the tyrant was never forgiven;
And a blessing was breathed on the race of the slain.
Dethroned and degraded, the Stuart took flight,
He fled to the land where the Bourbon bore sway,
A curse clung to his offspring, a curse and a blight,
And in exile and sorrow it wither'd away.
But there sprang from the blood of the martyr a race
Which for virtue and courage unrival'd has shone;
Its honors still worn with a patriot grace,
Still loved by the people, revered by the throne.
And see where in front of the battle again
A Russell, sweet liberty's champion, appears;
While myriads of freemen compose his bright train,
And the blessing still lives through the long lapse of years.



[During the parliamentary session of 1846 when the bill for the
repeal of the Corn Law was passing through its parliamentary
stages, Mr. Cobden's letters from London to personal friends and
to his wife afford frequent glimpses of his interest, his
suspense, and his final exultation.]

"London, February 19th. To T. H. Ashworth: Your letter has
followed me here. Peel's declaration in the House that he will
adopt immediate repeal if it is voted by the Commons, seems to me
to remove all difficulty from Villiers's path; he can now propose
his old motion without the risk of doing any harm even if he
should not succeed. As respects the future course of the league,
the less that is said now about it publicly the better. If Peel's
measure should become law, then the Council will be compelled to
face the question, 'What shall the League do during the three
years?' It has struck me that under such circumstances we might
absolve the large subscribers from all further calls, put the
staff of the League on a peace footing, and merely keep alive a
nominal organization to prevent any attempt to undo the good work
we have effected. Not that I fear any reaction. On the contrary,
I believe the popularity of free-trade principles is only in its
infancy, and that it will every year take firmer hold of the head
and heart of the community. But there is perhaps something due to
our repeated pledges that we will not dissolve until the Corn
Laws are entirely abolished. In any case the work will be
effectually finished during this year, provided the League
preserve its firm and united position; and it is to prevent the
slightest appearance of disunion that I would avoid now talking
in public about the future course of the League. It is the
League, and it only, that frightens the peers. It is the League
alone which enables Peel to repeal the law. But for the League
the aristocracy would have hunted Peel to a premature grave, or
consigned him like Lord Melbourne to a private station at the
bare mention of total repeal. We must hold the same rod over the
Lords until the measure is safe; after that I agree with you in
thinking that it matters little whether the League dies with
honors, or lingers out a few years of inglorious existence."

"May 16th. To F. W. Cobden: I last night had the glorious
privilege of giving a vote in the majority for the third reading
of the bill for the total repeal of the Corn Law. The bill is now
out of the House, and will go up to the Lords on Monday. I trust
we shall never hear the name of 'Corn' again in the Commons.
There was a good deal of cheering and waving of hats when the
Speaker had put the question, that this bill do now pass.' Lord
Morpeth, Macaulay, and others came and shook hands with me, and
congratulated me on the triumph of our cause. I did not speak,
simply for the reason that I was afraid that I should give more
life to the debate, and afford an excuse for another adjournment;
otherwise I could have made a telling and conciliatory appeal.
Villiers tried to speak at three o'clock this morning, but I did
not think he took the right tone. He was fierce against the
protectionists, and only irritated them, and they wouldn't hear
him. The reports about the doings in the Lords are still not
satisfactory or conclusive. Many people fear still that they will
alter the measure with a view to a compromise. But I hope we
shall escape any further trouble upon the question.....I feel
little doubt that I shall be able to pay a visit to your father
at midsummer. At least nothing but the Lords throwing back the
bill upon the country could prevent my going into Wales at the
time, for I shall confidently expect them to decide one way or
another by the 15th of June. I shall certainly vote and speak
against the Factory Bill next Friday."

"May 18th. To Mrs. Cobden: We are so beset by contradictory
rumors, that I know not what to say about our prospects in the
Lords. Our good, conceited friend told me on Wednesday that he
knew the peers would not pass the measure, and on Saturday he
assured me that they would. And this is a fair specimen of the
way in which rumors vary from day to day. This morning Lord
Monteagle called on me, and was strongly of the opinion that they
would 'move on, and not stand in people's way.' A few weeks will
now decide the matter one way or another. I think I told you that
I dined at Moffat's last Wednesday. As usual he gave us a first-
rate dinner. After leaving Moffat's at eleven o'clock, I went to
a squeeze at Mrs. --. It was as usual hardly possible to get
inside the drawing-room doors. I only remained a quarter of an
hour, and then went home. On Saturday I dined at Lord and Lady
John's, and met a select party, whose names I see in to-day's
papers.....I am afraid if I associate much with the aristocracy,
they will spoil me. I am already half-seduced by the fascinating
ease of their parties."

"May 19th. To F. W. Cobden: I received your letters with the
enclosures. We are still on the tenter-hooks respecting the
conduct of the Lords. There is, however, one cheering point: the
majority on the second reading is improving in the stock-books of
the whippers-in. It is now expected that there will be forty to
fifty majority at the second reading. This will of course give us
a better margin for the committee. The government and Lord John
(who is very anxious to get the measure through) are doing all
they can to insure success. The ministers from Lisbon, Florence,
and other continental cities (where they are peers) are coming
home to vote in committee. Last night was a propitious beginning
in the Lords. The Duke of Richmond was in a passion, and his tone
and manner did not look like a winner."

"June 10th. To F. W. Cobden: There is another fit of apprehension
about the Corn Bill, owing to the uncertainty of Peel's position.
I can't understand his motive for constantly poking his coercive
bill in our faces at these critical moments. The Lords will take
courage at anything that seems to weaken the government morally.
They are like a fellow going to be hanged who looks out for a
reprieve, and is always hoping for a lucky escape until the drop

"June 18th. To Mrs. Cobden: The Lords will not read the Corn Bill
the third time before Tuesday next, and I shall be detained in
town to vote on the Coercion Bill on Thursday, after which I
shall leave for Manchester. I send you a 'Spectator' paper, by
which you will see that I am a 'likeable' person, I hope you will
appreciate this."

"June 23d. To Mrs. Cobden: I have been plagued for several days
with sitting to Herbert for the picture of the Council of the
League, and it completely upsets my afternoons. Besides my mind
has been more than ever upon the worry about that affair which is
to come off after the Corn Bill is settled, and about which I
hear all sorts of reports. You must therefore excuse me if I
could not sit down to write a letter of news.....I thought the
Corn Bill would certainly be read the third time on Tuesday (to-
morrow), but I now begin to think it will be put off till
Thursday. There is literally no end to this suspense. But there
are reports of Peel being out of office on Friday next, and the
peers may yet ride restive."

"June 26th. To Mrs. Cobden: My Dearest Kate-Hurrah! Hurrah! the
Corn Bill is law, and now my work is done. I shall come down to-
morrow morning by the six o'clock train in order to be present at
a Council meeting at three, and shall hope to be home in time for
a late tea."


[Ebenezer Elliott, "The Corn-Law Rhymer," contributed to the
agitation such "Songs" as this.]

Child, is thy father dead?
Father is gone!
Why did they tax his bread?
God's will be done!
Mother has sold her bed;
Better to die than wed!
Where shall she lay her head?
Home we have none!

Father clammed thrice a week-
God's will be done!
Long for work did he seek,
Work he found none;
Tears on his hollow cheek
Told what no tongue could speak!
Why did his master break?
God's will be done!

Doctor said air was best-
Food we had none;
Father with panting breast
Groaned to be gone;
Now he is with the blest-
Mother says death is best!
We have no place of rest-
Yes, we have one!



