Little Folk's History of England III.

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A.D. 1745.

IF Prince Charles Edward had stood in his father’s place, he might have won back the crown which his grandfather had lost.  In 1745 he had all the qualities which attract and attach men.  He was handsome, brave, and high-spirited, generous, affectionate, and self-denying; but his education had been shamefully neglected, and his judgment was far from strong.

After the failure of the expedition from Dunkirk, France deserted his cause; but nothing would induce him to return to Rome and accept defeat.  He was resolved to try his fortune alone, and he wrote to his father to sell his jewels for money to fit him out.  With this, and some which he borrowed, he fitted out a little ship, and with seven followers set sail for Scotland.  He landed on one of the western islands, and asked for the chief of the Macdonalds.  He was absent.  Next day the old man came on board of the prince’s ship, and tried to persuade him of the madness of the enterprise; but it ended in his persuading the Macdonald to risk everything in his behalf.

So it was with every other Highland chief who came to him.  Cameron of Lochiel held out long; but Charles said, “I am resolved to put all to the hazard.  I will raise the royal standard and tell the people of Britain that Charles Stuart has come back to claim the crown of his ancestors, or perish in the attempt.  Let Lochiel stay at home, and read the news in the papers.”  “Not so,” replied Lochiel, “I will share the fate of my prince, whatever it may be, and so shall every man over whom I have any power.”

It was a whole month before the English Government knew that the prince had appeared, and in that time Charles had raised a Highland army.  King George was, as usual, in Hanover.  Sir John Cope in Scotland was ordered to oppose the prince, and offer thirty thousand pounds for his head.

Cope marched northwards, leaving the way to Edinburgh open, which Charles at once seized, and led his little army to the capital.  Edinburgh was unprepared, and could offer no resistance.  The garrison of the castle shut themselves in, and Charles entered Holyrood, the ancient palace of his ancestors, unopposed.  That very day he had his father proclaimed at the market cross, and in the evening he gave a ball in the palace.

News came that Cope was marching on Edinburgh from Dunbar.  The prince did not await his coming; he went out to meet him with only two thousand five hundred men and a single gun.  They came up with each other at Prestonpans, about six miles from the city.  The Highlanders charged fiercely, and in less than ten minutes the battle was won.  Cope’s men were flying, and the Highlanders cutting them down without mercy.  Charles put an end to the slaughter as quickly as he could, and he stayed all day upon the field caring for the wounded, chiefly his enemies.  Next day he marched back to Edinburgh, and with great delicacy would allow of no rejoicings for the victory, because it was over his father’s subjects.  He wrote to France of his wonderful success, and asked the king for aid; but none was given; only a little money was sent to him.  A powerful fleet was by this time in the Channel, and prevented more substantial help.  King George had returned, an army had been brought over from Flanders, and General Wade with the English, and the Duke of Cumberland with the foreign troops, were advancing.  All this time Charles spent at Holyrood, waiting for French help, and eager to set out for England.

At length he would wait no longer, and contrary to the advice of the chiefs, he left Edinburgh, and began his march into England.  His enterprise had been hopeless from the first.  It became more and more hopeless with every step he took.  He reached Derby unopposed.  The way to London was open, and he wanted to press on.  Wade and Cumberland were both between him and Scotland.  To turn back was to give in.  But he could no longer urge forward his disheartened followers.  They wanted to get back to their native hills.  Hardly any Englishmen had joined them.  The English looked upon Highlanders with a kind of horror.  Some of the ignorant people believed that they ate little children.

So from Derby Prince Charles turned back, no longer bright and radiant, but listless with bitter disappointment.  The towns and villages through which they passed mocked and insulted the retreating army, sometimes even ventured to attack it, and provoked attack in return.  But at length they crossed into Scotland, and got safe to Glasgow.  That city was against the Pretender; and Charles made its inhabitants contribute new clothes and new shoes to his army.

Leaving Glasgow he marched on Stirling Castle, and gained a battle at Falkirk, but it did him no service.  The Highlanders were deserting to go home.  Their chiefs were quarrelling, and Cumberland and his army were coining on.  Charles began a retreat into the Highlands.

He marched into Inverness, and on Culloden Moor the decisive battle was fought.  The army of the Pretender was worn out with fatigue, and weak with fasting; the army of Cumberland in good condition and high spirits.  The latter opened the fight with cannon while the snow was blowing in the faces of the poor Highlanders, who could hardly stand.  Several times they tried to make a rush, and cut their way with their broad swords through the English lines; but they fell, before they could strike a blow, under the steady fire of their enemies.  The slaughter was terrible.  The Highlanders were utterly defeated.  They were pursued and cut down without quarter by the English troopers.  Even the wounded were mercilessly killed, and that by command of Cumberland.  Twenty wounded men, who had taken refuge in a farm-house, were shut up and burned in it.  His ferocious cruelty earned for the Duke of Cumberland, the son of King George, the title of “THE BUTCHER.”

Charles escaped to the mountains, and Cumberland continued to hunt out his adherents, and slay them, not even sparing the women and children.  For this kind of work he was praised and pensioned by the Government, and hated and abhorred by all good men wherever his name is heard.  The search for the young Pretender was going on with vigour, for the thirty thousand pounds were still upon his head.

He took refuge among the Macdonalds of the Isles; the hunters following landing on the very island where he was.  Hundreds knew of his hiding-places; but not the poorest among these poor Highlanders ever offered to betray him.  In his greatest peril he was rescued by a young lady, Flora Macdonald, who took him to a place of safety, dressed as her maid.  From the islands to the mainland, through shires where every pass was guarded, he was guided and passed on from one to another till his friends had seen him safe on board a French ship.  These friends remained to face the worst that men could inflict, who had no nobleness, no generosity themselves, and so could not appreciate it in others.

It would have been well for Charles Stuart if he had shared their fate; for he outlived all his fine qualities, and died a poor miserable drunkard.  His only brother became a priest, and was made a cardinal, and so ended the Stuart race.



THE king’s eldest son now died.  He was in the prime of life, but he had wasted his strength in dissipation.  Still he was better than the Duke of Cumberland; and the people were sorry, and said openly that they wished it had been THE BUTCHER.  Frederick, Prince of Wales, left eight children, the eldest of whom became George the Third.

On the 30th of April, 1748, a truce was concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle, and everything was left much as it had been before the war, except that the King of Prussia ruled over a state that had once been part of Austria; that England had spent some millions of money, and that a countless number of lives had been lost, and another countless number made poor and miserable.  It must always be so with war; therefore to cause war is the greatest crime that a man or a nation can commit.

This peace did not last long.  France and England were soon again at war; but this time it was in the remotest parts of the world, in North America and East India.

The French had a great colony in North America called Canada.  It is the only part of North America that now belongs to England, but at that time almost all the country which had been colonised was ours.  A dispute having arisen between the French in Canada and the English in New England about the boundaries of these states, the French had built a fort and begun an irregular war.

Washington, of whom you will hear more presently, took the field against the French and their allies, the Indians.  Then a fleet was sent out from France to help the Canadians.  After them went a British fleet to drive the French fleet away, which it would have done, only the French fleet escaped in a fog near Newfoundland.

When the war had gone on some time, William Pitt, who was prime minister in England, sent out a young general named Wolfe, who took Quebec, the capital of Canada, after which the whole colony fell into our hands.  Quebec is a very strong city, built on a high rock above the river St. Lawrence, which is frozen over for months every year.  There was a garrison inside the city and an army under a brave French general outside, and Wolfe despaired of taking it.  However, one dark night he took his men higher up the river, and set them to climb the steep rocks, so that they could get a good position for fighting.

The next morning the French general was astonished to see the English army on the heights.  A battle was fought; the English gained a victory, but Wolfe was killed.  As he was dying, one of the officers near him said, “See how they run!”  He opened his eyes and asked, “Who runs?”  “The enemy,” was the answer.  “Then I die happy,” said the young general with his last breath.  This happened in 1759.

Meantime England had gained an empire in India.  A young man, whose name was Clive, and who had been a clerk in the service of the East India Company, thought he would like fighting better than clerk’s work, and so left his desk and became a soldier.  There was fighting going on, and he soon showed that he could fight well.  There were French merchants and English merchants in India, as well as French and English soldiers; and when the French and English merchants quarrelled, the French and English soldiers fought out the quarrel.  The native princes of India fought, some on one side and some on the other, and some against both.  So Clive had plenty of practice.  At length, in 1757, he took Calcutta, which you know is the capital of a vast province.  Its prince was an ally of the French and he had shut up 146 English prisoners in a place so narrow that they could not breathe, and one night 123 out of 146 died a terrible death.  The place where they died is known by the name of “the Black Hole of Calcutta.”  This cruel prince Clive utterly defeated, and made him give up to England the city and the land all round it; and at last put another prince on his throne, who promised to be faithful to the English.

I have not much more to tell you of this reign.  Towards its close France seized Hanover, which was defended by the Duke of Cumberland, who was compelled to surrender, and not to serve again during the war.  He died in 1765.  Five years before died the king himself.  His reign had not been a happy one; but in it were begun those great improvements in machinery which have made England what it is at present, “the workshop of the world.”  A chapter in the next reign will tell you a little of the men who fought in this better war, the war of industry; a war not to kill and destroy, but to save the life and labour of millions.


A.D. 1760 to 1820.

GEORGE THE THIRD succeeded his grandfather at the age of twenty-two.  He was a much better man than his father, though he had very little wisdom and a great deal of obstinacy.  When he came to the throne he was sovereign of the States of America as well as of England; and it was in his reign that America became a separate nation.  His want of wisdom and his obstinacy had a good deal to do with hastening this; but sooner or later it must have happened, at any rate.  America had grown too big to be governed by England.  In the time of George the Third its States were growing into nations, with great cities and assemblies of their own, by which all their affairs were managed.  In 1764 the English Government resolved to tax the Americans; and instead of asking them to vote a share of their taxes to England, for the expense to which England was certainly put on their behalf, the English Government put on the tax without their consent.  The Americans refused to pay it; just as Englishmen, you will remember, refused to pay the taxes Charles the First put on them without their consent.

They sent over to England a clever man called Benjamin Franklin to plead their cause with the king and Parliament.  He had been in England for several months, where he had worked as a journeyman printer.  He was now known as a philosopher all over Europe.  It was he who discovered, by means of a paper kite, the nature of electricity, which in our days has been put to such wonderful use in sending messages by the telegraph.  Franklin told the English Government that, if they would only send letters to the States, requesting them to vote money, they would get it without any trouble.

A few wise men in England would have done this, but the king and his ministers would not.  An Act, called the Stamp Act, was passed, imposing much the same duties on the Americans as were already paid by the people at home.  When the news of this reached Boston, the city bells tolled as for a funeral, and the flags on the ships in the harbour were lowered as for a death, half-mast high.

The American Legislature denied that England had a right to tax America, and the Americans determined to resist.  So great was the opposition to the stamp-tax that the next English Parliament repealed it.  The Americans would not let the stamped papers come into the country.

It was next proposed that the Americans should be made to maintain the troops that were sent over from England.  They replied that they would pay no tax whatever, unless it was laid upon them by their own representatives, in their own assemblies.

Then the English Government ordered troops to be stationed in Boston, to frighten the people into paying their taxes, and the people only insulted the troops.  All the taxes were now to be taken off, except a tax on tea.  Three ships loaded with tea came into Boston harbour.  The people demanded that they should be sent back.  The governor appointed by England would not do so.  Then the people waited till it was dark, and went on board the ships and threw the tea into the sea.

After this the governor was told to leave Boston, and the people began to arm themselves to fight with the king’s troops.  The Americans asked that England should take away all its ships and soldiers, and leave them to manage for themselves.


