THE REBELLION OF ’45.
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
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
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
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.
GEORGE II. CONTINUED.
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
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.
THE AMERICAN WAR.
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
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
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.
THE FRENCH REVOLUTION.
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
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,
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.
THE RETREAT FROM MOSCOW.
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
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
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.
FALL OF NAPOLEON — WATERLOO.
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
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
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
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
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
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?
GEORGE IV. AND WlLLIAM IV.
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.
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
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
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.
THE INDIAN WARS.
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
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
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.
FREE TRADE—THE CORN LAWS.
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.
ABROAD AND AT HOME.
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
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
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.”
THE CRIMEAN WAR.
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
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
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
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
THE INDIAN MUTINY.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
THE NEXT TWENTY-ONE YEARS.
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
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
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
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
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.