[On the night when the bill for the repeal of the Corn Laws came
up for its passage in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister,
who had been elected on a protectionist "platform," concluded the
debate in a powerful speech, which culminated in these impressive


This night is to decide between the policy of continued
relaxation of restriction, or the return to restraint and
prohibition. This night you will select the motto which is to
indicate the commercial policy of England. Shall it be "advance"
or "recede"? Which is the fitter motto for this great empire?
Survey our position, consider the advantage which God and nature
have given us, and the destiny for which we are intended. We
stand on the confines of western Europe, the chief connecting
link between the Old World and the New. The discoveries of
science, the improvement of navigation, have brought us within
ten days of St. Petersburg, and will soon bring us within ten
days of New York. We have an extent of coast greater in
proportion to our population and the area of our land than any
other great nation, securing to us maritime strength and
superiority. Iron and coal, the sinews of manufacture, give us
advantages over every rival in the great competition of industry.
Our capital far exceeds that which they can command. In
ingenuity, in skill, in energy, we are inferior to none. Our
national character, the free institutions under which we live,
the liberty of thought and action, an unshackled press, spreading
the knowledge of every discovery and of every advance in science-
-combine with our natural and physical advantages to place us at
the head of those nations which profit by the free interchange of
their products. And is this the country to shrink from
competition? Is this the country to adopt a retrograde policy? Is
this the country which can only flourish in the sickly,
artificial atmosphere of prohibition? Is this the country to
stand shivering on the brink of exposure to the healthful breezes
of competition?

Choose your motto. "Advance" or "recede." Many countries are
watching with anxiety the selection you may make. Determine for
"advance," and it will be the watchword which will animate and
encourage in every state the friends of liberal commercial
policy. Sardinia has taken the lead. Naples is relaxing her
protective duties and favoring British produce. Prussia is shaken
in her adherence to restriction. The government of France will be
strengthened; and backed by the intelligence of the reflecting,
and by conviction of the real welfare of the great body of the
community, will perhaps ultimately prevail over the self-interest
of the commercial and manufacturing aristocracy which now
predominates in her chambers. Can you doubt that the United
States will soon relax her hostile tariff, and that the friends
of a freer commercial intercourse--the friends of peace between
the two countries--will hail with satisfaction the example of

This night, then--if on this night the debate shall close--you
will have to decide what are the principles by which your
commercial policy is to be regulated. Most earnestly, from a deep
conviction, founded not upon the limited experience of three
years alone, but upon the experience of the results of every
relaxation of restriction and prohibition, I counsel you to set
the example of liberality to other countries. Act thus, and it
will be in perfect consistency with the course you have hitherto
taken. Act thus, and you will provide an additional guarantee for
the continued contentment, and happiness, and well-being of the
great body of the people. Act thus, and you will have done
whatever human sagacity can do for the promotion of commercial

You may fail. Your precautions may be unavailing. They may give
no certain assurance that mercantile and manufacturing prosperity
will continue without interruption. It seems to be incident to
great prosperity that there shall be a reverse--that the time of
depression shall follow the season of excitement and success.
That time of depression must perhaps return; and its return may
be coincident with scarcity caused by unfavorable seasons. Gloomy
winters, like those of 1841 and 1842, may again set in. Are those
winters effaced from your memory? From mine they never can

These sad times may recur. "The years of plenteous-ness may have
ended," and "the years of dearth may have come"; and again you
may have to offer the unavailing expressions of sympathy, and the
urgent exhortations to patient resignation.....

When you are again exhorting a suffering people to fortitude
under their privations, when you are telling them, "These are the
chastenings of an all-wise and merciful Providence, sent for some
inscrutable but just and beneficent purpose, it may be, to humble
our pride, or to punish our unfaithfulness, or to impress us with
the sense of our own nothingness and dependence on His mercy,"
when you are thus addressing your suffering fellow-subjects, and
encouraging them to bear without repining the dispensations of
Providence, may God grant that by your decision of this night you
may have laid in store for yourselves the consolation of
reflecting that such calamities are, in truth, the dispensations
of Providence--that they have not been caused, they have not been
aggravated, by laws of man, restricting, in the hour of scarcity,
the supply of food!



[In February, 1833, when the failure of Michael Sadler to be
returned to Parliament left his "Short Time Bill" without a
champion, Lord Ashley (afterwards known as Lord Shaftesbury) was
asked to lead the cause. His decision was thus announced to the
local "Short Time Committees" in the manufacturing towns.]

Rev. G. S. Bull to Short Time Committees.

London, February 6, 1833.

Dear Sir:--I have to inform you that in furtherance of the object
of the delegates' meeting, I have succeeded, under Mr. Sadler's
sanction, in prevailing upon Lord Ashley to move his (Mr.
Sadler's) bill.

Lord Ashley gave notice yesterday afternoon, at half-past two, of
a motion on the 5th of March, for leave "to renew the bill
brought in by Mr. Sadler last session, to regulate the labor of
children in the mills and factories of the United Kingdom, with
such amendments and additions as appear necessary from the
evidence given before the select Committee of this House."

This notice, I am very happy to say (for I was present), was
received with hearty and unusual cheers from all parts of a House
of more than three hundred. No other notice was so cheered; and
more than forty, some of them very popular, were given at the
same time.

I am informed that Lord Ashley received many unexpected
assurances of support immediately after his notice, and has had
more since.

Pray call your committee together directly, and read this to
them. As to Lord Ashley, he is noble, benevolent, and resolute in
mind, as he is manly in person. I have been favored with several
interviews, and all of the most satisfactory kind. On one
occasion his Lordship said, "I have only zeal and good intentions
to bring to this work; I can have no merit in it, that must all
belong to Mr. Sadler. It seems no one else will undertake it, so
I will; and without cant or hypocrisy, which I hate, I assure you
I dare not refuse the request you have so earnestly pressed. I
believe it is my duty to God and to the poor, and I trust he will
support me. Talk of trouble! What do we come to Parliament for?"

In a letter he writes: "To me it appeared an affair, less of
policy than of religion, and I determined, therefore, at all
hazards to myself, to do what I could in furtherance of the views
of that virtuous and amiable man" (meaning Mr. Sadler).

I have just left his Lordship, and find him more determined than
ever. He says, it is your cause; if you support him, he will
never flinch.

Yours most faithfully,           G. S. BULL.


[To Richard Oastler, a zealous leader of the working-people
outside of Parliament, who had pledged him his support, Lord
Ashley wrote this characteristic letter.]

Lord Ashley to Mr. Richard Oastler.

February 16, 1833.

Dear Sir:-I am much obliged to you for your kind and energetic
letter; much, very much, is owing to your humanity and zeal, and
though I cannot reckon deeply on the gratitude of multitudes, yet
I will hope that your name will, for years to come, be blessed by
those children who have suffered, or would have suffered, the
tortures of a factory. It is very cruel upon Mr. Sadler that he
is debarred from the joy of putting the crown on his beloved
measure; however, his must be the honor, though another may
complete it; and for my part, I feel that, if I were to believe
that my exertions ought to detract the millionth part from his
merits, I should be one of the most unprincipled and contemptible
of mankind. Ask the question simply, Who has borne the real evil,
who has encountered the real opposition, who roused the sluggish
public to sentiments of honor and pity? Why, Mr. Sadler; and I
come in (supposing I succeed) to terminate in the twelfth hour
his labor of the eleven. I greatly fear my ability to carry on
this measure. I wish, most ardently I wish, that some other had
been found to undertake the cause; nothing but the apprehension
of its being lost induced me to acquiesce in Mr. Bull's request.
I entertain such strong opinions on the matter that I did not
dare, as a Christian, to let my diffidence, or love of ease,
prevail over the demands of morality and religion.

Yours,     ASHLEY.