A.D. 1775 to 1782.

THE first blood was shed at a place called Lexington.  The Americans say the English were the first to fire, the English say it was the Americans.  At all events the English had the worst of it.  A great many of General Gage’s soldiers were killed by men who fired from behind trees and walls and houses, and were themselves unhurt.  This was on the 19th of April, 1775.

The Americans now appointed a commander-in-chief, and the war began in earnest.  The man whom they appointed was George Washington, a simple country gentleman, who had been a colonel of militia.  He began a career of the purest patriotism by at once taking the post assigned to him, and refusing to take the salary attached to it.  He joined the army on the 15th of June, 1775, and two days after was fought the battle of Bunker’s Hill, which the English gained with loss and difficulty.

The Canadians had not joined in the insurrection, therefore the Americans invaded Canada.  Upon this fresh measures were taken against them by the English Government.  German soldiers were hired to fight against them, and worse still, the savage Indians who roamed in the vast forests which everywhere surrounded the settled States.

On the 1st of July, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was passed.  The American colonies became the “United States of America.”  France was ready to support them with an army.

They had need of help just then, for Washington’s army was very small and ill-furnished.  The English were gaining all the victories.  Still, Washington struggled through the winter.  The British troops suffered greatly, but the Americans suffered more.  They had no shoes and no blankets in the bitter cold, and Washington could hardly get money to buy food for them.  They were obliged to seize upon provisions to keep themselves from perishing of cold and hunger.

In the beginning of I778 the English Government proposed to treat for peace; but the Americans said they were now a separate nation, and could not listen to terms of peace till England withdrew her fleets and armies.  The French troops arrived in America in 1780, and the fighting went on more fiercely than ever.  But at the close of the next year the English general, Lord Cornwallis, surrendered himself and his army to the united armies of France and America, and in another year the war came to an end.  The independence of America was acknowledged, and England might even have had to resign Canada, but that while there had been nothing but loss and disaster on land, the fleet, under Admiral Rodney had triumphed over the navies of France and Spain.


A.D. 1789.

A FEW years passed in comparative peace, when the second great event of the reign of George the Third took place.  That event was the French Revolution of 1789.  You may think that this ought surely to belong only to the history of France, and so, indeed, it ought.  But it led England into a long and bloody war.  How it came to do so you will now hear.

You remember that I told you how very wicked the French noblemen were in early times.  I am sorry to say that in the time of George the Third a great number of them were very bad still, and almost all were very thoughtless and selfish.  The poor people and all who had to labour were cruelly treated, and dreadfully oppressed.  They could get by their hardest work only just enough to keep them alive.  The houses of the labourers were dark and damp and unwholesome (I am sorry to say there are some in England the same).  Their food was poor and scanty; they were clothed in rags.  And yet these poor people had to pay all the taxes, and mend all the roads, and do a great deal of unpaid work for their rich masters.  Everything was taxed, even the salt which is so necessary to health that without it people would sicken and die though fed on the richest food.

The land belonged to the rich noblemen and to the priests, and they would pay nothing; and while they lived in the greatest luxury the working people starved.  The kings, too, who were always taking more and more from the people, and carrying away by force to the wars the men who earned bread for the children, had been very wicked, more wicked than I can tell you.  They did not care how many people died of hunger that they might waste as much as they pleased in pleasure; or how many were killed for their pride.

The Great Revolution began in Paris.  The Parliament there had spoken out about the misery of the people; and the people took it into their heads all at once that, if they were so badly governed, they would have no government at all.  They thought they would put an end to their poverty and misery by putting an end to kings and nobles and rich people, and making everybody equal, which you know would only have been making everybody as miserable as themselves.  But they were too ignorant to know this, and too mad with all they suffered.

When you come to read fully about the things these unhappy people did in their fury, you will feel inclined to hate them.  There never were such horrors before in the history of the world, and I hope there may never be again.  Their rage and their cruelty were hateful enough, but I think that those who had lived for years in luxury and selfish pleasure and seen their fellow-countrymen become so miserable and so vicious were more hateful still.

The French king in whose reign the revolution took place happened to be a far better man than those who had been kings before him for a very long time.  He was a plain, slow man, very sleepy-headed, and fond when he was awake not of ruling his kingdom, but of making curious locks.  He had married the daughter of that brave empress, Maria Theresa, of whom you read in the last reign.  Her name was Marie Antoinette, and she came to France very young, and was very beautiful and very gay.  The unhappy people thought it cruel of her to be dancing and laughing while they were starving and weeping.  She was only thoughtless, but kings and queens have no right to be thoughtless, and live only to enjoy themselves.  This king and queen had two children, a girl and a boy, when the revolution began.

I cannot tell you all the dreadful things this poor royal family suffered.  The great crowd of miserable wretches marched to their palace, broke into it, and terrified and insulted them in their own rooms, where they were never safe afterwards, but lived in constant fear of being murdered.  Then they tried to escape, and got away to a good distance; but they were missed and pursued, caught and brought back again to be worse treated than before.  They were kept prisoners in their palace, and after a time taken from it to a real prison, where the poor king was separated from his family.  And when the people heard that an army was coming against them to place the king on the throne again, they made haste to put him to death.  They were still more cruel to the queen.  They took her little son, who was only eight years old, away from her, and said she was so wicked that they could not leave him with her.  At last they killed her as they had killed her husband, and she died as bravely and patiently as he had done.

The poor little Dauphin was given to a brutal keeper, who would often shut him up alone, and who frightened him so that he never spoke or called for anything.  He grew up a sickly, neglected child, as dirty and more miserable than any beggar-boy — he who had been born heir to all the splendour of the kings of France.  He lingered a few years, and then died.  The little girl alone lived to be a woman.

Before the death of the king, Prussia, Austria, and several of the small German States had united to invade France, and when Louis had been put to death England too joined the allies.  The French had sent an army against the invaders, and had invaded Germany in turn.  Their general, Dumouriez, took a great many German towns, but at last he went over to the Austrians, and would not fight for the French Republic any more.


A.D. 1799 to 1815.

FRANCE was now surrounded by enemies, indeed the whole world was against her, and she was alone against the whole world.  No sooner was the Reign of Terror over, and a government called the Directory set up in its stead, than another rising took place to unsettle everything again.  Just then, however, arose the wonderful man who was destined to be Emperor of the French, and to conquer every country in Europe except England.  His name was Napoleon Bonaparte.

He was at that time only a poor officer living in lodgings in Paris, with his mother and sisters, when the Government appointed him to defend them; even then he was only made second in command.  He did not hesitate.  He saved the government by a great slaughter in the streets of Paris, and his fortune was made.

He was next sent into Italy, which he overran and conquered, making the Italians give him, not only a great deal of money, but their most beautiful pictures and statues, which he sent home to his masters in Paris.

When he came back from Italy he was received with every honour.  He had been recalled to take the command of the “army of England;” for there was nothing the French people desired so much as to conquer England; and no wonder, for England had given money by the million to almost every other nation that they might fight against France.  Napoleon was wise enough to find out that he could not conquer England just then, however.  So he marched away to Egypt.  There he gained a battle, which he called the battle of the Pyramids, and took Cairo; but his success ended there.  England as yet had no great commander.  Wellington was only a young soldier, fighting out in India; but she had Nelson on the sea, and in the battle of the Nile he gained a great victory over the French fleet.  In Egypt Napoleon showed himself in his true colours — a man who cared nothing for human lives.

When he returned from Egypt he was made First Consul of France; but this did not content him.  He went out again to conquer other nations, that he might make himself greater at home.  Some day you will read more particularly how he crossed the Alps, and conquered Italy the second time, plundering her still more; how he came back, and governed in France, and made new and mostly wise laws, and put to death all who stood in his way, till at length he made himself emperor, and got the poor old pope, who was eighty years of age, to come all the way from Rome to put the crown of France on his head.  All the nations had made peace with him, even England; but after he was crowned, Prussia, Austria, and England united against him, and he soon found an excuse for making war against them.  Next year (1805) he marched into Vienna, the capital of Austria, whose king had run away; and there, as usual, he took everything he could.  He then defeated the Russians and Austrians at Austerlitz, and once more returned victorious.

In this same year was fought the famous battle of Trafalgar.  The news of Nelson’s victory was brought to Napoleon when he was on his way to Vienna.  He was full of rage, for he knew that after that he could never conquer England.

Nelson had been staying at his home, Merton, in Surrey, in very bad health.  When he heard, however, that a great French and Spanish fleet was threatening England from the harbour of Cadiz, he offered at once to take the command.  On the 15th of September he was again on board his ship, the Victory, and sailing for Cadiz.  The enemy’s fleet was expected to come out; but Nelson was watching it as a cat watches a mouse.  “I am sure I shall beat them,” Nelson said; “but I am also almost sure I shall be killed in doing it.”

It was the 19th day of October before the French fleet came out.  On the 21st, off Cape Trafalgar, they came in sight; and Nelson immediately ordered his ships to bear down upon them, and then went into his cabin and wrote a prayer.  He felt that he should not come out of the action alive.

Then he ran up a signal on the mast of the Victory for all the other ships to read.  It was the famous signal, “England expects every man to do his duty.”  By twelve o’clock at noon Nelson’s ship was engaged with four of the enemies’ ships.  One of them held fast to her with great hooks, so that they were like two sea-monsters gripping each other.  Each ship kept firing at the other, and the masts and spars were crashing together till they were shattered.  Then both took fire.  The fire in the Victory was extinguished, but the enemy’s ship was destroyed.  It was from this ship (the Redoudtable) that Nelson received his death-wound.  One of the French riflemen, from where he stood upon the mast, saw the commander, knew him by the star upon his breast, took aim at him, and shot him down.  He fell upon the deck.  Captain Hardy came and asked if he was severely wounded.  “Yes,” he replied; “they have done for me at last.”  He was carried below, and lay for an hour or two listening to the thunder of the guns.  The captain came again.  Nelson asked how the battle went.  Hardy replied that fourteen or fifteen vessels had been taken.  “That is well,” said Nelson, “but I bargained for twenty.”  He had made up his mind before the fight to take at least twenty of the French ships.

The battle was not half over when Nelson fell; but never was there a more decisive victory.  The enemies’ fleet was entirely destroyed.  For the next fifty years England was safe from invasion.  This safety was bought with the life of Nelson.  The fight was no longer doubtful when he died.  He remembered those whom he had loved in his last moments, and begged the captain to kiss him; for this man was a true hero, as tender-hearted as he was brave.

Napoleon next marched into Prussia, and in three weeks defeated its armies at Jena and Auerstadt, took possession of its fortresses, and lived in the palace of its king.  Then the conqueror went into Poland, and fought more battles; but at one place he met with a repulse, and retired to Warsaw, where he intended to stay till the spring of 1807.  But while it was still winter he was forced to come out and fight, amid snow and ice, an army of Russians, the allies of Prussia and England, at a place named Eylau.  The French were severely repulsed; but the Russians were unable to stay on fighting, and their emperor met and made peace with Napoleon.

Next year (1808) the fighting was chiefly in Spain and Portugal.  Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, was made King of Spain.  In 1807 a French army had occupied Lisbon and Madrid, and robbed and oppressed the people as usual.  But the Spaniards and Portuguese had risen against their enemies, and called on England for help.  England, though at war with Spain, at once sent money and arms, and, what was of much greater value, a small army under Sir Arthur Wellesley, afterwards the great Duke of Wellington, who defeated the French at Rolica and Vimiera, and soon after entered Lisbon in triumph, driving out the French and the new king, Joseph.

