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Title: Commercial Politics - 1837-1856
Author: Gretton, Richard Henry
Language: English
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                          COMMERCIAL POLITICS


                             R. H. GRETTON



                         G. BELL AND SONS, LTD.


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which he shall exercise his craft, but simply to provide him and his
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enable the pupil to take a more active part than hitherto in the
history lesson. Here is the apparatus, the raw material: its use we
leave to teacher and taught.

Our belief is that the books may profitably be used by all grades
of historical students between the standards of fourth-form boys
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                                                              R. H. G.


        INTRODUCTION                                                   v


  1837. ACCESSION OF QUEEN VICTORIA       _Sybil_                      1
        AFFAIRS IN CANADA                 _Report by Lord Durham_      3

            I. RURAL DISTRICTS            _Sybil_                      8
           II. MINING DISTRICTS           _Sybil_                     10
          III. FACTORY TOWNS              _Sybil, Coningsby_          12
        IRELAND AND HER LANDLORDS         _Life of Thos. Drummond_    16

            SELF-GOVERNMENT               _Report by Lord Durham_     20
        THE BEDCHAMBER PLOT               _Queen Victoria’s Letters_
                                            _and The Croker Papers_   26
  1840. THE QUEEN’S MARRIAGE              _Greville Memoirs_          29

  1842. THE CHARTIST PETITION             _Hansard_                   31
        THE RAILWAY BOOM                  _Endymion_                  38
            MANUFACTURERS                 _Hansard_                   42
            CHURCH                        _Hansard_                   46

  1843. A CHARTIST IN PRISON              _Life of Thomas Cooper_     49
        A CHARTIST HYMN                   _Life of Thomas Cooper_     50

  1844. FORETASTES OF DARWINISM           _Tancred_                   51
        THE OPENING OF MAZZINI’S LETTERS  _Hansard_                   53

  1845. AGRICULTURE AND FREE TRADE        _Hansard_                   55
        PEEL’S CHANGE OF VIEWS            _Peel’s Memoirs_            60
        LORD J. RUSSELL QUICKENS THE PACE _Peel’s Memoirs_            65
        THE BOMBSHELL                     _Greville Memoirs_          68
        PEEL AND HIS COLLEAGUES           _Queen Victoria’s Letters_  68

  1846. FREE TRADE                        _Hansard_                   70
        PEEL’S DEFENCE OF HIS METHOD      _Peel’s Memoirs_            77
        IRELAND: THE MOLLY MAGUIRES       _Peel’s Memoirs_            80

          REVOLUTION                      _Life of Palmerston_        81

  1849. CONQUEST OF THE PUNJAB            _Queen Victoria’s Letters_  84

  1850. CHARACTER OF SIR ROBERT PEEL      _Greville Memoirs_          85
        DON PACIFICO                      _Hansard_                   87
        THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPRICS     _Life of Palmerston_        91
        THE HAYNAU AFFAIR                 _Life of Palmerston_        92

  1851. PALMERSTON AND KOSSUTH            _Life of Palmerston_        93
        THE GREAT EXHIBITION              _Life of Prince Consort_    94
        PALMERSTON AND THE COUP D’ÉTAT    _Life of Palmerston_        96

  1853. RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA             _Life of Lord J. Russell_   99

  1854. THE QUAKER DEPUTATION TO THE TSAR _Memoirs of Joseph Sturge_ 102
        HORRORS OF THE CRIMEAN HOSPITALS  _The Times_                105
        THE CRISIS AT THE ALMA            _The Times_                107
        THE MORNING OF INKERMANN          _The Times_                110

            SEBASTOPOL                    _The Times_                111
        THE ANGEL OF DEATH                _Hansard_                  114
        WHY PEACE NEGOTIATIONS FAILED     _Life of Lord J. Russell_  118

                          COMMERCIAL POLITICS


                  ACCESSION OF QUEEN VICTORIA (1837).

        =Source.=—Lord Beaconsfield’s _Sybil_, bk. i., chap. vi.

Hark! It tolls! All is over. The great bell of the metropolitan
cathedral announces the death of the last son of George the Third who
probably will ever reign in England. He was a good man: with feelings
and sympathies; deficient in culture rather than ability; with a sense
of duty; and with something of the conception of what should be the
character of an English monarch. Peace to his manes! We are summoned to
a different scene.

In a palace in a garden—not in a haughty keep, proud with the fame,
but dark with the violence of ages; not in a regal pile, bright with
the splendour, but soiled with the intrigues of courts and factions—in
a palace in a garden, meet scene for youth, and innocence, and
beauty—came a voice that told the maiden that she must ascend her

The Council of England is summoned for the first time within her
bowers. There are assembled the prelates and captains and chief men of
her realm; the priests of the religion that consoles, the heroes of the
sword that has conquered, the votaries of the craft that has decided
the fate of empires; men grey with thought, and fame, and age; who are
the stewards of divine mysteries, who have toiled in secret cabinets,
who have encountered in battle the hosts of Europe, who have struggled
in the less merciful strife of aspiring senates; men too, some of them,
lords of a thousand vassals and chief proprietors of provinces, yet not
one of them whose heart does not at this moment tremble as he awaits
the first presence of the maiden who must now ascend her throne.

A hum of half-suppressed conversation which would attempt to conceal
the excitement, which some of the greatest of them have since
acknowledged, fills that brilliant assemblage; that sea of plumes, and
glittering stars, and gorgeous dresses. Hush! The portals open. She
comes. The silence is as deep as that of a noontide forest. Attended
for a moment by her royal mother and the ladies of her court, who bow
and then retire, VICTORIA ascends her throne; a girl, alone,
and for the first time, amid an assemblage of men.

In a sweet and thrilling voice, and with a composed mien which
indicates rather the absorbing sense of august duty than an absence
of emotion, THE QUEEN announces her accession to the throne of her
ancestors, and the humble hope that divine Providence will guard over
the fulfilment of her lofty trust.

The prelates and captains and chief men of her realm then advance to
the throne, and, kneeling before her, pledge their troth, and take the
sacred oaths of allegiance and supremacy.

Allegiance to one who rules over the land that the great Macedonian
could not conquer; and over a continent of which even Columbus never
dreamed: to the Queen of every sea, and of nations in every zone.

It is not of these that I would speak; but of a nation nearer her
footstool, which at this moment looks to her with anxiety, with
affection, perhaps with hope. Fair and serene, she has the blood and
beauty of the Saxon. Will it be her proud destiny at length to bear
relief to suffering millions, and, with that soft hand which might
inspire troubadours and guerdon knights, break the last links in the
chain of Saxon thraldom?

                       AFFAIRS IN CANADA (1837).

      =Source.=—_Report on the Affairs of British North America._
        By Lord Durham. Printed for the House of Commons, 1839.

The lengthened and various discussions which had for some years been
carried on between the contending parties in the Colony, and the
representations which had been circulated at home, had produced in
mine, as in most minds in England, a very erroneous view of the parties
at issue in Lower Canada. The quarrel which I was sent to heal had been
a quarrel between the executive government and the popular branch of
the legislature. The latter body had, apparently, been contending for
popular rights and free government. The executive government had been
defending the prerogative of the Crown and the institutions which, in
accordance with the principles of the British Constitution, had been
established as checks on the unbridled exercise of popular power.... I
expected to find a contest between a government and a people. I found
two nations warring in the bosom of a single state; I found a struggle,
not of principles, but of races; and I perceived that it would be idle
to attempt any amelioration of laws or institutions until we could
first succeed in terminating the deadly animosity that now separates
the inhabitants of Lower Canada into the hostile divisions of French
and English.... To conceive the incompatibility of the two races in
Canada it is not enough that we should picture to ourselves a community
composed of equal proportions of French and English. We must bear in
mind what kind of French and English they are that are brought in
contact, and in what proportions they meet.

The institutions of France during the period of the colonisation of
Canada were, perhaps, more than those of any other nation, calculated
to repress the intelligence and freedom of the great mass of the
people. These institutions followed the Canadian colonist across the
Atlantic. The same central, ill-organised, unimproving, and repressive
despotism extended over him. Not merely was he allowed no voice in the
government of his province or the choice of his rulers, but he was not
even permitted to associate with his neighbours for the regulation of
those municipal affairs which the central authority neglected under
the pretext of managing. He obtained his land on a tenure singularly
calculated to promote his immediate comfort and to check his desire to
better his condition; he was placed at once in a life of constant and
unvarying labour, of great material comfort, and feudal dependence. The
ecclesiastical authority to which he had been accustomed established
its institutions around him, and the priest continued to exercise
over him his ancient influence. No general provision was made for
education; and as its necessity was not appreciated, the colonist made
no attempt to repair the negligence of his government. It need not
surprise us that, under such circumstances, a race of men habituated
to the incessant labour of a rude and unskilled agriculture, and
habitually fond of social enjoyments, congregated together in rural
communities, occupying portions of the wholly unappropriated soil,
sufficient to provide each family with material comforts far beyond
their ancient means, or almost their conceptions; that they made little
advance beyond the first progress in comfort, which the bounty of the
soil absolutely forced upon them; that under the same institutions
they remained the same uninstructed, inactive, unprogressive people.
Along the alluvial banks of the St. Lawrence and its tributaries they
have cleared two or three strips of land, cultivated them in the
worst method of small farming, and established a series of continuous
villages, which give the country of the seignories the appearance of
a never-ending street. Besides the cities which were the seats of
government, no towns were established. The rude manufactures of the
country were, and still are, carried on in the cottage by the family
of the habitant; and an insignificant proportion of the population
derived their subsistence from the scarcely discernible commerce of
the province. The mass of the community exhibited in the New World the
characteristics of the peasantry of Europe. Society was dense; and even
the wants and the poverty which the pressure of population occasions in
the Old World became not to be wholly unknown. They clung to ancient
prejudices, ancient customs, and ancient laws, not from any strong
sense of their beneficial effects, but with the unreasoning tenacity
of an uneducated and unprogressive people. Nor were they wanting
in the virtues of a simple and industrious life, or in those which
common consent attributes to the nation from which they spring. The
temptations which, in other states of society, lead to offences against
property, and the passions which prompt to violence, were little known
amongst them. They are mild and kindly, frugal, industrious, and
honest, very sociable, cheerful, and hospitable, and distinguished
for a courtesy and real politeness, which pervades every class of
society. The conquest has changed them but little. The higher classes
and the inhabitants of the towns have adopted some English customs and
feelings, but the continued negligence of the British Government left
the mass of the people without any of the institutions which would have
elevated them in freedom and civilisation. It has left them without
the education and without the institutions of local self-government
that would have assimilated their character and habits, in the easiest
and best way, to those of the Empire of which they became a part. They
remain an old and stationary society in a new and progressive world....
The common opinion, however, that all classes of the Canadians are
equally ignorant is perfectly erroneous. The piety and benevolence
of the early possessors of the country founded in the seminaries
that exist in different parts of the province institutions of which
the funds and activity have long been directed to the promotion
of education. Seminaries and colleges have been by these bodies
established in the cities and in other central points. The education
given in these establishments greatly resembles the kind given in the
English public schools, though it is rather more varied. It is entirely
in the hands of the Catholic clergy. The number of pupils in these
establishments is estimated altogether at about a thousand, and they
turn out every year, as far as I could ascertain, between two and three
hundred young men thus educated. Almost all of these are members of the
family of some habitant.... Thus the persons of most education in every
village belong to the same families and the same station in life as the
illiterate habitants.... To this singular state of things I attribute
the extraordinary influence of the Canadian demagogues. Over the class
of persons by whom the peasantry are thus led the Government has not
acquired, or ever laboured to acquire, influence; its members have been
thrown into opposition by the system of exclusion long prevalent in
the colony, and it is by their agency that the leaders of the Assembly
have been enabled hitherto to move as one mass, in whatever direction
they thought proper, the simple and ductile population of the country.
The entire neglect of education by the Government has thus more than
any other cause contributed to render the people ungovernable, and to
invest the agitator with the power which he wields against the laws and
the public tranquillity.

Among this people the progress of emigration has of late years
introduced an English population exhibiting the characteristics with
which we are familiar as those of the most enterprising of every
class of our countrymen. The circumstances of the early colonial
administration excluded the native Canadian from power, and vested all
offices of trust and emolument in the hands of strangers of English
origin. The highest posts in the law were confided to the same class of
persons. The functionaries of the civil government, together with the
officers of the army, composed a kind of privileged class, occupying
the first place in the community, and excluding the higher class of
the natives from society, as well as from the government of their own
country. It was not till within a very few years, as was testified by
persons who had seen much of the country, that this society of civil
and military functionaries ceased to exhibit towards the higher order
of Canadians an exclusiveness of demeanour which was more revolting to
a sensitive and polite people than the monopoly of power and profit.
Nor was this national favouritism discontinued until after repeated
complaints and an angry contest, which had excited passions that
concession could not allay. The races had become enemies ere a tardy
justice was extorted; and even then the Government discovered a mode
of distributing its patronage among the Canadians which was quite as
offensive to that people as their previous exclusion:

It was not long after the conquest that another and larger class of
English settlers began to enter the province. English capital was
attracted to Canada by the vast quantity and valuable nature of the
exportable produce of the country and the great facilities for commerce
presented by the natural means of internal intercourse. The ancient
trade of the country was conducted on a much larger and more profitable
scale, and new branches of industry were explored. The active and
regular habits of the English capitalist drove out of all the more
profitable kinds of industry their inert and careless competitors
of the French race; but in respect of the greater part (almost the
whole) of the commerce and manufactures of the country the English
cannot be said to have encroached on the French, for, in fact, they
created employments and profits which had not previously existed....
The English farmer carried with him the experience and habits of the
most improved agriculture in the world. He settled himself in the
townships bordering on the seigniories, and brought a fresh soil and
improved cultivation to compete with the worn-out and slovenly farm of
the habitant. He often took the very farm which the Canadian settler
had abandoned, and by superior management made that a source of profit
which had only impoverished his predecessor. The ascendency which an
unjust favouritism had contributed to give to the English race in
the government and the legal profession, their own superior energy,
skill, and capital secured to them in every branch of industry. They
have developed the resources of the country; they have constructed or
improved its means of communication; they have created its internal
and foreign commerce. The entire wholesale and a large portion of the
retail trade of the province, with the most profitable and flourishing
farms, are now in the hands of this numerical minority of the
population.... The two races thus distinct have been brought into
the same community under circumstances which rendered their contact
inevitably productive of collision. The difference of language from the
first kept them asunder. It is not anywhere a virtue of the English
race to look with complacency on any manners, customs, or laws which
appear strange to them; accustomed to form a high estimate of their own
superiority, they take no pains to conceal from others their contempt
and intolerance of their usages. They found the French Canadians filled
with an equal amount of national pride—a sensitive but inactive pride,
which disposes that people not to resent insult, but rather to keep
aloof from those who would keep them under. The French could not but
feel the superiority of English enterprise; they could not shut their
eyes to their success in every undertaking in which they came into
contact and to the constant superiority which they were acquiring. They
looked upon their rivals with alarm, with jealousy, and finally with
hatred. The English repaid them with a scorn which soon also assumed
the same form of hatred. The French complained of the arrogance and
injustice of the English; the English accused the French of the vices
of a weak and conquered people, and charged them with meanness and

                      THE STATE OF ENGLAND (1838).

                          I. RURAL DISTRICTS.

       =Source.=—Lord Beaconsfield’s _Sybil_, bk. ii., chap. iii.

The situation of the rural town of Marney was one of the most
delightful easily to be imagined. In a spreading dale, contiguous to
the margin of a clear and lively stream, surrounded by meadows and
gardens and backed by lofty hills, undulating and richly wooded, the
traveller on the opposite heights of the dale would often stop to
admire the merry prospect, that recalled to him the traditional epithet
of his country.

Beautiful illusion! For behind that laughing landscape penury and
disease fed upon the vitals of a miserable population!

The contrast between the interior of the town and its external aspect
was as striking as it was full of pain. With the exception of the
dull high street, which had the usual characteristics of a small
agricultural market town, some sombre mansions, a dingy inn, and a
petty bourse, Marney mainly consisted of a variety of narrow and
crowded lanes formed by cottages built of rubble, or unhewn stones
without cement, and from age or badness of the material, looking as if
they could scarcely hold together. The gaping chinks admitted every
blast, the leaning chimneys had lost half their original height; the
rotten rafters were evidently misplaced; while in many instances the
thatch, yawning in some parts to admit the wind and wet, and in all
utterly unfit for its original purpose of giving protection from the
weather, looked more like the top of a dunghill than a cottage. Before
the doors of these dwellings, and often surrounding them, ran open
drains full of animal and vegetable refuse, decomposing into disease,
or sometimes in their imperfect course filling foul pits or spreading
into stagnant pools, while a concentrated solution of every species of
dissolving filth was allowed to soak through and thoroughly impregnate
the walls and ground adjoining.

These wretched tenements seldom consisted of more than two rooms, in
one of which the whole family, however numerous, were obliged to sleep,
without distinction of age, sex, or suffering.... The swarming walls
had neither windows nor doors sufficient to keep out the weather, or
admit the sun, or supply the means of ventilation; the humid and putrid
roof of thatch exhaling malaria like all other decaying vegetable
matter. The dwelling rooms were neither boarded nor paved....

This town of Marney was a metropolis of agricultural labour, for the
proprietors of the neighbourhood having for the last half century acted
on the system of destroying the cottages on their estates in order to
become exempted from the maintenance of the population, the expelled
people had flocked to Marney....

The eyes of this unhappy race might have been raised to the solitary
spire that sprang up in the midst of them, the bearer of present
consolation, the harbinger of future equality; but Holy Church at
Marney had forgotten her sacred mission. We have introduced the reader
to the vicar, an orderly man, who deemed he did his duty if he preached
each week two sermons, and enforced humility on the congregation, and
gratitude for the blessings of this life. The people of Marney took
refuge in conventicles, which abounded; little plain buildings of pale
brick, with the names painted on them of Sion, Bethel, Bethesda; names
of a distant land, and the language of a persecuted and ancient race;
yet such is the mysterious power of their divine quality, breathing
consolation in the nineteenth century to the harassed forms and the
harrowed souls of a Saxon peasantry.

But however devoted to his flock might have been the Vicar of Marney,
his exertions for their well-being, under any circumstances, must have
been mainly limited to spiritual consolation. Married and a father, he
received for his labours the small tithes of the parish, which secured
to him an income by no means equal to that of a superior banker’s
clerk, or the cook of a great loanmonger. The great tithes of Marney,
which might be counted by thousands, swelled the vast rental which was
drawn from this district by the fortunate earls that bore its name.

                         II. MINING DISTRICTS.

       =Source.=—Lord Beaconsfield’s _Sybil_, bk. iii., chap, i.

The last rays of the sun, contending with clouds of smoke that drifted
across the country, partially illumined a peculiar landscape. Far as
the eye could reach—and the region was level, except where a range of
limestone hills formed its distant limit—a wilderness of cottages, or
tenements that were hardly entitled to a higher name, were scattered
for many miles over the land; some detached, some connected in little
rows, some clustering in groups, yet rarely forming continuous streets,
but interspersed with blazing furnaces, heaps of burning coal, and
piles of smouldering ironstone; while forges and engine chimneys roared
and puffed in all directions, and indicated the frequent presence of
the mouth of the mine and the bank of the coal-pit....

They come forth; the mine delivers its gang and the pit its bondmen;
the forge is silent and the engine is still. The plain is covered
with the swarming multitude: bands of stalwart men, broad-chested and
muscular, wet with toil, and black as the children of the tropics;
troops of youth—alas! of both sexes—though neither their raiment nor
their language indicates the difference; all are clad in male attire;
and oaths that men might shudder at issue from lips born to breathe
words of sweetness. Yet these are to be—some are—the mothers of
England! But can we wonder at the hideous coarseness of their language,
when we remember the savage rudeness of their lives? Naked to the
waist, an iron chain fastened to a belt of leather runs between their
legs clad in canvas trousers, while on hands and feet an English girl,
for twelve, sometimes for sixteen, hours a day, hauls and hurries
tubs of coal up subterranean roads, dark, precipitous, and plashy:
circumstances that seem to have escaped the notice of the Society for
the Abolition of Negro Slavery. Those worthy gentlemen, too, appear
to have been singularly unconscious of the sufferings of the little
Trappers, which was remarkable, as many of them were in their own

See, too, these emerge from the bowels of the earth! Infants of four
and five years of age, many of them girls, pretty and still soft and
timid; entrusted with the fulfilment of most responsible duties,
and the nature of which entails on them the necessity of being the
earliest to enter the mine and the latest to leave it. Their labour
indeed is not severe, for that would be impossible, but it is passed
in darkness and in solitude. They endure that punishment which
philosophical philanthropy has invented for the direst criminals, and
which those criminals deem more terrible than the death for which
it is substituted. Hour after hour elapses and all that reminds the
infant Trappers of the world they have quitted and that which they
have joined, is the passage of the coal-waggons for which they open
the air-doors of the galleries, and on keeping which doors constantly
closed, except at this moment of passage, the safety of the mine and
the lives of the persons employed in it entirely depend.

                          III. FACTORY TOWNS.

     A.—=Source.=—Lord Beaconsfield’s _Sybil_, bk. iii., chap. iv.

At the beginning of the revolutionary war, Wodgate was a sort of
squatting district of the great mining region to which it was
contiguous, a place where adventurers in the industry which was rapidly
developing, settled themselves. It abounded in fuel which cost nothing,
for though the veins were not worth working as a source of profit, the
soil of Wodgate was similar in its superficial character to that of
the country around. So a population gathered, and rapidly increased,
in the ugliest spot in England, to which neither Nature nor art had
contributed a single charm; where a tree could not be seen, a flower
was unknown, where there was neither belfry nor steeple, nor a single
sight that could soften the heart or humanise the mind.

Whatever may be the cause, whether, as not unlikely, the original
squatters brought with them some traditionary skill, or whether their
isolated and unchequered existence concentrated their energies on
their craft, the fact is certain, that the inhabitants of Wodgate
early acquired a celebrity as skilful workmen. As manufacturers of
ironmongery they carry the palm from the whole district; as founders
of brass and workers of steel, they fear none; while, as nailers and
locksmiths, their fame has spread even to the European markets....

Here Labour reigns supreme. Its division indeed is favoured by their
manners, but the interference or influence of mere capital is instantly
resisted. The business of Wodgate is carried on by master workmen in
their own houses, each of whom possesses an unlimited number of what
they call apprentices, by whom their affairs are principally conducted,
and whom they treat as the Mamlouks treated the Egyptians.

These master workmen, indeed, form a powerful aristocracy, nor is it
possible to conceive one apparently more oppressive. They are ruthless
tyrants; they habitually inflict upon their subjects punishments
more grievous than the slave population of our colonies were ever
visited with; not content with beating them with sticks or flogging
them with knotted ropes, they are in the habit of felling them with
hammers, or cutting their heads open with a file or lock. The most
usual punishment, however, or rather stimulus to increase exertion, is
to pull an apprentice’s ears till they run with blood. These youths,
too, are worked for sixteen and even twenty hours a day; they are
often sold by one master to another; they are fed on carrion, and they
sleep in lofts or cellars: yet, whether it be that they are hardened
by brutality, and really unconscious of their degradation and unusual
sufferings, or whether they are supported by the belief that their day
to be masters and oppressors will surely arrive, the aristocracy of
Wodgate is by no means so unpopular as the aristocracy of most other

In the first place it is a real aristocracy; it is privileged, but it
does something for its privileges. It is distinguished from the main
body not merely by name. It is the most knowing class at Wodgate; it
possesses indeed in its way complete knowledge; and it imparts in its
manner a certain quantity of it to those whom it guides. Thus it is
an aristocracy that leads, and therefore a fact. Moreover, the social
system of Wodgate is not an unvarying course of infinite toil. Their
plan is to work hard, but not always. They seldom exceed four days
of labour in the week. On Sunday the masters begin to drink; for the
apprentices there is dog-fighting without any stint. On Monday and
Tuesday the whole population of Wodgate is drunk; of all stations,
ages, and sexes; even babes, who should be at the breast; for they are
drammed with Godfrey’s cordial. Here is relaxation, excitement; if less
vice otherwise than might be at first anticipated, we must remember
that excesses are checked by poverty of blood and constant exhaustion.
Scanty food and hard labour are in their way, if not exactly moralists,
a tolerably good police.