[Lord Shaftesbury's copious diaries were not intended for
publication, but late in life he permitted Mr. Hodder to
introduce selections from them in his authorized Biography. These
extracts from the period when he was fighting the cause of the
London chimney-sweeps, reflect the spirit of the great
philanthropist, the legislator who at twenty-five proposed "to
found a public policy upon the principles of the Bible."]

July 4th. Anxious, very anxious, about my sweeps; the
Conservative (?) Peers threaten a fierce opposition, and the
Radical Ministers warmly support the bill. Normanby has been
manly, open, kind-hearted, and firm. As I said to him in a
letter, so say I now, "God help him with the bill, and God bless
him for it!" I shall have no ease or pleasure in the recess,
should these poor children be despised by the Lords, and tossed
to the mercy of their savage purchasers. I find that Evangelical
religionists are not those on whom I can rely. The Factory
Question, and every question for what is called "humanity,"
receive as much support from the "men of the world" as from the
men who say they will have nothing to do with it!

I do not wonder at the Duke of Wellington--I have never expected
from him anything of the "soft and tender" kind. Let people say
what they will, he is a hard man. Steven tells me he left the
Oxford Petition at Apsley House, thinking that the Duke, as
Chancellor, would present it; he received this answer, "Mr.
Steven has thought fit to leave some petitions at Apsley House;
they will be found with the porter."

July 21st. Much anxiety, hard labor, many hopes, and many fears,
all rendered useless by "counting out the House." The object of
years within my grasp, and put aside in a moment. A notice to
investigate the condition of all the wretched and helpless
children in pin-works, needle-works, collieries, etc. The
necessary and beneficial consequence of the Factory Question! God
knows I had felt for it, and prayed for it; but the day arrived;
everything seemed adverse-a morning sitting, a late period of the
session, and a wet afternoon; and true enough, at five o'clock
there were but thirty-seven members, and these mostly Radicals or
Whigs. Shall I have another opportunity? The inquiry, without a
statement in Parliament, will be but half the battle, nay, not so
much--I must have public knowledge and public opinion working
with it. Well, it is God's cause, and I commit it altogether to
him. I am, however, sadly disappointed, but how weak and short-
sighted is man! This temporary failure may be the harbinger of

August 24th. Succeeded in both my suits. I undertook them in a
spirit of justice. I constituted myself, no doubt, a defender of
the poor, to see that the poor and miserable had their rights;
but "I looked, and there was none to help. I wondered that there
was none to uphold; therefore God's arm, it brought salvation to
me, and his fury, it upheld me." I stood to lose several hundred
pounds, but I have not lost a farthing; I have advanced the
cause, done individual justice, anticipated many calamities by
this forced prevention, and soothed, I hope, many angry,
discontented Chartist spirits by showing them that men of rank
and property can, and do, care for the rights and feelings of all
their brethren. Let no one ever despair of a good cause for want
of coadjutors; let him persevere, persevere, persevere, and God
will raise him up friends and assistants! I have had, and still
have, Jowett and Low; they are matchless.

September 16th. I hear encouraging things, both of my speech in
the House of Commons, and of my suit v. Stocks. The justice of
the suit is so manifest that even (so to speak) "my enemies are
at peace with me." What man ever lost in the long run by seeking
God's honor?

September 19th. Steven wrote to me yesterday, and gave me
information that he had at last succeeded in negotiating the
delivery of the wretched sweep behind my house in London. I had
begun to negotiate, but the master stood out for more money than
was fair, and we determined to seek the unnatural father of the
boy, and tempt him, by the offer of a gratuitous education. We
have done so, and have prospered; and the child will this day be
conveyed from his soot-hole to the Union School on Norwood Hill,
where, under God's blessing and especial, merciful grace, he will
be trained in the knowledge, and love, and faith of our common
Lord and only Saviour Jesus Christ. I entertain hopes of the boy;
he is described as gentle, and of a sweet disposition; we all
know he has suffered, and were eager to rescue him from his
temporal and spiritual tyrant. May God, in his unbounded goodness
and mercy, accept and defend the child, and train him up to his
honor and service, now and forever, through the mediation and
love of our dear and blessed Lord!


[Mrs Browning's poem belongs to this epoch and agitation.]

Do you hear the children weeping, Oh, my brothers,
Ere-the sorrow comes with years?
They are leaning their young heads against their mothers,
And that cannot stop their tears.
The young lambs are bleating in the meadows,
The young birds are chirping in the nest,
The young fawns are playing with the shadows,
The young flowers are blowing towards the west;

But the young, young children, Oh, my brothers,
They are weeping bitterly!
They are weeping in the play-time of the others,
In the country of the free.
Do you question the young children in the sorrow,
Why their tears are falling so?
The old man may weep for his to-morrow,
Which is lost in long ago;
The old tree is leafless in the forest,
The old year is ending in the frost,
The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest,
The old hope is hardest to be lost!

But the young, young children, Oh, my brothers,
Do you ask them why they stand
Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers
In our happy fatherland?
They look up with their pale and sunken faces,
And their looks are sad to see,
For the man's hoary anguish draws and presses
Down the cheeks of infancy;
"Your old earth," they say, "is very dreary,"
"Our young feet," they say, "are very weak;
Few paces have we taken, yet are weary-
Our grave-rest is very far to seek;
Ask the aged why they weep, and not the children,
For the outside earth is cold,
And we young ones stand without in our bewildering,
And the graves are for the old."

"True," say the children, "it may happen
That we die before our time;
Little Alice died last year, her grave is shapen
Like a snowball in the rime.
We looked into the pit prepared to take her;
Was no room for any work in the close clay!
From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her,
Crying, 'Get up, little Alice, it is day.'
If you listen by that grave in sun and shower
With your ear down, little Alice never cries;
Could we see her face, be sure we could not know her,
For the smile has time for growing in her eyes!
And merry go her moments, lull'd and still'd in
The shroud by the kirk chime.
It is good when it happens," say the children,
"That we die before our time.

Alas! Alas! the children! They are seeking
Death in life, as best to have;
They are binding up their hearts away from breaking
With a cerement from the grave.
Go out, children, from the mine and from the city;
Sing out, children, as the thrushes do;
Pluck your handfuls of the meadow cowslips pretty,
Laugh aloud to feel your fingers let them through!
But they answer, "Are your cowslips of the meadows
Like our weeds anear the mine?
Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows,
From your pleasures fair and fine!
For oh," say the children, "we are weary,
And we cannot run or leap;
If we car'd for any meadows it were merely
To drop down in them and sleep.

Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping,
We fall upon our faces, trying to go;
And underneath our heavy eyelids drooping,
The reddest flower would look as pale as snow.
For all day we drag our burden tiring
Through the coal-dark underground;
Or all day we drive the wheels of iron
In the factories round and round.

"For all day the wheels are droning, turning;
Their wind comes in our faces,
Till our hearts turn, our heads with pulses burning,
And the walls turn in their places;
Turns the sky in high window blank and reeling,
Turns the long light that drops adown the wall,
Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling,
All are turning, all the day, and we with all;
And all day the iron wheels are droning
And sometimes we could pray,
'O, ye wheels' (breaking out in mad moaning)
'Stop! be silent for to-day!'"

Aye, be silent! Let them hear each other breathing
For a moment mouth to mouth!
Let them touch each other's hands in a fresh wreathing
Of their tender human youth!
Let them feel that this cold metallic motion
Is not all the life God fashions or reveals!
Let them prove their living souls against the notion
That they live in you, or under you, O wheels!
Still, all day the iron wheels go onward,
Grinding life down from its mark;
And the children's souls which God is calling sunward
Spin on blindly in the dark.