When Napoleon heard of these reverses he came himself into Spain, marched on Madrid, and immediately began to re-conquer the country.  One brave English general, Sir John Moore, was obliged to retreat with great loss, and was himself killed in the battle at Coruna.  The English were again driven out of Spain and Portugal.

Napoleon had been obliged to withdraw, and Wellington was sent out to take the chief command. He took the city of Oporto, and defeated the French at Talavera. This great battle lasted two days, and the French were just twice the number of the English. In the meantime Napoleon was fighting the Austrians again, whom he once more defeated at the battle of Wagram, and forced to make peace with him.

Not only did he make peace with Austria, but the very next year he married an Austrian princess, Marie Louise, the niece of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette. When this princess left Vienna, her father’s capital, the people wept round her carriage, thinking she was going to France to suffer as her aunt had done. But she seemed well pleased to go, though Napoleon was now twice her age, and had a wife living. The name of his wife was Josephine, and everybody esteemed her. She had married Napoleon when he was a poor officer, and loved him then and always. She loved him so much that she pretended to be willing to go away from him when he wished her to go, though it almost broke her heart.

In the meantime Wellington had been defeating the French generals in Spain. All the winter of 1810, and the next year, and the year after that, the fighting there went on.


A.D. 1812.

IN 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia with an army of five hundred thousand men.  He was quite confident of success, and talked of conquering it in two battles.  Calling his soldiers to victory, he crossed the river Niemen on the 23rd of June.  The Russians had made up their minds how to act.  Great gloomy forests stretched along the banks of the river.  No army was to be seen to oppose the march of Napoleon’s soldiers.  When the head of the first column crossed the river, a single Cossack rode out of the woods, and asked why they had come upon Russian soil.  The soldiers replied, “To beat you.”  Then the Cossack rode away into the woods again, and all was silent as before.

It took three days for the great host to cross the river, over which so few were ever to return.  The Russians fell back as they advanced.  Napoleon, impatient to overtake them, pushed on rapidly.  That was just what the Russians had planned, to draw the French into the heart of their country.  They carried off the provisions, burning what they could not carry.  They set on fire their towns and villages.  They left behind them nothing but a desolate waste, where neither man nor beast could live.

Still Napoleon pressed on.  On the journey to Moscow one hundred thousand men fell from fatigue and disease.  When, on the 15th of July, they drew near the city of Smolensk, the officers entreated him to turn back; but he would not hear.  “We must,” he said, “advance upon Moscow, and strike a blow in order to obtain peace, or winter-quarters and supplies.”  He could not believe that the Russians would carry out their plan of wasting the country so far.  But as the army of the invaders drew near Smolensk, the people poured out of its gates on the other side.  In the night the fires broke out. In the morning the conqueror entered a deserted city, or, rather, deserted ruins.

In Moscow, the ancient capital of Russia, and regarded by the Russians as a sacred city, a council was held whether they would abandon it or no.  Even this was resolved upon at last; the greatest sacrifice ever a nation made.

On the 14th of September the Russian army filed through the streets of their beloved city.  With sad hearts and mournful looks, they went silently out of its gates.  The inhabitants followed.  The governor before he departed took two prisoners, one a Frenchman and one a Russian.  The Russian he ordered to be put to death, with the consent of the rnan’s own father.  The Frenchman he set at liberty, telling him to go to Napoleon, and say that one traitor had been found in Russia, and him he had seen cut in pieces.

On that same day, the French, still a great host, though worn with marching and sick with hunger, came in sight of the city, where they hoped to rest for the winter.  They rushed up the hill to get a sight of it, shouting for joy, “Moscow! Moscow!”  There it lay before them, with its churches and its palaces.  They could not believe that the Russians would forsake it.  No, they would come out and fling themselves at the conqueror’s feet, and sue for peace, and save their city.

But no one came out.  Not a man was on the walls.  It looked like a city of the dead.  Two hundred and fifty thousand people had left their homes there.  The city was abandoned.

Still, there was something left.  They had not carried the city with them.  The troops poured into its deserted streets and squares, and entered the empty houses.  The officers chose the palaces and gardens where they intended to stay.

But all had been prepared.  In the night fires broke out here, there, everywhere.  The houses, chiefly of wood, burned so as to defy the efforts of the soldiers to put out the flames.  The governor had left in the city men who came out at night and lit the raging flres.  They had devoted their lives to it, for the soldiers hunted them out, and shot them down to the number of three hundred.

They had done their work.  Even the great palace was on fire.  Napoleon had to quit it, and pass through the blazing streets.  Five clays the city was burning.  Then it lay a heap of ashes.  And now Napoleon sent a letter to the Emperor of Russia, asking him to make peace.  It took a long time for a letter to be carried from Moscow to St. Petersburg; but the time passed and no answer came.  The French army was living chiefly on dead horses, which they salted.  The winter was coming on — the terrible Russian winter.  “Another fortnight,” the Russians said, “and their frost-bitten fingers will be dropping from their hands like rotten boughs from a tree.”  The Russians, too, were gathering to fall upon their enemies as soon as the winter had done its work.

At length, in the middle of October, Napoleon set out on the dreadful retreat.  He left some soldiers behind him, as if he meant to return, and took with him, besides his guns, a great train of carriages loaded with the spoils of Moscow that the fire had spared.  But on the way he ordered them all to be thrown into a lake.  They could drag them no farther.

Then, while they were still on the march through the desolate country, the snow came.  The wind drove it blinding in their faces, and filled the hollows and ravines with treacherous drifts, in which thousands of soldiers sank and were smothered.  Thousands more fell with weariness, cold, and hunger as they marched along; and those who came behind found them already covered up in their graves of snow.

After about a month of such dreadful suffering, Napoleon left what remained of his army to perish among their enemies, and hastened away to Paris to place himself in safety and comfort.

After their leader had thus forsaken them, all heart died out of the wretched men who were left.  Their officers could scarcely rouse them to go on.  When their horses died they would cut and eat them almost raw, and lie down by their fires to sleep.  In the morning their heads would be frozen to the ground, and their feet consumed by the fire.  Others, as they lay, were thrust through by the Cossack spears.  Only about one man in fifty crossed the Niemen again.


A.D. 1815.

NAPOLEON returned to Paris, and hastily gathered together an army; but he could not replace the men whose bodies strewed the road from Moscow.  The new soldiers were mere boys.  And now Germany was roused at last to put down this scourge of the nations.  In vain he once more placed himself at the head of the troops.  His army was routed and driven back across the Rhine.  Once more he entered Paris defeated, amid the curses of the people, whom he had deluded into shedding their best blood for his vain and wicked ambition.

Wellington, with the allies, had now re-conquered Spain.  His next step was to invade France.  This he did early in the year 1814, and soon entered Paris as a conqueror.  Thither came also the King of Prussia, the Emperor of Austria, and the Emperor of Russia, whose Cossacks encamped in the streets of Paris.  Napoleon’s new empress had fled, with her infant son, whom his father, in his foolish pride, had made King of Rome.

Napoleon knew nothing of this.  At Fontainebleau he was told what had happened; that the allies refused to treat with him, and that he must give up the crown of France.  He saw the necessity, and resigned in favour of his son, the baby King of Rome.  But the brother of Louis the Sixteenth was chosen instead, and Napoleon was banished to the island of Elba.

The allied sovereigns had met at Vienna early the next year to settle the affairs of Europe at their ease, when they were startled by the news of Napoleon’s escape from Elba.  He made at once for Paris, his old generals flocking round him again.  Louis the Eighteenth ran away, and Bonaparte was once more Emperor of France.  There was no more peace for Europe.

Wellington set off at once to Belgium to collect an army.  England put forth all her power.  So did Prussia.  But Napoleon was soon at the head of two hundred thousand men; and in three months he left Paris saying, “I go to measure myself with Wellington.”

They met at Waterloo.  Wellington and the English were there alone, numbering fifty thousand, while Napoleon had seventy-five thousand.  The fighting on both sides was severe.  Wellington asked one young gentleman, whom he was obliged to send with a message, “Have you ever seen a battle?”  He answered, “ No.”  “Then,” said Wellington, “you are a lucky man, for you will never see such another.”

In the village of Waterloo, Wellington’s cook was preparing his dinner.  He was told during the day that he had better fly, for it was going against the English.  “No,” said the cook; “I shall not fly; my master always comes home to dinner.”

It was, indeed, a terrible battle; and the English losses were very great.  All that Sunday afternoon it raged round the pretty farm-houses and over the peaceful fields.  Napoleon thought he was going to win, and made a last great struggle to break the English lines; but his columns gave way before their steady fire, and rolled down a little hill.  They might have formed again; but Wellington had two fresh regiments lying flat on their faces, behind a ridge, so that the French could not see them; and just then he called on these to charge.  The Guards rushed on; Napoleon rode away; the battle was won.

The Prussians, under the brave Marshal Blucher, came up before the fighting was over, and completed the ruin of the French army.  Once more Napoleon escaped; but he was taken, and sent a prisoner to the lonely island of St. Helena, where he remained for the rest of his life — a little more than six years.

About two years previously died the poor old king, George the Third, blind and mad.  He had been in this sad state for ten years, and had known nothing about the war and its victories.  He was in the eighty-third year of his age, and the sixtieth of his reign, his having been the longest of all the reigns of the Kings of England.

He had had many troubles.  Several of his sons behaved very badly, and rebelled against him and their mother.  Others died before him, as did his daughter Amelia, of whom he was very fond.  After her death he never was in his right mind again.

In this reign the people were very miserable.  The war took away thousands and tens of thousands who were the support of their families.  It made food and every necessary dear, and the taxes heavy.  At the close of the century there were bad harvests for several years, and the poor were starving.  There were riots for bread in the towns and great suffering everywhere.  The people thought it was the fault of the Government and the taxes, as indeed it was; and they held meetings and made speeches about their wrongs and sufferings.

Then the Government, through fear, was cruel and unjust, and made it unlawful to hold meetings and make speeches.  At Manchester the soldiers were called out, and killed a great many people who had done nothing more than march in pro-cession to declare their opinions.  This made the better part of the nation very angry.  Now we have all that these poor people asked for, and a great deal more.



I MIGHT call this chapter “True Conquests.”  God commanded men to replenish the earth and subdue it.  This is only to be done by industry.  Compared with these victories, the so-called conquests of war are fruitless.  You know that when two kings, with their armies, fight for any land, they neither make it larger nor richer, but waste it and make it poor.  The man who makes a piece of waste land grow corn for bread has been more truly a conqueror.

I should like you to understand what a very different country England was in the beginning of the reign of George the Third, that is, about a hundred years ago.  There were no electric telegraphs then, no railways, no canals, only very bad roads, on which it took a week or a fortnight to travel as many miles as we can travel now in a day.  There were no great power-looms spinning and weaving.  The woollen and linen thread was all spun and woven by the hand.  There was no gas to light the streets and the houses; and, if you wanted a fire, no handy box of lucifer matches — you had to hammer away with flint and steel to get a spark.

The roads were the first thing conquered, and this began in Scotland.  A road may seem a very simple thing to you, nevertheless, it takes a great deal of skill to make the roads of a country.  It requires an able engineer to choose the best places for the road to go.  It must go over or around the hills, through the uneven and swampy places, and across the rivers.  It was Thomas Telford who planned the beautiful roads that run through some of the roughest parts of Scotland.  He built also some of the finest bridges in both Scotland and England.

The next great work undertaken was the making of canals.  You know it is much easier to carry by water than by land, especially such heavy things as iron and stone and coals, which often have to be brought from the mines and quarries great distances.  It is very difficult to make canals, which must be cut so that the water from the rivers will run along the channel from river to river.  The water must be carried over the hollows by bridges called aqueducts, and go under tunnels through the hills.  Brindley was the name of the engineer who was the first to conquer all these difficulties.  Others followed, and in thirty years three thousand miles of canal had been made.  This was up to the year 1800.