There are no others at Wodgate to preach or to control. It is not that
the people are immoral, for immorality implies some forethought; or
ignorant, for ignorance is relative; but they are animals; unconscious;
their minds a blank; and their worst actions only the impulse of a
gross or savage instinct. There are many in this town who are ignorant
of their very names; very few who can spell them. It is rare that you
meet with a young person who knows his own age; rarer to find the boy
who has seen a book, or the girl who has seen a flower. Ask them the
name of their sovereign, and they will give you an unmeaning stare; ask
them the name of their religion, and they will laugh: who rules them on
earth, or who can save them in heaven, are alike mysteries to them.

Wodgate had the appearance of a vast squalid suburb. As you advanced,
leaving behind you long lines of little dingy tenements, with infants
lying about the road, you expected every moment to emerge into some
streets and encounter buildings bearing some correspondence in their
size and comfort to the considerable population swarming and busied
about you. Nothing of the kind. There were no public buildings of any
sort; no churches, chapels, town-hall, institute, theatre; and the
principal streets in the heart of the town in which were situate the
coarse and grimy shops, though formed by houses of a greater elevation
than the preceding, were equally narrow and, if possible, more dirty.
At every fourth or fifth house, alleys seldom above a yard wide and
streaming with filth, opened out of the street. These were crowded
with dwellings of various size, while from the principal court often
branched out a number of smaller alleys or rather narrow passages, than
which nothing can be conceived more close and squalid and obscure.
Here, during the days of business, the sound of the hammer and the
file never cease, amid gutters of abomination and piles of foulness
and stagnant pools of filth; reservoirs of leprosy and plague, whose
exhalations were sufficient to taint the atmosphere of the whole
kingdom and fill the country with fever and pestilence.

    B.—=Source.=—Lord Beaconsfield’s _Coningsby_, bk. iv., chap. ii.

He had travelled the whole day through the great district of labour,
his mind excited by strange sights, and at length wearied by their
multiplication. He had passed over the plains where iron and coal
supersede turf and corn, dingy as the entrance to Hades, and flaming
with furnaces; and now he was among illumined factories with more
windows than Italian palaces, and smoking chimneys taller than Egyptian

He entered chambers vaster than are told of in Arabian fable, and
peopled with inhabitants more wonderful than Afrite or Peri. For there
he beheld, in long continued ranks, those mysterious forms full of
existence without life, that perform with facility and in an instant,
what man can fulfil only with difficulty and in days. A machine is a
slave that neither brings nor bears degradation; it is a being endowed
with the greatest degree of energy and acting under the greatest
degree of excitement, yet free at the same time from all passion and
emotion. He is therefore not only a slave, but a supernatural slave.
And why should one say that the machine does not live? It breathes,
for its breath forms the atmosphere of some towns. It moves with more
regularity than man. And has it not a voice? Does not the spindle sing
like a merry girl at her work, and the steam engine roar in jolly
chorus like a strong artisan handling his lusty tools, and gaining a
fair day’s wages for a fair day’s toil?

Nor should the weaving-room be forgotten, where a thousand or fifteen
hundred girls may be observed in their coral necklaces working like
Penelope in the day-time; some pretty, some pert, some graceful and
jocund, some absorbed in their occupation; a little serious some, few
sad. And the cotton you have observed in its rude state, that you have
seen the silent spinner change into thread and the bustling weaver
convert into cloth, you may now watch, as in a moment it is tinted
with beautiful colours, or printed with fanciful patterns. And yet the
mystery of mysteries is to view machines making machines; a spectacle
that fills the mind with curious, even awful, speculation.

From early morn to the late twilight, our Coningsby for several days
devoted himself to the comprehension of Manchester. It was to him a new
world pregnant with new ideas, and suggestive of new trains of thought
and feeling. In this unprecedented partnership between capital and
science, working on a spot which Nature had indicated as the fitting
theatre of their exploits, he beheld a great source of the wealth of
nations which had been reserved for these times, and he perceived
that this wealth was rapidly developing classes whose power was very
imperfectly recognised in the constitutional scheme, and whose duties
in the social system seemed altogether omitted.

                   IRELAND AND HER LANDLORDS (1838).

  =Source.=—R. Barry O’Brien’s _Life and Letters of Thomas Drummond_,
            p. 273. (London: 1889.)

     A.—_The Tipperary Magistrates to the Lord Lieutenant. Cashel,
         April 7, 1838._

We, the undersigned magistrates of the County of Tipperary, this day
assembled at Cashel, at a very short notice, beg leave respectfully
to state to your Excellency, that it is with feelings of the deepest
horror we communicate to your Excellency the dreadful and atrocious
attack made by some villains upon the lives of Samuel Cooper, Esq.,
J.P., Austin Cooper, Esq., and Francis Wayland, Esq., on the 5th day of

It appears that these gentlemen were proceeding to the fair of
Tipperary on that day, the two Mr. Coopers in a gig, and Mr. Wayland on
horseback, when they were fired upon by four men. Mr. Samuel Cooper and
Mr. Wayland returned the fire, but it is horrifying to relate that Mr.
Austin Cooper was shot dead by a ball passing through his head, and Mr.
Wayland was severely wounded in the hip....

We, the undersigned, declare that in that district neither life nor
property is safe. We therefore respectfully trust that your Excellency
will put in force the strongest powers which the laws of the land
permit in those districts.

We consider it our duty to state to your Excellency that we believe the
result of the late assizes for this county has proved how terrible is
the state of intimidation which exists, or seems to exist, among the
juries of this county....

We beg leave respectfully to hope that Her Majesty’s Government will
bring in a Bill to Parliament for the purpose of inflicting a heavier
penalty than that now in force on persons for having unregistered arms
or ammunition in their possession.

   B.—_Drummond to the Tipperary Magistrates. Dublin Castle, May 22,

My lord,—In the communication of the 18th of April, which I had the
honour to make to your Lordship by command of the Lord Lieutenant, your
Lordship was informed that His Excellency considered it necessary to
institute an immediate and careful inquiry....

His Excellency deemed it his duty to direct, among other inquiries,
letters to be addressed to the several stipendiary magistrates of the
county, calling upon them to state whether any and what instances
of injury to the persons or property of jurors had come under their
observation, which could be distinctly attributed to the verdicts given
by such jurors. In the answers received from all these gentlemen, they
uniformly declare that not a single instance of the kind has ever
occurred to their knowledge....

His Excellency has also obtained a return of the several juries at
the last assizes of Tipperary, and he finds that the great majority
of jurors resided in towns, chiefly in Clonmel, and therefore were
not likely to be influenced by apprehensions of danger to person or
property; and further, on examining the list, it has been found that,
of the hundred jurors who constituted the juries in the several cases
of homicide, fifty-two served both on convicting and acquitting juries,
thirty on convicting juries only, and eighteen only on acquitting

His Excellency also felt it his duty to refer the statement of the
memorialists to the judge who presided at the last assizes, and His
Excellency has received a reply from that learned person, of which the
following is an extract:

“It did not appear to me that there existed any grounds, either of
facts or inference, for apprehending that the juries were intimidated;
on the contrary, I considered they discharged their duties free from
any bias arising from personal apprehension, or any other cause; and
with regard to their verdicts, they uniformly received and acted
upon the legal character of the crime as laid down by the Court, at
the same time exercising their own judgments, as in their exclusive
province, upon the credit to which they considered the witnesses were

The Government has been at all times ready to afford the utmost aid
in its power to suppress disturbance and crime, and its efforts
have been successful, so far as regards open violations of the law.
Faction fights and riots at fairs, which were generally of a very
ferocious character and the fruitful source of much subsequent crime,
have been to a very great degree suppressed, though heretofore most
commonly suffered to pass unchecked and unpunished; but there are
certain classes of crime, originating in other causes, which are
much more difficult of repression. The utmost exertion of vigilance
and precaution cannot always effectually guard against them, and it
becomes of importance to consider the causes which have led to a state
of society so much to be deplored, with a view to ascertain whether
any corrective means are in the immediate power of the Government or
the Legislature. When the character of the great majority of serious
outrages occurring in many parts of Ireland, though unhappily most
frequent in Tipperary, is considered, it is impossible to doubt that
the causes from which they mainly spring are connected with the tenure
and occupation of land. But His Excellency feels that it would be
quite beyond the limits, and not consistent with the character of a
communication of this nature, either to enter into an examination of
the lamentably destitute condition of a cottier tenantry, possessing
no adequate means of continuous support, or to advert in detail to the
objects for which the formation of such a class was originally either
permitted or directly encouraged. If from political changes or the
improvements in modern husbandry these objects are not any longer to be
attained by the continuance of such a state of things, His Excellency
conceives that it may become matter of serious question whether the
proprietors of the soil are not in many instances attempting too
rapidly to retrace their steps when he finds the fact to be, from
returns furnished by the Clerk of the Peace for Tipperary, that the
number of ejectments in 1837 is not less than double the number in
1833. The deficiency of a demand for labour, and the want, as yet, of
any legal provision against utter destitution, leave this humble class,
when ejected, without any certain provision against actual starvation.
Hence the wholesale expulsion of cottier tenants is unfortunately
found with the great body of the people to enlist the strongest
feelings—those of self-preservation—on the side even of guilt, in
vindication of what they falsely assume to be their rights; and hence a
sympathy for persons charged with crimes supposed to have arisen from
those causes, is still found a lamentable exception to that increased
general respect for the laws which has of late years been remarked with
satisfaction by those concerned in the administration of justice.

Property has its duties as well as its rights. To the neglect of those
duties in times past is mainly to be ascribed that diseased state of
society in which such crimes take their rise; and it is not in the
enactment or enforcement of statutes of extraordinary severity, but
chiefly in the better and more faithful performance of those duties,
and the more enlightened and humane exercise of those rights, that a
permanent remedy for such disorders is to be sought....


     =Source.=—_Report on the Affairs of British North America._
                By Lord Durham. Printed for the House of Commons, 1839.

Such are the lamentable results of the political and social evils which
have so long agitated the Canadas, and such is their condition, that
at the present moment we are called on to take immediate precautions
against dangers so alarming as those of rebellion, foreign invasion,
and utter exhaustion and depopulation. When I look on the various and
deep-rooted causes of mischief which the past inquiry has pointed
out as existing in every institution, in the constitutions, and in
the very composition of society throughout a great part of these
provinces, I almost shrink from the apparent presumption of grappling
with these gigantic difficulties. Nor shall I attempt to do so in
detail. I rely on the efficacy of reform in the constitutional system
by which these colonies are governed, for the removal of every abuse
in their administration which defective institutions have engendered.
If a system can be devised which shall lay in these countries the
foundation of an efficient and popular government, ensure harmony, in
place of collision, between the various powers of the State, and bring
the influence of a vigorous public opinion to bear on every detail of
public affairs, we may rely on sufficient remedies being found for the
present vices of the administrative system.

It is not by weakening but strengthening the influence of the people
on its government; by confining within much narrower bounds than those
hitherto allotted to it, and not by extending the interference of the
Imperial authorities in the details of colonial affairs, that I believe
that harmony is to be restored where dissension has so long prevailed,
and a regularity and vigour hitherto unknown introduced into the
administration of these Provinces. It needs no change in the principles
of government, no invention of a new constitutional theory, to supply
the remedy which would, in my opinion, completely remove the existing
political disorders. It needs but to follow out consistently the
principles of the British Constitution, and introduce into the
government of these great Colonies those wise provisions, by which
alone the working of the representative system can in any country be
rendered harmonious and efficient. We are not now to consider the
policy of establishing representative government in the North American
Colonies. That has been irrevocably done, and the experiment of
depriving the people of their present constitutional power is not to
be thought of. To conduct their Government harmoniously, in accordance
with its established principles, is now the business of its rulers, and
I know not how it is possible to secure that harmony in any other way
than by administering the Government on those principles which have
been found perfectly efficacious in Great Britain. I would not impair
a single prerogative of the Crown; on the contrary, I believe that
the interests of the people of these Colonies require the protection
of prerogatives which have not hitherto been exercised. But the Crown
must, on the other hand, submit to the necessary consequences of
representative institutions; and if it has to carry on the Government
in unison with a representative body, it must consent to carry it on by
means of those in whom that representative body has confidence.

In England this principle has so long been considered an indisputable
and essential part of our constitution that it has really hardly ever
been found necessary to inquire into the means by which its observance
is enforced. When a Ministry ceases to command a majority in Parliament
on great questions or policy, its doom is immediately sealed; and it
would appear to us as strange to attempt for any time to carry on a
Government by means of ministers perpetually in a minority, as it
would be to pass laws with a majority of votes against them.... If
Colonial Legislatures have frequently stopped the supplies, if they
have harassed public servants by unjust or harsh impeachments, it
was because the removal of an unpopular administration could not be
effected in the Colonies by those milder indications of a want of
confidence which have always sufficed to attain the end in the mother

The means which have occasionally been proposed in the Colonies
themselves appear to me by no means calculated to attain the desired
end in the best way. An elective executive council would not only be
utterly inconsistent with monarchical government, but would really,
under the nominal authority of the Crown, deprive the community of one
of the great advantages of an hereditary monarchy. Every purpose of
popular control might be combined with every advantage of vesting the
immediate choice of advisers in the Crown, were the Colonial Governor
to be instructed to secure the co-operation of the Assembly in his
policy, by entrusting its administration to such men as could command
a majority; and if he were given to understand that he need count on
no aid from home in any difference with the Assembly, that should not
directly involve the relations between the mother country and the

I know that it has been urged that the principles which are productive
of harmony and good government in the mother country, are by no means
applicable to a colonial dependency. It is said that it is necessary
that the administration of a colony should be carried on by persons
nominated without any reference to the wishes of its people; that they
have to carry into effect the policy, not of that people, but of the
authorities at home; and that a colony which should name all its own
administrative functionaries, would, in fact, cease to be dependent.
I admit that the system which I propose would, in fact, place the
internal government of the colony in the hands of the colonists
themselves; and that we should thus leave to them the execution of
the laws, of which we have long entrusted the making solely to them.
Perfectly aware of the value of our colonial possessions, and strongly
impressed with the necessity of maintaining our connexion with them, I
know not in what respect it can be desirable that we should interfere
with their internal legislation in matters which do not affect their
relations with the mother country. The matters which so concern us are
very few. The constitution of the form of government—the regulation
of foreign relations, and of trade with the mother country, the other
British Colonies, and foreign nations—and the disposal of the public
lands, are the only points on which the mother country requires a
control. This control is now sufficiently secured by the authority
of the Imperial Legislature; by the protection which the colony
derives from us against foreign enemies; by the beneficial terms which
our laws secure to its trade; and by its share of the reciprocal
benefits which would be conferred by a wise system of colonization.
A perfect subordination, on the part of the Colony, on these points,
is secured by the advantages which it finds in the continuance of
its connexion with the Empire. It certainly is not strengthened, but
greatly weakened, by a vexatious interference on the part of the Home
Government, with the enactment of laws for regulating the internal
concerns of the Colony, or in the selection of the persons entrusted
with their execution. The colonists may not always know what laws
are best for them, or which of their countrymen are the fittest for
conducting their affairs; but, at least, they have a greater interest
in coming to a right judgment on these points, and will take greater
pains to do so than those whose welfare is very remotely and slightly
affected by the good or bad legislation of these portions of the
Empire. If the colonists make bad laws, and select improper persons
to conduct their affairs, they will generally be the only, always the
greatest, sufferers; and, like the people of other countries, they
must bear the ills which they bring on themselves, until they choose
to apply the remedy. But it surely cannot be the duty or the interest
of Great Britain to keep a most expensive military possession of these
Colonies, in order that a Governor or Secretary of State may be able to
confer colonial appointments on one rather than another set of persons
in the Colonies.

     (Lord Durham went on to assert that it was essential
        to his scheme that the government of the colony
        should be British, and that the numerical
        superiority of the French in Lower Canada could
        most peaceably be remedied by legislative union
        of the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, which
        would give an English majority; and he proceeds:)

I am inclined to go further, and inquire whether all these objects
would not more surely be attained by extending this legislative
union over all the British Provinces in North America; and whether
the advantages which I anticipate for two of them, might not, and
should not in justice be extended over all. Such an union would at
once decisively settle the question of races; it would enable all
the Provinces to co-operate for all common purposes; and, above all,
it would form a great and powerful people, possessing the means of
securing good and responsible government for itself, and which,
under the protection of the British Empire, might in some measure
counterbalance the preponderant and increasing influence of the United
States on the American continent. I do not anticipate that a Colonial
Legislature thus strong and thus self-governing would desire to
abandon the connexion with Great Britain. On the contrary, I believe
that the practical relief from undue interference, which would be
the result of such a change, would strengthen the present bond of
feelings and interests; and that the connexion would become more
durable and advantageous, by having more of equality, of freedom, and
of local independence. But at any rate, our first duty is to secure the
well-being of our colonial countrymen; and if in the hidden decrees
of that wisdom by which this world is ruled it is written that these
countries are not for ever to remain portions of the Empire, we owe it
to our honour to take good care that, when they separate from us, they
should not be the only countries on the American continent in which the
Anglo-Saxon race shall be found unfit to govern itself.

I am in truth so far from believing that the increased power and weight
that would be given to these Colonies by union would endanger their
connexion with the Empire, that I look to it as the only means of
fostering such a national feeling throughout them as would effectually
counterbalance whatever tendencies may now exist towards separation. No
large community of free and intelligent men will long feel contented
with a political system which places them, because it places their
country, in a position of inferiority to their neighbours. The colonist
of Great Britain is linked, it is true, to a mighty Empire; and the
glories of its history, the visible signs of its present power, and
the civilisation of its people, are calculated to raise and gratify
his national pride. But he feels also that his link to that Empire
is one of remote dependence; he catches but passing and inadequate
glimpses of its power and prosperity; he knows that in its government
he and his own countrymen have no voice. While his neighbour on the
other side of the frontier assumes importance, from the notion that his
vote exercises some influence on the councils, and that he himself has
some share in the progress, of a mighty nation, the colonist feels the
deadening influence of the narrow and subordinate community to which
he belongs.... If we wish to prevent the extension of this influence,
it can only be done by raising up for the colonist some nationality
of his own; by elevating these small and unimportant communities into
a society having some objects of a national importance; and by thus
giving their inhabitants a country which they will be unwilling to see
absorbed even into one more powerful.

While I believe that the establishment of a comprehensive system
of government, and of an effectual union between the different
Provinces, would produce this important effect on the feelings of their
inhabitants, I am inclined to attach very great importance to the
influence which it would have in giving greater scope and satisfaction
to the legitimate ambition of the most active and prominent persons
to be found in them. If, as it is commonly asserted, the disorders of
these colonies have, in great measure, been fomented by the influence
of designing and ambitious individuals, this evil will best be remedied
by allowing such a scope for the desires of such men as shall direct
their ambition into the legitimate channel of furthering, and not of
thwarting, their Government. By creating high prizes in a general
and responsible Government, we shall immediately afford the means of
pacifying the turbulent ambitions, and of employing in worthy and noble
occupations the talents which now are only exerted to foment disorder.

                      THE BEDCHAMBER PLOT (1839).

                    I. THE QUEEN AND LORD MELBOURNE.

   =Source.=—_Letters of Queen Victoria_: 1837-1861, vol. i., p. 204.
              (London: 1907.)

        A.—_Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria. May 9, 1839._

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your Majesty, and begs to
suggest that if Sir Robert Peel presses for the dismissal of those of
your Household who are not in Parliament, you may observe that in so
doing he is pressing your Majesty more hardly than any Minister ever
pressed a Sovereign before.

When the Government was changed in 1830, the principal posts of the
Household were placed at the disposal of Lord Grey, but the Grooms and
Equerries were not removed.

When Sir Robert Peel himself became Minister in 1834, no part of the
Household were removed except those who were in Parliament.

When I became Prime Minister again in 1835, none of the Grooms or
Equerries were removed because none of them were in Parliament.

They press upon your Majesty, whose personal feelings ought from your
circumstances to be more consulted, a measure which no Minister before
ever pressed upon a Sovereign.

If this is put to him by your Majesty, Lord Melbourne does not see how
he can resist it.

  B.—_Queen Victoria to Viscount Melbourne. Buckingham Palace, May 9,

The Queen writes one line to prepare Lord Melbourne for what _may_
happen in a very few hours. Sir Robert Peel has behaved very ill, and
has insisted on my giving up my Ladies, to which I replied that I never
would consent, and I never saw a man so frightened. He said he must go
to the Duke of Wellington and consult with him, when both would return,
and he said this must suspend all further proceedings, and he asked
whether I should be ready to receive a decision, which I said I should;
he was quite perturbed—but this is _infamous_. I said, besides many
other things, that if he or the Duke of Wellington had been at the head
of the Government when I came to the Throne, perhaps there might have
been a few more Tory Ladies, but that then if you had come in Office
you would never have _dreamt_ of changing them. I was calm but very
decided, and I think you would have been pleased to see my composure
and great firmness; the Queen of England will not submit to such
trickery. Keep yourself in readiness, for you may soon be wanted.

C.—_Viscount Melbourne to Queen Victoria. May 9, 1839._

Lord Melbourne presents his humble duty to your Majesty. This is a
matter of so much importance, and may have such grave results, that any
advice which Lord Melbourne could give would be of little importance
unless it coincided with the opinions of others, and particularly of
all those who were and intend still to continue to be his colleagues.

It will depend upon their determination whether your Majesty is to
be supported or not. The best course will perhaps be that you should
have Sir Robert Peel’s determination, say nothing, but send for Lord
Melbourne, and lay the matter before him. Lord Melbourne will then
summon a Cabinet to consider of it.

                        II. THE TORY SIDE OF IT.

      A.—=Source.=—_The Croker Papers_, vol. ii., p. 346.
         (London: 1884.)

             _J. W. Croker to the King of Hanover. May 11._

The mission of Sir Robert Peel failed upon what I may call an abstract
principle—the right of the Minister to interfere at all in the female
household. No lady’s name was mentioned by Sir Robert, for on his
saying to the Queen, “As to ladies of the household” her Majesty is
said to have interrupted him at once by saying: “Oh, I do not mean
to make any change among them.” This is the sum of the whole affair.
Sir Robert Peel could not admit the broad principle that all were to
remain. Lady Normanby (whom the Queen particularly wishes for), for
instance, the wife of the very Minister whose measures have been the
cause of the change, two sisters of Lord Morpeth, the sisters-in-law
of Lord John Russell, the daughter of the Privy Seal and Chancellor of
the Exchequer. Your Majesty sees that though Sir Robert might, and I
have no doubt would, have left the great body of the female attendants,
he could not possibly have submitted to have the hostile party thus in
possession of the personal favour, friendship, and confidence of the
Queen. The general opinion is that this scheme was prepared even before
the resignation, and that the whole has been a trick, though for my
part I cannot see how it betters the position of the Whigs....

Her Majesty’s ball last night was, I am told, rather dull, though she
herself seemed in high spirits, as if she were pleased at retaining her

    B.—=Source.=—_The Greville Memoirs_: 1837-1852, vol. i., p. 208.
                  (London: 1885.)

It is a high trial to our institutions when the wishes of a Princess
of nineteen can overturn a great Ministerial combination, and when the
most momentous matters of Government and legislation are influenced
by her pleasure about the ladies of the Bedchamber.... The origin of
the present mischief may be found in the objectionable composition of
the Royal Household at the Accession. The Queen knew nobody, and was
ready to take any ladies that Melbourne recommended to her. He ought
to have taken care that the female part of her household should not
have a political complexion, instead of making it exclusively Whig, as,
unfortunately for her, he did; nor is it little matter of wonder that
Melbourne should have consented to support her in such a case, and that
he and his colleagues should have consented to act the strange,
anomalous, unconstitutional part they have done.... To have met as a
Cabinet, and to have advised her what answer to send to the man who
still held her commission for forming a Government upon points relating
to its formation, is utterly anomalous and unprecedented.