Now, tell the poor young children, Oh, my brothers,
To look up to Him and pray;
So the blessed One who blesseth all the others,
Will bless them another day.
They answer, "Who is God that he should hear us,
While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirr'd?
When we sob aloud the human creatures near us
Pass by, hearing not, or answer not, a word.
And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding)
Strangers speaking at the door;
Is it likely God, with angels singing round him,
Hears our weeping any more?

"Two words, indeed, of praying we remember,
And at midnight's hour of harm,
'Our Father,' looking upward in the chamber,
We say softly for a charm.
We know no other words except 'Our Father,'
And we think that, in some pause of the angels' song,
God may pluck them with the silence sweet to gather,
And hold both within his right hand which is strong.
'Our Father!' If he heard us he would surely
(For they call him good and mild)
Answer, smiling" down the steep world very purely,
'Come and rest with me, my child.'"

"But no!" say the children, weeping faster,
"He is speechless as a stone;
And they tell us, of his image is the master
Who commands us to work on.
Go to," say the children, "up in heaven,
Dark, wheel-like turning clouds are all we find.
Do not mock us; grief has made us unbelieving;
We look up for God, but tears have made us blind."
Do you hear the children weeping and disproving,
Oh, my brothers, what ye preach?
For God's possible is taught by his world's loving,
And the children doubt of each.

And well may the children weep before you!
They are weary ere they run;
They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory
Which is brighter than the sun.
They know the grief of man without its wisdom;
They sink in man's despair without its calm;
Are slaves, without the liberty in Christendom;
Are martyrs, by the pang without the palm;
Are worn as if with age, yet unretrievingly
The harvest of its memories cannot reap-
Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly
Let them weep! Let them weep!
They look up with their pale and sunken faces
And their look is dread to see,
For they mind you of their angels in high places
With eyes turned on Deity.
"How long," they say, "How long, O cruel nation,
Will you stand to move the world, on a child's heart--
Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation,
And tread onward to your throne amid the mark?
Our blood splashes upward, O gold-heaper,
And your purple shows your path!
But the child's sob in the silence curses deeper
Than the strong man in his wrath.



[In March, 1849, Lord Palmerston dilated as follows upon the
moral greatness and influence of England.]

I say, in contradiction to the honorable gentleman, that this
country does stand well with the great majority of the foreign
powers; that the character of this country stands high; that the
moral influence of England is great--a moral influence that I do
not take credit to this government for having created, but which
is founded on the good sense and the wise and enlightened conduct
of the British nation. Foreign countries have seen that in the
midst of the events which have violently convulsed other
countries in Europe, and which have shaken to their foundations
ancient institutions, this country has held fast to her ancient
landmarks, standing firm in her pride of place:

Fell not, but stands unshaken, from within,

Or from without, 'gainst all temptations armed.

That has given confidence to foreign countries in the government
and people of this country. When other monarchies were shaken to
their very foundations, England stood unhurt, by its evident
security giving confidence to other powers. They have seen that
the government of England is not like that of other countries,
struggling for its existence, and occupied in guarding against
daily dangers. They have seen that the British Constitution acts
in unison with the spirit of the nation, with whose interests it
is charged. They know that its advice is worthy of being listened
to; and that advice is valued and respected, and is not spurned
with contumely, as the honorable member would wish us to suppose.


[Nothing which Lord Palmerston ever said or did made more for his
popularity and reputation than the closing passage of his speech
in the Commons in the "Don Pacifico" debate in June, 1850. He had
been speaking for five hours, and it was almost morning when he
flung out these high-spirited words.]

I believe I have now gone through all the heads of the charges
which have been brought against me in this debate. I think I have
shown that the foreign policy of the government in all the
transactions with respect to which its conduct has been impugned,
has throughout been guided by those principles which, according
to the resolution of the honorable and learned gentleman, ought
to regulate the conduct of the government of England in the
management of our foreign affairs. I believe that the principles
on which we have acted are those which are held by the great mass
of the people of this country. I am convinced these principles
are calculated, so far as the influence of England may properly
be exercised with respect to the destinies of other countries, to
conduce to the maintenance of peace, to the advancement of
civilization, to the welfare and happiness of mankind.

I do not complain of the conduct of those who have made these
matters the means of attack upon her Majesty's ministers. The
government of a great country like this is, undoubtedly, an
object of fair and legitimate ambition to men of all shades of
opinion. It is a noble thing to be allowed to guide the policy
and to influence the destiny of such a country; and if ever it
was an object of honorable ambition, more than ever must it be so
at the moment at which I am speaking. For while we have seen, as
stated by the right honorable baronet, the political earthquake
rocking Europe from side to side; while we have seen thrones
shaken, shattered, leveled, institutions overthrown and
destroyed; while in almost every country of Europe the conflict
of civil war has deluged the land with blood, from the Atlantic
to the Black Sea, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, this
country has presented a spectacle honorable to the people of
England and worthy of the admiration of mankind.

We have shown that liberty is compatible with order; that
individual freedom is reconcilable with obedience to the law. We
have shown the example of a nation in which every class of
society accepts with cheerfulness the lot which Providence has
assigned to it, while at the same time every individual of each
class is constantly striving to raise himself in the social scale
not by injustice and wrong, not by violence and illegality, but
by persevering good conduct, and by the steady and energetic
exertion of the moral and intellectual faculties with which his
Creator has endowed him. To govern such a people as this is
indeed an object worthy of the ambition of the noblest man who
lives in the land, and therefore I find no fault with those who
may think any opportunity a fair one for endeavoring to place
themselves in so distinguished and honorable a position; but I
contend that we have not in our foreign policy done anything to
forfeit the confidence of the country. We may not, perhaps, in
this matter or in that, have acted precisely up to the opinions
of one person or of another; and hard indeed it is, as we all
know by our individual and private experience, to find any number
of men agreeing entirely in any matter on which they may not be
equally possessed of the details of the facts, circumstances,
reasons, and conditions which led to action. But making allowance
for those differences of opinion which may fairly and honorably
arise among those who concur in general views, I maintain that
the principles which can be traced through all our foreign
transactions, as the guiding rule and directing spirit of our
proceedings, are such as deserve approbation.

I therefore fearlessly challenge the verdict which this House, as
representing a political, a commercial, a constitutional country,
is to give on the question now brought before it-whether the
principles on which the foreign policy of her Majesty's
government has been conducted, and the sense of duty which has
led us to think ourselves bound to afford protection to our
fellow-subjects abroad, are proper and fitting guides for those
who are charged with the government of England; and whether, as
the Roman in days of old held himself free from indignity when he
could say, Civis Romanus sum, so also a British subject, in
whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful
eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against
injustice and wrong.



[Tennyson's poem was inspired by the recital of one of the most
notable features of the Great Mutiny.]


Banner of England, not for a season, O banner of Britain, hast
Floated in conquering--battle, or flapped to the battle-cry!
Never with mightier glory than when we had reared thee on high
Flying at top of the roofs in the ghastly siege of Lucknow--
Shot thro' the staff or the halyard, but ever we raised thee
And ever upon our topmost roof our banner of England blew.