But the greatest work of all was the railway.  Tramways, or lines of smooth wood, for the wheels of heavy wagons to run upon, had been long used in the mining districts.  Then iron came to be used, as still smoother and more durable than wood; but it was the invention of the steam engine which made the railway what it is.  As early as 1758 James Watt, a Scotchman, began to think that it was possible to put steam-engines on these iron ways.  But it is said to have been a Frenchman, in Paris, who really made the first locomotive, though it was not quite perfect.  It took along time to perfect.  It was seven years after the death of George the Third before the Manchester and Liverpool Railway was commenced, and ten before it was opened.  The man who did the great work in this department was George Stephenson.  In 1807 Fulton launched a steamboat on the river Hudson, in America.  Nobody in England would help him to do a thing which was thought equally ridiculous and dangerous.  The first cotton mill worked by steam was in Nottinghamshire, in 1785.  The next built for the purpose was in Manchester, in 1789.  Arkwright, Hargreaves, Crompton, and others had gradually perfected the various machines which the steam-engine was to set in motion ― machines which a child can guide, and which would tear a man limb from limb in a moment.

Still, many things wanted mending worse than the roads, especially the morals and the manners of the people.  There were men’s minds and hearts to conquer; and there were not wanting the men to do this.  I have named already some of the great generals of industry.  They were not the rich and the noble, as the generals of war usually are.  They were for the most part poor and working men, who had learned to use their hands as well as their heads.  I can do no more than just tell you a few of those other great, not greater, men who set forth to conquer men’s minds and hearts.  Some day I hope you will know them for yourselves, through their immortal works.  First, there is Sir Walter Scott, with a long list of delightful stories.  Then there are Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Southey, Byron (whom you will only be able to understand when you are older), and a host of others too numerous to mention.  At this time, too, there was very little education given to the poor, in some places none at all.  This was the case among the colliers, who had been allowed to live like savages and die like beasts of burden, while they furnished the country with its greatest necessary; for without coals our little island would soon become a desolate wilderness.  To these poor, ignorant, wild, and wicked men two of the soldiers of that noble army who follow Christ, and make conquests for him, went forth.  Whitefield and Wesley at first were hooted and jeered and struck at, and pelted; but they conquered at last, and made tears of repentance stream down the blackened faces of the miners, who would still remain poor and ignorant, but would never be wild and wicked any more.  Many followed the footsteps of these good men, who raised up a whole army to fight against ignorance and sin.

At the head of another army was William Wilberforce.  He and his friends had resolved to give themselves and their country no rest till the slave trade was given up, and England had no more slaves.  In the slave trade, ships, many of them belonging to the merchants of Liverpool and London, went to the coasts of Africa, and bought for the merest trifles hundreds of men, woman, and children, taken by the savage chiefs in war, or stolen from some neighbouring tribe for the purpose of selling.  They were stowed away in the holds of the vessels, packed so closely that they could scarcely move, and chained down besides.  They were fed on bread and water.  The most dreadful fevers raged among them during the long voyage to America or the West Indies, and hundreds died by the way.

The Quakers in America were the first to set free their slaves, and to call on all Christians to do the same.  But in the reign of George the Third the slaves of England were not set free, only the slave trade was abolished.  No more English ships were sent to Africa for slaves, but those who had slaves were allowed to keep them.  Does it not sound strange that England should have slaves at all?


A.D. 1820 to 1837.

I PUT these two reigns together, because they were both very short, and the events which happened in them were of a kind which you cannot understand till you are older.  Both of these kings were sons of George the Third, and uncles of our present queen, Victoria.  George the Fourth came to the throne on the death of his father, in 1820.  He had been a bad son, and he was a bad husband; but he did not do much harm as a king.  His health soon failed, and he lived in great retirement at Windsor.  He had grown very selfish with always indulging himself in whatever he wished; but he was naturally kind-hearted, and did many kind things.  He had also great taste, and helped to establish the National Gallery for painting and sculpture, and made a present of his father’s fine library of eighty-five thousand volumes to the British Museum.  He died in 1830, having reigned only a little over ten years.

George the Fourth was succeeded by his brother, William the Fourth.  He was called “the Sailor King,” for he had been Lord High Admiral, and the sailors of the fleet were very fond of him.  In the first year of his reign the first railway was opened.  A still greater event, also long prepared for, took place in 1834.  On the 1st of August in that year the slaves in all the British colonies were set free.  The people of England paid for their freedom twenty millions of money — surely the most nobly spent millions that ever were paid away.  In 1833 the Government made its first grant or money for education (twenty thousand pounds), which was continued yearly till 1839.  This grant in recent years was very greatly increased, until now we have begun so extensive a system of national education, that in every parish there are to be schools for the poor, for which poor and rich alike must pay.

In 1834 there was a new poor-law made.  Christian men cannot suffer people to perish for want without sin, so that from very ancient times there has been in England a public provision for the poor.  But it had come to pass in this country that a great many idle people were living on this money, which ought to be for the sick and the helpless, for the aged and the young orphan children.  This new law was to make all work who were able, and has done a great deal of good up to this time.

In June, 1837, King William died, having reigned not quite seven years.  He was succeeded by his niece, our present sovereign, Queen Victoria, who had just completed her eighteenth year, and was therefore of age to begin her long and happy reign.


A.D. 1837.

WHEN a king or queen begins to reign in England, the bishops and chief men of the realm come before the throne and take an oath called the “Oath of Allegiance,” to be faithful and true to their sovereign.  When they had thus knelt before the young Queen Victoria, she addressed them in a speech in which she said that the duty of governing this great nation had come upon her while she was so young that she should feel utterly oppressed with the burden, only that she trusted the Divine Providence, which had called her to the work, would support and direct her in it.

In 1840 she was married to her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.  It was a happy marriage; children came to them, to whom they were faithful and loving parents.  The highest family in England became, as it ought, a model to all others.  Prince Albert died in 1861, so that the queen has now been for many years a widow.

The first considerable event in the reign of Queen Victoria was the Chinese war.  It broke out in the year of the Queen’s marriage, owing to a dispute between the Chinese Government and the English merchants who had settled in Canton.

The Chinese are the most curious people on the face of the earth.  They number more than three hundred millions, and their nation is older than the oldest nation in Europe; that is, they lived together under one ruler and knew most of the useful arts when the nations of Europe and we in England were wandering savages.  They are very clever, but not at all an amiable people.  Their pride is so great that they call all who are not Chinamen barbarians; their empire is the Celestial Empire, and their emperor is Brother of the Sun and Moon.

The dispute arose about a drug called opium, of which the Chinese are very fond.  It is most valuable as a medicine, and is often given by physicians to relieve those who are suffering great pain; but it is for all that a deadly poison, and taken in a sufficient quantity brings on a sleep which is very pleasant at the time, but very hurtful afterwards, and from which, if only a little more is taken, the sleeper may never wake again.

Now the Emperor of China had forbidden this drug to be brought into the kingdom, because it took so much money from his subjects, and ruined a great number of them altogether.  The English merchants at Canton brought it from India, and sold it to them, and these merchants were told not to bring any more, and to give up all that they had to the Chinese Government.

Now the English Government had sent a fleet to protect the merchants, for the Chinese also demanded that the crew of any English vessel which brought opium into China should be given up to them “willingly,” to be put to death.  This, of course, our Government would not undertake to do.  The Chinese had also blockaded the factories of the English merchants at Canton, to make them give up the opium; and, by the advice of the commander of the fleet this was done.  More than twenty thousand chests were given up, and immediately destroyed.  Later the emperor issued another edict that all trade with England should cease for ever, and the English merchants were banished from Canton.

Then the Chinese fleet came out of harbour, and alongside the English fleet, demanding that an Englishman who had offended should be given up to them.

This was refused, and the English ships, threatened by those of the Chinese, fired upon them.  One “war junk” — so the Chinese call their ships — blew up, three sunk, and several more became useless.  In less than an hour the Chinese admiral was defeated, and had to hasten back into the harbour with his remaining vessels.

The emperor now ordered the English barbarians to be exterminated.  The Chinese were not particular about the way in which this feat was to be accomplished.  The Chinese authorities at Canton sent a boat-load of poisoned tea, done up in small packets, to be sold to the English sailors; but the boat was taken by Chinese pirates, who sold the cargo of poisoned tea to the Chinese themselves, and a great number died of it.  Another time they tried to set fire to the English ships.

At last the English proceeded to active measures, and took the island of Chusan, in which there was a city, with a very long name, and a wall of granite and brick six miles round.  The city, too, was given up.  Then the English offered to make peace; but they soon saw that the Chinese were only trying to deceive them, and that they would turn upon them, and put them to death whenever they could.

For all the time the cunning mandarins, as the Chinese great men are called, were pretending to make peace, the emperor was raging at them for not obeying his commands to put an end to the whole of the barbarians, and not allow one to escape back to his country.  Nothing less would appease his wrath he said.  And so it appeared, for one mandarin who ventured to tell him that the barbarians were rather difficult to put an end to, he ordered to be cut in two, and all his friends and relations besides.  Another was chopped up in pieces, and a great number were to lose their buttons, these buttons being the signs of their official rank.

Fresh mandarins were sent to exterminate the barbarians.  I don’t know whether they lost their heads, or only their buttons; but it soon became clear that the barbarians were quite as likely to exterminate them.  The English fleet sailed up the river, and captured the Chinese towns and forts so easily that some were taken without the loss of a single Englishman.  At one place where the British troops landed, one mandarin rushed into the sea and drowned himself, and a good many others killed themselves in other ways for fear of the wrath of the Celestial Emperor.

At length the Chinese found out (I suppose even the emperor) that the barbarians were likely to have the best of it, and a treaty of peace was signed in August, 1842.  The Chinese agreed to pay a large sum of money, opened five new ports to the British merchants — Canton, Amoy, Foo-choo-foo, Ningpo, and Shanghae, and gave up the island of Hong Kong altogether.



WHILE the Chinese war was going on another war had also been undertaken by the British in India.  This war was in Afghanistan, a country to the north-west of the great peninsula of India, a wild and mountainous country, inhabited by fierce and warlike tribes.  I must tell you how we came to be fighting there, where, indeed, we had very little business to be.

It was scarcely a hundred years since the British Empire in India consisted of a single factory surrounded by a wall, and protected by a ditch.  To guard its factory their labourers were armed.  Then the British merchants, united in a company called the East India Company, began to treat with the native powers, and discovered how weak they were.  Every cause of quarrel with these princes was an occasion for the British to attack and triumph over them, till, under Lord Clive and Warren Hastings, they were completely subjected.  The servants of a company of merchants put down and set up kings, and took tribute, and maintained armies, and made wars and treaties, till all Hindostan was at their feet.  It is a splendid story, though I am sorry to say that there are sad pages in it of injustice and wrong on our part, as well as of faithlessness and treachery on the part of the natives.

Afghanistan lay far away on the borders of India, and did not own the English rule.  But the East India Company were anxious that the neighbouring states should be friendly, if independent, and to secure this they interfered in the affairs of Afghanistan.

The reigning Afghan chief, Dost Mahomed Khan, was not friendly; and the British took part with one who had been deposed, and succeeded in placing him again on the throne as an ally.  This was in 1839.  The English army was to stay in his capital of Cabul till January, 1842; but just before the close of the preceding year, 1841, the British minister and several officers were murdered in the city by the son of Dost Mahomed, to whom many of the Afghan tribes adhered.