                      THE QUEEN’S MARRIAGE (1840).

                          I. THE WEDDING DAY.

     =Source.=—_The Greville Memoirs_: 1837-1852, vol. i., p. 266.

The wedding on Monday went off tolerably well. The week before was
fine, and Albert drove about the town with a mob shouting at his
heels. Tuesday, Wednesday, and to-day were all beautiful days, but
Monday, as if by a malignant influence, was a dreadful day—torrents
of rain and violent gusts of wind. Nevertheless a countless multitude
thronged the park, and was scattered all over the town. I never beheld
such a congregation as there was, in spite of the weather. The Queen
proceeded in state from Buckingham Palace to St. James’s without any
cheering, but then it was raining enough to damp warmer loyalty than
that of a London mob. The procession in the Palace was pretty enough
by all accounts. Upon leaving the Palace for Windsor she and her young
husband were pretty well received; but they went off in very poor and
shabby style. Instead of the new chariot in which most married people
are accustomed to dash along, they were in one of the old travelling
coaches, the postillions in undress liveries, and with a small escort,
three other coaches with post-horses following. The crowds on the road
were so great that they did not reach the Castle till eight o’clock.


   =Source.=—Sir Theodore Martin’s _The Life of the Prince Consort_,
             vol. i., p. 69. (London: 1875.)

Amid the general enthusiasm with which Prince Albert was welcomed
in England, murmurs of jealousy and distrust were certain to be
heard. There were some who, on purely selfish grounds, deprecated the
marriage of the Queen with any but an English Prince; others who then,
and for many years afterwards, were eager to surmise danger in the
influence of a foreign prince upon the councils of the Crown. But the
real difficulty of his task, being what he was by nature, and by the
deliberate purpose which he had set before himself, lay elsewhere....

Although the husband of the Queen, the law—to use Her Majesty’s
words—took cognisance of him as “merely the younger son of the Duke of
Coburg.” Thus, while ostensibly occupying the most brilliant position
in the kingdom, his right of precedence was to be disputed, and was
disputed by a few members of the Royal Family, who made no secret of
their disappointment that Her Majesty’s choice had not fallen upon some
scion of the reigning House in whom they had a nearer interest. A more
pressing source of disquietude, however, existed in the fact that the
Prince possessed no independent authority by right of his position, and
could exercise none, even within his own household, without trenching
upon the privileges of others, who were not always disposed to admit of

Not less delicate was the Prince’s task in fixing the line to be taken
by him with regard to public affairs.... From the first, however, the
Prince appreciated the extreme delicacy of his position, and laid down
for himself the rule that no act of his should by possibility expose
him to the imputation of interference with the machinery of the State,
or of encroachment on the functions and privileges of the Sovereign....
The principle upon which he acted, as expressed by himself ten
years later, in his letter to the Duke of Wellington, declining to
entertain the offer of the command of the Army, cannot be too clearly
kept in view in reading the story of his life. It was “to sink his
own individual existence in that of his wife—to aim at no power by
himself or for himself—to shun all ostentation—to assume no separate
responsibility before the public—to make his position entirely a part
of hers—to fill up every gap which, as a woman, she would naturally
leave in the exercise of her regal functions—continually and anxiously
to watch every part of the public business, in order to be able to
advise and assist her at any moment in any of the multifarious and
difficult questions brought before her—political, or social, or
personal—to place all his powers at her command as the natural head
of her family, superintendent of her household, manager of her private
affairs, her sole confidential adviser in politics, and only assistant
in her communications with the officers of the Government, her private
secretary, and permanent minister.”

                     THE CHARTIST PETITION (1842).

    =Source.=—_Hansard_, Third Series, lxii., col. 1373,
               Monday, May 2.

[A Petition from the working classes throughout the kingdom, of the
presentation of which Mr. Thomas Duncombe had previously given notice,
was brought down to the House, by a procession consisting of a vast
multitude. Its bulk was so great, that the doors were not wide enough
to admit it, and it was necessary to unroll it, to carry it into the
House. When unrolled, it spread over a great part of the floor, and
rose above the level of the table.]

Mr. Duncombe in presenting the petition gave the following statistics
of signatures:

Manchester, 99,680; Newcastle and districts, 92,000; Glasgow and
Lanarkshire, 78,062; Halifax, 36,400; Nottingham, 40,000; Leeds,
41,000; Birmingham, 43,000; Norwich, 21,560; Bolton, 18,500; Leicester,
18,000; Rochdale, 19,600; Loughborough and districts, 10,000;
Salford, 19,600; East Riding, Yorkshire, agricultural districts,
14,840; Worcester, 10,000; Merthyr Tydvil and districts, 13,900;
Aberdeen, 17,600; Keithly, 11,000; Brighton, 12,700; Bristol, 12,800;
Huddersfield, 23,180; Sheffield, 27,200; Scotland, West Midland
districts, 18,000; Dunfermline, 16,000; Cheltenham, 10,400; Liverpool,
23,000; Stalybridge and districts, 10,000; Stockport, 14,000;
Macclesfield and suburbs, 10,000; North Lancashire, 52,000; Oldham,
15,000; Ashton, 14,200; Bradford and district, Yorkshire, 45,100;
Burnley and district, 14,000; Preston and district, 24,000; Wigan,
10,000; London and suburbs, 200,000; from 371 other towns, villages,
etc., 2,154,807. Total, 3,315,752.

The Petition was read, as follows:

To the honourable the Commons of Great Britain and Ireland, in
Parliament assembled.

The petition of the undersigned people of the United Kingdom,

Sheweth—That Government originated from, was designed to protect the
freedom and promote the happiness of, and ought to be responsible to,
the whole people.

That the only authority on which any body of men can make laws and
govern society, is delegation from the people.

That as Government was designed for the benefit and protection of, and
must be obeyed and supported by, all, therefore all should be equally

That any form of Government which fails to effect the purposes for
which it was designed, and does not fully and completely represent the
whole people, who are compelled to pay taxes to its support and obey
the laws resolved upon by it, is unconstitutional, tyrannical, and
ought to be amended or resisted.

That your honourable House, as at present constituted, has not been
elected by, and acts irresponsibly of, the people; and hitherto has
only represented parties, and benefited the few, regardless of the
miseries, grievances, and petitions of the many. Your honourable House
has enacted laws contrary to the expressed wishes of the people, and
by unconstitutional means enforced obedience to them, thereby creating
an unbearable despotism on the one hand, and degrading slavery on the

That if your honourable House is of opinion that the people of Great
Britain and Ireland ought not to be fully represented, your petitioners
pray that such opinion may be unequivocally made known, that the
people may fully understand what they can or cannot expect from your
honourable House; because if such be the decision of your honourable
House, your petitioners are of opinion that where representation is
denied, taxation ought to be resisted.

That your petitioners instance, in proof of their assertion, that
your honourable House has not been elected by the people; that the
population of Great Britain and Ireland is at the present time about
twenty-six millions of persons; and that yet, out of this number,
little more than nine hundred thousand have been permitted to vote in
the recent election of representatives to make laws to govern the whole.

That the existing state of representation is not only extremely
limited and unjust, but unequally divided, and gives preponderating
influence to the landed and monied interests to the utter ruin of the
small-trading and labouring classes.

That the borough of Guildford, with a population of 3,920 returns to
Parliament as many members as the Tower Hamlets, with a population
of 300,000; Evesham, with a population of 3,998, elects as many
representatives as Manchester, with a population of 200,000; and
Buckingham, Evesham, Totness, Guildford, Honiton, and Bridport,
with a total population of 23,000, return as many representatives
as Manchester, Finsbury, Tower Hamlets, Liverpool, Marylebone, and
Lambeth, with a population of 1,400,000! these being but a very few
instances of the enormous inequalities existing in what is called the
representation of this country.

That bribery, intimidation, corruption, perjury, and riot, prevail
at all parliamentary elections, to an extent best understood by the
Members of your honourable House.

That your petitioners complain that they are enormously taxed to pay
the interest of what is termed the national debt, a debt amounting
at present to £800,000,000, being only a portion of the enormous
amount expended in cruel and expensive wars for the suppression of all
liberty, by men not authorised by the people, and who, consequently,
had not right to tax posterity for the outrages committed by them upon
mankind. And your petitioners loudly complain of the augmentation of
that debt, after twenty-six years of almost uninterrupted peace, and
whilst poverty and discontent rage over the land.

That taxation, both general and local, is at this time too enormous to
be borne; and in the opinion of your petitioners is contrary to the
spirit of the Bill of Rights, wherein it is clearly expressed that no
subject shall be compelled to contribute to any tax, talliage, or aid,
unless imposed by common consent in Parliament.

That in England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales thousands of people
are dying from actual want; and your petitioners, whilst sensible
that poverty is the great existing cause of crime, view with mingled
astonishment and alarm the ill-provision made for the poor, the aged,
and infirm; and likewise perceive, with feelings of indignation, the
determination of your honourable House to continue the Poor Law Bill in
operation, notwithstanding the many proofs which have been afforded by
sad experience of the unconstitutional principle of that Bill, of its
unchristian character, and of the cruel and murderous effects produced
upon the wages of working men and the lives of the subjects of this

That your petitioners conceive that Bill to be contrary to all previous
statutes, opposed to the spirit of the Constitution, and an actual
violation of the precepts of the Christian religion; and therefore your
petitioners look with apprehension to the results which may flow from
its continuance.

That your petitioners would direct the attention of your honourable
House to the great disparity existing between the wages of the
producing millions and the salaries of those whose comparative
usefulness ought to be questioned, where riches and luxury prevail
amongst the rulers and poverty and starvation amongst the ruled.

That your petitioners, with all due respect and loyalty, would compare
the daily income of the Sovereign Majesty with that of thousands of
the working men of this nation; and whilst your petitioners have
learned that her Majesty receives daily for her private use the sum of
£164 17s. 10d., they have also ascertained that many thousands of the
families of the labourers are only in the receipt of 3-¾d. per head
per day.

That your petitioners have also learned that his royal Highness Prince
Albert receives each day the sum of £104 2s., whilst thousands have to
exist upon 3d. per head per day.

That your petitioners have also heard with astonishment that the King
of Hanover daily receives £57 10s., whilst thousands of the tax-payers
of this Empire live upon 2-¾d. per head per day.

That your petitioners have, with pain and regret, also learned that the
Archbishop of Canterbury is daily in the receipt of £52 10s. per day,
whilst thousands of the poor have to maintain their families upon an
income not exceeding 2d. per head per day.

That, notwithstanding the wretched and unparalleled condition of the
people, your honourable House has manifested no disposition to curtail
the expenses of the State, to diminish taxation, or promote general

That unless immediate remedial measures be adopted, your petitioners
fear the increasing distress of the people will lead to results fearful
to contemplate; because your petitioners can produce evidence of the
gradual decline of wages, at the same time that the constant increase
of the national burdens must be apparent to all.

That your petitioners know that it is the undoubted constitutional
right of the people to meet freely, when, how, and where they choose,
in public places, peaceably, in the day, to discuss their grievances
and political or other subjects, or for the purpose of framing,
discussing, or passing any vote, petition, or remonstrance, upon any
subject whatsoever.

That your petitioners complain that the right has unconstitutionally
been infringed, and 500 well disposed persons have been arrested,
excessive bail demanded, tried by packed juries, sentenced to
imprisonment, and treated as felons of the worst description.

That an unconstitutional police force is distributed all over the
country, at enormous cost, to prevent the due exercise of the people’s
rights. And your petitioners are of opinion that the Poor-law Bastiles
and the police stations, being co-existent, have originated from the
same cause—viz., the increased desire on the part of the irresponsible
few to oppress and starve the many.

That a vast and unconstitutional army is upheld at the public expense
for the purpose of repressing public opinion in the three kingdoms, and
likewise to intimidate the millions in the due exercise of those rights
and privileges which ought to belong to them.

That your petitioners complain that the hours of labour, particularly
of the factory workers, are protracted beyond the limits of human
endurance, and that the wages earned, after unnatural application to
toil in heated and unhealthy workshops, are inadequate to sustain the
bodily strength and supply those comforts which are so imperative after
an excessive waste of physical energy.

That your petitioners also direct the attention of your honourable
House to the starvation wages of the agricultural labourer, and view
with horror and indignation the paltry income of those whose toil gives
being to the staple food of this people.

That your petitioners deeply deplore the existence of any kind of
monopoly in this nation, and whilst they unequivocally condemn the
levying of any tax upon the necessaries of life, and upon those
articles principally required by the labouring classes, they are also
sensible that the abolition of any one monopoly will never unshackle
labour from its misery until the people possess that power under
which all monopoly and oppression must cease; and your petitioners
respectfully mention the existing monopolies of the suffrage, of
paper money, of machinery, of land, of the public press, of religious
privileges, of the means of travelling and transit, and a host of other
evils too numerous to mention, all arising from class legislation, but
which your honourable House has always consistently endeavoured to
increase instead of diminish.

That your petitioners are sensible, from the numerous petitions
presented to your honourable House, that your honourable House is fully
acquainted with the grievances of the working men; and your petitioners
pray that the rights and wrongs of labour may be considered, with a
view to the protection of the one, and to the removal of the other;
because your petitioners are of the opinion that it is the worst
species of legislation which leaves the grievances of society to
be removed only by violence or revolution, both of which may be
apprehended if complaints are unattended to and petitions despised.

       *       *       *       *       *

That your petitioners complain that upwards of nine millions of pounds
per annum are unjustly abstracted from them to maintain a Church
establishment from which they principally dissent; and beg to call the
attention of your honourable House to the fact that this enormous sum
is equal to, if it does not exceed, the cost of upholding Christianity
in all parts of the world beside. Your petitioners complain that it
is unjust, and not in accordance with the Christian religion, to
enforce compulsory support of religious creeds, and expensive Church
establishments, with which the people do not agree.

That your petitioners, therefore, exercising their just constitutional
right, demand that your honourable House do remedy the many gross and
manifest evils of which your petitioners complain, do immediately,
without alteration, deduction, or addition, pass into a law the
document entitled, “The People’s Charter,” which embraces the
representation of male adults, vote by ballot, annual Parliaments,
no property qualification, payment of members, and equal electoral

And that your petitioners, desiring to promote the peace of the United
Kingdom, security of property, and prosperity of commerce, seriously
and earnestly press this, their petition, on the attention of your
honourable House.

And your petitioners, etc.

Petition to be printed.

                        THE RAILWAY BOOM (1842).

      =Source.=—Lord Beaconsfield’s _Endymion_, bk. iii., chap. x.

The condition of England at the meeting of Parliament in 1842 was not
satisfactory. The depression of trade in the manufacturing districts
seemed overwhelming, and continued increasing during the whole of the
year. A memorial from Stockport to the Queen in the spring represented
that more than half the master-spinners had failed, and that no less
than three thousand dwelling-houses were untenanted. One-fifth of the
population of Leeds were dependent on the poor-rates. The state of
Sheffield was not less severe—and the blast furnaces of Wolverhampton
were extinguished. There were almost daily meetings at Liverpool,
Manchester, and Leeds, to consider the great and increasing distress
of the country, and to induce ministers to bring forward remedial
measures; but as these were impossible, violence was soon substituted
for passionate appeals to the fears or the humanity of the Government.
Vast bodies of the population assembled in Stalybridge, and Ashton, and
Oldham, and marched into Manchester.

For a week the rioting was unchecked, but the Government despatched a
strong military force to that city, and order was restored.

The state of affairs in Scotland was not more favourable. There were
food riots in several of the Scotch towns, and in Glasgow the multitude
assembled, and then commenced what they called a begging tour, but
which was really a progress of not disguised intimidation. The economic
crisis in Ireland was yet to come, but the whole of that country was
absorbed in a harassing and dangerous agitation for the repeal of the
union between the two countries.

During all this time, the Anti-Corn-Law League was holding regular
and frequent meetings at Manchester, at which statements were made,
distinguished by much eloquence and little scruple. But the able
leaders of this confederacy never succeeded in enlisting the sympathies
of the great body of the population. Between the masters and the
workmen there was an alienation of feeling, which apparently never
could be removed. This reserve, however, did not enlist the working
classes on the side of the Government; they had their own object, and
one which they themselves enthusiastically cherished. And this was the
Charter, a political settlement which was to restore the golden age,
and which the master manufacturers and the middle classes generally
looked upon with even more apprehension than Her Majesty’s advisers. It
is hardly necessary to add, that in a state of affairs like that which
is here faintly but still faithfully sketched, the rapid diminution of
the revenue was inevitable, and of course that decline mainly occurred
in the two all-important branches of the customs and excise....

The minister brought forward his revision of the tariff, which was
denounced by the League as futile, and in which anathema the opposition
soon found it convenient to agree. Had the minister included in his
measure that “total and immediate repeal” of the existing corn laws
which was preached by many as a panacea, the effect would have been
probably much the same. No doubt a tariff may aggravate, or may
mitigate, such a condition of commercial depression as periodically
visits a state of society like that of England, but it does not
produce it. It was produced in 1842, as it has been produced at the
present time,[1] by an abuse of capital and credit, and by a degree of
production which the wants of the world have not warranted.

And yet all this time, there were certain influences at work in
the great body of the nation, neither foreseen, nor for some time
recognised, by statesmen and those great capitalists on whose opinion
statesmen much depend, which were stirring, as it were, like the
unconscious power of the forces of nature, and which were destined to
baffle all the calculations of persons in authority and the leading
spirits of all parties, strengthen a perplexed administration, confound
a sanguine opposition, render all the rhetoric, statistics, and
subscriptions of the Anti-Corn-Law fruitless, and absolutely make the
Chartists forget the Charter.

There was abundant capital in the country and a mass of unemployed
labour. But the markets on which they had of late depended, the
American especially, were overworked and overstocked, and in some
instances were not only overstocked, but disturbed by war, as the
Chinese, for example—and capital and labour wanted a new channel.

The new channel came, and all the persons of authority, alike political
and commercial, seemed quite surprised that it had arrived; but when a
thing or a man is wanted, they generally appear. One or two lines of
railway which had been long sleepily in formation, about this time were
finished, and one or two lines of railway which had been finished for
some time and were unnoticed, announced dividends, and not contemptible
ones. Suddenly there was a general feeling in the country that its
capital should be invested in railways; that the whole surface of the
land should be transformed, and covered, as by a network, with these
mighty means of communication. When the passions of the English,
naturally an enthusiastic people, are excited on a subject of finance,
their will, their determination, and resource, are irresistible. This
was signally proved in the present instance, for they never ceased
subscribing their capital until the sum entrusted to this new form of
investment reached an amount almost equal to the national debt; and
this, too, in a very few years. The immediate effect on the condition
of the country was absolutely prodigious. The value of land rose, all
the blast furnaces were relit, a stimulant was given to every branch of
the home trade, the amount suddenly paid in wages exceeded that ever
known in this country, and wages, too, at a high rate. Large portions
of the labouring classes not only enjoyed comfort, but commanded
luxury. All this of course soon acted on the revenue, and both customs
and especially excise soon furnished an ample surplus.

It cannot be pretended that all this energy and enterprise were free
in their operation from those evils which, it seems, must inevitably
attend any extensive public speculation, however well-founded. Many
of the scenes and circumstances recalled the days of the South Sea
Scheme. The gambling in shares of companies which were formed only in
name was without limit. The principal towns of the north established
for that purpose stock exchanges of their own, and Leeds especially,
one-fifth of whose population had been authoritatively described in the
first session of the new parliament as dependent on the poor-rates, now
boasted of a stock exchange which in the extent of its transactions
rivalled that of the metropolis. And the gambling was universal, from
the noble to the mechanic. It was confined to no class and no sex. The
scene which took place at the Board of Trade on the last day on which
plans could be lodged, and when midnight had arrived while crowds from
the country were still filling the hall, and pressing at the doors,
deserved and required for its adequate representation the genius of
a Hogarth. This was the day on which it was announced that the total
number of railway projects, on which deposits had been paid, had
reached nearly to eight hundred.

What is remarkable in this vast movement in which so many millions were
produced, and so many more promised, is, that the great leaders of the
financial world took no part in it. The mighty loan-mongers on whose
fiat the fate of kings and empires sometimes depended, seemed like
men who, witnessing some eccentricity of nature, watch it with mixed
feelings of curiosity and alarm. Even Lombard Street, which never
was more wanted, was inactive, and it was only by the irresistible
pressure of circumstances that a banking firm which had an extensive
country connection was ultimately forced to take the leading part that
was required, and almost unconsciously lay the foundation of the vast
fortunes which it has realised, and organise the varied connection
which it now commands. All seemed to come from the provinces, and from
unknown people in the provinces.

[1] _Endymion_ was published in 1880.


         =Source.=—_Hansard_, Third Series, vol. 60, col. 420.

     [NOTE.—The speech from which the following
        extracts are made was delivered in the House of
        Commons on February 14, 1842, on Sir R. Peel’s
        Motion for the House to go into Committee on his
        proposed sliding scale of Corn Duties.]

MR. FERRAND: Sir, during the recess I thought it my duty to
watch the proceedings of the Anti-Corn-Law League, who were agitating
the country by the most violent and infamous placards, headed in large
letters—“the base, bloody, and brutal landlords keep the bread of
life from the poor”; and who were sending forth agitators, uttering
falsehoods even more horrible than this, to pay whose expenses they
have lately been exposing their wives and daughters at Manchester to
the insolence of every coxcomb who chose to pay a shilling for his
amusement. I also made inquiries into the truth of their assertions
that the Corn Laws were the cause of the depression of trade, and of
the misery and starvation of the working classes; and I found that
during the operation of the Corn Laws in the last twenty years the
Messrs. Marshall, flax-spinners of Leeds, have accumulated two millions
in money, and have purchased immense landed estates; but this firm
were not satisfied with this enormous wealth; they must carry out by
themselves the principle of free trade, and set up mills in Belgium,
where there are no Com Laws, and where labour is at a starvation
price.... I will add a few more instances of the injurious effects of
the Corn Laws on Anti-Corn-Law League manufacturers. I am credibly
informed that the credit of the hon. Member for Manchester (Mr. M.
Philips) stands as high as ever on the Exchange in Manchester—that he
is still a man of immense wealth, and has purchased extensive landed
estates. The hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Cobden) had during these
last twelve years accumulated half-a-million of money, and when, night
after night during the last Session, he was asserting that the Corn
Laws had ruined the trade in Lancashire, he was actually, at that very
time, running his mill both day and night; but, Sir, I must admit that
the hon. Member for Bolton (Dr. Bowring) has produced the only argument
in favour of a repeal of the Corn Laws; for his opposition to them has
enabled him to practise his principles of free trade on the public
purse to such an extent as very fairly to have entitled him to the
character of a freebooter.