Frail were the works that defended the hold that we held with our
Women and children among us, God help them, our children and
Hold it we might, and for fifteen days, or for twenty at most.
"Never surrender, I charge you, but every man die at his post!"
Voice of the dead whom we loved, our Laurence, the best of the
Cold were his brows when we kissed him-we laid him that night in
his grave.
"Every man die at his post!" and there halted on our houses and
Death from their rifle-bullets, and death from their cannon-
Death in our innermost chamber, and death at our slight
Death while we stood with the musket, and death while we stooped
to the spade;
Death to the dying, and wounds to the wounded, for often there
Striking the hospital wall, crashing thro' it, their shot and
their shell;
Death--for their spies were among us, their marksmen were told of
our best,
So that the brute bullet broke thro' the brain that would think
for the rest;
Bullets would sing by our foreheads, and bullets would rain at
our feet--
Fire from ten thousand at once of the rebels who girdled us
Death at the glimpse of a finger from over the breadth of a
Death from the heights of the mosque and the palace, and death in
the ground!
Mine? Yes, a mine. Countermine! down, down! and creep thro' the
Keep the revolver in hand! you can hear him--the murderous mole!
Quiet, ah! quiet--wait till the point of the pick-ax be thro'!
Click with the pick coming nearer and nearer again than before--
Now let it speak, and you fire, and the dark pioneer is no more;
And ever upon our topmost roof our banner of England blew.


Aye, but the foe sprung his mine many times, and it chanced on a
Soon as the blast of that underground thunder-clap echoed away,
Dark thro' the smoke and the sulphur, like so many fiends in
their hell,
Cannon-shot, musket-shot, volley on volley, and yell upon yell--
Fiercely on all the defenses our myriad enemy fell.
What have they done? Where is it? Out yonder, guard the Redan!
Storm at the water-gate! storm at the Bailey-gate! storm! and it
Surging and swaying all round us, as ocean on every side
Plunges and heaves at a bank that is daily drowned by the tide--
So many thousands, that if they be bold enough, who shall escape?
Kill or be killed, live or die, they shall know we are soldiers
and men!
Ready! take aim at their leaders--their masses are gapped with
our grape--
Backward they reel like the wave, like the wave flinging forward
Flying and foiled at the last by the handful they could not
And ever upon our topmost roof our banner of England blew.


Handful of men as we were, we were English in heart and in limb,
Strong with the strength of the race, to command, to obey, to
Each of us fought as if hope for the garrison hung but on him;
Still, could we watch at all points? We were every day fewer and
There was a whisper among us, but only a whisper that passed:
"Children and wives--if the tigers leap into the fold unawares-
Every man die at his post-and the foe may outlive us at last--
Better to fall by the hands that they love, than to fall into
Roar upon roar in a moment, two mines by the enemy sprung,
Clove into perilous chasms our walls and our poor palisades,
Rifleman, true is your heart, but be sure that your hand be as
Sharp is the fire of assault, better aimed are your flank
Twice do we hurl them to earth from the ladders to which they had
Twice from the ditch where they shelter, we drive them with hand-
And ever upon our topmost roof our banner of England blew.


Then on another wild morning, another wild earthquake out-tore,
Clean from our lines of defense ten or twelve good paces or more.
Rifleman high on the roof, hidden there from the light of the
One has leapt upon the breach crying out, "Follow me, follow me!"
Mark him-he falls! then another, and down goes he.
Had they been bold enough then, who can tell but the traitors had
Boardings and rafters and doors! an embrasure! make way for the
Now double-charge it with grape! it is charged and we fire and
they run.
Praise to our Indian brothers, and let the dark face have his
Thanks to the kindly dark faces who fought with us, faithful and
Fought with the bravest among us, and drove them, and smote them
and slew,
That ever upon our topmost roof our banner in India blew.


Men will forget what we suffer, and not what we do; we can fight!
But to be soldier all day, and be sentinel all thro' the night--
Ever the mine and assault, our sallies, their lying alarms,
Bugles and drums in the darkness, and shoutings and soundings to
Ever the labor of fifty that had to be done by five;
Ever the marvel among us that one should be left alive;
Ever the day with its traitorous death from the loopholes around;
Ever the night with its coffinless corpse to be laid in the
Heat like the mouth of a hell, or a deluge of cataract skies,
Stench of old offal decaying, and infinite torment of flies,
Thoughts of the breezes of May blowing over an English field,
Cholera, scurvy, and fever, the wound that would not be healed;
Lopping away of the limb by the pitiful, pitiless knife--
Torture and trouble in vain-for it never could save us a life.
Valor of delicate women who tended the hospital bed;
Horror of women in travail among the dying and dead;
Grief for our perishing children, and never a moment for grief,
Toil and ineffable weariness, faltering hopes of relief;
Havelock baffled, or beaten, or butchered for all that we knew--
Then day and night, day and night coming down on the still
shatter'd walls
Millions of musket-bullets and thousands of cannon-balls;
But ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.


Hark, cannonade, fusillade! Is it true what was told by the
Outram and Havelock breaking their way thro' the fell mutineers?
Surely the pibroch of Europe is ringing again in our ears!
All on a sudden the garrison utter a jubilant shout,
Havelock's glorious Highlanders answer with conquering cheers,
Sick from the hospital echo them, women and children come out,
Blessing the wholesome white faces of Havelock's good fusileers,
Kissing the war-hardened hand of the Highlander, wet with their
Dance to the pibroch! Saved! We are saved! Is it you? Is it you?
Saved by the valor of Havelock; saved by the blessing of heaven!
"Hold it for fifteen days!" We have held it for eighty-seven!
And ever aloft on the palace roof the old banner of England blew.


[In a letter to the London Times Mr. W. H. Russell, the war
correspondent, described the charge of the Light Brigade at
Balaklava, one of the most notable incidents of the Crimean War.]

Supposing the spectator, then, to take his stand on one of the
heights forming the rear of our camp before Sebastopol, he would
have seen the town of Balaklava, with its scanty shipping, its
narrow strip of water, and its old forts, on his right hand;
immediately below he would have beheld the valley and plain of
coarse meadowland, occupied by our cavalry tents, and stretching
from the base of the ridge on which he stood to the foot of the
formidable heights at the other side; he would have seen the
French trenches lined with zouaves a few feet beneath, and
distant from him, on the slope of the hill; a Turkish redoubt
lower down, then another in the valley, then, in a line with it,
some angular earthworks; then, in succession, the other two
redoubts up to Canrobert's Hill.

At the distance of two and a half miles across the valley is an
abrupt rocky mountain range of most irregular and picturesque
formation, covered with scanty brushwood here and there, or
rising into barren pinnacles and plateaux of rock. In outline and
appearance this portion of the landscape was wonderfully like the
Trosachs. A patch of blue sea was caught in between the
overhanging cliffs of Balaklava as they closed in the entrance to
the harbor on the right. The camp of the marines, pitched on the
hillsides more than ten hundred feet above the level of the sea,
was opposite to the spectator as his back was turned to
Sebastopol and his right side towards Balaklava.....

Soon after occurred the glorious catastrophe which filled us all
with sorrow. It appeared that the Quartermaster-General,
Brigadier Airey, thinking that the light cavalry had not gone far
enough in front when the enemy's horse had fled, gave an order in
writing to Captain Nolan, Fifteenth Hussars, to take to Lord
Lucan, directing his lordship "to advance" his cavalry nearer to
the enemy. A braver soldier than Captain Nolan the army did not
possess.....I had the pleasure of his acquaintance, and I know he
entertained the most exalted opinions respecting the capabilities
of the English horse soldier. Properly led, the British hussar
and dragoon could, in his mind, break square, take batteries,
ride over columns of infantry, and pierce any other cavalry in
the world as if they were made of straw. He thought they had not
had the opportunity of doing all that was in their power, and
that they missed even such chances as had been offered to them--
that, in fact, they were in some measure disgraced. A matchless
horseman and a first-rate swordsman, he held in contempt, I am
afraid, even grape and canister. He rode off with his orders to
Lord Lucan.