Then the English army of four thousand five hundred men, with twelve thousand followers, besides women and children, left Cabul as agreed.  They had to journey through long and gloomy mountain-passes, deep in snow; and they had scarcely commenced their march through the Khyber Pass before the treacherous Afghans attacked them.  Their guns were captured, and they had to fight their way sword in hand, defending the women and children.  The pass was strewed with dead and dying, who were stripped naked by the savage foe, and hacked in pieces.  The whole number who had left Cabul perished in a week in that dreadful pass.  Only one European, Dr. Bryden, reached Jellalabad to tell the tale.  But a good many officers and several ladies remained prisoners in the hands of Akbar Khan.

Troops were immediately sent into Afghanistan to deliver the captives, as well as the town of Jellalabad, which was threatened by the enemy.  The troops were commanded by General Sir Robert Sale, whose own wife was one of the prisoners.  Captain Havelock was with Sale, also General Pollock.  The latter defeated Akbar Khan, but the prisoners were already free, and were coming to meet their deliverers.  They had bribed the chief who was taking them farther away, and he had brought them to meet their friends.

Then the British took the city of Cabul, and nearly destroyed it, first allowing the people to seek safety in the mountains; and, having done their work, the army returned from Afghanistan, leaving the Afghans, whom they had punished for their cruelty, to manage their own affairs for the future.

The end of the Afghan war did not end the troubles in India.  Scinde was another border state, with whom the British had made a treaty.  We were bound by this treaty “never to look with covetous eyes ” on this country; but the nobles of Scinde, when the first English vessel sailed up the great river Indus, said, “Alas! Scinde is gone.  The English have seen the river.”

It was too true.  In 1843 Sir Charles Napier was sent, on very slight pretext, to take possession of a part of the country.  It ended in his subduing it entirely, and adding another great province to the British Empire.

No sooner was Scinde conquered than another province, called Gwalior, was attacked, a battle fought at Maharajpore, and another territory submitted to Britain.  But the Home Government recalled the governor-general, Lord Ellenborough, for these conquests, and sent out Sir Henry Hardinge desiring him to pursue a more peaceful policy.

But, through no fault of his, he was soon engaged in a terrible conflict with the most warlike tribe in India, the Sikhs.  The Sikhs inhabited the Punjaub.  They numbered altogether seven millions, and had a large army in the field.  Anxious to preserve peace, the new governor-general allowed them to begin the attack before he had a force in the field to meet them.  But he went himself to the assistance of General Gough, and gained a victory over them, though with fearful loss, after two days’ hard fighting.

About three weeks after this, on the 10th of February, I846, the decisive fight called the battle of Sobraon took place.  The Sikhs were overcome, and forced with heavy loss across the river.  The British marched into the capital, Lahore, and a peace was concluded.  But the Sikhs would not keep the peace.  They were constantly rebelling and giving trouble; and at length, in 1848, they were again at war.  In January, 1849, they fought the battle of Chillianwallah, where they were forty thousand strong, and at which they succeeded in keeping the field, and in taking a good many British guns.  Soon, however, the British retrieved their losses; and the end of this war was like that of all our Indian wars — the Punjaub was annexed.


A.D. 1846

I DARE say you think that this will be a very dry chapter, because it is about things you do not understand.  But with a little trouble you will be able to understand, and then you will find that these subjects are not so uninteresting after all.

I know that you are all very well pleased when papa, or uncle, or some one who cares for you, gives you a little present of pocket-money.  Not that you care to carry about certain little round bits of metal; but that each little round bit of metal has a particular value: it will buy something.

You do buy something, and somebody else gets your money — somebody who does not care to keep it any more than you did, but who buys something else with it.  And so on it goes, buying a great many things all of the same value, and always keeping its value, till perhaps some old miser gets hold of it, and ties it up in a stocking, where of course it remains useless till some one finds it, and sends it about again.

Thus, if you want anything, you must give something else for it of equal value, and that value is counted in money, but is not the money itself.  When one thing is given for another it is called barter; and you can easily imagine it is very inconvenient.

Then money comes in, and instead of the man who has a sack of corn to sell carrying it to the shoemaker when he wants a pair of shoes, he sells his corn, and for the money gets the shoes he wants, and the person who wants his corn buys it; for perhaps the shoemaker had no need of the corn, though he wanted a new coat badly enough.

Money came to have this value because gold and silver are beautiful in themselves, and are coveted for ornament; and a great deal of labour and trouble are spent in getting them.  Most useful things cost a great deal of labour and trouble, and are not found ready-made; so, if some one takes time and trouble in making something for you, you must give back something that will repay this time and trouble.

Now one nation produces and makes some useful things, and another produces and makes other useful things, and they want to exchange them; for each has twice as much as it wants of its own good things, and is very much in need of its neighbour’s.  So they send what they do not want to each other in ships, and in a variety of ways, from the very ends of the earth.  China sends us tea, the West Indian Islands sugar, America, cotton; for none of these things could be produced in England.  And we, with our wonderful machinery, and coal and iron mines, with which to make and work machinery without end, make that cotton into cloth, and send it back to them to wear, and furnish them with knives and scissors and spades and tools of every kind.

Now it seems very foolish for any nation to make the foreign things its people want dear, so that they cannot buy so much of them as they need or would like, and so cannot sell so much of their own things in exchange.  Yet this was just what the rulers of England were always doing, till one wise man, Dr. Adam Smith, showed that this was the way to keep the country poor.  And long after he had proved this plainly, they would go on doing it, not because it was good for the nation, but because it brought wealth to a few, and because they would not be at the pains to reason out the matter.  Those who understood and cared for the welfare of their country had a long and hard struggle to get Free Trade; and, especially, free trade in corn, for the laws that made bread dear were the most foolish and the most cruel of all.

Long ago our Governments made all sorts of curious laws, at which we laugh nowadays, such as what certain people were to wear, and how many dishes they were to have at table.  They were stupid enough, these old laws, but I don't think they did very much harm.  But the Corn Laws did such terrible harm that, instead of laughing, they made strong men weep to know the misery they caused.

You know this small island of ours does not produce enough food for all the people in it, but other countries produce so much more than they can use that there is always food enough and to spare in the world.  These countries, in Europe and America, are glad to send us their cheap corn, and to buy from us all sorts of things which our workmen make.  But the Government would not allow their cheap corn to be sold till they had made it dear.  However dear the corn might be in England, they made the foreign corn quite as dear by taxing it, so that the poor people were never any better for it, but in years of scarcity suffered and died of starvation when they might have had plenty.

The laws preventing the sale of cheap bread were called the Corn Laws, and they began just two hundred years ago, and lasted at least one hundred and seventy years.  For a long time, of course, no one knew the harm they did, as they made some people far richer than they were before; for they made the land on which the English corn grew so much more valuable and it was the men who owned the land who made the laws in those days.

But towns such as Manchester, were now filled with people working in the factories; and when bread was dear it sometimes took all their wages to get it, so that they and their children were in rags and misery.  Then when work was also scarce they starved outright.

When Queen Victoria came to the throne the people were in great distress in all the manufacturing towns, and the next year, 1838, they were still worse, owing to a severe winter and bad harvest.  Then it was that some noble men, who saw how much the poor suffered, and had thought a great deal about how the suffering might be removed, began to work against the Corn Laws.  In Manchester they formed themselves into an association to get them done away with, and a gentleman, the Hon. Mr. Villiers, spoke against them in Parliament.  But he was not listened to, because it was the interest of the landlords there not to listen, and there is nothing that makes people so deaf and blind as selfishness.

But the opposers of the Corn Laws, with Mr. Bright and Mr. Cobden at their head, and Lord Brougham and a few other great men already on the same side, were determined to make them listen.  They got up associations all over the country, and called themselves the Anti-Corn-Law League, and some of the gentlemen who belonged to the league spent a great part of their time lecturing and writing against the Corn Laws, till nearly every one outside Parliament understood all about them.  Then I am happy to say that inside Parliament good men, in spite of their interests, began to see the evil of them, and to turn against them, chief among whom was Sir Robert Peel.  When he changed his mind he was at the head of the Government, Prime Minister of England, and it was he who at last, in 1846, brought in a bill for the Corn Laws to cease, and Parliament agreed that they should begin to be altered at once, and in three years should be done away with entirely.

There was, however, an event which hastened their end, and that was the Irish famine.  It was caused by the failure of the potato crop, which began in 1845.  In August of that year, from the south-eastern counties of England and from Ireland there came accounts of a blight that had suddenly come upon the potato-fields.  The leaves and flowers over whole acres of ground became black and shrivelled, and the entire plant rotted away.  The Government sent the first scientific men of the day to inquire into the cause of it, but all their skill was of no avail, they could not find it out.

Next year, 1846, the farmers and poor people who depended upon their potatoes for subsistence, to whom they were bread, meat, and everything, planted them as usual.  In the beginning of the season the crops looked healthy and abundant; but suddenly, in the first days of August, the blight came again.  In a week the blackened fields looked as if scathed with lightning, and rotted and sent out a putrid smell.  Everywhere the poor people were wringing their hands.  Their whole year’s food had disappeared.  For a few weeks after the time that should have been harvest they managed to live by the sale of their pigs and fowls.  Then their furniture and clothes went.  Then hunger came.  “The hunger” they called it.  The mothers went miles to get a little Indian meal for their children once a week.  The rest of the week they lived on raw turnips.  In many and many a cabin there was neither breakfast, dinner, nor supper for days.  I think you would gladly have wanted something every day to give the poor children a meal.  Their mothers sat beside them and died.  Their fathers went out, hungry too, that they might not hear them cry, and the little ones at last gave over crying, and lay still and died.  God took them away that they might not hunger any more.

To relieve this terrible suffering, great exertions were made by the Government, and more than a million pounds were voted for the purpose.  But besides this, there rose up an abundant private charity which, perhaps, did still more.  Several owners of land in Ireland fed all their starving people.  Whole families of ladies, mothers and daughters, took to making soup for the famine-stricken, and dealt it out with their own hands to hundreds.  The clergyman and the priest worked together, and often died at their posts, of the fever that follows famine.  And, what is still more memorable, America sent thousands of pounds and no less than ten thousand tons of food for the starving Irish.  Their Government sent a ship of war, carrying, not guns and cannon-shot, but sacks of corn and flour, into Cork Harbour.  And all over America, whatever was marked “For Ireland” was carried free of cost.  Next year’s harvest put an end to the famine; but it was felt in many a home in Ireland for years and years.


A.D. 1848 to 1851.

IN the year 1848 the whole of Europe was disturbed by revolutions, which began with France.  Since the great revolution, of which I gave you an account, there had been another in 1830.  It was accomplished in three days, called “The Three Days of July,” when Charles the Tenth, who had succeeded to Louis the Eighteenth, was dethroned, and Louis Philippe made king.  Seven hundred people were killed and two thousand wounded in the streets of Paris in those three days.

And now, eighteen years after, the French nation were again dissatisfied with their king; again the people of Paris rose against him, and he was obliged to fly to England, where Charles the Tenth had also taken refuge.  France needed great men to rule her, and these kings were not great men.  They had lived for themselves, and not for the people they were called to govern.  They were money-making kings, who made gain of their great place and trust.

There had been some fighting in the streets of Paris; but in a few months there was still more, for the people were not agreed about their new Republican Government.  At length the fighting was put down, but not before the good Archbishop of Paris had been killed in trying to make peace.  Then, on the 20th of December, 1848, Louis Napoleon, the nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte, was made President of the French Republic.  He was elected for four years, and when the oath to be faithful to the Republic was offered to him, he held up his right hand and said, “I swear.”  And yet, before the time of his presidency had expired, he plotted against the Government he had sworn to maintain, put evil men, sworn to help him, in all the chief places, and on the night of the 2nd of December, 1851, threw into prison all the great statesmen and generals of France, and next day made the streets of Paris run red with the blood of innocent and peaceful people.  On the last day of the year, Louis Napoleon became emperor, made so, it is true, by the votes of the people, but votes gained through ignorance and falsehood.