Sir, these Anti-Corn-Law agitators assert that great numbers of the
manufacturers in the country are insolvent, and that the Corn Laws are
the cause of that insolvency. Sir, I have inquired into the truth of
this assertion, and I am sorry to say that as far as the insolvency
goes, it is but too correct. The Corn Laws, however, are not the cause;
the reason is—these men were never solvent in their lives. I will
now, Sir, endeavour to explain to the House who are the manufacturers
in the north of England in the present day. They are a remnant of that
high-minded and honourable class of men who raised the trade of this
country to the highest pitch of commercial respectability. There are a
few, Sir, who still endeavour to tread in the steps of these men; but
they have to contend against men who are gambling speculators in trade,
and who know no bounds to their insatiate thirst for wealth, a body of
men trading with false capital under the shelter of Joint Stock Banks,
many of which are themselves little better than societies formed for
the protection of swindling. These men get their names entered in the
books of one of these banks, they then wait upon a woolstapler, and
offer to purchase a quantity of wool, making use of this Joint Stock
Bank as a reference for character and capital—the reply, of course,
is, “Oh, they are highly respectable—they have their accounts in
our books—you are quite safe.” They then purchase the wool at three
months’ credit, have it converted by their power mills into goods, and
dispose of it at market during the ensuing week for ready money. The
consequence is, that they have to sacrifice a large amount, not only
to the merchant, but also to the woolstapler, who is not paid in cash
at the end of the three months, but in two months’ bills. These men
go on very prosperously so long as there is a brisk demand for the
goods in the market, but when there is a stagnation in trade, caused
by their recklessly overglutting the market, they inevitably become
bankrupts.... I will now, Sir, inform the House what are the ultimate
designs of this Anti-Corn-Law League. They commenced their operations
three years ago. At first they only attempted an alteration of the Corn
Laws; but finding very few supporters in the country, they held out a
promise to the enemies of the Established Church, that if they would
assist them in obtaining a total repeal of those laws, they would then
join them in an attack upon that Establishment; a treaty being ratified
between these parties, the hon. Member for Cork (Mr. O’Connell) was
immediately invited over to take a seat at their first banquet. They
there declared that the League was possessed of sufficient capital “to
buy up” the landed property of the whole English nobility. But, Sir, I
would ask what have the farmers to expect from these cotton lords when
they have bought up the landed property of the country? It is their
practice when they purchase land to have it immediately re-valued.
They carry the principle of the ledger into their rent-roll; the rents
are doubled; and I have known many families in my part of the country
ruined by the oppression of these men. The manufacturing members of
this League also want to increase their profits by reducing the price
of wages; they also want to become the corn merchants of England; to
convert one floor of their mills into a granary, and employ part of
their machinery to grind the corn. [_Laughter._] Hon. Members may
laugh, but you cannot deceive the working classes; you have tried to
make them believe differently; but all your hired agitators have failed
to do so. Yes, the poor of England would have to go down to these men
in the manufacturing districts with money in their sacks’ mouths to
buy corn, for there would be a great famine in the land. But this was
only a part of their designs; now mark what would follow. Have hon.
Members never been told of the Truck System? Have they never heard of
the labourers’ wages being paid in goods? Lest they should not, I will
expose to the House such a system of tyranny, oppression, and plunder,
committed on these half-starved operatives, as is a disgrace to any
Christian country. Sir, when the poor labourers go to receive their
work from these manufacturers they now find that it generally consists
of a very inferior article. They find the wool difficult to comb, and
the warps full of flaws. On the Saturday evening—that period which
ought to be the sweetest hour of the week to the working man—when
the reward of his labour ought to be as freely given as it would ever
be gratefully received—even this is pilfered from him. He takes his
work to the mill, and who do you think receives it? Not the master of
the mill—no, but an overlooker, who pretends carefully to examine it,
and, of course, finds fault with it. He says to the poor fellow, “You
have done this work ill; I must deduct so much from your combing.” And
the poor weavers, who are perhaps only receiving three and sixpence
or four shillings a week, are constantly mulcted in this manner by
these overlookers, who have their own wages paid out of what they can
deduct from these plundered wretches, and a percentage on the amount.
Then, again, mark what follows: they have not even the small remnant
paid in money; it is paid in goods, in rotten corn, in “cheap flour”;
and when the poor man carries it home to his wife and family, after in
vain endeavouring to induce the master to pay him his wages in money,
he finds the flour which he had received as wages in the previous week
still unconsumed, the quality being so bad that the stomachs of his
sickly children had been unable to retain it. Sir, I assert that all
this is true, for I have heard these statements during the course of
my life from hundreds of the working classes; and what is more, they
say that they have no hope of relief or succour from the Anti-Corn-Law
League. Sir, these manufacturers are the men for whom the landed
interest of England is to be destroyed!—these are the men for whom the
yeomanry of Great Britain are to be driven from their homes!—these
are the men who are to become the possessors of the English soil!—men
who live and move and have their being for money alone; they care
not how they obtain it; what cruelty and oppression they inflict, so
long as they amass wealth from the sweat of the poor man’s brow. They
refuse him the price of his labour; they look for nothing but enormous
profits; they declare that there is no religion in trade; in short,
they are, to use the emphatic language of Mr. Burke, a set of men whose
ledger is their bible, whose counting-house is their church, and whose
money is their God!


         =Source.=—_Hansard_, Third Series, vol. 60, col. 309.

Mr. Monckton Milnes said, it might be in the recollection of some
Members of that House, that towards the end of last Session he gave
notice of his intention to move for leave to bring in a Bill for
the repeal of so much of certain acts of Elizabeth and James I. as
inflicted penalties for the non-attendance on divine worship. The
circumstances to which his motion applied would be found stated in the
sixth report of the Inspectors of Prisons, published last year; the
case had attracted great attention, and the vigilant eye of the press,
to which public justice owed so much, had been directed to it in such a
manner as to render it impossible that the case should not come before
Parliament in some way or other. He thought, therefore, that it was
better that the case should be brought under the notice of the House by
one who, as far as he is known at all, is known as a humble and
attached member of the Church of England rather than by any one
indifferent or even hostile to that sacred institution. The cases to
which he particularly wished to advert were stated in page 79 of the
report, and are described by the Inspector as follows:

     “Among other complaints made to me by prisoners, J.
     C. came forward and stated that he was placed in the
     Ecclesiastical Court, and sentenced to pay a fine of
     one shilling and fourteen shillings costs; that he had
     been in prison ten weeks, and had no means of paying,
     and hoped that a representation might be made of his
     case, or he must remain a prisoner for ever. Upon
     referring to this man’s commitment, I find that he was
     summarily convicted before two magistrates, that on
     the _______ June, being the Lord’s Day, called Sunday,
     in the township of _______, did neglect to attend a
     church, or at some other place of religious worship,
     on the said day, he not having any reasonable excuse
     to be absent, and adjudged to forfeit and pay one
     shilling together with fourteen shillings costs, and
     in default to be kept in prison until the said sums
     shall be paid. It appeared that the following number
     of persons had been committed for a similar offence,
     and been discharged upon payment of the fine and costs:

    │ Name. │When received│ Fine.  │  Costs.   │  Period of │
    │       │  in Prison. │        │           │Confinement.│
    │       │    1839.    │ s.  d. │ £  s.  d. │            │
    │ J. B. │ February 12 │ 1   0  │ 0  10  6  │   63 days  │
    │ J. S. │ February 12 │ 1   0  │ 0  10  6  │   61   ”   │
    │ W. W. │ April 15    │ 1   0  │ 0  19  0  │   16   ”   │
    │ J. S. │ April 22    │ 1   0  │ 0  13  0  │   12   ”   │
    │ G. B. │ August 5    │ 1   0  │ 1   4  0  │   17   ”   │
    │ J. K. │ August 6    │ 1   0  │ 0  11  0  │    2   ”   │
    │ A. G. │ November 4  │ 1   0  │ 0  17  6  │   16   ”   │
    │ B. K. │ November 6  │ 1   0  │ 1   7  0  │   26   ”   │
    │ P. F. │ December 13 │ 1   0  │ 0  12  6  │    3   ”   │
    │ T. R. │ December 23 │ 1   0  │ 0  16  0  │   27   ”   │
    │       │             │        │           │            │
    │       │    1840.    │        │           │            │
    │ T. S. │ May 10      │ 1   0  │ 0  12  0  │    3   ”   │

     The poverty of the prisoner J. C. appearing to be such
     as to leave no hope of his being able to pay the fine
     and costs, I decided on making a representation of his
     case to the Secretary of State, who was pleased to
     recommend him forthwith as a fitting object for her
     Majesty’s pardon, and he was discharged in consequence.

     He (Mr. Monckton Milnes) believed that in all those
     cases the parties proceeded against were simple
     labouring men, who would have been totally incapable
     of paying the fines inflicted upon them, if the
     case had not attracted the notice of her Majesty’s
     Ministers; and it may be remarked, that in the first
     case the man was kept in prison during the whole
     hay-time and harvest, and was thus prevented from
     earning the means of his winter sustenance.... In a
     question of abuse of this nature, it was but natural
     that they should enquire what was the conduct of the
     magistrates. He had communicated with one of these
     magistrates, who had written:

     A man is brought before the magistrates charged
     with drunkenness in its most offensive form on the
     Sabbath, and with neglecting church. On enquiry it is
     found that this is his habitual practice, and that
     his conduct in this state renders him a pest to the
     neighbourhood. Perhaps even you will admit that such a
     character deserves punishment, and that he ought to be
     fined for drunkenness. Well, fine him. He refuses to
     pay, and has no goods on which to distrain. What then
     is to be done? Put him in the stocks, the law says;
     but we have no stocks, and the vagabond escapes scot
     free. To prevent this result and in respect to such
     characters only, recourse has been had to the statute
     enabling magistrates to fine for non-attendance at
     public worship, under which committals follow in case
     of non-payment.”

                      A CHARTIST IN PRISON (1843).

       =Source.=—_The Life of Thomas Cooper_, written by himself,
                  p. 237. (London: 1872.)

     [NOTE.—Thomas Cooper was convicted in 1843 of
        sedition in connection with a riot at Hanley,
        and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.]

Each cell had a stone floor; was simply long enough to hold a bed, and
broad enough for one to walk by the side of it. An immense slab of
cast-iron formed the bedstead, and it rested on two large stones. A bag
stuffed so hard with straw that you could scarcely make an impression
on it with your heel, formed the bed. Two blankets and a rug completed
the furniture. There was no pillow; but remembering that from my former
imprisonment, I had brought in with me a small macintosh pillow which
I could blow up and put under my head. The best thing I had was a very
large and very heavy camlet travelling cloak. If I had not brought this
with me, I could not have slept in that cell during the winter without
becoming a cripple for life, or losing my life.

The prison bell rang at half-past five, and we were expected to rise
and be ready to descend into the day-yard at six. At eight, they
brought us a brown porringer, full of “skilly”—for it was such bad
unpalatable oatmeal gruel that it deserved the name—and a loaf of
coarse, dark-coloured bread. At twelve at noon, they unlocked the door
of our day-room, and threw upon the deal table a netful of boiled
potatoes, in their skins, and a paper of salt—for dinner. At five in
the evening they brought us half a porringer of “skilly,” but no bread.
At six, we were trooped off, and locked up in our sleeping cells for
the next twelve hours.

I demanded better food; and was told I could not have it. I asked
to write to my wife, and receive a letter from her; but still they
refused. One day I slipped past one of the turnkeys as he unlocked our
day-room door, ran along the passages, and got to the governor’s room,
and thundered at it till he came out in alarm.

“Give me food that I can eat,” I said, “or some of you shall pay for

“Go back—get away to your day-room,” cried the governor.

“I will, if you will give me something to eat,” I said.

“Here—come here and take him away!” cried the governor to two of the
turnkeys who had just then appeared, but who looked sorely affrighted.

“I’ll knock the first man down who dares to touch me,” said I; and the
turnkeys stood still.

The governor burst into laughter, for he saw they were plainly in a fix.

“What d’ye want to eat, Cooper?” said he in a gentle tone; “tell me,
and I’ll give it you.”

“All I want of you at present,” said I, “is a cup of good coffee, and a
hearty slice of bread and butter. When I can speak to the magistrates,
I shall ask for something more.”

And I did ask the magistrates; but they would not yield. So I led the
officers of the prison a sorely harassing life—poor fellows! I was
ever knocking at the door, or shattering the windows, or asking for the
surgeon or governor, or troubling them in one way or other.

                        A CHARTIST HYMN (1843).

       =Source.=—_The Life of Thomas Cooper_, written by himself.
                 (London: 1872.)

    Sons of poverty assemble,
      Ye whose hearts with woe are riven,
    Let the guilty tyrants tremble,
      Who your hearts such pain have given.
              We will never
      From the shrine of truth be driven.

    Must ye faint—ah! how much longer?
      Better by the sword to die
    Than to die of want and hunger:

    They heed not your feeble cry:
          Lift your voices—
    Lift your voices to the sky.

    Rouse them from their silken slumbers,
      Trouble them amidst their pride:
    Swell your ranks, augment your numbers,
      Spread the Charter far and wide!
            Truth is with us:
      God Himself is on our side.

    See the brave, ye spirit-broken,
      That uphold your righteous cause;
    Who against them hath not spoken?
      They are, just as Jesus was,
      By bad men and wicked laws.

    Dire oppression, Heaven decrees it,
      From our land shall soon be hurled:
    Mark the coming time and seize it—
      Every banner be unfurled!
            Spread the Charter!
      Spread the Charter through the world.

                    FORETASTES OF DARWINISM (1844).

      =Source.=—Lord Beaconsfield’s _Tancred_, bk. ii., chap. ix.

Lady Constance took up a book which was at hand, and said: “Do you know
this?” And Tancred, opening a volume which he had never seen, found it
was “The Revelations of Chaos”—a startling work just published, and of
which a rumour had reached him.

“No,” he replied, “I have not seen it.”

“I will lend it you if you like; it is one of those books one must
read. It explains everything, and is written in a very agreeable style.”

“It explains everything!” said Tancred. “It must indeed be a very
remarkable book.”

“I think it will just suit you,” said Lady Constance. “Do you know, I
thought so several times while I was reading it.”

“To judge from the title, the subject is rather obscure,” said Tancred.

“No longer so,” said Lady Constance. “It is treated scientifically;
everything is explained by geology and astronomy, and in that way.
It shows you exactly how a star is formed; nothing can be so pretty!
A cluster of vapour—the cream of the Milky Way—a sort of celestial
cheese—churned into light. You must read it; ’tis charming.”

“Nobody ever saw a star formed,” said Tancred.

“Perhaps not. You must read the ‘Revelations’; it is all explained. But
what is most interesting is the way in which man has been developed.
You know, all is development. The principle is perpetually going on.
First there was nothing, then there was something, then—I forget the
next; I think there were shells, then fishes, then we came. Let me
see—did we come next? Never mind that; we came at last. And the next
change there will be something very superior to us—something with
wings. Ah! that’s it. We were fishes, and I believe we shall be crows.
But you must read it.”

“I do not believe I ever was a fish,” said Tancred.

“Oh, but it is all proved! You must not argue on my rapid sketch;
read the book. It is impossible to contradict anything in it. You
understand, it is all science; it is not like those books in which
one says one thing and another the contrary, and both may be wrong.
Everything is proved—by geology, you know. You see exactly how
everything is made; how many worlds there have been; how long they
lasted; what went before; what comes next. We are a link in the
chain, as inferior animals were that preceded us. We in turn shall be
inferior; all that will remain of us will be some relics in a new red
sandstone. This is development. We had fins; we may have wings.”

                THE OPENING OF MAZZINI’S LETTERS (1844).

         =Source.=—_Hansard_, Third Series, vol. 76, col. 212.

     [NOTE.—On June 14, 1844, Mr. Duncombe, the
        friend of the Chartists, presented in the House
        of Commons a petition by W. J. Linton, Joseph
        Mazzini, and others, complaining that their letters
        had been opened at the General Post Office, and
        urging that such a practice, introducing as it did
        the spy system of foreign states, was repugnant
        to every principle of the British Constitution,
        and subversive of the public confidence. A debate
        followed on July 2, when Mr. Duncombe moved for a
        Committee of Inquiry.]

Mr. Thomas Duncombe said he did not retract one single charge that
he had made—viz., that within the last two years there had been a
most unscrupulous use made of the power vested in the Government in
opening the letters of different parties, and to a very great extent;
and he believed that if an inquiry were instituted, he should be able
to prove that so far from the Right Hon. Baronet (Sir James Graham,
the Home Secretary) having only done what every Secretary of State had
done since the time of Queen Anne, there had been more letters opened
contrary to law within the last two years than had been opened within
the last ten or twenty years. He understood that there existed in the
General Post Office an office which was commonly called or known by
the subordinates of the establishments, as well as by the superior
officers, as “the secret or Inner Office.” In this office these deeds
of darkness took place. It was a sort of Star Chamber—a sort of Post
Office Inquisition. Letters were carried into that place, where they
were examined, and from thence a message was sent to the Home Office,
and copies were taken of these letters, according to the value of their
contents.... He understood, and that was capable of contradiction if
not true, that at this moment day after day the letters of Foreign
Ministers were opened and read; that at all events they went into some
other office, and no one could tell whether they had been opened or
not.... It was said before that it was an un-English custom, but it now
appeared to be peculiarly English, particularly in the way we carried
it out; for he found that in Austria even, if not always, but nine
times out of ten, whenever any letters were opened they were re-sealed
with the government seal, by which it was known that they had been
opened by authority. And very often Ferdinand, Grand Duke of Tuscany,
after perusing letters detained at the Post Office, was in the habit
of writing underneath, “Vidit Ferdinandus.” In England there had
never been an instance of any mark being made of a letter having been
secretly read at the Post Office, but on all occasions the party
was kept in ignorance of his secrets having been disclosed to the
Government.... They had opened letters at the instigation of Foreign
Powers, and to a very great extent—the letters of Polish exiles,
Italians, and others. What had this been done for? What had we to do
with misunderstandings in Italy? How little was it known by foreigners
that England was guilty of such treachery. Mazzini himself, only the
other day, received a letter from one of his expatriated countrymen,
who had taken refuge at Corfu, dated May 1, who wrote thus—perhaps the
right hon. Baronet had seen this letter: “Now that I have got my foot
on British soil, relying upon the well-known loyalty of Englishmen,
you may write to me in my own name.” Poor deluded man! What did he do
in this letter besides? He thanked the individuals who had assisted
him in his escape. These names were found in this letter, the letter
was handed over to the Austrian Government, and these individuals were
thrown into prison. At this moment fifty or sixty persons were in
prison, suffering imprisonment because of the base information of the
British to their ambassador, and communicated by the ambassador to his
own Government.

                   AGRICULTURE AND FREE TRADE (1845).

    =Source.=—_Hansard_, Third Series, vol. 78, col. 785, March 13.

Mr. Cobden, having presented a petition in favour of his Motion
for a Committee of Inquiry into the effects of the Corn Laws on
Agriculturists, addressed the House: Sir, the object of this Motion is
to appoint a Select Committee to inquire into the present condition
of the agricultural interests; and at the same time to ascertain how
the laws regulating the importation of agricultural produce have
affected the agriculturists of this country. As regards the distress
among farmers, I presume we cannot go to a higher authority than those
hon. Gentlemen who profess to be the farmers’ friends and protectors.
I find it stated by those hon. Gentlemen who recently paid their
respects to the Prime Minister, that the agriculturists are in a state
of great embarrassment and distress. I find that one gentleman from
Norfolk (Mr. Hudson) stated that the farmers in the county are paying
their rents, but paying them out of capital, and not profits. I find
that Mr. Turner, of Upton, in Devonshire, stated that one-half of the
smaller farmers in that county are insolvent, and that the others are
rapidly falling into the same condition; that the farmers with larger
holdings are quitting their farms with a view of saving the rest of
their property; and that, unless some remedial measures are adopted
by this House, they will be utterly ruined. The accounts which I have
given you of those districts are such as I have had from many other
sources. I put it to county members, whether—taking the whole of the
south of England, from the confines of Nottinghamshire to the Land’s
End—whether, as a rule, the farmers are not now in a state of the
greatest embarrassment? ...

I am at a loss to understand what protection to agriculture means,
because I find such contradictory accounts given in this House by the
promoters of that system. For instance, nine months ago, when my right
hon. friend the member for Wolverhampton (Mr. Villiers) brought forward
his Motion for the Abolition of the Corn Laws, the right hon.
gentleman, then the President of the Board of Trade, in replying to
him, said that the present Corn Law had been most successful in its
operations. He took great credit to the Government for the steadiness
of price that was obtained under that law. Now recollect that the
right hon. gentleman was speaking when wheat was 56s. a quarter, and
that wheat is now 45s. The right hon. Baronet at the head of the
Government says: “My legislation has had nothing to do with wheat being
at 45s. a quarter”; but how are we to get over the difficulty that the
responsible member of Government at the head of the Board of Trade,
only nine months ago, claimed merit for the Government to have kept
up the price of wheat at 56s.? These discrepancies themselves between
members of the Government and its supporters render it more and more
necessary that this question of protection should be inquired into. I
ask, what does it mean? The price of wheat is 45s. this day. I have
been speaking to the highest authority in England on this point—one
who is often quoted by this House—within the last week, and he tells
me that, with another favourable harvest, he thinks it very likely that
wheat will be 35s. a quarter. What does this legislation mean, or what
does it purport to be, if you are to have prices fluctuating from 56s.
down to 35s. a quarter, and probably lower? Can you prevent it by the
legislation of this House? ...

I show you after thirty years’ trial what is the depressed condition of
the agriculturists; I prove to you what is the impoverished state of
farmers, and also of the labourers, and you will not contest any one of
those propositions. I say it is enough, having had thirty years’ trial
of your specific with no better results than these, for me to ask you
to go into Committee to see if something better cannot be devised. I am
going to contend that free trade in grain would be more advantageous to
farmers—and with them I include labourers—than restriction; to oblige
the hon. member for Norfolk, I will take with them also the landlords;
and I contend that free trade in corn and grain of every kind would be
more beneficial to them than to any other class of the community. I
should have contended the same before the passing of the late tariff.
But now I am prepared to do so with tenfold more force. What has the
right hon. Baronet (Sir R. Peel) done? He has passed a law to admit
fat cattle at a nominal duty. Some foreign fat cattle were selling in
Smithfield the other day at about £15 or £16 per head, paying only
about 7-½ per cent. duty; but he has not admitted the raw material
out of which these fat cattle are made. I say, give free trade in
that grain which goes to make the cattle. I contend that by this
protective system the farmers throughout the country are more injured
than any other class in the community. I would take, for instance,
the article of clover-seed. I believe clover-seed is to be excluded
from the schedule of free importation. Now I ask for whose benefit is
this exception made? I ask the hon. member for North Northamptonshire,
whether those whom he represents, the farmers of that district, are, in
a large majority of instances, sellers of clover-seed? I will undertake
to say they are not. How many counties in England are there which are
benefited by the protection of clover-seed? I will take the whole of
Scotland. If there be any Scotch members present, I ask them whether
they do not in their country import the clover-seed from England? They
do not grow it. I undertake to say there are not ten counties in the
United Kingdom which are interested in the exportation of clover-seed
out of their own borders. Neither have they any of this article in
Ireland. But yet we have clover-seed excluded from the farmers,
although they are not interested as a body in its protection at all.
Again, take the article of beans. There are lands in Essex where they
can grow them alternate years with wheat. I find that beans come from
that district to Mark Lane; and I believe also that in some parts of
Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire they do the same; but how is it with
the poor lands of Surrey or the poor downland of Wiltshire? Take the
whole of the counties. How many of them are there which are exporters
of beans, or send them to market? You are taxing the whole of the
farmers who do not sell their beans, for the pretended benefit of a
few counties or districts of counties where they do. Mark you, where
they can grow beans on the better and stronger soils, it is not in one
case out of ten that they grow them for the market. They may grow them
for their own use; but where they do not cultivate beans, send them to
market, and turn them into money, those farmers can have no interest
whatever in keeping up the money price of that which they never sell.
Take the article of oats. How many farmers are there who ever have oats
down on the credit side of their books, as an item upon which they
rely for the payment of their rents? The farmers may, and generally
do, grow oats for feeding their own horses; but it is an exception to
the rule—and a rare exception, too—where the farmer depends upon the
sale of his oats to meet his expenses. Take the article of hops. You
have a protection upon them for the benefit of the growers in Kent,
Sussex, and Surrey; but yet the cultivators of hops are taxed for the
protection of others in articles which they do not themselves produce.
Take the article of cheese. Not one farmer in ten in the country makes
his own cheese, and yet they and their servants are large consumers
of it. But what are the counties which have the protection in this
article? Cheshire, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, part of Derbyshire,
and Leicestershire. Here are some four or five dairy counties having
an interest in the protection of cheese; but recollect that those
counties are peculiarly hardly taxed in beans and oats, because in
those counties where they are chiefly dairy farms, they are most in
want of artificial food for their cattle. There are the whole of the
hilly districts; and I hope my friend the member for Nottingham (Mr.
Gisborne) is here, because he has a special grievance in this matter;
he lives in Derbyshire, and very commendably employs himself in rearing
good cattle upon the hills; but he is taxed for your protection for
his beans, peas, oats, Indian corn, and everything which he wants for
feeding them. He told me, only the other day, that he should like
nothing better than to give up the little remnant of protection on
cattle, if you would only let him buy a thousand quarters of black oats
for the consumption of his stock.... Take the whole of the hilly
districts, and the down country of Wiltshire; the whole of that
expanse of downs in the south of England; take the Cheviots, where the
flockmasters reside; the Grampians in Scotland; and take the whole of
Wales; they are not benefited in the slightest degree by the protection
on these articles; but, on the contrary, you are taxing the very things
they want. They require provender as abundantly and cheaply as they can
get it. Allowing a free importation of food for cattle is the only way
in which those counties can improve the breed of their lean stocks, and
the only manner in which they can ever bring their land up to anything
like a proper state of fertility. I will go further and say that farms
with thin soil, which you will find in Hertfordshire and Surrey,
farmers with large capital, arable farmers, I say those men are deeply
interested in having a free importation of food for their cattle,
because they have thin, poor land. The land does not of itself contain
the means of increased fertility; and the only way is the bringing in
of an additional quantity of food from elsewhere, that they can bring
their farms up to a proper state of cultivation. I have been favoured
with an estimate made by a very clever experienced farmer in Wiltshire.
That gentleman estimates that upon every 400 acres of land he could
increase his profits to the amount of £280, paying the same rent as at
present, provided there was a free importation of foreign grain of all
kinds. He would buy 500 quarters of oats at 15s., or the same amount
in beans or peas at 14s. or 15s. a sack, to be fed on the land or in
the yard; by which he would grow additional 160 quarters of wheat, and
230 quarters of barley, and gain an increased profit of £300 upon his
sheep and cattle. His plan embraces the employment of an additional
capital of £1,000; and he would pay £150 a year more for labour. I had
an opportunity, the other day, of speaking to a very intelligent farmer
in Hertfordshire. He told me that last year he paid £230 enhanced price
on his beans and other provender which he bought for his cattle—£230
enhanced price in consequence of that restriction upon the trade in
foreign grain, amounting to 14s. a quarter on all the wheat he sold
off his farm.... I think I could give you from every county the names
of some of the first-rate farmers who are as ardent free-traders as
I am.... They say, “Let us have our Indian corn, Egyptian beans, and
Polish oats, as freely as we have our linseed cake, and we can bear
competition with any corn-growers in the world.”