.... When Lord Lucan received the order from Captain Nolan, and
had read it, he asked, we are told, "Where are we to advance to?"
Captain Nolan pointed with his finger to the line of the
Russians, and said, "There are the enemy, and there are the
guns," or words to that effect, according to the statements made
after his death.

It must be premised that Lord Raglan had in the morning only
ordered Lord Lucan to move from the position he had taken near
the center redoubt to "the left of the second line of redoubts
occupied by the Turks." Seeing that the ninety-third and invalids
were cut off from the aid of the cavalry, Lord Raglan sent
another order to Lord Lucan to send his heavy horse towards
Balaklava, and that officer was executing it just as the Russian
horse came over the bridge. The heavy cavalry charge took place,
and afterwards the men dismounted on the scene of it. After an
interval of half an hour, Lord Raglan again sent an order to Lord
Lucan: "Cavalry to advance and take advantage of any opportunity
to recover the heights. They will be supported by infantry, which
has been ordered to advance upon two fronts." Lord Raglan's
reading of this order is, that the infantry had been ordered to
advance on two fronts; but no such interpretation is borne out by
the wording of the order. It does not appear either that the
infantry had received orders to advance, for the Duke of
Cambridge and Sir G. Cathcart state that they were not in receipt
of such instruction. Lord Lucan advanced his cavalry to the
ridge, close to No. 5 redoubt, and while there received from
Captain Nolan an order which is, verbatim, as follows: "Lord
Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow
the enemy, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns;
troops of horse artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on
your left. Immediate."

Lord Lucan with reluctance--gave the order to Lord Cardigan to
advance upon the guns, conceiving that his orders compelled him
to do so.....It is a maxim of war that "cavalry never act without
a support," that "infantry should be close at hand when cavalry
carry guns, as the effect is only instantaneous," and that it is
necessary to have on the flank of a line of cavalry some
squadrons in column, the attack on the flank being most
dangerous. The only support our light cavalry had was the reserve
of heavy cavalry at a great distance behind them, the infantry
and guns being far in the rear. There were no squadrons in column
at all, and there was a plain to charge over, before the enemy's
guns could be reached, of a mile and a half in length.

At ten minutes past eleven our light cavalry brigade advanced.
The whole brigade scarcely made one effective regiment, according
to the numbers of continental armies; and yet it was more than we
could spare. As they rushed towards the front, the Russians
opened on them from the guns in the redoubt on the right, with
volleys of musketry and rifles. They swept proudly past,
glittering in the morning sun in all the pride and splendor of
war. We could scarcely believe our senses! Surely that handful of
men were not going to charge an army in position? .... They
advanced in two lines, quickening their pace as they closed
towards the enemy. A more fearful spectacle was never witnessed
by those who, without power to aid, beheld their heroic
countrymen rushing to the arms of death. At the distance of
twelve hundred yards, the whole line of the enemy belched forth,
from thirty iron mouths, a flood of smoke and flame, through
which hissed the deadly balls. Their flight was marked by instant
gaps in our ranks, by dead men and horses, by steeds flying
wounded or riderless across the plain. The first line was broken-
-it was joined by the second, they never halted or checked their
speed an instant. With diminished ranks, thinned by those thirty
guns, which the Russians had laid with the most deadly accuracy,
with a halo of flashing steel above their heads, and with a cheer
which was many a noble fellow's death-cry, they flew into the
smoke of the batteries; but ere they were lost to view, the plain
was strewed with their bodies and with the carcasses of horses.
They were exposed to an oblique fire from the batteries on the
hills on both sides, as well as to the direct fire of musketry.

Through the clouds of smoke we could see their sabres flashing as
they rode up to the guns and dashed between them, cutting down
the gunners as they stood. We saw them riding through the guns,
as I have said; to our delight we saw them returning, after
breaking through a column of Russian infantry, and scattering
them like chaff, when the flank fire of the battery on the hill
swept them down. Wounded men and dismounted troopers flying
towards us told the sad tale--demi-gods could not have done what
they had failed to do. At the very moment when they were about to
retreat a regiment of lancers was hurled upon their flank.
Colonel Shewell, of the Eighth Hussars, whose attention was drawn
to them by Lieutenant Phillips, saw the danger, and rode his few
men straight at them, cutting his way through with fearful
loss..... It was as much as our heavy cavalry brigade could do to
cover the retreat of the miserable remnants of that band of
heroes as they returned to the place they had so lately quitted
in all the pride of life. At thirty-five minutes past eleven not
a British soldier, except the dead and dying, was left in front
of these bloody Muscovite guns.



[In 1886, Mr. Gladstone, being then in his seventy-seventh year,
brought in his first bill for Irish Home Rule. The wonderful
series of speeches in its behalf was closed by one of great power
on the night of June 7th. It was already clear that the
secessions from the Liberal ranks would prevent the passage of
the bill to its second reading. Just before the division the
Prime Minister spoke. The extract given below reproduces his
final appeal.]


This is the earliest moment in our parliamentary history when we
have the voice of Ireland authentically expressed in our hearing.
Majorities of Home Rulers there may have been upon other
occasions; a practical majority of Irish members never has been
brought together for such a purpose. Now, first, we can
understand her; now, first, we are able to deal with her; we are
able to learn authentically what she wants and wishes, what she
offers and will do; and as we ourselves enter into the strongest
moral and honorable obligations by the steps which we take in
this House, so we have before us practically an Ireland under the
representative system able to give us equally authentic
information, able morally to convey to us an assurance the breach
and rupture of which would cover Ireland with disgrace.....What
is the case of Ireland at this moment? Have honorable gentlemen
considered that they are coming into conflict with a nation? Can
anything stop a nation's demand, except its being proved to be
immoderate and unsafe? But here are multitudes, and I believe
millions upon millions, out-of-doors, who feel this demand to be
neither immoderate nor unsafe. In our opinion, there is but one
question before us about this demand. It is as to the time and
circumstance of granting it. There is no question in our minds
that it will be granted. We wish it to be granted in the mode
prescribed by Mr. Burke. Mr. Burke said, in his first speech at

"I was true to my old-standing, invariable principle, that all
things which came from Great Britain should issue as a gift of
her bounty and beneficence, rather than as claims recovered
against struggling litigants, or at least if your beneficence
obtained no credit in your concessions, yet that they should
appear the salutary provisions of your wisdom and foresight--not
as things wrung from you with your blood by the cruel gripe of a
rigid necessity."

The difference between giving with freedom and dignity on the one
side, with acknowledgment and gratitude on the other, and giving
under compulsion, giving with disgrace, giving with resentment
dogging you at every step of your path, this difference is, in
our eyes, fundamental, and this is the main reason not only why
we have acted, but why we have acted now. This, if I understand
it, is one of the golden moments of our history--one of those
opportunities which may come and may go, but which rarely return,
or, if they return, return at long intervals, and under
circumstances which no man can forecast.

There have been such golden moments even in the tragic history of
Ireland, as her poet says--

"One time the harp of Innisfail
Was tuned to notes of gladness."

And then he goes on to say--

" But yet did oftener tell a tale
Of more prevailing sadness."

But there was such a golden moment--it was in 1795--it was on the
mission of Lord Fitzwilliam. At that moment it is historically
clear that the Parliament of Grattan was on the point of solving
the Irish problem. The two great knots of that problem were, in
the first place, Roman Catholic emancipation; and in the second
place, the Reform of Parliament. The cup was at her lips, and she
was ready to drink it, when the hand of England rudely and
ruthlessly dashed it to the ground in obedience to the wild and
dangerous intimations of an Irish faction.

"Ex illo fluere ac retro sublapsa referri,
Spes Danaum."