But to finish the history of 1848 and its revolutions.  Every throne in Europe was shaken, nearly every capital of Europe was the scene of slaughter.  At Berlin the palace of the king was sacked.  The king fled, and placed his capital in a state of siege.  The Emperor of Austria fled likewise from the insurgents of Vienna.  The Romans also got rid of the pope — a good pope too, as popes go.  He had to run away in the dress of a footman.  But they all came back again — the king, the emperor, and the pope; while in France, as I have told you, they soon had an emperor too.

And now there was peace for a little at home and abroad.  The year 1851 will be always known in history as “the year of the Great Exhibition.”  The idea was Prince Albert’s — to gather together under one roof the choicest productions of the whole world, and invite the people of every nation to compete with each other in works of art and industry.  Hyde Park was fixed upon as the place where the vast building was to be erected to contain the Exhibition, and Mr Joseph Paxton was chosen as the architect.  The building was to be called the Crystal Palace, and to be made of glass and iron. It was begun in September, 1850, and by the 1st of January, 1851, it had risen up as if by magic.

It was Opened by the Queen and Prince Consort on the 1st of May, and continued open till the middle of October, the delight of millions who flocked to see it from all parts of the kingdom, and from foreign countries.  It was more like what had been dreamt of as a palace of enchantment than a place built by hands.  The sun shone through and through it; on flowers and trees, and banners; on statues and jewels; on gold and silver; on all that the world contains of costly and beautiful things; and on crowds of happy people, some of whom thought.  “Surely now the nations will begin to live in peace.”


A.D. 1854 — 1856.

SCARCELY, however, was the Crystal Palace closed when Louis Napoleon got himself made Emperor of the French in the evil way I have told you of; and war had already begun to threaten Europe from the ambition of the Emperor of Russia.  The dispute began between Russia and France, as to the right which the Greek Christians had in common with the Roman Catholic Christians to worship in certain churches in the Holy Land.  What Russia really wanted was to get possession of part of the Turkish Empire, and especially of its capital, Constantinople, with the Bosphorus and the Straits of the Dardanelles.

The czar, as the Emperor of Russia is called, tried to get England to agree with him by proposing that she should take Egypt at the same time.  Our Government refused to listen to the proposal, and the czar seemed to give up his project.

He had not in reality done so, but was all the time making demands upon Turkey, which that State could not agree to: England supported Turkey in refusing them.  So after a great deal of time had been spent in trying to keep peace, England and France declared war against Russia, but not until Russia had sent soldiers into territories over which Turkey ruled.

Early in the spring of 1854 French and English troops were sent to the East, and Turkish troops were already fighting the Russians on the river Danube.  The Turks maintained the siege of Silistria bravely and successfully, for the Russians had to retreat after losing fifteen thousand men.

The French troops suffered dreadfully with sickness during the summer at Varna, where the climate was unhealthy; and at length both French and English commanders agreed to invade the Crimea.  You will find it in your map of Europe, at the southern extremity of Russia, a peninsula jutting out into the Black Sea.  On its shore stood Sebastopol, a city on which the Russian emperor had spent millions.  It had a fine harbour, protected by numerous fortresses, vast docks for ships of war, and barracks for soldiers and sailors.  Here the czar had accumulated thousands of guns, and immense stores of ammunition and of food; everything, in short, necessary to a great war.

It was the 14th of September when the French and English troops landed in the Crimea, and on the 20th the first battle was fought — the battle of the Alma.  The allies were victorious: the Russians retreated.

The allied armies then took up position before Sebastopol, and nearly a month passed in preparing for the bombardment of the city.  It began on the 17th of October.  A hundred and twenty-six great guns were fired almost in the same moment with a shock which shook the very ground.  But the Russians had twice as many guns; and their great shot and shells soon silenced the French batteries.  Though they could not silence the English batteries, they could exhaust them.  On the 20th the English powder and shot were nearly all used up, and the Russian army was gathering for another battle.

On the 25th this battle was fought at Balaclava.  It was certainly a victory, but a very costly one.  The English heavy cavalry defeated the Russian; but, through a terrible mistake 600 English horsemen of the light brigade rode through a valley between the Russian batteries.  In obedience to orders every man of them went straight into the jaws of death, and only 195 came out alive; 325 horses were killed in the charge, though some of their riders escaped.

Yet another battle was to be fought.  There was but ten days between Balaclava and Inkerman.  The latter was still more costly; but it taught the Russians to keep behind their walls for the future.  It is said to have cost them ten thousand men, while the French and English together lost nearly half as many.

Other ten days, and an enemy yet stronger than the Russians came against the allies; that enemy was winter.  It began with one of the most furious tempests ever known.  The wind came from the south, rushing across the Black Sea, and beating against the rocky Crimean shores.  It swept away the tents of the army, and whirled them in the air like sheets of paper.  The soldiers, awakened by their tents flying away over their heads, were seen trying to lay hold of their clothes, while blankets, hats, coats, and even chairs and tables were whirled about like leaves.  The sick and wounded lay exposed to the furious wind and rain and hail, for the hospital tents and wooden sheds had all been blown down.

But it was among the ships that the storm did the greatest damage.  Hundreds of lives were lost in a few hours.  Ship after ship was dashed upon the rocks, and broken like glass toys.  One ship was full of warm clothing for the soldiers, who were to spend the winter on the bleak hills of the Crimea.  Sixteen thousand blankets, fifty-three thousand woollen frocks, nineteen thousand lambs-wool drawers, thirty-five thousand pairs of socks, and twelve thousand pairs of shoes, besides coats and rugs and medicines for the sick went down in the Prince.  Fourteen ships, laden with food — with cattle and sheep, and salt beef and biscuits, and rice and coffee — were lost likewise.

For the rest of November it rained incessantly, till the road to the camp was knee-deep in mud.  The soldiers suffered terribly from want of clothes and shelter, which the state of the road and the want of horses made it impossible for them to get up to the front.  Thousands sickened, and had to be sent to the hospitals.

From the first the hospitals had been overcrowded, and fever had broken out in the wards.  The wounded sent there died of their wounds, however slight.  When news reached England of all these sufferings the greatest excitement prevailed.  Money was collected by thousands; and as nursing was even more wanted than money, Miss Nightingale and a staff of nurses went out to take charge of the sick soldiers.  The name of that noble lady will never be forgotten; she was at her post when Inkerman was fought, and when the wounded from the battle came in, she rested not for a moment until they were all attended to, and she and her nurses laboured day and night for their comfort till the great hospital of Scutari was perfect in all its arrangements.

All through the stormy months of January and February the soldiers, besides their other sufferings, were harassed by the enemy coming out of Sebastopol and firing from the batteries.  The Russians spent the winter-time in strengthening their fortifications, and fighting was about to begin once more in earnest when, on the 2nd of March, the Emperor Nicholas died.  Still, however, the war went on.  On the 9th of April the second bombardment took place; it lasted for a whole week, and yet the great fortress seemed no nearer to its fall.

Two months passed in preparation for a still greater effort, and then the third bombardment took place, followed by an assault on the forts.  The Mamelon was captured and recaptured.  On the 8th a truce was granted to bury the dead; and then the terrible siege went on again.

On the 18th of this month (June) the allies were repulsed in an attack.  Ten days later Lord Raglan, the English commander, died.  He was worn out with anxiety, grief for the loss of friends and comrades, labour and reproach.  French and English generals wept round his bed; and his body was sent home to England, to be laid in an English village churchyard.

And still the siege went on.  The Russians, in order to raise it, again gave battle at Tchernaya, and were again defeated.  It was now the middle of August.  The allies were getting nearer and nearer to the city; bombardment succeeded bombardment; the great guns were hardly silent day or night.

On the 5th of September the sixth great bombardment opened.  On the 6th and 7th the Russians were suffering enormous losses.  On the 8th took place the final assault.

In the night the Russians, finding they could hold the place no longer, retreated.  They left behind them trains, already set and burning, to blow up their enormous magazines.  In the early morning fort after fort blew up with terrific explosions.  The city was on fire in several directions.  The allies could not enter for a time; but venturous soldiers peeped into the forts, and found them deserted.  At length the fires died down, the last fort blew up, and Sebastopol was ours — a heap of ruins.

Even then the war was not at an end. Another winter had to be spent in the Crimea; but now the troops were in excellent health, and had every comfort.  Spring brought peace.  On the 31st of March hostilities ceased.  By the peace the objects of the war were secured; Sebastopol was to remain in ruins; ships of war were not to enter the Black Sea; Turkey was to remain unmolested and secure.


A.D. 1857.

HARDLY had peace been secured in Europe, when England found herself at war again both in Persia and China.  But these wars were insignificant, when compared to the great mutiny which broke out in India, and threatened to destroy the British Empire there.

The Bengal native army numbered more than one hundred thousand men.  They were very good soldiers, and their officers had great confidence in them; but they had very little control over them.  There is in India a system known by the name of caste, which divides one class of men from the other, so that they cannot so much as eat at the same table or touch the same things.  Some of these native soldiers would have thought themselves polluted if they had sat down to dinner with their English officers: they would have lost caste.  They would neither feed nor groom their own horses, nor do a great many things which are part of a soldier’s duty, because of this caste, and they required servants to do such things for them.

One day a native servant asked one of the soldiers to give him a drink of water out of his brass drinking-cup.  The high-caste soldier was astonished at the impudence of the low-caste servant.  If the lips of the servant so much as touched his drinking-cup he would throw it into the river.  Now the soldiers had just got a new rifle and new cartridges — that is, the little packet of powder and ball with which guns and rifles are fired — and this servant, who had made some of these cartridges, told the sepoy that he need not be so very particular, as he had lost caste already by biting the ends of them, for they were greased with bullock’s fat.  The cow is a sacred animal among the Hindoos of high caste, and must not be eaten on any account.  This story was spread, and the Hindoo soldiers thought it was a plot to deprive them of their caste, and convert them to Christianity.

The story spread with the most wonderful rapidity.  Regiment after regiment, all over Bengal, showed signs of mutiny — refused to use the cartridges, refused to salute their officers, set fire to the cantonments, and held secret meetings.  At Meerut the commanding officer determined to bear their conduct no longer; indeed, it had been borne with a great deal too long.  He ordered a party of ninety men to parade, and bade them use the cartridges, showing them at the same time that they need not bite, but only tear them open.  Only five of the ninety obeyed, the rest stood still.  They were tried by their own countrymen, and sentenced to imprisonment.

In the presence of their comrades, while the Europeans stood by with loaded weapons, the mutineers were stripped of their uniforms, shackled, and marched off to prison.  Then their comrades went off to plan a general revolt for the morrow.

The morrow was Sunday, May 10th.  The plan of the Sepoys was to rise when the Europeans were in church, and murder them there.  At five o’clock the men seized their arms, and began by killing four of their officers.  Others tried to pacify them; but in vain.  The native cavalry mounted, and with drawn swords rode to the prison.  The native guards threw open the doors, the fetters of the prisoners were struck off, and they were set free, including about fifteen hundred of the worst convicts.

From the prison the mutineers, joined by regiment after regiment, went to the English cantonment — a long row of pretty cottages and gardens, where the officers’ families lived.  These they set on fire, killing all the women and children they could find.

Meerut was desolated.  The mutinous regiments sped on to Delhi, about forty-five miles distant.  Instead of pursuing them, the English general at Meerut bade his soldiers defend themselves.