                     PEEL’S CHANGE OF VIEWS (1844).

        =Source.=—_Memoirs by Sir Robert Peel_, vol. ii., p. 98.
                  (London: 1858.)

I will briefly refer to the position of the Corn Law question at the
close of the Session of 1845, unaffected as it then was by failure, or
apprehension of failure, in any particular article of food.

The progress of discussion had made a material change in the opinions
of many persons with regard to the policy of protection to domestic
agriculture, and the extent to which this policy should be carried.

I had adopted at an early period of my public life, without, I fear,
much serious reflection, the opinions generally prevalent at that time
among men of all parties, as to the justice and necessity of protection
to agriculture.

They were the opinions of Sir Henry Parnell and Mr. Ricardo, of Lord
John Russell and Lord Melbourne, as well as of the Duke of Wellington,
Mr. Canning, and Mr. Huskisson. I had, however, been a willing party,
both in 1828 and 1842, to the reductions which took place in the amount
of protection fixed by the Corn Law of 1815, a law which was based on
the assumption that wheat could not profitably be grown at a price
lower than eighty shillings a quarter.

One of the first acts of the Government over which I presided (the
Government of August, 1841) was to propose a material change in the
Corn Law of 1828.... That proposal was ultimately adopted, after
considerable discussion in Cabinet, and a Bill was brought into the
House of Commons at an early period of the Session of 1842, which
finally passed into a law, providing for a material diminution in the
amount of the import duties on the several kinds of foreign grain. The
prohibition which then existed on the import of foreign cattle and meat
was removed in the same Session, and their import permitted on moderate
rates of duty. These changes, although they gave little satisfaction to
the most eager opponents of the Corn Law, and were indeed denounced by
some as perfectly nugatory, were not effected without great murmuring
and some open opposition to the Government on the part of many of its

The Duke of Buckingham resigned his seat in the Cabinet rather than be
a party to them, nor was it an easy matter to procure the unanimous
adoption of the measures I proposed by the remaining members of the

During the discussions in Parliament on the Corn Law of 1842 I was
more than once pressed to give a guarantee (so far as a Minister could
give it) that the amount of protection established by that law should
be permanently adhered to; but, although I did not then contemplate
the necessity for further change, I uniformly refused to fetter the
discretion of the Government by any such assurances as those that were
required from me. It is unnecessary for the purposes of this memoir
that I should refer in detail to the events that took place between the
passing of the Corn Bill in 1842 and the close of the Session in 1845.
During that interval the opinions I had previously entertained on the
subject of protection to agriculture had undergone a great change.

The main causes of that change are stated in a public letter which I
addressed to my constituents shortly before the General Election of
1847, from which the following is an extract. The latter part of this
extract refers to a question in some respects distinct—namely, the
difficulty there would be in subsequently maintaining inviolate the
Corn Law of 1842 in the event of its suspension in 1845 on account of
apprehended scarcity. I will give, however, the extract entire, as the
reasoning applies with nearly equal force to the principle of continued
protection as well as to the policy of its revival after having been
once in abeyance. The letter is dated July, 1847.

                     _To the Electors of Tamworth._

My confidence in the validity of the reasons on which I had myself
heretofore relied for the maintenance of restrictions on the import
of corn had been materially weakened. It had been weakened by the
conflict of arguments on the principle of a restrictive policy; by many
concurring proofs that the wages of labour do not vary with the price
of corn; by the contrast presented in two successive periods of dearth
and abundance, in the health, morals, and tranquillity and general
prosperity of the whole community; by serious doubts whether, in the
present condition of this country, cheapness and plenty are not ensured
for the future in a higher degree by the free intercourse in corn, than
by restrictions on its importation for the purpose of giving protection
to domestic agriculture.

It had been weakened also by the following considerations, which were
in a great degree new elements in forming a judgment on this vital

The general repeal of prohibitory duties, and the recent application
of the principles of free trade to almost all articles of import from
abroad, made the Corn Laws the object of more searching scrutiny and
more invidious comment, and narrowed the ground on which their defence
could be maintained.

Among the articles of foreign import prohibited up to the year 1842,
and then admitted at low rates of duty, were some important articles
of agricultural produce, salted and fresh meat, oxen, sheep, cows,
etc. You probably recollect the panic which this admission caused—the
forced sale of stock, the prophecies that it would be impossible to
compete with the foreign grazier, and that meat would be reduced to
threepence a pound. Five years have passed since this great change in
the law took place, and your own experience will enable you to judge
whether the panic was well founded, and whether the prophecies have
been fulfilled.

The complete failure of these prophecies had naturally had its effect
on public opinion with regard to the probable consequences of a free
intercourse in other articles of agricultural produce.

There was another circumstance still more calculated to diminish
apprehensions as to the risk of opening the corn market of this country
to foreign competition. There has appeared of late years a tendency
to increase in the consumption of articles of subsistence much more
rapid than the increase in the population. It is difficult, if not
impossible, on account of the absence of statistical information, to
measure accurately that increase in the case of articles of first
necessity, such as corn and meat; but it may be inferred from the
relative consumption at different periods of articles in respect to
which the comparison can be instituted.

The following is an account of some of the principal articles entered
for home consumption in the years 1841 and 1846 respectively:

  │        Articles.        │        1841.       │        1846.       │
  │ Cocoa                   │  1,930,764 lbs.    │  2,962,327 lbs.    │
  │ Coffee                  │ 28,420,980 lbs.    │ 36,781,391 lbs.    │
  │ Currants                │    190,071 cwts.   │    359,315 cwts.   │
  │ Rice                    │    245,887 cwts.   │    466,961 cwts.   │
  │ Pepper                  │  2,750,790 lbs.    │  3,297,431 lbs.    │
  │ Sugar                   │  4,065,971 cwts.   │  5,231,845 cwts.   │
  │ Molasses                │    402,422 cwts.   │    582,665 cwts.   │
  │ Tea                     │ 36,681,877 lbs.    │ 46,728,208 lbs.    │
  │ Tobacco and Snuff       │ 22,308,385 lbs.    │ 27,001,908 lbs.    │
  │ Brandy                  │  1,165,137 gallons │  1,515,954 gallons │
  │ Geneva                  │     15,404 gallons │     40,211 gallons │
  │ British Spirits         │ 20,642,333 gallons │ 23,122,581 gallons │
  │ Malt, charged with duty │ 36,164,448 bushels │ 41,979,000 bushels │

Surely it is impossible to refer to this comparative table without
being forcibly struck by the rapid increase in the consumption of
the articles which it embraces. Can there be a doubt that if the
consumption of articles of a secondary necessity has been thus
advancing, the consumption of articles of first necessity—of meat
and of bread, for instance—has been making at least an equally rapid

During the greater part of the period included in the return, from the
middle of 1842 to the end of 1846, the free trade measures have been
in operation. They have been in operation, therefore—concurrently,
at least—with these evidences of the increasing ease and comfort
of the people. Other causes have no doubt contributed to that ease
and comfort; but even if the whole effect be assigned to those other
causes—to railway enterprise or anything else—it does not affect
my present argument. If there be from any cause a tendency to the
consumption of articles of the first necessity much more rapid
than the increase of population, the responsibility of undertaking
to regulate the supply of food by legislative restraints, and the
difficulty of maintaining these restraints in the event of any sudden
check to prosperity or increased price of subsistence, will be greatly
augmented; while, on the other hand, the danger to be apprehended from
foreign competition is materially lessened.

It was from the combined influence of these various
considerations—from diminished confidence in the necessity or
advantage of protection; from the increasing difficulty of resisting
the application to articles of food of those principles which had
been gradually applied to so many other articles; from the result of
the experiment made with regard to cattle and meat in 1842; from the
evidences of rapidly increasing consumption; from the aggravation of
every other difficulty in the maintenance of the Corn Laws by the
fact of their suspension on the first real pressure—it was from the
combined influence of such considerations that I came to the conclusion
that the attempt to maintain those laws inviolate after their
suspension would be impolitic, that the struggle for their maintenance
would assume a new character, and that no advantage to be gained by
success could counterbalance the consequences of failure, or even the
evils attending protracted conflict.

Between the maintenance of the Corn Laws inviolate and a measure
involving their ultimate repeal, I saw no middle course satisfactory
or advantageous to any interest; I saw still less of satisfaction
or advantage in indecision and irrational delay. I could not admit
the incompetency of the present Parliament to deal with this as with
every other question of public concern. There appeared to me, upon the
whole, much less of public evil in the resolution finally to adjust the
question of the Corn Laws than in any other that could be then adopted;
and that being my deliberate conviction, I felt it to be my duty to
incur the painful sacrifices which the acting upon that conviction must
inevitably entail.

               LORD J. RUSSELL QUICKENS THE PACE (1845).

         =Source.=—_Memoirs by Sir R. Peel_, vol. ii., p. 175.
                   (London: 1858.)

                _To the Electors of the City of London._


The present state of the country in regard to its supply of food cannot
be viewed without apprehension. Forethought and bold precaution may
avert any serious evils—indecision and procrastination may produce a
state of suffering which it is frightful to contemplate.

Three weeks ago it was generally expected that Parliament would be
immediately called together. The announcement that Ministers were
prepared at that time to advise the Crown to summon Parliament, and to
propose on their first meeting a suspension of the import duties on
corn, would have caused orders at once to be sent to various parts of
Europe and America for the purchase and transmission of grain for the
consumption of the United Kingdom. An Order in Council dispensing with
the law was neither necessary nor desirable. No party in Parliament
would have made itself responsible for the destruction of a measure so
urgent and so beneficial.

The Queen’s Ministers have met and separated without affording us any
promise of such seasonable relief.

It becomes us, therefore, the Queen’s subjects, to consider how we
can best avert, or at all events mitigate, calamities of no ordinary

Two evils require your consideration. One of these is the disease in
the potatoes, affecting very seriously parts of England and Scotland,
and committing fearful ravages in Ireland.

The extent of this evil has not yet been ascertained, and every week,
indeed, tends either to reveal unexpected disease, or to abate in
some districts the alarm previously entertained. But there is one
misfortune peculiar to the failure in this particular crop. The effect
of a bad corn-harvest is, in the first place, to diminish the supply
in the market and to raise the price—hence diminished consumption,
and the privation of incipient scarcity, by which the whole stock is
more equally distributed over the year, and the ultimate pressure is
greatly mitigated; but the fear of the breaking out of this unknown
disease in the potatoes induces the holders to hurry into the market,
and thus we have at one and the same time rapid consumption and
impending deficiency—scarcity of the article and cheapness of price.
The ultimate suffering must thereby be rendered far more severe than
it otherwise would be. The evil to which I have adverted may be owing
to an adverse season, to a mysterious disease in the potato, to want
of science or of care in propagating the plant. In any of these cases,
Government is no more subject to blame for the failure of the potato
crop than it was entitled to credit for the plentiful corn-harvests
which we have lately enjoyed.

Another evil, however, under which we are suffering, is the fruit of
Ministerial counsel and Parliamentary law. It is the direct consequence
of an Act of Parliament passed three years ago, on the recommendation
of the present advisers of the Crown. By this law, grain of all kinds
has been made subject to very high duties on importation. These duties
are so contrived that the worse the quality of the corn, the higher is
the duty; so that when good wheat rises to 70s. a quarter, the average
price of all wheat is 57s. or 58s. and the duty 15s. or 14s. a quarter.
Thus the corn barometer points to fair, while the ship is bending under
a storm.

This defect was pointed out many years ago by writers on the Corn Laws,
and was urged upon the attention of the House of Commons when the
present Act was under consideration.

But I confess that on the general subject, my views have in the course
of twenty years undergone a great alteration. I used to be of opinion
that corn was an exception to the general rules of political economy;
but observation and experience have convinced me that we ought to
abstain from all interference with the supply of food. Neither a
Government nor a Legislature can ever regulate the corn market with the
beneficial effects which the entire freedom of sale and purchase are
sure of themselves to produce....

Let us, then, unite to put an end to a system which has been proved
to be the blight of commerce, the bane of agriculture, the source of
bitter divisions among classes, the cause of penury, fever, mortality
and crime among the people.

But if this end is to be achieved, it must be gained by the unequivocal
expression of the public voice. It is not to be denied that many
elections for cities and towns in 1841, and some in 1845, appear to
favour the assertion that free-trade is not popular with the great
mass of the community. The Government appear to be waiting for some
excuse to give up the present Corn Law. Let the people by petition,
by address, by remonstrance, afford them the excuse they seek. Let
the Ministry propose such a revision of the taxes as in their opinion
may render the public burdens more just and more equal; let them add
any other provisions which caution and even scrupulous forbearance
may suggest; but let the removal of restrictions on the admission of
the main articles of food and clothing used by the mass of the people
be required, in plain terms, as useful to all great interests, and
indispensable to the progress of the nation.

                                            J. RUSSELL.
       _November 22, 1845._

                         THE BOMBSHELL (1845).

     =Source.=—_The Greville Memoirs_: 1837-1852, vol. ii., p. 309.

LONDON, _December 5_.—I came to town yesterday, and find
public affairs in a state of the greatest interest and excitement. The
whole town had been electrified in the morning by an article in the
_Times_ announcing with an air of certainty and authority that the
discussions and disputes in the Cabinet had terminated by a resolution
to call Parliament together early in January and propose a total repeal
of the Corn Laws, and that the Duke had not only consented, but was to
bring forward the measure in the House of Lords.... There can be very
little doubt that it was Aberdeen’s object that Delane should publish
what he did, although he did not tell him to do so, and the reason
is very obvious. Yesterday the American mail went off, and took with
it the morning papers, and consequently this article in the _Times_.
It was exactly what Aberdeen wanted. As Foreign Secretary, his most
earnest desire is to get over the Oregon affair as well as he can,
and he knows that nothing will have so great an effect in America,
nothing tend so materially to the prevalence of pacific counsels, as an
announcement that our Corn Laws are going to be repealed.

                    PEEL AND HIS COLLEAGUES (1845).

   =Source.=—_Letters of Queen Victoria_: 1837-1861, vol. ii., p. 56.
             (London: 1907.)

                   _Memorandum by the Prince Albert._
                                               _December 7th, 1845_.

Yesterday, Sir Robert Peel arrived here, and explained the condition of
affairs.... Sir Robert proposed, by opening the ports, a preparation
for the abolition of the Corn Laws. His colleagues refused, and of the
whole Cabinet only Lord Aberdeen, Sir James Graham, and Mr. Sidney
Herbert voted with him. Sir Robert hoped that in time the opinions of
others would change, and therefore postponed a final decision. In the
meanwhile the agitation of the Anti-Corn-Law League began; in every
town addresses were voted, meetings were held, the _Times_—barometer
of public feeling—became violently Anti-Corn-Law, the meetings of the
Cabinet roused attention, a general panic seized on the mass of the

When he (Sir Robert Peel) arrived here, he was visibly much moved....

On my observing that Sir Robert has a majority of one hundred in the
House of Commons, and asking whether it was not possible for him to
continue the Government, he said:

“The Duke of Buccleuch will carry half Scotland with him, and Lord
Stanley, leading the Protectionists in the House of Lords, would lead
to great and immediate defections even in Her Majesty’s household.
The Duchess of Buccleuch, Lord Hardwicke, Lord Exeter, Lord Rivers,
Lord Beverley, etc., would resign, and we should not be able to find
successors; in the House of Commons I am sure I should be beat, the
Tories, agriculturists, etc., in rage would turn round upon me and
be joined by the Whigs and Radicals, who would say: ‘This is _our_
measure, and we will not allow you to carry it.’ It is better that I
should go now, when _nobody has committed himself_ in the heat of party
contest, when no factions have been formed, no imprudent declarations

After we had examined what possibilities were open for the Crown, the
conclusion was come to that Lord John was the only man who could be
charged with forming a Cabinet. Lord Stanley, with the aristocracy as
his base, would bring about an insurrection (or riots), and the ground
on which one would have to fight would be this: to want to force the
masses of the people, amid the great poverty, to pay for their bread a
high price, in favour of the landlords.

It is a matter of the utmost importance not to place the House of Lords
into direct antagonism with the Commons and with the masses of the
people. Sir Robert says very correctly:

“I am afraid of other interests getting damaged in the struggle about
the Corn Laws; already the system of promotion in the Army, the Game
Laws, the Church, are getting attacked with the aid of the league.”

                           FREE TRADE (1846).

      =Source.=—_Hansard_, Third Series, vol. lxxxiii., col. 276,
                 June 27, 1846.

Sir R. PEEL: ... I fairly avow to you that in making
this great reduction upon the import of articles, the produce and
manufacture of foreign countries, I have no guarantee to give you that
other countries will immediately follow our example. I give you that
advantage in the argument. Wearied with our long and unavailing efforts
to enter into satisfactory commercial treaties with other nations, we
have resolved at length to consult our own interests, and not to punish
those other countries for the wrong they do us in continuing their
high duties upon the importation of our products and manufactures, by
continuing high duties ourselves, encouraging unlawful trade. We have
had no communication with any Foreign Government upon the subject of
these reductions. We cannot promise that France will immediately make
a corresponding reduction in her tariff. I cannot promise that Russia
will prove her gratitude to us for our reduction of duty upon her
tallow, by any diminution of her duties. You may, therefore, say, in
opposition to the present plan, What is this superfluous liberality,
that you are going to do away with all these duties, and yet you expect
nothing in return? I may, perhaps, be told that many foreign countries,
since the former relaxation of duties on our part—and that would
be perfectly consistent with the fact—foreign countries which have
benefited by our relaxations, have not followed our example; nay, have
not only not followed our example, but have actually applied to the
importation of British goods higher rates of duties than formerly. I
quite admit it. I give you all the benefit of that argument. I rely
upon that fact, as conclusive proof of the policy we are pursuing. It
is a fact, that other countries have not followed our example, and
have levied higher duties in some cases upon our goods. But what has
been the result upon the amount of your exports? You have defied the
regulations of these countries. Your export trade is greatly increased.
Now why is that so? Partly because of your acting without wishing to
avail yourselves of their assistance; partly because of the smuggler,
not engaged by you, in so many continental countries, whom the strict
regulations and the triple duties, which are to prevent any ingress of
foreign goods, have raised up; and partly, perhaps, because these very
precautions against the ingress of your commodities are a burden, and
the taxation increasing the cost of production disqualify the foreigner
from competing with you. But your exports, whatever be the tariffs of
other countries, or however apparent the ingratitude with which they
have treated you—your export trade has been constantly increasing.
By the remission of your duties upon raw materials—by inciting your
skill and industry—by competition with foreign goods, you have defied
your competitors in foreign markets, and you have even been enabled to
exclude them. Notwithstanding their hostile tariffs, the declared value
of British exports has increased above £10,000,000 during the period
which has elapsed since the relaxation of the duties on your part. I
say, therefore, to you that these hostile tariffs, so far from being
an objection to continuing your policy, are an argument in its favour.
But, depend upon it, your example will ultimately prevail.... I do
hope that the friends and lovers of peace between nations will derive
material strength from the example which I have advised, by remitting
the impediments to commercial intercourse. But observe, if that be the
effect, I think in all probability that the continuance of permanent
peace will expose us to more extensive and more formidable competition
with foreign countries with respect to manufactures. During war we
commanded the supply of nations. Peace has introduced not only new
consumers, but also formidable manufacturing interests. In order that
we may retain our pre-eminence it is of the greatest importance that
we neglect no opportunity of securing to ourselves those advantages by
which that pre-eminence can be alone secured. Sir, I firmly believe
that abundance and cheapness of provisions is one of the constituents
by which the continuance of manufacturing and commercial pre-eminence
may be maintained. You may say the object of these observations is
to flatter the love of gain, and administer merely to the desire of
accumulating money. I advise this measure on no such ground. I believe
that the accumulation of wealth, that is, the increase of capital, is a
main element, or at least one of the chief means by which we can retain
the eminence we have so long possessed. But I have attempted to show
that abundance of provisions, and security (which is the main thing)
for continued abundance, not only contributes to the accumulation
of wealth, but that it is directly conducive to the alleviation of
public burdens, by increasing the revenue; to the alleviation of local
burdens, by diminishing crimes; but, above all, that it is conducive
to the spread of morality, by diminishing those temptations to crime
which arise from distress and poverty.... I cannot appeal to any
ungenerous feeling—I cannot appeal to fear, or to anything which will
be calculated to exercise an undue sway over the reason of those to
whom these proposals are made. There may be agitation, but it is not
one which has reached the great mass of the labouring classes, there
being among them a total absence of all excitement. But this I do
say—there has been a great change in the opinions of the great mass
of the community with respect to the Corn Laws. There is between the
master manufacturers and the operative classes a common conviction that
did not prevail at 1842 or at a former period—that it will be for the
public advantage that these laws should be repealed; and while there is
that union of sentiment between them, there appears at the same time to
be a general contentment and loyalty, and a confidence in your justice
and impartiality.