There has been no great day of hope for Ireland, no day when you
might hope completely and definitely to end the controversy, till
now--more than ninety years. The long periodic time has at last
run out, and the star has again mounted into the heavens. What
Ireland was doing for herself in 1795 we at length have done. The
Roman Catholics have been emancipated--emancipated after a woeful
disregard of solemn promises through twenty-nine years,
emancipated slowly, sullenly, not from good will, but from abject
terror, with all the fruits and consequences which will always
follow that method of legislation. The second problem has been
also solved, and the representation of Ireland has been
thoroughly reformed; and I am thankful to say that the franchise
was given to Ireland on the readjustment of last year with a free
heart, with an open hand, and the gift of that franchise was the
last act required to make the success of Ireland in her final
effort absolutely sure. We have given Ireland a voice; we must
all listen for a moment to what she says. We must all listen--
both sides, both parties, I mean as they are, divided on this
question--divided, I am afraid, by an almost immeasurable gap. We
do not undervalue or despise the forces opposed to us. I have
described them as the forces of class and its dependents; and
that as a general description--as a slight and rude outline of a
description--is, I believe, perfectly true. I do not deny that
many are against us whom we should have expected to be for us. I
do not deny that some whom we see against us have caused us by
their conscientious action the bitterest disappointment. You have
power, you have wealth, you have rank, you have station, you have
organization. What have we? We think that we have the people's
heart; we believe and we know we have the promise of the harvest
of the future. As to the people's heart, you may dispute it, and
dispute it with perfect sincerity. Let that matter make its own
proof. As to the harvest of the future, I doubt if you have so
much confidence, and I believe that there is in the breast of
many a man who means to vote against us to-night a profound
misgiving approaching even to a deep conviction that the end will
be as we foresee, and not as you do--that the ebbing tide is with
you and the flowing tide is with us. Ireland stands at your bar
expectant, hopeful, almost suppliant. Her words are the words of
truth and soberness. She asks a blessed oblivion of the past, and
in that oblivion our interest is deeper than even hers. My right
honorable friend, the member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Goschen)
asks us to-night to abide by the traditions of which we are the
heirs. What traditions? By the Irish traditions? Go into the
length and breadth of the world, ransack the literature of all
countries, find, if you can, a single voice, a single book, find,
I would almost say, as much as a single newspaper article, unless
the product of the day, in which the conduct of England towards
Ireland is anywhere treated except with profound and bitter
condemnation. Are these the traditions by which we are exhorted
to stand? No; they are a sad exception to the glory of our
country. They are a broad and black blot upon the pages of its
history; and what we want to do is to stand by the traditions of
which we are the heirs in all matters except our relations with
Ireland, and to make our relations with Ireland to conform to the
other traditions of our country. So we treat our traditions--so
we hail the demand of Ireland for what I call a blessed oblivion
of the past. She asks also a boon for the future; and that boon
for the future, unless we are much mistaken, will be a boon to us
in respect of honor, no less than a boon to her in respect of
happiness, prosperity, and peace. Such, sir, is her prayer.
Think, I beseech you, think well, think wisely, think not for the
moment, but for the years that are to come, before you reject
this bill.


[From the abundance of poetry which has been inspired by the
Irish Nationalist cause, the two following poems have been
selected as characteristic. The first, by Michael Scanlan, has
been called the Marseillaise of the Fenian movement. The second
is by Fanny Parnell.]


See who come over the red-blossomed heather,
Their green banners kissing the pure mountain air,
Heads erect, eyes to front, stepping proudly together,
Sure freedom sits throned in each proud spirit there!
Down the hills twining,
Their blessed steel shining
Like rivers of beauty they flow from each glen,
From mountain and valley, 'tis liberty's rally
Out, and make way for the Fenian Men!

Our prayers and our tears have been scoffed and derided,
They've shut out God's sunlight from spirit and mind;
Our foes were united and we were divided,
We met, and they scattered us all to the wind;
But once more returning,
Within our veins burning
The fires that illumined dark Aherlou glen,
We raise the old cry anew,
Slogan of Con and Hugh,
Out, and make way for the Fenian Men!

We have men from the Nore, from the Suir, and the Shannon;
Let the tyrants come forth, we'll bring force against force;
Our pen is the sword and our voice is the cannon,
Rifle for rifle, horse against horse.
We've made the false Saxon yield
Many a red battle-field,
God on our side we will do so again;
Pay them back woe for woe,
Give them back blow for blow,
Out, and make way for the Fenian Men!

Side by side for this cause have our forefathers battled
When our hills never echoed the tread of a slave;
On many green fields, where the leaden hail rattled
Thro' the red gap of glory they marched to the grave,
And we who inherit
Their names and their spirit
Will march 'neath our banner of liberty;
then All who love Saxon law
Native or Sassenah
Out, and make way for the Fenian Men!

Up for the cause, then, fling forth our green banners,
From the east to the west, from the south to the north--
Irish land, Irish men, Irish mirth, Irish manners--
From the mansion and cot let the slogan go forth;
Sons of old Ireland now,
Love you our sireland now?
Come from the kirk, or the chapel, or glen;
Down with all faction old;
Concert and action bold,
This is the creed of the Fenian Men!


Shall mine eyes behold thy glory, O my country,
Shall mine eyes behold thy glory?
Or shall the darkness close around them ere the sun blaze
Break at last upon thy story?

When the nations ope for thee their queenly circle,
As a sweet new sister hail thee,
Shall these lips be sealed in callous death and silence
That have known but to bewail thee?

Shall the ear be deaf that only loved thy praises
When all men their tribute bring thee?
Shall the mouth be clay that sang thee in thy squalor
When all poet's mouths shall sing thee?

Ah, the harpings and the salvos and the shoutings
Of thy exiled sons returning!
I should hear though dead and moldered, and the grave-damps
Should not chill my bosom's burning.

Ah, the tramp of feet victorious! I should hear them
'Mid the shamrocks and the mosses,
And my heart should toll within the shroud and quarter
As a captive dreamer tosses.

I should turn and rend the cere-clothes round me,
Giant sinews I should borrow,
Crying, "Oh, my brothers, I have also loved her,
In her loneliness and sorrow.

"Let me join with you the jubilant procession,
Let me chant with you her story;
Then contented I shall go back to the shamrocks
Now mine eyes have seen her glory."



[The speech which most endeared Disraeli to the Tories was
delivered in the House of Commons January 22,1846. Peel had just
declared his conversion to free trade and his intention to repeal
the Corn Law duties, when Disraeli rose and in behalf of the
unconverted Tory protectionists poured his fire into the face of
the Prime Minister.]