At Delhi, one of the most ancient capitals of India, there was a native king.  There was not a single European regiment there; only three native regiments, with their English officers, and a number of English civilians.  All was peace when the mutineers were seen coming hastily along the road to the bridge that crossed the river and led to the gate.

Before anything could be done they were in the city, killing every white man they met.  Some resisted bravely.  Many were shot down or cut down sitting at their desks.  At the bank, at the college, at the mission house, all were slain — men, women, and children.  The wretches tortured the women and children, who could not resist.  One lady, to defend her child, shot two sepoys with her husband’s pistols, when she herself was killed.  The clerks at the telegraph office fell at their post; but not till they had telegraphed the terrible news of the mutiny to Lahore.

All the native regiments of Delhi now joined the mutiny, deserting or killing their officers.  The bad old king and his wicked sons were false.  There was no hope and no help for the Europeans.  There were nine Englishmen in charge of a powder magazine in the city.  They resolved to defend it to the last, and then to die.  Their names were Willoughby, Forrest, Raynor—officers; Buckley, Shaw, Scully, Crow, Edwards, Stewart — men.  They posted loaded guns without and within their gates, when the outer guns were fired they were to fall back on the inner ones.  Last of all a train was laid, ready to be lighted on a given signal, when magazine and men would be blown into the air.

The king’s soldiers had now likewise joined the mutineers, and together they swarmed to the magazine, and summoned it to surrender.  They were defied.  Their fire was answered by the guns — the fire of hundreds by the noble nine.  For five hours they kept out their terrible foes.  Edwards and Crow were killed, Forrest and Buckley wounded.  All hope was gone, Willoughby gave the word; Buckley lifted his hat, which was the signal for firing the magazine, and Scully applied the match.  In a moment the whole building blew up, burying in its ruins hundreds of the enemy who had crowded in.  It was marvellous that four of these heroes — Forrest, Raynor, Stewart, and Buckley — lived to escape, and win the Victoria Cross.

That message from Delhi saved the British Empire in India.  It prepared the English governor and generals for what was coming.  The native troops in Lahore were about to rise; on the day which they had fixed for the rising, they were disarmed quietly in the face of the English cannon.

The prompt measures of Sir John Lawrence, then at Simla, saved the Punjaub; but in the meantime the mutiny was spreading from Delhi eastward, through Rohilcund, Oude, and Central India.

The British were few among their enemies — so few, that they could be numbered by hundreds, while the mutineers were thousands, and tens of thousands.  There was revolt in every province garrisoned by the natives, till only Agra and Lucknow were left to bear the English flag and shelter Englishmen.

Lucknow is a city of palaces, stretching along the side of a river, flowing into the Ganges.  It is exceedingly beautiful, and all the country round it like a cultured garden.  Here there were eight hundred British soldiers.  There were no others in all the province of Oude; while the native soldiers were nineteen thousand — more than twenty to one.  In May the numerous native troops in and round Lucknow revolted and tried to massacre their officers; but they were checked by Sir Henry Lawrence for a time.

At Cawnpore, another important station on the Ganges, there were three regiments of native infantry, and one of cavalry.  Of European soldiers there were only sixty artillerymen, with six guns.

The commandant was Sir Hugh Wheeler; he had to protect a great number of ladies, wives of English officers and civilians, many English merchants and traders with their wives and families, and the wives and families of the men of an English regiment of foot.

No trust could be placed in the native regiments, after the outbreak.  Sir Hugh Wheeler entrenched himself in an old barrack hospital, consisting of two buildings enclosed with a wall. Inside this wall he placed his guns, and the women and children were sent into the building, where a store of food was laid up.

Sir Hugh Wheeler asked one Nana Sahib, a Hindoo, who had been on most friendly terms with the English officers, to help him with a guard, for there was a considerable treasure in the city.  Nana Sahib had inherited the wealth and power of one of the native princes, who had adopted him.  This man was a very demon of treachery and cruelty; he was plotting against the Europeans, while he appeared their friend.

Before, however, the native troops were ready to revolt, the Europeans were strengthened a little; 300 soldiers had been gathered into the entrenchment, with another 150 men, who could and would have fought their way through the mutineers, but that they had 330 women and children.  With these they could do nothing but shut themselves up and wait for succour.

At length, on the 6th of June the native regiments mutinied, a very few remaining faithful and coming to share the fate of the Europeans.  The mutineers began their march on Delhi, which was now the Centre of revolt; but Nana Sahib met and bribed them to enter his service, and turn against the garrison of Cawnpore.

For twenty days Nana Sahib besieged that little garrison, which defended itself against every assault, but could not, with so many to feed, defend itself against hunger.  They suffered terribly in those twenty days, crowded into the most insufficient space, with the burning sun of an Indian summer overhead.  There was a well in the middle of the entrenchment, and every drop of water drawn from it was at the risk of the drawer’s life.

Ten thousand bloodthirsty foes were raging round them, and firing night and day; not a little child could stray out from the shelter of the walls but a hundred muskets were pointed to take its life.  Piteous were the cries of the children, parched with thirst in the fearful heat.  One man took the task of drawing water from the well: in less than a week, after numberless escapes, he was dead.  Meantime the fugitives who fell into the hands of Nana Sahib, many of them ladies and children, were murdered without mercy.

One of the buildings in the entrenchment was used as an hospital; it had a thatched roof, which one day a shell set on fire.  As the wounded and sick were carried out, the sepoys fired on them; but their defenders drove them off.  At length, Nana Sahib, knowing that help was drawing near, offered to allow the garrison of Cawnpore a safe passage to Allahabad; the men were to go out armed, and boats were to be ready to take them down the river.  His offer was accepted, for they were starving.  But Nana Sahib only wanted to get them into his power; he had no intention of sending them to a place of safety.  No sooner were they on board than the native boatmen fled; from the banks a hail of fire was poured into the boats. Soon they were in flames — and men, women, and children struggling in the water; the greater number were shot or drowned.  One hundred and thirty women and children were captured, and taken back as prisoners to Cawnpore.

Sir Henry Lawrence had fortified himself in Lucknow, and when the news of the Cawnpore massacre came in, he was holding it successfully, and even attempted to attack the enemy outside.  In this he was repulsed by overwhelming numbers, and a few days after, on the 4th of July, he died, from a wound received on the 2nd.


A.D. 1857-58.

WHERE was help all this time?  It was coming, but with such mighty distances to cover it is no wonder that it often came too late to save our heroic countrymen and women.

Lord Canning was governor-general. Sir John Lawrence held command in the Punjaub, and he telegraphed to the governor: “Every European soldier will be required, if the native troops turn against us. Send for troops from Persia.  Intercept the force now on its way to China, and bring it to Calcutta.” But it was not till the middle of May, when the mutiny was raging all over the country, that Lord Canning sent to Ceylon, Madras, and other stations for troops, and ordered a steamer to lie in wait for the regiments bound to China.

General Havelock, who had been at the head of the Persian Gulf, was sent for, but as he suffered shipwreck on the way, it was the middle of June before he reached Calcutta.  He set out at once to the relief of Cawnpore and Lucknow, whither General Niel had gone before him.  Five days after the massacre of Cawnpore, Havelock arrived at Benares and went on to Allahabad.  There he had to wait till the 7th of July, when he set out for Cawnpore.  Nana Sahib knew of his coming, and his troops swarmed across his road.  Havelock had only about a thousand men.  They marched under a burning sun; but nothing ever hindered that splendid march.  In nine days they had accomplished one hundred and twenty-six miles, and fought and won four battles.  The last was led by Nana Sahib himself, raging at the defeats which the sepoys had undergone, and with a force immensely superior to the English general’s. Before night the English were again victorious; Nana Sahib had quitted the field.

All that night the soldiers rested where they had fought; their general slept upon the ground with his horse standing beside him, the bridle on his arm.  They were two miles from Cawnpore. In the morning spies brought the dreadful news that Nana Sahib had retreated, after butchering all the prisoners.

At this news Havelock hastened on. It was too true.  As the little army drew near, the magazine blew up.  The soldiers entered and hastened to the entrenchment.  It was empty, but presented a scene at which strong men wept.  Two hundred women and children had been murdered there, and their bodies flung into the well.  The place streamed with blood.  Memorials of the unhappy captives strewed the rooms — a prayer-book, little shoes and hats, and other articles, all steeped in blood.  Nana Sahib had escaped.  Havelock’s next efforts were directed to reach Lucknow, but they were frustrated.  It was madness to move on without reinforcements, with his exhausted and reduced handful.  The country swarming with rebels, and Nana on the watch to cut him off.  He must wait for reinforcements, and the reinforcements were delayed long.

Reinforcements from the Punjaub had raised the army before Delhi to six thousand men at the beginning of July; but the place was strong, and fresh regiments of mutineers were added to the rebel army without the walls, so that there were continual encounters around Delhi, as well as sallies from the town itself.

General Nicholson, with siege artillery, now marched for Delhi; but he had to put down so many mutinous regiments on his way that it was the end of August before he reached it.  The siege began in earnest on the 7th of September.  In one night a battery was completed and armed.  The mutineers in Delhi beheld it with alarm and astonishment in the morning light.  Before afternoon it had done its work.  The fort against which it was directed was a heap of ruins.  Everything now went on in the same energetic way.  On the 20th of September, after a six days’ assault, we were in possession of the city.

The old king and the princes had taken refuge among the vast and beautiful tombs of the kings of ancient Delhi.  Captain Hodson, with fifty of his troop of horse — he and they had performed wonders already — went to take the king, surrounded by a host of followers, who could have overpowered the little band in a moment.  But the king gave himself up, on the promise that his life and the lives of his favourite wife and her son should be spared.  When Captain Hodson came back with the king a prisoner, General Wilson said, “Well, I am glad you have got him; but I never expected to see you again.”

The princes still remained in the tombs; they had done deeds of the most fiendish cruelty; one of these wicked men cutting off the arms and legs of little children before their mothers’ eyes.  Captain Hodson was determined to take them likewise.  So he went back again, and called on them to deliver themselves up.  He would not so much as promise them their lives; but, perhaps, they expected to be spared as the king had been spared; for they gave themselves up after a short parley.

Thousands thronged after them, and Captain Hodson feared a rescue; so he ordered a halt, made a speech to his men, telling them of the crimes of these three wicked princes, and shot them with his own hand.

I told you how the British at Lucknow had entrenched themselves at the Residency, a group of Government buildings.  They numbered only sixteen hundred, besides the women and children, whom they lodged, as far as possible, underground, to protect them from the fire.  The foes round them were never fewer than thirty thousand, sometimes as many as one hundred thousand, and they commanded the Residency from several houses and palaces in the neighbourhood, so that the little garrison became daily fewer from the losses inflicted by their incessant fire.  The mutineers also began to mine, for the purpose of blowing up their defences; but the garrison countermined, and so successfully that several times the enemy’s miners were blown into the air.  At length they desisted from this mode of attack.

The besieged sent out several messengers asking for succour, who never returned; but at length, after four weeks, one faithful native brought back the welcome news that Havelock was at Cawnpore, and coming to relieve them.

For a long time they watched for his coming in vain.  You know that he was detained in Cawnpore waiting for reinforcements, his wasted force being insufficient to march through the foes that swarmed between him and Lucknow.

At length the Government sent Sir James Outram.  He was Havelock’s superior, and he was sent to take the command of the relieving force.  But this is a history of heroes.  Outram would not take the command, after all that Havelock had suffered and done.  He offered instead to serve under him, that he might have the honour of the service.

At length the relief came.  Havelock and Outram burst through the foes, and saved the remnant, though they had to remain in Lucknow and await relief in their turn; but not under such dreadful circumstances. Sir Colin Campbell had been sent out, and before the close of November he was at Lucknow, welcomed by Outram and Havelock.  He greeted the latter, his old friend, as Sir Henry, much to his astonishment. Havelock did not know that the Queen had conferred this honour upon him, and that all England was ringing with his praises.