Sir HOWARD DOUGLAS (member for Liverpool): ... This establishes, I
think, the truth of what I had the honour of saying in this House on a
former occasion: that there is a great difference between that plenty
and low price which are produced by abundance of home production, and
that which is produced by unlimited foreign importation; that the one
quickens, the other deadens the home market; that England is England’s
best customer; and that the contemporaneous exportation from England
in return for foreign corn would be chiefly in British gold. Perfect
free trade consists in the absence of restrictions on both sides.... We
cannot combat rival tariffs, directly or indirectly, without subjecting
British industry to severe depressions in relation to foreign industry
and foreign labour.... To lay suitable duties upon the production
of the foreigner, who lays burthens upon yours, does not give the
monopoly of the home market to the home producer, nor turn towards any
particular employment more capital and labour than would naturally
go there. It only hinders that amount of those actually engaged from
being turned away into a less natural direction. There cannot be two
prices for the same article in the same market. The foreign consumer
will not pay more for a British than for a domestic article of equal
quality. The exporter cannot pay the rival duty, for, if so, he would
sell at a loss or be undersold by the foreign rival: and therefore
to compete with foreign protected markets British articles must be
produced so much cheaper as to enter into this competition. The cost
of production must therefore be reduced. This is most immediately
and readily done by reducing the wages of labour, and it is most
important to remark that it is precisely in times of pressure, when
profits are most bare and labour most in want of employment, that
this takes place and that mechanical labour is most extended. This
not only displaces manual labour in times of pressure, but by so much
precludes it from participating in future prosperity. It is difficult
to trace the various uses of the money produced by the bills drawn on
Great Britain by the exporters of foreign productions, for which they
will not take British produce in return.... Whatever be the end of
the circuitous transactions, the money payments made by us must first
afford profitable investments to the rival interests of foreign nations
and employment of foreign labour.... The noble lord, the member for the
West Riding, observed forcibly, the increase of population requires
additional means and sources of subsistence. But can we not find, do we
not possess in our Colonies unbounded sources, rich fields of virgin
fertility, from which we may derive unlimited supplies of British
food? ... I have imagined that it might really be possible to treat
the Colonies like counties of the country, not only in direct trade
with the United Kingdom, but in commercial intercourse with each other,
by free trade among ourselves, under a reasonable, moderate degree of
protection from without, and so resolve the United Kingdom and all her
Colonies and possessions into a commercial union such as might defy all
rivalry and defeat all combinations. But free trade—the extinction of
the protective principle, the repeal of the differential duties—would
at once convert all our Colonies, in a commercial sense, into as many
independent states. I defy any hon. member opposite to say that this
would not be a virtual dissolution of the Colonial system. The British
flag might still fly for a time, where sound British policy had raised
it, in every part of the world. The colonists would regard it still
with the veneration to which it is entitled. Our navies might still
guard their coasts and waters and our troops hold military possession
of their lands; but then would come the question of the economists, in
debates on the Navy, Army, and Ordnance Estimates, What is the use of
colonies? They consume not, as of old, the productions of the United
Kingdom in any greater degree than if they were foreign States; we no
longer consider and treat the colonies as domestic sources essential
for the supply of the materials of our manufacturing industry and the
elements of our maritime power; and it will be difficult to answer
that economical argument, when, moreover, we shall have discarded our
Colonies, for considerations of a wretched pecuniary economy, and
sacrificed national objects and high destinies to the minor, and the
comparatively mean, calculations of speculative wealth.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. POULETT SCROPE: ... Sir, the plea of the weight of national
taxation for a Corn Law appears to me not only a false, but a dishonest
one. By no possible contrivance or juggle of protection can you fix
the debt on the foreigner; it must still be paid by British subjects
of some kind; and if you relieve yourselves from your share of it by
any trickery of this kind, you can only do it by shifting the burden
upon the rest of the community. You have chosen to place it on the most
helpless of all the masses—the eaters of bread—who by your law must buy
at your shop, at your artificial prices, and so pay the debt for you or
starve. Is this right or is it wrong? No, sir, I repeat: if the Corn
Laws do not raise the price of corn, they at least diminish its supply
to a half-fed people. If they do, they can only benefit one class
at the expense of every other. I take the speech of the hon. member
for Northamptonshire, who may be considered to represent the pure
protectionists. I appeal to the recollection of the House, if the main
point of that speech was not an attack on what the hon. member called a
stern dogma of a cold and hard political economy—viz., “that we should
buy as cheap and sell as dear as we can”—a maxim which I would venture
to call, not a dogma of political economy, but the very first principle
of all commerce, the ABC of trade. But perhaps the hon. member despises
trade and its shopkeeping maxims. But I am much mistaken if his friends
and clients, the tenant farmers, act on any other than this vulgar
and cruel mercantile principle themselves. They would not like to be
compelled to act on the opposite principle of buying dear and selling
cheap. No; what they really mean, and the hon. member too, in railing
against the principle of buying cheap and selling dear is that the
manufacturers should sell cheap to them, the farmers, while they sell
dear to the manufacturers; and this is, in fact, the object aimed at
by the Corn Laws. But the hon. member illustrated the cruelty of this
flagitious dogma of a cold political economy by pathetic pictures,
which were not without their effect on the feelings of the House. The
first was that of a crowd of paper-stainers and silk-weavers thrown
out of employment by the unpatriotic and anti-national preference
of French silks and paper-hangings to those of British manufacture.
Every picture has its reverse, and to the hon. member’s picture of an
ideal scene resulting from the operation of our mercantile principle,
I will oppose a picture of the result of his protective principle,
not drawn from the imagination, but one of the real scenes which did
occur, in hundreds of instances, but a few years ago, in Paisley, in
Stockport, in Manchester, and other places. Let the hon. member imagine
a manufacturer at that time, his warehouses choked with goods which
he could not dispose of; imagine that, after putting his workpeople
first on low wages, next on half-work, he finally finds himself
obliged to discharge them altogether, and to shut up his mill. They
crowd in hundreds round him—a melancholy spectacle—men, women, and
children imploring him for work and food. What is his answer? “All
my capital lies locked up in yonder warehouses, and I have exhausted
my credit likewise. The foreigner can buy no more of the goods you
make because our laws prohibit his paying for them in the only thing
he has to sell—his corn, the very food you want....” The hon. member
does not seem to be aware of the fact that to buy anything from the
foreigner we must sell to him something of equal value—that for every
quarter of foreign corn or every piece of foreign silk imported we
must expect to pay for it an equal value of goods the produce of our
own manufacturers, and that British or native industry is as much
employed in the one case as in the other, the only difference being
(and a great difference it is) that by the free exchange we get more
of what we want, or of a better quality, in return for our industry,
than if we attempted to produce it at home. And this is just the
benefit which commerce confers. The hon. member does not seem to be
aware that the principle he declaims against as a cold dogma of a stern
political economy is the one sole vivifying principle of all commerce,
the stimulus to all improvement, the mainspring of civilisation—the
principle, namely, of obtaining the largest and best result at the
least cost; in other words, to get the most you can of what you want
for your money or your labour. But I can hardly wonder at the opinions
held by the hon. member, when I see him sitting on the same bench with
the hon. member for Knaresborough, who abhors machinery as the root of
all evil. It is a fitting alliance; in fact, it is the same fallacy
in a different form. The notion that it is better to buy dear than to
buy cheap is the same as that it is better to spend much labour than
little to produce the same result. The idea is that the more of labour
and capital anything costs to obtain it the better. So stated, it seems
incredible that any man should entertain the idea. And yet this is
the notion which lies at the bottom of all the declamations against
machinery for economising labour and against the mercantile principle
of economising capital. In both cases an increase of produce is
obtained at a less cost, the very circumstance which alone raised the
condition of civilised man above that of the savage.

                  PEEL’S DEFENCE OF HIS METHOD (1846).

         =Source.=—_Memoirs by Sir R. Peel_, vol. ii., p. 318.
                   (London: 1858.)

There are, I know, many who have freely admitted that a Minister was
fully justified in the adoption of the measures of 1846, and who do
not blame the resolution taken, but consider that some better mode
of giving effect to it might have been devised—who are of opinion
that a needless reserve was maintained towards a powerful party, and
that a degree of irritation was thereby produced which more frank and
unreserved communications would have prevented or mitigated.

I wish to give some explanation upon this point. I am the more desirous
to give it because it was my intention—but for the unforeseen events
of the autumn of 1845—to enter into that friendly communication, the
omission of which is blamed and lamented, to apprise the Conservative
party before the Corn Law could be discussed in the Session of 1846,
that my views with regard to the policy of maintaining that law had
undergone a change, and that I could no longer undertake as a Minister
to resist a motion for the consideration of the whole question.

Had I been enabled to act upon this intention, I should, I presume,
have fulfilled every obligation which party connections can impose,
unless it be contended that a Minister may safely disregard the various
circumstances which, even within a brief interval of time, may alter
the character and position of many questions of public policy, and
that, having once adopted a certain course, he is so committed to
a blind perseverance in it that he must steel his mind against the
influence of argument, the result of experience, the conviction of his
own deliberate judgment.

That unreserved communication which I had thus contemplated—which
is possible and most desirable under ordinary circumstances—was in
this case unfortunately precluded by the peculiar character of the
unforeseen emergency for which it was necessary to provide, and the
peculiar position of the Cabinet in respect to the measures to be

There was no period between the first alarming indications of the
failure of the potato crop, and the resignation of the Ministers on the
9th of December, 1845, at which I could with propriety have given the
slightest intimation to the supporters of the Government with regard
either to my own course or to the probable decision of the Cabinet. I
could not have alluded to the differences which prevailed among the
members of the Government without extinguishing whatever degree of hope
there might be that those differences would be ultimately reconciled.

The course of events subsequently to the resignation of the
Government on the 9th of December, equally precluded any confidential
communication on my part with the supporters of the Government, which
would have had a tendency to soothe irritated feelings, or to mitigate
hostility to the measures about to be proposed.

It was a matter of public notoriety that the Government had resigned
on the 9th of December, in consequence of differences on the subject
of the Corn Laws—that Lord John Russell had attempted, and had failed
in the attempt, to form a Government—that the Queen had thereupon
appealed to her former servants, and that they had resumed power with
the full intention of proposing measures with regard to the import of
food to which Lord Stanley had refused to be a party.

To assemble the supporters of Government under such circumstances, for
the mere purpose of communicating to them facts which were notorious
to the whole world, would have given offence rather than have calmed

Had a meeting taken place, there would naturally have been the demand
for a full explanation, not only of the grounds on which the decision
of the Government had been taken, but of the peculiar character of the
measures which it was intended to propose.

Explanation could not have been given on the first point without
serious prejudice to the Government by anticipating the Parliamentary
discussion which must shortly follow. It could not have been given on
the second, namely, on the precise mode in which the duties on corn
were to be dealt with, without disturbing all commercial operations
connected with the corn trade, and incurring the risk of giving to some
parties an unfair advantage over others.

There is no security against these evils in cases wherein the
imposition or repeal of duties is concerned, excepting entire silence
and reserve on the part of a Minister, until the hour when the
intentions of the Government can be publicly declared in Parliament.

                  IRELAND: THE MOLLY MAGUIRES (1846).

       =Source.=—_Memoirs by Sir Robert Peel_, vol. ii., p. 302.

       _Letter from Colonel Sir Charles O’Donnell to the Military
                          Secretary, Dublin._

                                                   _June, 15, 1846_.

Upon the whole, outrages have probably decreased both in number and
in the seriousness of their character during the past period, and the
general state of most of the country above-mentioned (Cavan, Leitrim,
Roscommon, King’s County, Westmeath, and Longford) may be considered
tolerably peaceable; but in the wild parts of Leitrim and Roscommon,
and their adjacent districts, the state of things is not altogether so
satisfactory. Here Ribbonism is still in force; intimidation by means
of threatening notices and visits from armed and disguised “Molly
Maguires” is persevered in; waylaying, assaults, and robberies of arms
and money take place; and all these arising, for the most part, from
what is termed agrarian causes.

A man of the name of Donohue was, about the beginning of the month,
fired at in the open day in the neighbourhood of Killeshandra, by
several men, merely for having taken a farm in preference to another
person, whose relative had previously held it. This man is marked for
assassination, and will probably suffer.

A man and his wife, of the name of Tuthill, residing between Drummod
and Ushill, were, on the morning (early) of the 7th instant, visited
by a party of six men armed with guns and bayonets; and having beaten
the husband till he was senseless, they stripped his wife, and placed
her on her back over some fire which they raked out of the fireplace
for the purpose. This was also for the same agrarian cause; and so
intimidated are the sufferers that, although it is supposed they know
perfectly well the perpetrators of the offence, they refrain from
giving evidence.

Some few days ago, Bryan Kenny returning to Mullingar on a car, with
a labouring man, while passing some cottages and a public-house, was
fired at and wounded by a man who walked deliberately away unmolested
by several persons who witnessed the event. Sir John Nugent had
given Kenny some land, from which he had ejected another tenant for
non-payment of rent; and though Sir John had given the ejected tenant
compensation, and Kenny had paid him and taken a receipt for his
“goodwill in full,” the transaction was not considered satisfactory.

The day before yesterday, about 2 o’clock a.m., a party of nine or ten
persons, some of them armed, went to the house of John Hazard, residing
near Miltown. On gaining entry by force they wounded the man’s wife in
the breast with a sharp instrument, and then, dragging Hazard outside,
after beating him, endeavoured to induce him to swear he would not
accept a situation as herd, from which another man had been dismissed.

Petty robberies and depredations continue to be committed in many parts
of the country.

The Repeal movement goes on, but I have observed little energy with
regard to it of late. Dissensions and mistrust are apparent amongst the
members of this Association.

     [NOTE.—“Repeal” at this time generally meaning
        repeal of the Corn Laws, it should be remarked
        that in the above paragraph it means Repeal of
        the Union.]


     =I.—Source.=—_The Life of Lord Palmerston_, by the Hon. Evelyn
                   Ashley, vol. i., p. 76. (London: 1876.)

  A. _Lord Palmerston to Lord Normanby (British Ambassador in Paris)._

                                                        _February 26._

What extraordinary and marvellous events you give an account of! It
is like the five acts of a play, and has not taken up much more time.
Strange that a King who owed his crown to a revolution brought about
by royal blindness and obstinacy, should have lost it by exactly the
same means, and he a man who had gone through all the vicissitudes of
human existence, from the condition of a schoolmaster to the pomp of a
throne; and still further that his overthrow should have been assisted
by a minister deeply read in the records of history, and whose mind
was not merely stored with the chronology of historical facts, but had
extracted from their mass the reasons of events and the philosophy of
their causes.

I can give you but provisional instructions. Continue at your post.
Keep up unofficial and useful communication with the man who from
hour to hour (I say not even from day to day) may have the direction
of events, but commit us to no acknowledgment of any men, nor of any
things. Our principles of action are to acknowledge whatever rule may
be established with apparent prospect of permanency, but none other. We
desire friendship and extended commercial intercourse with France, and
peace between France and the rest of Europe. We will engage to prevent
the rest of Europe from meddling with France, which indeed we are quite
sure they have no intention of doing. The French rulers must engage
to prevent France from assailing any part of the rest of Europe. Upon
such a base our relations with France may be placed on a footing more
friendly than they have been or were likely to be with Louis Philippe
and Guizot.

      B. _To Lord Westmorland, Ambassador at Berlin. February 29._

It must be owned that the prospect of a republic in France is far
from agreeable; for such a Government would naturally be more likely
to place peace in danger than a monarchy would be. But we must deal
with things as they are, and not as we would wish to have them. These
Paris events ought to serve, however, as a warning to the Prussian
Government, and should induce them to set to work without delay to
complete those constitutional institutions of which the King last year
laid the foundations.

       C. _To Lord Ponsonby, Ambassador at Vienna. February 29._

I should advise the Austrians to come to a good understanding with
Sardinia as to mutual defence if attacked, which, however, they are
not at present likely to be. But if the Austrian Government does
not mitigate its system of coercion in Lombardy, and grant liberal
institutions, they will have a revolt there; and if there shall be
conflict in Lombardy between the troops and the public, and much
bloodshed, it is to be feared that the French nation will break loose
in spite of Lamartine’s efforts to restrain them.

                    D. _To Lord Normanby. April 11._

Yesterday was a glorious day, the Waterloo of peace and order. They say
there were upwards of one hundred thousand special constables—some
put the number at two hundred and fifty thousand; but the streets
were swarming with them, and men of all classes and ranks were
blended together in defence of law and property. The Chartists made
a poor figure, and did not muster more than fifteen thousand men on
the common. Fergus was frightened out of his wits, and was made the
happiest man in England at being told that the procession could not
pass the bridges. The Chartists have found that the great bulk of the
inhabitants of London are against them, and they will probably lie by
for the present and watch for some more favourable moment.

                  E. _To Lord Ponsonby. November 12._

It is totally and absolutely impossible that Austria can keep quiet
possession of the Italian provinces; and all you hear at Vienna to the
contrary is nothing but the _bon à dire_ of the Metternich school,
and is the result of the established practice of the disciples of
that school to go on asserting as facts that which they know to be
false, but wish to be true, under the absurd notion that by frequent
repetition falsehood may become truth. The only consequence of this
system is that those who act upon it and those who are misled by it
govern their conduct upon entirely erroneous data; and the results of
such false policy are, that men like Metternich and Guizot meet in
exile in London; that Sovereigns like Louis Philippe drink unwholesome
water and sour small beer at Claremont, instead of champagne and claret
at the Tuileries; and that ancient empires like Austria are thrown
into anarchy and confusion, and are brought to the very verge of

I quite understand the drift and meaning of Prince Windischgratz’s
message to our Queen, but pray make the Camarilla understand that, in
a constitutional country like England, these things cannot answer;
and that a foreign Government which places its reliance upon working
upon the Court against the Government of this country is sure to be

    II.—=Source.=—_Letters of Queen Victoria_, 1837-1861, vol. ii.,
                        p. 221. (London: 1907.)

                 _Queen Victoria to Lord John Russell._

                                             OSBORNE, _July 25, 1848_.

The Queen must tell Lord John what she has repeatedly told Lord
Palmerston, but without apparent effect, that the establishment of an
_entente cordiale with the French Republic_, for the purpose of driving
the Austrians out of _their dominions_ in Italy, would be a _disgrace_
to this country.... The notion of establishing a Venetian State under
French guarantee is too absurd.

                     CONQUEST OF THE PUNJAB (1849).

  =Source.=—_Letters of Queen Victoria_, 1837-1861, vol. ii., p. 257.
            (London: 1907.)

               _The Earl of Dalhousie to Queen Victoria._

                                   CAMP, FEROZEPORE, _March 24, 1849_.

The Governor-General is not without fear that he may have intruded too
often of late upon your Majesty’s time. But he is so satisfied of the
extreme pleasure which your Majesty would experience on learning that
the prisoners who were in the hands of the Sikhs, and especially the
ladies and children, were once again safe in the British camp, that
he would have ventured to convey to your Majesty that intelligence,
even though he had not been able to add to it—as happily he can—the
announcement of the surrender of the whole Khalsa army, and the end of
the war with the Sikhs.

Major-General Gilbert pushed on rapidly in pursuit of the Sikhs, who
were a few marches in front of him, carrying off our prisoners with

At Rawul Pindee, halfway between the Jhelum and Attock, the Sikh
troops, as we have since heard, would go no further. They received no
pay, they were starving, they had been beaten and were disheartened;
and so they surrendered.

All the prisoners were brought safe into our camp. Forty-one pieces of
artillery were given up. Chuther Singh and Shere Singh, with all the
Sirdars, delivered their swords to General Gilbert in the presence of
his officers; and the remains of the Sikh army, 16,000 strong, were
marched into camp, by 1,000 at a time, and laid down their arms as they
passed between the lines of the British troops.

Your Majesty may well imagine the pride with which British officers
looked on such a scene, and witnessed this absolute subjection and
humiliation of so powerful an enemy.

How deeply the humiliation was felt by the Sikhs themselves may be
judged by the report which the officers who were present have made,
that many of them, and especially the grim old Khalsas of Runjeet’s
time, exclaimed, as they threw their arms down upon the heap: “This day
Runjeet Singh has died!”

                  CHARACTER OF SIR ROBERT PEEL (1850).

    =Source.=—_The Greville Memoirs_, 1837-1852, vol. iii., p. 349.
              (London: 1885.)

My acquaintance with Peel was slight and superficial. He scarcely lived
at all in Society; he was reserved but cordial in his manner, had few
intimate friends, and it may be doubted whether there was any person
except his wife to whom he was in the habit of disclosing his thoughts,
feelings, and intentions with entire frankness and freedom. In his
private relations he was not merely irreproachable, but good, kind, and
amiable. The remarkable decorum of his life, the domestic harmony and
happiness he enjoyed, and the simplicity of his habits and demeanour,
contributed largely, without doubt, to the estimation in which he
was held. He was easy of access, courteous, and patient, and those
who approached him generally left him gratified by his affability.
The sacrifices he made upon two memorable occasions, upon both of
which he acted solely with reference to the public good, forbid us to
believe that he was ever influenced by any considerations but such as
were honest and conscientious.... It is now impossible to fathom the
depths of Peel’s mind and to ascertain whether he had any doubts and
misgivings, or whether he sincerely believed that Catholic Emancipation
could be resisted and prevented. I do not see how he can be acquitted
of insincerity, save at the expense of his sagacity and foresight. The
truth is that he was hampered and perverted by his antecedents and by
the seductive circumstances of his position....

It is almost impossible to discover what the process was by which he
was gradually led to embrace the whole doctrine of free trade. We
cannot distinguish what effect was made upon his mind by the reasoning
and what by the organisation and agitation of the Anti-Corn-Law
League. It may safely be assumed that, when he began to reorganise the
Conservative party, he did not contemplate a Repeal of the Corn Laws,
and that it was by a severely inductive process of study and meditation
that he was gradually led to the conception and elaboration of that
commercial system which the last years of his life were spent in
carrying out. The modification, and possibly the ultimate Repeal of the
Corn Laws must have formed part of that system, but what he hoped and
intended probably was to bring round the minds of his party by degrees
to the doctrines of free trade, and to conquer their repugnance to a
great alteration of the Corn Laws, both by showing the imprudence of
endeavouring to maintain them and by the gradual development of those
countervailing advantages with which free trade was fraught. That, I
believe, was his secret desire, hope, and expectation; and if the Irish
famine had not deranged his plans and precipitated his measures, if
more time had been afforded him, it is not impossible that his projects
might have been realised....

He appears to have suffered dreadful pain during the three days
which elapsed between his accident and his death. He was sensible,
but scarcely ever spoke. Sir Benjamin Brodie says that he never saw
any human frame so susceptible of pain, for his moral and physical
organisation was one of exquisite sensibility. He was naturally a
man of violent passions, over which he had learned to exercise an
habitual restraint by vigorous efforts of reason and self-control. He
was certainly a good, and in some respects a great, man; he had a true
English spirit, and was an ardent lover of his country.

                          DON PACIFICO (1850).

        =Source.=—_Hansard._ Third Series, vol. cxii., col. 380.

     [NOTE.—Although the resolution in the House
        of Lords against Lord Palmerston’s action in regard
        to the claims of Mr. Finlay and M. Pacifico upon
        the Greek Government was confined to those matters,
        the resolution of confidence in the Government,
        which was moved in the House of Commons later as
        a rejoinder to the action of the Lords, was in
        general terms supporting the Government’s foreign
        policy, so that Lord Palmerston was able to make
        his speech a wide defence of his policy.]

The resolution of the House of Lords involves the future as well as the
past. It lays down for the future a principle of national policy which
I consider totally incompatible with the interests, with the rights,
with the honour, and with the dignity of the country, and at variance
with the practice, not only of this, but of all other civilised
countries in the world. The country is told that British subjects in
foreign lands are entitled to nothing but the protection of the laws
and tribunals of the land in which they happen to reside. The country
is told that British subjects abroad must not look to their own country
for protection, but must trust to that indifferent justice which they
may happen to receive at the hands of the Government and tribunals of
the country in which they may be.

Now, I deny that proposition, and I say it is a doctrine on which
no British Minister ever yet has acted, and on which the people of
England never will suffer any British Minister to act. Do I mean to
say that British subjects abroad are to be above the law, or are to
be taken out of the scope of the laws of the land in which they live?
I mean no such thing; I contend for no such principle. Undoubtedly,
in the first instance, British subjects are bound to have recourse
for redress to the means which the law of the land affords them when
that law is available for such purpose. It is only on a denial of
justice or upon decisions manifestly unjust that the British Government
should be called upon to interfere. But there may be cases in which no
confidence can be placed in the tribunals, those tribunals being, from
their composition and nature, not of a character to inspire any hope of
obtaining justice from them....