Sir, I rise with some feeling of embarrassment to address the
House at this stage of the debate, as it is only since I have
entered the House that I have had the advantage of reading her
Majesty's speech; and I had understood that the great question
which now agitates the country was not to be discussed on the
present occasion.....I should have abstained from intruding
myself on the House at the present moment, had it not been for
the peculiar tone of the right honorable gentleman (Sir Robert
Peel). I think that tone ought not to pass unnoticed. At the same
time I do not wish to conceal my opinions on the general subject.
I am not one of the converts. I am, perhaps, a member of a fallen
party. To the opinions which I have expressed in this House in
favor of protection I adhere. They sent me to this House, and if
I had relinquished them, I should have relinquished my seat also.
I must say that the tone of the right honorable gentleman is
hardly fair towards the House, while he stops discussion upon a
subject on which he himself has entered and given vent to his
feelings with a fervency unusual to him. Sir, I admire a minister
who says he holds power to give effect to his own convictions.
These are sentiments that we must all applaud. Unfortunate will
be the position of this country when a minister pursues a line of
policy adverse to the convictions which he himself entertains.
But when we come to a question of such high delicacy as the
present, we may be permitted to ask ourselves what are the
circumstances which require one so able, and one so eminent, to
enter upon the vindication of himself, and to rise in this House,
amid the cheers of his former opponents, to place himself in a
position of an apologetical character to those who were once of
his own party? I have no doubt that the right honorable gentleman
has arrived at a conscientious conclusion on this great subject.
The right honorable gentleman says that it is not so much by
force of argument as by the cogency of observation that he has
arrived at this conclusion. But, sir, surely the observation
which the right honorable gentleman has made might have been made
when he filled a post scarcely less considerable than that which
he now occupies, and enjoyed power scarcely less ample than that
which he now wields in this House. I want to know how it is that
the right honorable gentleman, who certainly enjoys the full
maturity of manhood, should not have arrived at this opinion,
which I deplore, although conscientious, at the moment when his
present government was formed! What, sir, are we to think of the
eminent statesman who, having served under four sovereigns;
unable to complain of want of experience or royal confidence;
who, having been called on to steer the ship on so many
occasions, and under such perilous circumstances, has only during
the last three years found it necessary entirely to change his
convictions on that important topic which must have presented
itself for more than a quarter of a century to his consideration?

Sir, I must say that such a minister may be conscientious, but
that he is unfortunate. I will say, also, that he ought to be the
last man in the world to turn round and upbraid his party in a
tone of menace. Sir, there is a difficulty in finding a parallel
to the position of the right honorable gentleman in any part of
history. The only parallel which I can find is an incident in the
late war in the Levant.....I remember when that great struggle
was taking place, when the existence of the Turkish empire was at
stake, the late Sultan, a man of great energy and fertile in
resources, was determined to fit out an immense fleet to maintain
his empire. Accordingly a vast armament was collected. It
consisted of some of the finest ships that were ever built. The
crews were picked men, the officers were the ablest that could be
found, and both officers and men were rewarded before they
fought. There never was an armament which left the Dardanelles
similarly appointed since the days of Solyman the Great. The
Sultan personally witnessed the departure of the fleet; all the
muftis prayed for the success of the expedition, as all the
muftis here prayed for the success of the last general election.
Away went the fleet, but what was the Sultan's consternation when
the Lord High Admiral steered at once into the enemy's port! Now,
sir, the Lord High Admiral on that occasion was very much
misrepresented. He, too, was called a traitor, and he, too,
vindicated himself. "True it is," said he, "I did place myself at
the head of this valiant armada; true it is that my sovereign
embraced me; true it is that all the muftis in the empire offered
up prayers for my success; but I have an objection to war. I see
no use in prolonging the struggle, and the only reason I had for
accepting the command was that I might terminate the contest by
betraying my master." ....

Well, now, the right honorable gentleman has turned round on us,
and in a peroration, the elaborate character of which remarkably
contrasted with the garrulous confidence of all the doings of his
cabinet, the right honorable gentleman told us that he had been
assured that a certain power had made him minister, and that a
certain power would prevent him from being a minister; but that
he protested against such an authority, and that he never would
hold office by so servile a tenure. Sir, no one can fill a
position such as that of the right honorable gentleman and give
utterance to sentiments so magnanimous as his without reference
to antecedents. And that leads us to the consideration of that
government by parties, which must never be lost sight of in
estimating the position of the right honorable gentleman. It is
all very well for the right honorable gentleman to say, "I am the
First Minister"--and by the by, I think the right honorable
gentleman might as well adopt the phraseology of Walpole, and
call himself the sole minister, for his speech was rich in
egoistic rhetoric--it is all very well for him to speak of
himself as the sole minister, for as all his cabinet voted
against him, he is quite right not to notice them. I repeat, it
is all very well for the right honorable gentleman to come
forward to this table and say, "I am thinking of posterity,
although certainly I am doing on this side of the table the
contrary to that which I counseled when I stood upon the other;
but my sentiments are magnanimous, my aim is heroic, and
appealing to posterity, I care neither for your cheers nor your

But, sir, we must ask ourselves, as members of the House of
Commons, as the subjects of a popular government--we must ask
ourselves, what were the means, what the machinery, by which the
right honorable gentleman acquired his position, how he obtained
power to turn round upon his supporters, and to treat them with
contempt and disdain? Sir, the right honorable gentleman has
supported a different policy for a number of years. Well do we
remember on this side of the House--perhaps not without a blush--
well do we remember the efforts which we made to raise him to the
bench on which he now sits. Who does not remember the "sacred
cause of protection," the cause for which sovereigns were
thwarted, Parliaments dissolved, and a nation taken in?
Delightful, indeed, to have the right honorable gentleman
entering into all his confidential details, when, to use his
courtly language, he "called" upon his sovereign. Sir, he called
on his sovereign; but would his sovereign have called on the
right honorable baronet, if, in 1841, he had not placed himself,
as he said, at the head of the gentlemen of England--that well-
known position, to be preferred even to the confidence of
sovereigns and courts? It is all very well for the right
honorable baronet to take this high-flying course, but I think
myself, I say it with great respect for gentlemen on this side of
the House, and gentlemen on the other; I say it without any wish
to achieve a party triumph, for I believe I belong to a party
which can triumph no more, for we have nothing left on our side
except the constituencies which we have betrayed; but I do say my
conception of a great statesman is of one who represents a great
idea--an idea which may lead him to power; an idea with which he
may identify himself; an idea which he may develop; an idea which
he may and can impress on the mind and conscience of a nation.
That, sir, is my notion of what makes a man a great statesman. I
do not care whether he be a manufacturer or a manufacturer's son.
That is a grand, that is indeed an heroic, position. But I care
not what may be the position of a man who never originates an
idea--a watcher of the atmosphere, a man who, as he says, takes
his observations, and when he finds the wind in a certain
quarter, trims to suit it. Such a person may be a powerful
minister, but he is no more a great statesman than the man who
gets up behind a carriage is a great whip. Both are disciples of
progress; both perhaps may get a good place. But how far the
original momentum is indebted to their powers, and how far their
guiding prudence regulates the lash or the rein, it is not
necessary for me to notice.


[Rudyard Kipling's long poem "A Song of the English," and the
shorter, "White Man's Burden," may be read in connection with
this topic; but nothing better asserts the imperial idea than the
lines written by Tennyson at the request of the Prince of Wales
(Edward VII.) for the opening of the Indian and Colonial
Exhibition in 1886.]


Welcome, welcome with one voice!
In your welfare we rejoice,
Sons and brothers that have sent,
From isle and cape and continent,
Produce of your field and flood,
Mount and mine and primal wood;
Works of subtle brain and hand,
And splendors of the morning land,
Gifts from every British zone;
Britons, hold your own!


May we find, as ages run,
The mother featured in the son;
And may yours forever be
That old strength and constancy
Which has made your fathers great
In our ancient island state;
And wherever her flag fly,
Glorying between sea and sky,
Makes the might of Britain known,
Britons, hold your own!


Britain fought her sons of yore--
Britain failed; and nevermore,
Careless of our growing kin,
Shall we sin our fathers' sin;
Men that in a narrower day--
Unprophetic rulers they--
Drove from out the mother's nest
That young eagle of the West
To forage for herself alone;
Britons, hold your own!


Sharers of our glorious past,
Brothers, must we part at last?
Shall we not thro' good and ill
Cleave to one another still?
Britain's myriad voices call,
"Sons, be welded, each and all,
Into one imperial whole,
One with Britain, heart and soul!
One life, one flag, one fleet, one throne;
Britons, hold your own!

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Ten Englishmen of the Nineteenth Century" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.