Nor did he long live to enjoy it.  By a bold and skilful movement, Sir Colin, with Outram and Havelock, carried all who had been besieged in the Residency away from the ruins that alone remained of it, and safe out of Lucknow.  But he could not stay to take the place.  He had to go back to Cawnpore, as the general left there was threatened by a fresh army of mutineers.  He left Outram, with three thousand men in charge of the camp, the rescued women and children, and the sick and wounded.  Before he rode away, the brave and good Havelock was dead.  He died of cholera, brought on by fatigue and exposure.  In the midst of war he died, as a Christian alone can die, in perfect peace.

The year closed with the fall of Lucknow.  That year (1857) the East India Company came to an end.  India was henceforth to be governed directly by the English Government.

There were several splendid campaigns still to be fought, as that of Sir Hugh Rose in Central India.  All Oude and Rohilcund had to be recovered, and this was done by Sir Colin Campbell in the spring of 1858.  The last of the Oude rebels were driven into the jungles of the Himalaya Mountains.  Nana Sahib escaped, and was never seen again.


A.D. 1859—1880.

THE year 1859 brought England peace.  But in the year 1860 another war with the Chinese showed that strange people as treacherous as ever.  France joined us in resisting and punishing them, and they were entirely defeated.  Pekin, their capital, was taken, and they submitted unconditionally.

At home the great event of 1861 was a very mournful one.  Prince Albert, the beloved husband of Queen Victoria, died just as the year was closing; he died in the prime of life, and in the midst of his usefulness, suddenly struck down by fever.

War, too, broke out between the Northern and Southern States of America, a war which lasted for four long years; but ended in the total abolition of slavery.  It was, to a great extent, slavery that caused the war.  The United States were divided into Free States and Slave States.  The Free States were in the north. the Slave States in the south. The great fields of cotton in the south were cultivated by men and women, who were bought and sold in the markets like beasts.

But besides this the slave-owners wanted to send slaves into the new States that were growing up in the West, where great tracts of wilderness were being brought in by fresh settlers.  This the Free States would not allow, for they knew what an evil thing slavery was, and did not wish to extend it, though they did not think then of forcing the South to put an end to it.  They would never have thought of this if the Slave States had not sought by force to extend it.  So the North and the South quarrelled in the Congress or Parliament, and at last the Southern States separated from the Union, and chose a Parliament of their own.  But the Northern States would not allow them to do this and put an end to the Union.

The war began in the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, and when he was re-elected four years after — a president being elected every four years — it was still going on.  At first the North were unsuccessful, and Mr. Lincoln confessed that both North and South had shared in the guilt of slavery, and therefore they were sharing its punishment.

Early in 1865 Richmond, the capital of the Slave States, had fallen.  The end of the war was at hand; but the good president was not suffered to see the peace for which he prayed.  He was murdered on the 14th of April, by a Southerner, on the very day he had been pleading for a pardon for the South.  In this great man his very enemies had lost a friend.

On the 26th of April the South finally gave in, and its president, Mr. Davis, ran away, but he was soon caught.

In 1865 there was an insurrection in the Island of Jamaica.  It was speedily put down; but, with so much severity that many condemned the English governor.  The negroes were hanged without mercy; and there is no doubt that many suffered unjustly, because it was believed that the blacks intended a general massacre of the white people.

In 1867 Theodore, King of Abyssinia, took prisoners some English workmen, the consul, and one or two others.  He refused to deliver them, though threatened by our Government with the loss of his kingdom.  A British army, under Sir R. Napier, therefore invaded his country.  King Theodore retreated to the fortress of Magdala, whither the English general followed him through a wild hill country.  On Good Friday, the 20th of April, 1868, King Theodore came out of his fort, and attacked the English army, but was driven back with heavy loss on his side; while the English had only a few wounded, and not one killed.  Next day Theodore sent back all the prisoners; but Sir Robert Napier now summoned him to surrender, and when he refused took the fort by storm.  Theodore killed himself, and Sir R. Napier destroyed his fortress, so there was an end to the war at once.

In 1870 a war again broke out in Europe owing to a dispute between the Emperor of France and the King of Germany about the succession to the throne of Spain.  The French emperor set out to invade Germany, but was met on the borders by the German army, and after several crushing defeats, gave himself up as a prisoner.  Thus ended the French empire, and France became a republic once more.  As the French still held out, the Germans overran the country and laid siege to Paris, which finally capitulated in January, 1871.  Directly after peace had been proclaimed, Paris was seized by the Communists, who were eventually subdued, but not until they had wantonly destroyed many of the finest buildings in the city.

Meanwhile England was working out reforms at home.  The greatest of these was the law made in 1870, ordering that there should be schools for all the children in England, who should be enabled, and, if need be, compelled to attend, and thus gain a simple education.

The virtues of Queen Victoria as a wife and a mother have, without doubt, rooted her throne in the hearts of the English people more firmly than it was ever rooted by any of her house.  Towards the close of 1871 the Prince of Wales was seized with fever, of the same type as that which had carried off his father in his prime.  For weeks he lay at the very point of death, and during all that time the anxiety and sympathy of the nation was manifested in the most unmistakable manner.  At length his recovery was pronounced, and a feeling of universal thankfulness was spread abroad; so that when the Queen appointed a day of thanks-giving to God, it was everywhere hailed with acceptance.  The day was the 27th of February, 1872.  The Queen, with the Prince and Princess of Wales, accompanied by their households, passed through the streets of the City to St. Paul’s Cathedral, amid a dense crowd of people, who testified in every possible way their loyalty and love.  At Temple Bar the procession was met by the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, who, according to ancient custom, presented to the Queen the sword of state, and welcomed her into the City.

The strength of loyal feeling displayed on this occasion proved that the throne was secure; but the great administration which then ruled the country was about to fall.  Mr. Gladstone, who had become Prime Minister in 1868, had introduced, in four years, greater changes than had been made in the forty that had gone by since the passing of the first Reform Bill in 1832.  The Education Act had become law.  The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge had been thrown open.

The purchase of commissions in the army had been done away with.  The Irish Church had been disestablished.  And, in foreign affairs, there had come to pass a change greater still.  For the first time in the history of the world, a dispute between two great nations was settled, not by the sword, but by a peaceful tribunal voluntarily submitted to.

During the conflict in America a ship of war called the “Alabama,” and several others, had been fitted up in England, and sent to fight on the side of the Confederates, and, when the war was over, the American Government claimed compensation for the damage they had done.  After some delay, both parties agreed to submit the matter in dispute to five judges or arbitrators.  The arbitrators were chosen, and met at Geneva.  Their judgment was against England, and the compensation to be paid to America was three millions and a quarter.  England paid the money, and also gave up the little island of San Juan, about the ownership of which the German Emperor was asked to decide.  The decision gave offence to many who think a nation should never give in, however much in the wrong, and the discontent against the Government of Mr. Gladstone gathered as he went on.

Each measure had displeased some.  At last the Government introduced an Irish University Bill, which was thrown out by a majority of three, and Mr. Gladstone resigned.  The Queen sent for Mr. Disraeli, the leader of the Opposition, but he refused to take office with so small a majority.  Mr. Gladstone therefore went on for the rest of the Session, but in January, 1874, he dissolved the Parliament that another election might declare on which side the people of England were.  The result of the elections was a majority of fifty for the Conservatives.

Mr. Disraeli then became Prime Minister, and held office for six years.  There are not many peaceful triumphs to record in those years; but enough of war, and of diplomacy, as dealing with foreign affairs is called.

The Ashantee War began in 1873.  The Ashantees, a warlike tribe on the West Coast of Africa, had attacked the English troops in their neighbourhood, and been defeated.  But it was necessary to send out a small army to subdue them wholly, that such attacks might not occur again and again.  The country is fatal to Europeans in the summer months, and the war had to be begun and ended in a single season.  The small army commanded by Sir Garnet Wolseley left England in the beginning of December, 1873, conquered the Ashantees, and were back in England before the end of March.

In the summer of 1875 fresh disturbances broke out in the European provinces of Turkey.  They had long complained of the Turkish rule, and some of them had freed themselves from it wholly or in part, and were ready to help their neighbours to do the same.  Constant insurrections went on, and were put down with more and more severity.  In 1876 Servia and Montenegro declared war against Turkey, and at the same time the Turks themselves revolted against their Sultan, and deposed him.  The province of Bulgaria was the next to rise, and the Turkish Government sent irregular troops, who, after conquering the insurgents, turned war into massacre, and murdered a host of innocent people, even entering the Christian schools and putting the children to death, to the indignation and horror of all Europe.  Meantime, Servia and Montenegro were beaten by the Turks, and Russia came to their aid.  A Russian army crossed the Danube in 1877, and advanced nearly to Constantinople.  Then Mr. Disraeli, who had been created Lord Beaconsfield, asked Parliament for six millions of money to be spent in preparing for war, and ordered our fleet to sail up to the Turkish capital.  Besides this, he had sent for some Indian troops to come to Malta, and be in readiness to take part in the war if it should seem necessary.  It was now proposed to hold a conference at Berlin, and Lord Beaconsfield not only consented, but himself attended it.  A treaty was made and signed, giving peace to Europe at least for the time.

While these matters were in progress, the Indian Government, acting, of course, on the authority of the English, sent an embassy to the ruler of Afghanistan; but the Afghans would not allow it to enter their country.  Its stoppage was held to be an insult, troops were sent forward, the country was invaded, its ruler, the Ameer, fled, and the British held his capital, Cabul.  Very soon after, the Ameer died, and his son succeeded him.  This prince made a treaty with England, and admitted a Resident.  This treaty had been entered into little more than half a year, when the people of Cabul rose and murdered the Resident and his staff.  Cabul had to be invaded over again, and occupied by our troops.

Yet another short war was on the hands of the Government.  In January, 1879, Cetewayo, the chief of the Zulus, whose territory adjoins our South African colonies, defeated an English force at Isandula, but very soon he was himself defeated and taken prisoner.

Soon afterwards the Government of Lord Beaconsfield came to an end.  The General Election of March, 1880, was altogether in favour of the Liberals, and Mr. Gladstone once more returned to office as Premier of England.  Lord Beaconsfield did not long survive this change, but died on the 19th of April, 1881, at the age of seventy-eight.  He had been in Parliament for forty-four years, and for nearly thirty he had been looked upon as the leader of the Conservative party, and one of the most eminent of English politicians.

The condition of Ireland was the most important matter the new Government had to attend to.  Many of the farmers there were very poor, and quite unable to pay the whole of the rents for their lands; and this caused much discontent and distress, especially in the western parts of the island.  Besides this, there were some people who went about persuading the peasants not to pay any rent at all, because they hoped by doing so to make it impossible for the English Government to rule Ireland.  Of course, many of the Irish refused to listen to them; but, unfortunately, there were some who did, and these began to believe that all those who asked for rent, and even those who paid it, were their enemies, and were to be ill-treated in all sorts of ways.  Many people had their cattle and property injured, and some were attacked and shot at.  To remedy these evils two Acts of Parliament were passed in 1881.  One of them allowed the Government to arrest the mischievous people who were doing so much harm, and many of them were accordingly put in prison.  The other Act declared that if a tenant thought he was too poor to pay his rent, or that his landlord was asking too much from him, he might bring the matter before a number of gentlemen who understood a great deal about farming and the state of the land in Ireland, and they would settle the exact amount which was to be paid.  It was hoped that this Act would do a great deal of good to the poorer people in Ireland, and gradually put an end to the disorder there.



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