We shall be told, perhaps, as we have already been told, that if the
people of the country are liable to have heavy stones placed upon their
breasts, and police officers to dance upon them; if they are liable to
have their heads tied to their knees, and to be left for hours in that
state; or to be swung like a pendulum, and to be bastinadoed as they
swing, foreigners have no right to be better treated than the natives,
and have no business to complain if the same things are practised
upon them. We may be told this, but that is not my opinion, nor do I
believe it is the opinion of any reasonable man. Then, I say, that in
considering the cases of the Ionians, for whom we demanded reparation,
the House must look at and consider what was the state of things in
this respect in Greece; they must consider the practices that were
going on, and the necessity of putting a stop to the extension of
these abuses to British and Ionian subjects by demanding compensation,
scarcely, indeed, more than nominal in some cases, but the granting of
which would be an acknowledgment that such things should not be done
towards us in future.

In discussing these cases, I am concerned to have to say that they
appear to me to have been dealt with elsewhere in a spirit and in
a tone which I think was neither befitting the persons concerning
whom, nor the persons before whom, the discussion took place. It is
often more convenient to treat matters with ridicule than with grave
argument, and we have had serious things treated jocosely, and grave
men kept in a roar of laughter for an hour together at the poverty
of one sufferer, or at the miserable habitation of another, at the
nationality of one injured man or the religion of another, as if
because a man was poor, he might be bastinadoed and tortured with
impunity, as if a man who was born in Scotland might be robbed without
redress, or because a man is of the Jewish persuasion, he is fair game
for any outrage. It is a true saying, and has often been repeated, that
a very moderate share of human wisdom is sufficient for the guidance of
human affairs. But there is another truth, equally indisputable, which
is, that a man who aspires to govern mankind ought to bring to the task
generous sentiments, compassionate sympathies, and noble and elevated

With regard to our policy with respect to Italy, I utterly deny the
charges that have been brought against us of having been the advocates,
supporters, and encouragers of revolution. It has always been the fate
of advocates of temperate reform and constitutional improvement to
be run at as the fomenters of revolution. It is the easiest mode of
putting them down; it is the received formula. It is the established
practice of those who are the advocates of arbitrary government to say:
“Never mind real revolutionists; we know how to deal with them. Your
dangerous man is the moderate reformer; he is such a plausible man. The
only way of getting rid of him is to set the world at him by calling
him a revolutionist.”

Now, there are revolutionists of two kinds in this world. In the first
place, there are those violent, hot-headed, and unthinking men who fly
to arms, who overthrow established Governments, and who recklessly,
without regard to consequences and without measuring difficulties
and comparing strength, deluge their country with blood, and draw
down the greatest calamities on their fellow-countrymen. These are
the revolutionists of one class. But there are revolutionists of
another kind—blind-minded men who, animated by antiquated prejudices
and daunted by ignorant apprehensions, dam up the current of human
improvement until the irresistible pressure of accumulated discontent
breaks down the opposing barriers, and overthrows and levels to the
earth those very institutions which a timely application of renovating
means would have rendered strong and lasting. Such revolutionists as
these are the men who call us revolutionists....

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 honourable
ambition, more than ever must it be so at the moment at which I am
speaking. For while we have seen the political earthquake rocking
Europe from side to side—while we have seen thrones shaken, shattered,
levelled, 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 honourable 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 such 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.... 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 strong arm of England will protect him against
injustice and wrong.

                 THE ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOPRICS (1850).

      =Source.=—_The Life of Lord Palmerston_, by the Hon. Evelyn
                 Ashley, vol. i., p. 245. (London: 1876.)

         _Lord Palmerston to his Brother.    January 27, 1851._

The Papal aggression question will give us some trouble, and give rise
to stormy debates. Our difficulty will be to find out a measure which
shall satisfy reasonable Protestants without violating those principles
of liberal toleration which we are pledged to. I think we shall
succeed. But all the newspaper stories of divisions in the Cabinet
on this or any other question are pure inventions, wholly devoid of
any foundation. The Pope, I hear, and the people about him by whom at
present he is guided, affect to treat lightly the excitement which his
measures have produced in this country, and they represent the clamour
as a thing got up by the Church—a parson agitation. They deceive
themselves; the feeling is general and intense all through the nation,
and the sensible Catholics themselves lament what has been done.

The thing itself, in truth, is little or nothing, and does not
justify the irritation. What has goaded the nation is the manner,
insolent and ostentatious, in which it has been done. The Catholics
have a right to organise their Church as they like; and if staff
officers called Bishops were thought better than staff officers called
Vicars-Apostolic, nobody would have remarked or objected to the change
if it had been made quietly and only in the bosom of the Church. But
what offended—and justly—all England, was the Pope’s published
Allocution and Wiseman’s announcement of his new dignities; the first
representing England as a land of benighted heathens; the second
proclaiming that the Pope had parcelled out England into districts—a
thing that only a Sovereign has a right to do—and that he, Wiseman,
and others were sent, and to be sent to govern those territorial
districts, with titles belonging thereto.

                       THE HAYNAU AFFAIR (1850).

      =Source.=—_The Life of Lord Palmerston_, by the Hon. Evelyn
                 Ashley, vol. i., p. 239. (London: 1876.)

        _Lord Palmerston to Sir George Grey_ (_Home Secretary_).
        _October 1, 1850._

Koller[2] is very reasonable about the Haynau affair.... I told Koller
that it is much better that no prosecution should take place, because
the defence of the accused would necessarily be a minute recapitulation
of all the barbarities committed by Haynau in Italy and Hungary, and
that would be more injurious to him and to Austria than any verdict
obtained against the draymen could be satisfactory.

I must own that I think Haynau’s coming here, without rhyme or reason,
so soon after his Italian and Hungarian exploits, was a wanton insult
to the people of this country, whose opinion of him had been so loudly
proclaimed at public meetings and in all the newspapers. But the
draymen were wrong in the particular course they adopted. Instead of
striking him, which, however, by Koller’s account, they did not do
much, they ought to have tossed him in a blanket, rolled him in the
kennel, and then sent him home in a cab, paying his fare to the hotel.

[2] Austrian ambassador in London.

                     PALMERSTON AND KOSSUTH (1851).

     =Source.=—_The Life of Lord John Russell_, by Spencer Walpole,
                vol. ii., p. 133. (London: 1889.)

               A. _Lord John Russell to Lord Palmerston._

MY DEAR PALMERSTON,—I must once more press upon you my views
concerning an interview with Kossuth. I wrote to you some time ago that
I hoped you would not see him. I wrote to you afterwards from Windsor
Castle that I thought your seeing him would be improper and unnecessary.

I wrote to you again yesterday to say that I thought that, if upon
his first arrival he had asked to see you to express through you his
thanks to the Queen’s Government for the efforts made by them for his
safety and liberation, and you had at once seen him, it might have been
thought a natural proceeding. But that, after his denunciations of
two Sovereigns with whom the Queen is on terms of peace and amity, an
interview with you would have a very different complexion.

The more I think on the matter, the more I am confirmed in this view.

It might have been right—although we did not think so—to interfere
in the war waged by Russia in Hungary. But it cannot be right that
any member of the Administration should give an implied sanction to
an agitation, commenced by a foreign refugee, against Sovereigns in
alliance with her Majesty.

I must therefore positively request that you will not receive Kossuth,
and that, if you have appointed him to come to you, you will inform him
that any communication must be in writing, and that you must decline to
see him.

                                                 Yours faithfully,
                                                            J. RUSSELL.

                     B. _Lord Palmerston’s Reply._

                                       PANSHANGER, _October 30, 1851_.

MY DEAR JOHN RUSSELL,—I have just received your letter of
to-day, and am told your messenger waits for an answer. My reply, then,
is immediate, and is, that there are limits to all things; that I do
not choose to be dictated to as to who I may or may not receive in my
own house; and that I shall use my own discretion on this matter. You
will, of course, use yours as to the composition of your Government. I
have not detained your messenger five minutes.

                                                 Yours sincerely,

[NOTE.—In the end Lord Palmerston deferred to the wish of the
Cabinet, and did not receive Kossuth.]

                      THE GREAT EXHIBITION (1851).

      =Source.=—_The Life of the Prince Consort_, by Sir Theodore
                 Martin, vol. ii., p. 247. (London: 1876.)

             _Extract from a Speech by the Prince Consort._

I conceive it to be the duty of every educated person closely to
watch and study the time in which he lives, and, as far as in him
lies, to add his humble mite of individual exertion to further the
accomplishment of what he believes Providence to have ordained.

Nobody, however, who has paid any attention to the peculiar features of
our present era, will doubt for a moment that we are living at a period
of most wonderful transition, which tends rapidly to accomplish that
great end, to which, indeed, all history points—the realisation of the
unity of mankind. Not a unity which breaks down the limits and levels
the peculiar characteristics of the different nations of the earth, but
rather a unity, the result and product of those very national varieties
and antagonistic qualities.

The distances which separated the different nations and parts of
the globe are rapidly vanishing before the achievements of modern
invention, and we can traverse them with incredible ease; the languages
of all nations are known, and their acquirement placed within the reach
of everybody; thought is communicated with the rapidity, and even
by the power, of lightning. On the other hand, the great principle
of the division of labour, which may be called the moving power of
civilisation, is being extended to all branches of science, industry,
and art.

Whilst formerly the greatest mental energies strove at universal
knowledge, and that knowledge was confined to the few, now they are
directed on specialities, and in these, again, even to the minutest
points; but the knowledge acquired becomes at once the property of
the community at large; for, whilst formerly discovery was wrapt in
secrecy, the publicity of the present day causes that no sooner is
a discovery or invention made than it is already improved upon and
surpassed by competing efforts. The products of all quarters of the
globe are placed at our disposal, and we have only to choose which
is the best and the cheapest for our purposes, and the powers of
production are intrusted to the stimulus of competition and capital.

So man is approaching a more complete fulfilment of that great and
sacred mission which he has to perform in this world. His reason being
created after the image of God, he has to use it to discover the laws
by which the Almighty governs his creation, and, by making these laws
his standard of action, to conquer nature to his use; himself a divine

Gentlemen, the Exhibition of 1851 is to give us a true test and a
living picture of the point of development at which the whole of
mankind has arrived in this great task, and a new starting-point from
which all nations will be able to direct their further exertions.

I confidently hope that the first impression which the view of this
vast collection will produce upon the spectator will be that of deep
thankfulness to the Almighty for the blessings which he has bestowed
upon us already here below; and the second, the conviction that they
can only be realised in proportion to the help which we are prepared
to render each other; therefore, only by peace, love, and ready
assistance, not only between individuals, but between the nations of
the earth.

                 PALMERSTON AND THE COUP D’ÉTAT (1851).

     I.—=Source.=—_The Life of Lord Palmerston_, by the Hon. Evelyn
                   Ashley, vol. i., p. 289. (London: 1876.)

 A. _Lord Palmerston to Lord Normanby_ (_British Ambassador in Paris_).
                          _December 3, 1851._

MY DEAR NORMANBY,—Even we here, who cannot be supposed to
know as much as people at Paris did about what was going on among the
Bourbonists, cannot be surprised that Louis Napoleon struck the blow at
the time which he chose for it; for it is now well known here that the
Duchess of Orleans was preparing to be called to Paris this week with
her younger son to commence a new period of Orleans dynasty. Of course
the President got an inkling of what was passing, and if it is true, as
stated in our newspapers, that Changarnier was arrested at four o’clock
in the morning in council with Thiers and others, there seems good
reason to believe, what is also asserted, that the Burgraves[3] had a
stroke prepared which was to be struck against the President that very
day, and that, consequently, he acted on the principle that a good
thrust is often the best parry.... As to respect for law and the
Constitution which you say in your dispatch of yesterday is habitual
to Englishmen, that respect belongs to just and equitable laws
framed under a Constitution founded upon reason, and consecrated
by its antiquity and by the memory of the long years of happiness
which the nation has enjoyed under it, but it is scarcely a proper
application of those feelings to require them to be directed to the
day-before-yesterday tomfoolery which the scatter-brained heads of
Marrast and Tocqueville invented for the torment and perplexity of the
French nation....

I find I have written on two sheets by mistake; the blank leaf is an
appropriate emblem of the present state of the French Constitution....

[3] A nickname for the majority in the Assembly, comprising Thiers,
Tocqueville, and others.

             B. _The Same to the Same.   December 6, 1851._

The great probability seems still to be, as it has, I think, all
along been, that, in the conflict of opposing parties, Louis Napoleon
would remain master of the field, and it would very much weaken our
position at Paris, and be detrimental to British interests if Louis
Napoleon, when he had achieved a triumph, should have reason to think
that during the struggle the British representative took part (I
mean by a manifestation of opinion) with his opponents. Now we are
entitled to judge of that matter only by your despatches; and I am
sure you will forgive me for making some observations on those which
we have received this week. Your long despatch of Monday appeared
to be a funeral oration over the President, with a passage thrown
in as to his intentions to strike a _coup d’état_ on a favourable
opportunity, as if it were meant to justify the doom which was about to
be pronounced upon him by the Burgrave majority. Your despatches since
the event of Tuesday have been all hostile to Louis Napoleon, with
very little information as to events. One of them consisted chiefly
of a dissertation about Kossuth, which would have made a good article
in the _Times_ a fortnight ago; and another dwells chiefly upon a
looking-glass broken in a club-house, and a piece of plaster brought
down from the ceiling by musket shots during the street fights.

            C. _Queen Victoria to the King of the Belgians._

                                  WINDSOR CASTLE, _December 23, 1851._

MY DEAREST UNCLE,—I have the great pleasure in announcing to you a
piece of news which I know will give you as much satisfaction and
relief as it does to us, and will do to the whole of the world.
Lord Palmerston is no longer Foreign Secretary, and Lord Granville
is already named his successor!! He had become of late really quite
reckless, and in spite of the serious admonition and caution he
received only on the 29th of November, and again at the beginning
of December, he tells Walewsky that he _entirely_ approves Louis
Napoleon’s _coup d’état_, when he had written to Lord Normanby by
my and the Cabinet’s desire that he (Lord Normanby) was to continue
his diplomatic intercourse with the French Government, but to remain
perfectly passive, and give no opinion.

    II.—=Source.=—_The Life of Lord Palmerston_, by the Hon. Evelyn
                   Ashley, vol. i., p. 316. (London: 1876.)

         _Lord Palmerston to his Brother.   January 22, 1852._

As to the main point, John Russell distinctly narrowed down the ground
of my dismissal to the fact of my having expressed an opinion on the
_coup d’état_ without reference to the nature of that opinion, Johnny
saying that that was not the question. Now, that opinion of mine was
expressed in conversation on Tuesday the 3rd; but on Wednesday the 4th,
we had a small evening party at our house. At that party John Russell
and Walewsky[4] were, and they had a conversation on the _coup d’état_
in which Johnny expressed his opinion, which Walewsky tells me was in
substance and result pretty nearly the same as what I had said the day
before, though, as he observed, John Russell is not so “expansif” as I
am; but further, on Friday the 6th, Walewsky dined at John Russell’s
and there met Lansdowne and Charles Wood; and in the course of that
evening John Russell, Lansdowne, and Charles Wood all expressed their
opinions on the _coup d’état_, and those opinions were, if anything,
rather more strongly favourable than mine had been.[5] Moreover,
Walewsky met Lord Grey riding in the Park, and Grey’s opinion was
likewise expressed, and was to the same effect. It is obvious that the
reason assigned for my dismissal was a mere pretext, eagerly caught
at for want of any good reason. The real ground was a weak truckling
to the hostile intrigues of the Orleans family, Austria, Russia,
Saxony, and Bavaria, and in some degree also of the present Prussian
Government. All these parties found their respective views and systems
of policy thwarted by the course pursued by the British Government, and
they thought that if they could remove the Minister they would change
the policy. They had for a long time past effectually poisoned the mind
of the Queen and the Prince against me, and John Russell giving way,
rather encouraged than discountenanced the desire of the Queen.

[4] The French Ambassador in London.

[5] Just before Lord Palmerston’s dismissal was discussed in
Parliament, Walewsky reminded Lord John Russell of these facts, and
added that, whereas he had only conveyed Palmerston’s opinion in a
private letter to M. Turgot, he had made Russell’s the subject of an
official despatch. Lord John Russell asked whether Lord Palmerston
knew all this, and meant to state it in the House of Commons (_Life of
Palmerston_, ii. 326).

                     RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA (1853).

       =Source.=—_Life of Lord John Russell_, by Spencer Walpole,
                  vol. ii. (London: 1889.)

                A. _Lord Aberdeen to Lord John Russell._

I think that it will be necessary to be very careful in preparing
instructions for Lord Stratford, if, as I presume, we must consider his
memorandum as giving an outline of what he would desire.

“The assurances of prompt and effective aid on the approach of danger”
given by us to the Porte would in all probability produce war. These
barbarians hate us all, and would be delighted to take their chance of
some advantage, by embroiling us with the other Powers of Christendom.
It may be necessary to give them a moral support, and to endeavour
to prolong their existence; but we ought to regard as the greatest
misfortune any engagement which compelled us to take up arms for the

I do not believe that any Power, at this time, entertains the intention
of overthrowing the Turkish Empire, but it is certainly true that any
quarrel might lead to this event; or, as Lord Stratford says, it might
take place without such a deliberate intention on the part of any one
of these Powers.

We ought by all means to keep ourselves perfectly independent, and free
to act as circumstances may require. Above all we ought not to trust
the disposal of the Mediterranean fleet—which is peace or war—to the
discretion of any man.

          B. _Lord John Russell to Lord Clarendon. March 20._

The vast preparations at Sebastopol show a foregone purpose, and that
purpose is, I fear, to extinguish the Turkish Empire.... My own opinion
is that, in case of the invasion of Turkey by Russia on any pretence,
we ought to send a message to Petersburg and _demand_ the evacuation of
the Turkish territory, and, in case of refusal, to enforce this demand
both in the Baltic as well as in the Dardanelles.

We should, of course, enter into concert with France.

          C. _Lord Aberdeen to Lord John Russell. August 26._

I always expected some difficulties to arise at Constantinople, but
those which have taken place are very vexatious. We received yesterday
a telegraphic despatch from Lord Stratford of the 19th, in which he
said that the Turks proposed to make some modifications of the note
sent by the four Powers for their acceptance.... They are not of great
importance; but, after what the Emperor has already done, I doubt if
he will accept them. At all events, after his prompt acceptance of our
note, and his ready agreement to the alterations made by the English
Government in the interests of the Porte, it is clear that we have no
right to ask him.

         D. _Memorandum by Lord John Russell for Lord Aberdeen,
           Lord Palmerston, and Lord Clarendon. September 3._

Supposing the Emperor of Russia to agree to some of the amendments
and reject others, there remains a fair ground for the conference to
attempt a compromise. But, if he reject altogether the amended note, we
must recur to the original pretexts of quarrel. The _pretence_ of the
Emperor of Russia was that his influence in behalf of the Greek Church
in Turkey, as sanctioned by treaty and confirmed by long usage, had
been treated with neglect. His _demand_ was that concessions should be
made to him such as could only be made as the fruit of a successful war.

        E. _Sir James Graham to Lord John Russell. December 11._

It is clear that his (Lord Palmerston’s) part is taken; and that he
hopes by raising the war-cry to drown the demand for an extension of
the suffrage. This is the game which has been played before, and as you
wisely foresee, is about to be played again.

     F. _Lord John Russell’s own account of the sleeping Cabinet._

Mr. Kinglake has detailed, and has preserved in his fifth edition, a
story regarding the dinner of the Cabinet at Pembroke Lodge, which,
although accurate in the immediate purport of his relation, would give
a very false impression of the real deliberations of the Cabinet. Some
days before that dinner, a Cabinet meeting was held in the day-time,
at which the whole question of sending an expedition to the Crimea
... was very carefully and very maturely discussed. Lord Palmerston
for some months had been bent on sending an expedition to the Crimea,
and I had only withheld my assent till the siege of Silistria should
have been proved to be a failure.... Some days afterwards I gave a
Cabinet dinner at Pembroke Lodge, and as the members of the Cabinet,
with the exception of the Chancellor, had been present at the previous
deliberation, they cared little for criticising after dinner the
exact form of the sentences in which the number of the troops and
the disposition of the fleet were minutely specified. It is no doubt
true that several members of the Cabinet went to sleep during this

               THE QUAKER DEPUTATION TO THE TSAR (1854).

        =Source.=—_Memoirs of Joseph Sturge_, by Henry Richard,
                   p. 476. (London: 1864.)

At the appointed hour we repaired to the palace, and were received by
the Emperor at a private interview, no one else being present excepting
Baron Nicolay, who acted as interpreter, the Emperor speaking in
French. After the address had been read by Joseph Sturge, and presented
to the Emperor, the latter asked us to be seated on a sofa, while he
took a chair, and entered into free conversation, kindly giving us a
full opportunity for making any verbal statement that we might wish
to offer. Joseph Sturge then proceeded to give expression to what had
rested on his mind, not entering into the political matters involved in
the dispute, but confining himself to the moral and religious aspects
of the question. In the course of his observations he contrasted the
Mohammedan religion (professed by the Turks), which avowedly justifies
the employment of the sword, with the religion of Him whose reign was
to be emphatically one of _peace_. He also remarked that among the
multitude who would be the victims in the event of a European war, the
greatest sufferers would probably be, not those who had caused the war,
but innocent men, with their wives and children. On our thanking the
Emperor for the kind reception he had given us, J. Sturge said, with
much feeling, that although we should probably never see him again on
this side of eternity, we wished him to know that there were those in
England who desired his temporal and spiritual welfare as sincerely as
his own subjects—when the Emperor shook hands with each of us very
cordially, and, with eyes moistened with emotion, turned hastily away
(apparently to conceal his feelings), saying, “My wife also wishes to
see you.” We were accordingly ushered into the Empress’s apartment,
where we spent a short time in conversation with her and her daughter,
the Grand Duchess Olga, both of whom spoke English pretty well. The
Empress said to us, “I have just seen the Emperor; the tears were in
his eyes....”

The following is the substance of what the Emperor said in reply to the
address. It was taken down immediately afterwards, and submitted to the
revision of Baron Nicolay, who testified to its accuracy:

“I wish to offer some explanation of the circumstances which led to
the present unhappy dispute. We received the blessings of Christianity
from the Greek Empire, and this has established, and maintained ever
since, a link of connection both moral and religious between Russia
and that Power. The ties that have thus united the two countries have
subsisted for 900 years, and were not severed by the conquest of Russia
by the Tartars; and when, at a later period, our country succeeded in
shaking off that yoke, and the Greek Empire, in its turn, fell under
the sway of the Turks, we still continued to take a lively interest
in the welfare of our co-religionists there: and when Russia became
powerful enough to resist the Turks, and to dictate the terms of peace,
we paid particular attention to the well-being of the Greek Church,
and procured the insertion, in successive treaties, of most important
articles in her favour. I have myself acted as my predecessors had done,
and the Treaty of Adrianople, in 1829, was as explicit as the former
were in this respect. Turkey, on her part, recognised this right of
religious interference, and fulfilled her engagements until the last
year or two, when, for the first time, she gave me reason to complain.
I will not now advert to the parties who were her principal instigators
on that occasion; suffice it to say that it became my duty to
interfere, and to claim from Turkey the fulfilment of her engagements.
My representations were pressing, but friendly, and I have every reason
to believe that matters would soon have been settled if Turkey had not
been induced by other parties to believe that I had ulterior objects in
view; that I was aiming at conquest, aggrandisement, and the ruin of
Turkey. I have solemnly disclaimed, and do now as solemnly disclaim,
every such motive. I do not desire war; I abhor it as sincerely as
you do, and am ready to forget the past, if only the opportunity be
afforded me....”

     [The deputation was asked by the Emperor to postpone
        its departure, and was told by Baron Nicolay that
        the Emperor intended to send a formal reply to the
        address. Meanwhile the Duchess of Leuchtenberg, the
        widowed daughter of the Emperor, expressed a wish
        to see the deputation.]

“We called,” said Mr. Charleton, “at the palace of the Grand Duchess
as proposed. But here our reception was very different from what it
had been a few days before at the Imperial Palace. Instead of the
earnest and cordial manner of the Emperor and Empress, the Grand
Duchess received us with merely formal politeness. Her sorrowful air,
and the depressed look of the gentleman in waiting, made it evident
to us that a great change had come over the whole aspect of affairs.
Nor were we at a loss to account for this change. _The mail from
England had arrived_, with newspapers giving an account of the opening
of Parliament and of the intensely warlike speeches in the House of

But the respect shown to the deputation personally remained
unabated.... The Emperor also sent a Government courier to accompany
them on their return, with orders that everything should be done to
contribute to the rapidity and comfort of their journey.

                HORRORS OF THE CRIMEAN HOSPITALS (1854).

                         =Source.=—_The Times._

                                                VARNA, _August 20_.

It appears that, notwithstanding the exquisite beauty of the country
around Aladyn, it is a hotbed of fever and dysentery. The same is true
of Devno, which is called by the Turks “The Valley of Death”; and
had we consulted the natives before we pitched our camps, we should
assuredly never have gone either to Aladyn or Devno, notwithstanding
the charms of their position or the temptations offered by the abundant
supply of water, and by the adjacent woods. These meadows nurture the
fever, the ague, dysentery and pestilence in their bosom—the lake and
the stream exhale death, and at night fat unctuous vapours rise up
fold after fold from the valleys, and creep up in the dark, and steal
into the tent of the sleeper, and wrap him in their deadly embrace.
So completely exhausted on last Thursday were the Brigade of Guards,
these three thousand of the flower of England, that they had to make
two marches in order to get over the distance from Aladyn to Varna,
which is not more than ten miles. But that is not all. Their packs were
carried for them. The ambulance corps has been completely crippled by
the death of the drivers and men belonging to it.... Walking by the
beach one sees some straw sticking up through the sand, and, scraping
it away with his stick, he is horrified at bringing to light the face
of a corpse, which has been deposited there with wisps of straw around
it, a prey to dogs and vultures. Dead bodies rise up from the bottom of
the harbour, and bob grimly round in the water, or float in from sea,
and drift past the sickened gazers on board the ships—all buoyant,
bolt upright, and hideous, in the sun.

                                                 SCUTARI, _October 9_.

Cholera and fever certainly have made great ravages since the departure
from Varna, and the crowded state of the transports has prevented the
men receiving the benefit which usually attends a sea voyage. Numbers
arrived sickly and weak on the beach of Kalamita Bay, and the dreadful
night of the 14th, during which the whole army stood knee-deep in
mire, beneath a pouring rain, had an immediate effect on many who were
comparatively healthy.... There is one experiment which has been a
perfect failure. At the commencement of the war a plan was invented,
and carried out, by which a number of Chelsea pensioners were sent out
as an ambulance corps to attend on the sick. Whether it was a scheme
for saving money by utilising the poor old men, or shortening the
duration of their lives and pensions, it is difficult to say; but they
have been found in practice rather to require nursing than to be able
to nurse others.

                                                SCUTARI, _October 12_.

It is with feelings of surprise and anger that the public will learn
that no sufficient preparations have been made for the proper care
of the wounded. Not only are there not sufficient surgeons—that, it
might be urged, was unavoidable—not only are there no dressers or
nurses—that might be a defect of system, for which no one is to blame;
but what will be said when it is known that there is not even linen to
make bandages for the wounded? After the troops have been six months
in the country, there is no preparation for the commonest surgical
operation. Not only are the men kept, in some cases, for a week without
the hand of a medical man coming near their wounds—not only are they
left to expire in agony, unheeded, and shaken off, though catching
desperately at the surgeon whenever he makes his rounds through the
fœtid ship, but now, when they are placed in the spacious building, it
is found that the commonest appliances of a workhouse sick-ward are

                                                         _October 18._

The manner in which the sick and wounded have been treated is worthy
only of the savages of Dahomey. In one ship were four surgeons to 300
wounded and 170 cholera patients. Numbers arrived at Scutari without
having been treated by a surgeon since they fell pierced by Russian
bullets on the slopes of the Alma. The _Colombo_ left the Crimea on a
morning four days after the battle. She carried 27 wounded officers,
422 wounded soldiers, and 124 Russian prisoners, in all 573 souls.
About half the wounded had received surgical assistance before they
were put on board. To supply the wants of this mass of misery were four
medical men, one of whom was the surgeon of the ship and sufficiently
employed in looking after the crew. The upper deck became a mass of
putridity; the neglected gun-shot wounds bred maggots, which infected
the food on board; the officers were nearly overcome, and the captain
made ill by the stench. Blankets to the number of 1,500 were spoilt and
thrown overboard. Forty-six men were needlessly left on board two days
after the arrival of the ship.

                                    HEIGHTS OF THE ALMA, _October 20_.

When I was looking at the wounded men going off to-day, I could not
see an English ambulance. Our men were sent to the sea, three miles
distant, in jolting arabas or tedious litters. The French—I am tired
of this disgraceful antithesis—had well-appointed covered hospital
vans, to hold ten or twelve men, drawn by five mules.

                     THE CRISIS AT THE ALMA (1854).

                   =Source.=—_The Times_, October 10.

                        I. THE “TIMES” ACCOUNT.

Lord Raglan at last became weary of this inactivity—his spirit was
up—he looked around, and saw men on whom he knew he might stake the
honour and fate of Great Britain by his side, and anticipating a
little, in a military point of view, the crisis of the action, he gave
orders for our whole line to advance. Up rose these serried masses,
and passing through a fearful shower of round, case-shot, and shell,
they dashed into the Alma, and floundered through its waters, which
were literally torn into foam by the deadly hail. At the other side of
the river were a number of vineyards, and to our surprise they were
occupied by Russian riflemen. Three of the staff were here shot down,
but led by Lord Raglan in person the rest advanced, cheering on the
men. Now came the turning point of the battle, in which Lord Raglan,
by his sagacity and military skill, probably secured the victory at a
smaller sacrifice than would have been otherwise the case. He dashed
over the bridge, followed by his staff. From the road over it, under
the Russian guns, he saw the state of the action. The British line,
which had been ordered to advance, was struggling through the river and
up the heights in masses, firm indeed, but mowed down by the murderous
fire of the batteries, and by grape, round shot, shell, canister,
case-shot, and musketry, from some of the guns of the central battery
and from an immense and compact mass of the Russian infantry. Then came
one of the most bloody and determined struggles in the annals of war.
The Second Division, led by Sir D. Evans, in the most dashing manner
crossed the stream on the right. The 7th Fusiliers, led by Colonel Yea,
were swept down by fifties. The 55th, 30th, and 95th, led by Brigadier
Pennefather, who was in the thickest of the fight, cheering on his men
again and again, were checked indeed, but never drew back in their
onward progress, which was marked by the fierce roll of Minié musketry,
and Brigadier Adams with the 41st, 47th, and 49th bravely charged up
the hill, and aided them in the battle.... Meantime the Guards, on
the right of the Light Division, and the Brigade of Highlanders were
storming the heights on the left. Their line was almost as regular as
if they were in Hyde Park. Suddenly a tornado of round and grape rushed
through from the terrible battery, and a roar of musketry from behind
it thinned their front ranks by dozens. It was evident that we were
just able to contend against the Russians, favoured as they were by a
great position. At this very time an immense mass of Russian infantry
were seen moving down towards the battery. They halted. It was the
crisis of the day. Sharp, angular, and solid, they looked as if they
were cut out of the solid rock. Lord Raglan saw the difficulties of the
situation. He asked if it would be possible to get a couple of guns to
bear on these masses. The reply was “Yes.” The first shot missed, but
the next and the next and the next cut through the ranks so cleanly
and so keenly that a clear lane could be seen for a moment through the
square. After a few rounds the square became broken, wavered to and
fro, broke, and fled over the brow of the hill, leaving six or seven
distinct lines of dead. This relieved our infantry of a deadly incubus,
and they continued their magnificent and fearful progress up the hill.
“Highlanders,” said Sir C. Campbell ere they came to the charge, “don’t
pull your triggers till you’re within a yard of the Russians.” They
charged, and well they obeyed their chieftain’s wish. Sir Colin had
his horse shot under him, but his men took the battery at a bound. The
Russians rushed out and left multitudes of dead behind them. The Guards
had stormed the right of the battery ere the Highlanders got into the
left, and it is said the Scots Fusilier Guards were the first to enter.

                            II. A FOOTNOTE.

         _From a Private Letter from an Officer in the Guards._

We find that the whole garrison of Sebastopol were before us, under
Menschikoff in person. His carriage has fallen into our hands, and
in it a letter, stating that Sebastopol could hold out a long time
against us; but that there was a position at the Alma which could hold
out three weeks. We took it in three hours. So convinced were they of
the impossibility of our taking it that ladies were actually there as

                    THE MORNING OF INKERMANN (1854).

                  =Source.=—_The Times_, November 24.

                                      BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, _November 5_.

It had rained almost incessantly the night before, and the early
morning gave no promise of any cessation of the heavy showers which
had fallen for the previous four-and-twenty hours. Towards dawn a
heavy fog settled down on the heights and valleys of Inkermann. The
pickets and men on outlying posts were thoroughly saturated, and their
arms were wet, despite their precautions; and it is scarcely to be
wondered at if some of them were not as alert as sentries should be
in face of an enemy. The fog and vapours of drifting rain were so
thick, as morning broke, that one could scarcely see two yards before
him. At four o’clock the bells of the churches in Sebastopol were
heard ringing drearily through the cold night air, but the occurrence
has been so usual that it provoked no particular attention. During
the night, however, a sharp-eared sergeant on an outlying picket of
the Light Division heard the sound of wheels in the valley below, as
though they were approaching the position up the hill. He reported the
circumstance, but it was supposed that the sound came from arabas or
ammunition carts going into Sebastopol by the Inkermann road. No one
suspected for a moment that enormous masses of Russians were creeping
up the rugged sides of the height over the valley of Inkermann, on the
undefended flank of the Second Division. There all was security and
repose. Little did the slumbering troops in camp imagine that a subtle
and indefatigable enemy were bringing into position an overwhelming
artillery ready to play upon the tents at the first glimpse of

And now commenced the bloodiest struggle ever witnessed since war
cursed the earth. It has been doubted by military historians if any
enemy has ever stood a charge with the bayonet, but here the bayonet
was often the only weapon employed in conflicts of the most obstinate
and deadly character. The battle of Inkermann admits of no description.
It was a series of dreadful deeds of daring, of sanguinary hand-to-hand
fights, of despairing rallies, of desperate assaults, in glens and
valleys, in brushwood glades and remote dells hidden from human eyes,
and from which the conquerors, Russian or British, issued only to
engage fresh foes.


                        I. THE “TIMES” ACCOUNT.

                                                 SCUTARI, _January 4_.

During the past week 1,900 sick have been brought down from the Crimea.
A few cases of wounded men occur among them, but the vast majority are
dysenteric. There are hundreds more at Balaclava waiting to be brought
down.... One reason of the amount of sickness is the wet weather, which
has interrupted the transport, even of commissariat supplies, between
Balaclava and the camp, and which finds its way, not only through the
men’s worn-out greatcoats in the trenches, but (what is harder still
to bear) through the rotten canvas of their tents. The consequence is
that for weeks, whether in bed or out of it, they have hardly ever been
dry. Their shoes, too, have been completely worn out, and they have
had, thus wretchedly provided, to bear the exposure of the trenches for
twelve hours out of the twenty-four, and wherever they went to paddle
knee-deep in mud.

                                                          _January 8._

Those who have been recently in the Crimea, and know the actual state
of the army with respect to health, when you ask them the number of
perfectly sound men left, reduce the already diminished strength of our
battalions in a most startling manner. Diarrhœa and dysentery do not
diminish either in the frequency or the intensity of their attacks.
Since the last mail left we have had a snowstorm, and we know that the
tents are still lying in Balaclava harbour without the means of transit.
Mortification of the feet from exposure has for some time been an
increasing feature of the cases brought down here. The army ought to
have warm clothing by this time; it is humiliating to contrast the
threadbare, tattered greatcoats, ragged trousers, and worn shoes of
these poor sufferers with the serviceable, excellent uniforms of the
Turkish army. What the army has had to endure in this way may no doubt
in some degree be traced to the disgraceful manner in which for some
years the clothing of regiments has been jobbed, but the more immediate
cause of it will be found in a fatal mistake committed at the very
outset of the Crimean invasion. When the troops landed, their kits were
left behind to secure greater expedition on the march. On arriving at
Balaclava, an order was issued to restore them, but no one had been
appointed to take charge, and the consequence was that everybody in and
about Balaclava was allowed to help himself.


                            CAMP NEAR SEBASTOPOL, _December 28, 1854_.

The British army has suffered more from sickness than from the sword.
Our men drag on in the trenches when they can scarcely stand. It is
very wearisome trying to walk about for twelve hours in slush; the
young hands cannot stand it. They sit down, get cramps, are carried to
hospital, and die. The old soldiers know their only chance is to keep
moving about.... Some arrangements must be made about firewood; there
is none within two miles of us. We have no animals of any sort, or we
might lay in a supply.

                                                          _January 2._

A hundred or a thousand men, as the case may be, wet through and
through, and up to the tips of their shakos in mud, sometimes without
blankets, often without tents, take up their ground at a late hour, and
there they lie. If they have something to eat, they are lucky. If they
have not, they go without. Their frightful exposure brings on certain
disease, and in a few days the dying and sick are the exclamation of
every one. Lord Raglan (if Lord Raglan be really here, and not in
London) is never seen.

                                                          _January 4._

The contrast between the French organisation and the working of our own
system is painful in the extreme. The French regiments all have their
huts, instead of our decaying tents, and can at least keep dry when
off duty. The streets of their camp are cleanly kept, and free of the
intolerable mire of ours. Their transport was so well supplied from
home that they have been able to bring up plenty of forage, with the
result that they have kept alive a great number of horses, while we
are reduced to a mere handful of beasts, which are stabled near Lord
Raglan’s quarters. We have hardly any animals to bring up supplies from
the harbour, and none to fetch us firewood. The army has simply been
deposited here by the people in London, and left to shift for itself.
Have we any War Department at all?

                                                         _January 12._

You will be surprised to hear me talk of hunger, but it is true. Our
Commissariat is so badly organised that the men often have had no meat
for twenty-four hours, often short supply even of biscuit and coffee.
We are very badly off for fuel, the men having to go a long way for the
most miserable twigs. Often we have had to march fatigue parties to
port (Balaclava), some miles through mud, to bring up their rations in
their haversacks—cruel work for men overworked in the trenches. Their
boots are sucked off their feet in mud, they have no change of clothes,
and how any man can stand it I know not.

                    III. FROM “THE MORNING HERALD.”

                                             BALACLAVA, _December 18_.

Along a flat, dirty causeway, rather below the level of the harbour,
are boats and barges of all kinds, laden with biscuits, barrels of
beef, pork, rum, bales of winter clothing, siege guns, boxes of Minié
ammunition, piles of shell, trusses of hay, and sacks of barley and
potatoes. These are landed in the wet, and stacked in the mud, until
all the provisions that will spoil are sufficiently impregnated with
both to be fit for issuing to the men. The motley crowd that is
perpetually wading about among these piles of uneatable eatables is
something beyond description. The very ragged, gaunt, hungry-looking
men with matted beards and moustachios, features grimed with dirt,
and torn great-coats stiff with layers of mud—these men are picked
soldiers from our different regiments, strong men selected to carry
up provisions for the rest of the camp. The rough, heavy-looking men
in tarpaulin coats, sou’-wester caps, and high boots, are generally
officers in the Guards. The very seedy-looking men in dilapidated
garments, with bread-bags tied round their legs, are officers from the
naval brigade; and so on.

                       THE ANGEL OF DEATH (1855).

      =Source.=—_Hansard_, Third Series, vol. cxxxvi., col. 1755.

MR. JOHN BRIGHT: We are in this position, that for a
month past, at least, there has been a chaos in the regions of
Administration. Nothing can be more embarrassing—I had almost said
nothing can be more humiliating—than the position which we offer to
the country; and I am afraid that the knowledge of our position is not
confined to the limits of these islands.

It will be admitted that we want a Government; that if the country is
to be saved from the breakers which now surround it, there must be a
Government; and it devolves upon the House of Commons to rise to the
gravity of the occasion, and to support any man who is conscious of
his responsibility, and who is honestly offering and endeavouring to
deliver the country from the embarrassment in which we now find it.
We are at war, and I shall not say one single sentence with regard to
the policy of the war or its origin; and I know not that I shall say a
single sentence with regard to the conduct of it; but the fact is that
we are at war with the greatest military Power, probably, of the world,
and that we are carrying on our operations at a distance of 3,000 miles
from home, and in the neighbourhood of the strongest fortifications
of that great military Empire. I shall not stop to criticise—though
it really invites me—the fact that some who have told us that we
were in danger from the aggressions of that Empire, at the same time
told us that that Empire was powerless for aggression, and also that
it was impregnable to attack. By some means, however, the public have
been alarmed as if that aggressive Power were unbounded, and they have
been induced to undertake an expedition, as if the invasion of an
impregnable country were a matter of holiday-making rather than of war.

But we are now in a peculiar position with regard to that war; for
if I am not mistaken, at this very moment, terms have been agreed
upon—agreed upon by the Cabinet of Lord Aberdeen; consented to by the
noble Lord the member for Tiverton (Lord Palmerston) when he was in
that Cabinet; and ratified and confirmed by him upon the formation of
his own Government—and that those terms are now specifically known
and understood; and that they have been offered to the Government
with which this country is at war, and in conjunction with France and
Austria—one, certainly, and the other supposed to be, an ally of this
country. Now, those terms consist of four propositions, which I shall
neither describe nor discuss, because they are known to the House;[6]
but three of them are not matters of dispute; and with regard to
the other, I think that the noble Lord, the member for the City of
London (Lord John Russell) stated, upon a recent occasion, that it was
involved in this proposition that the preponderant power of Russia in
the Black Sea should cease, and that Russia had accepted it with that
interpretation. Therefore, whatever difference arises is merely as to
the mode in which that “preponderant power” shall be understood, or
made to cease. Now there are some gentlemen not far from me—there are
men who write in the public press—there are thousands of persons in
the United Kingdom at this moment—and I learn with astonishment and
dismay that there are persons even in that grave Assembly which we are
not allowed to specify by a name in this House—who have entertained
dreams, impracticable theories, expectations of vast European and
Asiatic changes, of revived nationalities, and of a new map of Europe,
if not of the world, as a result or an object of this war. And it is
from these gentlemen that we have continually addressed to the noble
Lord the member for Tiverton language which I cannot well understand.
They call upon him to act, to carry on the war with vigour, and to
prosecute enterprises which neither his Government nor any other
Government has ever seriously entertained; but I would appeal to those
gentlemen whether it does not become us—regarding the true interests
and true honour of the country—if our Government have offered terms of
peace to Russia, not to draw back from these terms, not to cause any
unnecessary delay, not to adopt any subterfuge to prevent those terms
being accepted, not to attempt shuffles of any kind, not to endeavour
to insist upon harder terms, and thus make the approach of peace even
more distant than it is at present? ...

I appeal to the noble Lord at the head of the Government and to this
House; I am not now complaining of the war—I am not now complaining of
the terms of peace, nor, indeed, of anything that has been done—but I
wish to suggest to this House what, I believe, thousands and tens of
thousands of the most educated and of the most Christian portion of the
people of this country are feeling upon this subject, although,
indeed, in the midst of a certain clamour in the country, they do
not give public expression to their feelings. Your country is not in
an advantageous state at this moment; from one end of the kingdom to
the other there is a general collapse of industry. Those members of
the House not intimately acquainted with the trade and commerce of
the country do not fully comprehend our position as to the diminution
of employment and the lessening of wages. An increase in the cost of
living is finding its way to the homes and hearts of a vast number of
the labouring population.

At the same time there is growing up—and, notwithstanding what some
hon. members of this House may think of me, no man regrets it more
than I do—a bitter and angry feeling against that class which has
for a long period conducted the public affairs of this country. I
like political changes when such changes are made as the result, not
of passion, but of deliberation and reason. Changes so made are safe,
but changes made under the influence of violent exaggeration, or of
the violent passions of public meetings, are not changes usually
approved by this House or advantageous to the country. I cannot but
notice, in speaking to gentlemen who sit on either side of this
House, or in speaking to any one I meet between this House and any
of those localities we frequent when this House is up—I cannot, I
say, but notice that an uneasy feeling exists as to the news which
may arrive by the very next mail from the East. I do not suppose that
your troops are to be beaten in actual conflict with the foe, or that
they will be driven into the sea; but I am certain that many homes in
England in which there now exists a fond hope that the distant one may
return—many such homes may be rendered desolate when the next mail
shall arrive. The Angel of Death has been abroad throughout the land;
you may almost hear the very beating of his wings. There is no one to
sprinkle with blood the lintels and the sideposts of our doors, that
he may spare and pass on; but he calls at the castle of the noble, the
mansion of the wealthy, equally as at the cottage of the humble, and it
is on behalf of all these classes that I make this solemn appeal.

I tell the noble Lord, that if he be ready honestly and frankly to
endeavour, if possible, by the negotiations to be opened at Vienna, to
put an end to this war, no word of mine, no vote of mine, will be given
to shake his power for one single moment, or to change his position
in this House. I am sure that the noble Lord is not inaccessible to
appeals made to him from honest motives and with the deferential
feeling that he has been for more than forty years a member of this
House. The noble Lord, before I was born, sat upon the Treasury Bench,
and he has devoted his life to the service of his country. He is no
longer young, and his life has extended almost to the term allotted
to man. I would ask, I would entreat the noble Lord to take a course
which, when he looks back upon his whole political career—whatever he
may therein find to be pleased with, whatever to regret—cannot but be
a source of gratification. By adopting that course he would have the
satisfaction of reflecting that, having obtained the laudable object
of his ambition, having become the foremost subject of the Crown,
the dispenser of, it may be, the destinies of his country, and the
presiding genius in her councils—he had achieved a still higher and
nobler ambition: that he had returned the sword to the scabbard—that
at his word torrents of blood had ceased to flow—that he had restored
tranquillity to Europe, and saved this country from the indescribable
calamities of war.

[6] The four points were: (1) The protectorate of Russia over the five
principalities was to be replaced by a collective guarantee; (2) the
navigation of the mouths of the Danube was to be free; (3) the treaty
of 1841, concerning Russia’s position in the Black Sea, was to be
revised; (4) Russia was to renounce all official protectorate over any
of the Sultan’s subjects.

                 WHY PEACE NEGOTIATIONS FAILED (1855).

       =Source.=—_Life of Lord John Russell_, by Spencer Walpole,
                  vol. ii., p. 263. (London: 1889.)

I was ready to incur the responsibility of advising the acceptance of
the terms proposed in conjunction with the French Government. But I was
not prepared to advise that we should depart from or even hazard our
alliance with France for the chance of a peace on terms which I could
not consider entirely satisfactory. Moreover, it was impossible for
me to know the full weight of the motives which might have swayed the
Emperor. The immediate result of our acceptance of the Austrian terms
might have been the instant acquiescence of Russia, and the consequent
evacuation of the Crimea. How would the French army have borne a
retreat from before Sebastopol, relinquishing a siege which had cost so
much blood and so much suffering? Might not the discontent of the army
have disturbed the internal tranquillity of France, and even menaced
the throne of the Emperor?


Transcriber's Notes:

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   Small capitals have been converted to SOLID capitals.
  Old or antiquated spellings have been preserved.
  Typographical errors have been silently corrected but other variations
    in spelling and punctuation remain unaltered.

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